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What's New in Microsoft Land: 10 – 14 April 2006

On Monday, Microsoft released an update pack, fixing serious security holes in Internet Explorer. The patches also repair other flaws in MDAC, Windows Explorer, Outlook Express and Frontpage Server Extensions.

The major IE update contains a fix for the "createTextRange()" code execution flaw that permitted malicious downloads and a significant change to the way the browser renders certain ActiveX controls.

Microsoft launched five security bulletins with patches fixing 14 different vulnerabilities for other Windows products. Three bulletins are rated "critical", the company's highest severity rating. Microsoft recommends that Windows users treat the MS06-013 bulletin as a high-priority update to protect against an active attacker that uses social engineering tricks to lure IE users to Web sites controlled by bots, spyware, back doors and other Trojan downloaders.


On Tuesday, Paramount Pictures and Microsoft are entering into a partnership under which the movie studio's content will be integrated into the company's Xbox Live service.
The program will be released Wednesday with free, high-definition, downloadable content from two 2006 Paramount films: "Mission: Impossible III" and "Nacho Libre".
The partnership will allow bringing a wide variety of content to the online Xbox community service, including movie trailers, graphics that can be used to customize Xbox games and contests whose winners will be able to play games against stars from the studio's films.
At the moment, more than 2 million Xbox users are members of the Xbox Live community and its marketplace, where users can buy and sell add-ons for their games, with more than 10 million total downloads.


On Wednesday, Microsoft launched an English-language beta version of Windows Live Academic Search, a service for searching academic journals.
The new product is available in Australia, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain and the United Kingdom, as well as in the USA, and is positioned as an alternative to Google Scholar or SciFinder Scholar.
Windows Live Academic Search currently contains only physics, electrical engineering and computer science terms, but the company is developing with publishers to expand content access.
Academic Search can also be integrated into Windows Live, the new online desktop service Microsoft released in beta version earlier this year.


On Thursday, the giant released a new utility that is designed to take some of the annoyance and risk out of mistyping a URL when browsing Internet websites.
The company's Cybersecurity and Systems Management group launched a prototype of Strider URL Tracer with Typo-Patrol last week. The utility is developed to seek out and block mistyped versions of domain names.
“Strider URL Tracer alerts people when they are redirected to a third-party site. It can trace pop-up advertising back to the redirecting domains that supplied them. Parents can use it to block domains that may redirect their children to porn. Companies can use it to monitor for trademark infringement or fraud,” it is said into a description on Microsoft's research Web site.
The software requires Windows XP and Internet Explorer 6 and is free to download from Microsoft's Strider URL Tracer site.


On the same day, Microsoft made some announcements about its Atlas Asynchronous JavaScript and XML style development platform, including a new CTP and an Atlas Control Toolkit.
With the March CTP, Microsoft released a Go Live version for Atlas. The April CTP includes no new functionality. However, the bug fixes will solve issues users presented to the company and will enable developers to create Web solutions that can go into production.
"One behavior change we made, which will be of interest if you're using Atlas to write gadgets: for security reasons, we've disabled cross-domain access to DataService services by default.
Instead, you'll have to manually add the WebOperation attribute to the Select, Insert, Update, or Delete methods on a data service to access them via HTTP GET requests. Since all network access in gadgets happens cross-domain (via an iframe), any gadgets that use the DataService will be affected." Shanku Niyogi, product unit manager of the UI Framework and Services team at Microsoft said in a blog.


On Friday, the giant announced the decision to become the premier sponsor of the World Cyber Games for the next three years.
All PC games will be played on the Windows operating system, and all console games will be played on the Xbox 360. Although the deal sounds like a coup for Microsoft, little about the WCG will change; featured games in past years have all fallen under those guidelines.

The deal will also see Microsoft providing software and hardware for all the WCG events. Despite the company's powerful dominance for the competition, only one game selected for this year's WCG, Project Gotham Racing 3, is a Microsoft product.
Although the giant will be a primary game sponsor, Samsung Electronics will still remain the official worldwide sponsor of the World Cyber Games.


Also on Friday, Microsoft revealed that it is currently developing a way of searching the Internet by using photos captured by cell phone cameras.
Using this powerful tool, someone can e-mail Microsoft an image of what they're searching for. Photo2Search, the new product, returns Web pages with information about the objects in the photo, or sites that contain similar images.
News about Photo2Search comes a few days after Google, Microsoft’s biggest rival, announced it received a patent for an alternative way to search the Internet using spoken words, rather than written text.
What's New in Microsoft Land: 10 – 14 April 2006 - Monday, April 17, 2006 -

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