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Friday, July 22, 2005

News from PC Magazine: Windows Vista

News from PC Magazine: Windows VistaWindows Vista

By Michael J. Miller

As of this morning, the "Longhorn" version of Windows has a new name–Windows Vista. In addition, Microsoft announced a formal date for the first beta: August 3.

Neil Charney, Dir of Product Management in the Windows Client Group, says the name is meant to convey that the new version was "about providing clarity to your world and giving focus to the things that are important to you." He said it "provides your view of the world" and puts the user in control.

"We've seen an explosion of information and data, more choices. The challenge is how to find the information I'm interested in," he said. "Having that clarity, that view, that vista in front of you is really important."

Charney stated that the first beta is targeted at developers and IT professionals. It will be available to MSDN and TechNet subscribers then. A later version, called Beta 2, will target end-users.

Information on the beta is available on a new site:

BBC NEWS | Technology | Google site 'used by drug gang'

BBC NEWS | Technology | Google site 'used by drug gang' Google site 'used by drug gang'
Ten people have been arrested in Brazil after authorities discovered them allegedly using Google's online community site, Orkut, to sell drugs.

The drugs ring was uncovered after police tapped phone calls and monitored online communications through Orkut.

The site, used for building online communities and making contacts, is hugely popular in Latin America.

According to media reports, more than half of the seven million community members are from Brazil.

"We discovered the drug ring first via authorised phone tapping, and later the investigation included monitoring of their activities on the internet," an officer at the Drugs Enforcement Service in Niteroi, near Rio de Janeiro, told the Reuters news agency.

"We are aware of the situation and are currently looking into it," Google said in a statement.

"When we are made aware of situations that are against our terms of service we take appropriate action."

Social spaces

Orkut, launched by Google in 2004, is an invitation-only service which lets people build up networks of contacts with whom they chat.

It is similar to other social networking sites which have become increasingly popular such as Friendster, and MySpace which was recently bought by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.

The Brazilian authorities say that the drug dealers used the Orkut network service to link up deals to sell ecstasy and marijuana.

The online community site was created by Turkish software engineer Orkut Buyukkokten.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Microsoft Seen As 'Good Defensive Play' -

Microsoft Seen As 'Good Defensive Play' - Forbes.comMarket Scan
Microsoft Seen As 'Good Defensive Play'
07.21.05, 11:51 AM ET

Credit Suisse First Boston maintained a "neutral" rating and $28 target price on Microsoft (nasdaq: MSFT - news - people ), saying it continues to view the software company "as a good defensive play with reasonable prospects for share appreciation."

CSFB expects Microsoft to see upside in the current fiscal fourth quarter on stronger PC shipments. "Going forward, we suspect that revenue outperformance could be a bit tough as PC market growth rates slow ahead of the Longhorn OS release," CSFB said. For the fiscal fourth quarter, the research firm estimates earnings per share for Microsoft of 30 cents, although "we would not be surprised to see the company report 31 cents to 32 cents. We also could see some upside to unearned revenue guidance of $8.9 billion."

For the fiscal first-quarter view, CSFB said it wouldn't be surprised to see the company take a conservative stance with the new Chief Financial Officer Chris Liddle just coming on board and a weaker European environment. Elsewhere in the sector, CSFB maintained an "outperform" rating and $16 target price on Oracle (nasdaq: ORCL - news - people ).

eHomeUpgrade | Michael Gartenberg on Longhorn

eHomeUpgrade | Michael Gartenberg on LonghornMichael Gartenberg on Longhorn
Category: Software - July 21, 2005
By Thomas Hawk

Micheal Gartenberg: "Of course, Microsoft needs to make sure that it's core business customers get on board and make the shift but it also must make Longhorn a consumer success for what's at stake there is the future of the digital home. Considering that Microsoft has not done as well in some core consumer digital markets, such as music, the stakes are even higher."

Gartenberg's opinion is interesting and I'd tend to agree.

One possible way to blow this thing up is to make an already cumbersome Media Center PC even that much more cumbersome by loading it down with restrictions and DRM. Sometimes I really get frustrated because when I try to access files on my home network I'm told by my Media Center PC that I don't have access to these files and to contact my network administrator. My network adminstrator? Give me a friggin' break. I can get into some folders but subfolders seem to be off limits. This despite the fact that I've checked off on acknowledging risks etc., and have told my other PCs to go ahead and share their drives and all the subfolders in their drives. It's little things like this that drive me crazy. I don't know if it's a bug or what but it's frustrating.

Other times I'll be copying files from one drive to another drive and I get an error message that an I/O device error has taken place and I have to start my back up all over again. It also frustrates me when it takes me days to get video working on my Media Center because I forget and don't realize that I need to reinstall a third party decoder after I upgrade my MCE machines. Or it's frustrating when my HP upgrade doesn't include the files necessary to burn to DVD. etc. etc.

Now I'm by no means a computer programmer -- but I'm also by no means a novice. And as these things frustrate me, I worry that as Microsoft continues down the path to the high school prom with Hollywood that this could have bad consequences for the end user. HDTV is important and maybe in the end there is no other way to get this done, but I worry that it will not be foolproof and that a time will come when Microsoft refuses me the right or complicates my ability to use media that I've purchased and then I'll get angry and write about it as will others.

Microsoft should of course be aware that no matter how willing a partner Hollywood is at the dance it is much more desirable for them to see the Media Center PVR, digital media, etc. efforts fail than anything else.

Would a better solution be to create a technology to capture a HDTV stream between the cable box and the TV, record it without restriction (remember BetaMax?), and fight the bastards in court? Would a better solution be to completely empower the consumer and scorch and burn the rest of Hollywood, accept that digital piracy will take place and see what content survives (trust me it will)? Might Microsoft then sell millions and millions of copies of Media Center that could arguably claim fair use and in an age when TiVo wants to shoot adds at you, ironically as a liberator of the TV commercial, differentiate themselves in a crowded marketplace? Would the lucrative sale of operating systems make up for the lack of profits to be found in helping Hollywood protect their content? Irrespective of ethical or moral considerations which would make more economic sense for the company?

Gartenberg says that Microsoft will battle in the coming months for the hearts and mind of their users. How will Microsoft win my heart with Longhorn as it relates to digital media and most specifically music, photos, movies and TV? Time may tell.

EBay Shares Have 15%-20% Upside -

EBay Shares Have 15%-20% Upside - Forbes.comEBay Shares Have 15%-20% Upside
07.21.05, 11:38 AM ET

Goldman Sachs maintained an "outperform" rating on eBay (nasdaq: EBAY - news - people ) and said it sees a "15% to 20% appreciation potential" for the stock. EBay reported yesterday upside results for the second quarter and higher full-year guidance, citing favorable currency exchange rates and business momentum.

"The broad-based strength delivered across countries, categories, and selling formats demonstrates the responsiveness of the business to new initiatives. Additionally, results reinforce our view that the growth opportunity remains vast and our confidence in our 2006 $1.03 EPS estimate," said Goldman Sachs. "We reiterate our 'outperform' rating on eBay as we see 15% to 20% appreciation potential to our $45 implied value."

The research firm said the "most impressive" aspect of the quarter was eBay's accelerating year-over-year revenue growth, up 40% compared with 36% in the first quarter. "The revenue acceleration reflects strong unit growth and higher ASPs [average selling prices]/close rates," it said. "The improvement in these metrics implies that the relative value eBay provides sellers continues to increase."

Goldman Sachs noted that eBay shares, based on a share price of $40, trade at an enterprise multiple of 23.6 times estimated 2006 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or EBITDA--20% above Yahoo! (nasdaq: YHOO - news - people ) (19.6 times) but 15% below Google (nasdaq: GOOG - news - people ) (27.7 times). "We continue to believe that eBay represents the best business model within the Internet sector, growing revenue 50% faster and EBITDA twice as fast as the average e-commerce company reflecting its numerous growth opportunities including geographic expansion, category expansion, and pricing formats, with natural barriers to entry given the benefits of network effects," the firm said.

Brighthand — Sony Rumored to Be Developing New Ultra-Portable PC

Brighthand — Sony Rumored to Be Developing New Ultra-Portable PCSony Rumored to Be Developing New Ultra-Portable PC
By Ed Hardy | Editor-in-Chief
Jul 21, 2005

Despite withdrawing from the handheld market, Sony has continued to make the U series of ultra-small computers.

Despite their minuscule size, these run a full version of Microsoft Windows.

The original U series models were essentially tiny laptops, with a clamshell design and a built-in keyboard.

The more recent ones, though, have eschewed the keyboard and used a tablet configuration.

According to, Sony is rumored to be working on a new U series model that will be a hybrid of the two designs.

Supposedly, the upcoming model will have a clamshell configuration, with a keyboard on one side and the screen on the other. However, the screen will be able to twist around and then be closed down over the keyboard, allowing this device to be used in tablet mode.

There's no word on a release date or a price, but similar devices typically start at about $2,000.
Is This the Future?

Some believe that this is the direction that all handhelds are heading; instead of running operating system specifically designed for small devices -- like Palm OS or Windows Mobile -- future models will use the same operating system as desktops and laptops do.

Ultra Mobile 2007 Mockup One of the people who believes this is Microsoft's Bill Gates. Earlier this year, he unveiled the Ultra Mobile 2007 concept.

He envisions a relatively inexpensive device will be just a bit larger than current handhelds and run the next version of Windows XP, code-named Longhorn (see picture at right).

Microsoft's concept is for a device that will cost less than $1,000, weigh less than 2 pounds, and offer a constant wireless connection to the Internet.

As it stands now, though, their very high prices have kept ultra-portables a niche product. Still, there are several on the market, including the aforementioned Sony U series and the OQO model 01.

Thanks to Engadget for the tip.

Going To Atlanta? @ Dave's iPAQ

Going To Atlanta? @ Dave's iPAQ SITA INC Wi-Fi Solution To Ensure Internet Access and Mobile Phone Use Throughout Busiest Airport

SITA INC (Information Networking Computing) today announced details of a $5.4M multi-faceted contract for wireless and management services for Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport - ranked the busiest airport in the world. The contract was signed by the City of Atlanta's Department of Aviation (DOA) and the Mayor of the City of Atlanta, Shirley Franklin.

"This solution will improve the passenger experience at Atlanta Airport by allowing travellers to access the Internet and use of their mobile phones anywhere in the airport," said Atlanta airport General Manager Ben DeCosta. "Passengers travelling through the Atlanta airport can stay in touch via Wi-Fi from the front door of the airport, to the underground transportation mall, to every gate at every concourse. Our passengers will have the benefit of this new service this fall, and we are very excited for the launch."

SITA's solution for Atlanta includes the design and implementation of an airport-wide Wi-Fi and mobile wireless network, as well as management of the airport's new fibre, mobile and Wi-Fi network for a period of one year.

The total solution for Hartsfield-Jackson Airport covers three main areas:

1) A Wi-Fi system for the entire airport that provides Internet access for all passengers. Internet access will be via a "neutral host" allowing the passengers the flexibility to choose their own Wireless Internet Service Provider. The wireless system will support data services, as well as voice and video. This secure system is also designed for use by the City of Atlanta DOA, the airlines, and airport tenants.

2) A distributed antenna system that provides passengers with high quality mobile phone coverage throughout the airport and transportation mall, regardless of the mobile phone carrier.

3) A fully managed network operation centre with Department of Aviation (airport) and SITA staff on site to provide ongoing operation, security and maintenance of the airport's fibre network and the wireless network.

"We are extremely pleased to offer the first truly neutral host system in an airport to visitors of Hartsfield-Jackson, in the same city as our global business unit and North American headquarters," said Senior Vice President of Airport and Desktop Services, John Jarrell. "This shared infrastructure improves the passenger experience by making Wi-Fi available to passengers as well as airport and airline employees, with a neutral host offering great flexibility."

This project is presently in the implementation phase and will be fully operational in the fourth quarter of 2005.

About SITA


SITA INC (Information Networking Computing) is the world's leading provider of air transport- focused applications, communications and IT infrastructure, enabling its customers to realize greater operational efficiencies and enhanced profitability. Building on a heritage of innovation, the company provides services to air transport customers and to related industries, as well as government authorities, offering a unique portfolio of solutions. SITA INC is registered in Amsterdam, the Netherlands and recorded revenues of $642 million in 2004.

News Scan: July 21, 2005 -

News Scan: July 21, 2005 -
EBay Q2 Earnings Climb 53%
EBay's second-quarter profit eclipsed analyst expectations as the online auction leader brushed aside worries that it may be losing its competitive edge. The San Jose-based company said Wednesday that it earned $291.6 million, or 21 cents per share, for the three months ended in June, a 53% increase from $190.4 million, or 14 cents per share at the same time last year.

Ericsson Q2 Profit Rises 16%
Wireless equipment maker Ericsson reported a 16% increase in second-quarter profit Thursday on growing sales, and upgraded its market outlook for mobile systems. Net profit for the period was 5.8 billion kronor ($744 million), up from 5.0 billion kronor in the same three months last year. Boosted by strong results in emerging markets, sales rose 18% to 38.4 billion kronor ($4.92 billion), from 32.6 billion kronor in the year-ago period.

Oil Prices Drop On U.S. Inventory Report
Crude oil prices extended their losses Thursday after the U.S. Department of Energy's weekly report on petroleum stocks eased concerns of supply disruptions from hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico. Midafternoon in Singapore, light, sweet crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange fell 32 cents to $57.70 per barrel for September contracts. In New York, the August delivery price settled 74 cents lower at $56.72 per barrel.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | TV and Radio | Star Trek's Scotty dies aged 85

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | TV and Radio | Star Trek's Scotty dies aged 85 Star Trek's Scotty dies aged 85
Actor James Doohan, who played the chief engineer Montgomery Scott in Star Trek, has died at the age of 85.

Doohan, whose role was immortalised in the line "Beam me up, Scotty", had been suffering from pneumonia and Alzheimer's disease, his agent said.

His wife of 28 years, Wende, was by his side, Steve Stevens added.

Doohan was a popular character actor when he auditioned for the part in 1966. When the series ended in 1969, he found himself typecast in the role.

The Canadian-born actor was a master of dialect, developed during his years on radio.

When asked what accent he thought his Star Trek character should have, he said: "I believed the Scot voice was the most commanding."

'Go with the flow'

Doohan's character Scotty manned the Star Trek enterprise with Captain James T Kirk, played by William Shatner, and Mr Spock, played by Leonard Nimoy.

They starred together for three seasons before US network NBC cancelled it because of weak ratings.

But the team was reassembled when the franchise hit the big screen. Star Trek: The Motion Picture was released in cinemas in 1979.

Doohan appeared in seven big screen episodes of Star Trek, and continued to voice the franchise's video games into the late 1990s.

Initially he was concerned about being typecast as Scotty.

May you continue to boldly go where no man has gone before
Joe Doody, Glasgow

In 1973, he complained to his dentist, who advised him: "Jimmy, you're going to be Scotty long after you're dead. If I were you, I'd go with the flow.

"I took his advice and since then everything's been just lovely."

He came to embrace his Scotty character and attended Star Trek fan conventions into his 80s, before falling ill.

Doohan became a father again at the age of 80, when his wife Wende gave birth to daughter Sarah.

His last public appearance was in October 2004 when he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005 Gates Puzzled by Computer Science Apathy Gates Puzzled by Computer Science ApathyGates Puzzled by Computer Science Apathy

Microsoft Research

By ELIZABETH M. GILLESPIE : Associated Press Writer
Jul 19, 2005 : 12:24 pm ET

REDMOND, Wash. -- Speaking to hundreds of university professors, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates says he's baffled more students don't go into computer science.

Gates said Monday that even if young people don't know that salaries and job openings in computer science are on the rise, they're hooked on so much technology -- cell phones, digital music players, instant messaging, Internet browsing -- that it's puzzling why more don't want to grow up to be programmers.

"It's such a paradox," Gates said. "If you say to a kid, 'Yeah, what are the 10 coolest products you use that your parents are clueless about, that you're good at using,' I don't think they're going to say, 'Oh, you know, it's this new breakfast cereal. And I want to go work in agriculture and invent new cereals or something.' ... I think 10 out of 10 would be things that are software-driven."

Gates made his remarks on the first day of the annual Microsoft Research Faculty Summit, which drew nearly 400 computer science professors from 175 schools in 20 countries to the software maker's campus.

Sharing the stage with Gates, Maria Klawe, Princeton University's dean of engineering and applied science, said most students she talks to fear that computer science would doom them to isolating workdays fraught with boredom -- nothing but writing reams of code.

Gates said computer scientists need to do a better job of dispelling that myth and conveying that it's an exciting field.

"How many fields can you get right out of college and define substantial aspects of a product that's going to go out and over 100 million people are going to use it?" Gates said. "We promise people when they come here to do programming ... they're going to have that opportunity, and yet we can't hire as many people as we'd like."

Citing statistics from UCLA's Higher Education Research Institute, Klawe said students' interest in computer science fell more than 60 percent from 2000 to 2004, even though salaries have increased and more jobs have opened up.

Klawe opened an hourlong question-and-answer with Gates by asking him what he thought could be done to stem a decline in federal funding for computer science research and graduate education.

In past three years, she noted, the Defense Department's research agency -- a major source of money for computer science academics -- has cut its funding for information technology research at universities almost in half.

The National Science Foundation is awarding a smaller percentage of grants for computer science than for other fields, she said.

Gates said Microsoft and other high-tech companies need to keep telling the government it's making a big mistake -- one that could forestall stunning advancements in medicine, environmental science and other fields.

He also said companies can help by boosting their own investments in research and development.

"The best investment we've ever made is having our Microsoft Research groups," Gates said.

Modeled after academic research facilities, Microsoft Research focuses on work that is relevant to Microsoft's product lineup, such as security or search technology.

Products including the TabletPC have come out of the research arm, which has labs in Redmond; San Francisco; California's Silicon Valley; Cambridge, England; Beijing and Bangalore, India.

Survey says: women control the DVR - Engadget -

Survey says: women control the DVR - Engadget - www.engadget.comSurvey says: women control the DVR

Posted Jul 18, 2005, 2:50 PM ET by Marc Perton
Related entries: Home Entertainment

TiVo remoteAfter being derided as less technically adept by their geekier-than-thou male cohorts for years, it turns out there’s at least one home entertainment device that women can call their own: the DVR. According to a new survey from cable network Lifetime, 55% of married women say they understand their DVR’s functions better than their husbands. Of course, the survey only questioned women, so we assume that if husbands were asked the same queries, somewhere in the excess of 100% would say they’re the DVR pros — and that they control what shows are recorded as well (when they can find the remote, that is; since apparently men don’t ask where to find things, their wives may just end up taking charge after all).