Internet Explorer 8 preview

Nothing is set in stone yet, but here’s what Microsoft is examining for the IE 8 browser window UI now.

First, IE 8 will fix the silly toolbar issue in IE 7, where the Home button is moved over to the right side of the window; it’s back next to Back and Forward where it belongs. (“Menus are more discoverable” in Microsoft-speak.)

IE 8 will utilize a Quick Access Toolbar, just like Office 2007. This will let users “expose any command at the top level” of the browser “outspace” and give more room for tabs.

Microsoft briefly examined an Office 2007-style Ribbon UI for IE 8 but found it to be far too tall. The tallness of IE’s top-level UI became an issue with IE 7 even though IE 7’s UI isn’t that much taller than that for Firefox or IE 6. The Ribbon would have really made it too tall.

Here’s a mockup of the current internal design:
ie8_mockup_final

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Mozilla’s two new mobile prototypes

mozilla_prototype1 Amidst rookie mobile browser Skyfire’s bold attempt to take on the market and Opera’s defensive rebuttal (sent via press release,) emerges news from Mozilla developer and project lead, Doug Turner. A few months back, Doug told us that the Minimo browser was on its way out (you can still download it here), and newer projects would take its place.

According to Doug’s blog, the replacement efforts have arrived. Well, not quite, but two prototypes have.

The first called simply “Non-touch screen UI,” is dedicated to the broad range of devices. While Turner describes it as “vanilla,” it evokes much more strongly the cheery bubble-gum gloss of an Apple interface. The second prototype attends to touch-screen phones, many more of which we’ll see in hands, purses, and pockets within the next six months.

It’s an information playground on these development wikis, and there’s matched eagerness on Mozilla’s part for sound feedback. In fact, you can vocalize it yourself by calling in to Mozilla’s mobile UI phone conferences every Monday morning at 10:00 a.m. PST.
mozilla_prototype2

Windows 7 M1 build shows up on various torrent sites

It was only a matter of time..
Not too long after Microsoft had released a developer build of the Windows 7 Milestone 1 release to a select few, review and opinion pieces started to leak onto Windows enthusiast sites by OEM employees or their beneficiaries. So it’s hardly surprising that now -just a few days later, the full naked DVD image has started to show up on a few torrent sites.
Anonymous pirates vying to snatch credit for the first Windows 7 torrent have only served to frustrate, with many of the downloaders later verifying the various submissions as fake zero byte ISO images, and while we haven’t been able to verify for ourselves if indeed a valid Win7 image has been leaked to the pirating community, it sure is stirring up a lot of interest in the past 24 hours!

YouTorrent: Give It A Shot Before It’s Shut Down

youtorrent
YouTorren
t is a fairly new BitTorrent search  engine that has been getting positive reviews of late, so I gave it a shot.

The premise is simple: YouTorrent is a meta-search engine that indexes torrents from other sites (such as btjunkie, The Pirate Bay), then prioritizes the results based on the number of seeds and peers each torrent has. For example a search for something like Cloverfield offers multiple results but most importantly provides the torrent with the most participants first. For those not familiar with BitTorrent, the more seeds and peers a Torrent has, the faster the file will likely download.

As a meta-search engine YouTorrent doesn’t discriminate against legal and pirated content (yes, there is legal content on BitTorrent) so it’s a case of anything goes, and this is both a strength and a weakness. If you do frequently download using BitTorrent you’ll love YouTorrent, it’s quick and the results it gives negates the need to use other sites when searching for Torrents. On the other hand YouTorrent efficiently facilitates video piracy; sure, there’s an ongoing legal argument as to whether a search engine can be held liable for indexing pirated content elsewhere, but that didn’t help TorrentSpy when the Feds came knocking. The site is hosted in the Netherlands and has a Moniker hide your details service running on the Whois record, but chances are if the owners are in the United States, it’s probably only a matter of time until the MPAA or RIAA sends in the lawyers, so give it a shot while you still can.

cloverfield

Use Any Media Management Program With Zune

ZuneBoards’ renowned PityOnU has just dropped his highly anticipated zAlternator software. The hack, currently in RC, cloaks your Zune as a generic Windows Portable Device, allowing it to theoretically sync with WMP, WinAmp, iTunes, or your favorite media management library. The instructions are pretty basic too.
1200979281.usr495
Get your device into “sync” mode (have it show “syncing…” with the “starry night” Zune logo on the screen), and hit ctrl-alt-del, bring up Task Manager. Go to the Processes tab and end the process “Zune.exe”. Now bring up zAlternator. Follow the instructions, setting the Desired Service Provider to “Generic” and then clicking “apply.” Now open your program of choice and everything should be golden.
Just keep in mind that for those wanting to use iTunes (blech), the service is still in beta. Use at your own risk.

iPhone goes corporate: AT&T announces business plan

cing_logo Without a 3G iPhone announcement at MacWorld, Apple remains focused on increasing the penetration of their generation-one handset. True to the rumors circulating the intertubes last week, AT&T is now offering the iPhone to business customers. Plans break down as follows:

  • 2 year commitment, voice service, and data plan required
  • $45 per month for unlimited data, visual voicemail, and 200 SMSes; $55 ups the SMS limit to 1,500; $65 for unlimited everything
  • An extra $25 per month nabs a 20MB montly data plan good for 29 countries, $60 per month ups the limit to 50MB
  • Activate by 31 March and qualified accounts will receive a service credit of $25 per month good through 31 December, 2008 — yeah, that’s a sweet deal

We have a funny feeling that the timing of this has something to do with IBM’s imminent announcement of Lotus Notes mail for the iPhone. Now get on the horn to IT, they’ll be dreading your call.