WinInfo Short Takes: Week of October 13, 2008

An often irreverent look at some of the week's other news, including a Windows Vista Secrets SP1 Edition give-away, Yahoo! and wishful thinking, the Apple-addicted press, security fix silliness across the aisle, AMD's looming irrelevance, and so much more...

WinInfo Blog
Last week, I announced the arrival of my new book, Windows Vista Secrets SP1 Edition. Now, I'd like to start giving it away to readers of this newsletter, my sites, and listeners of the podcast. I'll be doing this in stages, but starting mid-week next week I'll be giving away copies of the book via my SuperSite for Windows Web site ( In the meantime, you can still order the book from Amazon at a hefty 37 percent discount.

Leo and I recorded a new episode of the Windows Weekly podcast this week on Thursday as usual, so it should be online sometime this weekend.

But wait, there's more. Don't forget to follow me on Twitter (, Friendfeed ( and the SuperSite Blog (
Short Takes

An often irreverent look at some of the week's other news, including a Windows Vista Secrets SP1 Edition give-away, Yahoo! and wishful thinking, the Apple-addicted press, security fix silliness across the aisle, AMD's looming irrelevance, and so much more...

Yahoo! Investor Still Wishes for Microsoft Takeover
Mithras Capital, a private equity fund that owns 1.9 million shares (0.14 percent) of Yahoo! would like to see the slumping Internet giant renew talks with Microsoft and sell itself to the software giant for $22 a share. But get this: That price represents a 74 percent premium over Yahoo!'s current stock price, a higher premium than what Microsoft originally offered for the company back in July. So sit back and enjoy the peals of laughter coming from the Thurrott household this morning because that is the single stupidest thing I've read all week. All week. I've said it before, and I've said it again: Yahoo! is doomed and any company purchasing that train wreck will simply be screwing themselves for years going forward. Don't give in, Microsoft. You may think things are bad now, but they'd be much worse with the weight of Yahoo! hanging over you.

New Laptops Coming from Apple Next Week
And let's be honest here. So freaking what? When was the last time you saw the New York Times or Wall Street Journal write articles about Dell or HP planning to announce laptops sometime in the future? Never, right? But for some reason, when Apple reveals that such an announcement is coming, it warrants a story. So I'm calling BS on this one. Many companies, including Dell and HP, continue to sell far more innovative laptops than does Apple. And many companies--Lenovo anyone?--also make dramatically superior products across the board. So let's stop giving Apple all the free publicity, shall we? Seriously. Give me a break.

Security Fix O' the Week
Next Tuesday, as part of its planned monthly security fix update, Microsoft will ship 11 fixes, four of them that are rated critical. But if that sounds bad, thank the heavens you're not using a Mac. This week, as part of its unannounced, much more frequent, and much more sporadic OS X security fix release non-schedule, Apple fixed a whopping 40 security flaws. And this mega-patch, which weighs in at as much as 200MB, depending on your OS X version, is just one of many such patches the Cupertino company shipped this year alone. Man, it must be awful having to install all those security updates so frequently. Someone should make a commercial about *that*.

AMD's Split Is the Beginning of the End
Looking at the bizarre AMD news of this past week, in which the company split off its chip fabrication and manufacturing capabilities to a sketchy-sounding consortium of Middle Eastern financial backers, I'm reminded of two things: First, the plot from a James Bond movie. Second, Atari: Back in the 1980s the Trammiel family somehow managed to get a hold of Atari from Warner Bros. in the wake of the '83 video game bust and then proceeded to run the thing like it was a high tech flea market. After a half-hearted attempt to kill Commodore's Amiga with the woeful ST, the Trammiels refused to put any money into Atari, choosing instead to simply suck the life out of whatever decrepit products were already in the works. The result was a decade-long descent into irrelevancy. And that, I fear, is what awaits AMD. Irrelevancy.

Microsoft, Sony Expect Big Season for Video Games
This one is kind of interesting: With the planet sliding ever further into a worldwide financial crisis, you might think that video game makers such as Microsoft and Sony would be concerned about the future. And let's face it, given their sales compared to the Nintendo Wii, both companies could use a convenient excuse. Curiously, they're not taking it. Instead, both companies feel that the upcoming holiday season will be a financial bonanza. The reason? With fewer consumers able to afford high-priced vacations and other expensive forms of entertainment, maybe they'll choose to stay home and do something less costly, like play video games. I guess there's a certain sense to that, but I wouldn't call the Xbox 360 ($200 and up) or the PlayStation 3 ($400 and up), or their games ($60 each) particularly inexpensive.

Mozilla Finalizes Firefox 3.1 Feature List
Mozilla delayed the release of its Firefox 3.1 browser release by several weeks recently (note to self: Has Mozilla ever shipped anything on schedule?) to add a private browsing mode to the product and help it better compete with Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) 8 and Google Chrome. But that's not the only functional change coming in Firefox 3.1: The browser will also improve JavaScript performance, make changes to the Address Bar and tabs features, and add support for video HTML coding. The company says it will ship Firefox 3.1 Beta 1 next week, Beta 2 in November, and the final version in December or January. Anyone care to bet whether that will really happen?

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