Been admiring those sleek new netbooks, but you already sank your ready cash into a smartphone? If Microsoft's patent application is approved, you might already have half a netbook. As reported by The Register, Redmond has applied for a patent on a so-called "Smart Interface System for Mobile Communication Devices," which would transform your humble smartphone into the practical equivalent of a netbook. According to El Reg:
Although similar features have already been seen in existing cradles, Microsoft’s model would be equipped with a dedicated processor and memory. This would be used for storing and executing the on-board OS and an application for handling communication between the phone, peripherals and other connections, such as Wi-Fi.
Microsoft's patent application says that the device will use USB and "other suitable connector interfaces," and is designed to connect to TVs, monitors, mice, keyboards, printers, drives, and networks. There's a long way between a patent application and real hardware, but what would make you more (or less) likely to give a real-world version of this a careful look? Join us after the jump and sound off.
It seems like just yesterday that Microsoft reluctantly introduced us to the world of User Account Control (UAC). Many disgruntled reviewers claimed that the UAC present in Windows Vista was too intrusive. It caused a lot of frustration when trying to install programs that needed administrator credentials. Apple even made a commercial that illustrated how people felt about the constant nagging of UAC in Windows Vista.
Fast forward to Windows 7 Beta 1, Microsoft now gives full control over the number of prompts you receive. The problem is any malware can defeat UAC by sending a few Visual Basic scripts to activate the slider and turn off UAC. Once UAC is off, the computer can be restarted and the malware can be launched with full administrator credentials and expose the computer to more malware and exploits.
USNews's David LaGesse reports that Charter Communications is about to 10-up its high-speed rivals Verizon and Comcast by rolling out a 60Mbps broadband service (Verizon and Comcast currently offer 50Mbps in some markets).
If the settlement is approved, the owner of each eligible iPod Nano sold without a protective slipcase would receive $25. Owners of iPod Nanos sold with a protective slipcase would receive $15 per unit. Learn more at the settlement website's FAQ page.
Did you buy an early iPod Nano? Join us after the jump for your chance to tell us your scratch horror stories.
If you are a website developer, you know how frustrating it is to get the appropriate content indexed on your website. You want your website indexed, but you do not want a certain page indexed. As a site owner, you want to control the content that is indexed on search engines. For example, you do not want your boss to find a description of what you do during the day in the office. On the other hand, you could have made a devastating mistake on the creation of your website and do not want people to see the mistake page.
With the announcement of Craig Barrett's retirement in May, one of Intel's last links with the pre-PC era will vanish. Barrett's career at Intel started in 1974, when Intel was just seven years old and was introducing the first general-purpose microprocessor, the 8080. The 8080's descendents included the first 16-bit processor, the 8086, and the IBM PC's processor, the 8088. The IBM PC and its many descendants enabled Intel's rise to processor dominance.
Barrett became Intel's CEO in 1998, taking over for the legendary Andy Grove. Barrett's tenure as CEO saw the development of Intel's first Celeron economy CPU and high-end Pentium III processors, the introduction of the Pentium 4, diversification into communications chips, development of new Xeon and Itanium server processors, and the introduction of the Centrino portable chipset/processor technology.
During this period, Intel received formidable challenges from AMD's Athlon and Athlon XP, and frequently saw its processors beaten by AMD's processors in real-world performance tests. Barrett became chairman of Intel in 2005, and during his tenure as chairman, saw Intel retake the performance crown from AMD with the introduction of the Core 2 Duo, Core 2 Quad, and Core i7 processor lines.
Barrett, 70, is retiring at a time in which Intel, like other technology companies, is facing tough times, and announced last week that it's closing two fab plants in the US as well as three assembly test facilities in Malaysia and the Philippines, affecting over 5,000 employees.
What was the first Intel product you used? Was it a processor, motherboard, chipset, network adapter, or something else? Looking back at Barrett's long career, what do you think were Intel's biggest hits - and misses? Join us after the jump for your chance to tell all.
Has the time really come that Microsoft is forced to include other browsers on their operating systems? Since the early 90’s Microsoft has only bundled Windows with Internet Explorer, but the European Union antitrust agency may force Microsoft to start including other browsers as well.
If Microsoft is forced to install other companies’ browsers, this could represent a new unexploited area for advertisers. It will force OEMs and Microsoft in general to give the end-user a choice of which browser they want on their computer. If this happens, Microsoft will no longer be able to tie certain programs into their browser. For example, Windows Live Messenger will no longer require Internet Explorer. Microsoft may also be required to pay additional fines to the European Union antitrust agency for not including additional browsers on Windows based systems and integrating the operating system with their browser.
Depending on who you ask, that's probably two or three versions too many. Unfortunately, unless Redmond changes its mind between now and Windows 7 release, it looks likely that the same "too many versions" problem that haunted Windows Vista will be back for Windows 7. There's one bit of good news, though. It looks as if an easy-to-use version of Windows Anytime Upgrade will be included in non-Ultimate releases so you can move up.
As noted by Gizmodo, Windows 7 has made quite a few tweaks to the Windows Experience Index (WEI) first introduced by Windows Vista. For those of you tuning in late, the WEI tests hardware performance of five subsystems (processor, memory, desktop graphics, 3D gaming graphics, and hard disk), calculates a score for each one, and uses the lowest subsystem score as your WEI base score.
Since just after Windows Vista shipped, users of high-performance components, especially graphics cards, have been complaining loudly about Vista's WEI top score being capped at 5.9. While the Minpaso database of Vista WEI scores calculates a "presumption score" to try to make allowances for today's faster hardware, there hasn't been an official move from Microsoft until now. The code jockeys in Redmond heard you, and the top WEI subsystem and base score in Windows 7 is 7.9.
Wondering why the top score changed, and what else is different? Join us after the jump for details.
Remember Microsoft's rare out-of-band security update from last October, MS08-067? Microsoft warned us then that Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, and Windows 2000 SP4 were especially vulnerable to being attacked. Windows Update probably took care of patching your home computer. However, companies and individuals that were slow to patch their fleets of PCs with KB958644 could find their computers now infected by a nasty worm called Conficker, Downadup or Kido.
How big a deal is Conficker/Downadup? According to F-Secure, the number of infected machines went from 2.4 million to 8.9 million in just four days as of last Friday. Panda Security now estimates that as many as one in every 16 PCs may be infected. F-Secure wraps up its analysis by saying "The situation with Downadup is not getting better. It's getting worse." Panda compares the outbreak with the legendary Kournikova (2001) and Blaster (2003) outbreaks.
How does Conficker/Downandup spread, and what can you do about it? Join us after the jump to learn more.