WinInfo Short Takes: Week of October 1 - 28 Sep 2007

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

WinInfo Blog

I finally started my SuperSite blog last week and will try to be fairly prolific in my posting: There's just so much to discuss in the world that affects Windows users, and while this newsletter and the wider SuperSite provide specific services, I think that blog will complement both nicely. This gives me a chance to comment on things as they happen, but also to bolster reviews and other articles with looks at technology before or even after I write about them more formally. For example, I've been blogging my escapades in Halo 3, but will soon write a longer, more detailed review. And I can follow up previous articles with more information as it comes in. It's also a handy way to interact with people on a broader scale than just one-to-one via email. I'm pretty excited about it, though there are still issues: The performance is lousy, people are still having problems with commenting, and of course, the look and feel isn't up to date with the ever-changing look of the SuperSite. We'll get there. In the meantime, you can check out this work in progress and let me know what you think.

We'll also be getting forums going on the SuperSite soon, but I'd like to get the blog up and running smoothly before I focus too much on that. You can see the beginnings of it from the blog site now, however, if you're curious.

I've been in the Seattle are (well, Redmond) for most of the week. Wednesday, there was a Windows Home Server add-on content, Code2Fame, which I helped judge with Ed Bott, Rob Enderle, and Microsoft's Charlie Kindel and Steve VanRoekel. It was a great time, but more important perhaps, the three entries were all quite solid and hard to choose among. (As it turns out, my final scores for all three were basically identical.) You can find out more on the Windows Home Server blog.

The remainder of the week is dedicated to Microsoft meetings and I'll have a lot to write about soon as a result. I met with groups representing Vista SP1/Windows client, Windows Live, Office Communications Server, and SQL Server yesterday and have another full slate scheduled for today. Stay tuned.

Leo and I are taking this week and next week off from the Windows Weekly podcast because of our busy travel schedules. We'll record the next episode on October 11.

Thanks to everyone that wrote in last week about my Digital Media Core and green computing topics last week. The response was overwhelming and, I have to say, a bit surprising (in a good way): I didn't expect so many to care so much about the green computing topic, specifically. So this is good news, as there's a lot to discuss here. More on this soon.

Short Takes is going to be a bit, um, short this week, sorry. My schedule is so packed here that I just don't have a lot of time before I need to get going. That said, I will try to blog occasionally from the campus, so jump over to the SuperSite blog if you'd like more frequent updates this week...

Short Takes

Microsoft to Keep XP in the Wild an Additional Five Months
Microsoft this week announced that it would allow PC makers to continue selling Windows XP until mid-2008, a five month extension of the previous agreement, which would have seen XP disappear from new PCs starting in January. The company noted that they were, perhaps, "a little ambitious" in their original plan to phase out XP so quickly after Vista's launch this past January. Typically, Microsoft stops shipping older OSes to PC makers four years after they are launched, but because Vista took so long to come to market, they were forced to temporarily extend their limit for XP. I wouldn't look at this as particularly bad news for Vista as some have done: The company is still selling tens of millions of copies of the new OS each month, and my guess is that whatever interest there still is in XP is mostly vestigial. Still, it's a bit funny that Vista's only real competition in the market is its predecessor.

Palm Ships Low-Cost Smart Phone
Palm this week announced an admittedly nice-looking $100 smart phone, the Palm Centro, which will initially be made available to Sprint customers in the US exclusively for 90 days. With the Centro, Palm seeks to undercut the current market for smart phones, where most devices sell in the $200-$300 range before rebates (unless of course we're talking about the iPhone, which sells for more, does not come with any rebates, and is not technically a smart phone). The Centro runs the Palm OS, works with 3G networks, and comes in some bright colors (well, red and black), which should be appealing to customers. Frankly, this is a smart move for a company that hasn't exactly been going gangbusters lately. Yeah, it's based on yet another version of the increasingly old-fashioned Palm OS, but I bet they sell millions of these things once they open them up to other wireless carriers.

Beware: Apple Ships iPhone 1.1.1 Update with Wi-Fi Music Store Support
And speaking of the iPhone, Apple this week finally shipped its long-awaited 1.1.1 update for the iPhone, which brings compatibility with the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store, some other new features, and a slew of bug fixes to the device. Apparently the update also brings another hidden and unwelcome surprise as well: If you previously "hacked" the iPhone to allow it to work with unsanctioned ringtones, the patch renders the iPhone inoperable, in accordance with a threat that Apple lobbed at its users earlier in the week. Come to think of it, I guess I do get why people so eagerly embrace this cute and cuddly company. I'm sorry I ever complained.

Gateways Planning new iMac
Years ago, PC maker Gateway found itself in hot water when it released a PC that looked surprisingly similar to Apple's first generation flat panel iMac. This week, the company proved that it hasn't learned a thing when it released its Gateway One, a surprisingly iMac-like all-on-one PC. Of course, Gateway does do a few things right that Apple botched with the iMac: It's easy to add a second hard drive, it comes with gobs of memory (3GB), and because it's based on Vista, you can record and watch TV via its TV tuner and Media Center. On the other hand, it's slower than the iMac and doesn't feature an integrated Web camera. And the iMac has that cute Apple logo on it. Game over, from what I can see.

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