America Online made the final version of AOL 8.0 public on Wednesday afternoon, six days before the official scheduled release of the software. The first people to hear that the software had been completed: AOL's beta testers.
In a dramatic e-mail with the subject "We have reached another Beta milestone!," AOL told its testers that the software had been declared GM, or "gold master." The message continued, "Your efforts and feedback have paid off immensely during our feature testing the last few months, and today we have refreshed Keyword: Upgrade! Be sure tell your friends and family to go to Keyword Upgrade to download the America Online 8.0 software."
Microsoft released the second beta of "Talisker," the latest version of Windows CE, Monday. Talisker Beta 2 will be the final test release before the final version of the software is issued at the end of the year.
Available as free download or for the cost of shipping a CD, Talisker is Microsoft's first open beta of an embedded operating system. The downloadable image is in the form of an emulator, allowing developers to more easily begin working on the new OS without having to first purchase additional hardware, and runs on Windows 2000 or Windows XP.
Internet appliances have been facing a lot of criticism lately, and for good reason. Sales of most have been slow, and integration with users' existing home networks and ISP accounts has been poor. The InstantAOL TouchPad from Gateway offers the average home user the best option for adding another Internt access point in the house.
The device runs a Linux-based version of AOL, using the Netscape Gecko engine as the internal browser - a feature which is speculated to be in the works for AOL's next desktop client. The TouchPad is the first product product from AOL to use Gecko, with a similar PlayStation 2 client expected later this year.
Many people have been considering a wireless ISP, and one of the first solutions for PocketPC users on the run is the OmniSky service for the Hewlett-Packard Jornada. Since we began our review, OmniSky has also introduced a more expensive service for the Compaq iPaq. Read on as BetaNews takes a look at wireless Net for the PDA, and stay tuned for more information on the new iPaq offering.
OmniSky for the Jornada is powered by a wireless modem from Novatel Wireless, the same company that manufactures the modems for OmniSky's
Palm V and Handspring services. Installing the device is fairly straightforward, although slightly awkward because you must first remove screws on the back of your Jornada to attach a bracket that supports the modem. Once you've done that, the modem slides on easily and stays secure.
Online privacy advocates will be ecstatic when they take a look at the first implementation of P3P, the Platform for Privacy Preferences, in Microsoft's Internet Explorer 6. P3P technology will allow users to set their privacy preferences in the browser and then
let the browser take care of managing whether sites with questionable policies have access to set cookies and the like. But the new restrictions may prove to be more trouble than expected, as P3P can block third-party cookies and result in broken ad banners.
P3P is a new industry standard that enables companies to express their privacy practices in specially formatted tags embedded in their Web sites. P3P is officially an initiative of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), an industry group that approves standards like HTML. Ideally, sites will encode their privacy policies in P3P and the browser will alert the user to practices that conflict from what the user has specified.
OmniSky has invited members of its OmniSky Advisors group to beta test OmniSky 3.0, which will hit beta in June. The beta test is expected to last about two months while advisors provide feedback and bug reports about the new software. OmniSky provides wireless Internet access for a number of handheld devices, including the Palm V, Handspring Visor, and Compaq iPAQ.
OmniSky 3.0's new features will include file attachment management and IMAP e-mail support. The invitation also mentions new "location-based services" which may be to compete with a feature of Palm.Net that allows users to get local information such as weather without having to enter their city or ZIP
America Online is currently testing internal alphas of two new software programs for Palm OS; AOL for Palm 3.0 and AOL Express 1.0. AOL for Palm 3.0 is the next version of the AOL for Palm client, and AOL Express is a new piece of software for Palm VII to allow wireless access to some of AOL's services.
AOL 3.0 for the Palm introduces many new AOL features to the Palm platform. For the first time, users can connect via a TCP/IP connection using another ISP or the OmniSky wireless Internet service. AOL users will also be able to
sync up their AOL mail on their handhelds allowing access to read and compose messages without a modem. As with AOL 2.0 for the Palm, users will be able to read their e-mail, send instant messages, and view their buddy
list while connected. Also, if Web Clipping software is installed, the members will be able to access MyAOL content.
Microsoft's MSN has partnered with Re-route.com, Inc. to provide one free month of Re-route's "Change of Address" service to new MSN members. By filling out a short form on Re-route's Web site, new MSN members can have
e-mails sent to their old e-mail address, including America Online, forwarded along to their new MSN e-mail address. In addition, Re-route will send an e-mail reminder to those who e-mail the old address letting them know that the recipient's e-mail address has changed.
Re-route.com's President and CEO Cloyd Laporte said in a statement, "Changing e-mail addresses is difficult, and a major reason Internet users
hesitate to change ISPs. We solve this problem by providing both e-mail forwarding service and change of address notification. " He continued, "By enabling Internet users to choose the ISP that best meets their needs, we
believe the Re-route service will change the competitive landscape in the ISP industry. "
Looking for a way to stay in touch on the go? AOL Mobile Communicator might be the easiest, and most affordable solution for you. The Mobile Communicator is one of the newer additions to the AOL’s AOL Anywhere initiative. Based on the familiar BlackBerry design from Research in Motion (RIM), the AOL Mobile Communicator is a smartly designed pager-sized device for sending and receiving your AOL e-mail and instant messages. This thing will turn heads, even among the crowd that would normally say something like, "You still use AOL?" (you know who you are).
AOL users will have no problem learning how to use the Mobile Communicator. RIM has received kudos for making its BlackBerry amazingly easy to navigate, and this certainly continues with the Mobile Communicator. One of my favorite features is the thumb-wheel, used to scroll through e-mails and menus, and also pressed to make selections. I quickly adjusted to the small-but-manageable keyboard -- you can get typing fairly quickly with your thumbs. One feature you’ll really appreciate is that the buddy list on your Mobile Communicator is automatically synced with the one on your AOL account, so there’s no need to have to add everyone on to it when you first get the device.
ICANN, the independent self-regulatory body charged with maintaining the domain name system, is holding its first ever At Large elections October 1-10. Registered At Large members will be electing five representatives, one from each geographical region, to the ICANN Board of Directors. ICANN faces several controversial issues in the next year, including the implementation of new generic top-level domains like .web and .biz.
For North America, the candidates are: Karl Auerbach, Lyman Chapin, Donald Langenberg, Lawrence Lessig, Harris Miller, Barbara Simons, and Emerson Tiller. Candidates were nominated by the At Large members and an ICANN Nominating Committee between May and late August. Information on all of the nominees can be found at http://members.icann.org/nominees.html.
America Online released a new build of its 6.0 Beta today, version 4097.45a.
This build fixes many of the previous problems with the 6.0 Beta, including
connectivity issues, problems with the new HTML mail feature, incompatibilities
with Cyrix and AMD processors, and Address Book issues. AOL 6.0 is the next
generation AOL client, improving on AOL 5.0, which offered few additional features
over the previous version. Also in the latest build, the Welcome screen has
been redesigned removing Britney Spears, whom AOL's beta testers have been complaining
about in message boards for weeks.
Technology stocks were mixed Monday with Nasdaq issues falling overall, erasing Friday’s gains. Nasdaq issue JDS Uniphase plummeted 13 7/16 after it agreed to acquire SDL for $41 billion in stock. In contrast, SDL rose 30 9/16 to 325 7/8. The Nasdaq closed under 4000 at 3980.29, down 42.91. The Dow gained 10.60 closing at 10646.58 mostly due to strength from Alcoa, the first Dow stock to announce its quarterly earnings which were better than expected.
America Online is currently beta testing several new versions of AOL Anywhere software for Palm OS devices. They are: AOL Mail VII, a client for AOL users to read their e-mail on the Palm VII wirelessly; AIM 1.0 for Palm OS, an AOL Instant Messenger client for Palm devices; and AOL 2.0 for Palm OS, the generic dialup client for Palm users. These betas are currently only available to AOL members at Keyword: Palm Beta.
AOL Mail VII 1.0 beta is for use with Palm VII or Palm V/Vx handheld computers equipped with OmniSky wireless modems. The client currently offers e-mail only, and runs with the Web Clipping application. Beta performance was spotty, however, with periods of several hours where the service was unavailable while all other aspects of OmniSky were working normally. As a backup, you can always access the regular AOL Mail web site via ProxiWeb if you’re an OmniSky user.
The makers of the Odigo Messenger service, which has been repeatedly blocked by America Online for interoperating with AOL Instant Messenger, announced today that they would continue to fight the war toward interoperability. AOL fired the first volley blocking Odigo for the first time June 10th. Since then, Odigo has been blocked three more times with fixes available within hours of each block.
"Odigo is committed to providing Internet users interoperability," said Avner Ronen, Odigo VP of Strategic Development. "We have received tremendous feedback from users, partners and other players in the IM community, all supporting our efforts to provide IM accessibility."
America Online released AOL 6.0 Beta, code named K2, to testers today. The newest AOL beta is available at Keyword: Beta for registered AOL beta testers. New features include a new graphical look and feel, Buddy List updates, Address Book enhancements, and updates to You've Got Pictures and My Calendar. Using the new Dial-Up Connection module, AOL 6.0 is also compatible with Windows NT and Windows 2000. Details to follow.