Monday, June 30, 2008

Microsoft stops selling Windows XP

Windows XP will start to fade away this week, when Microsoft stops selling the seven-year-old operating system to retailers and major PC makers.

It's the moment Galen Gruman hoped wouldn't arrive.

Gruman, an executive editor at the InfoWorld online tech site in San Francisco, is one of the leaders of a movement seeking to save Windows XP from extinction. Under different circumstances, a company might welcome such an expression of devotion.

But in this case, the initiative isn't as much an endorsement of Windows XP as it is a comment on XP's successor. Windows Vista, released last year, has been negatively received by some PC users because of its early technical problems and steeper hardware requirements.

"I think the issue is that it's not meaningfully better than XP," Gruman said last week. Improvements in areas such as security aren't enough to justify the inconveniences, he said. InfoWorld's "Save XP" online petition has collected more than 200,000 virtual signatures.

Microsoft previously gave XP a five-month reprieve, but it has made it clear that it's sticking to the Monday cutoff. The company says it wants to keep moving PC users and businesses to Windows Vista as the new standard, in part so that the industry can focus on making software and devices more compatible with Vista and its new security approach.

The cutoff means it will become tougher to get a new computer with Windows XP -- but not impossible, by any means. Although Microsoft will stop selling XP to retailers and major PC makers, it plans to continue selling the operating system through some channels.

For example, smaller companies that make custom PCs from scratch, commonly known as system builders, will be able to continue buying Windows XP through Jan. 31. And for two years, at least, the company also will continue to offer selected versions of Windows XP for "ultra low-cost" computers, such as the Asus Eee PC and Intel Classmate PC, that lack the advanced hardware needed to run Windows Vista.

In addition, buyers of Windows Vista Business or Ultimate editions will be able to take advantage of what are known as "downgrade rights." In some cases, for example, people will be able buy Windows Vista but get it on a disc for later use, and have Windows XP Professional pre-installed on the PC instead.

Downgrade rights are offered through Microsoft's volume licensing program for businesses. Some PC makers, such as Dell, also are giving customers that option.

Microsoft says it plans to offer various levels of product support for Windows XP, including security updates, through April 2014.

Bill Veghte, a Microsoft senior vice president, outlined those continuing options for Windows XP but also defended Windows Vista in a letter to customers last week.

"The architectural changes that improved security and resilience in Windows Vista led to compatibility issues with existing hardware and applications," Veghte acknowledged in the letter. "Many hardware drivers and applications needed to be updated, and while the majority worked well when we launched Windows Vista, some key applications and drivers were not yet available."

However, he added, "Since then, Microsoft and its industry partners have been hard at work to address compatibility issues, and now the situation is fundamentally different."

All things considered, Windows Vista is "actually a pretty good operating system," said Michael Gartenberg, a Jupiter Research analyst. Microsoft has cited significant sales volume. However, Vista isn't good enough to make people and businesses feel strongly compelled to upgrade.

"It certainly hasn't captured anyone's hearts and imaginations," Gartenberg said.

Given the complications of moving to Windows Vista, more companies may start considering it a reasonable option to move to Apple computers, particularly if Apple adds more features to its Mac OS X operating system tailored to businesses, Gartenberg said.

The end of mainstream Windows XP sales happens to coincide with Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates' departure from day-to-day duties at the company. In that way, Gates might be leaving "on the expiration of the last real major desktop operating success for Microsoft," Gartenberg said, adding that one of the major challenges for CEO Steve Ballmer will be to restore the luster to the Windows brand.

First, Ballmer will be getting a little something in the mail. As of last week, InfoWorld's Gruman was planning to print out the Save XP petition and signatures for delivery to Ballmer's office Monday.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Gates to step down from Microsoft

The chairman of Microsoft and one of the world's richest men, Bill Gates, is stepping down from his job running the world's largest software company.

Mr Gates, who made his fortune through developing software for the personal computer, plans to devote his time to charity work.

As a teenager Bill Gates had a vision of a personal computer on every desk in every home.

He says he caught sight of the future and based his career on what he saw.

Great responsibility

The son of a successful lawyer from Seattle, Mr Gates programmed his first computer at the age of 13.

During his two years at Harvard University, he spent much of his time finessing his programming skills as well as enjoying the occasional all-night poker session.

He eventually dropped out of college and moved to Albuquerque, in New Mexico, where he set up Microsoft with his childhood friend, Paul Allen.

Their big break came in 1980 when Microsoft signed an agreement with IBM to build the operating system that became known as MS-DOS.

Microsoft went public in 1986 and within a year Bill Gates, at 31, had become the youngest self-made billionaire.

In an interview with the BBC, Mr Gates explained that Microsoft benefitted because "most of our competitors were very poorly run".

"They did not understand how to bring in people with business experience and people with engineering experience and put them together. They did not understand how to go around the world."

New horizons

Now 52, he still has boyish looks, but he is no longer the world's richest man. He has been overtaken by the investor Warren Buffett and the Mexican telecom tycoon Carlos Slim.

But Mr Gates' fortune is at the root of his decision to leave his day job and concentrate on his charitable organisation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

He will remain as Microsoft's chairman and work on special technology projects, but according to Mr Gates, great wealth brings great responsibility and his future work will include finding new vaccines and financing projects in the developing world.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Google Trends had unveiled a new service

Google is expected to unveil a tool Tuesday that measures Internet use to help advertisers identify the best places to buy ads that will reach its target audience, according to a report Monday on the Wall Street Journal Web site.

The measurement tools, which will be offered to advertisers and their agencies for free, will compete with services offered by established leaders Nielsen and ComScore. While those services base their estimations on selective surveys or customer panels, Google's results would be based on data collected from Web servers, providing a deeper and broader picture of Internet behavior, the newspaper reported. By giving away the new tool, Google could attract more advertising business.

The news follows Google's announcement last week that Google Trends had unveiled a new service that lets users type in specific domains and compare basic traffic information about any .com site using nothing more than organic user searches. Included are daily traffic numbers in users (sent from Google search), where in the world the users are coming from, and related sites that were either searched for or visited in that same session.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Yahoo Adds Two E-Mail Domains To Saturated

For the first time, Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) on Thursday added new e-mail domains to its long-standing, which with more than 260 million subscribers worldwide has forced people to use hard-to-remember pseudonyms when signing up for an account.

The addition of and will add millions of new addresses to Yahoo Mail, and let subscribers avoid the use of such convoluted addresses as CutiePie4Ever80 or mattclark1977, the portal said.

"We recognize that people want an e-mail address that reflects who they are, whether they are signing up for an e-mail address for the first time, or simply updating their e-mail pseudonym to reflect the stage they are at in life," John Kremer, VP of Yahoo Mail, said in a statement.

The new addresses will open up many more options for subscribers in the United States, as well as for localized versions of the namespace in other countries, Yahoo said. People who sign up under the new domains will have access to the same features as the older domain, such as unlimited storage, integrated instant messaging, and spam and virus protection. In many markets, Yahoo will help users transfer e-mail and contacts to their new address and notify friends of the change.

The domain is brand new for Yahoo. Rocketmail, however, stems from the 1997 acquisition of the RocketMail Web mail service. It was one of the first major free services, and it became the engine for Yahoo Mail.

E-mail is one of the legs of Yahoo's multiservice approach to communications, particularly on mobile phones. The portal this year introduced a news service called oneConnect that combines e-mail, instant messaging, text messaging, and social networking in one mobile platform.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Behind the scenes of Firefox 3.0


Behind the scenes of Firefox 3.0
BBC News - 2 hours ago
There is a clear sense of anticipation building at the Mozilla Foundation's headquarters in Mountain View, California where engineers have been working for the past 34-36 months perfecting Firefox 3.0.
Review: Firefox 3 Versus Internet Explorer CRN
Today is Firefox download day. Will it hit 5 million? VentureBeat

News produk from

News and New Produk from site

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A long-tailed macaque monkey looks for fish in a river in Lesan, East Kalimantan, Indonesia

Long-tailed macaque monkeys have a reputation for knowing how to find food — whether it be grabbing fruit from jungle trees or snatching a banana from a startled tourist.
Now, researchers say they have discovered groups of the silver-haired monkeys in Indonesia that fish.
A long-tailed macaque monkey looks for fish in a river in Lesan, East Kalimantan, Indonesia, in Sept. 2007. Long-tailed macaque monkeys have a reputation for knowing how to find food, whether it be grabbing fruit from jungle trees or snatching a banana from a startled tourist.  Now, researchers say they have discovered groups of the silver-haired monkeys in Indonesia that fish.   (AP Photo/Mel White)
Groups of long-tailed macaques were observed four times over the past eight years scooping up small fish with their hands and eating them along rivers in East Kalimantan and North Sumatra provinces, according to researchers from The Nature Conservancy and the Great Ape Trust.

The species had been known to eat fruit and forage for crabs and insects, but never before fish from rivers.

"It's exciting that after such a long time you see new behavior," said Erik Meijaard, one of the authors of a study on fishing macaques that appeared in last month's International Journal of Primatology. "It's an indication of how little we know about the species."

Meijaard, a senior science adviser at The Nature Conservancy, said it was unclear what prompted the long-tailed macaques to go fishing. But he said it showed a side of the monkeys that is well-known to researchers — an ability to adapt to the changing environment and shifting food sources.

"They are a survivor species, which has the knowledge to cope with difficult conditions," Meijaard said Tuesday. "This behavior potentially symbolizes that ecological flexibility."

The other authors of the paper, which describes the fishing as "rare and isolated" behavior, are The Nature Conservancy volunteers Anne-Marie E. Stewart, Chris H. Gordon and Philippa Schroor, and Serge Wich of the Great Ape Trust.

Some other primates have exhibited fishing behavior, Meijaard wrote, including Japanese macaques, chacma baboons, olive baboons, chimpanzees and orangutans.

Agustin Fuentes, a University of Notre Dame anthropology professor who studies long-tailed macaques, or macaca fascicularis, on the Indonesian island of Bali and in Singapore, said he was "heartened" to see the finding published because such details can offer insight into the "complexity of these animals."

"It was not surprising to me because they are very adaptive," he said. "If you provide them with an opportunity to get something tasty, they will do their best to get it."

Fuentes, who is not connected with the published study, said he has seen similar behavior in Bali, where he has observed long-tailed macaques in flooded paddy fields foraging for frogs and crabs. He said it affirms his belief that their ability to thrive in urban and rural environments from Indonesia to northern Thailand could offer lessons for endangered species.

"We look at so many primate species not doing well. But at the same time, these macaques are doing very well," he said. "We should learn what they do successfully in relation to other species."

Still, Fuentes and Meijaard said further research was needed to understand the full significance of the behavior. Among the lingering questions are what prompted the monkeys to go fishing and how common it is among the species.

Long-tailed macaques were twice observed catching fish by The Nature Conservancy researchers in 2007, and Wich spotted them doing it two times in 1998 while studying orangutans.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

The multiple challenges of exploring Antarctica

Robotic rovers have patrolled deep space and the deepest seas, but scientists are still struggling to create drones that can overcome the multiple challenges of exploring Antarctica.

Georgia Tech researchers think the SnoMote — a small robot designed like a snowmobile — will be able to deal with the nasty weather and with slippery terrain that constantly cracks and shifts.

They envision dozens of SnoMotes roving Antarctica's vast expanses to add to data already collected by satellites and a handful of weather stations and sensors.

Ayanna Howard, an associate professor at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, has worked for two years under a NASA grant to perfect the 2-foot-long robots.

Her initial designs with spider-like legs proved too cumbersome to navigate snowbanks. So she and her colleagues leaned on others' designs, outfitting a snowmobile designed for kids with sensors, gauges and cameras and then programming it.

She developed a program that lets the SnoMotes negotiate with each other and "bid" on which site to investigate, allowing them to decide for themselves how to dole out their assignments.

The next challenge, though, was to come up with navigation for the rovers. Other probes tend to use distinguishing characteristics like rocks to chart their paths. But such features can be hard to come by in vast icy expanses.

On a field trip to a Colorado glacier, Howard's team discovered they could use microscopic fissures in the ice and snowbanks to guide their way.

"If you can come up with a way to classify these uniquely, you can come up with a way to navigate," she said.

Simulations so far have proved her team's formula effective, but plenty of challenges await when the robot is put to the test on the glaciers of Alaska.

With Penn State University researcher Derrick Lampkin, Howard has designed a shell that weighs 60 to 70 pounds, can withstand harsh winters and eventually could include heaters to keep computers and wiring running in the cold.

Lampkin said his goal is to develop a "scale-adaptable, autonomous, mobile climate-monitoring network."

The researchers hope the robots will ultimately cost around $10,000, relatively cheap for governments, researchers and others seeking to document changing conditions in the world's most remote places.

The more the better: Howard said in order for scientists to say with certainty how climate change is affecting the ice, they need plenty of accurate data points to create climate models.

She envisions a field of 40 to 50 of the SnoMotes wandering icy plains, a small army gathering data to shed light on global warming and other quandaries without breaking the bank.