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Submission + - Why Moore's Law, not mobility, is killing the PC (networkworld.com)

concealment writes: "After watching my mother-in-law happily troll Facebook and sling emails on her nearly ten-year-old Pentium 4 computer, however, an even more insidious possibility slipped into my head.

Did CPU performance reach a "good enough" level for mainstream users some years back? Are older computers still potent enough to complete an average Joe's everyday tasks, reducing the incentive to upgrade?

"It used to be you had to replace your PC every few years or you were way behind. If you didn't, you couldn't even run the latest software," says Linley Gwennap, the principal analyst at the Linley Group, a research firm that focuses on semiconductors and processors. "Now you can hold onto your PC five, six, seven years with no problem. Yeah, it might be a little slow, but not enough to really show up [in everyday use].""


Submission + - Will Google Go the Way of Microsoft? Ask the FTC (cio.com)

concealment writes: "The biggest threat to Google isn't Apple, Microsoft or Amazon — it's the U.S. government. Within the next several months, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission may sue Google for antitrust violations. If it does, Google will most likely end up like Microsoft after the government filed suit against it in the 1990s — distracted and unable to plan for the future.

The biggest potential antitrust issue is whether Google unfairly manipulates its search results to point at its own services rather than competitors'. So, for example, the suit might charge that Google manipulates search results to direct consumers to Google Places rather than Yelp or to Google Shopping rather than Pricegrabber or Shopzilla. Another potential issue is whether Google's AdWords marketplace discriminates against ads from services that compete with Google's services."


Submission + - How Intel's faith in x86 cost it the mobile market (theregister.co.uk)

concealment writes: "Intel executives continue to claim that the key benefit of x86 is compatibility: with Windows and with the vast library of application software already coded for the platform. Otellini banked on buyers wanting to run that software on their mobile devices too.

May be they do, though there’s no real evidence to show that that’s the case. Certainly, users have exerted little pressure on makers of ARM-based mobile devices to develop x86-based versions that can run Windows and Windows apps. Yes, Microsoft is offering an x86 version of its Surface tablet, but that’s as much about Redmond playing all the angles as a firm sense that some folk don’t want an ARM-based Surface."


Submission + - Why Microsoft Says the Patent System Is Peachy Keen (wired.com)

concealment writes: "In some cases, Microsoft will take calls from outside outfits interested in licensing its patents. RIM or Apple, say, will phone and ask to license Microsoft’s ActiveSync technology, a means of synchronizing email, contacts, and calendar entries across phones and other devices. “That’s a pretty friendly set of discussions,” Kaefer says.

But as he puts it, Microsoft will also “pro-actively” drive licensing deals. “We will go out and look for areas where we see a lot people who are probably using our technology in one form or another,” he says, “and we kinda ask ourselves whether it has risen to a level that we care about and we want to have some conversations.” Basically, this involves a Microsoft lawyer like Kaefer trying to convince lawyers at other companies that their technology infringes on Microsoft patents — and that they should pay to license those patents. According to Kaefer, these discussions can spans months — or even years."


Submission + - Security hole allows takeover of Skype account using only your email address (thenextweb.com)

concealment writes: "A new security hole has been discovered in Microsoft’s Skype that allows anyone to change your password and thus take over your account. The issue was first posted on a Russian forum two months ago and has been confirmed by The Next Web (we have not linked to any of the blogs or posts detailing the exploit because it is very easy to reproduce).

Update: Skype appears to have pulled its password reset page, stopping this flaw in its tracks (Confirmed, read below for details).

We’ve been in touch with Skype over the past few hours to give them a chance to address this vulnerability. The company has informed us it is currently conducting an internal investigation."


Submission + - Analyzing Big Data Is Returning an Edge to Microsoft (nytimes.com)

concealment writes: "Next year’s version of the Excel spreadsheet program, part of the Office suite of software, will be able to comb very large amounts of data. For example, it could scan 12 million Twitter posts and create charts to show which Oscar nominee was getting the most buzz.

Microsoft’s machine-learning software will crawl internal corporate computer systems much the way the company’s Bing search engine crawls the Internet looking for Web sites and the links among them. The idea is to predict which software applications are most likely to fail when seemingly unrelated programs are tweaked.

If its new products work as advertised, Microsoft will find itself in a position it has not occupied for the last few years: relevant to where technology is going.

While researchers at M.S.R. helped develop Bing to compete with Google, the unit was widely viewed as a pretty playground where Bill Gates had indulged his flights of fancy. Now, it is beginning to put Microsoft close to the center of a number of new businesses, like algorithm stores and speech recognition services."


Submission + - Why Windows 8 PCs Look So Darn Different (readwrite.com)

concealment writes: "Industry analysis firm IDC predicts worldwide growth in tablet shipments from 2013 to 2016 to be about 32 million units per year. In the same period, the rate of PC shipment growth will be about 38 million units per year.

For 2013, IDC predicts Windows 8-based tablets will constitute merely 6% of units shipped worldwide. This means, despite all this business about the new Start Screen bridging the functionality gap across platforms, Windows 8 isnâ€t really about tablets. Itâ€s about injecting PCs with the desirability of tablets.

This is why Windows 8 looks so different. While reviewers have raised a ruckus about Microsoft designing the new Start Screen to take over the entire display, making Windows 8 more difficult to use even for veterans, there is a reason why Microsoft did this: For a Windows 8 PC to justify a price point above that of the iPad, it has to look demonstrably different from a Windows 7 PC. You couldnâ€t photograph a Windows 7 machine, put it in a sales brochure, and have it look different from a Windows Vista computer. But you can see Windows 8 from the opposite end of the mall."


Submission + - Now that it's here, is there a place for Windows RT? (arstechnica.com)

concealment writes: "This is a point that takes a while to sink in. Does Windows RT support multiple users? Yes, because Windows 8 does. Does Windows RT support Flash in Internet Explorer 10? Yes, because Windows 8 does. Can Windows RT run Internet Explorer 10 on the desktop as well as in Metro? Yes, because Windows 8 can. Does Windows RT have the same bundled applications, like Mail, Video, Music, Weather, and so on? Yes, because Windows 8 does. Does Windows RT support Bluetooth mice and keyboards, USB hubs? Yes, because Windows 8 does. As a general rule, if Windows 8 has a feature Windows RT has the same feature.

This is not to say that getting Windows running on ARM was a trivial undertaking. Typical ARM SoCs don't use PCI for their integrated peripherals or ATA for their mass storage, and so Windows had to be modified to not require PCI and to support booting from MMC storage. But those changes are now part of core Windows; Windows 8 systems built around Intel's Clover Trail platform will also use MMC."


Submission + - Why desktop users should upgrade from Windows 7 (extremetech.com)

concealment writes: "By designing Windows 8 for tablets, Microsoft was forced to put a lot of effort into streamlining the entire OS for battery-powered, wimpy (Atom and ARM) mobile devices. As a result, Windows 8 boots up faster, and the OS itself consumes less RAM and CPU cycles than Windows 7. For mobile users this means more battery life and snappier performance — but for Desktop users, this means Windows 8 is simply faster than Windows 7."

Submission + - An in-depth look at the Windows 8 API, WinRT (arstechnica.com)

concealment writes: "Windows 8 supports all the traditional Windows applications that have been developed over past decades. But the centerpiece of Windows 8 is not its support for legacy applications. With Windows 8, Microsoft wants to develop a whole new ecosystem of applications: touch-friendly, secure, fluidly animated. The new aesthetic was known as Metro, though rumored legal issues have chased the company away from that particular name. These new applications aren't built with the time-honored Windows APIs of yore. They're built with something new: the "Windows Runtime," aka "WinRT."

WinRT isn't just a new library, though it is that in part. More so, it's a whole new infrastructure for building and assembling Windows programs. If Windows 8 is successful—and more specifically, if Metro apps flourish—WinRT will be the foundation on which Windows apps are built for decades to come."

Take your work seriously but never take yourself seriously; and do not take what happens either to yourself or your work seriously. -- Booth Tarkington