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January 27, 2009

Quick Takes

The flu is a terrible thing.  Even though you stop, the world around you does not.  Let's catch up with what's been going on.

The Senate approved a delay in the DTV transition from the current date of February 17th to June 12th.  No more after this, they promise.  The House is expected to vote soon one this.  The coupon rollout was difficult as they were hard to come by, and they expired before people got around to buying the converter box.  Then there was the confusion of whether the box was enough.  No, converter boxes and digital televisions need an antenna to capture a signal coming over the air.  Moreover, the signal footprints turned out to be different as well.  Digital signals don't go as far as their analog cousins.  Some people on the fringe of a signal area discovered they couldn't get a clear reception in DTV land.  Not ready?  Will these five months make any difference?  We'll see.

Speaking of Congress, Rep. Peter King (R-NY) is sponsoring the Camera Phone Predator Alert Act.  It would require a phone to make an audible click when taking a picture.  The purpose is to, what else, save the children, by alerting them and their caretakers that a camera is in use.  Laudable, of course.  But are there other consequences?  Like alerting renegade cops that they are being photographed when beating the snot out of someone?  (Not that that happens very often).  And what about video?  Even cameras that shoot video do so silently.  Wouldn't someone who takes pictures of people in locker rooms or bathrooms rather have the video.  One can make stills from these.  It's not that Rep. King doesn't have a problem to solve.  It's that adding a click to a camera phone probably isn't going to accomplish what he wants.

And what, Microsoft is in trouble with the European Union again?  For bundling Internet Explorer with Windows?  Didn't we go through this sometime, somewhere.  Brad Smith must be rolling his eyes over this one.  The culprit here seems to be Google, who hold about a 1. something market share for Chrome, around that of Opera.  Everybody loves Opera but hardly anyone uses it.  Google has been rumored to be whispering in the EU Commission's ears about Microsoft and browser competition.  The new modular Windows 7 might be better able to handle a de-coupling of code compared to XP and Vista.  OEMs may be offering alternative browsers with a new Windows machine, though they can do that already in the United States.  It's just that here OEMs sell that desktop real estate.  They may not be too thrilled to do the same in Europe for free.  It looks as if Microsoft and the EU may provide us with more entertainment over the course of the next several months.  More from Computerworld and the BBC.  [MG]

January 27, 2009 | Permalink

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