Buzz Out Loud 728: Rock the Roku

Today in "we have actual tech news to report" tech news, Netflix's new box hits the price sweet spot, Napster is offering 6 million DRM-free MP3s (déjà-vu?), and Gizmodo! Confirms! The 3G! iPhone! Release! Date! Listen now: Download today's podcast EPISODE 728

Look out, Apple TV: The $100 Netflix Player has arrived

6 million DRM-free MP3s now at Napster

Breaking: iPhone 3G launch date confirmed apple_wwdc_rumour_revival/

Microsoft … Read more

Study: Engineering teams, not processes, factor heaviest in code quality

As the Slashdot commentary suggests, new research that finds open-source code quality to be no better than that of proprietary software has its flaws. "Code quality" is difficult to measure. Finding metrics to analyze the successes and failings of four operating systems--FreeBSD, GNU/Linux, Solaris, and Windows--is especially difficult.

So, while Coverity recently found open-source software quality to be quite high and continuously improving, I suspect there's some truth to the conclusion of the research:

Across various areas and many different metrics, four systems developed using wildly different processes score comparably. At the very least, the results indicate that the structure and internal quality attributes of a working, non-trivial software artifact will represent first and foremost the engineering requirements of its construction, with the influence of process being marginal, if any. … Read more

Buzz Out Loud 727: Microsoft to Yahoo: Let's take it slow

Actual tech news today! For example, Microsoft is re-wooing Yahoo, Nintendo is stomping through the console market like Godzilla in Mario's Kart, the first public Firefox 3 candidate is now available, and Apple is trying to win direct downloads for the new iPhone. Oh, and if our caller from UPS is to be believed, those iPhones might be starting to arrive in stores right now! (Dear CBS: Send pie!) Listen now: Download today's podcast EPISODE 727

Microsoft, Yahoo forced into each others’ arms more

Microsoft: Vista is so misunderstood!

The Register has a great article deconstructing Microsoft's "Five Misunderstandings about Vista" (Recently pulled down, but not before The Register captured the document.)

Apparently, Vista has been slow out of the gate because it's misunderstood in five key areas: 1) User Account Control, 2) Image Management, 3) Display Driver Model, 4) Windows Search, and 5) 64-bit architecture.

Please join me in shedding a tear for Redmond....

Whatever the validity of Microsoft's five-point discussion (and The Register largely rips these up), the biggest problem with Vista's adoption doesn't even make the list: Performance:

What … Read more

Featured Freeware: Tweak UI

There's no doubt that the freeware Tweak UI is a tool designed for people comfortable and confident with mucking about in the guts of their Windows XP installation. If that's not you, we strongly caution against using this program capriciously.

However, if you're the kind of person who likes to get your hands dirty with XP, read on. Tweak UI can alter most of the routine behaviors of Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, but it also can affect some of the more advanced ones, too. The basic interface belies the features, from customizing the Alt-Tab program … Read more

Microsoft confirms Windows adheres to broadcast flag

Microsoft has acknowledged that Windows Media Centers will block users from recording TV shows at the request of a broadcaster.

"Microsoft included technologies in Windows based on rules set forth by the (Federal Communications Commission)," a Microsoft spokeswoman wrote in an e-mail to CNET "As part of these regulations, Windows Media Center fully adheres to the flags used by broadcasters and content owners to determine how their content is distributed and consumed."

The software company was responding to questions about why some users of Windows Vista Media Center were prevented from recording NBC Universal … Read more

Power Downloader restores Mozilla applications

Last week when Microsoft released Windows XP Service Pack 3 unto the world, a few "lucky" XP users had their computers come to a screeching, brain-jarring halt. Kitty Kilobyte's best friend Penny Penryn was hit badly by this bug, and she had to do a full reinstall of her operating system.

As frustrating as a crash of this magnitude can be, Penny Penryn was surprisingly as cool as a fan for a quad-core CPU. She didn't lose any of her important documents because followed Power Downloader's advice and backed them up using SyncBack. She didn'… Read more

Buzz Out Loud 726: Dueling banjos at dawn

Somehow today's show ended with Jason Howell challenging Paul Shaffer to a duel at Shalin's suggestion. We don't know. It's Friday. In other news, Cox and Comcast are the biggest BitTorrent blockers in the world, we spoil the entire plotline of Battlestar Galactica (sorry!), and we get deep inside the jDome. Plus: VIDEO! Listen now: Download today's podcast EPISODE 726

Note: We are making a change to our podcast feed system on Monday, May 19. However, you do not need to subscribe to a new feed. One important thing to know: If you have your … Read more

Can Microsoft be beaten in the cloud?

Roy Schestowitz apparently uncovers a subversive strategy Microsoft is using to block Linux from motherboards everywhere. How? By fighting its longtime partner, Phoenix Technology, which had developed a Linux-friendly virtualization technology (HyperWave) to allow a Linux operating system to run even when Windows fails:

The basic concept is that an embedded Linux OS will accompany the core system firmware or BIOS, allowing instant-on applications to be run from it at any time.

The spat seems to be over for now, but the fight with Phoenix is instructive. Microsoft is far smarter than we generally give it credit. The company keeps an eagle eye on its desktop prize, and is unlikely to allow anyone to build rival technology there. The only way to compete with Microsoft on the desktop is not on the desktop - it's in the cloud. Perhaps Microsoft isn't as vulnerable here as people think, however....… Read more