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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Microsoft Going Ahead With Retail Store Plans

Microsoft said on Thursday that it had hired former Wal-Mart exec, David Porter, as corporate vice president for retail stores, a sign that the company is going ahead with plans to open company retail outlets despite the current economic turmoil that has many retailers in trouble. According to the New York Times, Porter "... is charged with improving the PC-buying experience. The company said his first task would be to set the timing, locations and design of Microsoft-branded retail stores, which will sell computers installed with Microsoft software as well as other company products."

The strategy worked for Apple, in better times, but only time will tell whether the move makes any sense for Microsoft.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Microsoft Offers Reward For Worm Creator's Identity

George Stathakopulos from Microsoft's Trustworthy Computing Group has told the BBC that a $250,000 reward is being offered by the company to find who is behind the Downadup/Conficker virus. "Our message is very clear - whoever wrote this caused significant pain to our customers and we are sending a message that we will do everything we can to help with your arrest," said Mr Stathakopulos. One estimate has as many as 12 million computers being affected globally by Conficker/Downadup since it appeared in October.

On three other occasions Microsoft has offered such rewards. Rewards of $250,000 were offered for information leading to the creators of Blaster, MyDoom and Sobig worms. The perpetrators of those threats have never been caught.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Russian - US Satellites Collide

A pair of Russian and US satellites collided some 780 km (485 miles) above Siberia on Tuesday leaving a trail of debris. The Russian civilian space agency, Roscosmos, confirmed the collision of the defunct 950kg (2,094lb) satellite, which was said to have launched in 1993. "Spokesman Aleksandr Vorobyev was quoted as saying the satellite had "in all likelihood... belonged in the past to the military", and was therefore not the responsibility of Roscosmos." according to this BBC report. NASA is tracking hundreds of pieces of debris from the incident and says there is little chance of incident between this debris and the International Space Station or Shuttle flights. The ISS is in orbit 435 km below the debris and has the capability to maneuver away from space junk if necessary, it has done so on 8 occassions in it's 60,000 previous orbits.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Sirius XM Thinking About Banckruptcy

The merged satellite radio company Sirius XM has hired advisers to prepare for a possible bankruptcy filing according to this article in the New York Times. Saddled with $3.25 billion in debt, bankruptcy might be the only out for the company that has yet to make a profit. Speculation is that subscribers will continue to get their feeds but that high priced talent such as Howard Stern and Martha Stewart may be casualties of the process. “I’m not trying to paint the rosy picture, because we have challenges connected to our liquidity and certainly our stock price is dreadful,” Mel Karmazin, chief of Sirius XM said in December. “But, you know, our revenues are growing double digits. We’re growing subscribers. We’re not losing subscribers.”

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Amazon Announces Kindle 2

Visit the page today and you will be greeted with a note from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos announcing the upcoming release of the Kindle 2 e-reader.

The new device features a list of improvements:

Slim: Just over 1/3 of an inch, as thin as most magazines

Lightweight: At 10.2 ounces, lighter than a typical paperback

Wireless: 3G wireless lets you download books right from your Kindle, anytime, anywhere; no monthly fees, service plans, or hunting for Wi-Fi hotspots

Books in Under 60 Seconds: Get books delivered in less than 60 seconds; no PC required

Improved Display: Reads like real paper; now boasts 16 shades of gray for clear text and even crisper images

Longer Battery Life: 25% longer battery life; read for days without recharging

More Storage: Take your library with you; holds over 1,500 books

Faster Page Turns: 20% faster page turns

Read-to-Me: With the new Text-to-Speech feature, Kindle can read every book, blog, magazine, and newspaper out loud to you.

The Kindle 2 releases on February 24th and can be pre-ordered today for $359.00

Monday, February 9, 2009

9 Year Old Writes iPhone App

According to his father, nine year old Lim Ding Wen " now an iPhone developer, with his software Doodle Kids available in Apple App Store. Ding Wen is also probably the world youngest iPhone developers." The program, written by Ding Wen for his younger siblings, allows you to draw colourful images on your iphone with the touch of your finger, shaking the iPhone clears the screen like a modern day etch-a-sketch. According to his father's web site "Ding Wen is an ActionScript and JavaScript programmer. He also understand Applesoft BASIC, GSoft BASIC, Complete Pascal, Orca/Pascal and a little Objective-C." Lim Thye Chean, Ding Wen's father is the chief technology officer of a technology company in Singapore and writes "The goal of Virtual GS" a tool he created "is to bring back the fun and excitement of Apple IIGS programming for all the young children, especially my son Ding Wen."

Source: CBC