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Microsoft

+ - Microsoft Patents Digital Money->

Submitted by
morlock_man
morlock_man writes "Microsoft has sucessfully patented a sharable digital media economy that would allow the average consumer to buy and sell digital media. United States Patent 20070136608: Off-line economies for digital media Having finally secured a patent for money, the root of all evil, Bill Gates can rest easy with the knowledge that Microsoft is truly, and for all time, the Evil Empire."
Link to Original Source
Google

+ - Google And Privacy - what is to be done

Submitted by
tqft
tqft writes "EU beats on google.

Google whimpers and says sorry we will fix it.

But that is only the start. You didn't think the problem is now solved and has gone away — did you?

"Is Google just the tip of the iceberg of concerns about online privacy? "
http://technology.guardian.co.uk/opinion/story/0,, 2107262,00.html ...
"But arguing over whether discussion should focus on the worst offender, versus a general industry indictment, can be a distraction from the need to implement privacy protections which cannot be easily ignored."

http://sethf.com/infothought/blog/
http://sethf.com/infothought/blog/archives/001218. html
http://sethf.com/infothought/blog/mt-comments.cgi? entry_id=1218"
Quickies

+ - Study Says Eldest Children Have Higher I.Q.s->

Submitted by
Ant
Ant writes "The New York Times (registration should not be needed) says the eldest children in families tend to develop slightly higher intelligence quotients (I.Q.s) than their younger siblings that researchers are reporting. It is based on a large study that could effectively settle more than a half-century of scientific debate about the relationship between I.Q. and birth order. The difference in I.Q. between siblings was a result of family dynamics, not biological factors like changes in gestation caused by repeated pregnancies, the study found... Seen on Blue's News."
Link to Original Source
Microsoft

+ - Is it possible Microsoft could be on a decline?

Submitted by SubliminalVortex
SubliminalVortex (942332) writes "It has taken many years for Microsoft to become a very prominent player in the software industry for home users; their most powerful ally in the early days was their operating system and the cooperation of the hardware vendors.

Windows Vista; however, seems to be a difficult sell to some home users, since they have purchased computers containing (or have existing) hardware (in some cases specialized hardware). Most cases I've seen directly involved the hardware not being supported by the operating system. A co-worker recently paid over $5k for a workstation from Dell with Vista whose operating system didn't support his pre-installed optical drives. It was eventually corrected by having new drives with Vista dirvers installed on his machine.

I've recently put together a new AMD 4600+ machine with some nice hardware and I've been afraid to install Vista; especially since one of my pieces of hardware doesn't have a Vista driver. (I need my digitizing pad for drawing and photo editing.)

Perhaps the smaller niche market hardware vendors went through a lot of pain to support XP. It really is annoying when an OS vendor changes the 'driver' model and you have a small niche shop creating hardware that has to 'keep up' or be left behind. Perhaps some of that niche market really does have a need to keep the old machines behind; alternatively people are just comfortable where they're at.

I think Windows NT 3.5 and 4.0 were revolutionary; Windows 2000 was a great advancement beyond that. With Windows XP, they managed to get everything wrapped up in one "neat little package" that was easy to install, use and was stable.

If an end-user has a business that depends on third party hardware, and that hardware doesn't update their drivers because the operating system changes their model, then why would that end-user upgrade? Perhaps these vendors could be coerced to upgrade their drivers, but for small shop hardware vendors, what to do? Especially if these small shops aren't around anymore.

Without a good consensus of what hardware is still in use and on what operating system won't be able to answer that question. I wonder how many people opted to go for Windows Vista and were disappointed; especially those who bought hardware system or upgraded only the RAM and hard-drive space, only to find out their favorite hardware (specialized or not) didn't have a Vista driver. A lot of good a computer is to a person who uses it for photo editing if their tablet doesn't have a Vista driver, but it works wonders in Windows XP.

Why should an Operating System vendor require a hardware vendor to re-design their drivers for their new OS? Is it because the original design is insecure or is it because it is of their "ease of use" internally.

It's understood that things need to change over time; but if you're going to pull the rug out from under peoples' feet, let them know ahead of time. Even the small potatoes; I suppose they grew so big, they didn't even remember the potatoes had eyes.

I think that Vista might be a bullet MS has to swallow. Perhaps my opinion, but I think that Windows 95 had a heck of a lot more user support for it's launch (and the 12:00am opening night for retail outlets).

I had to use a Windows Vista machine once and its UI was so "foreign" it took me a lot of clicking to find out how to change the resolution settings. (I'll admit, I'm a developer, so I'm used to 'control panel'.) Not to mention that even launching control panel applets required the OS to ask you whether or not you wanted them to run. You know, with code signing and all of the other cruft thrown in, this was the most *useless* thing I could think could ever happen. How does an OS allow a 'trusted' control panel applet to be installed and then ask for your permission to run it? Let me guess, the applet was from a 3rd party video card manufacturer and they didn't know all the rules necessary to create a driver that would be entirely 'trusted'. This is just rediculous.

Since Windows 95, I've known several people who have "turned off" the eye-candy windows had to provide and just used the OS to do what it did best; run applications. I know that since I've been used to Windows 95, I've kept the same UI settings (once I determined them) to keep my Windows XP looking and acting just like Windows 95.

I tend to think that some people may not need a version of windows that offers 'eye candy' along with its purported security. I suppose by ensuring that all hardware vendors develop new drivers for their new OS ensures that security; however, there is no guarantee they are all in business. I tend to think that Vista will not necessarily fail, but certaily will be crippled in the hardware arena. After all, do hardware vendors really need to spend the time and effort re-writing drivers that already work well on a thriving OS?

...and what's wrong with *fixing* the thriving OS instead of abandoning it?

With other players on the market like Red Hat and Ubuntu, I think they can make a serious dent in the Server and End-user markets, respectively, as long as they don't make the same mistakes; however, they do have to play "driver" catch-up; but, that's no stranger to Windows Vista either.

I tend to think that Microsoft (well, they don't have all their eggs in one basket, good for them) in the computer arena, is on the decline. Others are starting to eat their lunch."
Sci-Fi

+ - Stargate SG1 Finale->

Submitted by
Probatus
Probatus writes "Well the series finale of Stargate SG-1 just aired on the Space Network. (Space is the Canadian equivalent to the Sci-fi network) I am not going to write any spoilers but will tell you that the episode; much like most SG-1 episodes is good, starts and ends basically in the same fashion as the rest of the episodes — the team is faced with another disaster and manages to resolve the situation with no (or in this case very little) repercussions. It is better than the finale of the Sopranos."
Link to Original Source
Software

+ - A New Browser War, Without the War?

Submitted by DECS
DECS (891519) writes "RDM chronicles the arrival of the web browser from the Origins of the Web with NCSA's Mosaic to the Web Browser Wars of Netscape Internet Explorer and a recent Web Browser Renaissance: Firefox and Safari. Can browsers exist without proprietary warfare? And does Apple have more in mind than just putting its browser on Windows? Cuckoo for Cocoa: Is Safari on Windows the next iTunes?"
Microsoft

+ - Microsoft opens tree-house office->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Citing the fact that 10 percent of British workers would like to work from a park or their garden, the Mobile Out Of Office (MOOF, what a great acronym) folks at Microsoft have decided to open what they claim on their blog to be the first ever public "tree-office" in London's Pimlico Gardens. With the announcement comes the first compelling reason to work for M$. More information found on the divisions blog here"
Link to Original Source
Programming

+ - Practical ways to improve bad progammers 2

Submitted by walt101
walt101 (1118595) writes "There is plenty of material around stating how to spot bad programmers — the question I've got is how to improve them. Some companies (such as mine) have a culture of personal development; in other words, it's impossible to just sack someone unless you've proven they can't do their job after training. What are the practical techniques to instill a deep-routed approach to structured programming, defensiveness, etc, to a colleague who's happy to cobble together brittle, monolithic code?"

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