The Wall Street Journalreports on the increasing numbers of homeless computer users. While some resort to familiar solutions such as using computers set up in shelters or at public libraries, others carry their own laptops and external hard disks, and some even generate their own electricity or connect their units to car batteries to keep their systems running. Cybercafes, sympathetic friends, and "hidden" locations in public places that offer AC power and wireless access are some of the methods used to stay online.
Except for where homeless users run their systems and make online connections, they're not much different than those of us using PCs at home or at the office: PCs are used for news, information, and entertainment, social networking, advocacy, and jobhunting. As one homeless user puts it: "You don't need a TV. You don't need a radio. You don't even need a newspaper, but you need the Internet."
If you had to hit the streets, what would you give up before you gave up your PC? Join us after the jump and share your thoughts.
You've seen the demos of multitouch, and you might even have a PC that supports Windows 7's multitouch, but what can you do with it? If you're in the market for a PC that supports multi-touch, Microsoft is making a multitouch PC even more appealing by announcing its Microsoft Touch Pack for Windows 7.
Microsoft Touch Pack is a product of the collaboration between the Windows and Surface development teams, and as a result, Microsoft Touch Pack includes three Microsoft Surface applications and three casual games. Here's what you get:
Microsoft Surface Globe enables you to navigate the Virtual Earth 3D version of the world by touch, and lets you get local information as you "fly" by particular places.
Microsoft Surface Collage brings one of the original Microsoft Surface "touch and move the photos" demos to life, adding the ability to convert a collage into a desktop background.
Microsoft Surface Lagoon is a multi-touch enabled screensaver - watch fish gather around your "submerged" finger.
Casual gamers can enjoy the Rube Goldbergesque Microsoft Blackboard, a mashup of death rays and air hockey in Microsoft Rebound, and float origami on the water in Microsoft Garden Pond.
To find out who gets their hands on Microsoft Touch Pack first, join us after the jump.
Intel's ultra-low-powered CULV family of processors are becoming popular choices for many forthcoming ultrathin notebook computers in the $700-$900 range, like MSI's new X-Slim series we told you about in April.
However, you can also use CULV processors in standard-thickness notebook computers, and according to Digitimes, that's exactly what Hewlett-Packard plans to do. It will roll out ultra-thin models with CULV processors in the fourth quarter, but its first CULV-based products will use standard chassis and will thus be available earlier.
CULV processors are designed to fit between Intel's Atom and its faster Core 2 Duo processors in performance. Will the market put up with a full-sized notebook with a battery-sipping, but slower processor, or should prospective HP CULV buyers wait until late in the year for the new ultraslim chassis? Join us after the jump and sound off.
Ready, aim, SPEND! That's the approach Microsoft is planning for Bing, its new search engine, Advertising Agereports. How much coin is Redmond prepared to spend to market Bing (previously code-named Kumo)? Somewhere is the $80-100 million range, Ad Age says, compared to Google's non-recruitment ad spending in 2008 of around $13 million. But, can spending 6-8 times as much as Google give Bing the jump it needs?
Microsoft's ad push (helmed by ad-agency powerhouse JWT) will not, unlike the recent anti-Apple campaign, mention Microsoft's search rivals - instead, the planned ads will ask consumers if search works as well as they'd like.
How about the product itself?
People who've seen the Microsoft product suggest it's useful and has some nifty filtering tools, even though it's not a markedly different-looking interface, at least for text search (some of the multimedia search results, however, do look quite different from how Google currently displays them).
When will Bing shove aside Live Search? The Register says "June," and also suggests keeping an eye on the D: All Things Digital conference this week for more details.
Microsoft continues its quest to convince people to watch TV on their PCs with today’s announcement that Netflix subscribers can finally stream more than 12,000 movies and TV episodes through Windows Media Center. But there’s a catch; two, actually.
This week, Microsoft is releasing another series of test (aka "fake") updates for Windows 7 (Redmond released test updates for Windows 7 Beta 1 back in February). As with the test updates for Windows 7 Beta 1, the test updates for Windows 7 RC are designed to make sure that the Windows 7 update mechanism is working properly.
The release started Tuesday, so you may already have some test updates set to arrive on your system. Most will install automatically, but KB970420 must be installed manually through Windows Update. According to PC World, as many as ten test updates may be sent. Look for the phrase "Test Update" when you review Windows Update history.
Speaking of Windows Update and Windows 7 RC, 32-bit users should make sure they've installed the update referred to in KB970789, released late last week. This fixes a major show-stopping bug affecting folders created under the root folder and the applications that try to access them.
Is it time to put a shiny new Windows 7-based computer on your holiday shopping list? Yes, it is. Redmond has finally made it official - Windows 7 is coming out this year. In an interview with Cnet's Ina Fried, Microsoft Senior VP Bill Veghte confirmed that "We [Microsoft] are tracking well to a Windows 7 holiday."
So, what makes it possible to roll out Windows 7 early? Veghte points to a couple of factors:
Excellent early feedback from Windows 7 RC
Higher level of partner support for Windows 7, notably from graphics chip vendors as well as those already receiving Windows 7 logo certification
To learn more, keep an eye on the Microsoft Tech-Ed 2009 conference opening today in Los Angeles. If you're using Windows 7 RC as your primary OS, how close do you think it is to being "ready to roll?" Join us after the jump and tell us.
One of the best-kept secrets about Windows 7, its support for a Virtual Windows XP mode, has become a potential headache for a lot of computer users who want to keep running fussy legacy apps under Windows 7. To maintain high system performance, Virtual Windows XP Mode requires the processor to support hardware virtualization (and the system BIOS must enable the feature).
As ZDNet's Ed Bott reports, trying to figure out which Intel processors have hardware virtualization (known in IntelLand as VT support) requires a lot of time with the Intel Hardware Spec Finder. Ed spent the time, so you don't have to wonder about Intel desktop or mobile CPUs (but check the update on page 1 for news about some CPUs that are getting updated to add VT support).
What about AMD CPUs? That's a bit easier to figure out, thanks to a statement from an AMD spokesperson quoted by Cnet:
All CPUs AMD is currently shipping, except Sempron, include AMD-V and therefore support XP mode.With the exceptions of Sempron-branded processors and Turion K8 Rev E processors, all notebook processors shipped by AMD include AMD-V and therefore support Windows 7 XP mode. With the exceptions of Sempron-branded processors and pre-Rev F Athlon branded processors, all of the desktop processors shipped by AMD include AMD-V and therefore support Windows 7 in XP mode. Also, all AMD Opteron processors shipped by AMD from Rev F forward include AMD-V.
Want an even easier way to get the virtualization scoop on your systems? PCWorld recommends the SecureAble test page at the Gibson Research Corporation website. Run SecurAble to determine if your processor supports hardware virtualization, hardware data execution protection (DEP) and to learn if it's a 32-bit or 64-bit CPU. Give SecurAble a try and let us know if you found any surprises about your system.
Microsoft's latest Windows version, Windows 7, has already proven to be too popular for the Internet's own good. Back in January, Microsoft planned to offer the Windows 7 beta to only 2.5 million lucky downloaders over a two-week period, but that didn't last long. As servers crashed under the weight of digital "gold rush" fever, Redmond extended the date to February 10th while lifting the download cap.
This time, with early demand for Windows 7 RC from TechNet and MSDN members crashing servers at the end of April, Microsoft is telling the public to relax:
You don't need to rush to get the RC. The RC will be available at least through July 2009 and we're not limiting the number of product keys, so you have plenty of time.
Wondering how to get more product keys the easy way? Having problems restoring a file backup you made with Windows 7 Beta to Windows 7 RC? Join us after the jump.
Should you be worried about the July 1, 2010 "drop dead" date for the Windows 7 RC released today? Not according to Acer. In an interview with Pocket-Lint's Chris Hall, Bobby Watkins, Acer UK's Marketing Director, says that October 23, 2009 will be the day that Windows 7 will be available.
Believable? One comment from a US-based reader points out that October 23
...comes at the end of the major U.S. back-to-school selling season and could postpone buying by thousands of people in order to get into the 30-day free upgrade cycle [Acer says that purchases 30 days or less before the Windows 7 release qualify for a free upgrade]. The Microsoft OEM's will absolutely hate this date because it will cost them money.
On the other hand, the date falls comfortably before the holiday season (Microsoft missed the 2006 holiday season with Windows Vista).
For your chance to sound off about how close Windows 7 RC is to being ready to roll, join us after the jump.