Monday, April 26, 2010


The Biggest Apple Leak Ever

A part of me hates giving this story more press than it already has because it's kind of blown out of proportion at this point, but the fact remains that this is a pretty historical event. Apple is an extremely secretive company and this is probably the biggest leak in its history. This is one of the biggest leaks in technology in a very long time (possibly ever) precisely because of Apple's often criticized techniques for keeping things under wraps.

What am I talking about? In a nutshell, a guy found the next iPhone in a bar and sold it to Gizmodo for $15,000. It's highly reliable given that Apple has asked for it back. Some people think this was cleverly orchestrated, but this is not the time Apple wants people to know about the new iPhone. Aside from cannibalizing sales in the short term, it deprives them of being able to jump start Apple interest at a time when it's likely to be low in the middle of the summer when the honeymoon with the iPad is over.

Briefly: much like the last iPhone update, there's not a whole lot here to get excited about. It follows in the footsteps of some ideas from the Nexus One, like a secondary mic, it has flash on the camera, probably better battery life (bigger battery), and it has a front facing camera. Any updates to the OS are still a mystery since Apple bricked it once they found out it was missing, but there's probably some interesting software there for at least video conferencing.

Given that Apple fired a guy for showing Steve Wozniak the iPad for 2 minutes before its release, it's surprising that they let this guy walk off the campus with this device. At the center of all this is a big debate about if Gizmodo is in the wrong here. They purchased a device that they knew didn't belong to the guy selling it and then offered to return it after posting all its details. To top it off, they exposed the guy who lost the phone and he's literally become infamous overnight shooting up on Google's most searched terms. Should they have exposed him?

I'm pretty sure that Gizmodo is actually in the clear here. I believe they're protected from being responsible for buying stolen merchandise and they did eventually try to find its rightful owner (Apple). Should they have broken the story? They feel that they had a journalistic responsibility to do so. As dirty as the situation seems, I think I kind of agree with them. Much like a corporation has to do what's in the best interests of shareholders, even if it's unpopular, a news organization must not withhold valuable information from its audiences. Of course, they've destroyed their relationship with Apple and may have ruined the career of the guy who leaked the phone. Even though it looks like Apple hasn't fired him given that Gizmodo has exposed who he is, any time he goes to apply for another job he'll always be known as the guy who lost a giant trade secret. I personally don't think they had the right to make the decision to reveal who he was. If the guy asked them to to protect him, then I think that'd be fine. They took it upon themselves though to make that call and really squeezed everything they could out of the story, so I thought that was kind of sleazy. Given that Gizmodo was banned from CES for using a TV blaster remote on the show floor, I don't know that this really does wonders for their reputation.

Things took a really interesting turn on Friday when one of Gizmodo's reporters had his house searched by the cops. According to Gawker's COO, this was an invalid search warrant, but no update on whether he got the stuff back that was confiscated during the search. I'm still unclear on what they thought they'd find by doing the search, but I'm sure we'll hear more than we need to hear about this as the week wears on.

Hitler Parody Videos Taken Down

They actually weren't taken down for why you may think - they were taken down for copyright violation. There was a pretty big meme on YouTube where people took a climactic scene from Downfall, the foreign film depicting the final days of the Third Reich, and added their own subtitles. Someone from the EFF actually made their own parody video portraying the producer of the movie as Hitler. It is kind of funny and tragic since they're being oppressive about fair use regarding a movie telling the story of the world's most infamous oppressor. It's definitely worth checking out and is another gentle reminder that fair use is still an implicit right granted in spite of the DMCA.

Paid Hulu Service

Amidst modest revenues compared to what NBC, News Corp, and Disney would like, Hulu is giving a paid model a shot. For $10 a month they're going to add the ability for you to watch episodes older than the last 5 for its shows for $10 a month. I think this would be a great idea if they were to also get more television shows in the process. With its current lineup though, I just don't see them making any money. Especially given that Netflix already has plenty of shows on DVD plus movies that you can rent from them for the same price (but obviously not all of that is available for streaming). I think it'll be a great experiment since they're not going to be taking away from what people get for free right now. If it'll get more companies to come to the table and let Hulu serve their content then I hope it works out.

Palm Loses Another Exec

I still feel bad for Palm. Even though they developed a great product in the Pre and botched its launch, they're still a worthy adversary to Apple and it's too bad that they're still lagging so far behind. They lost another executive last week (their VP of carrier marketing) and investor confidence continues to dwindle. The CEO made an appearance at the developer's conference Palm was running last week to combat rumors that he was going to step down. Good to see that someone is still sticking through things in senior leadership.

ACTA Made Partially Public

I haven't spoken nearly enough about the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), but it's a very important issue to be aware of. In a nutshell, it's an agreement being negotiated amongst multiple countries in secret with the purpose of creating international standards for conterfeiting. The problem is that it's negotiated in secret and has had leaks of very predatory clauses, like 3 strikes where 3 accusations of digital theft, whether founded or not, could result in you not being able to ever get Internet access again. Fortunately, it has backed away from this provision.

In being made public we've discovered that it threatens to remove ISPs' safe harbor protection (i.e. protection from liability from illegal activity they're not aware of) if they don't actively police their customers. The EFF has posted their preliminary analysis and it's actually a pretty thorough breakdown of exactly what's wrong with it. It's definitely not good that it contradicts American laws and strengthens the DMCA. This is definitely the kind of issue to write to your congressman about - it could really hurt people that don't intentionally break copyright law or even people that are totally innocent. It's gestapo justice for content creators.

Microsoft Losing Money on Bing

Microsoft revealed a pretty good Q1 because of Windows 7, but saw net losses at over $700 million in its online services division, which focuses on online advertising and Bing. Even though Bing has grown, it's taking market share from Yahoo instead of Google, which isn't quite what Microsoft wanted. I was recently in a short discussion with someone about whether Bing makes sense. They argued that Microsoft should innovate instead of trying to compete where there's already a good solution. The point of our economy is to challenge good solutions to get better and better through competition. Google is a very real threat to Microsoft's online future, which is going to be very important to Microsoft as the trend continues against shrink wrap software. They definitely need a strong online brand so I respect them sticking it out with Bing, but I'm also hoping they have a strategy to cut these huge losses in the long term.

Closing Stories

I was on pager duty last night so I'm now at the point of my eyes involuntarily closing on me. Last week happened to be a big news week, but there are some stories that I don't want to close without mentioning.

Apple filed a patent for what looks like a way to buy digital concert tickets via iTunes. Not tremendously creative, but definitely makes sense for Apple.

Engadget received a leak that Dell is developing a phone known as Lightning on Windows Phone 7 for release in Q4. It has a Snapdragon processor, a 4.1" OLED screen, full Flash support, all the standard iPhone gadgets (accelerometer, compass, GPS), and, oddly enough, FM radio. What's with Zunes and FM Radio (I know it's not a Zune, but similar UI). Oh, and it actually looks nice:

Why are more computer science students caught cheating than in other disciplines? Better technology. Theoretically, that means there are more honest software developers out there than most other industries. I kind of hope that isn't true though, especially with things like building airplanes or practicing medicine.

If you use Windows 7, you must read this article from Maximum PC listing really useful tips and easter eggs in Windows 7. I learned a few nifty things from it, my favorites being the magnifying glass and the multiple-monitor settings.

Office 2010 is finally RTM!

Mashable has a couple of really cool videos showing off Ford Sync's integration with Android and Blackberry applications. It gave me one of those "wow the future is now" moments, as corny as that sounds.

We're running out of IP addresses!

Amazon isn't selling out people to North Carolina tax collectors. Just a heart-warming story to end with.

Stay dry this week, everyone!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Kin: Microsoft's Side Pot

The Phone Born from a Buzz Word

Yesterday had a few pretty big story, but the biggest one (and I thought most unexpected) was Microsoft's announcement of the Kin phone. Up until last week, it looked like Microsoft was putting all its mobile eggs in one basket with Windows Phone 7 Series (they direly need to shorten that), due out this winter. However, it appears that they have a side pot going on with a social networking phone known simply as "Kin" (a much better name). The handsets are made by Sharp (kind of an odd choice, but ok) and are due out this fall. Given that Palm announced the Pre last year so far in advance to less-than-stellar sales, I'm a little surprised by their early announcement. My guess is that they're trying to preempt the possibility of new iPhone hardware this summer.

Despite the skepticism I've already given you here, I think this phone really does have a lot going for it. The videos I've seen for it are wonderful. I really hope they go with that format of marketing moving forward. It seems to share a number of ideas from Windows Phone 7 Series, like Kin Loop, which is a live stream of all your social networking sites. The camera software also feels familiar from our impressions of Windows Phone 7 Series demos. What is new, and somewhat of a game changer, is Kin Studio. I think this is a pretty exciting feature and so obvious that it seems silly to not already exist. It's basically cloud storage for everything on your device (including pictures and other media, unlike Palm webOS) that you can access yourself from any web browser and do things you'd normally do on your phone, like share photos with friends and stuff. It even has a time line of snapshots of your phone. It reminds me a bit of when TiVo first came out with online scheduling and blew everyone away who had been chained to their living room. I don't think it'll be as revolutionary as that, but still very neat.

There's another added feature that's much more interesting to me called Kin Spot. If you remember seeing leaked videos of Microsoft Courier concepts you'll recall that it was like a booklet tablet where the middle of the two sides was an area for clipping items temporarily. The fact that the Kin features something almost identical but calls it "Kin Spot" provides a rather strong case for the reliability of the Courier leaks. It's basically copy/paste but really souped up and dynamic and it supports holding on to multiple items at a time.

There are some hurdles for Kin though. As I mentioned earlier, the time line for its release is a big concern. Putting your cards on the table like this in an industry that is now producing pretty big phones on a regular basis is a fairly big risk. The fact that they're marketing it totally independent of Windows Phone 7 and as a "feature phone" instead of a smartphone is really odd. What does this mean? Well, no app store for one thing. Think more like the Sidekick instead or the Motorola phones from way back when like the Razr. Putting Kin Studio only on these two phones and not on Windows Phone 7 just makes the confusion worse.

I want to be excited for Kin because it has so much going for it, but it definitely has a few big drawbacks and so we'll have to wait and see how things shake out.

Opera Mini Hits the App Store

This isn't a story I've talked about at all because I wrote it off like a lot of other people did. Apple has a pretty strict policy against allowing apps on the iPhone that duplicate existing functionality, hence there not being a Google Voice application available (which was a big fuss last year). So when Opera made an announcement about Opera Mini being submitted to the app store and was vocally confident about getting accepted, there was a collective snicker from the tech media. In the end though, they had the last laugh since it's now available to download from the app store. Not only that, but it was the number one free app download worldwide.

It looks like Apple was willing to forgive the fact that it kind of duplicates Safari's functionality in that it's another web browser. However, it supports tabbing, which may play into their strategy of muti-tasking in iPhone OS 4. It looks to be a pretty nice application with creative technologies at place for making web browsing faster and snappier than the already slick Safari browser that comes standard.

Stop the Madness, Steve

It wasn't all positive press for Apple last week (someone should graphically compare the balance of good and bad press for Apple now versus Microsoft like 10-20 years ago). An extremely controversial change was made last week to the iPhone OS Terms of Service to require applications to be written in Objective C, C++, C, or Javascript. This was such a huge blow to developers, especially those holding out hope for Flash on the iPhone, that a pretty big petition was started up urging Steve Jobs to reconsider. Jobs even responded to it.

When you dissect the decision, as John Gruber has, it actually seems pretty consistent with Apple's policies from the inception of the iPhone. Their competitive advantage isn't an open sandbox for everyone to play in like Android, but rather a carefully controlled environment where they believe they can guarantee a rich experience for all users and they completely own all technical aspects of that experience. Allowing middleware on top of the libraries they provide hurts their control and could allow a third party software company to have a frightening amount of control over the app ecosystem. Whether or not these concerns are valid or not, it's something that you have to accept with the iPhone platform. If you don't like it, go to Android of Palm webOS.

Please DO Change Your Password

I have to take a moment to respond to this article because it pissed me off a little bit. It's irresponsible for such a big news site to recommend that people not change your password because a stupid study says it's probably not going to help them. It warns of one particular type of attack, a replay attack (which is not viable for sites with SSL), and claims that changing your password doesn't protect you from this type of attack. News flash: you can never be 100% secure and so you have to employ a number of techniques to achieve the highest level of security. The article at least encourages people to come up with strong passwords that aren't derived from dictionary words, but I think they key is to understand that changing your password can help for your most important sites (like financial sites), but only if you pick good alternatives.

Closing Stories

I'm pretty drained so let's wrap things up.

Palm is officially up for sale. This is no surprise to most people, but I'm sad to see this since Palm effectively invented the smartphone and made a really good effort with the Palm Pre.

A really shocking report came out last week from the National Labor Committee going into detail about factory conditions in China for a factory used by Microsoft, HP, Logitech, LG, Acer, and others. Hopefully it will motivate more and more people to fight for the rights of these workers.

Twitter is trying to make money with promoted tweets.

Intel reported its best Q1 results ever despite seeing a drop in sales from Q4 (it was just a much lower one than usual).

Amazon has launched a shortened URL service, powered by, to help people link to products.

This is a great list of open source programs for Windows from Test Freaks. I highly recommend reading over it.

If you're a Google fiend then you'll want to be sure to take stock of these tips.

Have a great week everyone!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Comcast Suckerpunches the FCC

Federal Appeals Court Rules Against the FCC

In case you don't know anything about the net neutrality battle, there's a great video made by yours truly here that will give you a good background on it. Basically, it's the idea that the ISPs shouldn't prioritize data from one website over another - the Internet should be neutral so that all websites are on an even playing field. The FCC, whom I agree with, believe that violating this would really hurt people's ability to access the content of their choice, but they've been slugging it out with Comcast over this for a while now and now a federal appeals court has ruled in Comcast's favor claiming that the FCC is overreaching in trying to regulate the Internet. There are arguments to made for and against this, but I ultimately don't think we should give ISPs the key to the castle - whether the FCC is the one to intervene or someone else, I believe it's vital to the long-term future of the Internet that innovative websites can grow because their visitors experience the same speeds as big competitors.

I believe the next level of appeal is the Supreme Court, and I'm sure the FCC will want to appeal because this is a key sticking point for Chairman Genachowski. Of course, the Supreme Court could refuse, which would implicitly support the lower appeals court, or they could overturn it and essentially make it legal for the FCC to regulate an ISP's network management practices. It's a really sticky situation because it's definitely unclear whether the FCC has this power but if they don't then who does? Wouldn't it be anti-competitive if companies like Comcast could take advantage of this uneven playing field to drive competition out of the market? They could help foster monopolies on the Internet.

I know I'm just beating a dead horse here, but I'm just trying to make sure people don't forget about this issue, especially when it comes time to pick their congressmen. The future of the Internet really is in our hands, don't let a big corporation convince you otherwise.

iPhone OS 4.0

In a pretty sudden special event (a bit out of character for a company known for being meticulous with these events), Apple finally announced the next iteration of the highly lauded iPhone software. If you don't want to read all the gory details, you can get the short version here. There are a number of new features, but the biggest ones are "multitasking", improved notifications, a totally revamped mail app, the iBooks app from the iPad, an online multiplayer video game network, and support for Bluetooth keyboards.

This is a pretty awesome update for iPhone users, all told. I'm not sold on the multi-tasking one, but the others seem great, especially the improvements to mail and that video game network. They may end up killing Windows Phone 7 out of the gate with an early counter to Xbox Live going mobile. Regarding multi-tasking - I don't think you can have background processes running persistently, I think it's more that you can just save state while the user does something else. The Palm Pre has true multi-tasking where your open cards can do stuff while not in the foreground. You've gotta love the irony (this is common with Apple, so no surprise) that for the longest time they've been lambasting multi-tasking and how much it'll hurt battery life and now they're saying (literally) that it will "change the way you use the iPhone".

You have to appreciate that they're towering over the competition in the US market but they're still working on pretty significant improvements and staying very competitive. They also dedicated a small portion of the event to enterprise users, which is going to have to be a huge growth market to them because they've been losing the battle thus far to the corporate favorite: RIM.

One thing they mentioned that hasn't gotten a whole lot of attention is their mobile advertising platform: iAd. This is them really locking horns with Google and adds another element to their already complicated love/hate relationship with Google. Between this and the growth of Android though, things are definitely heating up between the two giants. The platform will allow iPhone app developers to let Apple vend ads on their apps directly and collect a tidy 60% of those revenues. I think it's definitely a fair bit of competition to Google, especially considering that Android doesn't have anything comparable in its platform.

HP Slate Leak

Poor HP. Poor, confused HP. Engadget got a leaked memo from inside HP comparing the forthcoming HP Slate to the iPad and comparing its strengths to the iPad's threats. The real takeaway here is that it only really compares hardware. That's the problem with pitting a hardware company against a company that focuses on software but happens to also make hardware. I'm not saying that HP doesn't build software, but it's certainly not their bread and butter. They don't have an iPhone OS. They're missing the intangibles in their comparison. They don't take into account things like brand or ease-of-use or the fact that they don't have a release date and have virtually no press coverage legitimizing their product. While the iPad had a lot of negative coverage, it got people talking about it and considering it, and that's what's been driving its sales. What's going to drive people to buy a Slate, especially at a higher price than the iPad? Windows 7 is great and has been improved for touchscreen devices, but it may be too late for the HP Slate by the time it hits the market. While I think a tablet that can do everything Windows 7 can do is preferable to just a souped up iPhone OS, the people buying the iPad seem to really care about the simple user experience the iPad provides. Will they feel the same about the Slate?

This Week in Open Source

Ok, there's not that much open source news, but there are a couple of things worth noting.

WebKit, Apple's open source mobile browser engine, is getting an upgrade to allow for a split process model and a non-blocking API. The former is kind of like with Google Chrome where one bad tab isn't a poison pill that crashes all your tabs. The latter is really just a performance tweak for web developers to take advantage of. It's so exciting when I think back to the days of Blazer on the Palm Treo being the best mobile browser to see evolution like this in the mobile web. I believe that mobile websites are going to become more and more a key component of the Internet, especially with smartphones becomes so prevalent and affordable (though, obviously, we still have a ways to go in market penetration).

Even more interesting: Songbird is no longer going to support Linux in future releases. This is kind of a shocker because it has probably become one of the most popular, if not the most popular, music manager on Linux since its inception just 4 years ago. Given that it's open source, the community could always come forward and work on it, but the official creators of Songbird are focusing on Mac and Windows because they just can't afford to move forward with their Linux version. It is kind of interesting that Linux has received such a beating between Sony nipping it on PS3s and Microsoft no longer supporting it in Enterprise Search, but I don't think this is the beginning of the end for Linux by any means. Linux is a great OS for data centers and software development, and I think it will continue to flourish at least for business uses even if it doesn't gain much headway in people's homes.

Yelp's Advertising Gets Bit

It pains me to speak ill of Yelp because I love the site overall. I use it all the time. However, as much as I try to forget about it, Yelp has had a good amount of press (at least online) for questionable marketing practices in threatening businesses to promote worse reviews if they don't pay Yelp for their services to promote better reviews (and delete bad ones) instead. Amazon does nothing of the source and sorts reviews with a complicated algorithm to better serve customers, but I guess Yelp decided to go a different direction. A Miami lawyer is bringing up a somewhat high-profile case against Yelp and probably really hurting their PR. In response, Yelp has decided to no longer choose hat reviews appear first in its listings, but I'm guessing the lawsuit will continue on to get punitive damages.

The Quickies

Ok, it's been a long day so let's wrap this puppy up.

Unvarnished is a new site (in limited beta) that's akin to slam tables from college. It will allow you to write whatever you want about your co-workers to influence their reputation. I'm afraid that it could get dangerous (i.e. shills and slander), but it's a fascinating concept, to say the least.

Gmail has launched some really cool new labs including Sneak Peek to allow you to preview e-mails via right-click. There are some other features that have come out that I missed, like a preview of your Inobx while it's loading that I missed whenever they came out, so be sure to browse the the list of labs if you use Gmail.

This is a great roundup of the top videos that destroy iPads.

Anyone in IT will want to check out this survey to see how their salary compares to their local market. It's a somewhat biased survey and relies on self-reporting so it's not 100% accurate, but it's probably not a terrible ballpark - especially if you're considering a job in IT somewhere.

I love this Mashable article too much to pass it up - it's all about how Facebook influences how we date and I thought the timing was great given the recent Facebook Southpark episode.

This is a really nifty idea: surround vision. Imagine everyone in your living room having a personal device to look past the edges of your TV for more visual data in a scene. Seeing the little video is believing, but, of course, who knows if it'll end up being practical in the long run.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Perking it Up

Be Wary of Tech Firm Perks
There wasn't a whole lot of news last week, which is good because I have a really full plate this week and need to get into the office early tomorrow. I thought I'd kick off things with this article about tech firms trying to outperk one another in the face of a job market where there's a limited supply of talented software engineers. There is a big difference between a software development engineer and someone who learns how to write code from a book. Even with some industry experience, depending on the company/companies they've worked for they're not necessarily going to be so talented and for these companies it's cheaper to beef up the perks to attract top talent than risk cheaper talent that may end up being harder to maintain in the end. It may seem exuberant in a down economy, but that's the way capitalism works. It's all about supply and demand. There is real value to these perks, too, in how people perceive going to the office. A lot of people seem to drudge through their weekdays whereas at a company where getting a quarterly award means a weekend with a Lamborghini is quite a difference.

However, I'm here to warn you about these jobs. I don't want to name names, but there were companies that were offering awesome perks (tempting to me, for sure) that laid off employees last year. Having perks doesn't indicate job security. The sexy jobs aren't necessarily the best horses to bet on. I don't want to discourage folks to take calculated risks in joining startups, but I think it can be misleading to be pitched on all these great benefits only to have them later taken away when the economy goes into another recession. It's important to ask yourself this question: if the only compensation I received at my job was my base salary (with any cash and stock bonuses) and health benefits (I'm including medical, dental, and vision here), would I be happy with what I do? Let's assume that the culture for the most part stayed the same also, you just didn't have free yoga twice a week. Do you do your job for the perks or for the work you actually do? I think if you pick with your heart what you'd really like to do then you're on more solid ground. I think it makes sense to also consider a workplace with job stability if you have a mortgage or a family, too, but I don't think all the recruiter-speak should be what sells you on a job. Now that the CS job market is heating up, caveat emptor is more or less in full effect for those of you looking for a job or looking to switch jobs.

The iPad is Out

The iPad has now been officially released. A few reviews came out last week with one of the most glowing ones coming from PC Magazine. Their review was so positive that it almost seemed like the reviewer was already really positively inclined for the iPad and was willing to belittle some of the big drawbacks. And, granted I'm biased for the Kindle, I thought they were a bit dismissive of the Kindle in the wake of the iPad when the two are completely different devices. I'm sure that it's a great device for what it is, but I think value should be a consideration in a review, as well as the lack of major things like Flash. Still, the mixed reception may indicate that it's not going to be the flop it was predicted to be.

Gizmodo has also been doing its best to review as many apps as it can and it looks like there's some really good stuff out there.

Google Blocked in China

Google's saga with China may have finally met its end. Google stopped censored off and on for the past couple of months in the wake of an attack from a Chinese computer that was at a university but the US government believes was a cover for an implicitly sanctioned cyber attack. Now, the Chinese government has blocked Google's Chinese site and damned Google in the media as being co-conspirators with the US government against China. This was in the wake of Google's announcement to move the site offshore and Google has said that they may have to close their sales offices in China. This is pretty serious for Google employees there who could be considered enemies of the state as a result of their relationship with Google. I wonder if the people there wonder that their government's sudden response to this seems odd like maybe Google isn't the one in the wrong, especially since it was such a strong brand in China. Google is giving up a lot of money and potential business if they don't fight back on this, and they may morally decide that it's not worth the money to get back into China. If they do decide this, then kudos to them for having the moral courage to do that.

4G is About Congestion

Ars Technica has a really great article about 4G being a response not to speeds being super slow on mobile devices, but rather the fact that congestion is killing data availability in areas with perfectly good coverage. It's an important point to be made because I've heard people dismiss 4G because they don't think the speed boost is necessary and may hurt battery life on current generation cell phone technology, but we're outgrowing our 3G networks. AT&T is a prime example of that in some of nation's bigger cities. I may be one of the few people who believe in the future of 4G, but I think there's good reason to hope for the best there. Depending on the implementation, 4G is usually more scalable than today's 3G networks, and that's ultimately what we need to sustain growth in our consumption of data. We shouldn't let infrastructure hold back innovation, especially if there's a need for it. It's hard to consider that when 20 years ago we didn't "need" e-mail on-the-go, but the world is ever-evolving. I'd like to think we're mostly evolving for the better.

Windows 7 Market Share Strong

Windows 7's numbers are out for March and it looks like the young OS already has more than 10% of the market. Though XP is still the biggest piece of the pie, Windows 7 is gaining share much more quickly than Vista did and there may not be an end to this growth for a while.

As great as 7 is for most people, it's not without its flaws. According to data compiled from Microsoft's security bulletins last year, 90% of known vulnerabilities in Windows 7 can be fixed by removing admin rights. Though, to be fair, I don't think any OS has admin rights down quite perfectly yet. It's a tough nut to crack in compromising convenience for security.

Windows 7 being the first solid OS release from Microsoft in quite a while may show a change in the times for Microsoft. They're even experimenting with putting Office Starter on new PCs where Microsoft would make money off of people then upgrading to a paid version. I'm not sure what's gained in the paid version from the Starter, but I think it'll be great for lower income families.

Final Notes

Ok, I dragged on a bit longer than I meant to tonight, so time to wrap up.

CNN has a great article explaining why Internet is faster in South Korea than here. It's partially because of their land being less spread out but it's also a result of intense competition, which doesn't exist so much here since we have so many local monopolies (or small oligopolies).

If you're not concerned about your passwords, then read this explanation from LifeHacker on common cracking techniques and maybe you'll re-think your passwords. The key is to seed them all in a way you can remember them but then add things to them to make them unique in a way that wouldn't be too easy to guess.

Google Chat may soon get file transfer!

PC Mag has a really nice roundup of free software in several categories - it's worth taking a quick look for any needs you don't have met.

Last week, I saw John Mayer and Michael Buble in concert. John Mayer was good, but Michael Buble was incredible and well worth the price of admission. I thought I'd close off by sharing one of my favorite parts of the show: his cover of Billie Jean in homage to one of his main inspirations, Michael Jackson: