Microsoft made the Windows 7 Beta public, and many of you heeded the call of duty. With your bug testing hat on and feedback hands ready to type, you’ve made it possible for Microsoft to announce a whopping 36 updates to the release candidate.
“We’ve been quite busy for the past two months or so working through all the feedback we’ve received on Windows 7. It should be no surprise but the Release Candidate for Windows 7 will have quite a few changes, many under the hood so to speak but also many visible,” wrote Steven Sinofsky on Microsoft’s Engineering Windows 7 blog.
Among the laundry list of changes are edits so the desktop experience, networking upgrades, changes to the control panel, windows media player updates and performance upgrades. If you’re looking to check out the whole list of changes, be sure to check out the blog here.
Microsoft offers plenty of software, there’s no doubt about that. And, currently in their server division alone there are 45 different packages for potential buyers to choose from. Still, the big wigs up in Redmond feel that they’re missing out on one group entirely, and that’s the sub-$500 crowd.
Within the next couple months Microsoft plans to introduce a low-cost, low-price, low-functionality Windows Server SKU named Foundation Edition. He’s comparing this server software to the netbook phenomenon, which has allowed Intel to sell millions of processors to a newly created platform in a very short period of time.
The primary target for these servers will be emerging markets, but if the netbook is any indication as to what happens once smart people get their hands on cheap tech, saturated markets mighty take advantage of this as well.
"We're number 1! We're number 1! We're number 1!" According to a new study, U.S. businesses can rightly chant being No. 1 when it comes to broadband integration. The ranking comes even after deducting numerous hours spent surfing on Facebook and YouTube.
Leonard Waverman, dean of the Haskayne School of Business at the University of Calgary, developed the measure, which he refers to as the "Connectivity Scorecard." The scorecard compares countries and looks at how consumers, businesses, and government put communication technology to economically productive use. Out of 25 countries ranked, the U.S. came out on top, besting even South Korea where more homes are equipped with broadband than in the U.S.
"Korea has great broadband to the house, but businesses in Korea don't use the best networks and don't have the skills and computing assets they need to take advantage of them," Waverman explained.
Immediately behind the U.S. in Waverman's rankings were Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, and the Norway. Korea, meanwhile, ranked 18.
At long last, Dell has finally made their Mini 10 netbook available for order via their website. The netbook has been available for pre-order the past few days, but now it’s officially on sale. And, after a few price changes, they were finally able to settle on a reasonable $399.
The netbook has plenty to offer, packing a 1.33GHz Intel Atom processor, Windows XP Home SP3, a 10.1 inch anti-glare display with a native resolution of 1024x576, 160GB HDD, 1GB DDR2 RAM, a wireless 802.11g card, and an Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 500 video card.
Unfortunately, the customization options for the Mini 10 are limited. Aside from getting a whole host of colors to choose from, you can only bump up the processor from 1.33GHz to 1.6GHz. But, if you’re looking for a cheap netbook that will provide plenty of horsepower for your work-related needs, the Mini 10 doesn’t seem like such a bad choice.
It's been eight months almost to the day since ICANN members voted to allow the freeing up of top level domains (gTLD), and it could be eight more months (or longer) before you can actually register one. Why the hold up, you ask?
ICANN's first-draft guidelines sparked a flurry of critical comments, including the exact opposite of a ringing endorsement from the U.S. government, and now a second draft has been released. Also accompanying the revised draft is a 154-page analysis of the comments already received, and ICANN expects to delay implementing the plan to at least September to give itself time to review all the feedback.
One of the primary concerns is that gTLDs could lead to confusion, and some companies fear they may be forced to invest in several new domain names. With an application fee of $180,000 and annual maintenance charges of $25,000 per gTLD (recently reduced for $75,000), that could turn into a costly affair. One solution is to place a hold on protected terms, but that raises the question of whether or not it would extend trademark holders' rights beyond what trademark law allows.
Comments on the revised proposal will be heard through April 13, 2009.
It almost seems like common sense, but 37signals' Jason Fried had some specific words for those in attendance at this year's Future of Web Apps conference in Miami, Florida: the future is not free.
Continuing on, his point is that companies need to turn away from the business model of pump-and-dumping free applications to a gleeful audience. Open-source and free software might be an excellent means for attracting attention and eyeballs to a product, but now is not the time to pack alternate revenue strategies around these concepts. Advertising and other extraneous revenue add-ons are a distraction, argues Fried. It's time to shift back to a meat-and-potatoes business model, and that involves selling a product that contains enough quality to make an audience want to pay for it, even given the current economic difficulties.
That said, there's still room for free in some capacity--read on to find out where Fried thinks free applications can exist!
Microsoft showcased Windows Mobile 6.5 at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona barely a fortnight ago. But even the most ardent WM aficionado may seriously consider skipping WM 6.5 - a minor update - in light of Steve Ballmer’s announcement that Windows Mobile 7 will become available early next year.
Ballmer identified WM as one of Microsoft’s seven key businesses. He made these comments while addressing a conference call. He believes that WM will not be affected by the downturn as it is ideal for low-cost form factors.
"I do think the guys who are in the best position to benefit are the guys who actually have phones at low price points,” Ballmer said. No price for guessing who, according to Ballmer, is going to be at a disadvantage: Apple, of course, with its exorbitantly priced iPhone.
Despite winning the high-definition format war, Blu-ray adoption appears to be at a standoff with most consumers. Not everyone is willing to pay the relatively high prices associated with Blu-ray players, and that decision has been aided by the prominence of streaming media (a la Netflix) and upconverting standard DVD players. And it looks like consumers were right to wait.
Panasonic, Philips, and Sony have jointly announced plans to create a single licensing firm for Blu-ray patents, which should help drive prices down across the board. The new license is expected to cover all the essential Blu-ray patents to be overseen by an un-named licensing company in the U.S and run by Gerald Rosenthal, former head of intellectual property at IBM.
"By establishing a new licensing entity that offers a single license for Blu-ray Disc products at attractive rates, I am confident that it will foster the growth of the Blu-ray Disc marekt and serve the interest of all companies participating in this market, be it as licensee or licensor," Rosenthal said.
As it stands today, licensing Blu-ray requires talking to each of the three partner companies, but under the new plan, the group estimates the cost of a license to be "at least 40 percent lower than the current cumulative royalty rate." How much of that ends up being passed on to consumers remains to be seen, though we won't have to wait long to find out. The new plan is expected to be introduced by the middle of the year.
High prices have traditionally relegated gaming laptops, which often qualify as desktop replacements, to niche markets served by boutique vendors, but we're starting to see more manufacturers step up to the plate with affordable models. Gateway kicked off the recent trend with its P-7811FX and others -- take Acer, for example -- have followed suit.
In an apparent attempt to undercut the competition, HP has updated its Pavilion dv7t gaming laptop with new parts and a new lower price tag. The OEM decided to stretch the screen real estate from 17 inches to 17.3 inches (1,600 x 900 resolution), and the Nvidia graphics have been traded in for a pair of ATI parts, the 512MB Mobility Radeon HD 4530 and 1GB HD 4650.
It all adds up (or down) to a new starting price of $800, which is a good chunk lower than its previous starting point of $1,230. However, that includes an AMD Turion X2 processor. A baseline Intel setup starts at $850, which includes a similarly weaksauce T4200 processor. Upgrades are available, and if you can toss $1,125 more into the mix and you can bump the CPU to Intel's Core 2 Quad Q9000.
There has been some renewed excitement over AMD's triple-core Phenom X3 processors after at least one user claims to have been able to unlock the fourth core. The post appeared on Korean website Playwares.com backed by what appear to be legitimately looking screenshots. Using a Bisotar TA790GX motherboard, all it supposedly took was changing the "Advanced Clock Calibration" in the BIOS to 'Auto,' which reportedly unlocks the disabled core.
Citing un-named motherboard makers, DigiTimes says the report has caused an upsurge in demand for AMD's Phenom X3 chips. Those same sources also described the credibility of unlocking reports as very high, but cautioned that it might only apply to specific batches of CPUs and not the whole tri-core lineup.
Not surprisingly, AMD isn't commenting on whether or not the disabled cores can be re-enabled. And until we see it for ourselves or from a reputable source, we remain skeptical that it can be done.