Steve Ballmer’s luncheon meeting with Yahoo’s chairman Roy Bostock is being seen as a straw in the wind of a possible deal between the companies they serve. The possibility of such a deal has been ostensibly revived with last week’s meeting and the appointment of a new CEO over at Yahoo. But it might not be a great thing for Microsoft, after all.
Microsoft should concentrate on its core business of software, rather then treading Google’s domain – online search advertising, according to Slate’s Farhad Manjoo. In fact, he goes as far as saying that Microsoft should not even be in online advertising being a software company.
He points out that Microsoft’s core business has been ignored for a while and cites Vista and Windows Mobile as emblems of that ignorance. Manjoo finally has some M&A advice for Microsoft: buy Palm for just $1 billion or $2 billion instead of Yahoo - and its plethora of problems - for tens of billions.
Palm’s upcoming Pre is being tipped as the iPhone killer - that everyone is so desperately dying to encounter. Its interface does not appear to be a mere reinvention of the iPhone wheel, and may just be at the vanguard of mobile phone technology. On the other hand, Windows Mobile is a touch quaint compared to other mobile operating systems. So you can see why Microsoft’s unofficial M&A advisor believes that Palm may prove to be a better buy than Yahoo.
Despite a struggling economy, the worldwide PC market continues to grow, which is largely the result of mini-notebooks. The immense popularity in low-cost netbooks has also favored Intel, whose Atom CPUs contributed to record growth in the processor market in Q3 2008. But are consumers truly happy buying underpowered ultraportable PCs? According to a study by Biz360, an information-services company, customer satisfaction is falling short of the sales growth.
"The results of the analysis indicate that there is a lot of opportunity for improvement across the board for Netbook products," Biz360 concludes. "Netbook manufacturers also face a significant challenge with consumers whose expectations are based on years of desktop pc usage."
Surprisingly, Biz360 found that Acer ranks lowest in Net Advocacy (Biz360's proprietary metric that factors the positive and negative sentiment of individual comments), despite being the top seller in Q4 2008. Acer's Aspire one series had a 34 percent lower Net Advocacy than the average for all laptop brands.
Not so suprisingly, the number one complaint against netbooks has to do with performance, in which Biz360 found opinions to be "predominately negative."
You can already get hitched online, so why not webcast your funeral when you're dead and gone? More and more funeral homes have started offering such a service, making it possible for out-of-towners unable to make the trip to still attend a loved one's funeral, while simultaneously checking the latest sports scores in another tab (just the way Firefox envisioned it).
One such funeral home offering live (dead?) webcasts is Schoedinger Funeral and Cremation Service. The company first started streaming funeral services to families with relatives serving in the military, and now anyone can sign up at the any of the company's 11 locations. To prevent just anyone from watching the service, viewers must enter a password 15 minutes before it starts.
The Schoedinger funeral home says its webcasts have been popular and expects other funeral homes to follow suit. The practice has also attracted the attention of webcasting companies, who offer packages to funeral homes consisting of tripods, cameras with microphones, cables, and other webcasting necessities.
A group of chemical engineers with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have recently developed a hydrogen fuel cell that measures a measly 3 millimeters across. This means that within the not-too-distant future we could be using gadgets with cheaper, longer lasting, more eco-friendly power sources.
The cell consists of very few parts: a water reservoir, a chamber contain metal hydride separated by a thin membrane with an assembly of electrodes that conduct electricity underneath. And, thanks to the small size of the chip the need for a pump, pressure sensor and controlling electronics were eliminated.
The first models were able to generate 0.7 volts and a current of 0.1 milliamps for about 30 hours. The team does claim that now they’re able to produce 1 full milliamp for the 30 hours at the same voltage.
It’s unfortunate to see Microsoft so clearly working backwards in a progressive music market. In a world run by DRM-free services like Amazon, Lala and Apple, its confusing to see a giant like Microsoft moving towards DRM when it comes to loading music on mobile phones.
According to Hugh Griffiths, Microsoft’s Head of Mobile at Microsoft UK, “It's a first step. We're doing this in conjunction with a third-party provider. We'll be looking to enhance the service if we get some interest from consumers. They certainly tell us that they like listening to music while they are out and about, on their mobile phones.”
On top of that, there’s currently no announced way for customers to move music between their mobile phone and their computer. And, to further dig the grave of the service, the tracks will be selling for nearly $2 (American) per song, compared to Apple and Amazon’s 79 – 99 cents.
Lets just hope that either Microsoft takes their stake out of the DRM-fueled music game before some unsuspecting people get swindled into buying crippled music, or they drastically change their tactics.
Now that we’ve got Barack Obama in the White House, correct oath or not, the planned $6 billion stimulus package should finally be on its way. But, according to a recent study, most Americans that don’t already have broadband simply don’t want it.
Many Americans don’t see broadband as the saving grace that those that have it do. For example, 19 percent of dial-up users said that nothing would get them to upgrade, not even lowered prices. Of the 25 percent that don’t regularly use the Internet at all (too busy watching mid-day reruns of MacGyver), one third stated that they’re not even interested in going online, whereas an additional 10 percent claimed that they thought it was too difficult.
While many of these statements may hold water today, one can only hope to see what this planned broadband stimulus will bring to the table. Perhaps a healthy dose of cheap, fast broadband is just what the doctor ordered? Plus, it’s difficult to think about all of the modems still making that wretched screech after all these years.
Last year it was Biostar -- and not Asus, DFI, or Gigabyte -- who set a frontside bus world record with its Biostar TPower I45 motherboard, and further blurring the lines between traditional enthusiast branding and companies better known for taking the budget end of the spectrum, A-Data -- not OCZ, Corsair, or Kingston -- has just broken a benchmarking record of its own.
"A-DATA® Technology Co., Ltd., a worldwide leading manufacturer in high performance memory products, announced today that its XPG™ DDR3 memory modules have broke a new world record on SuperPi 32m," A-Data stated in a press release. "The record was set by utilizing the DFI Lanparty UT X58 motherboard and XPG X Series v2.0 memory, the DDR3-2133X v2.0 2GBx3 triple-channel kit."
The new record now sits at 6min 40sec 360ms, which required overclocking A-Data's triple-channel DDR3-2133X v2.0 kit to 2237MHz with 8-7-7-21 latencies. A-Data didn't say how much voltage it took to reach that frequency, but if we had to guess, we'd say it ran high. The same kit comes rated at 2.05V-2.15V with 10-10-10-30 latencies at its stock frequency.
CodaOctopus Colmek describes its new Stinger 553 rig as "a rugged tactical small form factor PC," but calling it a bomb shelter for your PC hardware would have been just as appropriate. Protected by an aluminum alloy chassis that's both corrosion and splash resistant, CodaOctopus Colmek says it built the Stinger 553 to MIL-STD-810F and MIL-STD-461E environmental standards and MIL-STD0404E power supply voltage standards. That means it can withstand freezing rain, high humidity, gunfire vibration, sand, dust, fungus, and a host of other unpleasantries.
On the inside sits an intel Atom processor, 2GB of RAM, 128GB SSD, and Windows XPe, WinCE, Linux, or VxWorks. Rounding out the spec sheet are 8x USB 2.0 ports, 4x SATA ports, 7x RS-232 serial ports, and more..
It looks as though the United States will not only get its first Chief Technology Officer (CTO), but according to the Agenda for Homeland Security, the Obama administration also plans to hire a new national cyber advisor. The report, which was released on Wednesday, lists several goals for combating terrorism, including ways to protect information networks.
Chief among the goals of protecting information networks is to "declare the cyber infrastructure a strategic asset and establish the position of national cyber advisor who will report directly to the president and will be responsible for coordinating federal agency efforts and development of national cyber policy."
Other related goals listed in the report include initiating a safe computing R&D effort, protect the IT infrastructure, prevent corporate cyber-espionage, develop a cyber crime strategy to minimize the opportunities for criminal profit, and mandate standards for securing personal data and require companies to disclose personal information data breaches.
In a recent blog entry, the Google Desktop team outlined exactly why it is the search giant has favored keeping its widgets open source for the community. These include:
Source code can be a valuable learning tool. The gadgets not only show you how to develop Desktop gadgets (and) integrate with Google APIs, but also provide other tidbits of knowledge such as how to calculate phases of the moon or StarDates.
The images and graphics are also open-sourced....We hope people can take advantage of our graphic designers' talents.
We get warm fuzzy feelings by simply supporting the cause. It fosters a spirit of openness and collaboration between the team and developer community.
And really, who can argue with warm fuzzy feelings? Silly as it may sound, CNet says it might also be the most important reason, even from a business perspective, as open source makes a great recruiting and retention tool for top employees, which can be vital as companies try to weather a struggling economy.
Hit the jump and tell us what gives you warm fuzzy feelings.