Microsoft wants your support

Thursday, April 5, 2007
MS pushes petition for OpenXML decision
Views on Windows Vista
As the International Organization for Standardization considers moving ahead with Microsoft’s controversial document format, James Senior lists some reasons why users should get involved. “The ISO process involves a one-month period for national bodies to review followed by a five-month technical review process and when ODF (an alternative doc format) was under consideration, Microsoft made no effort to slow down the process – why should we?” he writes. “In the meantime, during the one-month period for consideration of Open XML in ISO, IBM led a global campaign urging national bodies to demand that Open XML was not even considered. They ignored the fact that the vast majority of ISO members chose not to submit comments. Nice eh? We think this is a blatant attempt to use the ISO process to limit choice for commercial motives – no surprise that Notes doesn’t support Open XML. We think people want choice. Seriously.”

Google’s MyMaps could kill off some competition

As the search engine brings in personalization to a popular service, Pete Cashmore gives it a try. “I noticed a very cool feature: support for rich media like videos from YouTube and Google Video,” he writes. “But in another sense, it’s a shame that Google would launch such a product: startups like Platial and Frappr, not to mention thousands of smaller sites, have built businesses around social maps (provided by Google Maps, Yahoo Maps or both). By providing its own service, Google has instantly killed off at least a few hundred of those mashed-up tools.”

HP gets its game face on

An event with HP’s Labs unit shows off a curbed screen, a super projector, a coffee table with an embedded touch screen and mscape technology that turns GPS-enabled Pocket PCs or cell phones into immersive gaming devices, writes Brian Crecente, including Panoply. “Using multiple, inexpensive projectors, Panoply creates a seamless, curved display that fills a gamer’s field of view, increasing realism and immersion,” he writes. “The image is created using a fast, automatic, camera-assisted calibration process that avoids the need for precise projector aiming. Beyond gaming, Panoply could be used for a wide range of other applications, including remote collaboration, home theater and scientific visualization. It is being considered for use in HP’s Halo telepresence product.”

Wednesday, April 4, 2007
Do developers really need databases?
Thinking OutLoud
In a discussion about the merits of several development approaches, Elliot Black makes a controversial proposition. “There is no doubt that relational databases are the king of data storage and the object oriented applications are the predominant methodology and for good reasons, but how practical is it to build a high traffic application that doesn’t use a relational database or an domain object layer?” he asks. “For both of the scenarios I’m thinking of, the hardware architecture would be very similar and based on Amazon’s Elastic Cloud and S3 services. The idea being that the data would reside in S3 in a text format (we’ll use XML for sake of argument), with the actual site work running off of elastic cloud instances.”

The Coop makes things sticky for Flock
Mathew Ingram/Work

The Globe and Mail columnist discusses a Mozilla project to include social networking features in the next version of Firefox. “In effect, it sounds like the Firefox team is planning to build some or all of what Flock has done — sharing of photos, blogging, etc. — into the existing Mozilla browser, although there are differences (The Coop seems aimed at sharing rather than creating blog posts from within the browser, for example),” he writes, adding that “In many ways, the social features almost seem like competition for rather than what Flock does.”

End-of-life for PC just isn’t pretty
Creative Fat Grrrl

“There are no really great recycling options when it’s time for your computer to die,” says a blogger who’s trying to deal with tech trash and clutter. “Face it, few people are interested in a computer three or more years of age. Software stops working on them as new operating systems come out. Older computers can not function with the software coming out now. I know from personal experience trying to run a 5 year old PC running on Windows Me. You might try Linux. See how much that can add to your mileage but that brings up the problem of what to do with all your old software which can’t be adapted to run on a Linux OS.”

Tuesday, April 3, 2007
There’s something Kafkaesque about hacker Gary McKinnon
An unemployed computer administrator who hacked into several U.S. government databases faces extradition, a blogger named Neill based in the U.K. writes. “McKinnon has been represented in some quarters as a dangerous individual who was only interested in classified information and in carrying out actions that were ‘calculated to influence and affect the US government by intimidation and coercion,'” he writes. “Such representation encourages casting McKinnon in the role of terrorist, even though there’s been no suggestion of his hacks being linked to terrorist activities. With a disproportionately harsh reaction to his crimes, the US authorities risk being accused of trying to “face save” and “scapegoating” over McKinnon’s unintentional exposure of the gaping holes in US computer systems in the period shortly after 9/11.”

Don’t hang up on Vonage just yet
Alec Saunders.Log

The Iotum co-founder reports on the firm’s deal with VOIP Inc. to carry its traffic as a way of getting around the injunction Verizon won in a recent battle. “It begs the question, however. How many more of these are out there lurking in the wings?” Saunders writes. ” IETF members have pledged to license, on reasonable and non-discriminatory terms, all IP required to implement the SIP standards, but what of non-IETF members, and non-essential IP? As the computer industry learned years ago, sometimes the best defense is a good offense. Look for someone to start consolidating VoIP IP now that the technology seems to have finally arrived.”

No wonder Microsoft is facing a class action suit
Internet Nexus

The software firm is being prosecuted over the use of the “Windows Vista Capable” campaign, which comes as no surprise to Paul Thurrott. “From the moment I revealed how Microsoft planned to spam users with an unprecedented number of Windows Vista product versions, I decried this plan as too complex, both for users and the companies that would have to support them,” he writes. “Mac users rightfully point to Apple’s single Mac OS X SKU for client machines as an example of how to keep things simple and consumer-friendly, and while I agree that some product differentiation is OK, Microsoft is out of control.”

Monday, April 2, 2007
Patch Tuesday comes early this month
Windows Connected
Microsoft takes an unusual step in offering a patch right away to deal with a flaw related to the way animated cursors are handled in Windows Vista, Josh Phillips says. “Since there are known exploits in the wild you should be extra vigalant with your email, especially with regards to attachments. You should block the file type if you are capable on your HTTP proxy and mail gateways or other network appliances that are capable if you are in a position to do so,” he writes. “And of course be prepared to package this patch and deploy it as soon as your internal testing is complete.”

EMI-Apple deal a great move for customers
The Unofficial Apple Weblog

An agreement to offer iTunes tracks without digital rights management (DRM) protection draws praise from Scott McNulty, though it won’t end all the problems. “Many people commented last night that it isn’t the DRM that bothers them with iTunes downloads, but rather the lower bitrate of the songs. It would seem that EMI is going to be addressing that as well,” he writes. “Not only will EMI songs be DRM free, but they will also be available at twice the bitrate of other songs on iTunes. There is a catch though, single DRM free tracks will cost $1.29 with DRMed tracks of the same music (at a lower bitrate) still available for $.99. You will also be able to ‘upgrade’ EMI tracks you have already purchased for $.30 each.”

A good blogger is a conversation architect
One Reader At A Time

Following a presenation at the Marketing Profs conference, Bob Glaza shares some thoughts about what it means to engage with an online audience. “The obvious – and foremost – thing for us to remember is we serve people . . . In order to help create good experiences, we need to be good designers. Design is not about making something look good – thought that is part of it – but its more about creating an experience that is pleasurable,” he writes. “I would say it’s about imparting a degree of happiness into the receiver of the message. Both Starbuck’s and O’Hare airport are designed well – just differently.”

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