Monday, 31 March 2008

22hundred.net Affiliations

Hey everyone,

As you will see 22hundred.net has changed over the last week or so. I've made, what I hope you agree, are improvements to the site's design, layout and content. 22hundred has also become an affiliate of some well known and very successful companies such as Dell, Game, Amazon, Apple's iTunes, PC World and Carphone Warehouse. Please feel free to browse the products on display and purchase whatever takes your fancy. Remember all purchases are through the retailer and not through 22hundred. I'm just showing you the fantastic products that are on offer.

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Hackers Attack Human Beings!

I was disgusted to read an article on Wired.com about a group of hackers who attacked a forum being run by the Epilepsy Foundation. The attack involved displaying images, full screen, that were designed to trigger seizures in people who are photosensitive. For all the attacks that have been launched on the Internet we could at least be safe in the knowledge that the attacks were not physical. Yes they attacked our money and identity but they did not attack us physically. This attack is different. It was personal, it was physical and it was evil. If this is what the Internet is coming to then it's time that it was policed properly. Your actions online do not go without consequence in the real world and this attack is assault.

Nvidia causing majority of Vista crashes.

The Register's Tony Smith has posted an interesting piece, here, regarding the causes of Vista crashes in 2007. According to Microsoft internal mail Nvidia drivers were to blame for 28.8% of the reported Vista crashes in 2007 with Microsoft's own software accounting for 17.9% of the crashes.

Vista Crashes by Organisation, 2007

Vista Crashes by Organisation

Source: Microsoft

This is actually quite interesting to me because since I started using Vista over a year ago I've had two crashes. Both of these, one only a few days ago, were down to Nvidia drivers. It's nice to see I'm not exactly alone in this one.

Are you a geek?

A nice wee blog post by Rodney Buike:

You know you are a geek......

seankIf you can identify various cell phones by model by their unique sounds (And are visibly irritated when you CAN'T!)

Setting up the Bluetooth system to tie the GPS, Laptop, MP3 player and hands free system is a piece of cake.  Changing the tire isn't.

If you had to genuinely think twice about paying for that new gadget or paying your hydro bill.  REALLY had to think.

When your kids were born, if you considered (at least for a blink of an eye) naming the kid Bill, Steve or Jack (because of CERTAIN computer guys)

If you tried and bothered arguing with your wife about it.

If you have at least two boxes of "useful electronic stuff" you can't bear to part with and won't throw away.

If you paid to courier those boxes to your new house for your new job.

If you recommend to clients to buy new equipment but you'll get buy on slapping an old laptop together from bits and pieces.

If you seriously have considered or have had a breakfast comprised of Cookies, Soda pop and potato chips.

If you are on a one to one basis with the cashier at the local McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, Taco Bell.

If The local Pizza shop is on speed dial.

If you can insulate your basement with all the used pizza boxes.

If you can genuinely imitate either Kirk, Scotty, Bones or McCoy or "Ensign Red Shirt"

If you are dreaming to this day of "Transporter" technology or having a phaser handy to take out the driver that cut you off.

You were a member of at least ONE of the following in ANY school.   Chess Club, Dungeons and Dragons, Computer Club, A/V club, Band.

You can understand 90% of the acronyms out there.  You can't spell Mississsauga or Missisisippi.

You walk about wearing at least ONE (if not more) memory keys.

You carry at least two gadgets at any point in time.

You own your own cable testing, probing, punch down and crimping equipment.

You have at least two stickers on your laptop.

You collect "Swag" for a hobby.

If you have ever tried to impress people with an emulator on your cell phone.

If you have ever trolled Goodwill for old computer hardware.

If you've ever installed Linux from floppy disks.

If your Digital camera has Wifi.

If you've ever owned a Vectrex.

Friday, 28 March 2008

Windows Live Spaces Improved

Today Windows Live Spaces announced some improvements to it's service including:

  • You now have the ability to remove updates from specific people in the what's new area of your Spaces home page. 

At the bottom of your (signed-in) Spaces home page, you now have an “Options” link. 

clip_image002

Clicking “Options” will take you to a “What’s new Options” page where you can choose who of your Spaces friends and Messenger contacts show up on your home page.

image

  • We've added back your list descriptions for all lists when they are displayed in the narrow column
  • The font for custom lists is no longer bold by default
  • We changed the Sponsored Results module to reflect the transition of our partnership with Kanoodle
  • We've made some additional smaller changes which you won’t see but which will further improve the Spaces service

The above is quoted from the Windows Live Wire blog.

OS X cracked first

applecracked Charlie Miller is walking away from the CanSecWest Security Conference $10,000 and a Macbook Air richer after managing to hack into OS X running on the same notebook. A Sony Vaio, Fujitsu U810 and Macbook Air were up for grabs to the first person who could access the file system of the OS running on the laptop. The Sony laptop was running Ubuntu while the Fujitsu was running Windows Vista.

All three laptops survived the first day of the conference which consisted of attempting to access the file system over the network directly. On the second day the competitors were allowed to direct the organisers to view web sites and open emails which contained exploit code. Since the OS's only contained software that's installed out of the box the exploit must be either in or be accessible from the Safari browser.

I can't see this result being highlighted by two many Apple fans but it is very interesting to note that the Vista and Linux both survived two days of the competition and what is supposed to be the most secure OS fell early and quickly. Perhaps it's time Mac users started taking security seriously.

Apple breaks Apple EULA

Ed Bott pointed out on his blog today that Apple is actually breaking it's own EULA when it distributed Safari through it's Software Update tool to Windows users:

Apple tries to foist Safari browser onto Windows users using deceptive tactics. But someone forgot to read the license agreement first.

apple_safari_license_oops

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Microsoft Office for iPhone?

Silicon Alley Insider is reporting that Microsoft are currently looking at the iPhone SDK and deciding what to build. The likeliest application suite to be built is Microsoft Office and in my opinion a version of the Windows Live suite is just as likely and this option would put Microsoft into direct competition with Google on the platform.

Microsoft is checking out the new iPhone software developers kit and is deciding what, if anything, they want to build for it, exec Tom Gibbons tells Fortune. One obvious possibility: A mobile version of Office, which Microsoft (MSFT) already offers for devices running its Windows Mobile operating system.

And unlike Office for Macs, the iPhone version might be a leader. Word and Excel for Apple's (AAPL) Macs have always trailed the Windows editions in features and usefulness. But because the iPhone's hardware and operating system are miles ahead of any phone Microsoft offers, Office for the iPhone could conceivably become the model for future Windows Mobile editions. Imagine that.

No UK Access to South Park

spnoukAfter happily reading that the South Park Studios site was officially streaming any episode from the 12 seasons I headed straight over to enjoy a full day of South Park goodness, but no. You see once again the population of the UK, who are massive South Park fans by the way, can't get access to US material. The mere idea that the Internet gives everyone around the world access to content is still a total myth.

Windows Live and Social Networking

Today Windows Live have announced that they are now working with social networks such as Facebook.com, Bebo.com and LinkedIn.com.

Earlier this month at MIX08, the Windows Live platform team announced a number of new and improved APIs and tools to help the developer community continue to push the envelope and deliver innovative customer experiences. We outlined the priorities for the Windows Live platform, including our intent to simplify data portability while keeping users, and their data, safe and secure.  We announced the beta release of the Windows Live Contacts API, which web developers can use in production to enable their customers to transfer and share their Windows Live Contacts in a safe and secure way. Simply stated, our efforts aim to put users at the center of their online experience.

Today I’m pleased to announce that Microsoft has partnered with some of the world’s top social networks on contact data portability. Starting today, we will be working with Facebook, Bebo, Hi5, Tagged and LinkedIn to exchange functionally-similar Contacts APIs, allowing us to create a safe, secure two-way street for users to move their relationships between our respective services. Along with these collaborations, Microsoft is introducing a new website at www.invite2messenger.net that people can visit to invite their friends from our partner social networks to join their Windows Live Messenger contact list.

Our commitment to data portability

To tackle the issue of contact data portability it is important to reconcile the larger issue of data ownership.  Who owns the data, like email addresses in a Windows Live Hotmail address book?  We firmly believe that we are simply stewards of customers’ data and that customers should be able to choose how they control and share their data. We think customers should be able to share their data in the most safe and secure way possible, but historically this openness has been achieved largely through a mechanism called “screen-scraping,” which unduly puts customers at risk for phishing attacks, identity fraud, and spam. Now with the Windows Live Contacts API, we have provided an alternative to “screen-scraping” that is equally open but unequivocally safer and more secure for customers.  

Strong Partners

The collaborations with Facebook, Bebo, Hi5, LinkedIn and Tagged will make it easier, safer, and more secure for people to have access to their contacts and relationships from more places on the web. These networks will be adopting the Windows Live Contacts API instead of “screen-scraping.”  Starting today, you can visit www.facebook.com and www.bebo.com to find your friends using the Windows Live Contacts API.  Hi5, Tagged and LinkedIn will be live in the coming months.

With these collaborations and the new website at www.invite2messenger.net that lets people invite their social network friends to join their Windows Live Messenger contact list, we’ve essentially now created a two-way street for people to share their information.

In completing this two-way street, both Windows Live and our partners have paid special attention to relationship context and privacy management in order to create the best possible user experience.  We understand that just because people have a friend relationship with a contact on one social network, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they want that same relationship on another network. To preserve the context of the relationship, we are requiring that relationships be re-established in each experience with permission from the friend or contact, rather than automatically storing the data.

We encourage you to visit www.invite2messenger.net to see these ideas in action, and to invite your Facebook, Bebo, Hi5, LinkedIn and Tagged friends to join you on the world’s largest instant messaging network, Windows Live Messenger.

Sunday, 23 March 2008

New shots of the Meizu M8 MiniOne

Some new UI shots of the Meizu M8 MiniOne have surfaced on Gizmodo and it's starting to look very very nice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unfortunately there's no way to tell if these are authentic images but lets hope they are.

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Windows caught between a Linux and a Mac place

Paul Thurrott responds to Steven Vaughan-Nichols claims that Windows is being eaten alive by Linux and Mac.

I guess it's all in how you look at it. Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols provides the following bit of time killer over on Desktop Linux, which I'm guessing is one of the lonelier Web destinations these days:

For the first time in ages, the sale of new PCs with Windows as a percentage of the PC market is declining sharply. The new winner is the Mac, but, while no one does a good job of tracking the still-new, pre-installed Linux desktop market, it's also clear that Linux is finally making impressive inroads into Windows' once unchallenged market share.

I see two strong trends here. On the high end, people are buying Macs instead of Windows PC. On the low end, Linux is eating Windows alive.

Windows finds itself being confined to the middle ground.

As proof, he cites the US-only, retail-only NPD numbers that made the rounds this week on all the Mac fanatic sites, and "empirical evidence makes it clear that Linux desktops are moving into customers' hands at a quick pace." I feel that neither of these is particularly relevant from a wider trend perspective, but I do like the concept of Windows being "caught between Mac and Linux." So much, in fact, that I graphed it with Excel, using actual, real-world market share figures from calendar year 2007. And when you do this, here's what you get, ladies and gentlemen. I present: Windows, caught between Mac and Linux:

Chicken Little, your time has come.

Another Apple Inaccuracy

Another Vista sucks ad is coming and this time Gizmodo is pointing out that Apple are playing with the facts:

You'll probably be seeing Apple's newest "Vista Sucks, OS X Rules Your Face" ad, starring hilarious John Hodgman and perpetually besmirked Justin Long, on Giz any day now. Basically, the banner keeps pulling up bad Vista quotes as Hodgman hammers the emergency banner refresh, but neither of them are from actual reviews of Vista—even though that's what Hodgman calls them.

CNET's blurb about Vista being one of tech's "biggest blunders" is actually from an op-ed that Microsoft should dump the OS entirely, while the PC Mag snippet is the title of a column from January that proffers ways for Microsoft to start-over.

It's not a mind-blowing factual error to say the quotes are from reviews, or even that disingenuous—attack ads usually involve a roll in the mud—but it's worth pointing out there's a difference between a position and an actual review. Not to say that the spots aren't amusing—John Hodgman is a riot. Oh, and we're certain its debut the same week as Vista SP1's is a total coinky-dink.

If Microsoft were playing the same games as Apple there would be outcry against them but in the case of Apple everyone still loves them and you daren't say a bad thing about them. It's wrong to love anything this much let alone a corporation who only really care about making money.

What's happening at Apple?

There's been a lot of talk this week over Apple's decision to push Safari to Windows users through their software update mechanism. Now personally I've had Safari installed on Windows for quite some time and I have it on my Macbook but I use it on neither. On the Macbook I tried using it and ended up installing Firefox. On Windows I much prefer IE7.

If this was simply a case of Apple rolling out yet another Windows browser then that would be bad enough but there's a larger issue starting to immerge with regards to Apple. Some of their recent actions are showing a lack of respect for their customer base. Mozilla CEO John Lilly responds to the Safari rollout here:

What Apple is doing now with their Apple Software Update on Windows is wrong. It undermines the trust relationship great companies have with their customers, and that’s bad — not just for Apple, but for the security of the whole Web.

Keeping software up to date is hard — hard for consumers to understand what patches are for, how to make sure they’re up to date.

It’s also critically, crucially important for the security of end users and for the security of the Web at large that people stay current. If people don’t update software regularly, it is impossible for them to remain safe; good software developers are creating improvements constantly. That’s why Mozilla spends so much time making sure our own Automatic Update Service works, and why we spend so much time agonizing over the user interface for the updates. We look at the data every time we do an update; we obsess about what we call “uptake rates” — the percentage of Firefox users who are on the most current version of the browser a day or a week or a month after release. As a result, Firefox users are incredibly up to date, and adopt very quickly.

There’s an implicit trust relationship between software makers and customers in this regard: as a software maker we promise to do our very best to keep users safe and will provide the quickest updates possible, with absolutely no other agenda. And when the user trusts the software maker, they’ll generally go ahead and install the patch, keeping themselves and everyone else safe.

Anyone who uses iTunes on Windows has Apple Software Update installed on their machines, which does just what I’ve described above: it checks for new patches available for Apple-produced software on your Windows machine, alerts the user to the availability, and allows updates to be installed. That’s great — wonderful, in fact. Makes everyone more likely to have current, patched versions of Apple’s software, and makes everyone safer.

The problem here is that it lists Safari for getting an update — and has the “Install” box checked by default — even if you haven’t ever installed Safari on your PC.

That’s a problem because of the dynamic I described above — by and large, all software makers are trying to get users to trust us on updates, and so the likely behavior here is for users to just click “Install 2 items,” which means that they’ve now installed a completely new piece of software, quite possibly completely unintentionally. Apple has made it incredibly easy — the default, even — for users to install ride along software that they didn’t ask for, and maybe didn’t want. This is wrong, and borders on malware distribution practices.

Friday, 21 March 2008

Nintendo downgraded.

KPG Securities Japan has downgraded Nintendo stock from "Hold" to "Buy" because sales in the DS and the Wii are expected to decline this year. This is probably a fair judgement. Between the weakening of the dollar and the strengthening of Sony PS3 sales we can't expect Nintendo to ramp up the same level of sales as they have in 2007.

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Microhoo's Back On

According to Slashdot it appears that the Microsoft purchase of Yahoo is back on. While the hostile takeover is still a possibility and Yahoo are still looking at the alternatives, i.e. AOL, News Corp. or Google, this is the first time Microsoft has really presented it's plans to Yahoo. Assuming the Microsoft execs have their heads screwed on they will outline a plan that involves the merging of the MSN and Windows live brands into the Yahoo brand and the eventual disappearance of the MSN brand. They will also outline the freedom that the Yahoo engineers will have to innovate and produce excellent products without Redmond dictating what they can't do due to the position of the Office and Windows divisions.

While it will be at least 2 years before we see the real benefits of this takeover the formation of a true competitor to Google should spark more innovation online. In the current marketplace Microsoft is the small and nimble competitor who can experiment with new ideas whereas Google and the lumbering giant who cannot risk gambling on ideas that would dilute their current user base. It will be interesting to see if Microsoft can use this to their advantage and build the Microsoft/Yahoo brand into a Google beater.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Microsoft Office Live and Live Small Business

Microsoft Office Live has gone, erm, live today for many users and it's an excellent product. For all those people out there who are saying that Microsoft do not get the web you are wrong. I think Microsoft now gets exactly what the web is all about in terms of keeping it's customer base happy while keeping it's revenue streams intact.

Live Office lets you create your docs in Office, which I imagine will be Live soon enough, save it through a small plugin and then access it from anywhere and share it with your colleagues. What's more you can work on it with a colleague, save versions and track changes. This is a great application for small and medium businesses and for the average home user.

Live Small Business allows a business to quickly and easily get a web presence. With simple web creation tools, reports and advertising. It also lets you track customers and employees and keep pretty good records on both. This is exactly what every business that can't afford a web developer and a large IT infrastructure needs.

I think Microsoft are starting to show their teeth in the online market. The competition from Google, and no offence to Apple but it's the only real competition Microsoft has had in the last few years, may at last be waking the giant from it's slumber. Those people who are saying that Microsoft are simply playing catchup and are copying what others have already done should remember that that's what Google did when it first arrived on the search scene and that's what Microsoft itself did when it created Windows 3.1 with the GUI interface, copied from Apple I and II. Both of them copied an idea that was already there but they did it better and they succeeded. Who's to say that's not going to happen again.

Monday, 3 March 2008

Maths Using Leopard

This is probably well known to the Mac community but i just found it and think it's pretty cool. Type 2+2 into Vista Search and you will get all the files that have similar to that in them. Type the same into Leopard Search and the first result is from calculator giving you the answer. A nice touch from Apple.

Microsoft Expand Online.....Not Really.

msonlineMicrosoft are expanding the online services being offered to businesses to include all businesses. In an announcement made today Microsoft are offering Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and Live Meeting as well as Microsoft CRM4.0. The SharePoint offering will go into direct competition with Google's new baby, Google Sites and seems to show that Microsoft is taking the online battle seriously at last.

Based on the proven, business-class software available in Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, the new services enable businesses to access e-mail, calendaring, contacts, shared workspaces, and webconferencing and videoconferencing over the Web. The new services are managed through a  single Web-based interface, designed to meet the needs of IT professionals. Through this security-enhanced interface, IT professionals can monitor the performance of the services, add and configure users, submit and track support requests, and manage users and licenses.

http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2008/mar08/03-02AllSizeBusinessesPR.mspx

While a beta version is currently only on offer to a limited number of US customers this marks a major move for the Microsoft and perhaps we're seeing the first step  in the realisation of the Software plus Services strategy that has been touted around for so long. 

Microsoft Expanding Online

According to a number of sources, including the Wall Street Journal, Microsoft are briefing corporations in preparation for the expansion of their online services. It appears as if the software giant is about to take on Google Apps directly at last. However this is a rumour we have heard many times out of Redmond, I distinctly remember looking forward to Microsoft Works Online for a while. It'll be interesting to see if we see any actual movement on this over the next couple of weeks.

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Goodbye Netscape

netscape

Just wanted to say goodbye to Netscape. They battled hard and at one point they led the innovations. I'm sorry to be saying goodbye to it.