Pre-Macworld Tech Headlines Review.

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Let’s face it, next week we’ll all be discussing Macworld news, so I thought I’d review some tech headlines from the last few days and get them out of my system before the real fun begins next week.

Microsoft to spare the iPhone.

ms_iphone.pngWhew! Apple can breathe a huge sigh of relief. Bill Gates confirmed Microsoft will not crush them by releasing an iPhone competitor:

“No, we won’t do that. In the so-called smart phone business we will concentrate solely on software with our Windows Mobile program”

Funniest thing about that quote is that Gates called it the “so-called” smartphone business. No doubt because it’s running Windows Mobile. I guess if it were running some other OS it would be a smarter phone.

Windows Vista and Office 2007 flunk classes in Britain.

picture-2.pngThe UK is discouraging the use of Windows Vista and Office 2007 at British schools:

“Upgrading existing ICT systems to Microsoft Vista or Office 2007 is not recommended,” said the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency, also known as Becta, in a report issued this week.

To be honest, had they gone after Vista due to its all-around failure in the marketplace, instability and bugginess I’d be all for this. This, however, seems less like a stab at Vista (after all, Office 2007 by all accounts is an OK product) and more a pitch for open source products.Not sure a thousand school systems all running a different flavor of open source OS and office apps would be the best thing.

Bon Voyage to the Voyager.

picture-3.pngVerizon tries hard not to claim the Voyager is an iPhone killer. No doubt they do this to keep people from comparing the two. Still, their ads tout the “touch screen”, and they want consumers to think of them as similar. They just don’t want techies to do that because they know what’ll happen, and it did.In his review, Walt Mossberg was excessively kind to the Voyager regarding it using a 3G network. He’s not a fan of AT&T, so the fact the Voyager is Verizon gets a plus, and he even tags it as costing less, though it requires a mail-in rebate and he doesn’t take into account the data/voice plan! Whatever.OK, Walt, no one will accuse you of sucking up to Apple now because you’ve given the Voyager more than it deserves. You can be honest now:

And it lacks the iPhone’s ability to use Wi-Fi hot spots and home networks, which are often faster than Verizon’s 3G network.

It also has only about half the battery life; a smaller, lower-resolution screen, and just a fraction of the Apple’s internal memory.

the Voyager suffers badly in the area where Apple’s phone shines: software.

As with so many of the new feature-packed mobile phones, the Voyager’s user interface is clumsy and confusing, requiring too many steps to perform simple tasks.

its applications, such as the photo organizer, music player, Web browser and email program, are primitive compared with the iPhone’s.

That’s enough. You get the idea. The Voyager is no iPhone. This should have been obvious when all the ads show of the “touch screen” is it lighting up when touched. If they showed any more you’d know what a klutzy phone it is.

NBC Universal continues battle against consumer rights piracy.

picture-4.pngNBC Universal has formed a coalition of companies to help develop anti-piracy measures. Good idea, guys. It’s not like that’s ever been tried.I mean, it’s not like anyone or any group or body developed some kind of, oh, let’s just call it Digital Rights Management, or DRM for short, with the aim of protecting content.

“A disproportionately large amount of [internet] traffic on our networks is peer-to-peer. The cost of that traffic is passed on to the user base,” he said. “We all have a stake in solving the [piracy] problem.”

Now that NBC Universal is on the case, I’m sure we’ll finally get solid, fair, un-crackable DRM for video that will be a win-win for everybody!Riiiiiiight.

Sysadmin hacks employer who didn’t fire him.

picture-5.pngThis one’s a real beauty, and gets better as you read it. Let me get this straight:

  • Idiot thinks he’s going to get laid off.
  • Idiot places destructive code in employer’s HP-Unix systems.
  • Idiot does not get laid off.
  • Idiot leaves the destructive code in anyway!

This is a riot, right? What a moron. Oh, but it gets better. So much better.

  • Idiot’s code goes off on appointed day, but has a bug so it doesn’t work.
  • Idiot fixes bug, and resets code for same date next year!
  • Idiot’s destructive code is found by co-worker.
  • Idiot pleads guilty.

Paul Thurrott finally asks a reasonable question.

picture-6.pngPaul is a piece of work. After talking up the Zune 2.0 and following the Microsoft party line, he now decides to mention that it has so many things wrong with it that it needs serious work.Most of us not drinking Redmond Kool-Aid already knew that, but Paul spells it out pretty well.

Adobe updates Photoshop Elements for Mac (finally).

picture-7.pngAfter more than two years (it won’t ship until March) and bypassing version 5.0 completely, Adobe is finally upgrading Photoshop Elements on the Mac.I’ve written about Adobe’s treatment of the Mac before, and this way-too-darn-long delay in getting a modern (and native) PE for the Mac is just one example.I ran PE on the PC before switching to the Mac, and it’s a fine product. I’m not crazy about the new colored interface but the feature upgrades look good even coming from PE 5 on the PC. Coming from PE 4 on a Mac they look great.I’m happy for Mac PE users, but I still think it’s ridiculous they had to wait this long for an update and Intel-native code. I don’t know why the Mac crowd puts up with that. As much as I liked PE on the PC, I’ll always explore alternatives on the Mac.

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2 thoughts on “Pre-Macworld Tech Headlines Review.

  1. It’s hilarious that even the geekiest pundits now realize CES is a bore.

    And then Paul finally comes clean about the Zune? So as a MSFT-paid shill, he finally realizes the Zune is lacking? So my question is, why is MSFT even in this market? Because they want to make money or they feel like they have to have SOMETHING to comparable to the iPod? So they can appear to be hip? I just don’t get it. Who in the world thinks they compete with the iPod? Sure, I am not saying there shouldn’t be competition. But MSFT should not be in this market. In fact, they shouldn’t be in ANY consumer markets outside of Windows and Office. Why? Because they can’t make any money in it.

    I give the Zune another year. Then it will fold just like Plays for Sure did. There is no reason to stay in a market where you are losing money with inferior products. The iPod touch is a great example of how Apple stays ahead of the competition by thinking outside the box, and a music player is an afterthought with MSFT. Why even go there?

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