WinInfo Short Takes: Week of August 21 - 18 Aug 2000

An irreverent look at some of the week's other news

Windows Me not expected to supply revenue jump
The release of Windows Me next month isn't expected to give Microsoft much of a financial boost, analysts say, because it isn't a "must-have" upgrade. I disagree, actually: Windows Me is the finest version of 9x ever, a much bigger upgrade than Windows 98 or 98 SE. But Microsoft doesn't sell many copies of Windows 9x at retail anyway, so Windows Me will probably just continue Microsoft's traditional sales history with its machine bundlings. In other words, it will sell about 150 million copies by this time next year. Not bad for a product that isn't a "must-have" upgrade.

Sony goes Transmeta
Sony announced this week that it would be releasing a notebook computer later this year that's powered by a Transmeta, rather than Intel, chip. The new VAIO CI series will feature a small form factor, a built-in camera, and, hopefully, some pretty decent battery time. Transmeta's chips can emulate other processors, although currently they seem to be sticking with industry leader Intel. Transmeta has other agreements with IBM and Gateway to produce devices based around its chips.

Adobe sues Macromedia over Flash user interface
Adobe is suing Macromedia over the look and feel of its new products, including Flash, which bear a suspicious resemblance to Adobe's PhotoShop. In fact, the products are so similar that they're almost identical. While we can argue the legality of look and feel lawsuits all day, it's pretty obvious that Macromedia is completely ripping of Adobe here. For more information, please visit the Adobe Web site.

Sun, IBM, HP to back GNOME desktop
This week's LinuxWorld conference unleashed a slew of new Linux announcements, pronouncements, and promises of world domination. But the one thing of interest that came out of the show is a sudden agreement by many companies to rally around the GNOME desktop environment. Sun and Hewlett Packard are even announcing support for GNOME and Sun will make GNOME 2.0 the default user interface for its Solaris product sometime next year. The KDE gang isn't too excited about this of course--they make a rival desktop environment--but Linux is never going to succeed on the desktop until a unified desktop environment is adopted. This might be the first step.

Adaptec/WMP7 problem not isolated to Easy CD Creator 3.5
If you've gotten any version of Adaptec Easy CD Creator to work on Windows 2000 with Windows Media Player 7, consider yourself lucky: I received numerous emails from readers this week stating that the previously reported problems are not isolated to Easy CD Creator 3.5. This isn't to say that you're definitely going to have problems--it's sporadic like the SP1/Maxtor drive issue I also mentioned last week--but many people have reported the same problems with Easy CD 4.02 as well, for example. The key here, apparently, is to install Easy CD Creator after WMP7: So if you've already got it installed and want to use WMP7, uninstall the Adaptec software first, then reinstall after WMP7 is up and running.

Order Windows Me, have it September 14th
Microsoft is now offering Windows Me for pre-order on its Web site, and the company is even guaranteeing delivery on September 14th--the retail release date--so that you can have the product up and running on its first day of availability. Windows Me normally costs $109 for the upgrade version, but as you'll recall, Microsoft is offering a special promotion through the end of the year that will provide the upgrade for only $59. There's a bit of confusion regarding this promotion, however: Is this a "Step-Up" product, similar to the Windows 98 SE Step-Up, that requires Windows 98 to be installed first, or is it the true Upgrade package, simply re-priced? I'll have more information on this as soon as I can figure it out. And speaking of the Windows Me promo...

Windows Me promo: A savings or a rip-off?
I guess it's all in the way you look at it: Microsoft offers Windows Me to upgraders for only $59, which is a savings of $50 (list price) or $30 (street price). So this is a great deal for users, right? Maybe not: As many readers have pointed out, Microsoft offers the Windows 98 SE Step-Up for only $19. So the upgrade to Windows Me is actually $40 more expensive, when you look at it in that light. Is your glass half empty or half full? Either way you see it, $59 is a good price for this upgrade, in my opinion: Windows Me is a much bigger upgrade than Windows 98 or Windows 98 SE.

TweakUI expired? No problem: Grab one that doesn't expire
Arie Slob's Windows-Help.NET has the solution if your copy of TweakUI just expired: The trick to hack away at one of the TweakUI files with a hex editor. But if you're not into that kind of thing (raise your hand if you are ... geek!), then fear not, because Arie has done the dirty work for you. Check it out in his August 12th newsletter and download a version of TweakUI that doesn't expire.

Cowpland bails from sinking ship of Corel
Former Corel CEO and president Michael Cowpland has resigned from the sinking ship that he founded, leaving behind him a company drowning in a sea of misdirection, poor financial health, and failed mergers. Corel, which made all the same mistakes that Novell did in the mid-1990's, decided it could take on Microsoft in the already sewn-up desktop market, so it bought WordPerfect, pumped millions into Linux development, and watched the whole thing fail miserably. I've seen some harsh words for Cowpland in the press--it's easy to be a Monday morning quarterback--but you have to give the guy credit for having a certain flair for the dramatic. I'm sure Corel's shareholders aren't so forgiving, however: Corel's stock is now trading in the $3 range.

Need eBooks? Get 'em free from the University of Virginia
Laptop and PocketPC users that are going ga-ga over the new Microsoft Reader may want to head on over to the University of Virginia Web site, which is offering an extensive collection of free eBooks. The 1200 publicly-available eBooks include classic British and American fiction, major authors, children's literature, American history, African-American documents, and much more. Check it out.

Netscape releases Communicator 4.75
Netscape this week quietly released yet another update to its aging Communicator 4.x Web browser suite, Communicator 4.75. I'm not sure what the changes are--probably some sort of security update--but if you're still keep track of this proud yet ancient beast, head on over to the Netscape FTP site and grab yourself a copy

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