AVG update cripples some Windows XP systems

On Tuesday an update for AVG 8 suggested that a Windows system file is a Trojan horse, and users who delete the file form the system could leave their Windows XP systems endlessly rebooting or unable to reboot at all. The problem only affects users of AVG 8 products running the Dutch, French, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish language versions of Windows XP. AVG immediately sent out a corrected update to its customers, including those using the free editions of AVG.

A representative for AVG said, "AVG is actively working to remedy the problem some users are experiencing related to … Read more

Windows XO laptop heads to Colombia

Microsoft announced a second country is piloting the use of One Laptop Per Child's XO laptop in conjunction with Windows XP.

The deal, announced with the state government of Cundinamarca, will see the laptops put in two schools, including the Santa Maria Del Rio primary school. That school, which just got its first computer lab, will now get additional PCs with the software training and infrastructure donated by Microsoft and the laptops themselves coming from One Laptop Per Child.

Microsoft announced in September that Peru was the first country to sign up for the Windows-on-XO option.

That the Windows … Read more

Microsoft's licensing cripples its relevance to the Amazon cloud

Could Microsoft's proprietary licensing end up hurting it in the cloud?

That's the question asked on the Cloud Avenue blog, and the answer seems to be a clear "yes." Whatever the benefit to Microsoft in a desktop and server world, proprietary licensing stands to hobble its attempts to be widely relevant in the cloud or, at least, in's EC2 cloud.

Why? Because Microsoft's proprietary licensing ensures it can't be a viable player in Amazon's newly announced Paid AMI (Amazon Machine Image) Support marketplace. The program allows users to "share … Read more

AT&T HTC Fuze reviewed; available now

Ever since Sprint got its HTC Touch Pro in early November, the rest of the cell phone community (non-Sprint users) has been getting a little antsy to find out when they might be able to get their hands on the Windows Mobile smartphone. Well, for AT&T subscribers, that day is today.

On Tuesday, the carrier officially took the wraps off the HTC Fuze, which is now on sale for $299.99 with a two-year contract and after a mail-in rebate. The Windows Mobile 6.1 device has many of the same great features as its CDMA cousin, but … Read more

Windows: The pit stop on the road to open source

Open-source content management and collaboration vendor Alfresco has released the latest results of its Open Source Barometer, a global survey of 25,000-plus respondents within the Alfresco community. The data is skewed by the fact that the participants are clearly interested in open source, Java, and other aspects of Alfresco, but some of the findings (Slideshare presentation) are intriguing, all the same.

For example, consider the fact that 64 percent of those evaluating Alfresco do so on Windows, but deploy on Linux, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux, primarily. More interestingly, note these statistics:

92 percent do not use or intend … Read more

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