Friday, January 30, 2004 - Intro - Catch Us If You Can [Skype] - Intro - Catch Us If You Can "The folks who brought you Kazaa have a new hit called Skype—and a plan to set phone calls free. If the telcos want to fight back, they'll have to find them first."

Extensive Skype article in Fortune -- cover story, no less.

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Earnings: RealNetworks' loss widens despite fourth-quarter surge

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Earnings: RealNetworks' loss widens despite fourth-quarter surge: "RealNetworks reported yesterday that although its fourth-quarter revenue increased by 17 percent, its loss widened because of legal fees from its antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft."

Microsoft Offers $250,000 Reward for Information Leading to Conviction of MyDoom.B Perpetrators

Microsoft Offers $250,000 Reward for Information Leading to Conviction of MyDoom.B Perpetrators "Microsoft Corp. today announced that it will pay a $250,000 (U.S.) reward for information resulting in the arrest and conviction of those responsible for unleashing the MyDoom.B worm. MyDoom.B, detected yesterday, is a variant of the earlier released MyDoom.A worm, also known as the Novarg worm, which has spread quickly infecting computers around the world. The release of this B variant triggered the first alert from the newly formed Department of Homeland Security’s cyber alert system yesterday." - The End: Pixar Breaks Up With Distribution Partner Disney - The End: Pixar Breaks Up With Distribution Partner Disney "In an unhappy ending to what has sometimes been called the most successful partnership in Hollywood, Pixar Animation Studios delivered a stunning blow to Walt Disney Co. by ending talks to extend their lucrative and long-running distribution deal for Pixar's computer-animated films.
The move is a high-profile setback for Disney Chairman and Chief Executive Michael Eisner, whose company often has relied heavily on Pixar smashes like "Finding Nemo" to generate the profit Disney's own animated films couldn't produce in recent years.
The tense relationship between Mr. Eisner and Pixar Chief Executive Steve Jobs often has been seen as an obstacle to any continuation of the Pixar-Disney relationship. Pixar will be a Disney competitor, rather than a partner, beginning in 2006."

Negotiation, Steve Jobs style: first, you fire your CEO. Then have your new CEO call me to negotiate new terms.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

State of the Art: Phones, Too, Get TV Time

State of the Art: Phones, Too, Get TV Time: "Sprint's MobiTV service, for example, lets you tune in to any of 13 TV channels, right there on your cellphone. (The service requires one of Sprint's newish 'Java-enabled' phones: the Sanyo 8100, VM4500, or RL2500; the Samsung VGA1000; and so on.)
You download the MobiTV software from the Sprint Web site directly to the phone. Once you find and open the program - eight button presses - it takes about 20 seconds to tune in to MSNBC, which is always the first channel that comes up. The other options include some big-name channels (ABC News, Discovery, CNET) and some not-so-big (College Sports Television, California Music Channel, CMC Beat Lounge and ToonWorld TV Classics)." - Personal Technology: Mirra Backs Up Files For Access Anywhere, But Has Rough Edges - Personal Technology: Mirra Backs Up Files For Access Anywhere, But Has Rough Edges: "The age-old problem of backing up your computer files is even more urgent today. With PC prices plunging, the most valuable portion of your computer is the personal data, which would be impossible or difficult to re-create if the PC were lost, stolen or irrevocably damaged.
Now, a small Silicon Valley company, Mirra Inc., has come up with a hardware product that aims to finally solve the backup problem. It's called the Mirra Personal Server, and despite that techie name, it's really a sort of small auxiliary computer that attaches to a home network and constantly backs up all of your key files."

$399 for 80 gig -- price/performance reaches a point where dedicated home backup servers are practical... I'll wait for a multi-function home server "appliance", however.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Oracle changes tune on integration | CNET

Oracle changes tune on integration | CNET "The Redwood City, Calif.-based company has released a new product called the Customer Data Hub, which is designed to help companies instantaneously gather information from Oracle systems and other business systems in one centralized place, Phillips said. The hub uses communication standards known as Web services to talk to incompatible applications and create a 'system of record' for customer data, such as orders, contracts and service history, he added. "

Microsoft shines more light on Longhorn - News - ZDNet

Microsoft shines more light on Longhorn - News - ZDNet: "Speaking at the Developing Software for the Future Microsoft Platform conference in Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre here Monday, Microsoft software architect Don Box said the company will not invest much more in Component Object Model (COM) and Distributed Compound Object Model (DCOM)--Microsoft's mechanisms for sharing objects between programs.
Instead, Box said, programs will use managed services based on the Extensible Markup Language to communicate with each other. Box is leading the work on the 'plumbing' part of Longhorn, called 'Indigo,' which is effectively the successor to Microsoft .Net and as such will dictate how programs are written in future Windows platforms.
Moving developers away from the object-oriented world is a key element of Microsoft's battle for mindshare with the likes of IBM, Sun Microsystems, BEA Systems, Oracle and other rivals that sell products based on the Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) standard."

Invalid extrapolation -- Microsoft is not moving away from OO models; it's simply shifting to service-oriented architecture for inter-application communication, and thus moving away from DCOM and .NET Remoting -- which the vast majority of developers weren't using anyway. All of Microsoft's competitors are also moving to SOA for inter-application communication.

New MyDoom Email Virus Spreads Quickly

New MyDoom Email Virus Spreads Quickly: "The sheer amount of traffic generated by the virus has already brought down many networks, and some security experts now believe that attackers originally launched the virus as a Denial of Service (DoS) attack on SCO Group, the UNIX copyright holder that's now suing various Linux companies for copyright infringement. However, this attack is having the most dramatic effect on end users, many of whom are still surprisingly uninformed when it comes to the dangers of opening attachments. When users open MyDoom-tainted email attachments, their systems become infected--with two side effects. First, their systems send infected email to all the users in their address books. Second, the virus places a backdoor on their systems that attackers can later exploit."

Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services Is Available Today

Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services Is Available Today "Microsoft Corp. today announced the availability of SQL Server (TM) 2000 Reporting Services. Reporting Services provides companies with a powerful new reporting tool that can increase business insight by providing real-time information from any data source to any device. As a result, employees at every level will have better access to information that will increase their ability to make more-informed decisions and provide more business value to their company. With the addition of Reporting Services, SQL Server, a part of the Microsoft® Windows Server System (TM) , provides the single most comprehensive data management and business intelligence (BI) platform on the market, with integrated analytics that include online analytical processing; data mining; data warehousing; extract, transform and load tools; and reporting functionality. This integrated, end-to-end approach helps companies make better decisions faster while lowering their total cost of ownership.
A valid SQL Server 2000 license is required for each server on which Reporting Services is deployed. It is available in nine languages including traditional and simplified Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean and Spanish."

I.e., no extra cost if you already have SQL Server 2000.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

IBM patents method for paying open source volunteers

IBM patents method for paying open source volunteers: "A PATENT IBM was granted last December is for an 'invention' that allows independent programmers who might work together to produce a unified software product.
In fact, the patent, 6,658,642 goes further and gives examples such as open source software development such as Linux as the basis for its patent." Democracy in Action -- CBS ad censorship Democracy in Action -- CBS ad censorship How about some free speech and democracy along with all of the "Survivor"/beer/SUV/Viagra etc. ads during this year's Superbowl?

Gates takes swipe at Apple, Linux security | CNET

Gates takes swipe at Apple, Linux security | CNET "'To say a system is secure because no one is attacking it is very dangerous,' said Gates, referring to operating systems that have a smaller share of the desktop market, such as Apple's Mac OS and the open-source software Linux.
Noting the large number of major virus epidemics during the past two years, Gates said that in some ways 'hackers are good for maturation' of the platform, because they have forced the company to develop new inspection techniques for the code. "

InfoWorld: Unix for Windows: January 23, 2004: By Tom Yager: Application Development

InfoWorld: Unix for Windows: January 23, 2004: By Tom Yager: Application Development "On Jan. 15, Microsoft shipped release 3.5 of SFU (Services for Unix). SFU is not a stand-alone or hosted Unix OS. It is a convincingly Unix-like interactive environment and development tool set that’s transparently integrated into Windows. SFU is a free download. Go get it. You’ll need to register for a free Passport account if you don’t have one, but don’t let that stop you. The new release boosts the performance of bundled tools and compiled apps enormously. The single-rooted emulated file system eliminates the need to specify DOS drive letters. The free download includes the latest versions of the GNU development tools along with support for clustering, Windows 2003 shadow copy, and Unix threads. I’m not reviewing it — I’ll do that very soon — but I do like it.
Microsoft plays Virtual PC 2004 as a tool for running several versions of Windows simultaneously on one machine. Bah. Microsoft’s customers will use the product for its designed purpose: Running one or more independent Unix sessions as hosted operating systems under Windows. You don’t have to reboot, Unix can crash without taking Windows down, and each session runs real Unix (or Windows, if you choose). The virtualized file system allows you to wipe out changes made during a session, so you can experiment without rendering the OS unbootable. And every Virtual PC-hosted OS automatically inherits (through virtualization) all of the devices and networking you’ve set up for Windows. Once again, it gives me exactly what I need. In heterogeneous shops and homes, SFU and Virtual PC 2004 should be installed on every machine.
These two products represent the most important technology to come out of Microsoft in almost a year. They show an easing of Microsoft’s internal barriers to achieving genuine Unix interoperability, and will form the foundation for those who want the freedom to run Windows and Unix at the same time. These products may have existed for a long time, but now Microsoft is working to keep them current and make them more visible."

Lotusphere 2004: Lotus stakes its future on Workplace - Computerworld

Lotusphere 2004: Lotus stakes its future on Workplace - Computerworld "Executives from IBM's Lotus Software Group used the opening presentations today at the unit’s annual user show in Orlando to sketch out the strategy behind IBM's year-old Lotus Workplace platform and to reassure users that IBM won't abandon its core of Lotus users building on the Notes/Domino architecture.
"Our strategy is to increase our leadership, not walk away from it," Lotus General Manager Ambuj Goyal said during his address.
Regarding competitors’ claims that the company will orphan an installed base that IBM estimates at 100 million end users, Goyal answered, "Let me tell you categorically, nothing could be further from the truth."
Still, the opening session made clear IBM's commitment to Workplace as its future for Lotus development. The company's plan is to steadily increase the interoperability of the Workplace architecture with that of Notes/Domino, so that current Notes users can eventually migrate to Workplace without losing access to existing Domino-developed applications.
To illustrate Lotus' proclaimed commitment to exploring new frontiers in collaboration technology, the company brought onstage Star Trek: The Next Generation star Patrick Stewart, who won an ovation far noisier than those accorded to Lotus executives. Stewart showed off a few Shakespearean monologues from his repertoire and spoke about art and creativity, loosely tying those themes back to the presentation's premise about the future of Workplace."

So much for the 2004 Lotus marketing budget...

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: RealNetworks offer wins it GameHouse

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: RealNetworks offer wins it GameHouse: "RealNetworks has agreed to acquire Seattle-based GameHouse, one of the biggest developers of downloadable computer games, in a move that expands the digital-media company's growing online game business.
The deal, expected to close next month, is a milestone of sorts for RealNetworks because it turns the company into a developer of content. Up to now, the Seattle company distributed games, songs and video clips created by others. "

Audit Results Move Google a Step Closer to Offering

Audit Results Move Google a Step Closer to Offering: "Google has not publicly disclosed its finances, but people involved with the company said Google was closing in on $1 billion in annual revenue.
Yahoo has said that it will stop relying on Google as its main search engine and begin deploying its own search technology. Microsoft has also begun a major effort to compete in the search business. On Monday Microsoft introduced an MSN search bar for use with the Internet Explorer Web browser, closely modeled after a similar software application available from both Google and Yahoo.
At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Bill Gates, Microsoft's chairman, said that Google currently was 'way better' than Microsoft in search and praised the 'high level of I.Q.' of Google's researchers. He argued that Microsoft would catch up once it focused its full effort on the task.
At the Comdex computer industry trade show last year, Mr. Gates gave a demonstration of Microsoft search technology, which it is expected to introduce some time this year. Analysts remain divided, though, over whether Microsoft will wait to deploy its more advanced search software, blending local and remote searching, until it introduces its Longhorn version of the Windows system. "

Preview: Inside the Windows XP Service Pack 2 Beta

Preview: Inside the Windows XP Service Pack 2 Beta "Internet Explorer will get its own built-in pop-up blocker. Intranets won't be affected, but when you're surfing the Web, IE will block any pop-up or pop-under window that wasn't triggered by your click ( figure 1 ). In the beta, an audible pop signals each blocking event. You can right-click on the pop-up icon in the status bar to configure pop-up blocking or to review blocked pop-ups ( figure 2 ). IE will also add protection against "drive-by downloads"—downloads that occur without your knowledge or permission. If you want a particular download, you simply click a link that appears below the toolbar."

Useful Windows XP SP2 snapshot. FYI the new (beta) pop-up-blocking (and more) MSN toolbar didn't work on my laptop when I tested it last night.

Fast Company | If He's So Smart...Steve Jobs, Apple, and the Limits of Innovation

Fast Company | If He's So Smart...Steve Jobs, Apple, and the Limits of Innovation: "And the competition is swarming. Dell and Samsung are challenging enough, but this business is about to turn into a battle of the titans. Wal-Mart is launching a cut-price online music store of its own--and now Microsoft and Sony, no less, are joining the fray. So Apple's venture into online music is beginning to look like yet another case of frustration-by-innovation. Once again, Apple has pioneered a market--created a whole new business, even--with a cool, visionary product. And once again, it has drawn copycats with the scale and financial heft to undersell and out-market it. In the end, digital music could turn out to be just one more party that Apple started, but ultimately gets tossed out of."

Monday, January 26, 2004

Oracle Retooling E-Biz Suite

Oracle Retooling E-Biz Suite: "Oracle officials said that the beauty of its Oracle 10g technology is that it will allow users to run the company's applications on a grid without modification. Nevertheless, Oracle as part its long-term development of E-Business Suite is augmenting proprietary applets, called forms, with Java. Once the forms are changed, the applications will potentially be able to run on any Java application server, freeing them from dependence on Oracle Application Server"

This is major (and very positive) milestone, even if only a tiny percentage of Oracle customers actually run the apps on a non-Oracle app server.

Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows: Hillel Cooperman and Tjeerd Hoek Talk Longhorn (Part One)

Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows: Hillel Cooperman and Tjeerd Hoek Talk Longhorn (Part One): "Hillel Cooperman and Tjeerd ('cheered') Hoek are two of the key figures in the Windows User Experience team at Microsoft, and they've worked on some the company's more advanced user interface projects over the past several years, including MSN 'Mars,' Internet Explorer/shell, Windows 'Neptune,' Windows XP, and now Longhorn. While my first (somewhat humorous) run-in with the Windows User Experience folks came during a Windows XP Beta 2 event in Seattle three years ago, the team has been working tireless toward Longhorn since the early days of Windows 95, when it moved Windows to the Explorer shell.
This interview is the first in a series highlighting the personalities behind the technology. "

Microsoft Notebook: Wiki pioneer planted the seed and watched it grow

Microsoft Notebook: Wiki pioneer planted the seed and watched it grow: "To Microsoft's roster of employees, add the inventor of the wiki.
A wiki? Unless you're heavily into the Internet, chances are you're wondering what the heck that is.
Ward Cunningham brings his knowledge of patterns as problem solvers to Microsoft's Prescriptive Architecture Guidance group.
The wiki concept was created by Ward Cunningham, who joined Microsoft last month after working as a consultant to the company. Cunningham set out in 1995 to create a unique online site for people involved in technical aspects of a type of software development known as object-oriented programming."

Via - Technology for Tracking Goods Gets Boost From Microsoft, IBM - Technology for Tracking Goods Gets Boost From Microsoft, IBM "A technology that could replace product bar codes is getting a further push, as Microsoft Corp. is expected Monday to unveil plans for new software even as International Business Machines Corp. and Philips Electronics NV announced a partnership to boost sales of related chips.
According to officials from the three companies, both announcements involve radio-frequency identification, or RFID, a technology companies have begun employing to track goods using wireless tags. Large retailers, including Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Germany's Metro AG, have told their biggest suppliers to attach such tags to boxes and pallets of goods starting around the end of this year.
Special computer-linked antennas wirelessly scan the information stored on the tags for inventory management, typically at the entrances and exits of warehouses and stores. But a number of technical hurdles and data standards remain to be worked out even as the retailers' deadlines loom.
Microsoft expects to announce Monday plans to develop software to handle RFID data for small and medium-size businesses. The software, planned for release in 2005, will let companies use information generated by the RFID systems in their Microsoft supply- and inventory-management software."

Sunday, January 25, 2004

BW Online | February 2, 2004 | Online Extra: Steve Jobs: "It Feels Good"

BW Online | February 2, 2004 | Online Extra: Steve Jobs: "It Feels Good" "These days, the roller coaster that's Steve Jobs's career seems stuck on up. Pixar Animation Studio (PIXR ), where he's CEO, is riding high, thanks to its latest release, Finding Nemo. The film recently passed $800 million in worldwide box-office receipts, making it the top-grossing film of 2003 and the top animated hit of all time. Pixar's shares have more than doubled in the past two years, to $68.
Then there's Apple Computer (AAPL ), the company Jobs co-founded in 1976, was fired from in 1985, and returned to in 1997. Sure, Apple's share of the worldwide PC market slipped to an all-time low of 1.9% in 2003's fourth quarter. But it has a megahit with the iPod music player and accompanying iTunes online music store. Apple sold 730,000 iPods in the fourth quarter and is on pace to sell 100 million songs since iTunes opened for business last April.
That has helped drive Apple's stock from $13 to $22 since last April. Just counting his 6.2% stake in Apple and his 55% holding in Pixar, Jobs is worth nearly $2.5 billion. BusinessWeek's Peter Burrows spoke with Jobs on Jan. 15 to discuss Apple's music success and where it might lead."

Saturday, January 24, 2004

Macworld: Steve Jobs on the Mac's 20th Anniversary

Macworld: Steve Jobs on the Mac's 20th Anniversary "Do you have any general thoughts about the 20th anniversary of the first Macintosh?
All I can say is, I think the Mac reinvented the personal-computer industry in the eighties, and Microsoft copied it in the nineties -- and that's been a big success for them, too. We finally got out ahead again with Mac OS X, and I think you'll see Microsoft copying that in the future.
Do you have any other thoughts about where your competitors are taking their strategies? For example, Windows Media PCs are computers attached to TV sets.
Well, we've always been very clear on that. We don't think that televisions and personal computers are going to merge. We think basically you watch television to turn your brain off, and you work on your computer when you want to turn your brain on.
Are there some complementary aspects to it?
Well, they want to link sometimes. Like, when you make a movie, you burn a DVD and you take it to your DVD player. Someday that could happen over AirPort, so you don't have to burn a DVD -- you can just watch it right off your computer on your television set. But most of these products that have said, "Let's combine the television and the computer!” have failed. All of them have failed."

CRN : Breaking News : IBM Lotus To Unveil 'Mega Server,' Rich Workplace Client

CRN : Breaking News : IBM Lotus To Unveil 'Mega Server,' Rich Workplace Client "At Lotusphere next week, IBM plans to showcase a new "mega server" bundle featuring its J2EE-based application server, portal server, and content management and collaboration capabilities.
Dubbed with the catchy name of "IBM Software Solution For On-Demand Workplace," the server can be dropped into existing accounts alongside Lotus Domino to allow users to start doing portal work, said sources familiar with the plans.
In addition, a new Workplace client will embed its own relational database using Cloudscape technology that IBM purchased with Informix two years ago. That would put a lightweight Java-based RDBMS on the front end and a full-function DB2 database at the server, and standard SyncML technologies would enable synchronization between the two."

NYT: Judge Satisfied With Microsoft's Antitrust Case Compliance

NYT: Judge Satisfied With Microsoft's Antitrust Case Compliance "The decree seems to be operating," Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly said during a hearing yesterday in Federal District Court in Washington. "We only have concerns about one provision."
That provision, however, was also the focus of the Justice Department's criticism last week. It is intended to ensure fair competition in the market for server software for computers that run corporate networks. Unlike the personal computer operating system market, where it has a monopoly with Windows, Microsoft faces substantial competition in server software. I.B.M., Sun Microsystems, Oracle and others compete against Microsoft in the server market. So do more specialized rivals, like Real Networks, which makes server software for streaming music and video over the Internet.
This element of the consent decree called for Microsoft to share or license on reasonable terms the software it uses for sending data between personal computer and server versions of Windows. The remedy was included in the consent decree to prevent Microsoft from using its monopoly on the desktop to gain an unfair advantage in competition for server software."

Ariba Buys FreeMarkets,Combines B2B Survivors - Ariba Buys FreeMarkets,Combines B2B Survivors: "In a deal that combines two humbled survivors of the Internet craze, Ariba Inc. (ARBA) said Friday it plans to buy FreeMarkets Inc. (FMKT) for cash and stock initially worth nearly $500 million.
The companies, which once boasted multibillion-dollar valuations, fell out of favor as they struggled with a sharp drop in demand and multiple restructurings. Their stocks - which went public in 1999, soared then crashed - are 97% below the highs reached in 2000.
While Ariba has stabilized its business and recently turned a quarterly profit, FreeMarkets has continued to struggle with net losses and fired workers as recently as October. Ariba currently sports a market capitalization of about $1 billion."

Friday, January 23, 2004

CRN : Breaking News : Microsoft To Bridge Office, Back Office Apps

CRN : Breaking News : Microsoft To Bridge Office, Back Office Apps : 10:17 PM EST Thurs., Jan. 22, 2004: "Microsoft continues to build bridges between Office desktop apps and reservoirs of back-office data.
The 'Information Worker Bridge' project now under way seeks to make it easier for integrators or in-house developers to make Excel or Word de-facto front ends for back-end accounting, ERP or other applications, sources said.
In theory, this would take back-office integration beyond ODBC drivers and InfoPath, the Office application that lets people build dynamic forms on their desktops that tap into back-office XML data."

For an interesting leading indicator of how all of this is going to come together, check out the Microsoft Business Network; it combines Office 2003, Microsoft Business Solutions, and hosted Web services and templates from Microsoft for small- to medium-sized businesses that want to exchange invoices etc. over the Internet using Web services.

Dare Obasanjo aka Carnage4Life - 10 [Bogus] Reasons Why RSS is not Ready for Prime Time

Dare Obasanjo aka Carnage4Life - 10 [Bogus] Reasons Why RSS is not Ready for Prime Time: "Being a hobbyist developer interested in syndication technologies I'm always on the look out for articles that provide useful critiques of the current state of the art. I recently stumbled on an article entitled 10 reasons why RSS is not ready for prime time by Dylan Greene which fails to hit the mark in this regard. Of the ten complaints, about three seem like real criticisms grounded in fact while the others seem like contrived issues which ignore reality. Below is the litany of issues the author brings up and my comments on each "

Definitely worth reading...

Oracle's new Web services Designer - good idea, but ...

Oracle's new Web services Designer - good idea, but ... "Has anybody already seen the Web services Designer in Oracle's latest edition of JDeveloper? They call it 10g ...
Well, there is an online demo of its features which looks quite pretty and interesting - at the first sight. But then they still take exclusively (as far as I can tell from the demo video) the OO-only approach to designing Web services by leveraging UML diagrams as the base. And it should be obvious by now that I really have slight problems in the meantime with this way of doing it. We need to reflect the need for modling messages, message contracts, and services contracts.
Side note: they are generating RPC-style Web services by default. At least in this demo. :-(
Alas, good idea Oracle - but please add a schema and contract-based design feature to it. Then they will love you!"

Check out the comments following the post for some updates from Oracle

InfoWorld: MS Office XML lags on Mac

InfoWorld: MS Office XML lags on Mac: January 22, 2004: By Matthew Cooney, Applications "Microsoft Corp. is readying a new version of Office for Macintosh for release in the first half of 2004 -- but it won't support many of the XML (Extensible Markup Language) features of its Windows cousin, Office 2003.
Although Office 2004 for Macintosh will read and write Excel files saved in XML format, it won't support other XML file formats, including WordML, and won't have any equivalent to Office 2003 features such as XML data binding, "smart" documents, schema libraries and XSL style-sheet support.
Office 2004 will include Word, Excel, Entourage and PowerPoint. A new Professional version will bundle Virtual PC and a Windows XP license.
Microsoft is the largest developer for the Mac other than Apple Computer Inc. Ho says 160 full-time staff work at the Macintosh business unit. Word, Excel and PowerPoint were all originally developed on the Macintosh and later ported to Windows. Microsoft Access and Visio were never available on the Mac, while Entourage is offered on the Macintosh instead of Outlook.
Two new applications released for Office 2003, InfoPath and OneNote, are Windows-only. Microsoft Project for Macintosh is no longer developed."

palmOne Reorganizes Around Smart Phones

palmOne Reorganizes Around Smart Phones "Citing slowing sales of traditional PDAs as the primary reason, Palm OS device-maker palmOne says it will cut its workforce by about 12 percent and concentrate its energies on smart phone devices. In an attempt to return to profitability by 2005, the company will lay off about 100 employees, dropping its total number of employees to 740, and continue working to integrate Handspring, which the company purchased last year. palmOne recently reported a quarterly loss of $4.1 million, which was less than analysts had feared.
Although palmOne's products are still the best-selling PDAs, the company is meeting increasing competition from major players in the Pocket PC camp, such as HP and Dell. Because customers are increasingly looking for connected PDAs and smart phones, palmOne purchased Handspring in October, primarily for Handspring's Treo smart phone product line. palmOne currently sells the Treo 600 and will soon offer an updated model, the Treo 610, directly to consumers and through major cell phone carriers."

Microsoft Quarterly Revenue Tops $10 Billion

Microsoft Quarterly Revenue Tops $10 Billion "Information Worker revenue grew 27% over the prior year, as customers took advantage of the compelling value in the new Office System collaboration and productivity tools. Strong adoption of Office 2003 by consumers and small businesses drove sales in the retail and system builder channels to surpass expectations. Customers acquiring Office during the quarter included Eli Lilly and Company, Safeco Corporation, and Ticketmaster.
MSN® once again reported stronger than expected revenue growth of 19% over last year. "As MSN continues to invest in its growing businesses, we remain focused on achieving long term profitability," said Bruce Jaffe, chief financial officer of MSN. "A key factor in attaining that long-term goal will be the success of MSN's advertising business which achieved record revenue with 47% growth year over year, driven by strength in both traditional online and search-based advertising." This month, MSN also launched MSN Premium and the new, which provides additional services for broadband customers as well as new opportunities for advertisers. MSN Premium is Microsoft's most comprehensive web service ever offered with advanced communication capabilities, security and protection features, and rich information services and productivity applications.
Home and Entertainment had a solid quarter driven by sales of Xbox® games and consoles. With over 400 games available, including 70 Live-enabled games, Xbox grew its U.S. cumulative game attach rate to 6.4, according to NPD Data. Since the launch of Xbox in 2001, Microsoft has sold over 13.7 million Xbox consoles worldwide and is on track to have sold 14.5 to 16.0 million consoles by the end of this fiscal year. In addition, Xbox Live (TM) momentum continued with subscribers growing to nearly 750,000, keeping the business on target to have one million subscribers by the end of the fiscal year."

NYT: Microsoft's Revenue for Quarter Gains as Profit Declines

NYT: Microsoft's Revenue for Quarter Gains as Profit Declines "Buoyed by the unexpected double-digit growth in PC sales and an increase in business-customer revenue, the Microsoft Corporation reported on Thursday that its fiscal second-quarter results substantially surpassed financial analysts' expectations as revenue exceeded $10 billion for the first time.
While sales were unusually strong, Microsoft's profit declined in the quarter because of a significant charge for stock-based compensation for employees. Moreover, the company faced tough questioning from analysts who have become increasingly uneasy about the way the company sells its software to corporate customers and the long-term effects of that strategy."

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Microsoft Monitor: On Linux and Microsoft

Microsoft Monitor: On Linux and Microsoft "Don’t misunderstand; I am not anti-Linux. Open-source software has its place, and many companies sell commercial Linux distributions. But, when the Linux experimenting is done and businesses consider the bottom line, I believe many companies will continue picking packaged software over open-source alternatives. Where necessary, they will build some solutions themselves, but using commercially developed development tools.
Absolutely, Linux has its place. But, I believe that place’s expansion will require greater commercialization of Linux and expansion of products along the vertical stack. Until that happens, many companies may be disappointed by just how much extra work is necessary compared to easy-to-use packaged software from the likes of Microsoft."

Useful perspectives from Joe Wilcox

Omri Gazitt's Weblog: Notification or Eventing? IBM or Microsoft?

Omri Gazitt's Weblog: Notification or Eventing? IBM or Microsoft?: [Microsoft view] "Microsoft, IBM, and our partners have created a core set of Web services specs that support enterprise distributed application scenarios - with support for security, reliable messaging, transactions, policy negotiation, and especially addressing of resources. This is a great core - and will ensure a wide variety of interoperable scenarios in a simple and modular way.
There are application scenarios that will be built on top of this core and may have different approaches at this higher level. Eventing might be one of them. Notifications is a spec that concentrates on defining pub/sub brokering and has more applicability to GRID. Eventing is a more general (and much simpler) spec - where the intention is to provide a pattern that can support enterprise pub/sub, device eventing, and management. Our hope is that these specs can be factored with respect to each other - it seems fairly straightforward for example to build notifications on top of eventing. But none of this takes away from the fact that the core is interoperable and provides a lot of rich functionality for building many kinds of applications." - Playful on Outside, Paul Allen Tightens Grip on His Fortune - Playful on Outside, Paul Allen Tightens Grip on His Fortune: "When Paul Allen attracts public attention, it's usually for activities that involve a mere sliver of his wealth. He owns big-league sports teams and a music museum. He bankrolls brain research and collects World War II aircraft. Some think of him as a low-key engineer who grew so rich from co-founding Microsoft Corp. that he can indulge his hobbies on a grand scale.
Away from the spotlight, however, the 51-year-old Mr. Allen has embarked on a massive restructuring of the $20 billion portfolio that makes him one of the world's richest people. When the technology bubble burst in early 2000, much of his fortune was tied up in high-tech and media companies, including Charter Communications Inc., a St. Louis cable-television operator. Those investments skidded as much as 90% in value. Many small stakes in Internet companies needed to be written off entirely.
As bad news mounted, Mr. Allen sent dozens of employees packing, including former investment chief William Savoy, who was long regarded as the Seattle billionaire's most trusted lieutenant. Now, Mr. Allen has retooled the mission of Vulcan Inc., his main investment vehicle, so that it is less exposed to the zigzags of the technology sector. He has handed over a lot of day-to-day authority at Vulcan to his 45-year-old sister, Jody Patton, who previously worked as a film producer and a development officer at the Pacific Northwest Ballet."

Useful update on the other Microsoft co-founder (the one with "only" 35%" at the start)

Engineering Google Results to Make a Political Point

Engineering Google Results to Make a Political Point "Time was - say, two months ago - when typing the phrase "miserable failure" into the Google search box produced an unexpected result: the White House's official biography of President George W. Bush.
But now the president has a fight on his hands for the top ranking - from former President Jimmy Carter, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and the author-filmmaker Michael Moore.
The unlikely electoral battle is being waged through "Google bombing," or manipulating the Web's search engines to produce, in this case, political commentary. Unlike Web politicking by other means, like hacking into sites to deface or alter their message, Google bombing is a group sport, taking advantage of the Web-indexing innovation that led Google to search-engine supremacy."

State of the Art: For Those in the Fast Lane, MSN Tries to Smooth the Way

State of the Art: For Those in the Fast Lane, MSN Tries to Smooth the Way "The assumption of many providers of high-speed Internet service today is that you are a power user; that is, you don't need any help. You manage your e-mail with a free service like Hotmail or Yahoo, or know how to set up a POP3 account in Outlook.
You already have software to protect you from hackers, viruses and spyware. You have a working knowledge of Photoshop (or at least Photoshop Elements) and you share pictures with family members at Ofoto. Google is your research hub, you download movie trailers at, and you may even subscribe to a streaming music service like Rhapsody. You're a Net veteran, and all you require of your service provider is an always-on connection to a fat Internet pipeline.
If you don't feel all that savvy, AOL and MSN sympathize with you. They suggest that although you have graduated to broadband, you might still need the full online-service software package you used in your dial-up days. Both companies have introduced software-and-service packages known as "bring your own access" - geared mainly toward Windows users, and offered at a lower monthly fee than their dial-up plans - to complement high-speed Internet access."

Portable Media Center Arrives - First Impressions

Portable Media Center Arrives - First Impressions "Thanks to the good folks on the PMC team, I have a VERY early Creative unit here to play with for a bit.
First, the size. It's a little bigger than an iPod and not something I’d call pocket size (other vendors may have different units and form factors) but it does have a wonderful 3.5 inch color screen. I mean gorgeous. Side viewing is excellent, you could easily watch something with a friend. Sound quality is excellent and the video played smoothly. Watching TV on a 3.5 inch display is akin to watching from a large screen across the room. It’s very doable and something I can easily see carrying on flights. If Microsoft gets the synch part down right, this could be a very compelling experience. Pictures displayed nicely (but of course they were 320x240 so there’s little overhead to display them). Music was great and I could view content in a number of different ways. Albums displayed tracks in the correct order and I could build play lists on the fly. I could also shuffle content and decide what should go into a portable play list. Very nice feature. One nice thing about having a color screen is the ability to have album art displayed.. Playback time is hard to evaluate as this is a very early unit and probably not optimized for maximum battery life.
Overall, it looks like Microsoft and partners are heading down the right path as they build on the important elements that made the iPod a success and then take it to the next level with functionality. I’ll post more about this over the next few days. Here are a few pictures and size comparison with the iPod." / News / Nation / Infiltration of files seen as extensive / News / Nation / Infiltration of files seen as extensive: "Republican staff members of the US Senate Judiciary Commitee infiltrated opposition computer files for a year, monitoring secret strategy memos and periodically passing on copies to the media, Senate officials told The Globe.
From the spring of 2002 until at least April 2003, members of the GOP committee staff exploited a computer glitch that allowed them to access restricted Democratic communications without a password. Trolling through hundreds of memos, they were able to read talking points and accounts of private meetings discussing which judicial nominees Democrats would fight -- and with what tactics."
"There appears to have been no hacking, no stealing, and no violation of any Senate rule," Miranda said. "Stealing assumes a property right and there is no property right to a government document. . . . These documents are not covered under the Senate disclosure rule because they are not official business and, to the extent they were disclosed, they were disclosed inadvertently by negligent [Democratic] staff."
Whether the memos are ultimately deemed to be official business will be a central issue in any criminal case that could result. Unauthorized access of such material could be punishable by up to a year in prison -- or, at the least, sanction under a Senate non-disclosure rule."

Dumb and dumber...

Wednesday, January 21, 2004 :: MS Mobile Smartphone : Hardware : CONFIRMED: iPAQ h6300 with photo! (Updated) :: MS Mobile Smartphone : Hardware : CONFIRMED: iPAQ h6300 with photo! (Updated) Overview of impressive forthcoming Compaq Pocket PC phone, "which is set to include GSM, GPRS, WiFi, and Bluetooth" etc.

Thanks to Paul DiCristina for the pointer

RSS for President

RSS for President "The Net has enormously accelerated the conversation that the aggregated campaigns have joined. A range of collaboration software, from sales force automation to wikis to the nascent social software tools, have compressed the electorate into rapidly-forming affinity groups. Once in place, these groups become a dynamic type of focus group, with the enhanced ability to create, test-market, refine, and deploy strategic muscle at lightning speed.
It's difficult to catch this change at the surface level—where network and even cable news operations can only sound-bite the dynamics. But the RSS space—as a synthesis of both a filtered mainstream media and the bottom-up drivers of the blogosphere—is the quickest way to take the pulse, and affect (or reinfect) the process in return."

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

New Economy: Can Hardware Rise Above Software?

New Economy: Can Hardware Rise Above Software? "Common Silicon Valley wisdom has hewed for decades to the business adage that to establish a successful business in consumer products, you must be willing to lose money on the razors and look for profits from selling the blades. A notable example has been Microsoft's money-losing Xbox video game business. By hemorrhaging money on each video game console (razor) sold and hoping someday to make it up on game software (razor blades), Microsoft's home and entertainment division reported losses of almost $1 billion last year.
Now, along comes Mr. Jobs, the chief executive of Apple Computer, who once again is standing the common wisdom on its head. For its fiscal first quarter of 2004, Apple sold nearly 750,000 of its palm-sized iPod digital music players (razors) for an average price of $400, while selling 30 million songs (blades) for about 99 cents each. While Mr. Jobs has repeatedly said that Apple makes little or no profit from each song downloaded, the company said last week that its iPod sales were crucial to Apple's financial resurgence."

Monday, January 19, 2004

BBC NEWS | Technology | Online games make serious money

BBC NEWS | Technology | Online games make serious money: "According to a report from market analysts, The Themis Group, massive multiplayer games will generate $1.3bn over the next 12 months.
The bulk of this will come from subscriptions but a growing proportion will be generated by the sale of virtual property and in-game items.
The analyst group expects the revenues generated by games to grow to more than $4bn by 2008."

Microsoft seeks its next cash cow

Microsoft seeks its next cash cow
"The rewards, risks and challenges are epitomized in Microsoft's $10 billion dream for its Business Solutions group, which produces ERP, CRM and other applications to automate business functions for small and midsize businesses (SMB), which Microsoft defines as those with 1,000 or less employees.
In the past two years, Microsoft built the group based on its largest acquisitions ever, laying out $2.5 billion to acquire ERP vendors Great Plains and Navision.
In the past year, the division publicized an 84% gain in revenue - mostly because of the close of the Navision deal - but was quiet about its 44% spike in losses.
Undaunted, CEO Steve Ballmer is pegging the division's yearly revenue potential based on selling applications, and supporting infrastructure and services at $10 billion by 2011. The goal is to draw users to the business applications and in turn sell them client operating systems, the Office suite and infrastructure servers to support the rollout.
To understand the magnitude of its ambition, $10 billion is just short of the revenue generated in 2003 by Microsoft's top-grossing Windows Client division, which produces software that sits on 94% of corporate desktops worldwide. The $10 billion would make Business Solutions bigger than current-day Oracle or SAP, longtime business application players that will compete with Microsoft, and untold others to capture a slice of more than 45 million SMBs."

Integration Solutions Go-To-Market Campaign

Integration Solutions Go-To-Market Campaign "Microsoft® Integration Solutions help organizations bring together systems, employees, and trading partners into unified business processes that are adaptable and flexible, yet are highly automated. Through integration solutions, Microsoft helps customers increase their agility and reduce the costs associated with integrating heterogeneous environments. Microsoft delivers solutions that help businesses automate their processes through effective and efficient integration of applications, employees, and trading partners. Based on the needs of customers, Microsoft offers solutions that bring together human-driven and process-driven workflow that crosses both organizational boundaries and enterprises."

One of many solution campaigns Microsoft is developing

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Saw this a few seconds after the Patriots game ended -- kinda cool...

Microsoft Alert
Saw this a few seconds after the Patriots game ended -- kinda cool...

Friday, January 16, 2004

OJR article: AOL Tweaks News Product but Falls Short on Bid for More Participatory Journalism

OJR article: AOL Tweaks News Product but Falls Short on Bid for More Participatory Journalism "In an effort to get members more involved, the struggling online service is rolling out new and improved polls, chats, video, blogs and more personality. Can the old dinosaur learn new tricks and stop subscribers from fleeing?"

Via Dan Gillmor

Patterns, practices for enterprise applications: this time from the other side

Patterns, practices for enterprise applications: this time from the other side This post includes useful links to free Microsoft, IBM, and Sun info on patterns, .NET/Java comparison/coexistence themes, etc.

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Microsoft will change music link that forces its browser on users

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Microsoft will change music link that forces its browser on users "Microsoft agreed to a government demand that it eliminate a feature of its Windows XP operating system that overrides competitors' Web browsers, the Justice Department said.
Microsoft will change the "Shop for Music Online" function of its operating system so that competitors' browsers won't be overridden by Microsoft's Internet Explorer, the Justice Department said in Washington. The Windows operating system runs about 95 percent of the world's personal computers."

At first this looks like a serious "What were they thinking?!" instance, especially given the scrutiny of anything MS does that even remotely looks like a power play, but, as a former product manager, I can also understand how the Windows client team wanted to ensure that the "Shop for Music Online" service would actually work, something they'd be unable to guarantee if users specified a different default browser.

Massachusetts Backs Off OSS Pledge

Massachusetts Backs Off OSS Pledge "After talking big about dropping proprietary software and moving to open-source software (OSS) solutions, the state of Massachusetts finalized its IT acquisition policy this week and says it will concentrate on open standards rather than OSS. The difference is hardly subtle: A move to OSS would have been extremely damaging to the state's current software suppliers, most notably Microsoft, which has set up itself as the poster child for proprietary software. Now, because the company has been pushing its move to open standards for years, Microsoft will likely continue to be the primary benefactor of Massachusetts' software purchases.
So how did the Massachusetts fiasco begin? Last fall, Eric Kriss, secretary of the Massachusetts Executive Office for Administration and Finance, wrote a memo arguing that the state should abandon its "disjointed and proprietary" IT methods. And although reports about Massachusetts abandoning proprietary software were widespread, not everyone in the state felt that such a decision was inevitable or even advisable. Massachusetts Senator Marc Pacheco argued that giving preferential treatment to OSS over proprietary software was, in fact, illegal."

I think this is an important leading indicator; definitely worth reading the entire column

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Dare Obasanjo aka Carnage4Life - An Industry First: Subscription Synchronization

Dare Obasanjo aka Carnage4Life - An Industry First: Subscription Synchronization: "A Newsgator press release from last week reads:
'Subscription Synchronization
Users who subscribe to NewsGator Online Services can now synchronize their subscriptions across multiple machines. This is an industry first - NewsGator 2.0 for Outlook and NewsGator Online Services are the first commercially available tools to provide this capability in such a flexible manner. This sophisticated system ensures that subscriptions follow users wherever they go, users never have to read the same content twice (unless they choose to), and even supports multiple subscription lists so users can have separate, but overlapping, subscription lists at home and at the office.' "
"I find it unfortunate that it seems that we are headed for a world where multiple proprietary solutions and non-interoperable solutions exist for providing basic functionality that uses take for granted when it comes to other technologies like email. This was the impetus for starting work on Synchronization of Information Aggregators using Markup (SIAM) ."

Judge rules Microsoft infringed on Eolas patent | CNET

Judge rules Microsoft infringed on Eolas patent | CNET "A Chicago federal judge on Wednesday upheld a $512 million patent verdict against Microsoft that could ultimately force major changes in many of the most common Internet software products.
"This motion rehearses a set of arguments that failed the first time around," Zagel wrote in his opinion. "While I am not entirely comfortable with the large size of the judgment, it is not my comfort that matters."
We remain confident that on appeal, when people hear this though, they will see that--as we claimed--the patent is not valid," Microsoft spokesman Lou Gellers said. "We don't think we violated anything even if it were valid."

Wireless Networks Unite Home Office and Hearth

Wireless Networks Unite Home Office and Hearth "A few years back, when work would spill outside of office hours, Oren Michels would set up his laptop on the desk in the spare room of his home in Lafayette, Calif. While the rest of his family was watching a movie or sitting together in the living room, Mr. Michels, now the president of Colt Express Outsourcing Services, a human-resources benefits administration firm in Walnut Creek, Calif., would sit alone in a separate room, tethered to the Internet by a cable.
But lately he shuns the spare room and his desk. Thanks to the wireless home network he has set up with a technology called Wi-Fi, Mr. Michels can gain access to the Internet - and his work - with a laptop anywhere in the house. Or even on the back porch."

Check the eerily disconcerting picture in the article -- dad on his PowerBook, kids sharing a Windows laptop (perhaps playing The Sims Online), mom looking left out with paper on her lap...

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Phil Windley: Amazon as Platform

Phil Windley: Amazon as Platform "According to a story in Roll Call, Amazon will provide a means, starting Thursday, for you to make a direct donation to your favorite presidential candidate using your Amazon account. Amazon apparently worked out a deal with each campaign over the last month. The cost of developing the program and the processing fees are being paid by the presidential campaigns. Many will see the benefit to the presidential campaigns, but there's an upside for Amazon as well.

This is an interesting example of Amazon exerting its transaction processing muscle in ways that go beyond books and other merchandise. Clearly, Amazon's position as one of the premiere merchants on the Web is undisputed, but this build upon that and plays to the Amazon as Platform strategy which make Amazon a competitor in the payments and transactions space. I wonder how much longer it will be before they federate their ID system and allow other Web sites to let me log in using my Amazon credentials."

United States Patent: 6,654,953: Extending program languages with source-program attribute tags

United States Patent: 6,654,953: Extending program languages with source-program attribute tags "Abstract:
Attribute tags embedded in the statements of a source program system extend a programming language. A compiler for the program includes an interface to detect the attribute tags and to call one of a number of attribute-provider programs external to the compiler. The provider programs modify the operation of the compiler, for example by injecting additional statements or other code into the program at one or more predetermined points remote from the attribute tag. The compiler interface lists the names of the attributes and locations of their associated provider programs."

Here's one IBM didn't get...

Via Christian Weyer: Web Services & .NET

InformationWeek > Microsoft > Microsoft Offers Linux-Interoperability Software For Free > January 13, 2004

InformationWeek > Microsoft > Microsoft Offers Linux-Interoperability Software For Free > January 13, 2004 "Microsoft has decided to drop the $99 licensing fee previously required for its Services For Unix software and plans to make a new version of the interoperability product available this week at no cost on its Web site.
Services For Unix is a subsystem of Unix APIs and development and administration tools intended to help businesses migrate Unix or Linux applications to Windows computers or create heterogeneous environments where the operating systems coexist. SFU version 3.5, to be available Thursday, will come with performance improvements and new features that make it better at both of those functions, yet Microsoft officials say the price change represents a strategy shift that's equally important.
The three main components of SFU--Unix's Network File System and Network Identity Service and Microsoft's Interix layer of Posix APIs--have all been tuned for better performance, with some commands running 50% faster, Oldroyd says. SFU 3.5 also features first-time support for P-Threads (for Posix-compliant multithreaded applications), a broader set of Posix APIs, and updated utilities and libraries."

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Influential Xbox executive Fries resigns from Microsoft

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Influential Xbox executive Fries resigns from Microsoft "Longtime Microsoft executive Ed Fries has resigned as the head of the company's Game Studios division, and with his departure Microsoft is losing a popular Xbox ambassador — and prank victim.
The jokes co-workers have pulled on Fries over the years are legendary, such as when they built a wall that covered the corridor to his office while he was in Japan. Jet-lagged and unable to sleep upon his return, Fries walked into Microsoft at 3 a.m. and walked right by his hidden office.
"That was one of the better ones they pulled on me," he said yesterday.

Kodak to Stop Selling Traditional Cameras in U.S.

Kodak to Stop Selling Traditional Cameras in U.S.: " Eastman Kodak Co. on Tuesday said it will stop selling traditional film cameras in the United States, Canada and Western Europe, another move by the photography company to cut lines with declining appeal in favor of fast-growing digital products.
With sales of digital cameras poised to overtake film cameras for the first time this year, Kodak is redefining itself in an effort to keep pace.
But the No. 1 maker of photographic film will continue to sell one-time use cameras in the West and expand its sales of these and other film-based cameras -- and film -- in emerging markets where demand is on the rise."

InfoWorld: The new enterprise portal

InfoWorld: The new enterprise portal: January 09, 2004: By Eric Knorr: Applications "And how does the world's largest software company fit into the portal picture? While most agree that the latest version of Microsoft's SharePoint Portal Server is a good product, the company is clearly ambivalent about enterprise portals. And no wonder, Phifer says. "If the Webtop became a reality, Microsoft has the most to lose because right now Microsoft owns the eyeballs of corporate Earth," he says. "And if I suddenly switch over to a Web browser with a portal being displayed, my eyeballs are focusing on the portal and not on the Microsoft desktop."

This is missing the point -- the Longhorn desktop is the future Microsoft portal client.

(Thanks to Ed Brill; quote is from p. 3 of the article)

Yahoo! News - Internet 'Geek' Image Shattered by New Study

Yahoo! News - Internet 'Geek' Image Shattered by New Study: "The typical Internet user -- far from being a geek -- shuns television and actively socializes with friends, a study on surfing habits said Wednesday. The findings of the first World Internet Project report present an image of the average Netizen that contrasts with the stereotype of the loner 'geek' who spends hours of his free time on the Internet and rarely engages with the real world.
Instead, the typical Internet user is an avid reader of books and spends more time engaged in social activities than the non-user, it says. And, television viewing is down among some Internet users by as much as five hours per week compared with Net abstainers, the study added. " - Online Use Creeps Higher - Online Use Creeps Higher: "More than 60% of American adults are online at home, up from 57% in late 2002, according to the latest poll from Harris Interactive.
The poll examines Internet use among adult Americans, and finds that while wealthier and highly educated Americans are more likely to be online, the difference in usage rates between demographic groups is narrowing.
For instance, among all Internet users, 40% didn't attend college; that compares with a 47% figure in the overall adult population. Also, 15% of Internet users have household incomes of less than $25,000, which compares with a 19% of adults."

Includes several charts

Game-console rivalry gets fierce

Game-console rivalry gets fierce: "But the current battle, as hard-fought as it has been, could be just the warm-up for the clash to come. In timing the release of their next consoles, Microsoft and Nintendo are expected to avoid giving Sony the huge head start it enjoyed by releasing its PlayStation 2 more than a year before the Xbox or GameCube.
As a result, the competition is likely to be much more intense. At stake is a multibillion-dollar market that, by virtue of the phenomenon known as convergence, could play an even bigger role in the future of home entertainment."

Includes sales/installed base chart

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

GaryDev: Drinking from the fire hose

GaryDev: Drinking from the fire hose: "As a freshman [Gary joined Microsoft last year], much of my time is spent trying to learn the most basic things. No longer am I Mr. Appdev. Now I need to know about everything Microsoft does. Believe me they are doing plenty. One of my favorite resources is a monthly set of audio CD's, which talks about MS products and the competition. I listen to them in my car. In each release there is at lease one product covered that I've never heard of before. The material is good but the reason it's my favorite non developer resource is that I can listen and learn while doing something else. These CDs are not available to the public but there is a cool audio source that is: ( The site contain a monthly audio program covering .Net topics. These down loadable audio files a long enough that you may want to burn CD's from it and listen to them in your car. We are all busy but technology won't want for us. "

Great example of how Microsoft keeps its employees up-to-date.

CRN : Breaking News : Microsoft Exchange Gets New Boss : 2:03 PM EST Mon., Jan. 12, 2004

CRN : Breaking News : Microsoft Exchange Gets New Boss : 2:03 PM EST Mon., Jan. 12, 2004 "The Exchange e-mail group is getting a new top dog with the departure of Mohsen Al-Ghosein as vice president of Exchange Server. Dave Thompson will step into that role.
It appears that Al-Ghosein, one of a handful of Microsoft employees with a Distinguished Engineer title, is leaving the company.
Thompson joined the company in 1990 and is currently listed on the Microsoft site as corporate vice president in the Windows Server Product Group."

Opinion: HP's iPod Moves Could Hurt the Industry

Opinion: HP's iPod Moves Could Hurt the Industry "Last summer, HP announced a sweeping push into consumer electronics and released more than 100 new consumer-oriented products in one day. The move drew a bit of press attention, but nothing like the front-page news assault that Apple Computer generated last week for its comparably weak announcement of expensive, new, and smaller iPod devices, portable audio players that won't be available for months. Attempting to latch on to Apple's marketing success, last week HP made the incredible decision to license Apple's iPod player and iTunes software, and the move predictably catapulted HP into the spotlight for a day. But as the dust settles, HP's customers are rightly asking some hard questions about the decision because, as Microsoft is pointing out, Apple's technology offerings are an island of incompatibility in an otherwise widely compatible PC world." - Oracle Splits Chairman, CEO Jobs; EU Suspends Probe of Oracle's Bid - Oracle Splits Chairman, CEO Jobs; EU Suspends Probe of Oracle's Bid "The changes were part of a wider shuffle of executive titles announced by Oracle. Executive Vice President Chuck Phillips, a former Wall Street analyst who joined Oracle last year, was promoted to co-president and named to Oracle's board. Mr. Phillips, 44 years old, was given overall responsibility for the company's sales and consulting operations. He also oversees Oracle's marketing efforts and has a broad role in corporate strategy and planning, including acquisitions.
Another executive vice president, Safra Catz, 42, also was promoted to co-president. Ms. Catz, who joined Oracle in 1999, has been a board member since 2001. Both Mr. Phillips and Ms. Catz have played major roles in Oracle's effort to acquire PeopleSoft Inc. with a hostile, $7.3 billion bid.
The new title for Mr. Henley, 59, appears to solve a number of problems for Oracle. Mr. Henley, Oracle's finance chief for nearly 13 years, has been looking to step aside for some time but wanted to help stabilize the company's finances through the technology downturn, according to people familiar with the situation. By naming Mr. Henley chairman, Oracle is signaling continuity of leadership to Wall Street, where Mr. Henley has enjoyed wide respect. At the same time, the company is separating the titles of chief executive and chairman, as many corporate-governance experts have urged."

Hmm -- so maybe the PeopleSoft bid isn't so remote after all... - Google Expands Search Features - Google Expands Search Features "Google Inc. expanded the types of information that Internet users can search for on its Web site to include such things as area codes, product codes, flight information, vehicle identification numbers and U.S. Postal Service tracking numbers.
Google's announcement Monday introduces several new innovations. Computer users, for example, can type in an area code in the search query bar and the top result will show a map of that geographic area. Users can also plug in a vehicle identification number into the search query box to get a link for a Web page with more information about the year, make and model of a specific type of car."

DNA sample-based searching can't be far behind (kidding...) - Microsoft To Continue Support For Some Older Windows Sys - Microsoft To Continue Support For Some Older Windows Sys "Microsoft (MSFT) reversed a decision to stop support for some older Windows operating systems, saying Monday some customers in developing countries were not aware of the change.
Support for Windows 98 and Windows 98 S.E. had been scheduled to expire Friday, and for Windows Millennium Edition on Dec. 31. Under Monday's decision, the software giant would maintain paid phone support for the operating systems and review security threats to determine whether it will provide customers with security patches through June 30, 2006.
About 20% of all Windows-based computers still run Windows 95 or 98, according to International Data Corp., a technology market research firm. Support for Windows 95 ended in 2001.
Since Oct. 15, 2002, Microsoft has offered seven years of support for its new products. Before that, it offered four."

Oracle CFO Henley Appointed Chairman

Oracle CFO Henley Appointed Chairman "Oracle Corp.'s chief financial officer, Jeff Henley, has replaced CEO Larry Ellison as chairman of the software maker.
The Redwood Shores, Calif. company's board of directors on Monday split the responsibilities of chief executive officer and chairman of the board, both of which had been handled by Ellison. Ellison remains as the CEO."

Surprising and probably a very sensible move -- not unlike Bill Gates giving up CEO and focusing on software strategy (although Gates is still MS Chairman)

Microsoft Bows to Pressure, Extends Support for Older Windows Versions

Microsoft Bows to Pressure, Extends Support for Older Windows Versions "Microsoft Corp. on Monday capitulated to customer pressure and announced that it would now continue extended support for Windows 98, Windows 98 Second Edition and for Windows Millennium Edition (ME) until June 30, 2006.
Microsoft recently said that support for Windows 98 and 98 SE would be phased out this Friday—January 16, while support for Windows Me was due to stop on December 31, 2004."

Excellent timing for this week's eWeek articles on Win98...

Monday, January 12, 2004

Start-up looks to leverage corporate IM

Start-up looks to leverage corporate IM: "Led by Charles Digate, one-time CEO of e-mail company Beyond Inc., Convoq ASAP is what the company calls an instant meeting system. You can find people to meet with, meet right away or 'as soon as present' (hence the ASAP moniker), and choose your method of communications: chat, audio- or videoconferencing, or application sharing. "

Great application of Flash + Flash Communications Server

Download details: Introducing ClickOnce - Web Deployment for Windows Forms Applications

Download details: Introducing ClickOnce - Web Deployment for Windows Forms Applications: "The next version of Visual Studio, codenamed 'Whidbey,' introduces a technology codenamed ClickOnce that allows developers to write Windows Forms applications that utilize the powerful features of the client, yet are as hassle-free to deploy and update as a Web page. ClickOnce allows developers to deploy and update their applications by simply copying the files to a Web site and doesn't require separate setup authoring. These applications are isolated from other applications, and as a result have the TCO advantages of a Web browser-based application."

The hidden costs of cheap DVD players

The hidden costs of cheap DVD players: "Mike Langberg takes a look at some of the hidden costs of those cut rate $40, $30, and $20 DVD players that can be found these days (we saw a million of them at CES):
[Y]ou shouldn't ask how it's possible to buy a DVD player these days for under $40. These ultra-inexpensive machines, from no-name importers such as AMW, Apex, Coby, CyberHome, Mintek and Norcent, are surprisingly solid. Video and audio quality, along with reliability, are virtually as good as models costing twice as much from consumer-electronics giants such as Panasonic, Philips, RCA, Sony and Toshiba. But there are hidden costs. Horrific working conditions on assembly lines in China, heightened trade tensions with Asian nations and Wal-Mart store clerks paid so little they qualify for food stamps, are partially related to relentless pressure to sell popular products at eye-popping low prices.
He also looks at how anyone is able to sell a DVD player for so little. The answer: a combination of retailers willing to take a loss to bring customers into their stores and manufacturers who use cheap standard components and also frequently avoid paying the $10 to $15 royalties due for using patented DVD technology."

From Gizmodo

IBM retains patent crown | CNET

IBM retains patent crown | CNET The computing giant said the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted it 3,415 patents, marking the 11th consecutive year the company has been the top recipient. IBM said it is the only company to garner more than 3,000 patents in one year, which it has done for the past three years.
Software-related patents for IBM are on the rise. Of all of Big Blue's patents, more than 1,400 were in software, marking the second year that more than 40 percent of its patents were in software, the company said."

Michael Gartenberg: TiVO's DRM is a bad idea that will be rejected by consumers

Michael Gartenberg: TiVO's DRM is a bad idea that will be rejected by consumers "Well it looks like TiVO has an answer to MediaCenter PCs and the ability to transport content. You will be able to download TiVO content to your PC and from there you will be able to watch it and burn it off to DVD if you like. There’s only one problem and it’s a BIG one. Unlike Media Center PC, the content will be encrypted and therefore in order to use it you will have to purchase a USB dongle to plug into the PC in order to do anything. You will not be able to edit the content in any way and only view or burn (with the hardware key). This is a really bad idea. Forget the fact that I can’t network my content (like Replay devices can and new MCE Extender will be able to do) but I can’t really get content portability. Hardware protection dongles are a nightmare from the 80’s that are being brought back to life. They get lost and they break…. And when they do… no more access to content. This is one of the worst ideas ever and it’s not likely to find favor with the technical users that will most likely be the early adopters. I’ve already discussed how TiVO fails to exploit the fantastic resource that are its customers, they now manage to go one step further and show them real disdain.
It’s another reason that I believe that DVR functionality will no doubt become more and more mainstream but it’s not likely TiVO will reap the rewards."

E-Commerce News: Developers Shrug Off Longhorn Delay Rumors

E-Commerce News: Developers Shrug Off Longhorn Delay Rumors: "However, although Longhorn is tentatively scheduled for release in 2005 or 2006, some industry executives predict the operating system will not ship until 2008 or 2009. Will developer ire run high if such a delay occurs, considering the prerelease hype?
According to many IT professionals, even if Longhorn takes a long time to come to market, Microsoft's communications with developers, coupled with the software's anticipated benefits, should reduce or eliminate potential backlash. "

Via Longhorn Editor's blog (surprise...)

Microsoft Shows Off 'Connected Concept Cars'

Microsoft Shows Off 'Connected Concept Cars': "Microsoft's been talking up the idea of the 'Connected Car' for a couple of years now. But this week at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) here, the company actually had real cars to show off that are running its latest Windows Automotive software.
Microsoft launched its Windows CE 4.2-based Windows Automotive release last spring. But it has taken auto manufacturers about a year to deliver cars supporting the new release."

Microsoft Smarter Retailing Initiative Supported By More Than 20 Leading Companies

Microsoft Smarter Retailing Initiative Supported By More Than 20 Leading Companies: "Today at the National Retail Federation's (NRF) 93rd Annual Convention & Expo, more than 20 leading companies announced their support for Microsoft Corp.'s Smarter Retailing Initiative (SRI), a comprehensive solutions framework for enabling the next generation of retail innovation. The Smarter Retailing Initiative focuses on three critical areas, Smarter Shopping, Smarter Selling and Smarter Operations, reflecting Microsoft's vision that business value will emerge at the boundaries of the retail enterprise, where retailers interact with customers and suppliers. With additional investment in core systems that support those innovations, retailers will be able to significantly transform and differentiate the customer experience. "

I wonder if this is aligned with the Microsoft Business Framework initiative...

Power Players: Big Names Are Jumping Into the Crowded Online Music Field

Power Players: Big Names Are Jumping Into the Crowded Online Music Field "People watching the online music industry say two things about that digital marketplace: business is booming, and the business stinks. Dozens of companies have opened online music stores, drawn by the promise of riches if even a fraction of the tens of millions of people illegally downloading songs turn to legitimate services. But profits in selling songs are slim at best, and the industry is already too crowded."There are about three times as many music stores as there need to be," said Josh Bernoff, an analyst with Forrester Research." / Business / Technology / Multimedia gadgets get personal / Business / Technology / Multimedia gadgets get personal "Microsoft calls its version "Portable Media Centers" and showed off the first units created in conjunction with Creative Labs at CES last week. They're expected to be delivered later this year. Other devices are being developed by iRiver, Samsung, and Sanyo.
Creative's entry, which has a high-resolution color screen, stores and plays digital video, music, and photos using a specialized version of Windows to handle the tasks.
Microsoft claims the device will hold up to 600 hours of audio in Windows Media format, 175 hours of video, and up to 10,000 photos. The idea is that you'll do things like record a TV show using your Microsoft Media Center PC and download it to your Portable Media Center to watch on the go."

Good + timely overview. Too bad the Boston Globe doesn't include photos in their on-line stories; there's a good photo of the virtual keyboard in the dead-tree version of today's paper.

600 hours of audio or 175 hours of video etc., all in a handheld device with a DVD-worthy display and Windows CE for general-purpose computing/communication needs. Can an iPod do that?...

Sunday, January 11, 2004

BBC NEWS | Technology | Why tech firms are out of tune

BBC NEWS | Technology | Why tech firms are out of tune: "Apple's iTunes is apparently a great service but it doesn't actually make Apple any money because of the high level of royalty they have to pay to the music industry for every song downloaded.
Microsoft used its presence at CES to announce its own range of DRM-enabled software, and now it is clear that HP too has bowed to the power of the cartel.
If the industry won't sort this out, then it is time for the people to act, both individually and through our representatives.
Consumer boycotts and government action are the only way we are going to re-establish the balance between copyright holders and those of us who want to listen to, share and be inspired by music, movies and literature.
It's time for all who believe in real freedom of expression to tell Carly Fiorina and her friends in the music industry that being a 'digital revolutionary' means more than just doing what she thinks we should be permitted to.
Real freedom comes from below, not from the marketing department of a large corporation."

(Thanks to Irwin Lazar for the pointer)

Saturday, January 10, 2004

Wired News: The Macintosh's Twisted Truth

Wired News: The Macintosh's Twisted Truth: "Apple's CEO Steve Jobs and the Macintosh are inextricably linked in the minds of most people. So it may come as a surprise to learn the Mac wasn't his idea at all.
In fact, he actually wanted to kill the project in its infancy. Luckily for Apple, he wasn't successful.
The story of the Mac is a tale of one man's inspiration, another man's ego and the dedication of a small band of 'pirates' who forever changed the way the world computes. "

This provocative thesis pops up periodically; Jef Raskin has a big fan club. For a bit more balanced overview of where most of the underlying technologies came from (Xerox PARC), check out the classic Dealers of Lightning. Both Raskin and Jobs deserve a lot of credit for transforming the technologies into a market-altering product line, but synthesis and marketing != invention in this context.

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: CES 2004: a growing force in electronics market

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: CES 2004: a growing force in electronics market "The company has added more information for individual electronics products, an important feature for consumers who typically use the Internet to research big-ticket items before buying. Bezos said the site now allows customers to view product manuals, and there have been more than 2 million downloads of them so far.
He also used industry data from the NPD Group to illustrate that its customers are making more expensive purchases on its site. According to NPD, the average price of desktop computers is $778. On Amazon's site, the average price is $1,106.
Likewise, the average industry price for digital music players is $181. On Amazon, it is $269.
Amazon has sought to reap a profit on the sale of electronics — a cutthroat business — by buying inventory and controlling the amount of money it spends picking, packing and shipping items."

WinInfo Short Takes: Exclusive: Windows XP SP2 Will Include Concurrent Sessions

WinInfo Short Takes: Exclusive: Windows XP SP2 Will Include Concurrent Sessions "
Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) will include a long-awaited concurrency feature that will let multiple users connect simultaneously to the same PC. The feature is mysteriously absent in the current SP2 beta release, and how Microsoft will implement the feature and how many concurrent interactive users it will support is unclear, but a Microsoft representative confirmed to me this week that the concurrent sessions feature, called "multisessions" internally, is happening. The next XP Media Center Edition (MCE) version, due this fall, will use the feature to enable as many as five Media Center sessions to remote Windows Media Center Extender devices."

Hmm -- is that (A) a fat client or (B) a thin server? C, both of the above...

Friday, January 09, 2004

What is managed code?

What is managed code?: "Managed code is code that has its execution managed by the .NET Framework Common Language Runtime. It refers to a contract of cooperation between natively executing code and the runtime. This contract specifies that at any point of execution, the runtime may stop an executing CPU and retrieve information specific to the current CPU instruction address. Information that must be query-able generally pertains to runtime state, such as register or stack memory contents.
Contrast this to the unmanaged world: Unmanaged executable files are basically a binary image, x86 code, loaded into memory. The program counter gets put there and that’s the last the OS knows. There are protections in place around memory management and port I/O and so forth, but the system doesn’t actually know what the application is doing. Therefore, it can’t make any guarantees about what happens when the application runs."

Ananova - Burger King customers told: 'You are too fat to have a Whopper'

Ananova - Burger King customers told: 'You are too fat to have a Whopper': "Police believe teenage pranksters are hacking into the wireless frequency of a US Burger King drive-through speaker to tell potential customers they are too fat for fast food.
Policeman Gerry Scherlink said the pranksters told one customer who had just placed an order: 'You don't need a couple of Whoppers. You are too fat. Pull ahead.'"

(Thanks to Dan Golding for the pointer)

IBM, Real forge digital media deal | CNET

IBM, Real forge digital media deal | CNET "On Thursday, the two companies will announce that they have forged a partnership to jointly build, market and sell a digital media management system. The product, available sometime in the second quarter of 2004, will let companies digitize, manage and secure their content assets, and distribute and sell use of those assets, without having to create the technology infrastructure from scratch, according to the companies. IBM and Real will announce the deal at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas."

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: CES 2004: HP plays the iPod tune with Apple

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: CES 2004: HP plays the iPod tune with Apple: "Dell Chief Executive Michael Dell did not announce any company news during his speech. He said the industry has different ideas about whether the TV, the PC or some other device is at the center of the home.
'The PC remains the most versatile invention in history and continues to play a vital role in the digital home,' he said. "

Verizon Plans Fast Internet for Cellphones

Verizon Plans Fast Internet for Cellphones "Verizon Wireless said yesterday that it would deploy an advanced data network that will allow people to use the Internet at high speed on mobile phones and other devices, including laptop computers.
Verizon Wireless, the nation's largest mobile phone provider, said it would spend $1 billion on the network over the next two years. The move intensifies a game of one-upmanship among the leading mobile phone companies, which are seeking to outdo each other in offering data services over airwaves once devoted to phone traffic.
Verizon Wireless expects to offer speeds of 300 kilobits to 500 kilobits a second, which is comparable to typical downloading speeds on digital service lines or cable modem lines, Mr. Entner said. He said Cingular and Sprint typically offer slower wireless data transmission speeds, but he expects them to upgrade their networks."

Offer a reasonable pricing schedule and I'm there...

Michael Gartenberg: Microsoft's Media Center News at CES

Michael Gartenberg: Microsoft's Media Center News at CES "The news is out and by now you have heard of the new Portable Media Center and the Media Center Extend (as well as the Extender for X-Box). This is amazing stuff from Microsoft (and an area that Apple needs to start to play in). MCE Extend is powerful. By allowing users to gain access to MCE features on other TVs, Microsoft and partners have a powerful weapon to use against the likes of TiVO and other standalone devices. With the rise of broadband and the adoption of fast wireless home networks, these devices allow for two features requested by users; namely the ability to stream music from their PC to their stereo and home theater (favored by nearly 70% of users as a desired feature) and the ability to record TV shows on their PC and watch it on their TV set (a feature requested by 51% of users). While these things could be done by the technology inclined, Microsoft has taken this ability and brought it to the mass market. Combined with the ability to take this content on the road (either on Laptop or on Portable Media Center) Microsoft has started to deliver some of the features and promise that Media Center potentially enabled. These are extremely important and exciting announcements that over the next two years will have a major impact on Consumer Electronics as we know it. The key will be in execution (which Microsoft is not always known for) and the ability to craft, deliver and execute a clear and definitive marketing message that consumers will understand."

Hewlett Joins With Apple in Music Deal

Hewlett Joins With Apple in Music Deal "The deal calls for Apple to make its popular iPod player in a Hewlett corporate blue hue, while Hewlett, starting this summer, will place an icon on the desktop of its consumer PC's, directing its customers to Apple's software and music store. Financial terms were not disclosed and the alliance does not include - at least not yet - the new mini-iPod that Apple announced earlier this week.
Despite being two of the companies that most clearly define Silicon Valley, Apple, based in Cupertino, Calif., not far down the highway from Hewlett's headquarters in Palo Alto, has never been particularly close to Hewlett. The love-hate relationship between the two companies is part of the valley's lore. As a teenager, Mr. Jobs brazenly called William Hewlett, Hewlett-Packard's co-founder, to ask for parts for an electronics project. Later Mr. Jobs' co-founder, Stephen Wozniak, then a Hewlett employee, asked his bosses if they wanted to market a personal computer before starting Apple with Mr. Jobs in 1976.
Microsoft has said that it plans to offer its own MSN music store later this year. Thursday the company appeared unprepared for the Apple-Hewlett agreement, which clearly stung Microsoft executives. They said the agreement would limit choice and harm consumers.
"Windows is about choice, you can mix and match all of this stuff," said David Fester, general manager of Microsoft's Windows digital media division. "We believe you should have the same choice when it comes to music services."
He said that Hewlett would end up confusing its customers because the company has supported several other Microsoft media products that are not compatible with the iPod, including its Windows Media Center software, which Microsoft sees as the crucial digital hub in the home.
Ms. Fiorina sought to limit any impression that Hewlett, which is a leader in computer printers and designs other consumer products like digital cameras and calculators, was becoming merely a "distribution" company - a term she used to refer to Dell."

I suspect this will turn out to be an infinitely expensive move for HP, in terms of opportunity costs, but it was certainly a well-timed (MacWorld, CES, etc.) press-centric maneuver. Of course, it'll also be a bit awkward if the pre-installed iTunes music service continues to not work with Pocket PC devices, which HP happens to be a leader in... - Dell Plans New Challenge to H-P With 3 Development Agreements - Dell Plans New Challenge to H-P With 3 Development Agreements: "Dell Inc. plans a further challenge to printer maker Hewlett-Packard Co. this year through an expanded offering of printers and imaging devices developed with several printer manufacturers.
The Round Rock, Texas, computer company says it had reached separate technology agreements with printer makers Eastman Kodak Co., Fuji Xerox Co. and Samsung Electronics Co.
A year ago, Dell announced a similar agreement with Lexmark International Inc. The two said the new agreements won't affect their relationship, which includes ongoing development of several new printers.
Terms of the agreements weren't disclosed. Tim Peters, Dell's vice president of imaging and printing, said first fruit of the deals would be released 'over the course of the next year.'
The deals further pit Dell against H-P, the largest U.S. printer maker with a 52% share and $22.6 billion in annual imaging and printer sales. For the third quarter of 2003, Dell, with a 5.6% unit share, was ranked fifth in the overall printer market, which includes multifunction devices and digital copiers, according to Framingham, Mass., market-research firm International Data Corp."

Thursday, January 08, 2004

Boing Boing: A Directory of Wonderful Things

Boing Boing: A Directory of Wonderful Things: "Linksys has shipeed a WiFi box with a built-in DVD player to move AV stuff (movies, pix, songs) from your PC to your home theater.
The DVD Player with Wireless-G Media Link sits by the television and stereo and connects to them using standard composite, component A/V or S-Video cables. Then it connects to your home network by Wireless-G (802.11g) networking, or if users prefer, it can be connected via standard Ethernet cabling. The Media Link also works in peer-to-peer mode (direct connection between the media adapter and wired or wireless enabled computer) so no Internet service is required, unless Internet radio is desired.
Link (via /.) "

Linksys -- a Cisco subsidiary -- is also in the home hub hunt...

BBC NEWS | Technology | Xbox heads for a million gamers

BBC NEWS | Technology | Xbox heads for a million gamers: "Microsoft is set to hit its target of a million Xbox Live subscribers by June, Xbox's chief said in a keynote address to a games conference in Las Vegas.
'We are finding a new way for people to have social experiences,' said Robbie Bach, 'we are blazing a trail.' "

CES Kickoff: Gates Expands Digital Decade with Seamless Computing

CES Kickoff: Gates Expands Digital Decade with Seamless Computing "In another sleep-inducing keynote address that belied the importance and excitement of his intended message, Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates opened the 2004 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) with a preview of the home-oriented products his company will release throughout the year and beyond.
Portable Media Center--a new generation of portable media devices, shipping this year from several companies, that will include the Media Center UI and will feature compatibility with all the digital-media formats that Media Center PCs can consume and generate, including recorded TV. "The Portable Media Center [won't] just have your music on it, it's going to have your movies there, movies for your kids, the movies you like; you just find it on the Web, download it, off you go, and it's available. That's because the hard-disk capacity, battery life, cheap LCD screens--those have all come together," Gates said. "This device is small enough to fit in your pocket, has a big enough screen to enjoy movies, and is about the same weight as a wallet, so finally you have something in a great device that takes all of your media with you," Alles added. "And it's not just those recorded shows like we talked about; it's also your music, your photos, and your videos--whether those videos are home videos or a downloaded film from the Internet."
One aspect of Gates's talk that probably won't get a lot of press but deserves to be applauded is the vast number of partners that Microsoft is involving in its various consumer-related products. Gates mentioned the 45 partners that are creating Media Center PCs; the various companies that are providing high-quality video content for MSN and MSN Premium; the companies that are producing SPOT watches, the numerous retail locations at which you can purchase those watches, and the hundreds of metro areas in which the watches can connect to back-end services; the 80 companies that are producing Smartphone devices; the movie companies that are supporting the high-resolution Windows Media Audio (WMA) high-definition video format on specially formatted DVD movies; the companies that are making Portable Media Center devices and Windows Media Center Extender set-top boxes; and the dizzying array of consumer electronics and computer companies that are producing the various hardware, software, and service-oriented offerings that make all these products come together in a truly connected home. The level of cooperation Microsoft engenders with its partners stands in sharp contrast to the digital-hub strategies that some of the company's competitors have proposed and highlights the true diversity and choices we expect from the PC industry. Seeing this business model coming to the consumer electronics industry is exciting. If Gates's keynote address is any indication, 2004 is going to be a milestone year for home computing."