Sunday, May 24, 2009

Microsoft may lift application limit for Windows Starter

Published- May 22, 2009
By Ina Fried

With Windows 7, Microsoft may lift one of the biggest limitations of its Starter edition--the restriction that the operating system run no more than three applications at a time.

Blogger Paul Thurrott said in a posting Friday that Microsoft plans to remove the restriction, without elaborating.

Microsoft neither confirmed nor denied whether such a move will take place.

"We continue to work on developing Windows 7 and have nothing new to share at this time," a Microsoft representative said on Friday.

With Windows XP and Windows Vista, the Starter edition was sold only for use on new PCs sold in emerging markets. With Windows 7, Microsoft said it would also sell Starter in developed markets such as the United States as an added option for low-cost Netbooks.

Separately, enthusiast site TechARP wrote Friday that Microsoft plans to change its rules in terms of what hardware qualifies for the Netbook designation. Microsoft declined to comment on the report or its plans in that area.

Nice Job...

Russian Mac clones debut

Published- May 18, 2009
By Anonymous

Computers using Apple Macintosh technology are now being offered for sale in Russia, reports. Six computers with the Mac OS X operating system are available. All copies of the operating system are legally obtained and licensed, the producer adds.

The RuMac PRO, analogous to the high-end Apple iMac, costs $737 at today’s exchange rate. It has a 2.8 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor and 4 GB of operating memory. The comparable Apple product costs $3407 in Russia (according to the RussianMac website). In the United States, the iMac with a 2.93 GHz processor and 4 GB of operating memory costs $1799, according to Apple’s website.

The RuMac Multimedia/Home Theater with the same processor costs and memory $700. It has only four USB ports, compared to the RuMac PRO's eight, however. It is compatible with digital LCD television and can be used to play DVD’s. It has no Apple analog.

The RuMac Mini, with a 1.6-GHz Intel Atom processor and 2 GB of operating memory costs $365, compared to an Apple Mac Mini that costs $929 in Russia. An Apple Mac Mini with a 2-GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor and 2 GB of memory costs $799 in the US.

The RuMac Stardart, with a 2.8-GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor and 2 GB of operating memory costs $489, compared to $1858 for the Apple product in Russia. An Apple iMac with a 2.66-GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor and 2 GB of operating memory costs $1199 in the US.

The RuMac Book, with a 15.4-inch screen, 1.6-GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor and 1 GB of operating memory costs $784, compared to $1548 for the comparable Apple in Russia. A 13-inch Apple MacBook with 2-GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor and 2 GB of operating memory costs $1299 in the US.

The RuMac miniBook, with an 8.9- or 10-inch screen, a 1.6-GHz Intel Atom processor and 1 GB of operating memory, costs $498 or $706, depending on screen size. It features WiFi and Bluetooth. It has no Apple analog.

Two American companies, Psystar and Open Tech, and the Argentine OpeniMac and German HyperMeganet companies also make Apple analogs. Apple filed suit against Psystar in July 2008 over the presence in its computers of preinstalled Mac OS X Leopard operating systems, claiming that, since the end-user agreement for Mac OS prohibits third-party installations of the system, the company is infringing on Apple’s copyright. Psystar has countersued, accusing Apple of anticompetitive practices, monopolistic behavior and copyright misuse.

Mac OS X Leopard, the successor to the Tiger that was introduced in 2007, is the only operating system that is compatible with the iPhone development platform.

RussianMac notes that all of its computers are “adapted” for Mac OS X Leopard, without clear elaboration of the situation, other than that “software designed for OS X Leopard works flawlessly” on its computers.

Just woooooooooooooooow....

Saturday, May 23, 2009

"Why Linux Is Not (Yet) Ready for the Desktop"

Published-May 18, 2009
By Thom Holwerda

We all know them. We all hate them. They are generally overdone, completely biased, or so vague they border on the edge of pointlessness (or toppled over said edge). Yes, I'm talking about those "Is Linux ready for the desktop" articles. Still, this one is different.

Instead of some vague exposition of why Linux on the desktop sucks (which almost always comes down to: "it does things differently from Windows"), this article presents a very simple and clear list of things that are currently lacking or underperforming in the desktop Linux world. No vague idealistic nonsense, just a simple, to-the-point list of what's wrong with desktop Linux, and what needs fixing.

Written between April 30 and May 18 2009, the document "discusses Linux deficiencies", however, "everyone should keep in mind that there are areas where Linux has excelled other OSs". The author also adds that "a primary target of this comparison is Windows."

While most of the items on the list are fairly accurate and reasonable, there are a few things on there that seem debatable in my eyes. For instance, the note about Gtk+ and QT being unstable is not something I've personally experienced - to me, it appears that some applications are simply unstable without it having anything to do with the toolkits. I'm also not sure if bringing up Win32 as an example of a good API is such a wise idea.

The codec complaint is also an interesting one. The author states that there is a "questionable patents and legality status" on Linux (when it comes to some codecs, that is). It goes on to say that "US Linux users cannot play many popular audio and video formats until they purchase appropriate codecs." I live in The Netherlands, so the DMCA can bugger right off into an abyss - I will install whatever codecs I need on Linux, "clean" or otherwise. No need for me to pay for anything, and I doubt any American Linux users care all that much about the DMCA either.

The list is filled with other interesting items, and I'm sure many Linux users here will be able to counter other points as well. As a result, use this opportunity to discuss the current state of Linux on the desktop (eh...), and of course also maybe introduce some projects or initiatives that might address some of the concerns on this list.


Laptops, computers stolen from two schools

Posted to Web: Monday, May 18, 2009 11:28PM
Appeared in print: Tuesday, May 19, 2009, page A7
By Jack Moran
The Register-Guard

Dozens of Eugene elementary students were forced to “unplug” Monday, after thieves broke into buildings on two campuses over the weekend and stole about 100 laptop computers and other electronic items worth more than $100,000.

Police ask anyone with information about the burglaries at Howard and at the campus housing both Harris and Eastside Alternative elementary schools to call 682-5171.

The Eugene School District is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever is responsible for the crimes.

At both campuses — which are situated several miles apart on opposite ends of Eugene — intruders shattered windows to crawl inside school buildings.

The burglars took about 95 Macintosh laptops from five first- and third-grade classrooms at Howard, located in north Eugene off River Road, at 700 Howard Ave.

Police said about a dozen more computers were stolen from the Harris-Eastside campus, located at 1150 E. 29th Ave. in south Eugene.

“We don’t know if the break-ins are connected,” Eugene School District spokeswoman Kerry Delf said. “These two schools are way across town from each other.”

Delf said a staff member at Harris-Eastside arrived at school Saturday to find that someone had broken into a building there.

The Howard burglary wasn’t noticed until Monday morning, Delf said.

The Howard thefts were particularly frustrating — not only because of the number of computers stolen, but because Howard is a “technology immersion” school where every student in first through fifth grade is issued their own laptop.

“It was a little bit overwhelming (Monday) morning,” Howard Principal Kim Finch said. “Our teachers had to adjust their lesson plans, which are based around (students’ use of) laptops.”

Finch said many Howard students don’t have computers at home, and that it is a “top priority” to get new laptops for students if the stolen ones aren’t recovered.

She said it’s unclear if the district’s theft insurance will cover the entire cost.

“The last thing any of us need with the budget crunch is to purchase new equipment,” Finch said. “On the other hand, this is something that is very important for our students and our staff.”

All of the stolen laptops are tagged with school district identification numbers, police spokeswoman Jenna LaBounty said.

Anyone thinking about purchasing a used computer can call police at 682-5115 to check its serial number to determine if it has been stolen, LaBounty said.

The weekend break-ins are the latest — and most significant — in a series of property crimes this year in which Eugene schools have been targeted.

In January, school district officials spent several thousand dollars to make repairs after metal thieves cut and stole a section of underground wiring that powered the lights at Cal Young Middle School’s athletic fields in north Eugene.

Later that month, a 13-year-old boy was arrested for lighting fires in three boys’ restrooms at Roosevelt Middle School, causing at least $2,500 in damage.

And nearly $10,000 in damage was done to Kennedy Middle School in January by vandals who damaged the school’s main circuit breaker and other electrical equipment.

It does look like an inside job....

Symantec, McAfee target iPhone for new products

Published- May 18, 2009
By Jim Dalrymple

Security companies Symantec and McAfee will be the latest big-name developers to make products for Apple's iPhone, as the two look to cash in on the popularity of the device.

Speaking to Reuters, McAfee CEO Dave DeWalt said his company is developing security software for the iPhone, though no other details on the product were provided. DeWalt also said the company is working on a "much more comprehensive suite for the Apple family."

Symantec is throwing its hat into the iPhone ring too, but it won't be developing traditional security software. Instead, Symantec is looking at a backup service that would give people access to files stored on their computers or on the Web.

The service sounds a bit like Apple's own MobileMe service, which stores data in the cloud. But it's unclear whether Symantec will offer the same type of data syncing available from Apple.

Symantec Senior Vice President Rowan Trollope told Reuters that his company has no immediate plans to introduce security products for the iPhone.

Neither company gave a time frame for the release of products.
Originally posted at Apple

This would be a big help for the companies...

Russian clone-maker the latest to take on Apple

Published- May 20, 2009
By Jim Dalrymple

RussianMac is the latest company to release a Mac clone and test Apple's resolve to stop companies from selling its operating system.

On its Web site, RussianMac says that a full version of Mac OS X Leopard comes pre-installed on its computers. The company also confirms that the operating system is able to receive automatic system updates from Apple once installed.

This is where Apple seems to have the clone-makers over a barrel. Apple's Mac OS X End User License Agreement (EULA) clearly forbids anyone from installing the software on hardware not sold by Apple. This effectively closes the door on companies determined to make a Mac clone.

However, RussianMac maintains that it does not violate the terms of the EULA agreement because the operating system was purchased directly from Apple. That still doesn't get around the condition of installing it on an Apple-branded machine.

Legit or not, it is a popular argument. Germany-based PearC is using that defense to sell Mac clone computers in that country.

Of course, in the U.S., Psystar is the case everyone has heard about. The company first made headlines in April 2008 when it released its first Mac clone with Mac OS X pre-installed.

Apple filed a lawsuit against Psystar in July 2008, claiming the company was violating copyright and software licensing agreements.

The legal battle is ongoing between Psystar and Apple. The two are set to meet in court on November 9. Most legal experts expect Apple to ultimately prevail in the case.

Because the laws in each country are different, it's unclear whether Apple could be successful in Russia or Germany.

Time will be the judge for its success

Apple working to fix browser security flaw in Mac

Published- May 21 2009
By Connie Guglielmo

Apple said it’s working to fix a security flaw in its Macintosh operating system software that may allow malicious programs to attack Mac computers as users browse the Web.

A flaw in the Java software in Mac OS X lets hackers plant malicious code on Web sites that can be used to access and attack Apple’s computers, according to an advisory from Intego, a maker of security software for the Mac. Mac users can pick up the code merely by visiting infected sites, Intego said.

“We are aware of the issue and we are working on a fix,” said Monica Sarkar, a spokeswoman for Apple. She declined to provide further details.

Intego said Apple has been aware of the problem for at least five months. While it hasn’t found any malicious programs that take advantage of the problem, Intego said “publicity around this vulnerability will mean that hackers are likely to attempt to exploit it quickly before Apple issues an update.”

Java, a program developed by Sun Microsystems that is included in most Web browsers, should be disabled, Intego said.

Apple, based in Cupertino, California, fell $1.58 to $125.87 at 4 p.m. New York time in Nasdaq Stock Market trading. The stock has gained 48 percent this year. (Bloomberg)

A good decision....