This week's news was dominated by the woeful economy and terrorist attacks, and not even browsers were safe as new malware targeting Firefox users was reported. One positive note was that early online holiday-season shopping was robust. But there was a negative side to that as well -- the influx of e-shoppers caught some major online stores off guard and their systems couldn't handle the traffic. Meanwhile, Sun announced the release of its new RIA technology in hopes of competing in the burgeoning rich media app space.
1. Sun's JavaFX RIA technology now available: Sun entered the hot rich media app realm this week with the official release of its JavaFX technology. The release includes JavaFX Dekstop, a beta version of JavaFX Mobile, and the JavaFX Script language, meaning users can now create rich media apps using Java. The full release of JavaFX Mobile is expected in early 2009. With JavaFX, Sun is competing against the dominant Adobe Flash as well as Microsoft's Silverlight technology.
2. Firefox users targeted by rare piece of malware: BitDefender researchers have discovered new malware that identifies financial and money-transfer sites, including PayPal, and then collects passwords to those sites, but is aimed only at Firefox users.
3. Major e-stores malfunction on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Cyber Monday crowds overwhelm some large e-tailers, and Shoppers opened their wallets on Cyber Monday: If you were among the hoards of shoppers trying to transact some e-commerce on "Black Friday" or "Cyber Monday," the day after and the Monday after the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, you might already have known before the news reports were out that online crowds slammed some of the largest e-tailers, causing them to jam, get stuck loading or crash entirely. Seeming to defy paltry expectations, online shoppers spent 15 percent more on Cyber Monday this year than last, with the spending spree starting on Thanksgiving with a 6 percent increase that day over a year ago, and 19 percent more over the weekend, according to comScore. The $846 million spent online on Cyber Monday is the second-biggest for e-tail spending on record. Even so, analysts expect that overall holiday spending in November and December will be flat compared to last year.