Microsoft makes its way to the increasingly popular green movement by announcing to its more than 90,000 employees plans to reduce its carbon emissions by more than 30 percent by 2012.
"As a technology company, we believe that our footprint goals will be met by leveraging software and technology," Microsoft's sustainability chief Rob Bernard wrote in a blog post. "We will work to provide advances in our building operations, we will continue to expand our use of our Unified Communications tools...and will look for new ways to reduce our use of resources in our datacenters by continuing to push the envelope on innovation in how datacenters are designed, built, and operated."
Bernard said Microsoft's goal can be achieved by improving energy use in its buildings and operations, reducing air travel, and increasing the use of renewable energy. Some of that work has already begun, and Bernard claims Microsoft was able to save over $90 million on travel by utilizing remote conferencing.
Currently in the development stage, the next iteration of Microsoft's Surface technology is probably about two or three years from materializing. SecondLight, as Microsoft refers to the Surface 2, will add a second camera to project images onto a layer that sits above the surface of the screen.
Also new to SecondLight / Surface 2 are built-in infrared sensors, so not only will it detect multitouch gestures, but it will be capable of reacting to mid-air movements without ever touching the screen.
While no specifics have been given about the cameras being used, Eric Klimczak, creative director of Clarity Consulting, which produces applications for the Surface, said he expects SecondLight to make use of high-definition cameras. And he's probably right, given that the Surface has been used for at least one high profile event coordinating Super Bowl security.
Just when you might have thought it was safe to start using USB flash drives at work again, the third, and by all accounts, most fiendish version of the Conficker worm that's infected millions of PCs already is set to attack on April 1st, Ars Technicareports. Conficker.C's designed to hide itself even more thoroughly than its older siblings, using tricks such as:
Inserting itself into as many as five Windows-related folders such as System, Movie Maker, Internet Explorer, and others (under a random name, of course)
Creating access control entries and locking the file(s)
Registers dummy services using a "one (name) from column A, one from column B, and two from column C" method
To find out what happens when Conficker.C strikes, join us after the jump.
The Taipei Timesreports that the Taiwanese edition of Internet Explorer 8 will be released next Friday, March 20. The Times interviewed several Microsoft Taiwan personnel, including GM Davis Tsai and platform marketing manager Juno Su, for the story.
So, what does this mean for IE8 in other markets? It's unlikely Redmond would launch the newest version of its browser in only one market on March 20, but if you're still skeptical, take a look at Neowin.net's collection of About IE screen shots gathered from recent Windows 7 builds (7048 and 7057) - there's no mention of IE8 being a Release Candidate or beta as with the IE8 version included in the Windows 7 public beta. Neowin suggests that the most likely venue for the formal roll-out will be next week's Microsoft MixO9 Web Development and Design Conference in Las Vegas. Stay tuned to MaximumPC.com for the latest information.
Join us after the jump for your chance to chime in on IE8.
Microsoft probably isn't the first company to come to mind when you think of cooling products, but the mega-software maker is looking to change that with the announcement of its new Notebook Cooling Base.
The notebook stand sports a slim design measuring just 1.16-inches thick and comes with a cable management clip to store the cable when not in use. The cooler is USB powered and includes a built-in fan for active cooling duties. Microsoft says the base is "contoured to rest on the both desks and users' laps, providing a comfortable typing angle."
The Notebook Cooling Base will be available starting in July in both white and black, with an MSRP of $30.
Today, Microsoft released a trio of security bulletins covering all currently-supported Windows versions. Users of Windows 2000 SP4 through Windows Vista SP1 (as well as Windows Server 2003 and 2008) need to install the update for the critical Windows kernel vulnerability noted in Security Bulletin MS-09-006. The other two bulletins (MS09-007 and MS09-008) solve important vulnerabilities in SChannel (007) and DNS/WINS Server (008); these bulletins apply to Windows 2000 SP4 through Windows XP and Server 2003 only.
Other updates to look for include the usual updates to the Malicious Software Removal Tool and the Windows Mail junk email filter. If you're on Automatic Updates, follow instructions to reboot if needed after installation. If you prefer to be in charge, don't forget to download and install these as soon as possible.
When we first broke this story, though it came from a credible source, it was a bit hard to believe. Microsoft is in the software business, so what is all this talk about softwear? Turns out it’s all true and the official Microsoft website for the product line has now launched. The project is being managed in collaboration with thinkcommon.com, and the designs certainly are… interesting.
The majority of the shirts are tributes to the olden days of MS-DOS, but my personal favorite is “The Misdemeanor”. This classy tee (shown above) sports Bill Gate’s mug shot, and is sure to make you a hit at parties (not guaranteed by me or Microsoft). The shirts supposedly retail for a very reasonable $10, and the website can help you find a store near you.
So is this brilliant marketing or painful to look at?
Call it peer pressure, or call it a dose of common sense, but Microsoft is finally looking to take on the free rivals of its Office application suite. During a presentation at the Morgan Stanley Technology conference, Microsoft Business Division Chief Stephen Elop announced a free / ad supported version which they hope will help combat piracy. According to Elop, “There's an opportunity to draw those pirate customers into the revenue stream. We want to draw them into the Windows family and maybe there's an upsell opportunity later”.
Also in related news, Microsoft Business Software VP Chris Capossela, has also tipped off the Silicon Alley Insider as to the operating system requirements of Office 14, and Windows Vista / 7 will still be optional. The Office and Windows teams now work completely independent of each other, and I’m sure the Office guys are simply hoping to avoid the depressing Halo effect that requiring a new operating system can have on sales. With Office 14 delayed until sometime in 2010, will this give businesses even more reasons to stick with XP? If the productivity software these companies rely on still works just as well in a legacy operating systems, do companies have enough incentive to move to Windows 7? Corporate IT professionals are typically big fans of the status quo, and are usually against operating system migrations unless they can prove the value.
So will this slow down business adoption of Windows 7? And if you would be willing to use an ad supported version of Office 14? Let us know what you think.