The past week has flown by as the mercury rises on the thermometer
Just as Jason Brooks of EWeek says in the article, Seven Client OSes That Could Replace Windows, that “Microsoft’s Windows is the undisputed king of the desktop, and, for a long time now, it’s seemed as though Windows would reign forever more. However, with customer uptake of Vista still limp—even with the magical Service Pack 1 milestone months behind us—it’s time to ask if any of Windows’ client OSes has what it takes to capture a bigger chunk of the mainstream desktop. Here are some of the contenders.”
Limp? I guess that he missed the company’s annual report announcement which noted that Windows Vista “has sold over 180 million licenses since launch” and the note from Bill Veghte with an update on the Windows Roadmap which noted the improvements in Vista SP1. [added link to annual report and noted on SP1]
And of the seven OS choices they made, assuming he’s referring to future releases, Brooks fails to include/ mention Windows 7, Windows Mobile (or embedded for that matter) or even the venerable $12 Apple II-based PC: as Engadget says “the $12 PC currently being developed at MIT will probably hit its price target. The project, being spearheaded by Derek Lomas and Jesse Austin-Breneman, is centered around cheap Apple II-based machines currently on sale in India and other developing nations that plug into televisions, and the goal is to update the systems with more memory, web access through cellphone tethering and actual storage.”
On to the latest reading list – stay cool this weekend.
U.S. loses out in Lenovo’s Linux netbook push | ITworld – August 6, 2008, 10:26 AM — IDG News Service — People in most markets Lenovo serves, including Singapore, China and the U.K., will be offered the company’s new IdeaPad netbooks with either Microsoft Windows XP or a Linux OS, but users in the U.S. won’t have that option. U.S. computer buyers will only be offered Windows XP on Lenovo’s IdeaPad S10, according to Lenovo. People in the U.S. will also miss out on the IdeaPad S9, which has a smaller, 8.9-inch screen, and will be offered in most other countries. Models slated for the U.S. will have 10.2-inch screens.
CrunchGear » Archive » Gary Krakow is off his f’ing rocker, tells Jobs what to do to make the iPhone better — Peter Ha (June 5th, 2008) says that “Krakow thinks Apple needs to “bite the bullet” and hook up with Windows Mobile or RIM for corporate e-mail support. This is a f*cking joke, right? Is he serious? Are his glasses upside down?”
Review: REDFLY Mobile Companion – WMExperts‘ review of the Redfly Mobile Companion. “First, a refresher: what is the Redfly? Like the maligned Foleo, the Redfy is called a “mobile companion,” which is shorthand for “intended to be used with a smartphone.” Unlike the Foleo, however, the Redfly is “dumber” yet therefore a smarter concept. What the Redfly does is connect to your Windows Mobile phone over USB or Bluetooth and “trick” it into believe it has a large, 800×480 screen and a near full-sized keyboard instead of a tiny 320×240 screen and a chicklet keyboard. So the Redfly itself stores no data and has no processing power, it all stays on the smartphone.”
And here is a link to the video demo of the Redfly with Windows Mobile Standard. “Since we told you that there was expanded compatibility, we figured we’d show you how it works with non-touchscreen devices. Short version: pretty darn well, but there are a few quibbles here and there.”
Engineering Windows 7 – “Welcome to our first post on a new blog from Microsoft—the Engineering Windows 7 blog, or E7 for short. E7 is hosted by the two senior engineering managers for the Windows 7 product, Jon DeVaan and Steven Sinofsky. Jon and Steven, along with members of the engineering team will post, comment, and participate in this blog. “Beginning with this post together we are going to start looking forward towards the “Windows 7” project. We know there are tons of questions about the specifics of the project and strong desire to know what’s in store for the next major release of Windows. Believe us, we are just as excited to start talking about the release. Over the past 18 months since Windows Vista’s broad availability, the team has been hard at work creating the next Windows product.”
Heroes: George Takei’s Heroes Power Tells Him to Buy Apple Stock — “Heroes Season 2 was mostly garbage. So I was kind of glad the writer’s strike gave them the chance to reboot and blow past the rest of the season, thereby preserving my final, dangly shreds of interest (though I worry about this season’s rumored multi-verse). Anyways! One deleted scene reveals Hiro’s dad’s (George Takei) power: “He’s a supercomputer, but even faster (how delightfully racially stereotyped), which makes him really good at predicting the future, and of course, stock trading. Guess whose stock his superpower picks for the win? (I won’t spoil how this revelation comes to him.)”
Olympic Fail: Blue Screen of Death Strikes Bird’s Nest During Opening Ceremonies Torch Lighting — “Well, this is just perfect. At the exact moment Li Ning was rounding the lip of the Bird’s Nest during the amazing torch-lighting climax, someone snapped this photo of our good friend the BSOD nestled among the Nest’s steel twigs. Perhaps an Opening Ceremonies IT dude spit out his coffee on the machines in the server room when Li took to the sky? Another question is what a projection screen is doing inside the Nest at that location, but I think the better question is what wasn’t going on inside the Nest’s roof—did you see that thing during the ceremonies?”
Steve Jobs: 60 million iPhone apps downloaded, confirms kill switch – Engadget’s Thomas Ricker posted Aug 11th 2008 that “Steve Jobs, presumably speaking from a hyperbaric chamber where he’s being nourished with an infusion of liquefied developers-souls before his next public appearance, had a few interesting tidbits about the AppStore for the Wall Street Journal this morning. Namely, users have downloaded some 60 million programs for the iPhone representing sales of about $30 million since the launch last month — a 30/70 revenue split between Apple and developers, respectively. “The thing’s going to crest a half billion soon,” Jobs added, “I’ve never seen anything like this in my career for software.”
Also see “Apple Can Remotely Disable Apps Installed on Your iPhone” — “By now, we’re well aware that Apple can make apps vanish without a trace (or explanation) from the App Store. But Jonathan Zdziarsi, the author of iPhone Forensics, says that Apple can actually remotely disable apps installed on your iPhone. Apparently, there’s a blacklist URL in the iPhone’s OS that he says “suggests that the iPhone calls home once in a while to find out what applications it should turn off.”
Microsoft (finally) speaks out on ‘Fiji’ | All about Microsoft | ZDNet.com – “It only took two-plus years, but Microsoft finally issued on August 8 its official comment about Fiji, aka “Windows Media Center TV Pack.”
Alarmed about Vista security? Black Hat researcher Alexander Sotirov speaks out (Ed Bott’s Microsoft Report) – Alarmed about Vista security? Black Hat researcher Alexander Sotirov speaks out.
The Naked CIO: Why boards get IT spend so wrong – Management – Published: 11 August 2008 16:52 BST “Sound infrastructure projects often fail to win board backing because of flaky ROI demands. But come up with a hare-brained scheme and boards fall over themselves, says the Naked CIO.”
Vista PCs: These Prices Are Insane! (Microsoft Watch) — “Nearly half of retail Windows PCs now pack 3GB of RAM. Manufacturers are bulking up features as average selling prices stabilize. Next trend: 64-bit Vista and 4GB RAM. Editor’s Note: This is a companion to another post at Apple Watch telling a different story from the same NPD data. Please read that piece, too, and read how Mac average selling prices are at least twice those of Windows computers.]
Xbox 360’s new Dashboard game install demoed on video – Engadget has “the first look we’ve had at a feature we’re sort of stoked on: the ability to install games to the internal hard drive from DVD. From the looks of things, it’s an extremely simple process to get the data moved over (despite the long waits for multiple GB files being copied), though it looks like you’ll still need the DVD on hand to actually play the game. Don’t believe a word we’re saying? Take a look at the video after the break and see for yourself!” [Via Xbox-Scene News]
Pew Internet: Search Engine Use — “The percentage of internet users who use search engines on a typical day has been steadily rising from about one-third of all users in 2002, to a new high of just under one-half (49%). With this increase, the number of those using a search engine on a typical day is pulling ever closer to the 60% of internet users who use email, arguably the Internet’s all-time killer app, on a typical day.” (thanks, via ValleyWag)
Apple’s secret to selling iPhones: Windows Mobile – After a rocky iPhone 3G launch, Apple’s store operations have returned to a model of efficiency. One of Steve Jobs’s secrets: roving sales clerks who use mobile devices to ring up orders anywhere in the store, not just at the cash register. Ah, but which devices? Motorola MC75 handhelds running Microsoft’s Windows Mobile operating system.
Google: The Downside of Relying on Google for Everything – Gizmodo says “Oh, Google is just so great! They have the best free email, calendar, chat, photo and document sharing services, so why not use them all? Well, here’s why: they can lock you out of your entire account without any explanation or any way to get it back, pretty much erasing your online existence. It happened to Nick Saber.” Ouch.
Inside a 60 gig Xbox 360: The Official Site of Benjamin J Heckendorn – Ben Heck provides his internal analysis of the new 60GB version of the Xbox 360.
Your Essential Emergency Kit – Kiplinger.com – These nine steps will protect your family and finances against disaster, whether natural or personal. By Erin Burt, July 31, 2008 “Stuff happens. And it often happens when you least expect it. With storm season in full swing and the economy looking iffy, now is a good time to ask yourself how prepared you are against disasters, both personal and communal. Here are nine essential things to do to safeguard yourself against life’s unpleasant surprises.”
Buying a Refurbished Computer (Dell, Apple, eBay, General Motors, Ford) at SmartMoney.com, By Erin Geismar, July 30, 2008 – “OVER THE YEARS, computers have evolved from a luxury to a necessity. So while the thought of spending your hard-earned money on a new computer might be painful, it’s not as painful as the thought of going without. “Of course, buying anything refurbished — especially a computer containing so many fragile moving parts — should be reason for concern. After all, you can’t kick the tires like you would a used car. There are ways to protect yourself, however. Here’s how to make sure the refurbished computer you buy doesn’t turn out to be a lemon…”
Apple dominates the retail music market in 2008 1H (John Paczkowski, AllThingsD) – According to a survey by market research company NPD, Apple dominated the retail music market in the first half of 2008, selling more music from January to June of this year than any of its rivals–including those selling both CDs and a-la-carte digital music downloads. NPD’s top five U.S. music retailers: iTunes Wal-Mart (Wal-Mart, Walmart.com, Walmart Music Downloads) Best Buy (Best Buy, Bestbuy.com, Best Buy Digital Music Store) Amazon
Microsoft To Counter Open Source With ‘Basic’ Software Line (Informationweek) – The software vendor plans to develop versions of its products with “basic functionality” to be sold at lower prices than its standard offerings. By Paul McDougall InformationWeek August 5, 2008 04:36 PM
Microsoft’s Blind Taste Test for Vista Leaves Some Bitter – NYTimes.com – By DAN MITCHELL, August 4, 2008 SAN FRANCISCO — Deserved or not, the Windows Vista operating system from Microsoft gets a bad rap. But the company’s recent effort to repair Vista’s reputation did not win any rave reviews either.
Lightning Review: D-Link DSM-210 Wireless Internet Photo Frame – Gizmodo says of the new D-Link 10-inch photo frame, “which contains Wi-Fi to download and display pics from your Flickr, MobileMe, MSN, Picasa, webshots, Facebook, and various other photo sharing accounts. There’s also RSS news display, 1GB on-board memory and a USB port for external photos. The Price: $240 The Verdict: Works mostly as advertised, but at a price of $240, we expect a bit more polish to the unit. You can also stream photos from various online photo sharing networks, which works pretty well over its 802.11g connection or its 10/100 Ethernet port (you really want to use the Wi-Fi to make this truly wireless, but seeing as there’s a mandatory AC adapter, that’s pretty much an impossibility anyway).
Lego Robot Sends Pictures From Space: Lego Robot Sends Pictures from Space, Wishes It Had Lasers to Annihilate Us All – “Last Tuesday, a group of professors, students and robotics hobbyists launched the H.A.L.E. (High Altitude Lego Extravaganza): seven Lego Mindstorms robots attached to a weather balloon, which exploded at 30km over the Earth’s surface. Each of the robots parachuted back successfully, but not without taking the obligatory photographs of the ascent and descent.” By Jesus Diaz, Aug 1, 2008
Ars Technica Guide to Virtualization: Part I (arstechnica) – (A free PDF of this guide is available to non-subscribers via the Enterprise IT Guide, presented by Ars Technica and Intel. Check it out for this and other free whitepapers.) Jon Stokes on Ars Technica says (August 03, 2008) “Virtualization implementations are so widespread that some are even popular in the consumer market, and some (the really popular ones) even involve gaming. Anyone who uses an emulator like MAME uses virtualization, as does anyone who uses either the Xbox 360 or the Playstation 3. From the server closet to the living room, virtualization is subtly, but radically, changing the relationship between software applications and hardware. “In the present article I’ll take a close look at virtualization—what it is, what it does, and how it does what it does.”
Steve Jobs on MobileMe: the full e-mail – By Jacqui Cheng | Published: August 05, 2008 – 01:52PM CT Painting by Nitrozac at Joy of Tech Ever since our report last night on an internal e-mail sent by Steve Jobs about the botched launch of MobileMe, we have received an outpouring of requests for the full text of the e-mail. Although we originally weren’t comfortable publishing the entire thing, it is now slowly becoming available in its full form across the Internet. Because of this, we made an editorial decision to give into your requests and publish the text for your reading pleasure. Here it is.
Calif. Teen Is Olympic Medal Hopeful : NPR – What are you afraid of? As Rob Schmitz reports for KQED on NPR in his article on All Things Considered, “Calif. Teen Is Olympic Medal Hopeful, it turns out that “one of the the best U.S. prospects for a gold medal in diving is 15-year-old Haley Ishimatsu.” Ishimatsu has mastered some of the most difficult dives off of the 10 metre high board. And she’s afraid of heights.”
Japan to start carbon trading in October (Carbon News and Info) — 30 July 2008) “The Japanese government will start a trial emissions trading scheme in October as part of a multi-faceted climate change action plan approved by Cabinet. No details of the scheme will be released until September, one the eve of its introduction, suggesting the trial will be a modest one to start with and may not be far reaching across the economy. Voluntary and efficiency measures have been in favour up until now and the action plan outlines a wide range of such initiatives, including improving home water heating and air conditioner efficiency by 50 per cent by 2030, halving the cost of solar power within five years and looking at a shift to daylight saving time in summer.”
Polls: Are You Fighting The War On High-Fructose Corn Syrup? – consumerist says that “Label-conscious consumers are skipping over high-fructose corn syrup in favor of products sweetened with natural alternatives like cane sugar, honey, and fruit juice. Finding HFCS-free items takes work, but the Corn Refiners Association worries that consumers are increasingly up to the challenge. They recently launched a “major marketing campaign” to defend their chemical concoction. Are you paying any attention to the sweet brouhaha?”
Related is the story on the Grocery Shrink Ray: 15 Victims Of The Grocery Shrink Ray – consumerist says that “The Grocery Shrink Ray continues its miniature spree across the supermarket aisles of America. Here’s 14 more victims that have surfaced in the past week, as spotted by our watchful bands of deputized Consumerist reader-investigators…”
The call of the time (l’express, Mauritius) – In Mauritius, the “Government will introduce summer time on 26th October after the Time Bill was voted in Parliament last Tuesday. A decision that irked a few MPs – all for the wrong reasons; let’s have a look at the real issues.”
Number Stations – Spy Communications – Shortwave Radio Messages – Secrets in the Static – Esquire reports that “Around the world, a group of people are broadcasting encoded numbers to persons unknown. The question is why? How a small group of shortwave enthusiasts is trying to unravel the secrets of global espionage.” By Julianne Pepitone, July 31, 2008
Digital Cameras: JD Power Announces the Best Cameras of 2008 – “JD Power and Associates just released the results of its latest camera survey, culling the responses of over 8,000 digital camera buyers between April of 2007 and March of 2008. They split the categories into DSLRs, Point and Shoots, Premium Point and Shoots, and Ultra Slims. Hit the jump to see the list of winners. DSLR: (two-way tie) -Canon EOS Digital SLR -Nikon D Series Point and shoot: -Fujifilm Finepix S Series Premium Point and Shoot: (two-way tie) -Canon PowerShot G Series -Lumix (Panasonic) DMC-TZ Series Ultra Slim: -Sony Cyber-Shot T Series”
Steampunk: Klaatu Varata Studios Produces Steampunk Creations With Back Stories — “For those of you who enjoy steampunk, story telling and handmade creations, I present to you Klaatu Varata Studios, the workshop of Arkansas artist Dillon Chandler. Check out his Solarian Ray Gun or the Geldar Light Infantry Robot, both of which come with the back story of the Kelevion Universe and the civil war which has torn it apart. If sci-fi musings aren’t your style, take a look at his Steampunk Scorpion, made from motorcycle engine parts. Several of Chandler’s works are available for sale on his Etsy page, and range from $10 for two toy-sized bombs to $2,200 for a nine-foot-tall metal bear.”
Bluetooth Two-Way Earpiece Communicators Reviewed (Verdict: Spy Movie Fun at 250 Feet Or Less) – Like many geeks, the New York Times’ David Pogue watches movies, “like the Bourne Supremacy or Mission: Impossible, and yearns for the wireless earpiece tech they use to communicate with their buddies without microphones, headsets or cellphones. He’s right, they’re cool, and recently he had the chance to review two consumer versions, the SM100 (SoundID.com, $86), and the Dragon V2 (CallPod.com, $100). The final verdict? Both are *really* just average yuppie Bluetooth earpieces like the ones you see stuck in people’s ears on the subway. The catch, however, is that with the press of a button, they become “secret”…
Switzerland: Open Source Switzerland Network Testing Tool Catches ISP Throttlers In the Act – As part of an effort to thwart future ISP infractions, á la Comcast, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has released Switzerland, an open source software tool for “testing the integrity of data communications over networks, ISPs and firewalls.” If you’ve been following Comcast for any amount of time over the past year or so, you know exactly what that means.
VIA Nano at 1.3Ghz playing 1080p. Demo video from VIA. | UMPCPortal – The Ultra Mobile Computing reference site – Chipp says that “It takes some courage for a small company like VIA to go head to head with Intel so you have to hand it to VIA for putting this video out. Apart from the fighting-talk in the first 30 seconds, it shows the 1.3Ghz Nano (I have this confirmed) against the 1.6Ghz Intel Atom (Diamondville.) in a 1080p HD video test. I recognized the video being used (Try it – Robotica) and checked it out on my Akoya/Wind. Sure enough, it doesn’t play perfectly. Not surprising as it’s about 9Mbps of 1440×1080 video. “If the Nano is doing this in CPU-alone then I’m really impressed because the 1.3Ghz Nano is perfect for 7″ UMPCs.”
Lenovo Enters the Mini-Notebook Market with the IdeaPad S10 – August 4th, 2008 by Joanna Stern Rumors of Lenovo entering the mini-notebook space end here and now. Lenovo officially announced this morning its IdeaPad S10 – a 10-inch mini-notebook running the 1.6GHz Intel Atom chipset. Do we have a MSI Wind or Eee PC 1000H killer on our hands? Quite possibly. Two configurations of the 9.8 x 7.2 x .8-1.08-inch and 2.4 pound S10 will be available in the U.S. Priced at $399, one will have 512 MB of RAM and an 80 GB hard drive. The other marked at $449.99 will have 1GB of RAM and a 160 GB hard drive. The specs seem to indicate that the system will support 2GB of RAM so we assume swapping out RAM will be easy. Initially the netbook will come preloaded with Microsoft Windows XP…”
How Cloud Computing Is Changing the World (businessweek) – A major shift in the way companies obtain software and computing capacity is under way as more companies tap into Web-based applications. Aug 4, 2008, by Rachael King.
Not many speak their mind to Gates Foundation (Seattle Times Newspaper) – The Gates Foundation says it wants to hear from its critics. But with so many in the global health world dependent on the foundation’s cash, honest feedback is hard to come by. By Sandi Doughton, Seattle Times science reporter, August 3, 2008
User Access Control in a nutshell (Security Adviser, InfoWorld) – Security Adviser – Roger A. Grimes, August 1, 2008 “User Account Control (UAC) is one of Microsoft’s new methods for attempting to protect users who are always logged on as an administrator. I’ve seen it talked about so wrongly so often, I’ve decided to write here about what it is and isn’t. This is my attempt to describe UAC as concisely and accurately as I know how, without falling into the flame trap of comparing it to Su (Substitute User) and other techniques. I’ll leave that to others.”
FCC Votes 3-2 Against Comcast – WSJ.com By FAWN JOHNSON, August 1, 2008 12:14 p.m. — The Federal Communications Commission on Friday voted 3-2 to cite Comcast Corp. for throttling Internet traffic to customers who use high-bandwidth file-sharing services. Mr. Martin had harsh words for Comcast. “Comcast was delaying subscribers’ downloads and blocking their uploads. It was doing so 24/7, regardless of the amount of congestion on the network or how small the file might be,” Mr. Martin said. “Even worse, Comcast was hiding that fact by making affected users think there was a problem with their Internet connection or the application. Today, the commission tells Comcast to stop.”