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Microsoft Patents XML Word Processing Documents 357

theodp writes "Embrace. Extend. Patent. On Tuesday, Microsoft was granted US Patent No. 7,571,169 for its 'invention' of the Word-processing document stored in a single XML file that may be manipulated by applications that understand XML. Presumably developers are protected by Microsoft's 'covenant not to sue,' so the biggest question raised by this patent is: How in the world was it granted in light of the 40-year history of document markup languages? Next thing you know, the USPTO will give Microsoft a patent for Providing Emergency Data in XML format. Oops, too late."

Did Gates Fib About H1-B Salaries? 345

netbuzz writes "While in Washington last year lobbying for higher H1-B visa limits, Bill Gates told David Broder of the Washington Post that Microsoft starts such workers at about $100,000. An analysis by one offshoring critic suggests that's not true. If his analysis is correct, it would undermine part of the case for lifting H1-B ceilings.

Birmingham Drops Open Source Initiative 275

eldavojohn writes "Birmingham, England put a stop to a half million pound project to put Linux and open source applications on library access PCs across the city. From the article, 'The council planned to roll out Linux software and applications on 1,500 desktops in libraries across the city, but in the end went no further than a 200-desktop project. Several industry watchers have voiced their concerns about the project, particularly around the number of PCs rolled out. Birmingham's expenditure averaged over 2,500 pounds per PC.' Why did they stop after 200 PCs? Because they claimed with Windows, the project would have been 100,000 pounds cheaper. One may wonder if they paid for initial training of their workforce making the first 200 more expensive than the rest but the article does not say whether or not this occurred."

Microsoft Changes Office 2007 Interface Again 300

daria42 writes "Microsoft has modified its interface for Office 2007 yet again, after complaints from beta testers that the 'ribbon' system took up too much space on screen. The article discusses the resistance the new interface is likely to prompt in old users of the software, both at a personal and corporate level. From a format perspective, there are other changes to expect as well." From the article: "Hodgson also confirmed that Microsoft is working on tools to help enterprises automatically translate existing documents into new file formats being introduced in Office 2007. 'We've been asked by a lot of customers to provide tools to do mass migrations,' he said. 'There will be tools that will take a million documents and migrate those to the new formats.' One likely incentive for that migration will be reduced storage costs. Microsoft claims that file sizes for the new Office 2007 XML-based formats are up to 75 percent less than existing Office formats."

ISPs Offer Faster Speeds, Why Don't We Get Them? 688

Ron Williams asks: "I'm infuriated every time I see that companies are raising their speeds when they can't maintain their current speeds. Here's my biggest issue: my grandmother signed up for the 3Mbps DSL plan through Verizon, however a speed test said she was only getting 750Kbps. Why pay for the extra bandwidth when she's not getting it? She downgraded to the 768K plan expecting to still have 750K. Wrong, instead her speed dropped to 300K. So, how about instead of companies constantly claiming to increase their speeds, they get their actual speeds correct. Comcast has done the same thing, I had their 6Mbps plan at one point, I got 2.5Mbps usually and sometimes 3Mbps, so they're all doing the same thing. In closing, with all these speed increases, why is my Internet not getting faster?" What practices and tools do you use to test your bandwidth speed and how have you approached your ISP when the performance repeatedly fell short of your expectations?

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