Contact Me By Email

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Microsoft Expands Effort to Protect Nonprofit Groups -

Image representing Microsoft as depicted in Cr...Image via CrunchBaseMicrosoft Expands Effort to Protect Nonprofit Groups -
MOSCOW — Microsoft is vastly expanding its efforts to prevent governments from using software piracy inquiries as a pretext to suppress dissent. It plans to provide free software licenses to more than 500,000 advocacy groups, independent media outlets and other nonprofit organizations in 12 countries with tightly controlled governments, including Russia and China.
With the new program in place, authorities in these countries would have no legal basis for accusing these groups of installing pirated Microsoft software.
Microsoft began overhauling its antipiracy policy after The New York Times reported last month that private lawyers retained by the company had often supported law enforcement officials in Russia in crackdowns on outspoken advocacy groups and opposition newspapers.
At first, Microsoft responded to the article by apologizing and saying it would focus on protecting these organizations in Russia from such inquiries.
But it is now extending the program to other countries: eight former Soviet republics — Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan — as well as China, Malaysia and Vietnam. Microsoft executives said they would consider adding more.
“We clearly have a very strong interest in ensuring that any antipiracy activities are being done for the purpose of reducing illegal piracy, and not for other purposes,” said Nancy J. Anderson, a deputy general counsel and vice president at Microsoft. “Under the terms of our new nongovernmental organization software license, we will definitely not have any claims and not pursue any claims against nongovernmental organizations.”
Software piracy inquiries against advocacy groups and media outlets in other former Soviet republics are less common than in Russia, but they have occurred. This year, the police in Kyrgyzstan raided an independent television station, and its employees said a lawyer retained by Microsoft had played a role.
In China, experts said they were not aware of many cases. They pointed out that if the security services wanted to hound or close advocacy groups, they had many other ways of doing so.
But China has been a minefield for American technology companies, including Microsoft, Yahoo and Google, which have grappled with the country’s Internet censorship, and it appears that Microsoft is hoping to avoid new controversies there.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Microsoft Ad Trashes - PCWorld

Microsoft Ad Trashes - PCWorld
A recent Microsoft video suggests the company considers a significant threat to its own Office suite.
Titled "A Few Perspectives on," the video features a series of horror stories from customers who tried the open-source productivity suite and suffered from excess costs as well as IT resources, performance and compatibility issues.
A series of customer quotes flashes across the screen in the slickly animated video, read aloud by a series of unseen narrators. "If an open-source freeware solution breaks, who's going to fix it?" according to a statement ascribed to a school district official in the U.S.
"When we returned to Microsoft Office after our experience with OpenOffice, you could practically hear a collective sigh of relief across the entire district," states another comment attributed to a U.S. school system official.
Obviously Microsoft is feeling the pain of losing some of its dominance in the office suite category of software. I recommend that my college students download Open Office all the time. I have never received any complaints or experienced a problem with their files. I have used Open Office, Microsoft Office 2007 and 2008 (Mac) as well as Apple's iWorks suite and found that Open Office correctly opened some Word files that iWork's Pages cannot handle. I highly recommend using Open Office. Microsoft is running scared and they should.
John H. Armwood

Skype 5.0 delivers video conferencing, Facebook integration | The Download Blog -

Skype 5.0 delivers video conferencing, Facebook integration | The Download Blog -
Popular and preeminent VOIP service Skype has wooed its fair share of people with an itch to ditch the landline and an Internet connection, especially those with international contacts. Today, the service is launching its latest update in the hopes of wooing even more customers and keeping the current ones happy. Skype 5.0 features a streamlined interface, Facebok integration, and video conferencing functionality.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Apple overtakes Acer, gets 10.6% US computer market share | Electronista

Image representing Apple as depicted in CrunchBaseImage via CrunchBaseApple overtakes Acer, gets 10.6% US computer market share | Electronista

Apple achieved a rare feat and outsold Acer in the US this summer, new IDC estimates showed today. The company is estimated to have shipped almost exactly 2 million Macs just to the US in the quarter, beating out the combined Acer and Gateway's 1.95 million. Apple grew more than twice as quickly as any other US vendor, reaching 10.6 percent of the market after it shipped about 24.1 percent more Macs over the same time last year.
Acer's 10.3 percent was a rare decline for the Taiwan PC builder and represented its backlog of unsold inventory as it overestimated demand for its mostly low-end notebooks and netbooks. HP and Dell also lost share despite holding on to the top two spots at 24.3 percent and 23.1 percent, while Toshiba's growth rate hasn't been enough to keep up with Apple and left it in fifth place at 8.4 percent.
The iPad had definite impact on the US market as a whole, IDC VP Bob O'Donnell said: it not only had "some negative impact" on netbooks by leading buyers away but created a halo effect around the Mac.
Worldwide, Apple wasn't enough to register in the top five during the summer, but top three system makers HP, Acer and Dell all lost share, dropping to 17.7 percent, 13 percent and 12.5 percent each. The fastest movers were China-focused Lenovo (10.3 percent) and ASUS (5.4 percent) while Toshiba only advanced slightly to 5.2 percent.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Office Updates Fix Vulnerabilities in Word, Excel - PCWorld

Image representing Microsoft as depicted in Cr...Image via CrunchBaseOffice Updates Fix Vulnerabilities in Word, Excel - PCWorld
Microsoft rolled out a trio of updates on Tuesday that fix security vulnerabilities in its last two Office productivity suites.
According to security bulletins posted by the software giant, the vulnerabilities involve the Word and Excel components of Office. In both cases, the reported vulnerabilities could have allowed remote code execution if a user opened specially crafted Word or Excel files. The security update fixes 11 vulnerabilities in Word and 13 in Excel, Microsoft says.
Affected Mac products include Office 2004, Office 2008, and Open XML File Format Converter for Mac, which lets users open files created in Office 2008 in earlier versions of the productivity suite.
Office 2008 for Mac 12.2.7 weighs in at 333MB and requires OS X 10.4.9 or later. In addition to the security fixes, the Office 2008 update also promises stability improvements involving Excel crashes at launch and improved reliability for when Entourage connects with a Microsoft Exchange Server.
As for the other updates released Tuesday, Office 2004 for Mac 11.6.1 is a 16MB update that runs on OS X 10.2.8 or later. Open XML File Format Converter for Mac 1.1.7 is a 45MB update.
In addition to the three security updates, Microsoft on Tuesday also released a 64MB update for Microsoft Entourage 2008 for Mac, Web Services Edition. The release notes promise calendaring improvements as well as the ability to synchronize notes, tasks, and categories with Exchange Server. Microsoft says the update also enables logging that can be used for diagnostic purposes.
Later this month, Microsoft will ship a massive overhaul to its collection of productivity applications. Office for Mac Home and Student 2011 will feature new versions of Excel, Word, PowerPoint, and Messenger, while Office for Mac Home and Business will offer those updates plus the new Outlook for Mac 2001.

The Google Business Model : NPR

The Google Business Model : NPR

Monday, October 11, 2010

Windows Phone 7: Microsoft Antes Up in Smartphone Race - PCWorld

Image representing Microsoft as depicted in Cr...Image via CrunchBaseWindows Phone 7: Microsoft Antes Up in Smartphone Race - PCWorld
Microsoft's CEO Steve Ballmer officially launched the Windows Phone 7 mobile operating system Monday and announced nine new phones and partnerships with wireless carriers. It's a landmark moment for Microsoft that needs to prove its Windows-centric phones, with links to Microsoft Office, Xbox Live, and a nascent library of apps, can woo the masses away from Apple, Android, and BlackBerry-based phones. The first handsets with the new OS will be available November 8, said Ballmer.
Here at a press event in New York City Ballmer did his best to make the case the Windows Phone 7 smartphone platform has legs and will carve out an ample niche in the smartphone market it has yet to crack.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Smarter Than You Think - Google Cars Drive Themselves, in Traffic -

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...Image via CrunchBaseSmarter Than You Think - Google Cars Drive Themselves, in Traffic -
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — Anyone driving the twists of Highway 1 between San Francisco and Los Angeles recently may have glimpsed a Toyota Prius with a curious funnel-like cylinder on the roof. Harder to notice was that the person at the wheel was not actually driving.
The car is a project of Google, which has been working in secret but in plain view on vehicles that can drive themselves, using artificial-intelligence software that can sense anything near the car and mimic the decisions made by a human driver.
With someone behind the wheel to take control if something goes awry and a technician in the passenger seat to monitor the navigation system, seven test cars have driven 1,000 miles without human intervention and more than 140,000 miles with only occasional human control. One even drove itself down Lombard Street in San Francisco, one of the steepest and curviest streets in the nation. The only accident, engineers said, was when one Google car was rear-ended while stopped at a traffic light.
Autonomous cars are years from mass production, but technologists who have long dreamed of them believe that they can transform society as profoundly as the Internet has.
Robot drivers react faster than humans, have 360-degree perception and do not get distracted, sleepy or intoxicated, the engineers argue. They speak in terms of lives saved and injuries avoided — more than 37,000 people died in car accidents in the United States in 2008. The engineers say the technology could double the capacity of roads by allowing cars to drive more safely while closer together. Because the robot cars would eventually be less likely to crash, they could be built lighter, reducing fuel consumption. But of course, to be truly safer, the cars must be far more reliable than, say, today’s personal computers, which crash on occasion and are frequently infected.
The Google research program using artificial intelligence to revolutionize the automobile is proof that the company’s ambitions reach beyond the search engine business. The program is also a departure from the mainstream of innovation in Silicon Valley, which has veered toward social networks and Hollywood-style digital media.