Jun 1 2010

Google Tries to Phase out Windows

According to sources within Google, the search giant is currently trying to phase out the Microsoft Windows operating system on company computers in order to reduce security problems. Google and Microsoft have been rivals for some time now and the two companies have become increasingly hostile in recent months.

Google experienced attacks in China that resulted from a flaw in Microsoft’s browser, Internet Explorer. Coupled with the fact that Google has a web browser (Chrome) and is planning an operating system (Chrome OS), the move makes sense. Why should Google give Microsoft, a competitor, any more money by buying a competing operating system?

Some security analysts have said the move is not as logical as it seems. According to them, although Windows is often the target of hackers, because of this it has excellent security features that are allegedly not found in other operating systems, such as Mac OS X. By switching, Google will actually open itself up to more attacks.

I know there are not many attempted attacks on Mac OS X because not nearly as many people use it as Windows and I hope Google’s move does not increase the number of attacks on Mac. Maybe it’s time to start learning Linux…

Via PC World, image via Google.

Apr 26 2010

iPad Users on Windows Targeted with Virus

iPad users on Windows computers are being targeted with malware, according to BitDefender. The users have been receiving emails with the subject line “iPad Software Update” that have a link to a page that looks like a legitimate download page where the user can download what is allegedly an iTunes update. However, the download is actually Backdoor.Bifrose.AADY, which opens a backdoor allowing hackers to take control of a system whenever they want. The malware also tries to read the keys and serial numbers of software installed on the computer and logs passwords to the user’s ICQ, Messenger, and POP3 mail accounts.

There are some things Windows users can do to keep themselves safe: most importantly, they should realize that when Apple releases an update, it always releases a lot of documentation pertaining to the update. Windows users should search the Internet for information about their updates and download them from the Apple website (that is, do not click any links—just go directly to apple.com).

Mac users are not affected by this malware. As an Apple fan, my response will probably be pretty predictable: this is yet another reason to switch to Mac.

Via CNET News, image via BitDefender.

Apr 21 2010

Google Chromium-Based Netbooks Priced at $300-$400

According to Google Chief Eric Schmidt, netbooks running on Google’s new Chromium operating system that are expected to be on sale in retail stores by the end of this year or early next year will be priced in the $300-$400 range. “Those prices are completely determined by the costs of the glass, the costs of the processor and things like that, but in our case Chrome OS and Android are free so there is no software tax associated with all of this,” Schmidt says.

Google introduced the Chrome operating system two months ago and boasted it as a lightweight, browser-based OS that could boot up in seven seconds or less.  The company has not yet revealed who they will be partnering with to manufacture their new netbooks, but Acer has said that it expects to offer about a million of these devices this year.

Google’s trying hard to get into the netbook market and is up for a fight against its competitors, namely Windows-based devices.  Guess we’ll just have to wait to see Google’s latest creation.

Via Wired.

Mar 18 2010

Nail in XP’s Coffin #4: Microsoft Previews Internet Explorer 9

It is every anti-XP’s fan favorite time of the week: when yet another interesting news tidbit marks the end of Windows XP.  This week it is doubled by the fact that this tidbit it is a hope (and fear) of every anti-IE user of the world.

Microsoft released the test platform for Internet Explorer 9 at MIX 10 yesterday.  Normally, the internet just does a big yawn whenever a new IE is released, as it is just a rehashing of the same old flawed and vanilla browser known as Internet Explorer 6.  Microsoft has known for years that, even amongst non-geeks and home users, it was losing a significant market share, and kept mocking our intelligence with the marginally improved releases of IE7 and 8.  However, a new dawn has risen over Redmond, and for once Microsoft seems to care about being relevant in the browser wars.

Internet Explorer 9 plays a major game of catch-up, implementing many overdue features.  The most notable of these of course is HTML 5.  HTML 5, the supposed godsend for the Internet destined to end the tyranny of plug-ins like Flash everywhere, has been sitting on Firefox, Chrome, and Safari for some time now.  Still, it is good to see Microsoft joining the fray, and it is holding back no punches in updating support for the new web under HTML 5.  It has weighed in on the HTML video wars, showing off H.264 support on YouTube.

Furthermore, they are adding CSS3 support and a brand new JavaScript engine. All of this means Internet Explorer finally is getting a somewhat comparable engine to the other browsers.  It managed to score a relatively impressive 55/100 on the ACID3 test, but that’s a far cry from the 100 of the Webkit browsers and the 97 of Firefox.

Still, IE9 has one ace up its sleeve: Direct2D Acceleration.  That’s right, Microsoft has drastically improved the render graphics quality and performance for IE by using hardware acceleration.  The result is much smoother HTML 5 video viewing and and SVG rendering than the norm of HTML 5 browsers.  There is really no comparison between IE9 and the others for rendering.  However, the cost for this is using drivers that only came into play after Windows Vista. You guessed it: there’s no Windows XP support.  XP has no future in Microsoft’s world, and it probably shouldn’t in yours either.

If you want to play around with the IE9 platform, feel free to go on its website. IE9 isn’t even in the alpha stages yet, and the platform just renders webpages so far and not much else. You have a pop-up box to input URLs and no forward and back buttons.  Still, if you are into web development, it might be worth a look.

Via Gizmodo

Mar 10 2010

FileMaker Pro 11 is Released for Windows and Mac

FileMaker Pro 11 left beta testing and was released to the general public last Tuesday. It is the only software of its type that runs on both Windows and Mac. As noted by Ryan Rosenberg, vice president of marketing and services for FileMaker, Inc., FileMaker Pro is number one on Mac and number two on Windows after Microsoft Access.

The software is aimed at workers at mid- to large-sized businesses, though FileMaker, Inc. hopes to expand its consumer base to less advanced database users.

Some key new features in FileMaker 11 include an easier way to make charts and graphs; Quick Find, a search engine for database information; and a Quick Start Screen for making new databases and managing files.

There are actually four versions of FileMaker to choose from: FileMaker Pro, FileMaker Pro Advanced, FileMaker Server, and FileMaker Server Advanced.

Via Betanews, image via FileMaker.

Feb 12 2010

BSOD From Latest Microsoft Security Update

The security update from Microsoft released on Tuesday caused many Windows users to get the blue screen of death on their computers. Many users complained on a Windows 7 forum that they could not even boot up into safe mode without seeing the blue screen, and that the Microsoft help line was basically useless. Some solutions were posted on the forum that required the Windows installation CD, but that was of no help to those who had bought laptops with Windows pre-installed, and netbook owners who do not even have a CD-ROM drive on their devices.

Microsoft’s Jerry Bryant had this to say later on in a blog:

I am writing to let you know that we are aware that after installing the February security updates a limited number of users are experiencing issues restarting their computers. Our initial analysis suggests that the issue occurs after installing MS10-015 (KB977165). However, we have not confirmed that the issue is specific to MS10-015 or if it is an interoperability problem with another component or third-party software. Our teams are working to resolve this as quickly as possible. We also stopped offering this update through Windows Update as soon as we discovered the restart issues. However, those using enterprise deployment systems such as SMS or WSUS will still see and be able to deploy these packages(…)

While we work to address this issue, customers who choose not to install the update can implement the workaround outlined in the bulletin. CVE-2010-0232 was publicly disclosed and we previously issued Security Advisory 979682 in response. Customers can disable the NTVDM subsystem as a workaround and we have provided an automated method of doing that with a Microsoft Fix It that you can find here: //support.microsoft.com/kb/979682.

Customers who are experiencing issues after installing any of our security updates can get help resolving the issues by either going to https://consumersecuritysupport.microsoft.com or by calling 1-866-PCSafety (1-866-727-2338). International customers can find local support contact numbers here: //support.microsoft.com/common/international.aspx.

Users have reported they have been told by Microsoft that it will not release a fix for netbooks.


Dec 19 2009

Why VMware Fusion 3 is a Smart Choice for Mac Users

I’m a Mac user, so I know how we Mac users can be sometimes: we love our Macs, and we go on and on extolling the virtues and amazing features of our Macs, sometimes to a ridiculous extent. But inevitably, there is always some program that’s available for Windows and isn’t available for Mac. That’s where VMware Fusion 3 comes in.

VMware Fusion 3 is a very clever piece of software that allows you to run programs on your Mac that are not yet available for the Mac operating system. It also allows for virtualization: you can run the entire Windows operating system on your Mac, if you want.

To install Windows on your Mac, you can import it across a network, from a Microsoft installation disk, or from Boot Camp. Once this is done, you can run both Mac and Windows simultaneously. This is VMware Fusion’s major advantage over Boot Camp: not having to restart the computer to use the other operating system. Since the Mac OS and Windows OS run simultaneously, you can even drag files between the two systems.

VMware Fusion 3 can also be used to install Linux on a Mac, though the Windows scenario seems more common due to the ubiquitousness of Windows.

VMware Fusion 3 is an excellent choice for Mac users who want to run Windows without the hassle of having a Windows computer.

Via PC Magazine.

Dec 19 2009

Olevia’s Underwhemling P10 Netbook

Olevia has released a new device for its netbook line, the P10. It holds all the specifications that are expected of any netbook, and adds nothing to differentiate itself from the masses. The only expected highlight of Olevia’s P10 netbook will be its slightly lower price range. This will be the netbooks sole advantage that may manage to attract customers to the product.

The netbook offers:

  • 10.1-Inch Display
  • Intel Atom N270 1.6GHz Processor
  • 1GB RAM
  • 160 GB Hard Drive
  • Wi-Fi
  • Linux or Windows Operating System

This isn’t Olevias first go-round in the netbook market, as it released the Yones X11A a few months back.

Image Via UberGizmo

Via UberGizmo

Nov 12 2009

XP Beats Windows 7 In Netbook Battery Life

Microsoft’s Windows 7 may rock a sleeker interface and more features than its predecessors ever did, and it may have been slimmed down since vista in both memory use and install size. However, when it comes to battery life, Windows 7 falls short in netbooks compared to the eight-year-old Windows XP.

Laptop showed Windows 7 to average 47 minutes less battery life than XP, with the deficit running up to an hour in such models as the ASUS Eee PC 1008HA. Other blogs have confirmed the lower runtimes since, much to the dismay of netbook users everywhere.

CNet even found that 64-bit Windows 7 machines lagged behind Macbooks running Apple OS X 10.6 “Snow Leopard” in boot time, shutdown time, multimedia encoding, and multitasking tests.

To be fair, hardly any netbooks could run Windows Vista, while the majority can run Windows 7. But isn’t that giving 7 too much credit for the crappiness of its predecessor? It will be nice to see some improvements in a future Service Pack, but unless the changes are substantial it seems like the new OS has fallen short despite significant efforts at improvement by Microsoft.

Nov 4 2009

Linux Will Have Increased Presence as Netbook OS

ABI Research, whose recent projections for the netbook industry expected 35 million netbook sales for 2009, announced that in 2009 Linux will represent 32% of netbook sales. Microsoft, on the other hand, claims the number is around 7%.

Furthermore, ABI says Linux wil overtake Windows by 2013 due to netbook sales in less-developed countries.

An increasing number of netbooks running on the ARM processor are expected to propel Linux over Windows as the leading processor by 2013. This is expected to be driven by consumers in less-developed countries that buy a Linux netbook as their primary PC.

How will Microsoft react to the increased presence of Linux? Maybe it’ll start discounting the price for Windows Embedded CE or Windows Mobile, versions of the OS that are able to run on ARM processors within netbooks.

Via ComputerWorld.

Oct 22 2009

Ballmer Knocks Netbooks At Windows 7 Launch

At today’s launch of Window’s 7, Steve Ballmer was in a good mood. After all, Microsoft’s new OS is expected be a powerful rival to the Mac OS in not only power but usability.

He revealed a number of new computers from Microsoft partners at the event, all running Windows 7, but somebody failed to make it to the party: the netbook.

Ballmer is a notorious netbook hater. For all I can tell, this has to do with the fact that netbooks killed price margins for Microsoft when users elected for Windows XP over the bloated Windows Vista, which won’t run on most machines. Even Michael Dell has been dropping snide remarks about the machines, and Apple has not even deigned to make one.

While Microsoft is only allowing netbook manufacturers to sell their machines with the crippled Windows 7 Starter, despite the fact that the machines run the full OS without isses. If you want to upgrade to Home Premium, however, you’ll need to drop another $80 bucks.

All in all, netbooks continue to be a lasting thorn in the side of big shots even as they boost PC sales and consumer satisfaction. Ce’est la vie, Ballmer!

Via GapperBlog.

Sep 21 2009

Netbook Version of Windows 7 to Retain Full Features

The rumor that the netbook version of Windows 7 will have limited capabilities has proven to be untrue. According to a TGDaily report, a version of the Windows 7 software will be available for netbooks and it will have most of the “regular” OS’ functions – even though these are still unknown.

The new OS is supposed to be based on the Windows 7 Starter Edition software and Microsoft has recently announced that it will remove its three-app limit for the Starter Edition of the operating system. We’re sure you’re excited to hear more about Windows 7 for netbooks or just Windows 7 in general, so we’ll be sure to keep you posted. Stay tuned.

Via Electronista.

Image via LifeHacker.

Sep 17 2009

Windows 7 Interface Tweaks For Your Netbook

Windows 7

As the Windows 7 release date draws closer, the time has come for us to really answer the question – is it right for netbooks? It may be expensive as hell, but it will come with a few MacOS-esque interface tweaks to improve netbooking (and computing in general) for the better. Take a look:

  • Window shaking. When you have a lot of windows open, grab one on the taskbar that you need to access and shake it from side to side. This will minimize every window but the one you selected, allowing quick access to an instant message or email screen when a lot is going on.
  • Aero peek. When you hover over a taskbar icon, a thumbnail showing the program’s window will appear. This is quite similar to a feature available in Windows Vista as well.
  • Show desktop. Now you don’t have to actually minimize everything to show the desktop. Just hover over a cursor on the right corner of the screen and everything will disappear until you move the cursor away.
  • Screen docking. Just move a window to the right or left side of the screen and it will automatically dock to the screen’s edges, filling up half the space. There are shortcuts to accomplish this as well for maximum ease of use.
  • Window maximize. If you drag a window to the top of the screen it will be maximized.
  • Shrink the taskbar. Right click the taskbar and go to Taskbar Properties and select ‘small icons’ in order to shrink the taskbar down to the size of the icons. This could help maximize screen space.

We’ve seen stuff like this before in OSes like Vista and MacOS, but as Windows 7 draws closer we can at least look forward to seeing it all in a cohesive  package. Stay tuned as more details emerge.

Via JKOnTheRun.
Image via BlogsDNA.

Aug 15 2009

Dell Denies Microsoft’s Linux/Windows Netbook Claims

Myth: Netbooks running on Linux are returned four times as frequently as those running on Windows.

According to Todd Finch, the senior product marketing manager at Dell, this myth seems to have been spread by Microsoft, but does not have a grain of truth to it. In actuality, the rate of return of Linux netbooks is roughly the same as that for Windows netbooks.

Why spread the rumor in the first place then? Well, it could be that netbooks are cutting into Microsoft’s profits, since only the more expensive (and more powerful) netbooks would be able to run on the Windows Vista or Windows 7 operating system. Many netbooks nowadays are still running on either Linux or Windows XP.

Dell has the actual figures of how many netbooks running Linux versus running Windows are returned and denies any rumors that Linux netbooks are indeed returned four times as frequently as Windows netbooks.

Via TheInquirer.

Image via BusinessWeek.

Aug 4 2009

Popularity of Netbooks Prompts Microsoft to Acknowledge Threat of Linux

Up until now, Microsoft has not acknowledged that Linux was much of a threat. Microsoft has recently stated in an SEC filing that Red Hat and Canonical/Ubuntu are no doubt competitors to their business.

Many netbooks operate on a Linux-based OSes, and since there is a growing presence of netbooks, Microsoft is starting to feel somewhat threatened but Linux’s growing ubiquity. Furthermore, because of lower costs, many netbooks are offered with Linux instead of Windows.

Microsoft’s upcoming (and highly anticipated) Windows 7 OS may be a bit pricier than the current Windows XP/Vista solution, so the company is planning on continuing to offer the latter OS in order to keep prices down.

According to Rob Helm, the director of research for Directions on Microsoft (an independent organization devoted to tracking and studying Microsoft), “Netbooks opened Microsoft to the possibility that some other OS could get its grip on the desktop, however briefly. Now it’s alert to that possibility going forward.”

Via TechWhack.

Images via VentureBeat and TopNews.

Jun 15 2009

Windows 7 May Cost $45-55 For Netbook OEMs

Acer Aspire One Netbook via JackBook

While Microsoft may have acquiesced to drop the three-application limit to Windows 7 Starter Edition, the price is still proving to be an issue. As we reported a few days ago, OEMs aren’t likely to be too enthusiastic about making the transition from Windows XP to Windows 7. Digitimes explains why:

The current price of Windows XP OEM version is only around US$25-30, but the latest quotes from Microsoft for the netbook version of Windows 7 is around US$45-55 and therefore first-tier vendors are unable to transfer the cost to the netbooks’ sales price due to the fierce competition. The first-tier notebook vendors are still negotiating with Microsoft hoping to bring the price down.

For the sake of comparison, Windows XP Starter was reportedly between “$15 to $35 for each copy [in May 2005], and in April 2009… under $15 per copy.”

So what’s that going to mean for OEMs? A $50 increase in netbook price. For a notebook, that may not be too big of a deal, but with netbooks that often cost under $300 it makes complete sense that OEMs would want to negotiate with Microsoft. The fallout from these negotiations has already become apparent, and if things keep going the way they have we may not even see Windows 7 on Atom netbooks.

Official pricing for Windows 7 Starter is as of yet unannounced, but the other editions may get numbers by the end of the month. Let’s hope for some better news by then.

Via ArsTechnica.

Jun 5 2009

Acer Netbook Is Able to Boot With Either Android or Windows

If you think Acer’s new netbooks that will run on the Android operating system will be cheaper than existing netbooks that run on Windows, think again! In actuality, while these netbooks are advertised to run on Google’s Android, they will also be able to run on Microsoft Windows. Users will have the option to select which operating system they would like to boot up their netbooks with.

While Microsoft Windows is still the dominant operating system for most computing devices, other companies, such as Google, are trying hard to catch up. Some users are super excited about the release of Acer’s Android-based netbook while others are doubtful of its capabilities. What about you?

Via JKOnTheRun.

May 31 2009

Microsoft and Asus Team Up On the Road to Windows Domination

Microsoft and Asus are teaming up to promote the Windows operating system and further its takeover in the netbook market. These two companies have launched a website and are currently promoting their “it’s better with Windows” campaign. The promotion highlights the claim that Windows is a more reliable and familiar operating system (than Linux) and that it does not have major compatibility issues.


Windows is gaining a larger presence as the operating system for netbooks. According to market research firm, NPD Group, 10% of netbooks that were shipped in early 2008 shipped with Windows pre-installed, but by February 2009, 96% of netbooks shipped with Windows as the operating system.

Via TechSpot.

May 24 2009

Microsoft Puts Limitations on Netbooks That Can Run Windows 7 Starter

To maintain the small size of netbooks, Microsoft is not allowing machines that are larger than 10.2″ to run the Windows 7 Starter operating system. Netbooks that have larger screen sizes will be required to run either the Windows 7 Home Basic or Home Premium editions, which are more expensive versions of the software.


If you want to run Windows 7 on your netbook, there will also be limitations on the amount of RAM you can have on your computing device. The maximum amount of RAM allowable to run Windows 7 will be 1 GB. This amount is referring to the original factory setting though, and does not include potential upgrades. Note though, that the maximum amount of RAM that an Intel Atom processor can support is 2 GB.

The updated specifications for the maximum amount of hard drive space for netbooks that run the Windows 7 Starter is 250 GB for a regular hard drive and 64 GB for a solid state drive.

Netbooks that qualify for Windows 7 Starter can have up to 2 GHz CPUs, as long as they are single core and use less than 15 Watts of power (more than enough for most netbook processors).

Via APC.

Apr 27 2009

Windows 7 Will Have an XP Mode!

In an effort to influence users of Windows XP to switch to its latest operating system (Windows 7), Microsoft has been building an “XP mode” for its Windows 7 software that will allow applications designed for Windows XP to run more smoothly. Unlike the case with Windows Vista, Microsoft is trying to make its operating system more compatible with netbooks.


The Windows XP Mode was previously known as Virtual Windows XP. It won’t be available for purchase along with the Windows 7 software, but will instead be downloadable online for those who buy the Professional, Enterprise, or Ultimate versions of the Window 7 operating sytem. The release date of the beta version of the Windows XP Mode software has not been stated, but the release date is rumored to be soon.

The way that Windows XP Mode works is the following: First, the user installs selected application(s) in XP Mode. The applications will then be placed on the Windows 7 desktop. They can then be run directly from Windows 7.

Via CNet.

Image via SuperSite.


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