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Comment Windows Has Been Running On ARM (Score 1) 342

This is a strange article; Microsoft has had their Win32-based Windows CE operating system running on ARM processors for 14 years. In many respects, Windows CE (now called Windows Embedded Compact, for some confusing reason) is a far superior operating system to desktop Windows, especially for the sorts of devices that are going to typically be running ARM processors.

Microsoft had the right idea 14 years ago; create a new operating system from scratch that is appropriate for lower-power processors and provide as much API compatibility as possible but without layering on all the bloat. They'd be better off moving Windows CE to the desktop -- preferably with a modern graphics API and touch support -- something like what Apple is trying to do with iOS.

Social Networks

Meg Whitman Campaign Shows How Not To Use Twitter 147

tsamsoniw writes "California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman's campaign team attempted to share with her Twitter followers an endorsement from a police association. Unfortunately, the campaign press secretary entered an incorrect or incomplete URL in the Tweet, which took clickers to a YouTube video featuring a bespectacled, long-haired Japanese man in a tutu and leggings rocking out on a bass guitar. And for whatever reason, the Tweet, which went out on the 18th, has remained active through today."

Comment Re:2004 (Score 1) 304

First, no one said Microsoft was doing this in October 2004; that's merely when they filed the patent. You don't have to demonstrate the technology in order to file a patent.

Second, Google is a great thing; being able to search by timeline is even better. Here is a story from Aug 1, 2003 that specifically mentions "onGPU MPEG encoding" of the ATI Radeon 9800.

So yes, not only had were other people doing this before October 2004, they were shipping product that did this sufficiently early that reviews were being written in August 2003, suggesting that this feature was probably in development in 2002 at the latest. When Microsoft invented the idea, and whether it was before Radeon (or whoever inspired Radeon), is something we don't know, but it seems pretty clear Microsoft should have known that prior art existed and they were late to the game.

Comment Isn't Heat Related To Both Velocity and Vibration? (Score 2, Interesting) 169

If memory serves, the heat of a group of atoms is based both on their kinetic energy and vibrational energy. In gasses and, to a lesser extent, liquids, the average velocities of atoms is one factor determining factor of how much heat is in the gas or liquid, but so is the vibrational energy of the atom (otherwise solids wouldn't be capable of getting hot, which they clearly can).

So while these scientists have demonstrated being able to reduce the kinetic energy of an atom to zero, the article says nothing about being able to do so for its vibrational energy. It seems very possible that hitting an atom with lasers may be able to reduce its kinetic energy but may, depending on the frequency of light used, actually increase its vibrational energy.

So, this approach may work fine for gasses, in which certain atoms can be made motionless and, as long as you keep other atoms from interacting with them, they never pass on their vibrational energy, and thus can be seen as being very cold. But it's hard to see how such an approach has much merit for atoms in liquids or solids.

Comment Adobe's right, but very very wrong (Score 1) 515

It's definitely true that a single company controlling a complex API / standard should always be able to provide a more consistent implementation than a dozen companies trying to implement a complex API / standard independently. The question is whether we want any single company effectively in control of the Web; I think the answer's obvious.

And if your answer is that Adobe should open-source Flash so that Apple, Microsoft, et al can create their own implementations -- and by necessity, their own non-standard optimizations and improvements -- we'll be right back where we are now, with a lot of small inconsistencies that prevent content from playing correctly on all platforms

Comment Re:Work For Hire (Score 1) 447

Relevant excerpt from the United States Copyright Act of 1976:

A "work made for hire" is— (1) a work prepared by an employee within the scope of his or her employment; or (2) a work specially ordered or commissioned for use as a contribution to a collective work, as a part of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, as a translation, as a supplementary work, as a compilation, as an instructional text, as a test, as answer material for a test, or as an atlas, if the parties expressly agree in a written instrument signed by them that the work shall be considered a work made for hire. (17 U.S.C. 101)

Comment Glorified Powerpoint Presentation (Score 1) 427

Note that when Apple demos their new products -- even months before the product is ready for release -- the demo is always performed on actual hardware. Whatever Jobs (or whoever) does driving the actual device is then shown on the big screen, sometimes with glitches. It's the best proof that your product is close to release.

Maybe Microsoft will do that today, but the video of the Windows Phone 7 we've seen so far is just that -- video -- that was probably generated on a PC. As a rule, if a vendor shows only a video of their human interface, it means the product isn't close to release. Maybe it's complete vapor. Maybe it's buggy as hell. Maybe it's slow. Maybe key features don't work yet.

Can Microsoft really close the gap between what they have today to a shipping phone in six months? Maybe, but Microsoft's track record in this area is poor. This has the earmarks of a standard preemptive Microsoft announcement hoping to stem the flood of iPhone converts.

Comment What, a worm on a platform with no market share? (Score 2, Interesting) 135

Doesn't this (finally) put to bed the notion that there are virtually no worms or viruses for Mac OS X simply because hackers don't want to waste their time on a platform with so little market share? The platform targeted by the hackers in this case -- jailbroken iphones running a particular service -- is a fraction of the installed base of Mac OS X computers. It seems that hackers (naturally) select their targets primarily based on ease of exploit -- jailbroken iphones with SSH installed with a default password, for instance, or Microsoft Windows -- than on market share, since any of these platforms still provides tens of millions of potential targets.

I think it's also important to note that the security of Mac OS X extends to the iPhone as well; hackers are apparently unable to successfully compromise the much larger installed base of iPhones, having to content themselves with the much smaller population that has been jailbroken (read, "security compromised").

Comment Equally Bad Logic. (Score 4, Informative) 213

The TechCrunch rebuttal to the points of Apple's letter is spot on, but the idea that somehow Google has power over the iPhone, or that Google Voice gives it more power, is nonsense. It's hard to believe Apple really thinks this, or that TechCrunch would accept it as a valid explanation. How does having iPhone users receive calls via their Google Voice number affect the iPhone overall at all? iPhone users still have to use AT&T for their calls? It no longer ties the user strongly to their iPhone phone number, but with number portability that represents no advantage for Apple or AT&T. Having Google manage your calendar and contacts doesn't make any difference to the iPhone in general. Google Voice may give Google more power over individual iPhone users, but not over the iPhone itself.

And all Apple would have left is the browser? No, Apple would still have the industry's most advanced, user-friendly handheld OS and probably a hundred thousand apps, including--if they turn out to popular enough to be a thread--Google Voice. If Google has any power over the iPhone, it stems only from their willingness to pull a Microsoft and withdraw those apps and technologies from the iPhone at some point in the future, such as when it comes time for Apple and Google to renegotiate their license for YouTube, maps, and search. But the flip side is equally true; there's no question that its to Google's advantage to be a prominent part of the smart phone platform likely to cell hundreds of millions over the next five years.

In short, I don't think we've heard the real rationale; certainly TechCrunch didn't provide a believable one. I think it's more likely that Apple perceives Google's calendar and contacts apps as a threat to Mobile Me, which does compete directly with Google. Or that Google Voice potentially interferes with something else Apple considers a unique advantage, perhaps something that they aren't even using yet but is in development. And finally, it's possible that Apple really isn't worried about Google Voice per se, but is worried about opening the door to other challenges to their "no duplication of built-in functionality" rule.

Comment Re:Import calendar? (Score 5, Informative) 465

This is kernel-level code -- part of the OEM Abstraction Layer -- that is used to read the current time from the RTC, hence it is hardware-specific. RTCs on other processors, or Freescale-based devices using external RTCs, may implement the OemGetRealTime () function differently than Freescale has done here (the buggy ConvertDays () function is just a helper function).

Comment Probably Not A Widespread Issue (Score 5, Informative) 465

This code is actually from the Windows CE OAL (OEM Abstraction Layer), part of the code that reads the current time from the RTC. As such, the implementation is hardware-dependent, which is why there isn't a standard implementation of this function for Windows CE.

In addition, this code is in a portion of Windows CE source code provided by a device's BSP developer, not by Microsoft. In most cases, Windows CE BSP developers start with sample BSPs written by a processor's manufacturer -- in this case, Freescale -- and then improve it.

It turns out that this bug is specific to the Freescale's BSP -- sample Windows CE BSPs for other procesors don't have it -- and other Freescale devices using Windows CE will only have this issue if their developers used this code verbatim. Since sample BSPs provided by processor manufacturers are often of poor quality, many Windows CE developers typically rewrite such functions. In other words, the impact of this particular bug may be quite limited, which may be why there haven't been reports of this issue on other devices.

In this particular case, though, Microsoft (or a contractor) was the Zune's BSP developer, so they certainly should have caught this.

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