Everyone knows that technology is an important part of the world that we live in (well, just about everyone), and that includes the Democratic nominee for President, Barack Obama.
Should Obama be elected President of the United States (please, don’t let the comments turn into partisan bickering!), he lists in his plan for the country the appointment of a Chief Technology Officer. The CTO would primarily be responsible for getting broadband Internet access into more American homes (shockingly, only 23 out of every 100 homes have such access, putting us in 15th place among nations on that particular statistic). They’d also be responsible for advancing green tech, thanks to a $50 billion venture capital fund.
As mundane as the job might sound, there are some pretty big names being thrown around for the position. The likes of Vint Cerf (Google), Steve Ballmer (Microsoft), Jeff Bezos (Amazon) and Ed Felten (Princeton) are all potentials. But who cares what that one thinks, who would you want sitting in the biggest tech seat in America?
Piracy continues to be the bane of both software developers/publishers and consumers alike. Electronic Arts caused an uproar among gamers when it decided to use a modified version of SecuROM for Spore, which ultimately ended up punishing paying customers while pirates still got their hands on the game through torrent sites from the outset. Is there a solution?
Microsoft hopes to answer that question by taking the fight against software piracy global. In what Microsoft is calling Global Anti-Piracy Day (not to be confused with the International Talk Like a Pirate Day), the company will use a mishmash of education and enforcement tactics in 49 countries, which includes filing 20 lawsuits against software resellers in the U.S. allegedly selling pirated copies of Office 2007 Enterprise, Windows XP Pro, Office 2003 Pro, and Office 2007 Pro.
"One of the reasons we believe this announcement is important is it consolidates a lot of our activities in connection with our partnerships with governments, our customers and partners,” said Bonnie MacNaughton, Microsoft senior attorney.
Different tactics will be used in different countries. For instance, Microsoft is partnering with the American Chamber of Commerce to launch an anti-piracy educational blog in Brazil, whereas in Italy the company has begun an employee anti-piracy ambassador program. Regardless of specific strategy, it's all part of an effort to reduce the estimated $50 billion pirated software is costing the industry on a global scale.
Hit the jump and let us know if you think Microsoft's approach will work or not.
Most of the buzz surrounding Microsoft has to do with the company's next operating system, Windows 7, and what changes to expect over Vista. But a new OS isn't the only thing the software giant has been working on, as the next version of Office is receiving some attention as well.
At next week's Professional Developer Conference (PDC), Microsoft plans to talk about Office 14 (as the next version of Office has been code-named) with attendees, giving them a sneak peek at some of the features. Sure to be a highlight of the discussion is Office 14's ability to run in different modes, online or offline.
"We will rewrite Office to work in a browser," Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said in an interview with Britain's Computer Weekly.
But while attendees will get a first look at Office 14 - specifically, Office business applications and the software's Open XML file formats, according to the two listed sessions - it doesn't appear they'll be walking home with a copy, so don't fret if you won't be in attendance.
I know it, you know it, almost everybody that reads Maximum PC knows it - but that doesn't mean that your family, your co-workers, or your bosses know it. What's it? Simply this: Microsoft never - repeat never - sends out security updates via email.
The email, ironically enough, claims that "Since public distribution of this Update through the official website http://www.microsoft.com would have result in efficient creation of a malicious software, we made a decision to issue an experimental private version of an update for all Microsoft Windows OS users." And, it's signed "Steve Lipner, Directory of Security Assurance, Microsoft Corp."
Well, at least the bad guys got Steve's name right. However, he's actually senior director of security engineering strategy in Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing Group, according to a recent interview.
The message (minus the Trojan, of course), is available at the Microsoft Malware Protection Center blog, where you can see for yourself the classic hallmarks of a fake message: a shaky command of the English language, sentence construction that's so stiff it belongs on a Victorian-era calling card, and off-the-wall sentiments that show it was adapted from a different con job document: "We apologize for any inconvenience this back order may be causing you." Back order? Whaat? I didn't order any malware!
Already getting calls from frantic family, friends, or co-workers wondering why their PCs have slowed to a crawl or become infested by popups? Join us after the jump for solutions.
A new version of OpenOffice is upon us and it’s worth your while to check it out. We’ve long recommended this suite of programs as one of the must-have open-source applications on your PC. Simply put, it’s as close to Microsoft’s Office suite as you’re going to get without plunking down a small fortune. It doesn’t contain any unpleasantries in design and functionality that the idea of a “free office suite” might conjure up. And its newest 3.0 incarnation—all of .6 somethings greater than the last full OpenOffice release—adds even more versatility to the suite.
Hit the jump for an in-depth look at some of OpenOffice 3.0's top new features!
Xbox Evolved -- a site claiming to have first broken the news that the Xbox 360's hard drive would be optional, way back in 2004 -- has heard from "incredibly reliable" sources that the Xbox 360's all-too-quickly approaching successor will be forward-compatible.
"Forward-compatible," the avant garde cousin of "backward-compatible," apparently refers to the Xbox 361-plus-infinity-plus-one's ability to act as a performance-enhancer for Xbox 360 games.
"This isn’t a side effect of textures being cleaner and upscaled resolution, this is a new animal completely," reads the article. "Imagine playing Gears of War 3 on your Xbox 360 it looks and plays good right? Well imagine that the year after it comes out you go out to buy the next Xbox and it looks even better, it plays even better. Features in the new controller are utilized with the game, the graphics do not only look sharper, but the draw distance is better, the speed is better, framerate, and there are even new features, perhaps even levels via DLC for the game on the third-generation Xbox."
"GoW3 is of course an example of what this could mean, past the forward-compatibility information, Xbox Evolved has not been given any other information about the next generation of Xbox."
So yeah, it's just like a PC. Get a new machine? Old Game X gets a new coat of paint. And while we certainly think this sounds like an interesting feature, we hope Microsoft doesn't get too caught up in new features to remember little things like focus-testing.
Adobe’s senior marketing manager in the Platform Business Unit, Tom Barclay, said that the Flash Player 10 is capable of “things not possible with Silverlight 2.” The direct reference to Silverlight 2 underscores the amount of respect Adobe accords to its seemingly innocuous rival – just about enough. Barclay heavily touted the addition of Adobe Pixel Blender-related functionality in the new edition. Flash Player 10 has simultaneously become available on Windows, Mac and Linux.
Full-blown instant-on technology is considered by some to be the holy grail of computing, whereby once you hit the power button, your PC's ready to go. It's safe to assume we won't see this implemented in its entirety anytime soon, but steps have already been taken in that direction. Asus' SplashTop OS makes it possible to fire up Pidgin, Skype, or a browser all before booting into the main operating system, and similar functionality can be found on some Dell Latitude notebooks and even Voodoo's Envy. These Linux-based systems on a chip are all the rage and appear to have drawn the attention of Microsoft.
In a recent Microsoft survey sent out to select users, the software giant pinged consumer interest in "Instant On" technology. The survey notes that "Instant On takes your computer from being completely powered down or 'turned off' to being usable for a few specific activities in a very short amount of time." The survey goes on to ask participants a series of related questions, such as what value they place on Instant On technology and what types of applications would they expect to be able to use.
So what exactly does Microsoft have planned? It could be nothing, or it could be feature to pop up in Windows 7. Or maybe the next iteration of Centrino will come standard with Instant On. The list of possibilities goes on and on, but at the very least, the company's exploring user interest and is aware of the trend.
Hit the jump and tell us what you think Microsoft is up to, and whether or not you care.
Two days ago, Microsoft announced that the code name “Windows 7” was in fact more than a code name, and that the OS would actually be released under the moniker. Since then, there’s been some head-scratching about what exactly Windows 7 will be the seventh of. Today, Mike Nash posted again to clear up the confusion, and explain exactly how Microsoft arrived at the name.
In brief, Nash explained that the up through Windows 3.0, each release got its own number. Then, they started getting a little more conservative with release numbers, with NT still being part of version 3, and all the 9x platforms making up 4.0. 2000 and XP comprised number 5, and Vista is 6.0.
So, naturally it’s called Windows 7 because it’s Windows 7.0, right?
Err, no. Windows 7 is actually Windows 6.1. He explains the reasoning for this as follows:
“We learned a lot about using 5.1 for XP and how that helped developers with version checking for API compatibility. We also had the lesson reinforced when we applied the version number in the Windows Vista code as Windows 6.0-- that changing basic version numbers can cause application compatibility issues.”
So Windows 7 is certainly not the seventh Windows release, and it’s not Windows 7.0, either. It’s just… Windows 7. What do you think of the name? Hit the jump and let us know.
"Where Do You Want to Go Today?" Maybe that old Microsoft slogan was inspired by the codenames for Windows versions past. You could travel the Midwest with a trip to "Chicago" (Windows 95), "Detroit" (Windows 95 OSR2) and "Memphis" (Windows 98) [corrected 10-15-2008, hat tip to reader damicatz]. Is "Cairo" in Egypt or Southern Illinois? Either way, it's the codename for Windows NT 4.0. More recently, Microsoft's been hitting the slopes in British Columbia, with "Whistler" (Windows XP) and hitting an apres-ski bar in Whistler called "Longhorn" (Windows Vista) for a little liquid refreshment.
Well, you can put away your roadmaps: the Windows version codenamed "Windows 7" is officially called....(wait for it....) Windows 7! Ironically, the official Windows Vista blog confirmed the name for Vista's successor in a post on Columbus Day. Thus, Windows 7 will be the first version of in many years Windows not to have a codename or at least a nickname (Windows 2000 was informally known as "NT5" before it was released).
Wondering why Microsoft went for simplicity in the name of the new OS? Wondering about Microsoft counts Windows generations? Join us after the jump to learn more - and get your chance to sound off.