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Showing posts from May, 2008

Windows 7 Multi-touch

Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer appeared on stage at the D: All Things Digital conference and introduced the world to Windows 7, or at least a major piece of Windows 7 functionality. The ability to manipulate Windows applications using touch is an excellent feature but is getting horrible press from people asking, "do we really want to touch our computers?" Now remember when rumours were circling about Apple releasing a touch phone and it was hailed as the greatest invention of all time, even though Microsoft had been using touch technology on it's mobile platforms long before Apple did. I am not arguing that Apple have used touch technology much more succesfully than Microsoft but MS did come up with it first. On the run up to the Macworld Keynote 2008 there was speculation that Jobs was going to announce a version of the iMac with touch technology built in. Once again the web was full of statements of the genius of Jobs and what a fantastic idea this was. Microsoft have a…

Apple Keynote Bloopers

With only 19 days to go until the Steve Jobs Keynote at WWDC I thought it would be fun to post video from YouTube covering some bloopers from past keynotes. Bill Gates, enjoy :)

Steven Sinofsky Interview and Windows 7

CNET is carrying an interview with Steven Sinofsky in which he talks about Windows 7 and the cone of silence that supposedly decended around Windows 7. For anyone interested in the full interview it can be found here. There is also a blog post from Steve to his team regarding the disclosure of information on Windows 7 which can be found here, it's an interesting read. Finally, there's a response from Paul Thurrott to the interview here and here. These posts are all worth a read espeically along with the reaction from Paul.
A few interesting points to take away from the interview are:
1) Windows 7 release is penciled in for 2010, baring that in mind we are in the very early stages of development and this may not actually be a cone of silence just the lack of a hard feature list.
2) The approach now appears to be, under-promise then over-deliver. A good strategy.
3) Windows 7 is a 'manor' release, i.e. not quite a major release but more than a minor release.Paul concludes by…

Windows Vista Shortcut Keys

Here is a list of Windows Vista Shortcut keys that are listed on the Windows Vista Blog. These are great time savers.
Display Help: F1
Copy the selected item: CTRL+C
Cut the selected item: CTRL+X
Paste the selected item: CTRL+V
Undo an action: CTRL+Z
Redo an action: CTRL+Y
Delete the selected item and move it to the Recycle Bin: DELETE
Delete the selected item without moving it to the Recycle Bin first: SHIFT+DELETE
Rename the selected item: F2
Move the cursor to the beginning of the next word:
CTRL+RIGHT ARROW
Move the cursor to the beginning of the previous word:
CTRL+LEFT ARROW
Move the cursor to the beginning of the next paragraph:
CTRL+DOWN ARROW
Move the cursor to the beginning of the previous paragraph:
CTRL+UP ARROW
Select a block of text: CTRL+SHIFT with an arrow key
Select more than one item in a window or on the desktop, or select text within a document: SHIFT with any arrow key
Select multiple individual items in a window or on the desktop: CTRL with any arrow key+SPACEBAR
Select all items in …

Are Apple Relying Too Heavily On PC Sales?

I read an article in the Wall Street Jounal outlining the importance of the iPhone to Apple. I found one paragraph in particular quite interesting:
Mace, a onetime Apple executive, parses the company’s most recent earnings report to point out that iPod unit growth has essentially ground to a halt–up only 1% from the same quarter the prior year. (Mac unit growth was 51%.) He adds that it’s risky for Apple to rely on the relatively mature PC market for such a big part of its growth. There has been a lot of talk about the move to Cloud Computing and the threat this poses to Microsoft's desktop business. I haven't heard anyone mention the dangers it poses to Apple. If future sales of Microsoft software and Operating Systems are going to be affected by Google and other online services then you have to think that the Apple environment is going to be hit just as hard if not harder and with such a reliance on Mac sales for growth Apple need another major market. With iPod sales levelli…

Does Google Not Like Microsoft?

The Wall Street Journal blogs summed up nicely why Google are looking at a search deal with Yahoo:
The enemy of my enemy is my friend: Google co-founder Larry Page thinks a Google-Yahoo deal is the best idea ever. In further news, he still hates Microsoft with an intensity hotter than a thousand burning suns.
And for those who are interested this earth shattering conclusion is drawn from this article in the Mercury News where he said:"If you put 90 percent of communications in one company, that's really a big risk, especially one (Microsoft) that has a history of doing bad stuff," ..."There are ways to structure a deal with Yahoo that are reasonable, for us and for Yahoo to remain independent," Page said. "We would support that."

Vista Hurt By User Feedback?

Well things are quite quiet on the tech news front which gives me the opportunity to look at the Windows 7 debate again. I read Ed Bott's artcle on Windows 7 here. He makes a two points regarding beta cycles and feedback that I don't agree with.[Update: After re-reading the post it appears that I misread it. I agree with what's being said in these points. Suppose that's what happens when I post after a late night]Long beta cycles make better products. Oh really? If you count the infamous “Longhorn reset,” Windows Vista had arguably the longest beta cycle in the history of software development, with tens of thousands of outside testers. And look how well that worked out. Getting advance access to new Windows releases might make some outsiders feel like insiders, but it doesn’t make for a better product........Users need time to give feedback about design decisions. Microsoft is getting plenty of feedback about the design decisions it made with Windows Vista. I don’t thi…

Manchester United Champions of Europe!

Congratulations to Manchester United on a fantastic win in the Champions League Final in Moscow. The match itself was a fantastic showpiece for English football. The absolute hell that I went through for the length of the second half and extra-time really was nothing compared to the penalty shoot out. I honestly do feel sorry for John Terry but lets face it Chelsea fans weren't going to have too much sympathy for Ronaldo if his miss had cost United the trophy. In the end the Premiership Champions are the best team in Europe and rightfully lifted the European Cup.

Microsoft Embraces ODF, PDF and XPS

Microsoft announced that it will introduce support for Open Document Format, Portable Document Format and XML Paper Specification in Office 2007 SP2, due for release in 2009. This is another step by Microsoft to support Open Source while at the same time hopefully keeping their critics quiet. As I've said before I now expect other Office vendors such as IBM and Sun will now embrace OOXML. While I don't care about ODF support it is a great addition for education where students can use Office 2007 in school and know that they can work on their coursework at home on their Open Source Office suite without formating difficulties. The ability to open and save PDF's is much more useful to me and lets remember that Microsoft had intended to support PDF in Office 2007 until Adobe forced them to pull support in 2006, not really thinking about users there Adobe were ya? I assume Office for Mac will also get support for these formats at some point in the near future also.
The 2007 Micr…

BECTA and OOXML

A week or so ago BECTA referred it's interoperability complaint against Microsoft to the EU Commission. The EU is taking the this referral and adding it to the evidence pile against Microsoft. I do wonder though how much the Interoperability complaint is actually Microsoft's problem. If Office 2007 is able to open Open Office documents and save to the same format then surely it passes interoperability with the Open Office suite. I get the impression from what I've read however that Microsoft is being held accountable for other office suites not being able to open OOXML documents. This is surely a complaint against the other vendors and not against Microsoft. If the documentation on OOXML is available then there shouldn't be a problem. This just seems to be BECTA jumping on the EU Commission bandwagon.

When I asked BECTA whether the complaint against Microsoft should actually be directed at the other vendors now that OOXML is an ISO standard format they replied:



The exten…

iTunes Phishing Scam

Macworld are reporting that iTunes users are the targets of a new phishing scam.
Phishers have targeted users of Apple's iTunes music store with sophisticated identity theft attacks for the first time, a security company said Tuesday.

People began receiving spammed messages Monday telling them that they must correct a problem with their iTunes account, said Andrew Lochart, an executive with email security vendor Proofpoint.

A link in the spam leads to a site posing as an iTunes billing update page; that phony page asks for information including credit card number and security code, Social Security number and mother's maiden name.

The theft attempt is a new twist on the usual phishing attack, said Lochart. "We've gotten used to seeing the usual companies and brands attacked," he said, "like PayPal, eBay and Citibank. But we've never seen Apple as the target."
I received one of these emails myself on Monday. It arrived shortly after I placed an order on i…

Microsoft: No Motion Controller....Maybe

Wired interviewed Shane Kim, Microsoft Vice President, and asked him about the rumour that Microsoft were developing a motion sensing game controller similar to the Nintendo Wii's. Shane was sure they weren't, then wasn't so sure anymore. Judge for yourself.
Now, do you think that when Microsoft releases its own motion-sensing controller, that that's going to help you guys out in the console wars?
I don't know, because that's going to be a long time from now,
since we don't have anything like that under development.


You don't have anything like that under
development?
That I can confirm or deny.


That you can confirm or deny, I think that's
the...
You know the stock answer. We don't comment on rumors or
speculation.


At the same time, you're not going to flat-out deny that
it's in development.
If you want to say that that means we're working
on something, that's up to you. Here's my point about hardware: You know that we're investing pre…

Microhoo Back Again, Yawn.

I don't think anyone's missed the news about a Microsoft/Yahoo deal of some sort being back on. On Sunday Microsfot made the following announcement:
“In light of developments since the withdrawal of the Microsoft proposal to acquire Yahoo! Inc., Microsoft announced that it is continuing to explore and pursue its alternatives to improve and expand its online services and advertising business. Microsoft is considering and has raised with Yahoo! an alternative that would involve a transaction with Yahoo! but not an acquisition of all of Yahoo! Microsoft is not proposing to make a new bid to acquire all of Yahoo! at this time, but reserves the right to reconsider that alternative depending on future developments and discussions that may take place with Yahoo! or discussions with shareholders of Yahoo! or Microsoft or with other third parties. “There of course can be no assurance that any transaction will result from these discussions.”I haven't blogged about it until now becaus…

Has The EU Slowed Online Development?

This is something that I've been thinking about since I started hearing about Windows 7 and the closer ties to the Windows Live Services. Basically my concern is based on the EU's investigations into Internet Explorer being built into the Windows platform. For the web to really become an integral part of our desktop there has to be easy and seamless access to the Services we want to use. This is going to mean that the Web Browser will become less of a stand alone application and I would expect it to tie in even deeper to the OS. Under the EU antitrust investigations Microsoft's move to tie Internet Explorer into Windows is unfair and is exploiting their monopoly. The limitation this is going to force on Microsoft and Windows 7 can only limit the innovation that would otherwise be possible if Windows and Internet Explorer were allowed to fully merge.

Windows being able to login in an Online mode where the browser is automatically running as a service, logging you into your f…

Windows XP A Disaster! Back To Windows 98.

Microsoft today slammed OEM's after the problems some users have had with Windows XP SP3. The issue has to do with the intelppm.sys driver which is attempting to load when the OS boots. While this is essential on Intel based machines it should not happen on an AMD based machine. They should attempt to load the amd8k.sys driver. The problem has been caused by OEM vendors loading Windows XP Intel generated images onto AMD machines. The Register quotes Microsoft as saying:
“Microsoft is aware of a reboot issue experienced by some users who
have attempted to install Windows XP SP3,” said a Microsoft spokesman. “While the root cause of this issue is complex, it results from OEMs improperly placing a Windows XP image created for an Intel-based computer onto machines with non-Intel chipsets. Microsoft issued guidance to OEMs advising them to only load Windows XP images onto like hardware in 2004.”

While this is a perfectly acceptable and correct explanation for what has happened I've de…

Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac Sets Record

Microsoft has claimed that Office 2008 for the Mac has been one of the best launches yet and sales continue to outstrip the any version in the last 19 years. I'm not doubting that the Office suite is a massive success in it's own right but I wonder how much of the improved sales are due to Windows users moving over to the Mac and looking for the familiar on that platform. A more important reason is probably due to companies running mostly Windows machines with Office installed. People who buy Mac's will look for the Microsoft Office suite to give them as easy a life as possible when it comes to working on documents at home. Perhaps Microsoft should look to moving some other software onto the Mac, it seems like a mostly untaped market. Either way though it's nice to see Microsoft products thriving on OSX.

Messenger TV adds EMI and Channel 4

Windows Live Messenger TV has signed EMI and Channel 4. The service is now available and through it you can watch music videos as well as clips from shows like Skins. The Live Messenger site states: Watch video with your buddies

Watching online video is no longer about one person in front of their computer, it's now a social experience. Users can now share a selection of free content and watch it at the same time as their friends through Messenger TV.

Biggest names in entertainment

From MTV favourites including Punk'd, South Park,
Cribs and Pimp My Ride, to a wide selection of videos and exclusive content from some of the world's biggest superstars provided by Sony BMG Music Entertainment. MSN Video has just signed a deal with Channel 4 to provide preview, catch-up and archive clips of shows such as Peep Show, How To Look Good Naked, Grand Designs, Father Ted, Skins and Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares.
Other partners include music, sports and games from MoMedia, documentaries and f…

Better ways to spend the Yahoo! money

Well I was hoping this Microhoo crap was done but no it appears to be back again. Silicon Alley Insider is reporting here that Craig Mundie has basically said that the negotiations are back on.


Here's what Chief Strategy Officer Mundie told Reuters in Indonesia:
"The market may wish that the Yahoo deal may come back
together, but Microsoft at least at this point assumes it's over."



"At least at this point." "Assumes." Those weren't the words Microsoft was using two days ago. And Mundie was just getting warmed up:
"Yahoo could always come back again and say please buy us for $33 (a share) and I'm sure we might reconsider it but we're not assuming that's going to happen," added Mundie, who took over as Microsoft's lead visionary on technology from co-founder Bill Gates in 2006.


Translation: We reiterate our bid of $33. We're done with begging, but
if Jerry is tired of getting his fanny spanked by Gordon Crawford and othe…

IE8 Beta 1

I've started using IE8 Beta 1 again tonight and was delighted to discover that my own site was working fine with it, with one exception. The Microsoft generated code providing links through which you could create a 22hundred.net account was a bit messed up. I decided to simply remove this from the site, I don't think it added any real feature anyway.I tried using IE8 to read my RSS feeds in Google Reader and they did not play well together. The image above is a screen shot of what happened. While it looks like a nice piece of art it's not what I want to see when I'm looking for information. I'm interested to see how many major sites like Google Reader are going to change in order to accommodate the new IE or will we see companies complain again about Microsoft damaging them until IE8 is reduced to mere shadow of it's current self.

Will Microsoft Return And Finish The Deal?

Not surprisingly there is quite a bit of talk now about what Steve Ballmer's next move is going to be and more precisely will he now come back to the table and complete the Yahoo takeover. I would say....no. Silicon Alley insider states here what they feel on the matter and I totally agree. In particular they say:
As of Saturday afternoon, Steve Ballmer no longer wanted to do this deal at any price.
That's why the $33 offer seemed "purposely vague"--because Steve
wasn't really committed to it. That's why Microsoft walked just after Yahoo finally came to its senses and started to move on price. That's why Yahoo is now telling this story to anyone who will listen--because the mercurial Ballmer really did get over this deal.
(What Yahoo isn't saying, as it rolls out its global don't-blame-us campaign, is that OF COURSE Steve Ballmer is over this deal. For this merger to have a chance of working, both companies have to charge into it with 100% enthusiasm.…

Microsoft Walks

I don't like to blow my own trumpet but it happened exactly as I said it would here. Microsoft offered the $33 increase and Yahoo were nice enough to reject it. This gave Microsoft the opportunity to walk and when Yahoo started talking about outsourcing to Google Steve knew he could without losing face. A Yahoo that's been decimated by Jerry is not worth fighting over. It's become obvious to many that Jerry would rather kill his baby than see it thrive under Microsoft ownership. Make no mistake Yahoo would've become the web brand for Microsoft and would've been allowed to thrive. Steve would have to ensure it did because shareholders would not let them waste such a massive expenditure.
So what's next? Well for Yahoo we might see the end of Jerry. The AGM will probably be called very soon and assuming the shareholders aren't too upset at a management team that put their personal feelings in front of what's good for business then Yahoo will continue as is …