windows

What if Microsoft doesn't want Vista to succeed?

I may have lost a few of you with the headline and you're already deciding to tell me that I'm just plain wrong by even suggesting Microsoft is OK with Vista failing, but hear me out. I'm not going to make the case that Vista has failed--if you look at sales figures, I think it's safe to say that while it isn't the most celebrated OS Microsoft has released, it still has done relatively well--and I won't even make the case that Vista should fail.

Instead, I've had this inkling for the past year based on what I've seen come out of the Microsoft camp that the company is fine with the poor Vista PR and doesn't really care that most businesses are loath to switch from XP. And with the constant rhetoric coming from the top echelons of the company telling us exactly why Windows 7 will be the greatest version of Windows Microsoft has ever released, it's becoming abundantly clear that Microsoft just doesn't care that Vista is facing such pressure.

But Microsoft's neglect of Vista goes far beyond the hopeful success of Windows 7. I think Microsoft is perfectly fine with the way things have developed in the industry and its desire to prove the value of Vista was barely a concern once the company released the operating system.

Sure, it's releasing commercials now in an attempt to fight back against Apple, but have you noticed that none of the commercials gives viewers a reason to use Vista itself? The company is quick to point out why you should own a PC, but when it comes to Vista, it's as if the operating system shouldn't be mentioned.

I should point out that there is no way to prove my theory. Microsoft constantly tells journalists that Vista is perfectly fine and it's hitting all the sales benchmarks it laid out in the beginning and that it's proud of the operating system it built. I don't doubt either point. I just think that to push the company's strategy forward and put itself back on the tech map, the company felt Vista could be the single product that would make it take some bumps in the short term, but push Microsoft's agenda forward over the long term.… Read more

Seven things you may not know about Windows 7

LOS ANGELES--While Windows 7 has gotten plenty of attention over the past two weeks, there are some features in there that haven't gotten as much attention. I wrote on Friday about a new programming interface for location-based services. Here are seven more features that caught my eye.

1. Standard approach to mobile broadband Windows 7 treats cellular modems as a standard connection, much like a Wi-Fi network, popping them up in the same available wireless networks dialog.

Sierra Wireless has already said it will support the new approach, which should make life much easier for road warriors (myself included). … Read more

Trick your ride

WindowBlinds offers a generally compelling way to add some panache to Windows XP or Windows Vista. It lets you skin your graphic interface, offering a number of preconfigured themes that range in styles and change the entire look of your desktop. You also have the ability to make some serious tweaks to each theme, should it be close to what you want, but just not quite right. No matter what skin you choose, though, we doubt you'll have any complaints with the appearance of the polished, attractive themes.

You also choose from several toolbar icon sets to match your … Read more

Slash your long-distance bills

In some ways, Skype's latest offering takes a step back, but in many, it's a jump forward. In version 4.0, Skype's VoIP app for text, audio, and video calls refocuses on Skype's core competency (and most formidable challenge) of delivering high-quality audio and video calls over the Internet. A new sound engine and bandwidth manager helps keep calls clearer and more stable as talkers reach out across the world, using the spectrum of high- and low-end equipment. The improved sound and video quality were notable in our tests.

Many of Skype's secondary features remain … Read more

Microsoft stops selling Windows 3.x

My friends often show concern about being obsolete when I tell them to stay with Windows XP and skip Windows Vista entirely. Little do they know, a lot of people are still actually using Windows 3.x. And for those, I have some bad news.

According to BBC, Microsoft finally decided to stop selling licenses of Windows 3.x, starting this month.

The third major release of Windows first came out in May 1990 with a few minor releases in the early 1990s. It was Microsoft's first big success with operating systems that have graphical user interfaces.

Windows 3.… Read more

Buzz Out Loud 848: Delayed gratification

We're getting Windows 7 at the end of 2009! Although Microsoft won't make that official. We're getting USB 3.0! Though not until 2010. Songbird is almost out in a full version. But it's still just a release candidate. Microsoft is going open source! OK, they said they're interested in looking at Webkit. Prostitutes can advertise on Craigslist! But they have to give a phone number and credit card...

Man, nothing's quite what it seems today.

Listen now: Download today's podcast EPISODE 848

Ballmer rules out new bid for Yahoo http://news.cnet.com/8301-10805_3-10085104-75.htmlRead more

CNET News Daily Podcast: What's next for wireless Net neutrality?

Though the FCC has paid plenty of attention to the limiting of peer-to-peer traffic on wired networks, wireless providers with similar policies as Comcast have largely flown under the radar. That could change under an Obama administration, says CNET News' Declan McCullagh.

Also on today's podcast: Microsoft not interested in Yahoo anymore, Yahoo's stock plummets, Lenovo earnings plunge, Obama names a policy advisory board with two familiar tech world names, and Windows 7 news from WinHEC.

Listen now: Download today's podcast

Today's stories:

Dems' win could herald wireless Net neutrality

Windows 7 knows where you areRead more

Windows 7 knows where you are

LOS ANGELES--Windows 7 has a new programming interface designed to make it a whole lot easier for software to figure out where in the world a PC and its user are located.

That should make it easier for a whole new range of location-based services from finding nearby friends to LoJack-like PC tracking programs. Even search could be a whole lot better if the search engine knew where you were. Indeed, searchers often enter their city with their location to try and get just that benefit.

"There's so many times you have to enter in where you … Read more

Magically partition your thumb drive

USB drives are simple to carry, but easy to misplace and that can be risky with sensitive information. Rohos Mini Drive is a freeware app that safeguards personal documents by creating a password-protected partition on your flash drive. The download actually installs two programs. One, Rohos Mini Drive, is the partition manager that self-installs as a portable app on the drive when you create the partition. The second, Rohos Disk Browser, is a portable file manager, which can be useful when the encrypted partition can't be read by the host computer.

Operating Rohos Mini Drive is fairly straightforward. Plug … Read more

Microsoft aims Windows 7 for 2009 holiday season

LOS ANGELES--In a technical session on Thursday afternoon, Microsoft provided the clearest public indication that it is planning on getting Windows 7 completed in time to run on PCs that ship for next year's holiday buying season.

In a presentation on its somewhat secretive Velocity program to improve PC quality, Microsoft director Doug Howe showed a slide saying that the Vista Velocity program would continue through next spring as Microsoft worked to improve Vista machines that ship in next year's back-to-school time frame. He went on to say that Microsoft would continue the Velocity effort with Windows 7. … Read more