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Microsoft

Microsoft Phasing Out Office Starter Edition 132

nk497 writes "Microsoft has started phasing out its Office 2010 Starter edition, ahead of the arrival of Windows 8. Office Starter was included in the OEM pre-installation kit (OPK) of software sent to manufacturers, and included ad-supported versions of Word and Excel, but not Outlook or PowerPoint. That will be replaced with an Office 2010 Transition OPK, which will instead push users to download a trial of the Office suite and offer a link to buy the full version. The free Office Web Apps will also be available for users not wanting the full version."
United States

Bryson Crash Reveals Threat of Headless Government 308

Hugh Pickens writes "According to Business Week, the traffic accident that left U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson unconscious and alone in his bashed-up Lexus on June 9 raises questions about why the 10th official in line to succeed the president was left so vulnerable. It also highlights potential gaps in security for senior U.S. government officials, who receive varying levels of protection. 'They lost track of him,' says James Carafano, a terrorism scholar at the Heritage Foundation. 'Post 9/11, that's a bit of a head scratcher.' Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who are high in the line of succession and have national-security responsibilities, are provided protection 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but other federal officials, even in cabinet-level positions or other top posts, often travel without the security details that even a big-city mayor or state governor would be provided. Threats to cabinet-level officials aren't overblown, says Norman Ornstein, a congressional scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, who has urged that the government revamp its succession plans and says a nuclear bomb hidden in a suitcase detonated in Washington could leave a headless government. 'The lack of interest in continuity may stem from the same reasons some smart people refuse to create wills, even though failure to do so leaves behind horrific messes for their loved ones,' writes Ornstein. 'Yet the threat is real. Our leaders' failure to establish plans to ensure that our Constitution survives is irresponsible.'"
Google

Google Touts Worker Tracking As Own CEO Goes MIA 272

theodp writes "On Thursday, Google announced a product that enables a business to see where all its workers are at all times. Called Maps Coordinate, it combines a paid-for business version of Google's standard maps product with an application downloaded to a worker's smartphone, creating a real-time record of worker locations. Ironically, Google touted its worker tracking solution on the very same day that CEO Larry Page was a surprise no-show at Google's Annual Shareholder Meeting, leaving Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt to explain his absence. Schmidt explained that Page had lost his voice and, as a result, would likely also miss next week's I/O conference and possibly next month's quarterly earnings call. While a Google spokeswoman declined to comment further on Page's condition, Schmidt added that Page will continue as CEO while he recovers. So, why not reassure those worried about the situation by publicly tracking Page's location via Maps Coordinate? After all, Google's a true believer in eating its own dog food, right?"

Comment Re:It's the advertising out of control (Score 1) 135

It's probably because Disqus is using web-tracking-like technology (third-party cross-site scripts?) to do the comment display, and some of the adblock plus filter subscriptions block those things whenever possible. I had to set ghostery to have an exception for disqus if I wanted to read the comments on any page with Disqus commenting system on it.

Google

How Steve Jobs Changed Google Plus 243

Anthony_Cargile writes "Everyone thinks of Google Plus as a social networking website competing with Facebook, but that is no longer the case — even Google recognizes its failure in that regard. But in a meeting with Sergey Brin and Larry Page shortly before his death, Steve Jobs gave key advice as to what direction to take their company with regards to Google Plus, as is evidenced by their controversial new 'umbrella' privacy policy that went in effect this year. Privacy advocates beware, as the problem is almost certainly worse than ever anticipated."
Programming

Ruby, Clojure, Ceylon: Same Goal, Different Results 138

snydeq writes "Charles Nutter, Rich Hickey, and Gavin King each discovered that 'simplicity' doesn't mean the same thing as they developed Ruby, Clojure, and Ceylon, respectively. 'Languages that are created with similar goals in mind may yield highly disparate final results, depending on how their communities understand those goals,' writes Andrew Oliver. 'At first, it surprised me that each language's creator directly or indirectly identified simplicity as his goal, as well as how differently the three creators and their languages' communities define what simplicity is. For Ruby, it is about a language that feels natural and gets out of your way to do what you want. For Clojure, it is about keeping the language itself simple. For Ceylon, it is a compromise between enabling the language to help, in King's words, "communicating algorithms to humans" and providing proper tooling support: the same general goal, three very different results.'"
Books

The Kindle is Getting Support For HTML5 123

Nate the greatest writes "It looks like Amazon won't be adopting Epub after all. [Thursday] Amazon released some technical details on the new Kindle ebook format, which they are calling Kindle 8. There are a lot of interesting changes to the file, including new formatting and SVG images. The new tags are going to open up a whole lot of new possibilities for making Kindle ebooks."
Microsoft

Microsoft Killed the Start Menu Because No One Uses It 862

An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft recently killed the Start Menu, and their explanation for it seems fairly straightforward: no one used it. This may be a bit of an exaggeration, but Microsoft explains that use of the Start menu dipped by 11 percent between Windows Vista and Windows 7, with many specialized Start functions — such as exploring pictures — declining as much as 61 percent."

Comment Re:I recommend ... (Score 1) 687

It's the usual clauses... "Socially Responsible Behavior includes, but is not limited to:" also known as, we can decide you broke a policy whether or not it's actually written. A great many school behavior policies include similar language, allowing school authorities to add things not previously written.

He didn't break any laws, but most policies are much less specific than law. He's just lucky they didn't include "these policies may change at any time, with or without notice".

Comment Defeatism (Score 1) 751

"1. Terrorists will find another way around it anyway."

This is a silly argument that one often sees nowadays. Of course no measure we take will be perfect, and the terrorists will exploit whatever gaps we leave in the protection, but the point is not to create a perfect system, but to make it more difficult for the terrorists so that there will be fewer attacks.

One might as well argue against equipping cars with door locks, since thieves can and do find ways around them. The point is to make it more difficult for them, so a large number of potential evil-doers will give up before they start.

Comment 20 years too late (Score 1) 596

Bill Atkinson outlined a plan for a "magic slate" in his "HyperCard Handbook" over 20 years ago.

The Newton was a step in that direction, as was Sony's MagicLink; after that (about 1995) nothing happened.

I agree with those who say that the smartphones have made such devices seem to be too little, too late.

At this point, what would a "magic slate" do that a smartphone with a larger screen, larger hd, and wifi capability couldn't/wouldn't do?

Comment Re:What wired equivalent means (Score 1) 274

In our company, our network security means that even if you did get into the building and plug directly into the wired network, you still cannot see any of the networked PCs or network drives. You only get internet access. This makes it very convenient for visitors who come into the building for the day and need outside access.

Wireless works the same way. It's secure, but even if someone did break into it (we broadcast outside the building so you can go sit outside and work with a laptop if you wanted) they still can't access any data.

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