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

GM keeps building cars on XP

Putting a dent into Microsoft's effort to resuscitate Windows Vista, carmaker General Motors says it is considering skipping the OS release entirely.

In an interview with BusinessWeek, GM technology chief Fred Killeen said that, for now, he's sticking with Windows XP.

"We're considering bypassing Vista and going straight to Windows 7," Killeen told the magazine. In particular, he pointed to the higher hardware requirements that would require many PCs in GM's fleet to be replaced. "By the time we'd replace them, Windows 7 might be ready anyway," he said.

Microsoft has … Read more

Travel through the universe

Last night, Microsoft Research released WorldWide Telescope--new, free software that enables users to explore the universe with impressive content from the Hubble Space Telescope, NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, the Chandra X-Ray Observatory Center, and other famed ground- and space-based telescopes. Colorful nebulae, distant galaxies, black holes, and radiation clouds are all accessible from your desktop with a few clicks. The software has been released for free in honor of Jim Gray, a Microsoft researcher who was lost at sea last year.

Google Earth added a similar feature called Google Sky with its Version 4.2 release. Google also … Read more

Buzz Out Loud 723: Best bad idea ever

The military has proposed creating their own botnet to help combat cyberfoes. Kevin Poulsen at Wired thinks this is idiotic. We think there's a certain amount of mad genius to it, and debate the points. Meanwhile 6 million Chileans had their personal data leaked to the Internet. Don't worry it's not all shock and awe. Harvard says violent video games are A-OK! Shoot 'em up, kids! Listen now: Download today's podcast EPISODE 723

Note: We are making a change to our podcast feed system on Friday, May 16. However, you do not need to subscribe to … Read more

Why is Microsoft underpowering One Laptop Per Child?

Boingboing is reporting that Microsoft is forcing OEMs into using artificially low hardware specifications. Even if you erroneously believe that OLPC is simply a matter of price tag, Microsoft's actions are puzzling, to say the least. Well, as long as you imagine that Microsoft is in it for the kids.

As Cory Doctorow notes:

Microsoft is trying to distort the market for cheap, tiny laptops by setting up artificial incentives to manufacturers to limit the power and capability of their lowest-cost units -- even if a vendor can figure out how to put more storage, a bigger screen, or a touchscreen into its machines, Microsoft doesn't want it there, and they'll punish any vendor that tries by refusing to license XP Home Edition on the same preferential terms that lower-spec machines get.

Why would Microsoft do this? More pertinently, why would OLPC sell out its ideals? IDG News Service suggests that Microsoft is trying to prevent cannibalization of its mainstream desktop market. That is an understandable goal, but not necessarily a laudable one given Microsoft's alleged intention to play fair with OLPC. I suspect something more is involved here.… Read more

Windows Server 2008 goes down-market

Microsoft is set to announce Tuesday that it is launching a "public preview" program for two server products based on its Windows Server 2008 operating system.

The products, one aimed at small business and the other at midsize firms, combine the server operating system with Exchange Server and other software into a bundle designed to cost less and be easier to install than acquiring the products separately.

Small Business Server 2008 is an update to an existing small business product, while Windows Essential Server Solutions 2008 (formerly code-named Centro) is a new product, targeted at midsize firms that … Read more

Microsoft says YouTube blocking was a glitch

Users of Microsoft's instant-messaging service found themselves unable to share links to YouTube videos on Friday evening and Saturday morning, sparking brief worries of a possible Microsoft-led effort to block access to the Google-owned video-sharing site.

Microsoft said in a blog posting Sunday that the issue was a mistake made by the third party that handles blocking of potentially unsafe content for MSN Messenger and Windows Live Messenger.

"As some of you noticed, we had a problem from Friday night to Saturday morning where our Messenger service was incorrectly blocking some legitimate IP addresses," a Microsoft employee … Read more