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Archive for June, 2008

A few backs Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 was in talks as it had passed the ACID 2 test. Now it looks like the Browser has hit the beta 1 milestone. Microsoft sent out a letter to some selected beta testers offering them a chance to try out the technical preview of Internet Explorer 8 beta 1. The contents of the mail were

Greetings from the Internet Explorer Team! We are nearing the launch of Windows Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1 and we will be making it available for the general public to download and test. IE8 Beta 1 is focused on the developer community, with the goal of gaining valuable feedback to improve Internet Explorer 8 during the development process. We have identified you as a qualified beta tester and we would like to offer an opportunity to join our limited technical beta program for Windows Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1. Participation in the Technical Beta will enable you to evaluate a common release of Windows Internet Explorer 8, the ability to submit feedback, post bug reports, download software answer surveys on product quality as well as vote on top bugs filed by others from the technical beta program. This is a very exclusive program, by invitation only. The only way to submit feedback is to enroll in the Windows Internet Explorer 8 Technical Beta program

The mail states that it is available to a selected few but it does say that it will be available for general public to download and test. However, it is unlikely that it will be available soon as Microsoft has planned to give a first taste of the browser at MIX 08.

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The first commercial Ethernet switch has been successfully deployed in space aboard the Columbus module research laboratory.
The switch will form part of a half duplex 10Mbps local area network (LAN) on board the International Space Station (ISS), which has previously used a mix of IT technology dating back as far as the 1980s.
Switches from Cisco, D-Link, Avaya, 3Com, NetGear and Hewlett Packard were exposed to extreme levels of radiation in a particle accelerator in Villigen, Switzerland under conditions similar to space.
Two redundant LAN switches, developed by the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) Astrium, already operate in the ISS network core and now have been joined by HP’s ProCurve 2524 switch. The HP switch has a lifespan of 10 years.
The switch was taken straight off the conveyor belt without modification.
It proved much more advantageous to us [that the switch] used fewer chips on the circuit board, as the fewer components present, the lower the susceptibility to radiation and mechanical duress during the launch into space,” said EADS Astrium Space Transportation Columbus Data Management System Engineer, Rolf Schmidhuber.
The switch underwent three years of development, configuration and qualification testing before it journeyed into space.
HP said it was the “most unusual and demanding” projects that Procurve has experienced.
It is now some 400km above Earth

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Microsoft must be ticked.  It didn’t get to buy Yahoo, or even just a slice of it.  Instead, all its efforts only served to drive Yahoo into Google’s waiting arms.
The Google/Yahoo deal, announced yesterday, doesn’t make a Goohoo (or would it be Yagle?) by any means.  According to BusinessWeek, Yahoo will display some Google text ads for Yahoo search results. Yahoo will control when and how the ads show up, and says it stands to make up to $800 million from the deal.
It seems clear Yahoo will need to take further steps to get its house in order, but just what those steps might be is still up in the air.  Also in question is what Carl Icahn will do now that Microsoft appears finished (again) with its attempts to bolster its own lackluster online offerings with a Yahoo purchase. 
Icahn may still try to replace Yahoo’s board come August, but as his primary goal for the proxy battle was to push a Microsoft deal, it’s unclear if there would still be any point to such a move.  The Wall Street Journal has him “studying the situation” but not giving any clues about where he’ll go.
Don’t assume anything is a done deal in this saga, though.  According to the Silicon Alley Insider, there’s an escape clause in the search deal that allows Google to walk away if there’s a ‘change in control’ for Yahoo.  Per the piece, that could mean Microsoft, News Corp., or Time Warner buying 35 percent of Yahoo’s voting stock, Microsoft picking up 5 percent of total equity, or other triggers.  Looks like Google would get a $250 million parting gift from the purchasing company if that happens.
And then there’s the potential for government regulators to put the kibosh on the plan.  BusinessWeek has Eric Schmidt arguing that the deal doesn’t require regulatory approval but guesses that Microsoft will still push for close scrutiny.

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Windows XP is dead … long live Windows XP. You may have heard that as of June 30, you’re no longer able to buy the operating system or obtain support for it. But that isn’t quite the case. In fact, you’ll be able to buy XP on certain mainstream PCs at least until January 31, 2009, and possibly beyond. The cutoff date is even later for some ultra-low-cost notebooks, as well as low-cost desktop PCs commonly called nettops, such as those made by Asus, Dell, and other manufacturers: They’ll sell with XP until June 2010. As for technical support, that has a lot of life left as well–officially, Microsoft will provide at least some forms of support until 2014.

Given the confusion about XP’s future, we decided to lay out your options for buying XP and getting support for it beyond the official sunset date for the OS.

 

NOT DEAD YET

Microsoft’s public statement seems to leave no wiggle room. It reads, “Windows XP will no longer be available for purchase from Microsoft for general retail and OEM partners as of June 30, 2008.”
But that simple statement hides plenty of loopholes. First, retailers and PC makers can still sell the Windows XP software, and Windows XP PCs, after that date, as long as they purchased the products before June 30. If a retailer stocked up on copies of XP before June 30, it can sell XP for as long as those supplies hold out. The same holds true for PC manufacturers.
An even bigger loophole–something called downgrade rights–will allow people to get Windows XP on new PCs, even after computer makers’ stock of Windows XP licenses runs out. An OEM such as Dell can sell you a PC that starts out with Vista Business or Vista Ultimate on it, and then downgrade the operating system to Windows XP Professional before shipping the machine out to you. In the box, you will receive discs for Vista, XP, Vista drivers, and XP drivers. That way, if you decide you’d prefer Vista, you can use the installation disc and drivers to upgrade to that OS.
You can do this only with Vista PCs for which the OEM has decided to offer downgrade rights, however. A Dell spokesperson says that Dell will provide the option for its XPS line of gaming PCs (the XPS M1730 laptop, XPS 630 gaming desktop, and XPS 730 gaming desktop), for its line of Vostro small-business PCs, and for enterprise customers. Dell won’t offer the choice indefinitely, though–only through January 31, 2009.
HP also offers a downgrade option on its business desktops, notebooks, and workstations, and will continue to do so until at least July 30, 2009, says a company spokesperson. As with Dell PCs, when someone buys a system, it will have XP Pro installed, and will come with discs for both XP and Vista.
January 31 of next year is also the last date you’ll be able to buy XP on a machine from a “system builder”–a company that builds no-brand custom PCs from components and purchases Microsoft software from a distributor rather than directly from Microsoft itself.
If you buy an ultra-low-cost PC–which Microsoft describes as a notebook with “limited hardware capabilities” intended for entry-level buyers or people seeking an inexpensive second system–you’re in luck. Such laptops, including the popular Asus Eee PC, can be sold with Windows XP until June 2010. The notebooks must have small screens and low-powered CPUs to qualify. In addition, very low-cost computers–so-called nettops–that do not have high-end processors, a great deal of RAM, or separate graphics processors can also be sold with Windows XP Home Edition until June 2010. Various vendors–including Acer, Asus, and Dell–are likely to sell nettops.

 

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