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

A Windows utility that control freaks will love

It's easy to find out how much RAM is installed on your system: right-click My Computer in XP or Computer in Vista and choose Properties to see your total system memory and other information about your PC under the General tab.

But where do you look to find the amount of RAM currently in use? (Vista's Reliability and Performance Monitor shows the percent of used physical memory, but I haven't been able to find the equivalent in XP.) Or your BIOS version and date? Or the amount of free storage on your hard drive? Or how long … Read more

Buzz Out Loud 725: CBS' podcast of indeterminate length

In today's episode, Leo Laporte drops in (and out) to discuss the future of CNET, the future of Yahoo, and lack of future we'll all have if the Air Force doesn't stop trying to build a real-life Skynet. Also, Leo points out why we should probably all delete our Plaxo accounts, Nintendo gets patent trolled, and can we leave Twitter? At least for one day? Listen now: Download today's podcast EPISODE 725

**NOTE: We are making a change to our podcast feed system on Monday, May 19. You do not need to subscribe to a new … Read more

ObjectDock rocks

Power Downloader and I have talked about how useful RocketDock can be, and it is still is. But another excellent program dock to check out is ObjectDock, from Stardock. Besides providing a skinable and extensively customizable Mac-style dock, the free ObjectDock lets users replace the Windows taskbar completely.

Colorful and animated, ObjectDock is so customizable it's impressive. Not only can you choose your own icons to represent programs and documents, set the dock size and location, and configure icon behavior, but you can also set the dock to run faster and take up more RAM, or sacrifice the gloss … Read more

Buzz Out Loud 724: YOU are!

It's episode 724, wherein we argue, but in a happy way. MySpace wins a $234 million antispam judgment they'll probably never collect, and Google blurs faces in Street view, maybe just to be nice. Also, it turns out seniors are more acutely aware of the passing of time (or they hate commercials more than the youngsters do) and Qtrax makes four improbable deals. Listen now: Download today's podcast EPISODE 724

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 … Read more

2010 will be an important year for Microsoft

Every year is important for Microsoft, but the way things are shaping up, I think 2010 will be its most important yet. And although the company has yet to confirm any concrete details about where it's going in the near-term, it has been especially tight-lipped lately about the future of Windows and the Xbox 360. And if you ask me, those two products will be at the center of the company's issues in 2010.

Why 2010? The way I see it, this year is pretty much over for Microsoft. Sure, the company will finally stop the sale of XP (or so we think) and the Xbox 360 will see some minor improvements made to its software, but all in all, nothing too major will happen this year. And considering 2009 will be the year that Microsoft tries to solidify itself as the major player in the gaming and OS markets, it makes perfect sense to suggest that 2010 could be one of the most important years in the company's storied history.

But if it doesn't wake up and realize that it's in some serious trouble with Windows and the Xbox 360 could face problems if it continues to be compared to the Playstation 3, 2010 could also be one of the worst years in the company's history.… Read more

Gates: Windows 7 won't be nearly as bad as Vista

Microsoft must spend some days gazing around in a stupor. The company continues to print money yet its most recent product launch of Vista fell on deaf ears. Microsoft of course wants money, but it also wants to be thought of as a leader in the software world, and with Vista it is definitely following...but who it's following, nobody knows.

Now Bill Gates has declared that Windows 7, the next release of the operating system, won't be nearly as bad as Vista:

We're hard at work, I would say, on the next version, which we call … Read more

What is blocking Vista users from recording NBC shows?

Update at 7:10 a.m. Wed., May 14: A correction was made to this story. See details below.

Some users of Windows Vista Media Center say they were blocked from recording the NBC Universal TV shows American Gladiator and Medium on Monday night.

"Restrictions set by the broadcaster and/or originator prohibit recording of this program," the error message read.

At a message board popular with DVR enthusiasts, those affected tried to figure out what was causing the block. When this kind of thing happens, people immediately question whether TV and cable networks are trying … Read more