Posts Tagged ‘Microsoft’

Microsoft Buying Yahoo!?

Microsoft has revived talks with Yahoo about a possible acquisition, or a merger, although I would think Microsoft would just buy them, but what do I know.

Microsoft Eyes Search Giant In Proposed Takeover Stung by the loss of Internet advertising firm DoubleClick to Google last month, Microsoft has re-invigorated its pursuit of a deal with Yahoo!, asking the company to re-enter formal negotiations. While Microsoft and Yahoo have held informal deal talks over the years, sources say the latest approach signals an urgency on Microsoft’s part that has up until now been lacking, i.e. desperate to beat Google. Both companies declined comment.

Microsoft, Yahoo Reconsider Merger In what appear to be early-stage discussions, executives at Yahoo and Microsoft are taking a fresh look at a merger of the two giant companies or some kind of match-up that would pair their companies’ respective strengths, say those people who say they are familiar with the situation.

Microsoft pursues Yahoo! takeover The same report values Yahoo at $50 billion; and the world renowned bankers Goldman Sachs are giving Microsoft advice on the deal. If the deal comes through, the takeover would be one of the largest corporate takeovers in American corporate history, and likely the largest ever in the Technology sector. Yahoo’s stock was up almost 18% at the time of this posting.

MASSIVE: Microsoft May Acquire Yahoo for $50 Billion Microsoft has reacted to Google’s purchase of DoubleClick by stepping up it’s talks with Yahoo about a possible acquisition/merger. The estimated price tag for Yahoo? $50 billion. Good fit? Bad fit? Frankly, I think it would be an awesome pairing, and (if executed well), it could/should provide a powerful challenger to Google’s web dominance. Why wouldn?t Microsoft buy Yahoo?

One reason I can think would be the possible exodus of Yahoo employees. And some sites are reporting that the deal is for 50 billion, while the Wall Street Journal estimated the price, it didn’t say they were offered that much.

I think it could be a great deal too, not the money, just the pairing, combining of forces and knowledge, and all of that. It will be interesting if it happens.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - May 4, 2007 at 6:03 pm

Categories: Microsoft News   Tags: , , , ,

Microsoft Silverlight and Google News

Microsoft Silverlight debuts amid praise and scorn, as always, and Google updates their personalized homepages.

Microsoft “rebooted the Web” yesterday Robert Scoble describes Silverlight as slicker, feels better, and has far better video quality than anything Google can throw at Windows users with YouTube/Flash/etc.

Take Time To Understand Silverlight. It’s Important The announcements around Microsoft?s new Silverlight platform yesterday were important to anyone who is thinking about where the web will evolve. For those of us watching the demos at the Mix conference the immediate importance of it was apparent – Silverlight will be the platform of choice for developers who build rich Internet applications. It makes Flash/Flex look like an absolute toy. After the keynote, the main topic of conversation in the hallways centered on just how effectively Microsoft carried out its execution of Adobe.

Ozzie’s quiet revolution at Microsoft Ray Ozzie, Microsoft’s chief software architect, is not one to take extreme views or make outlandish claims. But he is adamantly sure of one thing: a combination of software and online services is the future.

Netflix Demos Silverlight Watch Now From Zatznotfunny.com.

You’ve got gadget mail For a while now, we Googlers have used a bit of shorthand to refer to the Personalized Homepage — a name that connotes interactivity, the Internet, and personalization all at once. Please meet iGoogle, the new name for the Google Personalized Homepage.

Google’s Personalization Push: iGoogle, Localization, Gadget Maker The announcement last night of iGoogle (the new name for Google Personalized Homepage), Gadget Maker and other localization features, shows that Google is ramping up its personalization efforts once again. Google Blogoscoped has excellent coverage from the Google Personalization Workshop, held yesterday at Mountain View for a select group of local bloggers. In this post we analyze these new features and compare them to Google’s competition in both search and personalized homepages.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - May 2, 2007 at 1:59 am

Categories: Google, Microsoft News   Tags: , , , , ,

Todays Tech

Some more of the notable, and not so notable, news running about today.

Hack Attack: Control multiple computers with a single keyboard and mouse This is one great post, and something I will definitely be trying out at work and at home.

Cracking open the Microsoft Zune Portable media players are all the rage. View this gallery for an inside look at Microsoft’s new Zune. From the device’s packaging to its software and the device itself, here’s what you get (and how it works) when you buy a Zune.

Cracking open the Linksys WRT54G wireless router The Linksys WRT54G Wireless Router is one of the most common 802.11g devices deployed, a favorite of everyone from Linux fans to Windows users. Take a look inside what powers this ubiquitous device.

Wi-fi? Why worry? While the heating effects of high exposures to electromagnetic radiation can be damaging, the power levels of wireless connections are much lower than the microwave ovens and mobile phones which share the frequency range, and treating them in the same way is the worst sort of scaremongering.

An Open Letter to Apple from a Lifelong Gamer Mac convert asks Apple to make some good games.

Microsoft, Trying to Avoid a European Fine, Defends Demand for Royalties Microsoft, seeking to avoid another multimillion-dollar fine in its antitrust battle with the European Commission, filed documents with competition officials yesterday defending its demand to be paid royalties for releasing some software code to competitors.

9 ways ColdFusion 8 will rule web development Ben Forta and Adobe are getting into full swing with ColdFusion 8 Scorpio Pre-Release tour. Last night Ben gave us in Seattle a taste of things to come. Here is why it will kick the tar balls out of everything else on the market.

Intel cuts server and desktop CPU prices Intel has published price cuts of up to 40% for is 3000-sequence uni-processor server CPUs and updated its desktop CPU lineup with lower prices and new products.

WIRED journo won’t do email interviews–ironic A WIRED journalist pinged me for some comments on Michael Arrington and his A-list blogger status. I told the journalist to send me the questions by email and he refused. He said Dave Winer did the same thing.

Calacanis Won’t Do Phone Interview Jason McCabe Calacanis is complaining about a Wired reporter who wants to do an interview with him, but refuses to do it via email. He says it’s “ironic” that a magazine covering the digital age refuses to use email for its interviews.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - April 24, 2007 at 6:16 pm

Categories: Tech News   Tags: , , , , , , ,

Tech, Google, XP, and Microsoft in China

Here are a bunch of tech stories for today.

Dell brings back XP on home systems Amid significant customer demand, the computer maker said on Thursday that it has returned to offering the older Windows version as an option on some of its consumer PCs.

How Security Companies Sucker Us With Lemons More than a year ago, I wrote about the increasing risks of data loss because more and more data fits in smaller and smaller packages. Today I use a 4-GB USB memory stick for backup while I am traveling. I like the convenience, but if I lose the tiny thing I risk all my data.

Vista, IE7 help Microsoft boost search market share In a rare bit of good news for Microsoft on the search front, web metrics firm comScore reported that for the month of March, Microsoft’s search engines saw their first market share increase in nearly a year. Microsoft’s search market share jumped 0.4 percentage points from February to March, giving it 10.9 percent of the total market.

April ’07 Back Compat Update April showers have yielded us a Back Compat update The latest backwards compatibility update is now available over Xbox Live (or will be very soon.) This free update brings the complete list of original Xbox games that you can play on your Xbox 360 to over 300.

Back to basics So we’re renaming Froogle as Google Product Search. We’re taking the opportunity to refocus the user experience on providing the most comprehensive, relevant results in a clean, simple, easy-to-use UI. Who cares.

Ubuntu 7.04 (Feisty Fawn) Latest Ubuntu released, I may as well download this one and try it.

Google Video powering some pirate sites Google, already being sued for copyright infringement on its YouTube service, may have another copyright tempest brewing on its older Google Video site. The site hosts numerous full-length movies which are now being exploited by “guerilla” video sites; in essence, Google is one part of the engine that powers video piracy.

MySpace News Launches Thursday On Thursday morning MySpace will launch its much rumored news property at news.myspace.com. Expect the site to go live and a press release to be issued around 7 am EST.

Microsoft aims to reach next billion PC users Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates is using a speech in Beijing to unveil a new low-cost bundle of Office and Windows, one of several new initiatives aimed at getting PCs into the hands of more people in emerging markets. Especially considering they have only sold 244 copies of Vista in China.

Widgetsphere: New Playground For Marketers If you’re in the online marketing game and are not yet hip to widgets, listen up. Two emerging Web 2.0 technology firms focused in this space have a message for you. Those companies are Widgetbox and ClearSpring, both of which presented in a session on Tuesday afternoon at Web 2.0 Expo that was billed as “Using Widget Syndication for Online Marketing and Measurement”.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - April 19, 2007 at 6:22 pm

Categories: Google, Microsoft News, Windows Vista, Windows XP   Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Todays Tech

More of the daily tech text links.

Microsoft confirms Vista OEM hack More on the hacks that allow users to bypass the product activation in Windows Vista.

Viridian and Virtual Server Timing Updates Windows Server virtualization will ship in the second half of 2007 not in the first half, like originally announced.

Three Of Four Say They Will Stop Shopping At Stores That Suffer Data Breaches Could be the beginning of user revolts against stuff, hopefully, it will transfer over to merchants who advertise in spyware.

Collections Redux for Scoble A PM for Live Maps responds to Scoble’s post from yesterday about how he liked Google Maps better than Live Maps.

Massive spam shot of ‘Storm Trojan’ reaches record proportions They are calling it the biggest spam blast of the year. “We’re seeing 50 to 60 times the normal volume of spam.”

Top 10 Free Computer System Recovery Tools A look at some of the free tools that can help you recover your systems from failure. I’m downloading most of these right now. Many will be used as part of our computer forensics toolset.

The Zune Review, Part 1: The Out of Box Experience A thorough review of the unboxing of his Zune, the hands on review is to come.

101 Hidden Tips & Secrets For Photoshop Just what it says.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - April 13, 2007 at 5:56 pm

Categories: Security, Windows Vista   Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Windows Vista Shadow Copy Disabled in Home Versions

Windows Volume Shadow Copy Screen shot
If you purchased a system with Windows Vista Home Basic or Premium installed, you may be surprised if you try to restore a file using the Previous Versions feature. Apparently, you will need to upgrade to Vista Business, Enterprise, or Ultimate before you will be able to use the Shadow Copies that are created by the Previous Versions feature. Isn’t that lovely.

The answer is Yes, No, and Maybe. All versions of Vista (Home, Home Premium, Business, Enterprise, and Ultimate) have a new feature called Volume Shadow Copy. Now instead of tracking changes to your system files, Vista is now tracking EVERY change to every file. Big and small, important and irrelevant, every bit and byte is now being tracked by Vista. This is starting to feel more like Big Brother than David Copperfield. The primary reason given by Microsoft is that it enables us to look at previous versions of our files. If I had an Excel spreadsheet that I had made modified to the point that it was unintelligible, sometimes it is best to start over. Previous Versions make this possible. (Dave has some more thoughts on the implications of Vista’s Previous Versions.) Source: The Illusions of Vista

Now, I know everyone is thinking, if Vista keeps a backup copy of my files, what happens when I have to delete a file I need to get rid of? Well, looks like you might be stuck, as Vista will keep the hidden copies of your files, unless you disable Volume Shadow Copy, and that will, in turn, disable your ability to use the system restore feature! But, in doing so, you will actually be able to delete the hidden copies of your files now. So, turn off system restore, delete the file, empty the recycle bin, do a little disk cleanup and turn system restore back on. The main disadvantage to this is the fact the Windows will delete all of your old system restore files, so, you will only be able to restore files going forward from when you turned it back on. They also note that the system restore files are huge compared to Windows XP, with some being 400 times bigger, and one they had on their system was 8 gigs! That will eat up hard drive space pretty quickly, hopefully Microsoft will set the default space setting for system restore pretty low. On their system, it ate up about 15% of the drive.

This could be a good feature for some people who do computer forensics, if people don’t realize that Windows Vista is keeping the copies, then there may be some pedophiles who get caught because they were “using” this feature. I like that. I probably won’t buy a Home version of Vista anyway, but there are lots of people who will because they can get it cheaper. This makes two bad stories for Vista and Microsoft today, wonder what is coming next?

In another post on the PC Pitstop site, they end with a nice little paragraph about a new version of Vista Microsoft should be selling.

There is perhaps one other option, suggested by my business partner Charlie “Knuckles” McGee: Windows Vista Document Ransom Edition. That would add just the Previous Versions feature, for a “minimal” fee. After all, you have such nice-looking documents…it would be a shame for anything to happen to them. Source: The Vista Backups That You Can’t Have

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - April 12, 2007 at 6:30 pm

Categories: Backup, Windows Vista   Tags: , , ,

Instant Messaging Comes to the Xbox

Microsoft is adding Instant Messaging to the Xbox platform on Live, allowing the 6 million Xbox Live users to instant message the 260 million users on the Live Messenger service. You will be able to chat with up to six users and you will be able to plug in a USB keyboard to use.

Microsoft announced this evening that they will be integrating Live Messenger into the Xbox platform on May 7, linking 260 million Live Messenger users with 6 million Xbox Live users. Xbox Live users will be able to chat with up to six contacts simultaneously by plugging a USB keyboard into the Xbox. Gamers will love this. The video below shows some of the new features (taken from Kotaku). Source: Microsoft Adds Instant Messaging To Xbox

From the press release from Microsoft,

?Bringing the largest IM community in the world, Windows Live Messenger, to Xbox 360 makes sense, as Xbox LIVE has really become the largest social network on television,? said Jerry Johnson, product unit manager of Xbox LIVE at Microsoft. ?For our growing community of 6 million on Xbox LIVE, using Xbox 360 is a very social, connected experience. They are using Xbox 360 to play games, music and movies while simultaneously communicating with one another through video, voice and text chat. With this announcement we are simultaneously expanding the access of Xbox LIVE users to existing friends and family while introducing Windows Live Messenger users to the benefits of Xbox 360.? Source: Instant Messaging Comes to Xbox 360, Expanding the Largest Social Network on Television

Other features that will be added include:
A richer Achievement notification pop-up will showcase the name of the unlocked Achievement and the gamerscore value without needing to leave the game to check the Achievements list.

Enhanced family settings features for Xbox LIVE communications enable different defaults for video chat and voice chat.

A new Xbox LIVE Marketplace blade lets Xbox LIVE members access the content they seek ? whether it is game content or TV shows and movies (available in the United States) ? from one place on Xbox LIVE.

Updates to Xbox LIVE Arcade allow owners to quickly see which Xbox LIVE Arcade games their friends are playing and join in the fun. Xbox LIVE members can also compare progress of leaderboard scores and Achievements directly with all friends on their friends list. Expanded Tell a Friend capabilities make it easier than ever to boast about Achievements and high scores.

A new option in Auto Downloads provides faster access to the entire collection of free, trial-version Xbox LIVE Arcade games.

New progressive download controls provide easy access to optimal viewing options by letting people fast-forward, rewind, pause and resume as their video is downloaded from Xbox LIVE Marketplace.

Extension of the background download functionality will allow owners to set their Xbox 360 console to turn off automatically after downloads are complete.

Here is a demo video that Techcruch linked to.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - April 9, 2007 at 4:12 pm

Categories: Xbox   Tags: , , , , , ,

Microsoft Updates Live Maps Adds GeoRSS Support

Microsoft has released a new version of their Live Maps program, with this being the sixth different update since it was first released in July 7, 2005. Listed among the updates are bug fixes, performance improvements, enhancements, GeoRSS publishing of Collections, which would allow you to include a special markup to encode the geographic information of every item in the collection, area calculations and more. GeoRSS was just released in the Google Earth program as well, so we should see some great collections, google earth layers and all kinds of great add-ons.

You can now read reviews of businesses entered by other users, as well as adding your own ratings and reviews for any business in Live Maps. To get started do a search for businesses in the Yellow Pages like this search for Book stores, restaurants and Supermarkets. Click on one of the listings to bring up its details page, like the one shown below for Bailey-Coy Books. There you can see the average user rating for the business and page through reviews previously entered by others. We’ve partnered with sites like Judy’s Book to feed thousands of quality reviews into the system already. Of course you can contribute your own Rating and Review right there on the details page with the ‘Write Review’ button. Had a good experience with a physical therapist? Tell your neighbors about it. Tired of the over hyped bar in Belltown that’s too crowded, serves watered down drinks and takes a 10 dollar cover weeknights even though every other place on the block is free? Call em out on it..

RSS is a family of standard formats used to publish frequently updated content, such as blogs or news feeds. You can now subscribe to an RSS feed for a Collection so that you can be kept up to date as the author of the Collection adds new items. When you subscribe to a Collection?s feed, your RSS reader automatically receives updates as the author makes changes. Source: New Version of Live Maps Launches!

I can see this becoming a great feature on Live Maps and Google Earth, but I have no way to monetize Live Maps, yet, so I will probably work on Google Earth instead.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - April 4, 2007 at 5:13 am

Categories: Live, Ramblings   Tags: , , ,

Microsoft Security Roundup

Major Nelson says we weren’t hacked, in reference to accusations that some accounts were hacked into and taken by other users, and says there is no evidence that there was any compromise at all of their security on Xbox Live.

Despite some recent reports and speculation, I want to reassure all of our 6 million Xbox Live members that we have looked into the situation and found no evidence of any compromise of the security of the Xbox Live Network or Bungie.net. There have been a few isolated incidents where malicious users have been attempting to draw personal information from unsuspecting users and use it to gain access to their LIVE account. This is a good time to remind our members that they should never give out any of their personal information. Additionally it may be a good idea to download this free PDF file from Microsoft.com ‘ Help Protect Yourself Against Identity Theft? that gives you some excellent information and tips on how to protect yourself. Source: Xbox Live Security

But this website, Security Focus, lists how you do it, and it is a simple social engineering technique, you call them up and say hey, my Xbox crashed or my friend changed my password, of course, they won’t do it for you right off the bat, you need to keep calling and picking out bits and pieces of the info that you need.

“We here at Infamous steal at least 10 accounts a day depending on there (sic) levels,” claimed a site belonging to Clan Infamous, which bills itself as “the best account stealing + boosting clan” in Halo 2. “If you talk s**t we will mod on your account until it is banned. If the levels on it are good, we will use the Credit Card on your account to then change the gamer tag.”

The clan’s Web site, however, does detail the method its members use to steal accounts. Rather than hacking computer servers, the clan’s account stealers claim to rely on social engineering to convince support personnel at Microsoft—and its subsidiary Bungie Studios, the creator of the Halo game series–to help the attackers take control of the accounts. To do so, the players spin a story about something going wrong with their account–from a crashed box to a sibling changing the password–and ask for help “recovering” the data.

“You call 1-800-4my-xbox, pretend to be that person, make up a story about how your little brother put in the information on the account and it was all fake,” stated the Clan Infamous Web site. “You might get one little piece of information per call, but then you keep calling and keep calling, every time getting a little bit more information … once you have enough information you can get the password (and) the Windows Live ID reset.” Source: Account pretexters plague Xbox Live

So, no, they weren’t hacked, technically, but they are being socially engineered out of the info and helping them take the accounts. One would think that Microsoft would keep record of the calls made about each account, then it would be easy to tell if this is really happening.

And other news I’m sure Microsoft is just loving, they were declared Most Secure OS by Symantec, a company who isn’t to happy with Microsoft right now because of the Patch Guard stuff. The report is Internet Security Threat Report, and it is summed up nicely on the Internet News site.

The report found that Microsoft (Quote) Windows had the fewest number of patches and the shortest average patch development time of the five operating systems it monitored in the last six months of 2006.

During this period, 39 vulnerabilities, 12 of which were ranked high priority or severe, were found in Microsoft Windows and the company took an average of 21 days to fix them. It’s an increase of the 22 vulnerabilities and 13-day turnaround time for the first half of 2006 but still bested the competition handily.

Red Hat was next requiring an average of 58 days to address a total of 208 vulnerabilities, Mac OS X had 43 vulnerabilities in Mac OS X and a 66 day turnaround on fixes and HP-UX from Hewlett Packard and Solaris from Sun, HP-UX had 98 vulnerabilities in the second half of 06 and took 101 days to fix them, while Sun took on average 122 days to fix 63 vulnerabilities. Sun said they don’t know where Symantec got their numbers because they were way off.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - March 22, 2007 at 8:31 pm

Categories: Microsoft News, Security   Tags: , , , ,

And Now the Zune Phone?

Microsoft FTC filing
There has been some speculation that Microsoft was going to release a Zune Phone ever since Apple announced their new iPhone. Two articles today talked about Microsoft filing with the Federal Communications Commission, and that filing suggests the technology giant will likely add phone service to its line of hand-held media players, known as the Zune. The article on Marketwatch said it would be a wireless advice using OFDM.

In the filing, Microsoft describes a wireless device that utilizes OFDM, a technology that can be used to route digital TV and voice calls among devices. Versions of OFDM have been tested and deployed for mobile phone use by carriers including Sprint Nextel Corp. and closely-held Clearwire Corp.

Microsoft is part of a broad coalition of tech companies that has lobbied regulators for expanded wireless access to the Internet. Others in the coalition, which are mentioned in the filing as taking part in submitting the device for testing, include Google Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co. and Intel Corp.

The coalition has focused on encouraging the FCC to make unused wireless spectrum — originally allotted for things like digital TV — available for Internet communication. Source: Microsoft to submit wireless device for FCC testing

Talk has been it will be a VOIP, voice over IP, mobile phone, while the iPhone is a cell phone, or a smart phone. Microsoft has stated that it will be used for consumer broadband access and networking. There is some big speculation going on at Crunchgear, saying it will be using WiMax and taking the social nationwide.

The Zune Phone remedies this by allowing you to share music not via WiFi, but via WiMax, so that anyone on your friends list who is online can sample your music, and vice versa. By using the mobile WiMax network, you can be in New York and your friend can be in San Jose and you can send him that Shins song you like.

By taking the proximity limitations from an otherwise sound idea and reversing them macro-syle, Microsoft opens up the Zune experience to everyone, making the ecosystem reach from coast-to-coast. The Social, as they say, goes national. We love the idea, as it really frames the concept of portable social networking in a wide, wide light. Source: Zune Phone Confirmed! Launch Scenario! 4G WiMax Action! Rumors Off the WTF-o-Meter

Lots and lots of speculation. Bill was asked recently about a Zune phone and he said no, but they have submitted this to the FTC, and they have said it will offer broadband access and networking. Their source did say that this has been in development for awhile, but is just now being rolled into the Zune. Time will tell.

Added: Engadget has dug some more into the FTC filing and says this probably doesn’t have anything to do with the Zune Phone, though they say they know one is coming.

…but what passed through the FCC was a pre-approval application document that ran down a list of questions the FCC had for a CE “coalition” consisting of Microsoft, Dell, Google, HP, Intel, Philips, who are apparently in on some device together. (Strike one. You really think Microsoft’s gonna collaborate on the Zune phone? And with that many non-cell phone carrier companies?) From what we can tell, it’ll be wireless (duh) with DTV signal detection and transmission (i.e. cognitive radio), and BPSK, WPSK (and likely QAM) modulation and OFDM. Doesn’t mean a lot to most people, we know, but the FCC plainly asked the consortium to describe the product’s purpose… Source: Debunk: Microsoft files for Zune phone with FCC — probably not

But, they do say, they will know for sure when the filing actually hits the FTC in the near future.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - February 10, 2007 at 7:21 am

Categories: Gadgets   Tags: , , , , , ,

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