In the cyberworld, Web customization is king--just as the millions of user-centric YouTube videos and MySpace Web pages attest. It's little wonder, then, that avatars, digital representations of you, are growing in function and form.
This collection of downloadable and Web-based avatar generators ranges from the more cartoon-like engines to three-dimensional architectures where users give life to their pint-size replicates. Be sure to tune into the video and photo gallery on my adventures with avatars, with CNET News.com's Neha Tiwari, for a personal take on the highlights and lowlights of some popular avatar builders.… Read more
Yahoo has issued a critical security patch for Messenger to address zero-day exploits that take advantage of vulnerabilities in its Webcam ActiveX controls.
The exploits to instant messaging surfaced Wednesday, less than 24 hours after the vulnerabilities were first reported to Yahoo by eEye Digital Security.
People could find their systems at risk if they visit malicious Web sites or view other malicious HTML code. The attackers could then exploit security flaws in the Yahoo Webcam ActiveX control, a software package that is downloaded with Messenger.… Read more
Updates to AOL Mail are set to make the service nimbler and more innovative, with unlimited storage and built-in chatting set for the coming weeks. I like what I've seen so far. A chatting pane will appear within the screen to display contacts from Mail and AIM, which remains the world's most popular instant messaging service.
Embedded RSS feeds, attachment search capabilities, as well as POP and IMAP compatibility are also in the works. By the end of the year, AOL plans to add integration with mapping, videos, and its xDrive online storage service.
AOL Mail maintains some … Read more
Editor's note: This is Part Two of a two-part series on multinetwork IM clients. Don't worry, we haven't forgotten about all-in-one desktop chatting.
All-in-one IM clients have much to offer the instant messaging butterfly. They organize your contacts from multiple networks while enabling customizations, plug-in support, and familiar emoticons. However, desktop chatting isn't always the best solution for the jet-set crowd.
Users who work off multiple computers and tire of downloading déjà vu could opt for browser-based chat, while the handheld-dependent might prefer a sturdy third-party IM client to replace a weak, nonnative browser or the single-network IM most compatible with their device (for instance, Pocket MSN for Windows Mobile users,).… Read more
This nearly slipped by our radar last week, but in the latest build of the upcoming chat client Trillian Astra, Cerulean Studios has snuck in desktop versions of its widgets. Users can now place widgets in their Trillian buddy list or right on their desktop, similar to what you'd get with the Yahoo Widget engine, or other desktop widget tools. Users are also able to send them between the buddy list and desktop via right clicking, or they can simply drag and drop.
For now there are just five sample widgets, but assuming Cerulean Studios opens things up a bit, or goes with universal widget coding, Trillian users could get what is typically two applications in one, along with a wide array of desktop widgets.
Customizing the widgets is a little harder than it should be, as you can't just configure each one once it's on your desktop. Everything is handled through a preferences menu, although I'm assuming this will be changed as the application gets closer to release. Some sample widgets do look neat; the weather widget in particular is easy to read and fully animated. And the world-time widget shows when the sun is hitting your current location, which is totally nerd eye-candy.
Similar to other widget tools, Astra has a hot key that let users pull up all the running widgets at the same time. Pressing the Windows key and space bar accomplishes this easily, although it doesn't have nearly the same effect you get with OS X's Dashboard widget.
I wouldn't recommend you ditch your current widget engine just yet, since this is a brand-new feature on an application that's still in private alpha. I am, however, excited to see if this feature will be integrated into the forthcoming browser-free version of the app.
For more shots of the new widget runtime environment, keep reading.… Read more
The link reads as a Geocities.com URL, but spoofs a Web page advertising Yahoo 360, a social-networking service.
Phishing schemes simulate legitimate Web sites to trap users into giving up their account information. With that information harvested, security fraudsters can sell your passcodes or exploit them directly by breaking into your bank or personal account. From there, the possibilities for fraud are varied.
Pantech just announced the IM-R200, a slider phone that comes with two LCDs--one is the primary display, and the other is an OLED touch-sensitive screen that acts as the phone's keypad. In order to provide tactile feedback, the touch pad has microvibrations to let you know when a key has been pressed. The reasoning behind the virtual keypad is that the phone has separate virtual interfaces for different functions, such as for the camera or the music player. For example, when you activate the music player, the interface of the touch pad changes to a list of songs and … Read more
Yahoo Messenger is a great, free tool for keeping in touch with your friends, but what if you only want a few of your contacts to know you're available to chat? Tom Merritt has your fix with a Quick Tip about Stealth Settings in Yahoo Messenger.
The free instant-messaging client Gaim (GDK+ AOL Instant Messenger) has become popular in recent years because of its ability to connect with a wide range of IM networks (Yahoo, MSN, IRC, Jabber/Google Talk/XMPP, AIM, ICQ, Gadu-Gadu, and others) and its extensibility in the form of user-created plug-ins.
The name Gaim came about due to complaints from AOL about the name GDK+ AOL Instant Messenger. However, as AOL Instant Messenger became more popular, AOL trademarked the acronym "AIM," leading to further legal struggles with the Gaim developers. After a series of negotations, the developers agreed to change the name of the 2.0 version of Gaim to Pidgin, based on the word for simplified speech between people who do not share a common language.
The big change in Pidgin 2.0 is the new look. The interface has been redesigned, with the option to view your Buddy List in Basic or Advanced view. Important facets like plug-ins and status availability have been broken out of the Preferences dialog and into areas of their own. Plug-ins have their own dialog available from the Tools menu, and status is now set by a drop-down menu at the bottom of your buddy list.… Read more