RossCode Weekly #049

posted on 05/26/06 at 06:21:14 pm by Joel Ross

RossCode Weekly #049?- 05.26.2006

I'm liking the new format more and more. It's much less time to write than the old way - before about RCW 20 - and I cut out the recording time and post-production. Overall, it's much more maintainable than the past, which means I shouldn't have any trouble keeping it going. In post podcast days, it was almost dropped because it took almost 4 hours to write up, and during the podcast days, it was almost dropped repeatedly because I just lost the desire to record (not to mention finding a hour of quiet in a house with two kids under 4). Now, production time is down to about an hour, and there's no post anything. Much better.

But that's my side. Do you like the format? Understanding that audio isn't coming back, what's the best format for this? Did you like just a pure link dump with no explaination? The short notes that I did while I couldn't speak for more than 10 seconds without coughing? Or is this perfect? Let me know. I'd love to make it the best it can be.

Subscribe to RossCode Weekly?- In case you were wondering, this link gets you just the RCW posts, so if that's all you're coming for, then this is the feed for you.

Previously From RCW
C|NET's tech news goes live on TiVo?- It's been rumored for a while, and is finally here. It's also available on to Cox cable companies. As expected, Best Buy is their premiere sponsor.
Two episodes of 24 now available on MySpace?- You can get the inaugural episode and Day 5's season premiere for free right now. You can download or stream, and it's all brought to you by Burger King. Eventuallly more will be available, but for $1.99.

News & Views
Commerce Server 2007 RC1 released?- This was CS 2006, but oddly, it's becoming CS 2007, even though the schedule is still on track to be released in June, with general availability in August (Is that when we'll see the boxes in Best Buy??). It's built on ASP.NET 2.0, and there's a ton of new features - hopefully it's a whole lot better than CS 2002, which was basically a toolkit to use. There's no Starter Site yet - that won't come until RTM, so you're on your own!
SQL Intellisense for free?- if you're a developer, then this will be interesting to you. Red Gate, makers of a few awesome pieces of software (although pricey for the little guy), is releasing SQLPrompt for free. What is SQLPrompt? It gives you intellisense for SQL queries in a wide range of Microsoft products. I've installed it, and it's awesome!
Microsoft released beta 2 of Office, Vista?- Both set out at WinHEC I believe. Office 2007 has been downloaded over 500,000 times in the past week?- and that's from the public site. Not sure if that includes MSDN (where I got it from) or not. Windows Server "Longhorn" beta 2 was also released, which was less than touted, but still a huge milestone in my mind.
WinFX beta 2 Go-Live license available?- at the same time as Vista beta 2 being released, WinFX beta 2 run-time components were also released, but it comes with a go-live license, meaning you can use it in production now.
Patent reform in the works? It's still deep in Senate committees, but something may come of it - the patent system is broken, and finally, the leaders are starting to realize that. The biggest agreement seems to be that challenging new patents should be easier - and necessary to avoid expensive litigation down the line. Given that a lot of Senators are (former) attornees, that could be a hard sell.
Amazon offering some books online?- if you buy a paperback on Amazon, you can use the Amazon Reader to read the book online for an additional charge. The reader also allows you to interact with the book ("So, how you doin'?") - you can highlight, bookmark, note, tag, copy and print parts of the book. redesigned?- and without the drama of TechCrunch's redesign! It's added a hotlist on the homepage, which shows what the most popular links are at the moment. But don't worry - they didn't go crazy. It's still simple, which is what's so appealing about thier site.
Amazon Grocery launches?- It contains non-perishable items, and it also includes Shopping Lists, where you can set up repeat purchases.

The Cold Wars
Google launches video ads?- Google has been experimenting with video ads for a few months now, but it looks like they are ready to take it to the masses. The ads will be unobtrusive, as you have to click on it to actually play it. Not everyone thinks it's going to be successful - one reason being that Google doesn't even plan to use them on their own sites. Another? Clicking on the ad (which results in payments due) doesn't actually take you to the site - it just shows the video. There's others, but the thought is that it's going to be too expensive to produce ads for a relatively low ROI.
Vonage has IPO?- Initial pricing set at $18, and it didn't do good early on. I think the announcement from Skype (free US calls) was beautifully timed (for Skype, not Vonage) and people were cautious. Not to mention that Vonage hasn't been the most stable company (financially) in the past.
Gizmo Project hits 2.0?- If you don't know about the Gizmo Project, it's basically a standards-based Skype. More proof that the best technology doesn't always win. Anyway, 2.0 adds support to hook up to Asterisk, an open source PBX software package. PBX is what allows large phone systems to connect to the normal phone network, so this means you can easily hook up Gizmo to work with land line numbers And since it is standards-based, it also works with other SIP-based services.
TiVo seeks EchoStar DVR injunction?- Not surprisingly, after whooping EchoStar in court, TiVo wants courts to enforce their victory, and force EchoStar to stop selling DVRs - "Each day EchoStar is allowed to continue it's infringement, EchoStar takes subscribers that would otherwise be TiVos'" Yeah, maybe. It's a great argument in court.
Microsoft boosts mapping features?- They've added real-time traffic data for some areas, Outlook integration and better scratch pad support. to Windows Live Local service. They've also added ways to share pishpins and some other info (called Collections). Oh yeah, if you're in the UK, then you also can now get the birds-eye view.
Networks sue Cablevision?- In a shocking move, the TV networks are suing Cablevision for thier online DVR plans. Oh wait. It's not shocking at all - the only shocking part is that it took this long. The only downfall for TV networks here is that the DVR service isn't any different than having the DVR in your home - it's just a different location for the drive. Users still have to have picked the show to record - so it's not a truly on-demand service as the networks claim. I bet all cable companies are watching this one intently to see how it turns out.
Microsoft shows off Windows Media Photo?- In what appears to be Microsoft fixing something that isn't broken, they've come up with a new photo format to rival JPEG. On the surface it sounds good - it's better quality than JPEG, and smaller. But JPEG is designed for web use, where quality isn't a top concern. Where quality is a concern, most pros use RAW, which you're not going to get anything better. Hard drive space is cheap, so size really doesn't matter. So what's the point? Well, while not explicity mentioned, most likely it'll be the DRM - being able to protect your photos from unauthorized use.
Nintendo releases some Wii details?- Not a ton of details, but release is said to be Q4 this year, and will not exceed $250 in the US. 6,000,000 units are planned for launch, with over 17,000,000 games?- but no, that does not mean 17,000,000 unique games!
XBox 360 Dashboard to be upgraded?- There's a few new features - the main one being that if you're downloading content, it'll pause if you start to play an online game, so it doesn't affect performance. Not all features are known - these were gleamed from new KB articles released by Microsoft.
Yahoo and eBay team up?- They are looking to compete with Google. Here's what Yahoo gets: access to PayPal and Skype, to be used in a Click-To-Call scenario, and placement on the eBay toolbar. eBay gets ads from Yahoo and part of it's search marketing business. This should squelch some of the Yahoo acquisition rumors (by Microsoft), which for some reason had resurfaced recently.
Judiciary Committee approves net neurtrality?- It doesn't mean it's law, but it's closer. It will go before Congress, but has?a competing bill from the Commerce Committee. Promising though, is that it had bipartisan support coming out of the committee. If you're unfamiliar with net nuetrality, you should do your best to find out more about it. It's a very important issue, and one that could have long lasting impacts on the net as a whole. Basically, net nuetrality would prevent ISPs from charging service providers for prioritizing their traffic.
Dell and Google, sitting in a tree?- I can't believe I just wrote that! Anyway, Dell will be installing some Google software on their new machines, and will change the default search provider in IE to be google (wait - I thought that was too hard, and Microft had to be sued to do that!). Apparently, Google outbid Microsoft for this right, and it was possibly a $1,000,000,000 auction.

The Grapevine
Yahoo acquires Technorati? File this under recurring rumors. It's been a few days since this was talked about, so unless both sides are being very quiet about this, it's probably not true. It's also based on a very weak argument - an error page from Technorati that appears to be generated by Yahoo. Like I said, pretty weak.
Microsoft sets final pricing for Vista? This probably isn't accurate - Ultimate costs less than a few of the other SKUs, but it does potentially give a range of pricing for us to prepare for. Home Premium is set to be about $500. Ouch.
Microsoft in talks to buy Softricity? Softricity is a Boston-based company that makes virtualization software, and it's said to be in the final stages of negotiations.
Sony to drop low-end PS3 from UK launch? Basically, the head of Sony UK said that the lower end model just wasn't going to work very well in the UK, so it's "more likely that we will only launch the 60GB [high end] version". And in the UK - launch price for that is equivalent to $800 US dollars.
Windows Vista delayed again? I'm putting this under rumor, because so far it's just been speculation based on different speeches, but we'll see what happens. It does sound like Vista Server is going to be delayed, though. The reason for the rumors? Ballmer said "we think we are on track for shipping early in [2007]." But then adds that feedback could change that. So, like I said - speculation. On the other hand, it's a good way to grease the skids for a?later delay announcement.
Windows Live Mobile client in the works?- Microsoft is said to be working on a mobile client that would integrate with some of their Live initiatives. No details yet, but you can bet that one will IM capabilities. I'd also be fairly confident to put my money on mail and maps. It's still early, but there's?a beta application out there if you're interested. Now, if the beta came with a windows mobile 5.0 device, I'd be interested!

Odds & Ends

Bonehead of the Week
O'Reilly sends C&D to non-profit conference?- O'Reilly has a trademark on "Web 2.0" apparently (actually pending), and say they don't want it used in the name of any conference. Rather than going to Tom Raftery directly, they get lawyers involved, taking things overboard. Now, if they have a trademark, that's fine - but handle it the right way - and again, I'm not talking laws here. The blogosphere is ripping Tim O'Reilly and the whole O'Reilly family for hiding behind lawyers and using legalese to explain away their decision. The best part? Tom asked Tim to speak at the conference - and Tim never said anything about not using Web 2.0- at that time.

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