A step away from the highlights of the day, a collection of articles and posts from my reading pile that you may find of interest.
OK, if you must, here’s one story that just may provide you with more insider comments from Obama’s inauguration that you’ll get on CNN or Access Hollywood:
"Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri used her close friendship with Barack Obama to give her constituents a front-row seat at the new president’s inauguration Tuesday. "McCaskill, not heretofore known as an early adopter of new technology, was using the Twitter Internet service to post updates throughout the day. She has been updating followers since Sunday’s concert at the Lincoln Memorial — according to McCaskill, the highlight was the finale, featuring Pete Seeger. "The senator apparently has not taken quickly to Net-speak. Twitter.com limits users to 140 characters per message, accelerating the rise of text-message abbreviations, but McCaskill was resolutely plowing on in full sentences, complete with capitalization and the odd spelling error or two."
Now on to the reading pile of items archived on my Windows 7-enabled computers and and Live Mesh…
"For now, though, I want to focus in on some of “secrets” of Windows 7: the many little tweaks and enhancements that we’ve made in this release that I’ve discovered and collated over the last few months of using Windows 7 across my home and work machines. These are the things that are too small to appear in any marketing document as “features”, but that you quickly miss when you switch to an older version of Windows. There are some who think that we’re arbitrarily hiding functionality to make Windows easy for casual users, but I’d argue that a great deal of effort has been put into this release to satisfy power users. In homage to those of us who enjoy discovering the nooks and crannies of a new operating system list, I’ve put together the longest blog post that I’ve ever written. If you’ve downloaded and installed Windows 7 Beta recently, I think you’ll enjoy this list of my thirty favorite secrets. Have fun!"
Obama’s new BlackBerry: The NSA’s secure PDA? from CNET News, January 13, 2009 4:00 AM PST, Posted by Declan McCullagh
"President-elect Barack Obama checks his BlackBerry while riding on his campaign bus in Pennsylvania last March. "One is General Dynamics’ Sectera Edge, a combination phone-PDA that’s been certified by the National Security Agency as being acceptable for Top Secret voice communications and Secret e-mail and Web sites. (see this WMV for more details.)
"The Sectera runs a mobile version of Microsoft Windows, including versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Windows Media Player. The NSA claims that the installed versions of Internet Explorer, WordPad, and Windows Messenger are good enough for data that’s classified at a level of Secret. Presumably the federal spooks have found a way to protect IE from the numerous security flaws that continue to plague the Internet’s most popular browser."
Interview: Seth Godin on How Often to Post to Your Blog in Advertising Age — The Key? Post When You’ve Got Something Good to Say, says B.L. Ochman on 01.12.09 @ 05:37 PM
"How often should you post to a blog? There’s definitely no shortage of opinion and advice on the subject for what it’s worth. And much of that free advice is worth what you pay for it. But when the eponymous Seth Godin talks about blogging, listen up!
"Godin used to post a couple of times a week. His blog is one that I never miss because his insights are so frequently valuable. And although I never miss one of his posts, he’s gotten harder to keep up with lately. That’s because not long ago he began a seven-day-a-week posting schedule. I wondered why, and so I asked him."
"The reverb in the echo chamber has become deafening. Have you noticed the lack of original content being published lately? I have. There’s a term to describe what’s going on and Steve Rubel called it a year ago: The Lazysphere.
"Rather than create new ideas or pen thoughtful essays, [some bloggers] simply glom on to the latest news with another ‘me too’ blog post." I use Google Reader as my gateway to social media. Almost all blog content falls into "to know" (RSS) vs. "to do" (email). And lately, I’m feeling that there’s less "need to know" content being produced. The best – and worst – content spurs people into action. So what I’ve done is unsubscribe from about a dozen advertising, media, and marketing blogs that have lost their edge of insight and/or integrity.
"This social marketing niche is getting way too incestuous and repetitive and frankly, stupid in its repetitive back slapping, re-affirmation, ego stroking…"
Microsoft: Do give Vista a try from CNET News. January 13, 2009, Posted by Victoria Ho…
"Following the beta release of Windows 7, Microsoft is sending the message to companies not to give Vista a miss, saying investments toward adopting the OS can be reused when Windows 7 is ready.
"Speaking at a press demo session of Windows 7 beta, Richard Francis, general manager, Windows client BG lead, business and marketing organization, Asia-Pacific region at Microsoft, said companies are "encouraged" to upgrade to Windows Vista after predecessor XP, instead of waiting for Windows 7 to be released.
"Certainly, there will be some companies that will decide to skip Vista and wait for Windows 7. But we are asking customers to continue and deploy Windows Vista," said Francis. "He explained that the software giant prioritized "easing migration" from Vista to 7…"
Master the New and Improved MSConfig in Vista | Train Signal Training – Free Computer Training Videos, Posted on January 12th, 2009 by Eric English
"The System Configuration Utility – MSConfig – is a favorite of most pc users for a number of reasons. You can disable startup items and services, change boot options, and launch troubleshooting and configuration tools.
"Microsoft didn’t disappoint us with the newest version of MSConfig in Vista. They have made it simpler and more concise, and also added a few new tools."
Cisco, Intel and Microsoft Lead Collaboration to Improve Global Education Assessments, from Business Wire 2009, 2009-01-13
"Three leading technology companies announced today a collaboration aimed at transforming global educational assessment and improving learning outcomes. At the Learning and Technology World Forum in London, Cisco, Intel and Microsoft unveiled plans to underwrite a multi-sector research project to develop new assessment approaches, methods and technologies for measuring the success of 21st-century teaching and learning in classrooms around the world. During the session, the three companies called upon educational leaders, governments and other corporations to join in the effort."
"Many of you will have had your fill of stats around Web 2.0, Social Media and the like but if you’re looking for something to bolster your next presentation check out 49 Amazing Social Media, Web 2.0 And Internet Stats from The Future Buzz. Twitter stats are flavour of the month/year of course."
Focusing attention is the new work ethic on ZDNet.com, January 10th, 2009, Posted by Andrew Nusca @ 3:14 pm…
"A person who works with complete focus has a major advantage over a workaholic who multi-tasks all day and responds to every interruption, according to a story by tech writer Mike Elgan on InternetNews.com.
"Elgan cites New York Times columnist David Brooks, who himself cites Malcolm Gladwell in that author’s latest book, Outliers: “Control of attention is the ultimate individual power. People who can do that are not prisoners of the stimuli around them.”
Podcast: Can Silverlight be the Flash killer?, from January 11th, 2009, posted by Zack Whittaker @ 10:53 am
"I put forward the question to semi-regular visitor on here, Dan Wood, who’s appeared in a post or two and a podcast some months ago. With Silverlight being pushed out by Microsoft every way possible, with links on every Microsoft web page and in Windows Live Essentials, it’s like they are desperate for the world to see it.
"However, Flash has been around for the last decade and has firmly gained the marketshare. For those who can develop on the Flash platform, will surely know it incredibly well by now, and almost every plugin for any website there is, Flash will most likely be involved somehow.
"For the future of student developers, will Flash ever be overtaken by the Silverlight platform? Or is Microsoft just trying to pave their way in the online rich-media market? Let me know what you think."
7 parting thoughts from FCC chair Martin, Posted by Richard Koman @ January 11, 2009 @ 8:20 AM – from FCC chairman Kevin J. Martin at CES, who also gave up his chairmanship this week.
How-to: Getting started with .VHD files in Windows 7, Posted by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes @ 4:18 pm Jan 10, 2009. Confused about how to use .VHD files in Windows 7? Kingsley-Hughes discusses how to work with .VHD files (for Virtual PC, Windows Server 2008 R2 and Hyper-V) in Windows 7. Also see Virtual PC Guy’s WebLog : Windows 7 on Hyper-V.
Geek Gifts 2008: The Roku Netflix Player fulfills the promise of streaming video | Geekend | TechRepublic.com – The Roku Netflix Player fulfills the promise of streaming video Date: June 25th, 2008 Author: Mark Kaelin
Six Vista annoyances fixed in Windows 7, Posted by Ed Bott @ 6:15 pm, Jan 7, 2009
"In this post, I’ll show you six specific annoyances from Windows Vista that are fixed in Windows 7. Each one represents an easier, more efficient way to accomplish a common task. Collectively, they constitute some pretty persuasive evidence that “have it our way” is no longer the controlling design principle among Windows’ designers.
"I sometimes wonder how Microsoft’s interface designers find the strength to go to work every day. It certainly isn’t for the external validation. In the past two-plus years, I’ve read countless complaints about the Windows Vista user interface. It has too many options for ordinary users. It doesn’t offer enough options for advanced users. It’s dumbed down and overcomplicated, sometimes all at the same time. To listen to the critics, Vista’s designers succeeded in making every feature worse than XP. In fact, the latest complaint is that Vista and the upcoming Windows 7 are even worse than Windows 98."
The Best of CES 2009, for business, January 12th, 2009, Posted by Jason Hiner @ 2:19 am. "While most of the crowd at CES 2009 in Las Vegas was drooling over TVs, digital cameras, car tech, and home theaters, TechRepublic scouted out the best new technologies for businesses. Here’s our list of the top biztech products at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show."
Microsoft On The Issues blog.
Power In, Dollars Out: How to Stem the Flow in the Data Center, from December 3, 2008.
"Get Office File Viewers Server Power Considerations for IT Administrators This paper presents a comprehensive analysis of the server power landscape for information technology (IT) administrators. It explains how power affects the IT budget, shows power and performance tradeoffs, and describes in detail how hardware and software can affect overall power efficiency in the data center. Administrators can use this information to make power-aware deployment and purchasing decisions, identify issues and inefficiencies on deployed systems, and maximize their organization’s power efficiency. This information applies for the Windows Server 2008 operating system."
"The following post continues our discussion of fundamentals with a focus on power management. Power Management (or energy efficiency) is something that every contributor to the PC Ecosystem must always address—the energy efficiency of a running PC is limited by the weakest component. In engineering Windows 7 we had an explicit focus on the energy usage patterns of the running system and will continue to work with hardware and software makers to realize the collective benefit of all of this work. While we talk about the balancing of needs in every area, energy consumption is probably the most easily visualized—when we test running systems we connect them to power meters and watch a very clear number change as we run tests."
Application Development Trends – CES 2009: Will Netbooks Change App Development? from 1/9/2009, By Kathleen Richards.
"The next generation of the hottest growth segment in laptops, netbooks, is on display at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this week in Las Vegas, where Acer, Asustek Computer, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Sony and others are showing their newest lightweight, $300 to $600 netbooks.
"The popularity of netbooks, expected to increase during the global recession, has caught many high-tech companies off-guard, including Microsoft. By the end of 2008, nine of the top 10 PC makers had entered the once-idling netbook market, pushing shipments up 160 percent in the third quarter year over year, according to the NPD Group’s DisplaySearch. The market researcher estimates 14 million mini-note PCs shipped in 2008, compared to 1 million in 2007."
Intel to bring out chip for lower-cost thin laptops | Nanotech – The Circuits Blog – CNET News from January 11, 2009 1:00 AM PST, Posted by Brooke Crothers.
"Intel will bring out a new Core-architecture processor for lower-cost ultra-thin laptops later this year, according to Intel sources at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The processors will distinguish themselves by targeting a price segment below pricey ultra-portables, which typically start at around $1,500 and range all the way up to $3,000–and higher in some cases. The processors will not compete with the Atom processor that powers Netbooks, which usually top out at $500."
CES and the recession: What was the impact? | Geek Gestalt – CNET News, January 12, 2009, posted by Daniel Terdiman.
"There are probably a lot of different ways to measure how the deepening recession has impacted the Consumer Electronics Show…
"I’ve never enjoyed being at CES, and one reason is that during the show, it is impossible to get around Las Vegas. In the past, the lines for taxis, either at the major hotels or the convention centers, have been horrendous–easily an hour long–and once you finally got in one, you’d be trapped in bumper-to-bumper traffic for easily as long, even for a short ride.
"This year, however, the general consensus is that getting around has been, while not exactly fluid, then at least easier, and quicker. "It’s been (just) a half-hour wait for a taxi anywhere," said Sherstobitoff."
Microsoft Betting Big on ‘Touch’ – WSJ.com, by NICK WINGFIELD, Jan 12, 2009
"While Apple Inc.’s iPhone kicked off the craze for touch-sensing screens on mobile phones, Microsoft Corp. is pushing a similar technology for personal-computer screens that could eventually replace the computer mouse.
"N-trig Ltd., an Israeli start-up that makes touch-sensing screen hardware, is expected to announce that Microsoft is the largest investor in a $24 million round of funding that also includes several venture-capital firms. The Redmond, Wash., software company is making the investment to help N-trig quickly adapt its technology to work well with Windows 7, the coming version of Microsoft’s dominant operating system. It didn’t disclose the specific size of Microsoft’s investment."
Microsoft testing a better rival to Google Docs, January 9, 2009, by James Niccolai and Elizabeth Montalbano, IDG News Service
"Microsoft Corp. has begun testing some Web-based Office applications that will be delivered through Office Live Workspace, its online adjunct to Microsoft Office, and will give the company a closer rival to online application suites such as Google Docs.
"Microsoft will begin a public beta test of what it calls the "Office Web applications" later this year. They will allow users to create and edit new documents online from within a Web browser, said Justin Hutchinson, group product manager for Microsoft’s Office Client division, in an interview at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas."
BBC NEWS | Technology | ‘Carbon cost’ of Google revealed, Jan 12, 2009
"Two search requests on the internet website Google produce "as much carbon dioxide as boiling a kettle", according to a Harvard University academic. US physicist Alex Wissner-Gross claims that a typical Google search on a desktop computer produces about 7g CO2.
"However, these figures were disputed by Google, who say a typical search produced only 0.2g of carbon dioxide. "A recent study by American research firm Gartner suggested that IT now causes two percent of global emissions. "Dr Wissner-Gross’s study claims that two Google searches on a desktop computer produces 14g of CO2, which is the roughly the equivalent of boiling an electric kettle.
Mobile TV Gets Big Push, By Marin Perez, InformationWeek, January 9, 2009 02:52 PM
"The Consumer Electronics Show has typically been a showcase for huge television sets, but this year some broadcasters focused on the small and mobile screen.
"The Open Mobile Video Coalition, an industry consortium made up of major broadcasters, has agreed to a mobile TV standard and said 63 stations in 22 U.S. cities will provide free, over-the-air programming for mobile devices sometime in 2009.
"The mobile TV service will be based on the ATSC Mobile DTV standard, and it should become finalized in the middle of this year. The standard is based on a system developed by Harris Broadcast and LG Electronics, and it enables broadcasters to send mobile programming without compromising the station’s standard of high-definition digital television programming. The coalition said it will cost about $250,000 to add mobile DTV capabilities to existing transmission stations."
FCC chief: Don’t delay digital switch – CES 2009 by Alex Johnson, Reporter, msnbc.com, updated 2:57 p.m. PT, Sat., Jan. 10, 2009 in LAS VEGAS
"The head of the Federal Communications Commission sharply disagreed Saturday with President-elect Barack Obama’s call to delay the scheduled switchover to all-digital television next month, warning that pushing back the transition would confuse Americans and put wireless companies at a significant disadvantage.
"During a question-and-answer session at the International Consumer Electronics Show, the commission’s chairman, Kevin J. Martin, acknowledged that "ultimately, this is Congress’ decision." And — with daylight saving time as a shining example — we know how well that may work out. "Martin, who was appointed in 2005 by President George W. Bush, has been a controversial figure as head of the FCC. He has been criticized by congressional Democrats and even by some of his colleagues on the commission for what they characterize as his high-handed manner that does not seek consensus."
CBS Pumps Up TV.com to Create a Destination – NYTimes.com, by BRIAN STELTER, January 11, 2009
"When the CBS Corporation bought CNet for $1.8 billion last year, it acquired TV.com, a Web site that had little to brag about except a valuable domain name. Now CBS is transforming it into a video destination.
"One month ago, CBS has redesigned the previously clunky site to showcase the thousands of new and old television episodes that it offers, from “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” to “Charlie’s Angels.” And on Monday, the company is expected to announce distribution deals with PBS, Sony, MGM and Endemol that will expand its free advertising-supported online library."