What will the next version of Microsoft Office look like? Leaked screenshots of an alpha version recently released to testers suggest that, in short, ribbon menus rule. However, the Office 14 ribbon menus seem to have been influenced by the ribbon menu used in some of Windows 7's accessories, rather than being simply a rehash of Office 2007's version.
How long before we'll have a release version? According to alpha testers cited at Neowin.net, Microsoft is looking at a 2009 release and - you guessed it - the suite might be called Office System 2009. However, with the Microsoft roadmap unearthed earlier this month showing "2009" and "12-31-2009" for release dates, maybe it's too early to worry about the name.
Google’s interests are spread far and wide and it is almost a ritual for the internet juggernaut to develop and maintain interests in a new internet niche. Although Google has struck the jackpot with a few of its punts, it has far too many experimental ventures for each one of them to be successful. Now Google has decided to close some of its experimental services in part or completely
IBM took its patent filing mojo to a whole new level last year, filing more patents in a single year than it has ever done before. But not only is IBM's 4,186 patents inside 12 months a new record for the company, it's also the most ever issued by the U.S. Patents and Trademark Office to one company in a year-long time period.
"IBM's leadership in the strategic use of intellectual property is based on balancing proprietary and open innovation," said Dr. John E. Kelly III, IBM senior vice president and director of IBM Research. "Our goal is helping stimulate innovation as public investments in large infrastructure projects are being planned to boost global economies. We also anticipate that adding additional transparency to the patent system will help tackle the continuing patent quality crisis, which is impeding inventors, entrepreneurs and companies of all sizes."
This marks the 16th year in a row IBM has led the charge in patent filings, with Samsung being its nearest competitor in 2008 with 3,515 patents. Microsoft, who's pay-as-you-go computing concept patent was ultimately denied, checks in at No. 4 with 2.030 patents.
According to news site The Register, Seagate's 1TB Barracuda hard drives are giving up the ghost "at an alarming rate." Users all across the globe have started complaining of lockups, non-detection in the BIOS, 0GB reported disc size, and other ailments, as reported by The Register and forum threads like the one at MSFN (Microsoft Software Forum Network).
If true, the problem appears to affect Barracuda 7200.11 drives made in Thailand (ST3100034AS) with firmware SD15. Users claim the reported failures are higher than what would be considered normal for hard drives, and adding insult to injury, some users are complaining of deleted and edited posts in an 18+ page support thread on Seagate's own forum.
And for you conspiracy theorists out there, while no Seagate Knowledge Base article yet exists on this specific topic, the company did recently reduce its bare drive warranty period from 5 to 3 years. For you non-conspiracy theorists, that means your drive is still under warranty.
Are any of you having problems with Seagate's 1TB drive? Hit the jump and post your experience, good or bad.
Update 1/16/09 - Seagate Responds
Seagate sent us an update regarding the failures and what steps potentially affected users can take to both resolve the issue and recover data. Full statement after the jump:
Nvidia this week revised its fourth-quarter outlook saying its revenue is expected to plunge at least 40 percent sequentially, and possibly as high as 50 percent. The graphics chip maker blames the revised estimate on a one-two punch of weakening end-user demand and inventory reductions by channel partners. Nvidia didn't have much more to say on the matter, other than that no conference call will be held regarding the update and we'll have to wait until February 10, 2009 when Nvidia reports its financial results for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2009.
While everyone seems to be struggling in a weakened economy, and Nvidia in particular is coming off a year plagued with negative PR over GPU failures, the company appeared to be righting its ship by landing some big contracts. Earlier reports showed several global top-tier notebook vendors jumping on board Nvidia's 9400M graphics, including Apple, who ditched Intel in favor of Nvidia to supply the graphics chipset for the refreshed MacBook line. But this latest revenue warning trumps other big players in the tech market, such as AMD, Intel, and LSI who recently offered revised guidance ranging from 15 to 25 percent lower sequentially.
Meanwhile, we're still waiting for Nvidia to make good on its promise to "open a can of whoop ass."
'Anything you can do, I can do better' seems to be the mantra driving Microsoft these days, and while many of you felt Microsoft did one-up Apple with its Vista commercials (this editor did not), it remains to be seen if those same folks think that Microsoft's new Retail Experience Center holds the same appeal as the Apple Store.
The Retail Experience Center doesn't actually exist, at least not yet, but Microsoft did publish a video and several photos of what one would look like. It's all very authentic looking, and as one might imagine, filled with all things Microsoft, including the company's Surface technology. But is it exciting? Engadget describes the fake store masquerading as a real outlet as "pretty boring and corporate," likening it to a Circuit City, while iStartedSomething.com admits "doesn't look half bad."
Check out the video and pics, then hit the jump and tell us what you think.
Put down the political pitchforks, because whether or not you're into politics, you might want to start paying attention in the coming months. Among the topics a Democratic aide said is likely to make a comeback this year is Net neutrality, along with possible changes to digital copyright and patent law.
Net neutrality, who Aaron Cooper, counsel to Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) in the Senate Judiciary Committee, says is a "completely judiciary issue" might soon take center stage. And if you're not keeping a close eye on where things are going, you can bet that copyright holders are. Case in point - Cablevision has proposed a service that would allow subscribers to record broadcast TV shows and movies on a DVR hosted by Cablevision, but not everyone likes the idea. Alec French, VP for government relations for NBC Universal, warns that Cablevision's plan would be "setting a roadmap out for anyone who wants to create a copyright infringing service."
Issues like this and statutory licensing reform (of high interest to Webcasters) are just some of the topics that could step into the limelight in 2009 and affect how you use your PC.
Hawaii residents can now visit their physician without ever leaving their home. It's not that house calls are making a comeback, but the 50th state becomes the first one to offer online physician visits. Available 24/7, ailing patients and hypochondriacs alike can spend one-on-one time with a doctor over IE7 or Firefox 2 and above, and even load up a webcam to show exactly what that nasty infection looks like.
Hawaiians insured through HMSA (Hawaii Medical Service Association, the state's largest insurer) are charged a flat $10 fee for a 10 minute online visit, while non-members pay $45. In return, doctors are instructed to apply the same standards of care and to address only issues that can adequately be handled over the phone or web. Prescriptions can also be written, if there's a definitive diagnosis during the 10-minute visit. But while this new practice will cut down the number of people cluttering emergency rooms, proponents warn that it's not a replacement for real emergencies.
"I don't think this situation can completely replace one-on-one doctor's visits," said Michelle Shimizu, a family practice doctor who has been helping test the system. "It's an adjunct to that."
For the most part, doctors receive $25 for each session, an amount which "has been received tremendously," according to HMSA marketing VP Michael Stollar.
Would you feel comfortable visiting your doctor online? Hit the jump and post your thoughts.
Ultima creator and one-time Tabula Rasa big man Richard “Lord British” Garriott may have moonwalked right out of the gaming industry, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be phoning home after his geosynchronous jaunt. In an interview with GameDaily, Garriott spoke of his intention to give game development another shot – but only after raising the bar for mid-life crises a few notches higher.
“Do I have a plan that I can tell you now? No. I'm still finishing my space flight. I am literally still in the middle of NASA and ESA medical experiments. I am literally still in the middle of my earth observation analysis, as well as the particle crystal growth stuff we're wrapping up. And that's going to take me some weeks and months to wrap up,” Garriott said.
“But, some day in the future, it's hard not to assume I will get back into gaming. I still personally believe I have lots of great ideas and desire to build games. It's just today, it's space.”
Garriott also mentioned that he might be interested in developing a new Ultima title – something we’d be mighty okay with.
At the moment it is difficult to write about major financial developments in any industry without going on a frenzied hunt for words that can adequately describe the prevalent gloom. However, facts have a tongue of their own and at times don’t need to be underpinned by forceful words. Talking of facts, the previous quarter was the worst in the past six years in terms of PC sales.
PC sales data for the last quarter released by two of the leading market research firms, IDC and Gartner, paints a very grim picture. PC sales defied all expectations during the recently concluded holiday season and registered a trough. According to Gartner, PC sales only grew by 1.1 percent in the fourth quarter. But if data released by IDC is to be believed, then there was a depreciation of 0.4 percent.
Microsoft had predicted a growth of 10 percent to12 percent during the fourth quarter. The sharp drop in PC sales might have a huge impact on Microsoft’s own quarterly results.