Google introduces new search algorithm, ‘Hummingbird’

Posted on: September 30th, 2013 by SoftwarePatch.com No Comments

On 27 September 2013 Google marked its 15th birthday, and with it its latest search algorithm. Google Hummingbird (which was actually quietly rolled out over a month ago) affects around 90% of all searches, and is designed to tackle more complicated and abstract queries.

Unlike its predecessors (Panda and Penguin), Hummingbird doesn’t just match keywords. It actually breaks down ‘conversation’ questions and phrases, and attempts to understand the meaning and relationship of things and words within sentences. Google’s aim is to give users more precise results, giving the search engine a more ‘human’ aspect in that it is seeking to tackle longer and more complex questions.

More questions can be asked at the Search Engine Marketing Forums

‘Game of Thrones: The 8-bit Game’ is released

Posted on: September 12th, 2013 by SoftwarePatch.com No Comments

Game of Thrones fans desperately twiddling their thumbs until Season 4 starts next year (or until the next book is finally published) will be happy to know they can distract themselves for a little while. A super-fan has recently created an 8-bit platform game based on the series, featuring the 2D pixelated artwork we know and love – along with some of the characters we know and love along with it.

Enjoy a 2D side-scrolling release, where players attempt to navigate multiple levels by dodging obstacles and projectiles – all the while defeating enemies and picking up items. With four fan-favorite characters playable (Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen, Tyrion Lannister and Davos Seaworth), fans are sure to get a kick out of this retro version of Westeros.

Spanish developer Abel Alvarez Rejo is the brains behind the game, and has luckily made it available for free. The Internet reaction to the game has been so phenomenal that Alves has spoken of creating similar games in the same retro context. Keep an eye on his website for more.

Watch the trailer here, and enjoy the nostalgia.

Redesign Arcade Fire’s latest music video through your smartphone

Posted on: September 10th, 2013 by SoftwarePatch.com 1 Comment

Though the technology behind music videos has come a long way since Dire Straits’ Money For Nothing premiered on MTV Europe, it hasn’t quite caught up with the respective changing worlds of movies, music and TV. With their video for “Reflektor” Arcade Fire has taken the release of their latest single to a whole new level – in a nutshell, the technology behind the “Reflektor” video allows you to paint effects on the screen with your smartphone whilst the video plays.

The way it works is when you link your smartphone with your web browser, thereby syncing the visual tracking from your computer’s webcam, and the data your phone provides through its gyroscope and accelerometer. This allows the phone to become a tool to manipulate whatever you’re seeing onscreen, giving you the space to alter every scene in the video. You can change each effect by modifying the distance and angle of your phone to the computer screen.

Whilst a traditional shoot still took place on location in Haiti, a specialist team implemented the new technology through the post-production process. Luckily for other developers, the team chose to make the code open-source, as well as go a step further by giving users a tech page portal through which they too could tweak the set-up of the video – something that would apply in real time. The most groundbreaking part of the video hits towards the end of the video, which you can discover here – since the project is a Google Chrome experiment we would recommend downloading that first (if you don’t have it).

The Pirate Bay launches PirateBrowser

Posted on: August 12th, 2013 by SoftwarePatch.com No Comments

 

To celebrate ten years of existence, The Pirate Bay has launched its own browser. The file-sharing website, which has been the bane of the entertainment industry since its inception, has described PirateBrowser as “a simple one-click browser that circumvents censorships and blockades and makes [Pirate Bay] instantly available and accessible [with] no bundled ad-ware, toolbars or other crap, just a Pre-configured Firefox browser.”

This means that the countries that fought for so long to ban The Pirate Bay – these including the UK and the US – have yet another hurdle to jump over. The makers of PirateBrowser claim that the browser is an anti-censorship tool rather than rule it out as a mere extension of the actual website. Whilst PirateBrowser’s main scope is to get around the blocks installed against it in the aforementioned countries, potential users are warned that it doesn’t mean their browsing will be completely anonymous, and that they should continue to exercise precautions when it comes to torrents.

What is Patch Tuesday?

Posted on: August 12th, 2013 by SoftwarePatch.com 1 Comment

Patch Tuesday is the second Tuesday of each month, when Microsoft releases security patches for many of its products. Until recently, Patch Tuesday had been followed by an “Exploit Wednesday”, as hackers reverse-engineered many of these security patches, and attacked not-yet-patched computers.

Patch Bugs

But from August 2013, thanks to the revised Active Protection Program, some security firms receive information about vulnerabilities being patched several days before the update is released. They can use these few days to come up with their own signature for these vulnerabilities and patch their software in the same time as Microsoft’s updates come out.

You don’t have to work for a security firm to get a preview of the upcoming patches. You can sign up for an advance notification using your Microsoft credentials (e.g. your Skype or Hotmail login) on the technet.microsoft.com website, and receive a preview in each month straight into your inbox.

By Gergely Sumegi

A false sense of security with Google Chrome

Posted on: August 9th, 2013 by SoftwarePatch.com No Comments

Be careful of storing passwords in Chrome – a serious flaw in its security means that anyone with access to your computer can see your passwords. By just clicking on the settings icon, choosing ‘Show advanced settings’ and then ‘Manage saved passwords’ gives you access to any passwords you’ve inputted whilst browsing. A plain-text option reveals the passwords properly, meaning that they can simply be copied and pasted in an email, or captured in print screen.

 

 

The problem is Google is entirely aware of this problem but isn’t willing to address it. In a bizarre statement Justin Schuh, the head of Google’s Chrome developer team, said:

“We’ve also been repeatedly asked why we don’t just support a master password or something similar, even if we don’t believe it works. We’ve debated it over and over again, but the conclusion we always come to is that we don’t want to provide users with a false sense of security, and encourage risky behavior. We want to be very clear that when you grant someone access to your OS user account that they can get at everything.”

In theory this is true, but it should not be suggested by the organization behind one of the three most widely-used browsers on desktops worldwide. Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari all had similar problems, with the difference being that they chose to address it – either through the addition of a master password or through an increase in security features.

If you use Chrome and you’re not the sole user of your computer – or even if there’s any chance that someone else might have access to your browser – be wary of the way you store passwords. Either deselect the option when the standard Chrome request pops up after a log-in, or at this stage, choose a different browser.

Mozilla Firefox version 23.0 is released

Posted on: August 8th, 2013 by SoftwarePatch.com 1 Comment

Good news for Firefox fans: version 23.0 is out and can be downloaded from the www.mozilla.org website. In the latest version of Firefox, the Mozilla team has proactively fixed some potentially exploitable vulnerabilities, upon finding these security holes before hackers.

Some of these fixes are related to the “Miscellaneous memory safety hazards” which show evidence of memory corruption, according to the description by Mozilla, adding that “at least some of these could be exploited to run arbitrary code”.  The developers at Mozilla spend much time and attention to find these hazards, even if not all of them are exploitable, and not all the exploitable ones were targeted by hackers.

The new Firefox version has got a new security feature, called Mixed content blocking. What does that mean? Some websites are using both insecure HTTP and secure HTTPS protocols on the same page, to speed up the download time of pictures, icons, logos. Firefox can now differentiate between “Mixed Passive Content” and “Mixed Active Content”, and permit innocent HTTP objects, such as images to appear in the middle of an HTTPS page, but block for example an insecure JavaScript code in the same page.

To download the latest version of Firefox, just open the About page of your browser (Alt, Help, About) and the update will be downloaded and installed automatically.

By Gergely Sumegi

Microsoft will stop supporting Windows XP in April 2014

Posted on: August 6th, 2013 by SoftwarePatch.com No Comments

Wow, the new Windows XP! Blue taskbar, green start button and the Bliss wallpaper from a Californian landscape photo. How fresh it looked after the boring gray of the previous versions when it came out – can you believe it was 12 years ago?

And in April 2014, just 8 months from now, Microsoft will finally stop supporting the operating system that is still being used on 37% of all desktop PCs in the world. This means that more than half a billion computers are still running the oldest supported Windows version, and the operating system of these computers will no longer be supported by Microsoft after next spring.

So, if you or your company is still using Windows XP on the computers, it’s time to start considering an upgrade to a newer version. If the new Modern user interface of Windows 8 is too unfamiliar for you, then you can still choose Windows 7, which is just as reliable and will be supported for many years to come.

By Gergely Sumegi

5 Apps That Will Safeguard Your Browsing Experience

Posted on: August 5th, 2013 by SoftwarePatch.com No Comments

 

Since its establishment for popular use, the Internet has changed enormously. Gone are the days when surfing the World Wide Web was a carefree process for the sake of entertainment – nowadays everything from restaurant reservations to personal banking takes place online. With so much information and so many processes available online, it has become easy pickings for hackers to weave their way into various parts of the internet and manipulate it to read your personal information. Luckily there are several apps available to protect the data your Internet use renders, no matter what your preferred browser is.

DoNotTrackMe: A cross-browser extension that blocks sites from tracking you, DoNotTrackMe is constantly updated to always be on top of the latest trackers.

Googlesharing: It wouldn’t be exaggerated to say the Internet wouldn’t be the Internet without Google. The problem with searching is that Google stores everything we search for in a user-specific profile. The Googlesharing app keeps that from happening by blocking Google from storing this information and keeping your searches private.

SecureGmail: No one wants sensitive information passed on by emails to be leaked to any unwanted sources. SecureGmail encrypts and decrypts emails sent through Gmail, keeping everyone but your recipient from reading your mail through a password system (which you’ll need to share beforehand).

SimpleWash: Social media has taken over everyday life by changing the way people connect. This means that anything you’ve shared with your friends is most likely on Facebook – the good, the bad, AND the very ugly. SimpleWash’s technology erases any potentially embarrassing or compromising information about you by delving into your Facebook/Twitter profiles. This app deals with things like tagged photos and status updates you’d rather never see again, ensuring your online presence is much more respectable.

Boxcryptor: It is becoming the norm to use cloud drives like Dropbox or Google Drive, simplifying file-sharing and making it easy to access your data wherever you go. Yet even cloud sharing requires some degree of protection. BoxCryptor works by grouping together and encrypting files on your hard disk before they are synced with the cloud service of your choice, thereby keeping your personal files personal.

Top 5 Apps for Windows 8

Posted on: July 31st, 2013 by SoftwarePatch.com No Comments

Whilst it’s fair to say that Microsoft has been late to the game when it comes to apps – where Apple remains in pole position – they are certainly doing their best in trying to catch up. The Apple App Store was answered with the Windows App Store, which to date now contains over 100,000 apps. We’ve tried to narrow down five essential apps that any Windows 8 user should have.

 

 

 

News Bento: This nifty app presents an interface combining top US news sites, with constant updates always coming through. Story summaries are neatly displayed in various panels – clicking on any of these will take you directly to the content app, which means you don’t need to switch to and from an external browser.

 

 

 

IM+: IM+ combines all the major messenger tools available, including Facebook, Google Talk, AOL, Yahoo, and so on. Rather than having to switch between different clients, you get access to your contacts in one streamlined place.

 

 

 

Skype: Regaling in its status as a Microsoft acquisition, Skype’s new interface complements Windows 8’s design – meaning that it gets full advantage of W8’s latest features. Even if your PC is locked or the app is closed Skype continues to run in the background, so you never have to worry about missing important calls.

 

 

 

8tracks: Quite possibly the best radio app on the market, 8tracks has already proved popular on the web, as well as on iOS and Android platforms. The new Windows 8 app only enhances the 8tracks experience: with a smooth interface that makes transiting between different songs and playlists a synch.

 

 

 

Fhotoroom: Out of all the photo-editing apps available Fhotoroom is probably the most comprehensive one. It’s brilliant for any rookie looking to get started in editing, with the tools you’d expect out of more advanced software at a beginner’s level. Experiment with exposure, saturation, and even vintage-style filters for you Instagram addicts.

 

Source: iOS App Store