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Five Things You Need to Know About the New Facebook Messages

We’re sure you haven’t been standing on the sidelines waiting for this announcement, but it will inevitably impact the way you and your friends use social networking. Since a million bajillion users have already signed on to Facebook for their daily dose of social addiction, it makes sense that they’d want to start using the site for their email correspondences, too. Let’s take a look at Facebook message features and see how (and if!) they’ll change the way we chat with our friends and family.

Real Time Correspondence

Now, all the methods of contacting your Facebook friends have been lumped together. When you message your friends, you can decide whether or not you should have a friendly chat, email or message them. So many options, so very little free time at work to decide.

Chat and messages will be weaved together into one big thread. When you open a conversation with a friend, you’ll also be able to see the past chats you’ve had with her. If you send a friend who is offline a chat message, it’ll be logged in your Message for you to refer to later.

You’ll also finally be able to have large group chats in real time, so if one friend is away but your other friend is available through chat, the friend who is idle will receive the conversation you had with the other friend about Friday night’s plans. When you’re finished, you can forward the conversations to the rest of your brood, and the weekend will have been saved!

Smart and Selective Filtering

The tiered mailbox system will allow you to focus on only the most recent and important conversations of the moment. Messages with subject lines like “I need all of your phone numbers” and “HOT DANCE PARTY AT DA CLUB” will remain at the bottom, while the more important threads will stay floating. You’ll also be able to block people, though we’re not yet sure if you’ll be able to do so for people you haven’t added on Facebook.

In addition, there will also be the option to do selective delivery, which means you’ll only receive messages that follow under your own privacy settings. So, if you’re okay with corresponding with “Friends of Friends”, then they’ll be able to invite you to their awesome keggers–or whatever it is you kids do on the Facebooks these days. Email

Your Facebook email address will correspond with the profile username you chose way back when. The service should prove easier to use for those who rely on the site as their main form of communication, and it’ll work with traditional email systems–that is to say, you’ll be able to use Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail in conjunction. But of course, any message you send from your Facebook email address will look and feel like the standard Facebook layout.

Perhaps the biggest kicker about Facebook email is the fact that subject lines have been–wait for it–removed entirely. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, now instead of seeing “Hey” and “What’s Up?” and “Dude” as subject lines, you’ll just see the beginning of the conversation. Facebook claims in its FAQ that this will make sending and receiving message an easier feat, but frankly, we’re just afraid our emails will end up with an identiy crisis.

If someone does send you a message with a subject line from an ever-so-antiqued email system, it’ll appear in bold font. And if the whole idea of subject-less emails really grinds your gears, you can always turn off Facebook email from the privacy settings. 

Constant Threads

Look, the last thing I want to be reminded about is that awful conversation I had a week ago, and it’s really inconvenient that Facebook didn’t even include the option to delete individual messages from a long thread. But, I can see how this is going to be helpful for friends who don’t speak too often, or who have very detail oriented conversations that involve phone numbers, addresses and the like. Just, uh, reserve the drama for text messaging.

The “Other” Folder

The “Other” subfolder will ensure that messages from mailing lists and distribution groups won’t infiltrate your inbox. Whether this will be as powerful as Gmail’s spam filter is another question entirely, but at least you can still opt out of receiving annoying messages from various Facebook apps and people you don’t know.

The new Facebook Messages isn’t yet available, so you’ll have to request an invitation from Facebook.


Follow this article’s author, Florence Ion, on Twitter.


SecureMac Releases New Information About Boonana Trojan Virus

We told you about the Boonana Trojan Mac virus that was discovered by SecureMac just yesterday. SecureMac has now completed its initial analysis of the virus and has new information about it, as well as a removal tool if you believe your Mac is infected.

According to the company’s security bulletin, “The initial infection vector of the Boonana trojan is through a message on social networking sites similar to “Is this you in this video?” which includes a link to an external site. Upon clicking the link, a java applet will attempt to load in the user’s web browser. During our testing, the malicious Java applet communicated with a Command & Control server, and presented an installer window at a random time after accessing the malicious site. This installer did not indicate that it had been downloaded from the web which indicates it is avoiding the quarantine flag typically set by programs such as Safari.”

This virus is still listed as a critical security threat due to the fact that the control servers are still operational. SecureMac notes that this means that servers could be gathering information from infected computers like IP Addresses, and potentially the modification of sudoers file that would allow passwordless access to any potentially infected machines. It is thought that this trojan virus could be used for control purposes.

“In many cases, especially with botnets, the malware might not initially exhibit malicious behavior, but can become active at any time as the command and control servers are updated,” notes SecureMac in the updated bulletin.

You can read the provided by SecureMac by clicking here, and you can also keep an eye out on the SecureMac bulletin page where future updates on this virus will be posted. If you believe your Mac is infected with this virus, you can try running the removal tool found on the bulletin page or by clicking here to directly download the tool.

For more information about the virus stay tuned to Mac|Life.


Follow this article’s author, Cory Bohon on Twitter.




Skype 5.0 Debuts for Windows, But What About the Mac?

Click image to embiggen

Skype released a new version of their desktop client for Windows today. Skype 5.0 adds multiple social networking features, including the ability to integrate with Facebook, group video calling, SMS to Facebook friends, and a completely revamped user interface. But, if you’re a Mac user, there’s no need to try to update your Skype client, because you won’t find an update anywhere in sight.

Skype 5.0 also lets you instantly search through your Facebook contacts to give them a call, text message them, or even call them for free through a Skype-to-Skype connection. Skype has also revamped the call screen, giving you better controls and a distraction-free blue gradient background. Nothing can be worse than when you’re talking to someone in Skype and your Internet connection goes out, but Skype has included a new feature for automatic call recovery, which can immediately reconnect a disconnected call.

While our Windows brethren seem to be getting all of the attention right now from Skype, there’s still hope for a new Mac version.

According to a post on the Skype blog, “You may have noticed that we’ve just launched a new version of Skype for Windows, and I wanted to reassure you that our previous statement still stands: we’re working hard to deliver group video calling to the Mac as quickly as possible. But that’s not all – we intend to give our app for Mac OS X a complete overhaul, both in terms of the way it looks, and in terms of functionality.”

It looks as though we will have to do a little more waiting to get group video chats, and the other niceties in Skype 5.0.

via TechCrunch and 9to5 Mac


Follow this article’s author, Cory Bohon on Twitter.




Everything You Need to Know About the New Facebook Features

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his team of developers have just announced several more new features for the massive social networking site, but maybe you’re like us and had a problem deciphering anything from the constant blurping during Facebook’s live streaming presentation. Either way, it’s always good to go back and do a bit of a recap, and that’s why we’re here. Because whether you’re on a PC or a Mac, there’s probably someone in the room with trolling through Facebook profiles right this second.

So, what’s this about a new Groups redesign?

Now, you can separate your friends into finely organized categories, or “Groups”, as Facebook likes to call them. While this may hurt the feelings of junior high girls everywhere, it’s great for those who use Facebook as a means of interacting with their friends, their colleagues, their business associates, their gym buddies and their family, but want to be more selection about the kind of information they share with each group.

While Facebook Groups did exist before today’s big announcement, this is still a major update for the previously under-utilized feature. The new Groups will have selective information sharing just like many of Facebook’s other features, so, for example, your business associates don’t have to have access to your Mobile number. Facebook Groups will also come with the following features:

Group chat: You can now chat with multiple members of a group in Facebook chat, as well as selectively show certain groups if you’re online.

Shared notepad: For kids and business folks that often collaborate on assignments, Facebook has revived Google’s idea for the “wave” and created their own version of the shared notepad. Users can now collectively write and edit notes within a group.

Mailing list-style notifications: You know how Facebook sends you email after email of updates that someone has replied to a thread you left a comment on three weeks ago? Now, you can do this for the groups you’re in. Facebook has added a new way for users to subscribe to certain posts so that they’ll receive emails and notifications when someone else replies.

Unfortunately, you cannot currently convert one of your existing groups into this new design, which we find to be very odd. If you don’t see any new changes to your Facebook page just yet, that’s because Facebook is slowly rolling out these changes and it’ll hit, one-by-one, just like the new Twitter UI update…that yours truly still hasn’t seen the light of day yet.

What else does Facebook have in store for me?

As aforementioned, we’ve seen none of this yet, and Facebook’s employees will be working in overdrive to get this content out to you–the social networking addict–as soon as possible. A couple of other features that they have in store for us include:

The ability to completely download all of your profile information: Basically, expect a whole new open, portable Facebook that you can print out and stuff in your purse or laptop bag. That’s right–a new “Download Your Information” feature will enable users to hit a download button and extract everything off of their profile, including messages, wall posts and photos, all into one nifty, compressed .zip file.

A new way to check on connected apps: If you use Facebook applications for things like Flickr, Yelp, and Digg, you can now check and see how many sites and applications have access to your personal data through Facebook and Facebook Connect. It’s a wonderful way for users to impulsively connect with their favorite websites, but still have an idea about what these sites are actually doing with their information.

An entirely new site redesign–again: Yeah, it’s happening–again–and we’re all just going to have to deal with it one way, or another. We know that chat is going to the the left side of the screen, and that the entire site is going to look a little more like its Places page.

You might be freaking out at all of this change, but trust us, this is a good thing for you diehard Facebook users. The gigantic social networking platform is growing by the minute, and the new changes means that it’s morphing itself to fit with its user’s needs. Now all we have to do is wait for the update to finally hit and ignore the Negative Nancy Facebook status updates that will undoubtedly follow.


Follow this artlcle’s author, Florence Ion, on Twitter.


Amazon Talks Smack About iPad

You just know that there’s trouble brewing for a product when their ads stop touting its features and start pointing out the perceived faults of a competitor’s wares. If you’re looking for an example, you needn’t look any further than Amazon’s latest ad for their revamped Kindle. Instead of talking about what makes the Kindle a decent reader–features such as its new lighter weight, crisper screen fonts, increased storage and free WebKit-based browsing–they focus on the glare of the iPad’s full color screen and higher price point.

Well played Amazon. Well played.

Tell you what: When you’re bored with reading, perhaps you can amuse yourself by skipping that new, lighter Kindle across that swimming pool like a pebble. We’d join you, but we’ll be having too much fun in the shade watching movies, playing games and typing an email about what a swell vacation we’re having with our iPads.

Man, I’m really feeling sore about the fact that our tablet, which cost a lot more than your sunglasses, is so much more versitle than your one-trick pony black & white device.

Editor’s Note: Seamus don’t take kindly to attack ads.



Follow this article’s author, Seamus Bellamy on Twitter.


The Oatmeal Explains the Way We All Feel About Apps

We love The Oatmeal‘s comics. Not only do we like his style of cartooning, but we also love that his comics are so right on about life. Take this blog post for instance, entitled “This is how I feel about buying apps.”

We’ll include the last comic panel for you just for effect, but head over to the site to see the blog/comic post in it’s entirety.

Follow this article’s author, Florence Ion, on Twitter.