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Thursday, July 28, 2005

Column from PC Magazine: Windows Vista: Where's the Buzz?

Column from PC Magazine: Windows Vista: Where's the Buzz? Windows Vista: Where's the Buzz?
ARTICLE DATE: 07.25.05
By John C. Dvorak

As readers know, Microsoft has announced the name of its new operating system, which was followed by a collective yawn from the computing community. Vista? As in "Hasta la Vista, baby?" That name might be appropriate as a symbolic goodbye since it might be the end of the line for Microsoft's dominance in the OS business.

I'm not saying that Microsoft is doomed as a company, but its reign as the OS dominator may end fast if things go the way I see them headed. The new OS is getting zero buzz. Zero. There has been nothing like this since Windows Me. And now the name Vista,along with the new Microsoft Vista logo, has made it worse. Could anything be less exciting?

First of all Vista sounds like a credit card company. It's implications as a name are not apt for an OS. Webster defines vista as:

1 : a distant view through or along an avenue or opening
2 : an extensive mental view (as over a stretch of time or a series of events)

I think the key word here is "distant." A distant view. Perhaps the company has chosen the name subconsciously to indicate that it – Vista -- itself is distant. In other words, it is a far cry from what was originally promised. Indeed, that seems to be the case. Years have passed since the product was first specified and the company with all the resources in the world could not develop its promised file system that would help users out of the multigigabyte morass of confused data.

Bill Gates had always wanted Microsoft to become the IBM of its era, which it has in more ways than one. In the case of Vista, Microsoft should have adopted an old IBM trick for product development: parallel teams working on the same thing at the same time to create a faux competition. If there is no competition outside the company it's now apparent that Microsoft cannot generate any internal impetus. The languishing of Internet Explorer until recently is a perfect example of this.


Apple. Vista will open the door to what I believe will be a radical change in the computing landscape. The trends are clear. Once the new Mac OS appears next year it will gravitate toward the existing x86 community much more rapidly than anticipated unless Apple does some incredibly dumb things to stop it. Personally I cannot see what they can do or why they'd want to stop it. — Continue reading...

Right now, and as much as x86 users do not want to admit it, the Mac OS is already better than Windows in its modern look and feel as well as its functionality. I see too many smart people with Mac laptops nowadays.

Microsoft will retreat to its cash-cow applications: Microsoft Office and the potentially profitable Xbox. Microsoft's Xbox gamble may actually keep the company on a long term growth path.

Linux/Apache will own the server space and with the emergence of MySQL and PHP as the hot development tools over Microsoft .NET and J2EE there will be no way to unseat it. In popular parlance this is commonly referred to as LAMP.

Google will dominate the Internet and online applications. So there will be four dominant software forces each in a niche. Google's next frontier is to break into the AOL/MSN space which it could do at will and crush both.

Now looking over this scenario poses two questions: Is this wishful thinking, and is this what we want? I don't think it's wishful thinking, although it is always possible that Apple doesn't understand the power play position it's in and might actually believe that it's better off somehow keeping its OS in a small niche rather than the big market. If the world changed tomorrow to 85 percent Mac "OS x86" its laptop sales alone would triple overnight. Apple didn't put together what many consider the finest in-house industrial design teams in the world to fool around with piddly sales and more redesigns of the iPod.

That said, how much more of Steve Jobs can we handle? Do we really want to hear him say "I told you so?" If it gets some excitement back into desktop computing, yes, we do. I think we can take it.

There are flies in my predictive ointment. Google is still a wild card. It could do an OS that could threaten both Apple and Microsoft. This company's ability to come up with cool concepts puts even Apple to shame. And Google is already part of the LAMP camp.

One odd possibility would be a Google Linux that is Mac OS X– (or Windows-) compatible with a more Googly interface. I'm sure that would have an interesting impact.

Whatever the case, this is all triggered by Microsoft Vista – the thud heard round the world.

HTC Wizard Posted by Picasa

Pocket PC Thoughts - Daily News, Views, Rants and Raves

Pocket PC Thoughts - Daily News, Views, Rants and RavesHTC Wizard News Roundup
Posted by Janak Parekh @ 05:00 PM
There's been tons of new news on the HTC Wizard today, and instead of making 5 separate posts, here's all that we've gotten so far. For those of you who don't know, the HTC Wizard is the successor to the compact HTC Magician. The dimensions of the device are similar, except it's a bit thicker to accomodate a keyboard. It looks like it'll have a 200MHz OMAP processor (hopefully faster than HP's variant Shocked), GPRS/EDGE, WiFi, Bluetooth, or some combination thereof with a 240x320 screen running WM5. The unique aspect of this device is the landscape nature of the keyboard, as the following image demonstrates.

Anyway, on with the news:

* has a ton of pictures of the device (including the above one) branded as the Qtek 9100. Like other HTC devices, we'll probably see a number of different brandings as they come out.
* Phone Scoop reports that the HTC Wizard has passed FCC certification, and (at least the submitted version) has 850 and 1900MHz support, so expect good US coverage. As to whether or not US carriers will support it, as always that's up in the air. Phone Scoop noted certain T-Mobile markings, but it's not clear if that's T-Mobile USA or T-Mobile Germany.
* Arne, from the::unwired, also chimes in with the news that there may be multiple stylings/editions of the device. At this point, I'm not picky -- I'll take any of them. Pft

This device looks like a compelling solution for those that want a compact Pocket PC Phone with a little more oomph than the Magician. Cool

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

BBC NEWS | Technology | Downloading 'myths' challenged

BBC NEWS | Technology | Downloading 'myths' challenged Downloading 'myths' challenged
People who illegally share music files online are also big spenders on legal music downloads, research suggests.

Digital music research firm The Leading Question found that they spent four and a half times more on paid-for music downloads than average fans.

Rather than taking legal action against downloaders, the music industry needs to entice them to use legal alternatives, the report said.

According to the music industry, legal downloads have tripled during 2005.

In the first half of 2005, some 10 million songs have been legally downloaded.

Music 'myth'

More needs to be done to capitalise on the power of the peer-to-peer networks that many music downloaders still use, said the report's authors.

There's a myth that all illegal downloaders are mercenaries hell-bent on breaking the law in pursuit of free music
Paul Brindley, The Leading Question
The study found that regular downloaders of unlicensed music spent an average of £5.52 a month on legal digital music.

This compares to just £1.27 spent by other music fans.

"The research clearly shows that music fans who break piracy laws are highly valuable customers," said Paul Brindley, director of The Leading Question.

"It also points out that they are eager to adopt legitimate music services in the future."

"There's a myth that all illegal downloaders are mercenaries hell-bent on breaking the law in pursuit of free music."

In reality hardcore fans "are extremely enthusiastic" about paid-for services, as long as they are suitably compelling, he said.

Carrot and stick

The BPI (British Phonographic Industry) welcomed the findings but added a note of caution.

"It's encouraging that many illegal file-sharers are starting to use legal services," said BPI spokesman Matt Philips.

"But our concern is that file-sharers' expenditure on music overall is down, a fact borne out by study after study.

"The consensus among independent research is that a third of illegal file-sharers may buy more music and around two thirds buy less.

"That two-thirds tends to include people who were the heaviest buyers which is why we need to continue our carrot and stick approach to the problem of illegal file-sharing," he said.

Music to go

The Leading Question survey also asked 600 music fans what devices they would be buying in the next year.

One of the challenges will be to develop the perception of the phone as a credible entertainment device
Tim Walker, The Leading Question
A third planned to buy a dedicated MP3 player, while just 8% said they would be buying an MP3-enabled phone.

Reasons cited for not purchasing a music playing phone included worries about battery life and concerns about losing the handset, and potentially their music collection.

The fact that phones tend to be frequently replaced also meant people had a low emotional attachment to them.

"The phone is not ready to replace the iPod as a serious digital music player just yet," said Tim Walker, director of The Leading Question.

"One of the challenges will be to develop the perception of the phone as a credible entertainment device," he said.

Providers need to look at features such as dual download to mobile and PC, back-up facilities and improved interfaces between PC and mobile, he said.

There is a huge potential market for MP3 phones. The survey found that 38% were interested in downloading full tracks to their mobile phones.

And people are happy with the storage possibilities of phones with only 4% wanting to store more than 1,000 songs to take on holiday.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

eHomeUpgrade | Netflix Near Launch of Movie Downloads

eHomeUpgrade | Netflix Near Launch of Movie DownloadsNetflix Near Launch of Movie Downloads
Category: Content Providers - July 25, 2005
By Thomas Hawk [280 Reads]
Print Page | Email Story | Discuss [0 Posts]

UPDATED: Netflix near launch of movie downloads - Yahoo! News: So it looks like Netflix could have more than just earnings to announce this afternoon. Rumor has it that they are close on the movie download thing. Could this finally be the TiVoflix deal coming to life?

One thing that will be imperative for this thing to have legs, will be for the service (if in fact it's coming) to offer a wide range of HDTV, yes HDTV!, first run new release movies. We will see.

"One industry source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the new Netflix service would be similar to fledgling, studio-supported ventures like MovieLink and CinemaNow. Those services allow people to rent copy-protected movies and television shows over the Internet and watch them on their computers.

Such services struggled because they offer a limited number of new releases. That is unlikely to change, so long as DVD sales and rentals remain the largest single source of revenue for movie studios."


(New) Editor's Note: Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, in his investor conference call on 7/25, has announced that the highly anticipated TiVoflix service will be available by year's end. However, Hastings states "that it could be be 3, 5 or even 8 years before the major studios will accept a digital model leading one to assume that at least initially, TiVoflix may focus on more independent type titles." You can read more about it, here.

Samsung launches Satellite DMB CDMA EV-DO phone

Samsung launches Satellite DMB CDMA EV-DO phoneSamsung launches Satellite DMB CDMA EV-DO phone
News : Mobile : Entertainment, posted 27-JUL-2005 09:54

Samsung launches Satellite DMB CDMA EV-DO phone Samsung Electronics announced its latest satellite DMB phone SCH-B200 (SPH-B2000) with a "slide and rotate" form factor. Samsung's B200, which was first unveiled at MIPTV/MILIA in Cannes, France last April, is the most recent addition to its growing line-up of satellite DMB phones.

The phone's design allows users to first slide, and then rotate the LCD screen 90-degrees for a landscape viewing orientation that is more ideal for watching broadcasted video content. Users can watch and play Satellite DMB programs, along with gaming, photo-taking, MP3 playing, and VOD features in this landscape orientation.

The B200 has a mini pedestal attached to the battery which allows the phone to stay upright during TV viewing. It is capable of multitasking and allows users to talk on the phone and send SMS while watching satellite DMB content.

The B200 is specially designed to reduce power consumption, with continuous DMB viewing for up to three hours. It comes with a built-in 2-megapixel camera, 256MB TransFlash external memory, TV output, and wired and wireless mobile printing.

This new phone is compatible with CDMA 1x EV-DO networks (800MHz/1900MHz) and sports a 2.2" (240x320 pixels) 262k colour TFT-LCD, and 64 polyphonic ringtones. IT measures 106.5 x 52 x 25.9 mm and weighs 174 g.

Mo betta Mac mini - Engadget -

Mo betta Mac mini - Engadget - www.engadget.comMo betta Mac mini

Posted Jul 26, 2005, 9:45 AM ET by Ryan Block
Related entries: Desktops

Mac mini basic/default image

Again, nothing too revolutionary going on with the Mac mini, but they bumped the specs to 1.25GHz /512MB / 40GB/ combo drive on the $499 model, 1.42GHz / 512MB / 80GB / combo / 802.11g / Bluetooth on the $599 model, and 1.42GHz / 512MB / 80GB / SuperDrive / 802.11g / Bluetooth on their new $699 model. Nothing more to see here, move along now.

Apple enhances iBooks and Mac Minis | CNET

Apple enhances iBooks and Mac Minis | CNET News.comApple enhances iBooks and Mac Minis

By Dawn Kawamoto

Story last modified Tue Jul 26 06:43:00 PDT 2005

Apple Computer on Tuesday unveiled updates to its iBooks laptop and Mac Mini lines, including increased memory and built-in wireless technology.

Between the two products, Apple's iBook G4 line features the most changes, including a scrolling TrackPad and sudden-motion sensor that protects the hard drive if the iBook is dropped. The new iBooks feature Power PC G4 processors running at up to 1.42GHz, with double the memory at 512MB.

In addition to increased memory, the new iBooks offer built-in AirPort Extreme--54mbps 802.11g Wi-Fi networking--and Bluetooth 2.0 wireless connectivity. The wireless features also are compatible with Bluetooth 1.2 devices, such as Apple's wireless keyboard and mouse.
Movie magic for Net marketing
Oracle sticks to its guns
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Hasta la Vista, Longhorn
Offering a bounty for security bugs
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The iBook with 12-inch screen and a 1.33GHz PowerPC G4 costs $999, while the model with a 1.42GHz chip and a 14-inch screen is $1,299.

Apple's updated Mac Mini line also has double the memory, offering 512MB in every model. The Mac Mini with a 1.25GHz PowerPC G4 chip will sell for $499.

In addition, Apple is offering a 1.42GHz Mac Mini with built-in AirPort Extreme and Bluetooth wireless networking technology for $599. A version of that machine with DVD- and CD-burning capabilities via a SuperDrive will sell for $699.

All of the new models are available now.

Monday, July 25, 2005 - The World on Your Desktop - The World on Your DesktopThe World on Your Desktop

Google Earth, MSN Virtual Earth combine satellite images with local search information.

Dennis O'Reilly, PC World
Sunday, July 24, 2005

Two new services bring the world to your desktop via satellite images you can pan and zoom to get a bird's-eye view of a travel route, a prospective vacation destination, or maybe just the stomping grounds of your youth. Google Earth and MSN Virtual Earth (the latter site should be live as of Monday, July 25) also tie details about restaurants, shops, schools, and other local spots to the satellite images of your area. Both currently are in beta.

We took a look at both initial releases and found you'll explore farther with Google Earth, which provides medium-resolution images of the entire globe (high resolution for most of the United States and other areas of North America, Europe, and Asia). Virtual Earth's coverage is more limited, but it should soon sport images that look as if they were captured by a camera hovering just above the skyline--truly the next best thing to being there.

It's a Google World After All

Click here for full-size image. Google Earth is a downloadable Windows desktop application that links information from the Google Local service to satellite images from Keyhole, a service the company acquired last October. Its razzle-dazzle graphics require at least a 500-MHz Pentium III PC with 128MB of RAM (512MB recommended) and 200MB of free hard-disk space (2GB recommended). It's free for personal use; the Plus ($20 a year) and Pro ($299 a year) versions add tech support and other options.

Using Google Earth is flat-out fun: You can use your mouse to spin the virtual globe in any direction, or you can enter a place name, an address, or even a description ("best hotel in Manhattan") in the search box under the 'Fly To' tab to zoom like a superhero to that location. The type of info displayed varies depending on which Layers options you choose (you can pinpoint hotels, parks, or even census data, for example). Unfortunately, at present the local-search part of Google Earth doesn't always work well. For example, we entered "Mt. St. Helens" during testing and inexplicably received results for Lincoln, Nebraska.

Virtually Under Construction

Click here for full-size image. MSN Virtual Earth had a much more unfinished feel in the demos I saw: It currently covers only the United States and major Canadian cities, and it offers fewer local-search options than Google Earth. However, the MSN product opens in any browser, and it connects with the MSN Spaces blogging site and other MSN services with a single click, allowing you to e-mail or otherwise share satellite images, maps, and your local-search results with others quickly and simply.

The service's aerial images--to be provided through an agreement with Pictometry--will eventually offer 45-degree-angle views of buildings and other metropolitan locations. Apart from looking neat, the images help you find your way in unfamiliar locales.

CBS 46 Atlanta - CBS 46 First In Local Market To Go Wireless!

CBS 46 Atlanta - CBS 46 First In Local Market To Go Wireless!CBS 46 First In Local Market To Go Wireless!
Jul 25, 2005, 11:55 AM

Atlanta news outlet offers cell phone and PDA users exclusive website for local news, weather, sports, movies and more in a quick, easy- to-download format

ATLANTA (July 25, 2005) – CBS 46, a division of Meredith Broadcasting Group (NYSE: MDP) and Atlanta’s home for America’s most watched network is the first in the market to introduce, a new and easy to download website that sends important information to consumer’s mobile devices. As part of an exclusive initiative to offer consumers pertinent information when and where they need it, CBS 46 has created the new service that offers the latest news, weather, sports, finance and movie listings.


CBS46ToGo is a specially designed version of the award winning website that allows easy and quick access of pertinent information to anyone with Internet or texting capabilities. The site does not include any large graphics, pop-up ads or audio that makes downloading traditional sites very slow. PDAs, cell phones or similar hardware devices can access up to the minute information in a user-friendly format through accessing a specific designed wireless site through Wireless Application Protocol (WAP).

Get the local content you want when you want it
From the home page of, users can select between five main content sections: news, weather, sports, finance and movies. Selecting a section will provide additional information. Weather forecasts are provided by either city or zip code, while a choice of local, state, national and World news is available.

The best things in life are free
As with the full version of the website, consumers are not required to pay any fees, register or enter personal information to access CBS46ToGo. Anyone with a wireless provider’s Internet service is able to access the site. Plus, what's made it even more possible to offer this service without extra cost is the sponsorship of our partner on this project, Tim Stewart Ford .

Who can use CBS46ToGo?
Anyone who has Internet access through their cell phone or PDA can use CBS46ToGo. Road warriors will find the new site provides a great way to stay connected to Atlanta regardless of their location, as they can keep up with the latest Braves scores, weather at home or progress on personal stocks.

About CBS 46
CBS 46 is owned and operated by Meredith Corporation. Meredith Corporation (NYSE: MDP; is one of the nation's leading media and marketing companies with core competencies in magazine and book publishing, television broadcasting, integrated marketing and interactive media. Meredith owns 13 television stations that reach over 9 percent of television households across the country and one radio station: WGCL-TV (CBS), Atlanta; KPHO-TV (CBS), Phoenix, AZ; KPDX-TV (UPN), Portland, OR; KPTV (FOX), Portland, OR; WFSB-TV (CBS), Hartford-New Haven, CT; WSMV-TV (NBC), Nashville, TN; KCTV (CBS), Kansas City, MO; WHNS-TV (FOX), Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson, SC-Asheville, NC; WNEM-TV (CBS), Flint-Saginaw, MI; KVVU-TV (FOX), Las Vegas, NV; WFLI-TV, Chattanooga, TN; WSHM, Springfield, MA; and KFXO-CA (FOX), Bend, OR, and radio station WNEM-AM in Saginaw-Bay City, MI. Meredith also has a joint sales agreement for KSMO-TV (WB) in Kansas City, MO.

For more information, log on to

Surge In Google, Microsoft Profit -

Surge In Google, Microsoft Profit -

Topping the headlines this afternoon, tech giants Google and Microsoft reported strong quarterly results.

Second-quarter earnings nearly quadrupled for Google (nasdaq: GOOG - news - people ). Earnings rose to $1.19 per share, from 30 cents per share a year ago, slightly less than analysts' estimates. The Internet company reported stronger-than-expected sales of $890 million.

Meanwhile, Microsoft (nasdaq: MSFT - news - people ) said its fourth-quarter earnings jumped 37.5% to $3.7 billion to beat Wall Street expectations.

U.S. stocks closed lower amid news of explosions in London similar to those two weeks ago. China revalued the yuan by 2.1%, cutting the currency's decade-old link to the U.S. dollar.

In earnings news, Delta Air Lines (nyse: DAL - news - people ) reported a narrower loss of $388 million for the second quarter. Meanwhile, JetBlue (nasdaq: JBLU - news - people ), America West (nyse: AWA - news - people ) and Alaska Airlines (nyse: ALK - news - people ) reported small profit.

Elsewhere in the airline industry, members of the union representing 20,000 ground workers at bankrupt United Airlines, a division of UAL (otc: UALAQ - news - people ), ratified a five-year contract that saves the carrier $176 million per year.

Shares of Coca-Cola (nyse: KO - news - people ) climbed after it reported higher quarterly earnings. Disappointing news from Merck (nyse: MRK - news - people ) and McDonald's (nyse: MCD - news - people ) sent those stocks lower.

Verizon Wireless Seen Topping Cingular -

Verizon Wireless Seen Topping Cingular -

Market Scan
Verizon Wireless Seen Topping Cingular
07.25.05, 12:40 PM ET

Deutsche Bank reiterated a "buy" rating and $38.50 price target on Verizon Communications (nyse: VZ - news - people ).

According to Deutsche Bank, Verizon Wireless added 1.9 million subscribers in the second quarter, ahead of the research firm's estimate of 1.4 million to 1.5 million and the best quarter in Verizon's history. The data came from Vodafone's (nyse: VOD - news - people ) quarterly key performance indicators release. Verizon Wireless is a joint venture between Verizon Communications and Vodafone.

"Today's performance could also provide a boost to Verizon's group results tomorrow, with the only question being the degree to which better-than-expected wireless performance will offset poor wireline metrics. Following SBC Communications' (nyse: SBC - news - people ) results, it is conceivable that Verizon's access-line loss could exceed 5.5% year-over-year.

The research firm believes that the record performance are due to better-than-expected churn rates. "This highlights the persisting gap between Cingular and Verizon Wireless in terms of ability to simultaneously deliver strong growth, low churn and, we believe, relatively stable average revenue per unit, with Verizon continuing to win a larger share of national industry net adds than Cingular."

Deutsche Bank sees this data as positive for the industry: "With Cingular--1.2 million adds--and Nextel Communications (nasdaq: NXTL - news - people )--550,000 adds--having reported results last week, it now appears that the five national wireless carriers will add closer to 5 million subscribers in the second quarter versus the 4.5 million we had originally expected, and up from 4.8 million last quarter. This would represent the second-best ever quarter for the industry, and should dismiss any fears of a near-term industry slowdown."

Cingular is a joint venture between BellSouth (nyse: BLS - news - people ) and SBC.