Overly Critical Guy writes: Auto makers are launching a universal EV charger that charges an electric vehicle in 15 to 20 minutes. The standard, called Combined Charging System, has been approved by the Society of Automative Engineers and ACEA, the European association of vehicle manufacturers, as the standard for fast-charging electric vehicles.
Overly Critical Guy writes: British Prime Minister David Cameron will announce network-filtering plans targeted at porn websites, possibly requiring users to 'opt-in' with their ISP to access such content. The idea has support from MP Claire Perry, who said, 'There is a "hands off our internet" movement that sees any change in how access is delivered as censorship.'
Overly Critical Guy writes: 15 years after its introduction, Microsoft is removing the Start button in Windows 8. By hovering the cursor over the lower-left corner of the taskbar, a clickable thumbnail appears to access the Metro interface. On touch devices, the interface element can be accessed with a swipe gesture. The Start button was the central theme of the famous Windows 95 commercial featuring "Start Me Up" by the Rolling Stones.
Overly Critical Guy writes: The army is integrating Macs into its information systems after a rough year of security infiltrations. Apple X Serves are becoming common in military data centers — "Those are some of the most attacked computers there are. But the attacks used against them are designed for Windows-based machines, so they shrug them off," said General Steve Boutelle, the army's chief information officer.
Overly Critical Guy writes: Following in the tradition of his past articles, John Siracusa writes a lengthy technical review of Mac OS X Leopard, covering updates to the kernel, 64-bit, Time Machine, the Finder (did they FTFF?), and more.
Overly Critical Guy writes: A BSA survey shows a 24% drop in illegal downloading in the last three years among 8 to 18 year olds. Fear of parental reprisal rose 40% in the last three years to reach #4 on the list of fears involved with illegal downloading, topped by receiving a virus, getting into legal trouble, and accidentally installing spyware.
Overly Critical Guy writes: Microsoft's figure of 40 million Vista OEM licenses sold has less impact when weighed against the expanded size of the PC market, according to IDC numbers. The myriad of factors involved in determining success in the market makes Microsoft's constant comparisons to Windows XP less reliable as a growth indicator — particularly with Microsoft refusing to reveal the number of actual activated Vista licenses.
Overly Critical Guy writes: "Previous Versions" is a feature of Windows Vista Business, Enterprise, and Ultimate that uses Shadow Copy to allow users to restore past versions of a file like Apple's Time Machine. It turns out Vista Home also makes file backups but does not allow the user to access them. This means you automatically lose 15 percent of your drive to backups you can't access until you upgrade to Business, Enterprise, or Ultimate. Worse yet, disabling the "Previous Versions" service also disables System Restore and removes all restore points.
Overly Critical Guy writes: Vista's sales numbers don't add up according to Joe Wilcox of Microsoft-Watch. Going through the numbers and citing NPD, Gartner, and IDC, Wilcox describes the difference between licenses sold to manufacturers and actual consumer purchases, noting that there haven't been 20 million PCs sold since Jan. 30, contrary to Microsoft's numbers. In fact, only 3 million PCs have been sold since the start of the year.
Overly Critical Guy writes: More documents in the Iowa antitrust case have come out. This time, it's revealed that Microsoft considers Mac users its "guinea pigs" for new Office features, and they once considered dropping Mac Office entirely, "as doing so will do a great deal of harm to Apple immediately." This case has become a treasure trove of internal memos describing Microsoft's internal business practices of the last ten years.
Overly Critical Guy writes: The former editor of New Scientist has written an article in the TimesOnline on the U.N.'s recent global warming report, noting several underreported trends it doesn't account for, such as increasing sea-ice in the Southern Ocean. He describes an experiment by Henrik Svensmark showing a relation between atmospheric cloudiness and atomic particles coming in from exploded stars. In the basement of the Danish National Space Center in 2005, Svensmark's team showed that electrons from cosmic rays caused cloud condensation. Svensmark's scenario apparently predicts several unexplained temperature trends from the warmer trend of the 20th century to the temporary drop in the 1970s, attributed to changes in the sun's magnetic field affecting the amount of cosmic rays entering the atmosphere.
Overly Critical Guy writes: Microsoft's security response center has announced a second Microsoft Word vulnerability caused by malformed data structures that lead to memory corruption. The flaws were discovered in actual attacks out in the wild and cover versions of Word from 2000 to 2003.