Saturday, May 30, 2009

Byte Into It - 03 Jun 09

Official Google Blog: Went Walkabout. Brought back Google Wave.
Here's how it works: In Google Wave you create a wave and add people to it. Everyone on your wave can use richly formatted text, photos, gadgets, and even feeds from other sources on the web. They can insert a reply or edit the wave directly. It's concurrent rich-text editing, where you see on your screen nearly instantly what your fellow collaborators are typing in your wave. That means Google Wave is just as well suited for quick messages as for persistent content — it allows for both collaboration and communication. You can also use "playback" to rewind the wave and see how it evolved.

MacBook Pro firmware and iWork '09 get some update love - Ars Technica
The iWork update brings the software to version 9.0.2 and claims to improve
reliability when saving iWork applications and when playing
presentations more than once per session. Though we can't say we know
anyone who has tried to play a Keynote presentation more than once in a
single session, the update is still recommended for all iWork '09 users.

More interesting is the MacBook Pro Firmware Update 1.3, which is
recommended for users of 15- and 17-inch MacBook Pros of apparently any
kind (Apple did not specify which models). According to the
description, this update "adjusts fan behavior" when the machines are
under high workloads.

Windows 7 alluring, but XP is the migration X factor - Network World
The equation corporate IT pros will have to figure out is how long it will take to get all their XP desktops to Windows 7 before XP support runs out or before application vendors quit producing XP versions of upgrades or new software, which some predict could come as early as 2012.Gartner predicts that more than half of the corporate Windows user-base is skipping Vista and aiming at Windows 7.
While that means XP users won't have to tangle with Vista in name, it doesn't mean they will avoid the application compatibility issues that gave Vista a black eye right out of the blocks in November 2006. Windows 7 is built on the Vista code base.

"If you are on XP, Windows 7 isn't going to solve a lot of Vista's migration problems," says Brett Waldman, a research analyst for IDC. "Going from Vista to Windows 7 should be a much easier transition than XP to 7.

Hands-on: much to like in Hulu Desktop - Ars Technica
Hulu dropped a surprise on TV fans Thursday by introducing public beta of Hulu Desktop—desktop software for the Mac and Windows that works with the popular TV streaming site. The software finally removes Hulu from the Web browser in an official, Hulu-approved way and puts it into a very media-center-like format for browsing and watching your favorite shows. Though Hulu Desktop still keeps Hulu's offerings largely on the computer, it offers some flexibility in the watching experience.

To Bing or not to Bing? Hands on with Microsoft's new search - Ars Technica
Microsoft has unveiled Bing, the rebranding of its Live Search service. Ars takes Microsoft's latest attempt to grab search market share for a spin and discovers much to like—and some frustration.

Landmark study: DRM truly does make pirates out of us all - Ars Technica
do anticircumvention laws really prevent real people in the real world from doing real things with their content? Or are the complaints largely dreamed up by copyleft activists who would like nothing more than to see the term "intellectual property" disappear into the tentacled maw of Cthulhu?

According to the first empirical study of its kind in the UK, by Cambridge law professor Patricia Akester, it's the former. DRM is so rage-inducing, even to ordinary, legal users of content, that it can even drive the blind to download illegal electronic Bibles.

BBC NEWS | Technology | Big drop in global server sales
Sales of servers worldwide fell almost 25% in the first three months of 2009, against the same period a year earlier, according to market research firm IDC.

Global sales were $9.9 bn (£6.14 bn), IDC said, the lowest figure since the firm started monitoring the computer server market 12 years ago.

Dell was the vendor hardest hit, with server revenue falling 31.2%.

Novell sees 25 per cent growth in Linux sales - Software - iTnews Australia
Novell has reported a year-on-year fall in second-quarter revenue, but a small rise in profit as a result of a 25 per cent growth in Linux product sales.

The software provider achieved revenue of US$216m (A$271m), down from US$236m in the same period last year. Net income was up to US$16m from US$6m in 2008.

Sales from the firm’s Linux Platform Products group were up 25 per cen

Topsy: a search-engine whose results come from highly trafficked Twitter links - Boing Boing
Topsy, a new site that lets you search through what people are saying about things. Topsy sees the Internet as a stream of conversations between people. It ranks each search result based on how much people are talking about it, and the influence of the people discussing it.

Wikipedia bans Church of Scientology • The Register
In an unprecedented effort to crack down on self-serving edits, the Wikipedia supreme court has banned contributions from all IP addresses owned or operated by the Church of Scientology and its associates.

Closing out the longest-running court case in Wikiland history, the site’s Arbitration Committee voted 10 to 0 (with one abstention) in favor of the move, which takes effect immediately.

Microsoft loses NZ Windows government deal !!!
Microsoft has failed to renew a key government-wide purchasing deal for Windows, opening the door to greater use of open-source software - Microsoft could not give the purchasers what they wanted either in features, roadmap, or price

Asus and Microsoft join forces against Linux - Software - iTnews Australia
Microsoft and Asus have launched a marketing campaign to encourage netbook users to use Windows rather than Linux.

The campaign has kicked off with a web page entitled “It’s better with Windows” showing adverts for Windows and suggesting it is a better choice for use with Asus’ range of netbooks.

Asus confirmed to that the campaign was legitimate, saying: “As a hardware vendor we have to provide both operation systems for our consumers.”

However, some will see this as a thinly veiled attempt by Microsoft to protect its share in the growing netbook market. While the company is claiming that the vast majority of netbooks is shipping Windows nevertheless it appears worried by Linux.

The Bing Features Australia Won’t Be Getting | Lifehacker Australia
Microsoft’s uber-hyped new search engine Bing doesn’t go live down under until June 3, but we already know that many of the features being promoted won’t be available at launch in Australia, if ever.

We’re going to hold off on commenting in detail on Bing until there’s an actual product to test, but in its launch announcement Microsoft and NineMSN have already made it clear that several of its most-hyped aspects won’t feature in the Australian version when it first rolls out:

Over the next 12 months, additional localised features for Bing will be released into the Australian market. These features include Hot Spots, Categorised Search and Vertical Search Categories covering local, travel, health and shopping.

There’s no mention whatsoever of the Bing Cashback program for Aussies, so it seems safe to assume no money will be dribbling in that direction any time soon either.

Lifehacker - SugarSync Offers 2GB of Free Windows/Mac/Mobile Syncing - File Syncing
Windows/Mac/mobile: SugarSync, a previously paid-only syncing service that got quite a few shout-outs in our feature-by-feature online storage chart, now offers a free 2GB plan that keeps documents synced across Windows, Mac, and mobile platforms.

If you're familiar with Dropbox, our readers' favorite file syncing tool, you're going to think SugarSync's offerings are pretty familiar—2GB of free space, multi-system, cross-platform syncing, file explorer integration, web access with sharing and photo gallery powers, etc. There are, however, a few key differences, positive and negative, that set SugarSync apart:

* SugarSync lets you add folders anywhere on your system to be synchronized, while Dropbox sticks to a single-bin-for-everything mindset (although there's a symbolic link work-around for that)
* SugarSync's free accounts limit you to syncing two computers, while Dropbox seems unlimited.
* SugarSync has working clients for iPhones, BlackBerries, and Windows Mobile phones—some of which we've heard is on the way for Dropbox, but not released yet.

Other than that (and a lack of a Linux client), SugarSync seems like a pretty nifty way to keep files synchronized across systems, especially if you're a frequent mobile net user. The free plan software is free to download; better transfer speeds and more options start at $4.99 per month.

Microsoft "Project Natal" invents a better Wii - Boing Boing
Microsoft had a killer day today, revealing all sorts of updates to the Xbox 360, including full retail game downloads, 1080p live streaming of movies and TVs, and most notably "Project Natal", an attempt to beat the Nintendo Wii at its own game by creating a virtual reality interface that doesn't use control hardware at all, but instead does real-time motion capture using an array of cameras.

Open Source:
New open source, cross platform Twitter client, Spaz. Works on any platform that supports Adobe Air and includes inbuilt search powered by Summize, which is the service Twitter acquired to power it's own search functionality.

News from Silvia Pfeiffer regarding open video:
"# YouTube are experimenting with the HTML5 video tag. The demo only works in HTML5 video capable browsers, such as Firefox 3.5, Safari, Opera, and the new Chrome, which leads me straight to the next news.
# The Google Chrome 3 browser now supports the HTML5 video tag. The linked release only supports MPEG encoded video, but that’s a big step forward.
# More importantly even, recently committed code adds Ogg Theora/Vorbis support to Google Chrome 3’s video tag! This is based on using ffmpeg at this stage, which needs some further work to e.g. gain Ogg Kate support. But this is great news for open media!"

Microsoft Silverlight versus Google Wave: Why Karma Matters

Melbourne community websites: - A Melbourne community maintained by Sarah. :) - A Craig's list for Australia, but at the micro level. It's starting out focusing on the Lygon St precinct. Listings, recommendations and comments for living, working and playing in Lygon Street. - Listings for the Melbourne music scene, including music reviews. Initial focus on jazz gigs and venues. Browse by genre, suburb or price range. Answer the question, what's on tonight. - For Melbourne chocolate lovers - reviews, recipes and search for "chocolatiers by suburb".

EnhanceTV ATOM AWARDS 2009 - Home
the place where you will find all the information you need to know about the ATOM Awards…and more!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Byte Into It - 27 May 09

Microsoft announces Windows 7 specs for netbooks - News - PC Authority
According to a Sydney Morning Herald report (and various other sources), Microsoft have just announced the hardware specs for the upcoming Windows 7 Starter edition, although it's not exactly what we we're hoping for.
With a little careful reading between the lines, the specs read more like a set of draconian restrictions, especially when it comes to memory, which sets a 1GB base. But, why stop at 1GB? Surely Microsoft must of realised that the relative cheapness of memory makes it easier than ever to provide 2GB on board - so why not support it?
The report specifies that hardware manufacturers must build all future netbooks with the following in mind:

* 10.2 inch display (down from 12.1 inches for XP)
* 250GB hard drive, or 64GB solid state (up from 160GB/32GB for XP)
* 2GHz single core processor
* 1GB of RAM

However, if Microsoft are keen not to repeat their old Vista mistakes, they'll want to take a close look at how smoothly Windows 7 runs on netbooks, under a variety of settings. True, most netbook users won't be playing games or designing homes in Autocad 3D, but that won't stop enterprising consumers from purchasing their netbook as a cure-all for much of their personal computing needs
Side by side: UI changes from Windows 7 beta to Windows 7 RC - Ars Technica
This is not an official list of changes; nor is it a list of every single change. It focuses on visible differences, as opposed to bug fixes or under-the-hood improvements. This post is about tracking every noticeable "tangible" change. Here's a simple example. As you can see below, Build 7000 takes up more space than build 7100. The difference isn't really a huge one, given the size of the operating system, but it is still worth noting: 0.8GB. This change was measured on the same laptop with two separate partitions, using the 64-bit flavor.
Service Pack 2 for Vista and Server 2008 finally arrives - Ars Technica
Microsoft has finally given the public Service Pack 2 for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 (final build is 6.0.6002.18005). You can download the installer from the Microsoft Download Center: 32-bit (348.3MB), 64-bit (577.4MB), and IA64 (450.4MB). There's also an ISO image (1376.8MB) that contains these installers. The installers will work on English, French, German, Japanese, and Spanish versions of either Vista or Server 2008. Other language versions will arrive later. SP2's main requirement (assuming no incompatible drivers are detected) is that SP1 is already installed.SP2 includes Windows Search 4.0. SP2 improves Windows Media Center (WMC) in the area of content protection for TV. (whatever that means)...and more...
Public Beta 1 of Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4.0 - Ars Technica
Microsoft gave MSDN subscribers Beta 1 downloads of Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4.0. As promised, the releases are now available to the general public via the Microsoft Download Center. For reference, you may also want to check out the Visual Studio 2010 Product Overview (1.02MB) five-page PDF document.
Zune HD is official, heading your way this Fall
The specs go like this: 3.3-inch, 480 x 272 OLED capacitive touchscreen display, built-in HD Radio receiver, HD output (utilizing a new dock -- not on-board), and... not much more right now. Microsoft is doing away with the famed squircle in favor a full multitouch device, and they seemed to indicate that some new touch-friendly apps and games would be headed our way, though they were fairly mum when it came to details. The device will boast an IE-based, customized browser, but little else was said in the way of software.

Details are also scarce concerning storage capacities, CPU performance, and other crucial numbers, but it seems like they've got more in store come E3... and that's the next big piece of news. Zune integration is coming to the Xbox and Xbox Live, as the Zune marketplace will step in to replace the current Live video resources, expanding the library and offering all kinds of new perks, like Zune's first foray into international waters
Nokia starts roll-out of Apple App Store rival - Mobility - iTnews Australia
Nokia has begun rolling out its online software and content store, Ovi Store, as it aims to follow the success of Apple's App Store.
Nokia said the store was opened to users of a few of its phone models in Australia and Singapore before being rolled out globally later in the week.
Customers can access the store by typing into their Nokia device browser.
The Australian store offers users the chance to buy applications for their Nokia phone using their existing carrier relationships with Telstra, Optus, Vodafone and Crazy John’s.
However, analysts say firms will likely struggle to match the success of Apple's store when creating their own stores, hampered by technical issues, a lack of applications and increased competition.
Scientists invent memory storage good for a billion years - Hardware - iTnews Australia
The device is an iron nanoparticle, 1/50,000 the width of a human hair, enclosed in a hollow carbon nanotube.
The iron can be shuttled back and forth within the tube as an effective way to store data.
The team says it is achievable to build storage devices capable of carrying a terabyte of information per square inch, making it more effective than current techniques.
However, the data will also be almost incorruptible and should remain available for a billion years or more.
Lifehacker - Google Chrome 2 Brings New Features and Serious Speed - Google Chrome
Apart from the speed and stability increases, Chrome users can also expect:
Improved New Tab Page: The most requested feature from users was the ability to remove thumbnails from the New Tab page. Now you can finally hide that embarrassing gossip blog from the Most Visited section.
Full Screen Mode: If you've ever given a presentation or watched a large video using Google Chrome, you might have wished you could use every last pixel on your screen for the content. Now you can hide the title bar and the rest of the browser window by hitting F11 or selecting the option in the Tools menu.
Form Autofill: Filling out your information in forms over and over again can be tedious. Form autofill helps by showing information you've previously entered into the same form fields automatically. If at any point you want to clear out your information, that's easy to do from the Tools menu. Windows Only...still...

ASUS Eee Keyboard to launch by end of June
The dream of owning a keyboard embedded with a full-blown PC running XP on an Atom N270 processor and 5-inch, 800 x 480 pixel touchscreen display/trackpad is nearly upon us. A dream, quite honestly, nobody had prior to seeing the reveal of the 2-pound Eee Keyboard prototype at CES in January. Engadget Chinese has it on authority that this oddball all-in-one will ship in June with specs that should include a 32GB SSD, 802.11n, Bluetooth, HDMI-out, stereo speakers and mic
Conroy mulls review of ACMA blacklist - Internet - iTnews Australia
Senator Conroy has revealed the Government is considering appointing a panel to conduct a regular audit of ACMA's blacklist of banned web sites.
Speaking at the Senate Estimates hearing yesterday, the Communications Minister agreed that the ACMA blacklist process requires greater transparency.
"The government is considering options for greater transparency and accountability in respect of the black list," he said.
"We are considering options which could include a regular review of the list by a panel of eminent persons or a parliamentary committee or a review of all URLs by the classification board."
Spam tops 90 per cent of all email - Internet - iTnews Australia
Spam levels rose by five per cent last month to reach over 90 per cent of all email, according to the latest figures from cloud-based security vendor MessageLabs.
The firm's monthly Intelligence Report found that spammers are increasingly sending unsolicited emails from webmail accounts hosted by legitimate providers.
The rise has been driven in part by an increase in messages containing a subject line and link to social network profile pages created by automated Captcha-breaking tools, the report said.
"As spam levels continue to increase, we are seeing existing attack techniques combine and morph into one," said Paul Wood, senior analyst at MessageLabs.
"In 2008 Captcha-breaking, social networking spam and the use of webmail for spamming all became popular tactics. Today, the bad guys are using the three together as a triple threat to heighten the effectiveness of their spamming."
The report also found that users in Europe tend to receive a steady stream of spam throughout the day, while those in the US witness a peak between 9am and 10am.
Facebook and Twitter hunt for revenue - Software - iTnews Australia
Facebook and Twitter have helped make social networking a household word. Now they need to make money.
Efforts to monetize the popular Internet services are increasingly a priority within the two companies, with Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter Co-founder Biz Stone outlining several initiatives at the Reuters Global Technology Summit in New York.
And analysts and investors, in search of the next Google-like hit, are paying close attention to the breakneck speed at which Facebook and Twitter are adding new users.
While the popularity of the two social media firms has yet to translate into the kind of revenue-generating machine that Google Inc developed with its search advertising business, some say Facebook and Twitter have become so central to the Internet experience that they are inherently valuable.
"Both are new ways of communicating. And when you have a new way of communicating ... you benefit people enough so that there is going to be value there," said Tim Draper, managing director of venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson, noting that he regretted not having invested in either firm.
In April, Twitter's website attracted 17 million unique visitors in the United States, up sharply from 9.3 million the month before. Facebook grew to 200 million active users in April, less than a year after hitting 100 million users.
Facebook sees advertising as its primary money-making strategy, said Zuckerberg, noting that the company could eventually offer ads not just on its own website, but on other sites that interact with Facebook.
Stone said Twitter was less interested in generating revenue through advertising than it was in offering premium features for commercial users of Twitter.
Vodafone and 3 make last ditch appeal to ACCC - Telecommunications - iTnews Australia
Vodafone and 3 have promised not to raise prices for two years of competition regulator ACCC allows the two mobile operators to merge.
A merged VHA, the two companies said, will maintain all existing mobile voice and data plans on offer from Vodafone and 3 for the next two years, even as it offers new deals to the market.
The offer is a last ditch ploy to convince the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to approve the merger, which has been approved by Hutchison shareholders.
The ACCC's preliminary view on the merger, published some six weeks ago, was that "the proposed merger raises competition concerns in the short to medium term."
Russians clone Macs again - Hardware - iTnews Australia
Historically the Soviet Union used a lot of Apple clones, machines manufactured in Bulgaria.
When the Berlin Wall fell, so did the Bulgarian economy and its light manufacturing industry. The cloned Apple Macs disappeared.
But the Russian Mac clone is back courtesy of RussianMac.
According to the company's website, RussianMac builds Mac clones that come with a full version of Mac OS X Leopard pre-installed. The company claims the system is advanced enough to fool Apple into sending it automatic software updates.
The computers are sold at 30-50 per cent of the price of a real Mac, the company said, but come with three to five year warranties and feature components from the likes of Intel, Asus and Gigabyte.
RussianMac claims that it does not violate the terms of Apple's licence agreement because it has bought the software legitimately from Apple
Ain't no money in Mac cloning: Psystar files for bankruptcy - Ars Technica
Mac clone maker Psystar, after having been embroiled in a lawsuit with Apple since last July, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the US Bankruptcy Court's Southern District of Florida. The filing gives Psystar a temporary stay in its legal proceedings with Apple, though it certainly calls into question the viability of the company's business plan.

Psystar began selling a Mac clone called "OpenMac," which the company quickly renamed "Open Computer," in April of 2008. After a couple months of nary a peep from Apple legal, a lawsuit was filed against Psystar in July. Since then, Psystar has attempted to countersue Apple for limiting installation of Mac OS X to Apple's own hardware. The filing for bankruptcy protection comes not long after the company was ordered to provide detailed financial information to Apple as part of the evidence discovery process.
Gizmodo - What's Cooking for Apple WWDC '09 - Wwdc 2009
Apple's WWDC 2009 is almost here. On the menu: Definitely Snow Leopard and a even-stronger-than-before focus on the iPhone OS, as the sessions schedule and the promotion materials show. What else?
Mostly Lisa, Mostly Photography, Always Geeky » Entry » 5 iPhone Photography Apps to make your Shots Spectacular
So many people whine about the iPhone's camera quality and say that it can't take good pictures. It's definitely a greater challenge to get a good exposure on an iPhone vs a 5D MkII, but it's not impossible.  If you are up for the challenge, here are 5 apps that will help you take smashing iPhone pictures:
Mac Hacks: 17 AppleScripts To Make Your Life Easier | Developer's Toolbox | Smashing Magazine
Whether it’s opening a file in Photoshop to change the format or adding an iCal to-do item based on an email you received, these little tasks can be streamlined. That’s the purpose of AppleScripts.
AppleScript is a scripting language developed by Apple to help people automate their work processes on the Mac operating system. It accomplishes this by exposing every element of the system’s applications as an object in an extremely simple, English-like language. AppleScript is to the Mac OS as JavaScript is to browsers.
Quite a few AppleScripts are available on the Web, ready for you to use, so you don’t even need to look at their code. This article presents you with 17 of the most useful ones.
Hackintosh Mini 9 on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
Much info to be found here:

Is the New iTunes Sirius App a Sign of Things to Come? -- Seeking Alpha
Up until now, speculation has been that Sirius XM would wait until early June to introduce its new iPhone and iPod application. Sirius XM Radio, Inc. (NASDAQSIRI) is the holding company for two satellite radio services (SDARS) operating in the United States and Canada, Sirius Satellite Radio and XM Satellite Radio.

One of the newest and most popular Sirius XM Radio channels is Doctor Radio which can be heard 24 hours a day/7 days a week on Sirius and XM.
An alert Satwaves reader has sent in this link which links to Apple’s iTunes store. The application is described as:
‘Reach MD Medical Radio delivers world class medical content directly from Reach MD, the leader in medical education and information for medical professionals. All of the programming is broadcast on their exclusive Sirius XM channel 160…”
The application offers listeners the ability to listen to a live stream of EXCLUSIVE content (a point Satwaves has been driving for weeks now) and access to over 5000 podcasts as well.
What is most interesting is that this application seems to not be part of a single Sirius XM application, but rather as exclusive content to Apple!
Slashdot | Apple Plans $1 Billion iDataCenter
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.
Lifehacker - Wolfram Alpha Google Adds Computational Answers to Google Results - Wolfram Alpha
You've heard all about it, you've probably given it a spin, and maybe added it as a search plugin. But wouldn't it be nice if you could get Wolfram Alpha's "computational knowledge" at the same time as Google results? This Firefox extension makes it so.

It's an experimental extension, which means you'll have to click and agree that you understand the unofficial nature of Wolfram Alpha Google. Once you do, you'll start seeing Wolfram Alpha results pasted JavaScript-style into the right-hand side of your Google search results page—well, maybe. The Wolfram results' appearance was somewhat hit and miss when I tested it out on a clean Firefox install. Sometimes signing out and refreshing would have them show up; other times, being signed in and slightly resizing the window seemed to voodoo-activate the Wolfram results. It might be server load or connection issue, so don't expect to get perfect paste-ins from the get-go.
Lifehacker - JetPack Could Revolutionize Firefox's Extensibility—in Time - Firefox JetPack
Mozilla introduced a new Firefox project, called JetPack, that could revolutionize the extensibility of Firefox. Currently available as a Firefox extension, JetPack allows users to extend their browser using regular HTML, JavaScript, and CSS. So far JetPack seems to us sort of like a hybrid between a normal extension and Greasemonkey user scripts; using new JetPack functionality requires a page refresh and not a browser restart (like Greasemonkey), but JetPack can add elements to the user chrome (like extensions). It's a tool that'll probably interest developers most for the time being, but JetPack's functionality could be the future of Firefox extensions down the road. [JetPack via Mozilla Labs]

Android apps coming to Ubuntu - Boing Boing
Canonical, the folks who maintain the Ubuntu flavor of the GNU/Linux operating system, have demoed code that lets you run apps from Android phones and devices (like Google's G1) on your desktop. Google's Linux-based Android platform is attracting a lot of attention. The new version significantly improves the platform's reliability and could make it look a lot more appealing to carriers and handset makers. The availability of an experimental x86 port has caused some people to speculate that Android might have a place in the netbook market.

Ubuntu AppStore in the workings ?
Everybody’s up creating an AppStore of some kind. After Apple brought out the concept, Nokia, Microsoft and even Sun (really !) are hurrying up putting together their ones.
Many Open Source supporters have noted again and again, that Linux repositories are pretty much the equivalent of an AppStore. Interestingly enough, many Mac users noted the same thing, equaling Ubuntu’s Add/Remove program to the iPhone AppStore.
Still, there’s some ground to fill, as AppStore has some end user features that Linux equivalents lack.It seems that times are finally mature for Ubuntu to re-do their package manager frontend.

Well, their four (4!) frontends, since Ubuntu currently uses a mixture of Synaptics, Add/Remove applications, UpdateManager and gDebi to full fill its software needs. A Launchpad blueprint dated 2005 (!) has been finally taken in consideration and the related wiki page has been given some love during the past months.

Moblin netbook Linux preview - Computerworld Blogs
Intel wants to compete with its long-time partner Microsoft in the operating system business. To do that, Intel wants broad support from the Linux community. Intel doesn't want Moblin to be 'Intel Moblin,' the company wants it to be Linux's Moblin with support from everyone.
Thus, what we have is a Linux desktop that's built on top of a Fedora Linux framework; uses GNOME for its desktop and applications, and will rely on Novell/SUSE to get customized versions of the desktop pre-installed on the Taiwanese OEM (original equipment manufacturers) netbooks. Its main competition: Windows 7, but Google Android also looms as a desktop Linux challenger.
How does Moblin stack up? Well, the look is great, and it's not quite like any other desktop I've ever seen. The closest thing I've seen to it in recent memory is gOS, which puts Google applications on top of an Ubuntu Linux base.

Hands-on: Intel brings rich UI to Moblin Linux platform - Ars Technica
a real hands-on look at the new version.
Red Hat Sues Switzerland Over Microsoft Monopoly - News -
Linux vendor Red Hat, and 17 other vendors, have protested a Swiss government contract given to Microsoft without any public bidding. The move exposes a wider Microsoft monopoly that European governments accept, despite their lip service for open source, according to commentators.
The Red Hat group has asked a Swiss federal court to overturn a three-year contract issued to Microsoft by the Swiss Federal Bureau for Building and Logistics, to provide Windows desktops and applications, with support and maintenance, for 14 million Swiss Franc (£8 million) each year. The contract, for "standardised workstations", was issued with no public bidding process, Red Hat's legal team reports in a blog - because the Swiss agency asserted there was no sufficient alternative to Microsoft products.
Red Hat and others have made the obvious response that there are plenty of alternatives to Microsoft, and the current situation makes them more attractive than ever, according to a report issued this week by Freeform Dynamics.
Best Linux distros for power users, gamers, newbies and more | News | TechRadar UK
What kind of user are you? Take a step back and ask yourself what you need from a Linux distribution.
Before you embark on a distro adventure, it's worth giving some thought to the kind of Linux user you are.
The answer isn't as obvious as you might think, and which distribution you do choose will have an effect on that distribution's future, and indirectly, that of Linux.
You might have a preference for open source-only distributions, for example, or you may prefer proprietary drivers and codecs to be pre-installed. If you're choosing a Linux distribution for another person, or for a group of people, that decision is going to be even more important.
A typical group of office workers are unlikely to have used Linux before, and your choice is going to affect their perception of the operating system. Those first impressions count.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Byte Into It - 20 May 09

Microsoft Trying To Kill Off The Golden Windows 7 Goose | Community
It should be obvious but here are the reasons Microsoft shouldn't even consider a price increase for Windows 7:
Vista upgraders and purchasers would like the product they already paid for.
This won't help seduce XP users.
Not going to help the battle against Linux.
Remember the bad economy?
Why should we pay (reward) Microsoft to fix your own problems.

Yes! The 50% small business tax break applies to IT purchases - News - PC Authority
Thinking about buying a shiny new server or a pile of PCs for your small business? Perhaps you've been considering rolling out smartphones to your sales team? Or maybe it's time to upgrade your ageing network infrastructure? If so, now could be just the time to make that substantial IT investment in order to take advantage of the federal government's new and improved tax break for small businesses.

What is the new tax break?

In the recent budget, the government raised the Small Business and General Business Tax Break from 30 percent to a whopping 50 percent. "The increased Tax Break provides small businesses with an even greater incentive to invest in new capital items," says the media release issued jointly by the Treasurer, Wayne Swan, and the Minister for Small Business, Dr Craig Emerson
BBC NEWS | Technology | Microsoft patents 'magic wand'
Newly released patent applications from Microsoft have sparked speculation that it is to unveil a Wii remote rival at the E3 expo in Los Angeles.

An application was filed in 2007 for a motion controller, dubbed Magic Wand, that interacts with "a collection of sensors".

Microsoft says it will not "comment on speculation" about a possible launch.
BBC NEWS | Technology | Wiping data 'hits flu prediction'
Forcing Google to delete user data after six months could dent its ability to predict pandemics such as swine flu, said the search giant's co-founder.

Larry Page said he thought more debate was needed around the issue of storing user data.

The European Commission wants data ditched after six months but Mr Page said there were benefits to users.

"More dialogue is needed [with regulators]," he told UK journalists at a Google event in Hertfordshire.
Get a life, turn off the computer and become human again says Google CEO - News - PC Authority
In a world of chat rooms, fan forums and instant knowledge at the click of a single button, Schmidt warned students from the University of Pennsylvania that they shouldn't trade human connections for keyboards and motherboards.

"Nothing beats holding the hand of your grandchild as he walks his first steps," Schmidt told his audience. Although convincing graduates - aged mostly in their early twenties, some of which would be happy to spend hours couped up in a dark room somewhere drinking caffeinated beverages and playing first person shooters - to trade the virtual life for the one outside, may prove be a little tricky
BBC NEWS | Technology | Wolfram 'search engine' goes live
A web tool hailed as a significant rival to search giant Google has gone live to the public.

Wolfram Alpha is called a computation knowledge engine rather than a search engine and wants to change the way people use online data.

It aims to give people direct answers to queries rather than send them to other sites where they may find what they are seeking.

The system is the brainchild of British-born physicist Stephen Wolfram.

Wolfram Alpha was unveiled in late April and since then has been publicly demonstrated and some people have had a chance to run queries through it.

Typically the results it returns are annotated pages of data rather than a simple list of other sites that might help resolve a user's query.

For example, if asked about the weather in Manchester it would present a graph of average temperatures, rainfall and other salient data.

The computational horsepower behind the main site works out answers to question as they are put by grabbing data from databases and consulting feeds of relevant information.
BBC NEWS | Technology | Pirated pop keeps stars popular
File-sharing sites help make popular acts more popular, finds a study.

The research, by industry body PRS for Music, showed the most pirated pop songs tend to be those at the top of the music charts.

There was little evidence that file-sharing sites helped unsigned and new bands find an audience, it found.

It suggests file-sharing sites are becoming an alternative broadcast network comparable to radio stations as a way of hearing music.
The 'high' tech toilet that wants your credit card number - News - PC Authority
Budget airline Ryanair wants to commission Boeing to add the card machines to its toilet cubicles, in order to make passengers pay up when nature calls

With all the amazing technological changes happening to the airline industry these days, we can't help wonder what will be next.

Sure, the geek friendly Qantas A380 has those awesome high-tech seats with USB and in-flight SMS functionality, and more airlines are getting into the entertainment groove with some incredible video on demand (VOD) services listing hundreds of your favourite flicks and TV shows on large LCD 10" monitors.

Indeed, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner , with its incredible long-haul fuel capacity, is due to make its maiden test flight soon, making the future of high tech air travel appear rather rosy. Better still, American Airlines now boast speedy on-board internet.

But there's one high-tech airline addition we're not so sure about - it's a credit card operated toilet.
Sophos planning to supply anti-virus in Klingon - News - PC Authority
Security firm Sophos seems to be preparing to launch a version of its software security suite for users who prefer to speak Klingon..

A web page under construction on the Sophos site shows the prospective download page. It appears that the software is ready to go and will be released in July.

"Use Sophos' Klingon Anti-Virus to quickly perform an on-demand scan and find viruses, spyware, adware, zero-day threats, Betazoid sub-ether porn diallers and Tribbles that your existing protection might have missed," the site reads.
Apple may be paving the way for iPhone background processes - Ars Technica
The limitation of one third-party app running at a time has been a major criticism of Apple's iPhone OS, though Apple has contended that the limitation is necessary for adequate battery life. However, the company may be devising a system to allow iPhone apps to run in the background, if recent rumors are true.

There are two possible methods Apple is supposedly exploring to enable background processes, according to Silicon Alley Insider. One method, supported by a rumor circulated at Macworld Expo earlier this year, would be a way for a user to choose one or two apps that would be blessed with background running status. Silicon Alley Insider's source indicates there is some evidence of this feature in the latest iPhone OS 3.0 beta.
Mac OS X 10.5.7 update boosting netbook battery life - Ars Technica
A number of non-Apple netbook users that have installed Mac OS X on their systems are reporting that the recent update to 10.5.7 for Leopard has brought significant improvements to the diminutive mobile computers. "A bunch of people running a hackintoshed Dell Mini 9 or MSI Wind are reporting an extra hour of battery life with 10.5.7 over 10.5.6," a developer told Ars.

This is corroborated by a user at MSI Wind forums, who says he is seeing a full five hours from a six-cell battery with the update—a 33 percent improvement over the 3:45 he was able to get out of 10.5.6. "I can verify this to be true," he wrote. I've fully charged and used it till it went dead twice now."
Apple hires former OLPC security head to harden Mac OS X - Ars Technica
Despite its assertion that Macs don't suffer from the viruses and malware that Windows does in a number of its "Get a Mac" ads, Apple has been criticized for not taking security seriously enough. This is particularly because Leopard does not implement (or implement fully) the same security measures as Windows Vista. Lest you think Apple is hoping that its relatively small market share will keep it safe forever, though, the company has hired former director of security architecture at One Laptop per Child, Ivan Krstić, to handle core security for its operating systems.

Krstić, who is an unabashed devotee of Linux and Python, created the Bitfrost security platform for the OLPC project. The system works by effectively running each application in its own sandboxed virtual machine. Each VM is equipped only with the hardware and network access approved either by a central authority server (such as in a school) or expressly permitted by the user. The system also includes an anti-theft mechanism that prevents a laptop from working once it has been reported stolen or otherwise can't check in with a central "leasing" server.
WWDC '09 keynote penciled in for June 8 with Phil Schiller - Ars Technica
Apple has announced the date and speaker of this year's Worldwide Developers Conference keynote. As expected, it will be taking place on June 8—the first day of the week-long conference—and it will be led once again by Apple's VP of Worldwide Product Marketing Phil Schiller. The presentation will be at 10am Pacific Time.

The headliner for the WWDC '09 keynote will, of course, be Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard. At WWDC '08, Apple previewed Snow Leopard to developers for the first time, and Apple senior VP of Software Engineering Bertrand Serlet confirmed that developers would be receiving a final Developer Preview release of the software this time around "so they can see the incredible progress we’ve made on Snow Leopard and work with us as we move toward its final release."

Also expected for the WWDC '09 keynote will be a status update on iPhone OS 3.0, which was previewed to the world in March. At that time, Apple fans are hoping that Apple will give details about an updated iPhone and possibly even a recently-rumored media pad. But don't go thinking you'll be able to squeeze your way into this year's keynote now—WWDC '09 is already sold out.
Twitter to launch business tools by year-end - Internet - iTnews Australia
Twitter plans to introduce tools and services by year-end to help businesses serve their customers, and may charge fees for such services, co-founder Biz Stone said.

"We're looking at who's using Twitter and for what," Stone told the Reuters Global Technology Summit in New York via videolink from San Francisco. "Are there any commercial usages that are making a lot of sense?"

Twitter, a two-year-old, venture capital-backed company that lets people send 140-character messages, or Tweets, has enjoyed explosive growth in recent months.

Visitors to Twitter jumped 83 percent in April from the previous month, to reach 17 million, according to comScore data.

Twitter is searching for ways to make money from its popularity. Stone said "phase one" of that effort was spent collecting intelligence on how people use the service.

The second phase will see Twitter launching tools and services on top of free micro-blogging, aimed at companies that wish to use Twitter to message customers.

It will be "simple stuff" such as lightweight analytics, Stone said. He reiterated the company's commitment to keeping the service free for everyone but added:

"If there is a way we can go above and beyond, and they (companies) can improve bottom line by offering services we can offer for a fee, (we) will do that."