TWT Newsletter, Issue #38 – E3 Round-up and another Windows vulnerability
Hello once more from Top Windows Tutorials HQ. It is the 10th of July and that means it is time for the latest TWT Newsletter to magically appear in your inbox. This month we have a round-up of the best new games and gadgets from the E3 show and a look at a new Windows XP vulnerability. Of course, we also have our regular tip and free utility too.
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In this months issue:-
1) What’s new at Top-Windows-Tutorials.com?
2) Announcing more lucky competition winners
3) Round-up from this years E3
4) Tip of the Month – Master copy and paste!
5) Free Utility of the Month – Foxit Reader
6) Hackers exploit the Windows help system
What’s new at Top-Windows-Tutorials.com?
We started June by finishing our tutorials on how to reinstall Windows. Following on from our tutorials on reinstalling Windows XP, we brought you a video tutorial on reinstalling Windows Vista and reinstalling Windows 7.
As our newsletter readers may know, we publish e-books as part of our Superguide CD/DVD discs. Recently we decided to evaluate several of our competitors e-books and found the quality of their product to be particularly low. Read more about our findings by visiting this link.
Your PC is a hugely versatile machine, capable of some amazing feats of multimedia magic. Did you know that most PC’s are able to convert old cassette tapes to Mp3? Provided you have a suitable cassette deck to attach to your computer, you can use your PC’s sound card and free software to convert your old analogue memories. See this tutorial for more information.
On the same theme, we brought you five tutorials for the excellent free sound editing and recording utility Audacity. You can view the first of the tutorials by using this link.
Finally in June, we published a quick tutorial for the handy Memtest utility. This tool can help you quickly diagnose faulty memory in any PC. To view the tutorial, use this link.
A big thank you to everyone who entered our Oops Backup competition this month. The contest is now closed, the correct answer to the question was:-
Which of the following technologies does Oops Backup include? BackInTime Technology
Congratulations to the following readers who got the question right and will receive a free Oops Backup license in their e-mail:-
Yvonne Gastmeier (New Zealand)
James Sweeting (Australia)
Winners should receive their license keys today (10th July 2010). If your name was on the winners list and you did not receive your key within three days of this date, please double check your spam folder and if you still cannot find your e-mail, contact us immediately.
The contest is now closed as all licenses have been given away. Thanks once again to everyone who entered.
Round-up from this years E3
The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) 2010 took place this month from the 15th to the 17th of June. All the big names in computer and video games were there to show their latest new games, gadgets and ideas. Ploughing through all the tweets, podcasts and reports so that you don’t have to, here are our picks from E3 for the PC user.
3D made an appearance in a big way at E3, with Sony and Nintendo pledging to support what is either the coolest new thing in entertainment or the latest fad, depending on your perspective. Sony were eager to showcase their new 3D games for the Playstation 3 while Nintendo announced a 3D version of their ever popular DS handheld console.
For PC users, Nvidia demonstrated their latest 3D technologies and graphics cards. With compatible hardware, PC gamers with deep pockets can create a huge, 3 monitor 3D gaming setup using Nvida’s latest graphics cards and drivers. For those of us with a little less space and/or cash, single monitor 3D gaming is also possible, but only with a special monitor. More worryingly, Nvidia’s 3D technology only supports a limited number of 3D HDTV’s too, adding to the potential confusion of those eager to take the plunge into 3D gaming. Find out more about Nvidia’s amazing hardcore 3D kit by visiting this link.
New controllers were also everywhere at E3. Both Sony and Microsoft unveiled new motion sensitive controllers for their platforms. Kinect, the controller free gaming device from Microsoft is rumoured to be coming to Windows too. The new controller features a camera and is operated entirely by gestures. Some impressive demos showed people running and jumping to control their avatars, or interacting with on-screen characters using speech and gestures. Its impressive looking technology, but questions remain over input lag and price and most core gamers seem reluctant to give up their control pads just yet. To find out more about Kinect, visit this link.
Less radical, but potentially more useful was the Igugu GameCore wireless PC controller. This handy controller emulates the keyboard and the mouse, allowing you total control of your PC from your sofa. Great for bringing PC games into the living room on the big screen TV. You can see the controller for yourself by visiting this link.
We also loved the new gaming headphones from Nox audio. These handy headphones are fully adjustable between voice and game audio, work with PS3, Xbox 360 and the PC and look pretty cool too. Find out more by visiting this link.
Game-wise, there were two announcements that will please PC gaming fans. Firstly, Portal 2, the sequel to the portal throwing, first person puzzle platform game that proved exceptionally popular amongst PC gamers. Portal 2 promises more tricky puzzles along with new physics bending toys and more geek humour. Find out more by visiting this link.
Secondly, for those of you who prefer gaming at a slower pace we can report that Civilization 5 was also announced at E3. The latest in the long line of empire building strategy games now boasts an improved interface, graphics engine and terrain engine. Civilization 5 looks like it will be distracting many would be megalomaniacs from more important work in the near future. Find out more about the new Civilization by visiting this link.
Tip of the Month – Master copy and paste!
While we were giving away our Oops Backup licenses, a number of our readers wrote back to us asking how to enter such a long activation key. The answer of course is to use copy and paste. Copy and paste is such a fundamentally useful skill that every Windows user should take the time to master it. Any text that has been entered in one program can simply be copied to another program using a few mouse clicks. If you haven’t learned this key skill yet, we highly recommend you watch this tutorial. You will find many tasks on your computer are much easier when you master this skill.
Free Utility of the Month – Foxit Reader
While most users use the official Adobe Reader for reading PDF documents, more than a few people have had difficulty getting the latest version to install. Fortunately, there’s a lightweight, free alternative called Foxit Reader.
Foxit Reader is a small, fast and fully featured PDF viewer that supports most of the features of the official Adobe Reader. Faster and more memory efficient than the official reader, Foxit is an ideal solution for users on less powerful machines or simply for anyone looking for a neat alternative to the Adobe Reader. You can download Foxit Reader for free by visiting this link
Hackers exploit the Windows help system
Unfortunately, it seems that the usual bunch of opportunistic criminals are up to no good on the internet again. This time, a bug in the Windows Help and Support Center is being exploited to allow hackers to load malicious software onto Windows XP machines. Only Windows XP is currently affected, Vista and Windows 7 users are safe.
The attack uses special kinds of web pages that hijack the help and support system in Windows XP, a system that can normally only open special, Microsoft sanctioned web pages. In order to be a victim, you must unwittingly follow a link to a compromised page, either by surfing to it by accident or being sent the link in an e-mail or instant message conversation.
The exploit is proving particularly difficult for Microsoft to patch. While a spokesperson for the software giant assured the media that they were hard at work on a fix, a few angry glances were cast at Tavis Ormandy, a security engineer who works for Google. Ormandy was the researcher who first found the bug. Five days after reporting the vulnerability to Microsoft, he made his findings public, a move which saw criminals and hackers taking advantage of his work to produce their own malicious web pages. While we certainly don’t believe in hiding security vulnerabilities and hoping that the bad guys never find out about them, we certainly question the wisdom in releasing the full details, including a proof of concept attack, to the public.
If you are a Windows XP user concerned about this particular exploit, you may wish to follow Microsoft’s advice and disable the Help and Support Center until a patch is available. See the “Workarounds” section on this Microsoft Knowledge base article.
For a more detailed, technical look at the vulnerability and the circumstances surrounding its discovery, visit this link.
Remember to keep your Windows PC up-to-date, we are expecting Microsoft to launch a patch to fix this problem within the next few weeks.
That rounds off our newsletter for July. As always, we’d like to send a huge thank you to all our readers for your support. The TWT Newsletter will return on the 10th August 2010 to bring you more tips, tricks and techniques to help you get the best out of your PC, be it Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7! We hope that you found this newsletter informative and useful. If you did not then please let us know why, you can contact us by visiting this page. If you have enjoyed this newsletter, feel free to pass it on to all your friends and family, or better still encourage them to sign up for their own copy and enter our competition! Until next month, keep checking Top-Windows-Tutorials.com and enjoy happy, safe and stress-free computing!