December 11, 2006
Topic Summary: Windows Vista
Over the past few months, the public's knowledge of Microsoft's latest operating system, Windows Vista, has grown exponentially. Some expect it to be a masterpiece that will drastically change the way we use or computers every day. Others think it will be a flop and people will stick with Windows XP, or move to other operating systems such as OSX and Linux. While the ultimate fate of Windows Vista won't actaully begin to play out until its release in early 2007, we certainly have a much better idea of what is in store for us than we did 4 months ago.
At the beginning of the semester, almost nobody outside of Microsoft had seen anything even closely resembling the final product of Vista. All that anyone really knew about it was the broad general details that Microsoft provided. Most expectations were based solely on rumors spread around the web.
Then, Microsoft released a beta version of the operating system, giving users around the world a hands-on chance to play with Vista. While a beta release is similar to a rough draft of a report, people were able to check out some of the new features Vista offers. Reviews have largely been mixed; some love it, others hate it. Those who love it say it streamlines their computing experience, making almost everything easier and more convenient. Those who hate it tend to focus on its vulnerability to viruses and malware, saying it has all the same problems that XP does.
Just last week, the corporate version of Vista was released. There has been much speculation over how many companies will bother upgrading from XP to Vista, especially at a time when many firms are cutting back on their IT spending. It is still too soon to make an definitive claims about the value of Vista. Whether or not it will have a notable impact on the business world remains to be seen.
For the rest of us, we will have to wait until early 2007 to get our hands on a final copy of Vista. From the video clips and screen shots out there, it looks great, but the final verdict will definitely depend on its actually functionality.
December 10, 2006
Highlight of My Delicious Account (Peter Brock)
Early in the semester, I posted a lot of articles regarding Windows Vista, Nintendo Wii, and the PS3. Since these are/were the most highly anticipated tech releases of the season, there was a large number of articles on them. Particularly interesting was the opposing views people have of Windows Vista. Some expect it to revolutionize computer usage, while others think it will be a huge letdown.
The majority of my posts were found either on business-related websites, such as BusinessWeek and the New York Times, or through searching for specific terms on Google. The business related ones inherently cover a wider variety of topics, but generally in less depth. They allowed me to get a brief overview on topics. Conversely, the Google-searched topics were few, but provided a deeper level of content. I believe it was a good blend for learning a good deal about current technology overall.
Highlight of my Delicious Account
My delicious account consists of mostly websites about the latest news in technology. I mainly use Google to search the websites and then add those that interest me to my delicious account. Before the announcement of the topic for the term project, I tag random websites. A large number of them are mainly on Apple news. This is because I was also undertaking a Marketing Project about Apple. The knowledge that I gain about Apple as I did my marketing project increases my interests in Apple and I can have a better comprehension of Apple-related websites.
After the topic was decided, which is on Windows Vista, I started to tag websites that are related to Windows Vista only. The websites which I tag is also based on the latest news about Windows Vista. THe tagging process also helps me understand the development of the Windows Vista as it nears its official launching date in January 2007.
Summary of my Del.icio.us tagging (Greg Turner)
The majority of my tagging in del.icio.us has concerned the pending release of the new Microsoft Vista Operating System. The other prevalent themes that seemed to be in my tagging concerned the rapidly-developing technology in the business world. Specifically, I seemed to tag a lot of sites that were related to Google, wireless technology and new technology that will increase the efficiency of processors. Also, since my Marketing project concerned the Nike+ Apple Sport Kit, I tended to tag a lot of sites that were related to this to allow for easy reference and because they were relevant to the course; killing two birds with one stone is always a good thing.
Admittedly, I did not see the purpose of the whole del.icio.us thing at first, but then it seemed that I became really knowledgeable on the topics that I repeatedly tagged. Also when I learned some if the intricacies of delicious I was able to find other sites and information that I would have never found otherwise. Hopefully, I can use this later on in my career; realistically, my delicious account will be deactivated in 3 months (or whenever delicious kicks you off after a long period of inactivity)
December 07, 2006
1,000,000 Zunes by the month of June?... Right
Microsoft announced today that they expect to sell 1,000,000 Zune MP3 players by the end of June, 2007. While Microsoft claims this is a reasonable goal, others people aren’t so sure.
The article, which can be found at http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2003465392_zune07.html states that in it’s debut weeks, the Zune claimed a market share of over 9%, which is really good considering Apple’s Ipod has dominated that market with a market share of around 80% for the past few years. However, the Zune Market share slid to around 2% after their competitors dropped prices to attract holiday shoppers. Microsoft has one commodity over Ipod that it hopes to tout in the near future; wireless technology. Zune Users are able to connect to each other and share their media libraries, but at this point the capabilities pretty much limited to this and even this sharing feature has many restrictions.
In my opinion, what will hurt Microsoft’s Zune sales more is the announcement that the Zune my not be compatible with the new Vista operating system that they are releasing very soon. It is estimated that 9/10 computer users will have Vista on their computers in the very near future and since computer integration is vital for the Zune, this may put a lot of people off. You would logically expect Microsoft to produce items that are compatible with each other (especially when they are competing with Apple). Hopefully for Microsoft, this won’t prevent them from reaching their lofty goal.
December 05, 2006
Del.icio.us is a social bookmarking website. A user can bookmark sites and post them under his or her favorites on del.icio.us for future reference. These tagged sites are then also made publicly available to other users on del.icio.us so that others can add anyone's tagged sites to his or her own list of favorite. This enables information sharing between anyone who uses del.icio.us and hence increases the availability of information.
There are several search features on del.icio.us. There first two are the most obvious whenever your favorites page uploads. These are located on the upper right hand corner with the link names "popular" and "recent". Clicking on the "popular" link will lead you to a list of bookmarked sites that are, needless to say, popular among del.icio.us users based on the number of users who saved the site. The "recent" link will on the other hand direct us to a list of bookmarked sites which are recently added to del.icio.us. As you click on the link, the upper left-hand column will display the user's current location. For example, if I initially click on the "popular" link, I will be directed to the "popular" list while the upper left-hand corner will display "del.icio.us/popular/" followed by a blank space. The latter is meant to narrow down the search by typing in key words.
The next search option is also listed on the upper right hand corner of the del.icio.us page. There is a blank space for users to type in the indentifying phrase and the drop menu besides the blank space will allow users to choose the domain of the search; it can be his or her favorites, del.icio.us or the web.
Another option is by searching under your network's lists of bookmarked sites. This can be done by clicking on the link "your network" on the upper left-hand corner next to the link "your favorites".
Lastly, populated sites can be easily tracked from their tag names. As you save a site, there will be two entries that need to be made. One is for the title of the site and the other is for the relevant tag names that you want to associate with that site for easy access to the site in future.
These search options under del.icio.us will definitely help users spend less time in finding the necessary sites to be added to their list of bookmarks.
December 04, 2006
Vista... last of its kind?
The upcoming release of Vista has been anticipated by computer users for nearly 5 years. It is a new Operating system which supposedly contains all the updates you ever need. However, there is speculation that competition and rapidly-evolving technology will make this release the last of it s kind… ever.
Microsoft has enjoyed what many consider to be the largest monopoly in the world. However, companies such as Google and Linux are contributing to breaking it down. Google has expanded to offer many of the services Microsoft touts on its operating systems for free, with development and release supported by as revenue. Linux has also made some component of their operating system free. This greatly reduces the amount that Microsoft can charge for it new Operating systems. Also, because of the rapid evolution of technology today (much, much quicker that it was in the past), it is very illogical for consumers to wait years to get their software and OS updated. Most people enjoy and would rather have numerous, smaller updates that are available as new technology and improvements and created.
Consider the cost incurred by Microsoft to create the Vista Operating System. Some estimate that 10,000 employees worked specifically on this project for five years at an average salary of 200,000 per year. That gives it a cost of over $10 billion. This compares to the cost of some of the biggest engineering project in history, including the Manhattan Project (which created the Atomic bomb). They also claim, however, that Microsoft with still be able to post an operating profit on the project of about $11.5 billion. This is because Microsoft has such a significant monopoly on the market and there is no parallel competitor for Microsoft to have to worry about. That many not be the case in the near future, however, and it would be prudent for Microsoft to start paying attention to that now.
If Microsoft does in fact decide to go the route of Google and Linux and offer many smaller updates over shorter time intervals, it would be greatly beneficial for both the consumer and the company. Consumers won’t have to wait as long to get updates and their software could reflect the most-current technology and Microsoft won’t fall behind Google and Linux or lose any of its large market share. Also, Microsoft could enjoy a steady stream of revenue; despite the large amount of money invested into Vista, the stock has remained flat over the past 5 years. This would allow Microsoft to continually invest in developing technology and stay at the forefront of the Computer Technology industry.
The information used for this article and be found at teh website
PAPA - Assignment for Dec. 4th
The PAPA framework is particularly relevant to the WSJ.com article on consumer information. The main theme of the article is the way in which online retailers have begun offering different offers and promotions to customers based on information gathered about them, in hopes of more effectively meet the customers' needs. This situation involves all four aspects of PAPA: privacy, accuracy, property, and accessibility.
Of these, the most important issue is privacy. These online retailers are collecting information about their customers without their consent. What if that is information that the customer would prefer stays private? While the retailer is certainly trying to use that information to better suit the consumer's needs, what if the consumer doesn't want them to? In my opinion, the lack of consent makes this a clear violation of privacy. If the consumer wants to be helped, they should have the option to indicate so. Otherwise, they should be exempted from this practice.
Property, accuracy, and accessibility play a role in the debate as well. Who owns this information and who should be allowed to see it? What if one of these retailers decided to sell this information to another company? While using the information internally may not harm the customer, it may be distributed in ways they would not want. On top of this, what guarantee is there that the information being passed on is correct? Passing on incorrect information has a much greater potential to negatively affect the customer. If acquiring the information was a violation of privacy in the first place, passing it along to a third party is even worse.
Delving into a person's personal behavior and choices without consent should not be tolerated. While it seems that the companies mentioned in the article did not have ill intent behind their behavior, the practice is unacceptable in theory. Without safeguards protecting who uses it and in what context, there is too much room for abuse and companies should not be allowed to gather information about customers.
November 27, 2006
Zune incompatible with Windows Vista
Microsoft is trying to release Zune by the holiday season that it has not focused so much on making it compatible with its latest version of operating system, Windows Vista, which will be released early next year. Those who attempt to install Zune will receive an error message in the form of a picture display of three women in distress. Microsoft also confirms the incompatibility issue in its official Zune supporting document, stating that Zune is not supported by Vista for the time being.
Microsoft may be trying to reap the most sales from the holiday season because it is the peak season for technological gadget purchases. However, it should address this matter instead of going ahead with the plan of meeting the holiday dateline to release Zune. This is because the incompatibility issue may adversely affect Microsoft rather than bringing in more revenue to the company. Firstly, sales of Zune will impact the future sales of Windows Vista. People who buy Zune will almost definitely not upgrade their operating system to Windows Vista because the latter does not even support Zune, making the upgrade futile. Secondly, the forced release of Zune may affect its own sales. Many people may choose to wait until the updated version of Zune is released, which will hopefully be compatible with Windows Vista by then, and not buy Zune now during the coming holiday season. Lastly, the inconvenience caused by the incompatibility of Zune may affect Microsoft's brand equity negatively because people will inevitably think that Microsoft is not producing top of the line products anymore.
Posted by myratp at 12:06 PM
November 24, 2006
Microsft Vista in compliance with US antitrust ruling... so far
Microsoft and the SEC announced today that up to this point, the new Microsoft Vista Operating System is in full compliance with a previous US anti-trust settlement concerning Microsoft’s monopoly in the desktop operating system market. The issues surround many of the services Microsoft offers and uses on its operating system, including e-mail, instant messenger programs, and internet browsers. Microsoft was fined over US$600 million in a past ruling in Europe for antitrust violations.
To ensure that they are in full compliance, Microsoft is allowing vendors of the aforementioned services and regulators to test the compatibility of Vista and other, non-Microsoft programs and software. They have also licensed communication protocols to IT vendors who want to create server software that is compatible with Vista. This of course, comes after MacAfee and Symantec have claimed that the anti-virus software Microsoft plans to release and include in the Vista Operating system violates antitrust laws and both companies have threatened legal action. In response, Microsoft released information to them as well to ensure they were not in violation of any laws.
I personally believe all of this is a good thing. Microsoft essentially wants to dominate every aspect of a user’s computing experience. Microsoft has the ability to do this because they are the most-dominant Operating System in the world by far. They can simply cause other programs and software to not be compatible by imbedding codes into the OS. The anti-trust rulings ensure that there will some sense of competition in the market and will hopefully keep prices down somewhat (compared to what they would be under a monopoly). Also this gives the consumer at least some sense of being able to have a choice in the software that they use in their lives. Also, in light of the fact the their Zune© MP3 player will not be compatible with the Vista Operating system, it would seem more logical for Microsoft to make sure their own products work with Vista rather than trying to ensure others don’t.
Information for this blog was used from the article at http://www.computerworld.com.au/index.php/id;1438863355;fp;2;fpid;1
November 13, 2006
Microsoft sends Vista to manufacturersLate last week, Microsoft "released to manufacturing" the Vista Operating System. The software had been created to replace the popular Windows XP and according to Microsoft, Vista is the biggest project ever for Microsoft. They expect Vista to eventually be ran on 9 out of 10 computers.
Microsoft has released numerous updates and versions of the software to help computer manufacturers prepare for the release and to ensure that the software is compatible with the computers. Microsoft is also worried about the marketing blitz they will have to put on and the hope that Vista will be as successful and XP was when it was released five years ago.
The Vista OS still has the anti-virus software that was at the center of much of the debate that was occurring between Microsoft and its rivals Symantec and MacAfee. Those two companies have complained that Microsoft is conducting anti-trust practices by including anti-virus software on Vista
In my opinion, Windows XP is fine and has always worked for me, Vista seems like just another thing introduced by Microsoft that all computer users will eventually have to pay an exorbitant amount of money for to make their computers compatible with the millions of other people who have purchased the OS.
This blog was created using information from and article on the Seattle Times website, it can be found at http://archives.seattletimes.nwsource.com/cgi-bin/texis.cgi/web/vortex/display?slug=vista09&date=20061109&query=Vista
November 08, 2006
Term Project Announcement
Our group (group 96) has decided that the subject of our term project will be on the impending release of the new Microsoft Vista Operating System. We will study the features of the OS, the legal matters concerning the release, and its ongoing battle with McCafee and Symantec over the anti-virus software.
November 02, 2006
Microsoft backtracks on Vista transfer limits
Microsoft, in its attempt to prevent privacy, initially applied the new transfer limits on its new boxed Vista. This means that users under this proposed term can only install the operating system only once. Separate rules will be applied to installed Vista on new PCs. However, many game enthusiasts responded negatively to this change in licensing. These gamers are people who often upgrade parts of their PCs and thus would need to install the operating systems quite a number of times.
Therefore, in response to this outcry, Microsoft is now reversing back to the original licensing agreement. The same terms as they proposed for Windows XP will still apply which means that users can install multiple number of times of Windows Vista. There are, however, some conditions to fulfil before users can perform the multiple installations. The operating system would need to be completely uninstalled first from the old PC and stop using the program.
In my opinion, fighting piracy is definitely a big issue for software companies. People can easily get illegal access to the operating system through pirated copies of the program. And this is certainly not an ethical thing because piracy will eventually hurt the software industry. Microsoft's step in fighting piracy is a smart move actually but unfortunately they do not take into account those users who frequently re-format their PCs.
October 30, 2006
City-Wide Wi-fi Networks
According to an article posted on CNet News http://news.com.com/Taking+Wi-Fi+power+to+the+people/2100-7351_3-6130059.html there has been an increased effort by many cities in the United States to create Wi-Fi networks that span the entire city and would be accessible by anyone with a laptop that is equipped with a wireless adapter. Some estimates say that cities will spend nearly $1 Billion to create the system, thought most cities will spend around $15 million each to build and maintain their networks.
I think this would be great and beneficial for everyone. It would allow people to work and play on their computers anywhere in the city and allow people more flexibility and freedom concerning when and where they work. Of course, there are going to be people who will try to abuse and/or damage the connections or to hack into computers. While it will fact cost money to create and maintain the networks, it will probably be a lot cheaper to maintain that land connections in the long run. Wi-fi is also easily accessible to many more people and is better able to handle high-traffic volumes. Mostly, the network would work by integrating and sharing all of the available Wi-Fi networks available in the city. La Fonera, for example, has about 112,000 different networks connected to its major connection.
Access to the Network, however, would not be free. People who are not subscribed to the networks –which include EarthLink, FON, La Fonera, and Google, typically have to pay $1 to $2 for a 24-hour access period.
In recent years, Google has risen as the most popular search engine on the web. Generally, the results it gives are great for finding information on a broad topic. However, finding more specific information can be a bit tricky.
I find one of the best ways of narrowing down the information is to try searching for various combinations of words related to your topic. I try to use three or four words, in order to keep the search results reasonably focused. However, since Google looks for occurances of the entered words on websites, it may overlook sites that have the information you're looking for but not your specific words. To get around this, searching with Google multiple times, but using synonyms can help find what you're looking for. Also, if you are looking for a specific word pairing, putting those words in quotations will only return sites that have those words in that specific order.
Additionally, Google will often return tens of thousands of sites for a search. However, as you progress down their list, the quality of the sites tends to drop off sharply. Assuming you used a relatively specific set of words for your search, it is likely that only the first dozen or so sites will be relevant to what you're looking for. Sites that show up in the first ten results multiple times when you change the words are very likely to be useful.
Google offers two functions for search results: cached and similar pages. I found similar pages to be less effective than performing multiple searchs using synonyms, since you don't get to control which words in your search are most important. The "cached" function is great if you are looking for a very specific bit of information on huge sites with tons of stuff on them. It will highlight each word you searched for on the website, making finding what you're looking for quick and efficient.
The internet has a ton of information out there and finding exactly what you want can be a bit tricky. Using these tricks will improve both the speed with which you can find information and the quality of that information.
October 25, 2006
MIcrosoft's new Anti-Spyware program
On October 24, Microsoft released its new anti-spyware software, Windows defender. This program is currently compatible with Windows XP and will be compatible with Vista, Windows new Operating system which is expected to be released in the upcoming months. The release of defender, of course, competes directly with McAfee and Symantec security systems. McAfee and Symantec are already feuding with Microsoft over the availability of the technology Microsoft is using for its security software that will be included in the Vista Operating System. Since Microsoft and Windows are run on virtually all PC’s, adding a security component to the OS would eliminate and take away the majority of the market McAfee and Symantec currently enjoys. In my opinion, however, this will be good for consumers. They will not have to pay for the new Vista OS and go out and buy security software. This of course assumes that Microsoft will not gouge customers for charging a lot of extra money for the added security software. Also, since the security software being produced by Microsoft is in its infancy, it could be argued that it is exceptionally vulnerable to attacks by hackers, phishers, and thieves. Also, the prestige of Microsoft could entice more hackers to try to penetrate the system simply for bragging rights.
Microsoft also released a new program that allows businesses to electronically renew the licenses on their computers, which would save some companies a lot of money by simplifying the maintenance of the system while reducing administrative tasks associated with the system and making them easier.
The articles used for this blog can be found at http://news.com.com/Microsofts+free+anti-spyware+hits+market/2100-1029_3-6128978.html?tag=nefd.top and http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/10/19/microsoft_promises_more_info/
October 16, 2006
Microsoft is gearing towards its new operating system called Windows Vista which will be marketed primarily to business enterprises. However, there are currently some disagreements on whether Vista's security enhancement will make it a better operating system or otherwise. (http://www.infoworld.com/article/06/05/15/78189_20NNmsvista_1.html)
Firstly, a more secure system will definitely create a safer computing environment as malicious programs will not easily spread around. Secondly, users will become more security-conscious.
However, the frequent pop-ups may irritate ordinary users and even de-sensitize them from the real threats since they are constantly exposed to warnings every now and then.
Lastly, Vista will enable users to gain full control of their computers through the User Account Control. Users other than the administrator are not allowed to install programs without the latter's privilege.
This, however, in my opinion, may not create a carefree computing experience especially in the business enterprise since many it limits the capability of other users to install local hardwares such as printers, and so on.
Posted by myratp at 11:01 AM
October 08, 2006
Microsoft is preparing to release their new mp3 player, called the "Zune", early in November. Just a quick glance will tell you that this is Microsoft's attempt to take down the iPod. It shares a lot in common with the iPod, such as size, price, and memory. Even the layout of the device itself is quite similar. It seems to me that, functionally, the Zune is more or less equivelent to an iPod. It has very few functional benifits, but the real difference (and what I think is what Microsoft expect to win over users) is the customizability of the Zune. If you do a comparison (http://zuneinfo.com/zune-and-ipod-comparison/), the only real gains in performance are landscape video (which would be pointless on an iPod's more-or-less square screen) and the fm tuner, while you lose a lot of options for file formatting and compatibility with Mac computers. Beyond that, the distinguishing factors are more aimed towards customizing the users experience, such as various colors for the device and customizable background. In my opinion, the Zune lacks enough distinguishing features to steal away notable market share from iPod, especially with the amount of user loyalty that iPod has developed over the years. Microsoft will need to develop some real defining characteristic for their player before it will have a chance to be a real contender.
October 02, 2006
This is the welcome entry for the term project for Group 96 in Section 4. The people in this Group are Gregory Turner, Myra Pranata,
and Peter Brock.
September 07, 2006
This is Just a Test