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Expected last week, the fourth and final beta version of Firefox 3.5 (previously known as FF 3.1) has now been released by Mozilla. Based on the Gecko 1.9.1 rendering platform, the browser features:

- Improved tools for controlling your private data, including a Private Browsing Mode.
- Better performance and stability with the new TraceMonkey JavaScript engine.
- The ability to provide Location Aware Browsing using web standards for geolocation.
- Support for native JSON, and web worker threads.
- Improvements to the Gecko layout engine, including speculative parsing for faster content rendering.
- Support for new web technologies such as: HTML5 and elements, downloadable fonts and other new CSS properties, JavaScript query selectors, HTML5 offline data storage for applications, and SVG transforms.

The Firefox 3.5 beta 4 is available in 70 languages and can be downloaded from this page.

 
Category: Software
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Microsoft is trying to make it easier to sway users of Windows XP onto the latest version of its operating system. For some time now, the company has been quietly building a "Windows XP mode" that uses virtualization to allow Windows 7 to easily run applications designed for Windows XP. According to sources familiar with the product, the application compatibility mode is built on the Virtual PC technology that Microsoft acquired in 2003, when it scooped up the assets of Connectix.

Read more: Windows 7 to have an 'XP mode'
 
Category: Software
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A Monday update to Apple's Leopard operating system is causing a host of problems for users, ranging from broken Bluetooth connections and no sound to large popping noises during boot-up and dead USB ports.

The OS X 10.5.6 update is supposed to improve a number of features, including synching between the address book and the iPhone, roaming capabilities of AirPort connections on Intel-based Macs, an encryption alert that appeared in the chat window of iChat, and improvements to gaming performance.

Read more: Mac OS X 10.5.6 Update Crashing Users' Systems
 
Category: Software
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NVIDIA just released PhysX pack #2 the followup to pack one with some new PhysX goodies for you to play around with. The new toys included are Warmonger, Crazy Machines 2, Dark Basic Fluids Demo, Dark Basic PhysX Soft Body Demo, TMPGENC XPRESS 4.6.2.266 Trial and Badaboom Media Converter 1.0.

I had to look real hard to find this pack @ NVIDIA but in this release:

Read more: NVIDIA releases PhysX pack 2
 
Category: Software
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Microsoft will deliver Windows Vista Service Pack 2 (SP2) to manufacturing in April 2009, two months after it issues a final test version to users, according to a Web site that accurately predicted several Windows ship dates in 2008.

Techarp.com, a Malaysian Web site that nailed the release-to-manufacturing (RTM) dates for Vista SP1 and XP SP3 earlier this year, said that Microsoft will post a release candidate the final test version  of Vista SP2 in February 2009, finish the service pack next April and offer it to users via download from the Web at some point afterward.
The last was necessarily vague, if only because Microsoft has had trouble this year synchronizing service pack  dates with availability on Windows Update. It took six weeks last winter to get Vista SP1 in the hands of most users -- and then only after a ruckus when Microsoft initially denied access to subscribers of its for-pay developer services  and a week to issue Windows XP SP3 in the spring. XP SP3 was delayed because of a data-corrupting compatibility bug with Microsoft's own point-of-sale software.

Read more: Vista SP2 in April, says report
 

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