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24 Feb 2012 21:48


Tech: Microsoft appears to be killing off longtime product lines in Windows 8

  • Zune This death was kinda obvious for a while, but now the Zune appears to have zero presence in the upcoming version of Windows. Seriously, they lost their biggest fan like four years ago — the writing has long been on the wall.
  • Live More surprising is the fading away of the Live brand, which anchors many of their online messaging services; “Microsoft Account” will replace Windows Live ID. The company appears to be trying to simplify their brand naming. source

15 Dec 2011 10:11


Tech: Hallelujah: Microsoft will automatically upgrade Internet Explorer

  • before Internet Explorer was a bit of an anger-inducing product for Web developers because users would be slow to upgrade their browsers, leading to large numbers of users on IE6 and IE7 years after those browsers were out-of-date. Despite Chrome and Firefox having automatic upgrade options, for years, Microsoft resisted. Developers cried.
  • now In a major change in policy, Microsoft will automatically update browsers for home users — to IE8 for Windows XP users and IE9 for Vista and Windows 7 users. They won’t die entirely, though — corporate IT users can block the upgrades, and there will be opt-out mechanisms. But maybe this might be the death knell to IE6? God, let’s hope so. source

03 Nov 2011 23:42


Tech: Playing favorites with search: Who’s more biased, Bing or Google?

  • pro-Google So, let’s say you wanted to find out if there was any bias from what search engines spit out at you. For example, a recent study not done by Google, said that Bing searches would promote Microsoft-related results twice as many times that Google would promote Google.
  • pro-Bing Don’t get too comfortable with those facts, though. A different study, performed by a paid Microsoft consultant, showed claims that Google put itself first most of the time. Do you already know who to trust? Or are you feeling lucky? source

22 Oct 2011 17:55


Tech: Google may swoop in to save Yahoo — for antitrust reasons

  • what Google is reportedly in talks to help with an acquisition of Yahoo, which is kind of looking like a rudderless ship these days after Carol Bartz’s departure. They have tens of billions of dollars in the bank; they can do this pretty easily.
  • why If Google were to help — it’s not a sure thing — it would effectively allow them to prop up a competitor in the market, which would help them fend off antitrust claims. Think Microsoft swooping in to help Apple back in 1997. source

07 Sep 2011 10:51


Biz, Tech: With CEO Carol Bartz fired, is Yahoo preparing to sell itself?

  • fired Last night, Carol Bartz got pushed out at Yahoo, a move that, while swift, wasn’t totally unsurprising — she didn’t exactly win a lot of fans for her handling of the company over the past two years. The stock price went up immediately after the announcement.
  • sold? Now, a Wall Street Journal article uses this phrase: “One of these [independent directors] said Yahoo is open to selling itself to the right bidder.” Yahoo famously dodged a sale to Microsoft in 2008, and since then, their value has declined significantly. Oops. source

21 Jul 2011 14:26


World: Bill Gates wants to bring some big changes to the toilet

  • No innovation in the past 200 years has done more to save lives and improve health than the sanitation revolution triggered by invention of the toilet. But it did not go far enough. It only reached one-third of the world. What we need are new approaches. New ideas. In short, we need to reinvent the toilet.
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation global development program president Sylvia Mathews Burwell • Offering two things: One, an opportunity for toilet humor (we’ll pass), and two, an honest argument by Bill Gates’ group that perhaps the sanitation industry hasn’t gone far enough in the third world. So they want to figure out a way to take a device which the first world has taken for granted and improve its weaknesses, so that it works without a nearby sanitation mechanism, it’s cheap and human waste is treated and somehow recycled or changed into a form which is harmless and doesn’t spread disease. He has the money to do it, guys — let’s just hope there aren’t any blue screens of death that hit when you have to go. source

01 Jul 2011 17:25


Tech: Google’s eyeing Hulu, or reasons they might be getting too big

  • then Back in 2006, Google purchased then-fledgling YouTube for $1.65 billion — its biggest purchase ever at the time. The service has grown massive over the years but has struggled bringing major content creators like Viacom on board — a huge bummer for fans of “The Daily Show” in particular. In fact, Viacom sued YouTube to get them to remove the clips.
  • now Hulu, a service started in part as a major studio reaction to YouTube’s viral growth, is now in talks with Google, who may buy the company out — and in the process, get the lucrative content deals that have eluded YouTube over the years. (Microsoft and Yahoo are also eyeing the service, by the way.) Will we finally see “The Daily Show” on YouTube again? source
  • » We don’t know how to feel about this: While we appreciate the fact that Google might make “The Daily Show” happen on YouTube with a buyout like this (though Viacom has pulled their shows from Hulu in the past), if it actually happens, it runs directly into a wall of regulatory scrutiny — as Google’s been feeling the heat lately. While YouTube and Hulu aren’t the only games in town (hi Netflix and Vimeo), together they’re big enough that it would deserve some regulatory scrutiny if it actually happens.

19 Jun 2011 22:56


Biz, Tech: Skype’s rewarding executives for Microsoft merger by firing them

  • cause A little while back, Microsoft agreed to buy out Skype — an $8 billion agreement, the largest in the tech titan’s history by far. The deal, a surprising one by any stretch, just passed regulatory scrutiny.
  • effectBefore the company’s merger with Microsoft goes final, the comany is reportedly firing a bunch of top executives — timing it so that the workers don’t get full paydays for the merger. Lamesauce. source

12 Jun 2011 20:31


Culture: Bill Gates explains his philosophy on philanthropy

  • The motto of the foundation is that every life has equal value. There are more people dying of malaria than any specific cancer. When you die of malaria aged three it’s different from being in your seventies, when you might die of a heart attack or you might die of cancer. And the world is putting massive amounts into cancer, so my wealth would have had a meaningless impact on that.
  • Bill Gates • Discussing his philanthropy organization, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and why it chooses to focus on malaria over cancer. Gates, the world’s second-richest man, doesn’t give a lot of interviews, but when he does, he makes them count. In this Daily Mail piece, he avoids focusing too much on his past and more on what he’s doing now — working to ensure his money gets used in ways that can positively affect people’s lives. His 85-year-old dad even helps. And he doesn’t do it from a distance, either: “It is important to see places. When you go into a ward with kids who have cholera, it’s horrific. They are losing their vital fluids and their brains are shutting down. As a father, as a human, it’s just horrific.” Gates’ work as a philanthropist could one day overshadow his work with Microsoft. It’s that important. source

02 Jun 2011 11:03


Tech: Windows 8 in action: Microsoft gives the mothership a shake-up

  • A refresh of “Start Menu” dynamics: Microsoft’s upcoming refresh of Windows is a bold reboot of an OS way-better known for its incremental updates. WIth an interface that’s closer to Windows Phone 7 than anything that the desktop OS has done, the GUI appears to be touch-first, mouse-second, but done in such a way that doesn’t necessarily turn off the mouse crowd. Honestly, this is the most-impressive GUI we’ve ever seen from Microsoft, if for no other reason than that most of their operating systems have been terrible, in our humble opinion. The ball’s in your court, Steve Jobs — whaddya got for us at WWDC? source