Archive for July, 2007

Could Windows 7 use touchscreen tech?
July 30, 2007

Microsoft revealed earlier this week that Windows Vista’s successor – codenamed Windows 7 – is scheduled to be released in 2010. But what the company is not making clear is what new features the OS will have, a topic that has become fodder for educated speculation.

Analysts said Microsoft is probably keeping tight-lipped about what Windows 7 will look like because at this point, company engineers and executives don’t even know.

“They don’t want to commit because they don’t have a good idea what’s in it,” said Gartner analyst Michael Silver. “We’re three years out, so you can’t really expect that much detail.”

Michael Cherry, an analyst with Directions on Microsoft, said with so many people still in the midst of upgrading to the latest client OS, Windows Vista, he’s hesitant to speculate on what might be in Windows 7. “We barely know the features of the one we just got,” he said.

Windows Vista includes new features such as desktop search and a new user interface, which also are two areas that leave room for expansion in Windows 7, analysts said.

Microsoft has shown the direction it’s going with the latter with its Surface computer, introduced in late May. That form factor looks like a coffee table with a touchscreen interface that lets users move photos around by hand synchronise devices by placing them on the table.

With products such as the Apple iPhone making the touchscreen popular with consumers, a touchscreen UI in Windows 7 is a possibility, Silver said. “They… Read it all from the source (PC Advisor)

BBC Launches Free Online TV in UK
July 30, 2007

 The BBC launched its online television service on Friday, which is being called the biggest change to the way its viewers watch its programming in four decades.The advent of content on the Internet is as big for the BBC as its first broadcasts in color in the 1960s, according to Director General Mark Thompson.

Altogether, about 400 hours of programming would be available through the service at no cost, which constitutes about two-thirds of the BBC’s television lineup. Similar services are already available from commercial competitors such as Channel 4 and ITV.”This is a significant moment, as it heralds a new era when viewers will have the freedom to watch programs from the BBC’s linear TV channels when they want,” BBC Vision director Jana Bennett said. The application is in beta, and will be launched in the fall of this year.

The service, called iPlayer, does not permit users to permanently save programs. Instead, after viewing or 30 days, whichever comes first, the programs are automatically deleted. The software prevents any kind of copying.

iPlayer is only available to those living in the UK, and running Windows XP. The BBC said it takes about 30 minutes to download an hour-long show. Programs on the service are from the previous week’s programming.

Although not available initially, the network does plan to eventually make available versions compatible with Vista and Macintosh. Other distribution agreements are in the works with MSN, telegraph.co.uk, AOL, Tiscali, Yahoo!, MySpace, Blinkx and Bebo.

It was not immediately clear whether those agreements would also be geographically restricted or open to a worldwide audience.

Written by: By Ed Oswald, BetaNews

Apple Buys Open Source Printing Software
July 14, 2007

In a move that should help the company improve the printing capabilities in Mac OS X Leopard, due this October, Apple has acquired the source code to the UNIX printing software CUPS in addition to hiring the program’s author. CUPS will continue to be available under its existing GPL2/LGPL2 license.

An acronym for Common Unix Printing System, CUPS enables computers to function as print servers by accepting print jobs from networked computers. CUPS has been used in Mac OS X — which is built upon a UNIX core — since 10.2 Jaguar after Apple abandoned plans to build its own printing software.

Written By: BetaNews

Windows Live Mobile Search 2.0 Out
July 14, 2007

Microsoft released the second version of its Windows Live Mobile Search application on Friday, including some new features for both the standalone and Web-based versions of the client.

Versions of the software are available for Windows Mobile, J2ME, and in beta for BlackBerry devices. Unsupported phones will be able to access the new Web-based version. The iPhone can use the Web-based app, but a bug prevents the search button from working properly.

“When you do a search, hit “Go” on the soft-keyboard after entering your search terms as the normal search button is not active,” Microsoft said. “The mobile search team will have a maintenance release shortly to address this issue.”In the Windows Live Search 2.0 desktop version, new features include movie showtimes and the addition of more local data and user reviews. The Virtual Earth maps functionality has been improved and users would have the option of increasing the cache by using a storage card.

The directions functionality has been bolstered as well, with better support for in-phone GPS and improved turn-by-turn navigation. The application would even prompt to reroute if it detects you have veered away from the given directions.

The Web-based version now allows for a single search box that shows results from Instant Answers, Local, Web, Images to News and Spaces. Two of these features are new to the Web platform, including Instant Answers and Image Search. Clicking on the links would show the page formatted specifically for a mobile phone.

Those with compatible devices can download the standalone version of Windows Live Search 2.0 by pointing their mobile browser to wls.live.com. The mobile search page can be accessed from m.live.com.

Written By: Ed Oswald, BetaNews

Apple Files New Wi-Fi iPod Patents
July 14, 2007

 

Apple may be close to developing a Wi-Fi enabled iPod as a new patent application submitted recently by the company indicates it is developing a way for devices to talk to each other through a wireless network.
First reported by Macsimum News on Thursday, the patent sounds quite similar to what Microsoft is already doing with the Zune. There has been much speculation about the release of a Wi-Fi enabled device, however none have surfaced as of yet.

While Apple’s iPhone does include Wi-Fi, it still must connect directly with its host computer to download songs, update data, and so forth.While mobile devices can do this already, “it is advantageous to exchange (send and/or receive) media or other types of data with other electronic devices in a wireless manner,” Apple claims in its application.

It should be mentioned that Apple has already filed for several patents surrounding Wi-Fi technology in iPod-like devices, so this application could be just the latest in a series of them, and not necessarily an indication that such a device is imminent.

However, last year Apple filed for several patents that ultimately pointed to the release of the iPhone.

Written By: Ed Oswald, BetaNews

Wii outsells PS3 ‘six to one’ in Japan
July 9, 2007

Nintendo sold 270,974 Wii consoles last month while Sony sold 41,628 PS3s, according to Enterbrain, a Japanese publisher that tracks console sales.

Nintendo has sold about 2.76m Wii consoles in Japan since the launch last December, while Sony has sold 970,270 PS3s since it debuted last November.

About 17,616 Xbox 360 consoles were sold in June.

Last week, Phil Harrison, PlayStation’s head of worldwide studios, told US Game Informer magazine that pundits should not judge the success of the console based on the launch software line-up.

Struggled

He said: “You only have to go back to the games that launched PlayStation 1 and Playstation 2.

“If you took those few dozen titles and analysed them, you would never have imagined that either of those formats would have on to sell over 100m units each.”

Globally, Sony has struggled so far to replicate the success it had with the first two PlayStation consoles.

The machine has also suffered from a lack of “killer” exclusive titles which showcase the power of the machine.

PlayStation fans are still awaiting some of the biggest franchises on the machine to emerge, such as Metal Gear Solid, Killzone 2 and Gran Turismo.

Written by: BBC News 

FeedBurner premium news feed now free
July 8, 2007

RSS provider FeedBurner is to make its premium news feed management services available to publishers at no extra charge, just one month after being acquired by Google.

FeedBurner’s Stats PRO and MyBrand services were previously available for an additional monthly fee of $5.

Stats PRO includes tools to allow users to more effectively track stats on feeds, such as ad metrics and a list of sites publishing the feed.

MyBrand allows users to attach their own URL to a feed which is being served by FeedBurner. The original charge for the service ranged from $3 to $14, depending on the number of feeds.

The move follows a pattern for Google, which makes the vast majority of its money from advertising sales. The company had previously removed charges for premium services after acquiring such companies as Blogger, Picasa and Urchin.

Like its parent company, FeedBurner will now rely on ad sales for revenue. Increasing ad sales had been a constant theme for both companies when the acquisition was announced.

Susan Wojcicki, vice president of product management at Google, said at the time of the acquisition that the search giant “constantly aims to give AdWords advertisers broader distribution to an even wider audience of users”.

FeedBurner chief executive Dick Costello told users that the acquisition will allow them to make more money from Google’s huge advertising network.

Users will need to manually activate the Stats PRO and MyBrand services in order to take advantage of the premium features.

Written by: Vnunet 

Solaris to Get Linux Features
July 8, 2007

BOSTON (Reuters) – Sun Microsystems Inc. is revamping its Solaris operating system, incorporating key pieces of rival Linux software in a move that could gain better support from developers who have massed behind Linux.

Solaris is one of the main varieties of the Unix family of operating systems, known for their ability to safely and securely handle major computing tasks rather than for ease of use.

Sun itself is known for its business computers that can handle major corporate loads and it long has courted programmers who cooperatively develop Linux and other so-called open-source software, with mixed success.

The revamped Solaris system will have features borrowed from Linux that could make it easier to use, correspondence on Sun’s Web site shows.

“This is a big deal to the extent that it lowers the barrier for adoption of Solaris,” said IDC software analyst Al Gillen.

The new system will keep the Solaris kernel, which is a basic group of code at the heart of the operating system that controls the way other programs interact with each other as well as the computer’s hardware.

“Solaris is hard to set up. It doesn’t have good hardware support,” said Ladislav Bodnar, founder of Distrowatch.com, a Web site that reviews open-source software. “The hope is that things may change.”

Sun executives declined to comment in advance of a formal unveiling next week of the plans, called Project Indiana.

Written by: PC World