IMHO it is a cultural difference, not a user interface difference, not a graphical interface difference, and sure not aesthetics driven. A bit more like talking about user behaviour design vs. graphical design, this is years of innovation on Apple's side that Microsoft has not grasped yet.
An anonymous reader writes "The music industry is still pushing Choruss, a controversial blanket-licensing scheme, but it is far less innovative than first described. Six colleges are setting it up now, but they refuse to have their names released because the issue is a political landmine — and who wants to be associated with the recording industry?"
The same rule applies for Film but they decide how much investment is worth by doing a few "research" studies where they measure how likely you are to tell your friends, how excited you are before the movie to watch it and if you like it or not along with few other parameters. If those factors are positive then they put the major money and go for a full on marketing, otherwise they do invest less as they know the life cycle on the theaters will be really short.
HangingChad writes "Dell has retired their 12-inch Intel Atom-powered netbooks, they said today. The official reason — 'It really boils down to this: for a lot of customers, 10-inch displays are the sweet spot for netbooksLarger notebooks require a little more horsepower to be really useful.' Or is the real reason that 12-inch displays on netbooks cut into Intel's more profitable dual-core market and Dell's profit margins on higher-end machines?"
Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times reports that computer science students with the entrepreneurial spirit may want to look for a different major, because if Thomas M. Siebel, founder of Siebel Systems, is right, IT is a mature industry that will grow no faster than the larger economy, its glory days having ended in 2000. Addressing Stanford students in February as a guest of the engineering school, Siebel called attention to 20 sweet years from 1980 to 2000, when worldwide IT spending grew at a compounded annual growth rate of 17 percent. 'All you had to do was show up and not goof it up,' Siebel says. 'All ships were rising.' Since 2000, however, that rate has averaged only 3 percent. His explanation for the sharp decline is that 'the promise of the post-industrial society has been realized.' In Siebel's view, far larger opportunities are to be found in businesses that address needs in food, water, health care and energy. Though Silicon Valley was 'where the action was' when he finished graduate school, he says, 'if I were graduating today, I would get on a boat and I would get off in Shanghai.'"
The Opposable Thumbs blog reports on a confluence of rumors and information leaks that suggest Sony will be unveiling a PS3 Slim sooner rather than later. Despite waning console sales, orders for PS3-related hardware have risen sharply. There's evidence to suggest that Sony is phasing out its 80GB model, which would help clear the way for a hardware revision. Some expect the official announcement to come as early as August 18th, during the gamescom expo in Germany.
Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times has a story on the culture of secrecy at Apple (registration possibly required). Secrecy is not just the prevailing communications strategy; it is baked into the corporate culture that had its origin in the release of the first Macintosh. 'It really started around trying to keep the surprise aspect to product launches, which can have a lot of power,' says marketing veteran Regis McKenna who advised Apple in its early days. Today few companies are more secretive than Apple, or as punitive to those who dare violate the company's rules on keeping tight control over information. Employees have been fired for leaking news tidbits to outsiders, and the company has been known to spread disinformation about product plans to its own workers and sue bloggers who cover the company. Apple's decision to severely limit communication with the news media, shareholders, and the public is at odds with the approach taken by many other companies, and many experts agree that the secrecy that adds surprise and excitement to Apple product announcements is not serving the company well in corporate governance. Some say that recent reports that Steve Jobs may have had a liver transplant, still not confirmed by the company, now makes one of Apple's assertions from January — that Jobs was suffering only from a hormonal imbalance — seem like a deliberate untruth."
digitalderbs writes "A problem plaguing most people with multiple computers is the arduous task of synchronizing files between them: documents, pictures, code, or data. Everyone seems to have their own strategies, whether they involve USB drives, emailed attachments, rsync, or a distributed management system, all of which have varying degrees of success in implementing fast synchronization, interoperability, redundancy and versioning, and encryption. Myself, I've used unison for file synchronization and rsnapshot for backups between two Linux servers and a Mac OS X laptop. I've recently considered adding some sophistication by implementing a version control system like subversion, git, or bazaar, but have found some shortcomings in automating commits and pushing updates to all systems. What system do you use to manage your home directories, and how have they worked for you for managing small files (e.g. dot configs) and large (gigabyte binaries of data) together?"
Combat Wombat sends the news that the government in Australia has begun waffling on whether country-wide Internet censorship will be mandatory. "The Rudd Government has indicated that it may back away from its mandatory Internet filtering plan. Communications Minister Stephen Conroy today told a Senate estimates committee that the filtering scheme could be implemented by a voluntary industry code. ... [The shadow communications minister] said he had never heard of a voluntary mandatory system. ... Senator Conroy's statement is a departure from the internet filtering policy Labor took into the October 2007 election to make it mandatory for ISPs to block offensive and illegal content." The censorship plan, which has been called "worse than Iran," was bypassed even before trials started. A minister's defection may have effectively blocked any chance of implementation.
1sockchuck writes "Apple is planning a major East Coast data center to boost the capacity of its online operations, and may invest more than $1 billion in building and operating the huge server farm. That's nearly twice what Google and Microsoft typically invest in their massive cloud computing centers. The scope of the project raises interesting questions about Apple's plans, and has politicians in North Carolina jumping through hoops to pass incentives to win the project. The proposed NC incentives build on a package for Google that later proved controversial."
An anonymous reader sends word that a trial has opened in Paris that could shut down Scientology in France. The organization stands accused of targeting vulnerable people for commercial gain. Scientology does not have the status of a religion there, as it does in the US, and anti-cult groups have pursued it vigorously over more than 30 years. The current case is based on complaints filed by two women in December 1998 and July 1999. Three other former members who had initially joined the complaint have withdrawn after "reaching a financial arrangement with church officials." If convicted, the seven top Scientologists in France face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of €1M. The Church of Scientology-Celebrity Centre and its Scientology Freedom Space bookshop not only face a much larger fine but also run the risk of being shut down completely.
StikyPad was one of several readers letting us know that Psystar has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. We've discussed the Mac clone maker's battles with Apple extensively. The company apparently has over $250,000US in debt, and states that it cannot turn a profit in the current economy. "The Chapter 11 filing will temporarily suspend Apple's copyright infringement suit against Psystar, which is currently before the US District Court of Northern California. But once the bankruptcy protection is sorted out, the copyright case will resume." And PC Mag is reporting that, on the other side of the Atlantic, two new clone companies are just getting started. Like PsyStar, FreedomPC and RussianMac promise to deliver PCs with OS X preloaded.
stevel writes "The owner of games site GamesByEmail.com created Dice-O-Matic, 'a machine that can belch a continuous river of dice down a spiraling ramp, then elevate, photograph, process and upload almost a million and a half rolls to the server a day. ... The Dice-O-Matic is 7 feet tall, 18 inches wide and 18 inches deep. It has an aluminum frame covered with Plexiglas panels. A 6x4 inch square Plexiglas tube runs vertically up the middle almost the entire height. Inside this tube a bucket elevator carries dice from a hopper at the bottom, past a camera, and tosses them onto a ramp at the top. The ramp spirals down between the tube and the outer walls. The camera and synchronizing disk are near the top, the computer, relay board, elevator motor and power supplies are at the bottom.' While not called out in the article, the pictures clearly show a Dell Mini 9 running the show (and performing the optical recognition of the dice values.) No, it's not running Linux."
theodp writes "CNET reports that Cuil (pronounced 'Cool'), a startup founded by the husband-and-wife team of Xift creator Tom Costello and former Google search architect Anna Patterson, is launching a new search engine today that claims to index three times as many Web pages as Google." Running a few searches left me underwhelmed with the content of the results (hitting the next-page button on a search with a listed 62,200,000 results — for "seattle" — got me the unexpected error message "We didn't find any results for 'seattle.'"), but pleased with the actual layout of the results when it worked, so I hope the kinks are worked out. Update 7/28 18:30 GMT by SM: corrected Tom Costello's accreditation, he wasn't a professor at Stanford as the linked story suggests, just did some research there as a grad student. Thanks to the Stanford CS department for pointing this out.
An anonymous reader writes "The Patent and Trademark Office has now made clear that its newly developed position on patentable subject matter will invalidate many and perhaps most software patents, including pioneering patent claims to such innovators as Google, Inc. In a series of cases including In re Nuijten, In re Comiskey and In re Bilski, the Patent and Trademark Office has argued in favor of imposing new restrictions on the scope of patentable subject matter set forth by Congress in article 101 of the Patent Act. In the most recent of these three — the currently pending en banc Bilski appeal — the Office takes the position that process inventions generally are unpatentable unless they 'result in a physical transformation of an article' or are 'tied to a particular machine.'"