Insight on Network Monitor 3.2 RTM

Version 3.2 of Network Monitor is being offered as an update to v3.1, but in this regard, the utility is also nothing like the 2.x releases. Tawanda Sibanda, the lead program manager for Network Monitor indicated that Network Monitor 3.2 was produced through a consistent effort of the Netmon team that worked to integrate into the product all the feedback it had received from customers. At the same time, Netmon 3.2 delivers the inherent bug fixes as well as a necessary boost in stability. Network Monitor 3.2 is designed to support Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008.

“So What’s New in Network Monitor 3.2? Process Tracking: Now you can identify rogue applications sending network data! View all the processes on your machine generating network traffic (process name and PID). Use the conversation tree to view frames associated with each process. Capture engine re-architecture to improve capture rate in high-speed networks. Network Monitor 3.2 drops significantly fewer frames that Network Monitor 3.1,” revealed Sibanda.

At the explicit request of its users, Microsoft implemented the “Find conversations” capabilities. With version 3.2, frames can be easily isolated in the same network conversation, Sibanda explained. The new iteration of Netmon is capable of parsing over 300 protocols, with Microsoft ensuring a high degree of customization when it comes down to the parsers. In this context, Networtk Monitor 3.2 also offers improved parser management, as users are permitted to expand the default parsers to the full set.

In addition, “in the upcoming months, we plan to place all our Windows parsers on the Microsoft open-source CodePlex site and allow the community to modify and contribute parsers. This version of Network Monitor seamlessly integrates new parser packages. [Network Monitor 3.2 also delivers] Network Monitor API: Create your own applications that capture, parse and analyze network traffic! More extensive documentation of the API and NPL. Access the documentation from Help > NPL and API Documentation. IA64 builds. PCAP capture file support. ContainsBin Plug-in: Search frames for arbitrary byte sequences or strings,” Sibanda added.

Microsoft Network Monitor 3.2 RTM is available for download here.
By: Marius Oiaga

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Download Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) Beta 2 for Vista SP1 and XP SP3

The wait is over. At almost six months since the introduction of Internet Explorer Beta 1 in early March at MIX08, Microsoft unveiled the second Beta for the next iteration of its proprietary browser. In this context, the Redmond company lived up to its promise to deliver the second development milestone of IE8 by the end of this month, with the Beta 2 bits going live on August 27. According to Microsoft, Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 is available for download for 32-bit Windows XP, and both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008. The Redmond giant indicated that the browser would integrate with the latest versions of the Windows client and server platforms, including Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) and Windows Vista Service Pack 1(SP1).

"We’re excited to release IE8 Beta 2 for public download," stated Dean Hachamovitch, IE General Manager. "In addition to English, IE8 Beta 2 is available in Japanese, Chinese (Simplified), and German. Additional languages will be available soon. While Beta 1 was for developers, we think that anyone who browses or works on the web will enjoy IE8 Beta 2. We focused our work around three themes: everyday browsing (the things that real people do all the time), safety (the term most people use for what we’ve called ‘trustworthy’ in previous posts), and the platform (the focus of Beta 1, how developers around the world will build the next billion web pages and the next waves of great services)."

Since the beginning of this week Microsoft has been building up the anticipation for the delivery of IE8 Beta 2. Although the company never confirmed the August 27 deadline, the release date had been already leaked. At this point in time the Redmond giant is reportedly gearing up for a November launch of the gold bits of IE8. In this context, Beta 2 is the last development milestone before IE8's Release to Web (RTW).

IE8 Beta 2 sports a number of new features such as InPrivate Browsing, InPrivate Blocking, InPrivate Subscriptions, but also Compatibility View, Search Suggestions, SmartScreen Filter Web Slices and Accelerators.

"If you are currently using IE8 Beta 1 on Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 with Automatic Updates turned on, you will receive IE8 Beta 2 through Windows Update. Download IE8 Beta 2, use it – the browser itself, the developer tools, writing an Accelerator, marking part of your page as a Web Slice – and let us know what you think," Hachamovitch added.
Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) Beta 2 is available for download here.
By: Marius Oiaga

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Final IE8 Confirmed for November, Possibly November 1

It's right about due time for end users to start holding their breath for the final release of Internet Explorer 8. Although Microsoft has failed to confirm an official delivery deadline, the Redmond company did manage to let IE8 RTW details slip through its fingers. Now with the IE8 Beta 2 bits available for download since August 27, the IE team is wrapping up the next iteration of Internet Explorer. The gold build of Internet Explorer 8 will drop in November 2008, possibly as early as November 1.

Information related to the Beta 2 and RTW builds was leaked as early as mid-August, courtesy of Mary Jo Foley, but now Microsoft has managed to provide official confirmation for the November Release to Web date of Internet Explorer 8 final. On the official IE8 website on, the Support area offers a link to the browser's support site. The Redmond giant is offering free unlimited installation and usage assistance for Windows Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 (All Languages), according to the support page for the second beta version of IE8.

"Free unlimited installation and usage support is available for Internet Explorer 8 pre-released versions, but only for North America English customers. This support for Internet Explorer 8 pre-released versions is valid until November 1, 2008. Advanced issues are not supported. Advanced issues include, but are not limited to, problems that are associated with software and hardware development, domain connectivity, server-based technologies, Web site development, and business-critical systems," reads an excerpt from the message published on the IE8 Beta 2 Help and Support webpage. (emphasis added)

The fact that support for IE8 Beta 2 is to be cut off at the start of November is ample proof that the month will be synonymous with the drop of the final version of Internet Explorer 8. This could very well happen as early as November 1, but the fact of the matter is that there is no guarantee for such a scenario. In this context, the support cut-off date for IE8 Beta 2 does not necessarily coincide with the availability of the RTW version of Internet Explorer 8.

Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 is available for download here.
By: Marius Oiaga

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Resource Hogs: Google Chrome and IE8 Beta 2 Compared to Firefox 3.0.1

Google Browser (Google Chrome) and Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 are nothing short of resource hogs compared to Firefox 3.0.1. This is the conclusion presented by researchers from the Devil Mountain Software company, who threw the three browsers one against the other on the same "arena", a Dell OptiPlex 745 (Core 2 Duo @ 2.66GHz) with 2GB of RAM and running both Windows Vista SP1 and Windows XP SP3.

The conclusion on IE8 Beta 2 is not that flattering: "What we found was another example of unchecked Microsoft code "bloat," complete with "shirt-bursting, waistline-stretching" memory consumption and the kind of CPU-hogging thread growth normally reserved for massively parallel server farms," a representative from the Devil Mountain Software company stated.

But the fact of the matter is that Google Chrome, is even worse. "What we found was truly shocking: After re-executing our 10-site, multi-tab scenario across all 4 browsers, we discovered that it is Google Chrome, not Internet Explorer 8, that is the true memory consumption leader," the Devil Mountain Software company member indicated.

In a 10-site, multi-tab browsing scenario, IE8 Beta 2 consumed no less than 332MB of RAM, with Chrome Beta also eating a lot of system memory, namely 324MB. By contrast, Internet Explorer 7 only managed to climb as high as 250MB. In this context, it appears that the new technologies, features and capabilities built into Internet Explorer 8, as well as Google Chrome, require more resources than Firefox to perform the same tasks.

"Of course, both browsers look absolutely porcine when compared to the lean, mean Firefox 3.01 (151MB peak, 104MB average working set size). And lest we forget, IE 7 continues to hover somewhere between the fit & trim Firefox and the obesity that defines Chrome/IE 8 (209MB peak, 142MB average)," the Devil Mountain Software company researcher added.

But when it comes down to CPU utilization, both Firefox 3.0.1 and Google Chrome managed to shame IE8 Beta 2, in terms of their hunger. Google Browser took no less than 45% of the processor while Firefox 3.0.1 managed a high of 42%. IE 8 Beta 2 used just 22% of the CPU under XP SP3 and 33% under Vista SP1, while IE7 took only 13% and 24% respectively.

"Both Firefox and IE 7 spawn a relatively modest number of threads (25 and 43, respectively), a fact related to their reliance on a single process instance to handle all tabbed sessions. By contrast, IE 8 spawns potentially hundreds of threads (153 in our latest test round), and spreads them out across its various instances (in our case, 6 discrete copies of iexplore.exe)," the Devil Mountain Software company member indicated, adding that, by contrast, Chrome was managing just 48 execution threads at the apex of the test scenario.

But in the end, the fact that Firefox 3.0.1 is superior, in terms of resource usage, to Google Chrome and Internet Explorer 8 shouldn't come as a surprise. Both Microsoft and Google's browsers are still in Beta development stage, albeit IE8 is in Beta 2, with the gold version expected to drop in November 2008, and considerably slower than its predecessor.

"Chrome, like IE 8, is a browser designed with tomorrow’s hardware in mind. Its use of a multi-process tabbing model – which, according to Google, helps isolate failures and protect complex web applications (like GMail or Google Docs) – means that it will always use more memory than Firefox, IE 7 and similar, single-process browsers. How such model will hold up under heavy use, especially on today’s hardware, remains to be seen," reads the conclusion from the Devil Mountain Software company.

Google Chrome is available for download here.
Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 is available for download here.
Firefox 3.0.1 for Windows is available for download here.
Firefox 3.0.1 for Linux is available for download here.
Firefox 3.0.1 for Mac OS X is available for download here.
By: Marius Oiaga, Technology News Editor (

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Google Browser (Chrome) - the Internet Explorer Killer

If Microsoft is moving into the Cloud, Google is expanding to the Desktop and to the Windows client. The Mountain-View search giant is on the verge of making available a beta version of Google Chrome, a browser initially designed to integrate only with the Windows platform, but which is set to be tailored to additional platforms in the future. Not even out yet, Google Chrome is positioned as an Internet Explorer killer, far beyond what Microsoft's rivals Mozilla and Opera have been capable of doing with their own products.

"This is just the beginning – Google Chrome is far from done. We're releasing this beta for Windows to start the broader discussion and hear from you as quickly as possible. We're hard at work building versions for Mac and Linux too, and will continue to make it even faster and more robust," revealed Sundar Pichai, VP Product Management, and Linus Upson, engineering director.

At the time of this article the Google Chrome bits were not available for download yet. Google is attempting what representatives from the company referred to as a "fresh take on the browser," with every intention to "launch early and iterate." Anchored on the desktop and owning the vast majority of both the operating system and the browser markets, with Windows and Internet Explorer, the Redmond giant is in fact an intermediary between the end users and Google, located almost exclusively into the cloud.

Even though Google claims that Chrome will be made available "because we believe we can add value for users and, at the same time, help drive innovation on the web," the fact of the matter is that the Mountain View company is making a decisive move to reduce the relevance of Internet Explorer on the world wide web.

At the end of August 2008, Winifred Mitchell Baker, chairperson of the Mozilla Foundation and chairperson and former chief executive officer of the Mozilla Corporation, announced that "we’ve just renewed our agreement with Google for an additional three years. This agreement now ends in November of 2011 rather than November of 2008, so we have stability in income."

So in this context, Google and Mozilla are now obvious partners, on the same front against Microsoft. At the end of August 2008, all the supported editions of Internet Explorer accounted for over 70% of the browser market, according to data from Net Applications, while Firefox was close to breaking the 20% milestone. As a newcomer, Google Chrome will start from zero, but the browser is bound to get traction fast, especially with Google's resources behind it.

The Google Browser features components from Apple's WebKit and Firefox and is a fully fledged open source product. Chrome sports a new approach to the graphical user interface, with the focus on Tabs but also features such as Omnibox, an address bar with auto-completion functionality, as well as a Speed Dial, privacy mode via the "incognito" window, a new method of managing the execution and usage of web applications, and malware protection.

"Under the hood, we were able to build the foundation of a browser that runs today's complex web applications much better. By keeping each tab in an isolated "sandbox", we were able to prevent one tab from crashing another and provide improved protection from rogue sites. We improved speed and responsiveness across the board. We also built a more powerful JavaScript engine, V8, to power the next generation of web applications that aren't even possible in today's browsers," added Pichai and Upson.

Update: Google Chrome is available for download here.
By Marius Oiaga, Technology News Editor (

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