Monday, May 18, 2009
Another Google Outage
This time, only Google News was affected. It lasted 1.5 hours on Monday morning and is over now. More here.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Google Fails for an Hour for Some
Some of Google's services were unavailable this morning for about 14% of its customers. The problem was attributed to a glitchin its network that sent some of the web traffic through Asia. That caused a bottleneck which slowed down or stopped some of the traffic. The error hasn't been detailed as to how it came about, which might be interesting. A lot of inconvenienced people vented on Twitter. Google fails for a "moment" and the world is lost. The last time this happened to Gmail there was a slew of articles suggesting that we are all too dependent on Google. Systems are not perfect, as anyone who ever worked in an IT shop will tell you. It's unfortunate that these things happen, but they will happen again. Google is responsible enough to keep the interruption down to a minimum, just as would Microsoft, Yahoo, or any other company in the same position.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Craigslist Removing Erotic Ads
Craigslist is removing the erotic services section of the site, but keeping an adult category. Details are in the Chicago Sun-Times.
EU Fines Intel Over Uncompetitive Practices in Chip Sales
Intel is fined a whopping $1.45 Billion for market practices the European Union considers anti-competitive. Specifically, Intel used rebates for its processors with terms that made its customers either reject or restrict the use of AMD processors. The lengthy opinion is not out yet, but summaries released by the EU are available.
From the EU Statement:
Intel awarded major computer manufacturers rebates on condition that they purchased all or almost all of their supplies, at least in certain defined segments, from Intel:
Intel gave rebates to computer manufacturer A from December 2002 to December 2005 conditional on this manufacturer purchasing exclusively Intel CPUs
- Intel gave rebates to computer manufacturer B from November 2002 to May 2005 conditional on this manufacturer purchasing no less than 95% of its CPU needs for its business desktop computers from Intel (the remaining 5% that computer manufacturer B could purchase from rival chip maker AMD was then subject to further restrictive conditions set out below)
- Intel gave rebates to computer manufacturer C from October 2002 to November 2005 conditional on this manufacturer purchasing no less than 80% of its CPU needs for its desktop and notebook computers from Intel
- Intel gave rebates to computer manufacturer D in 2007 conditional on this manufacturer purchasing its CPU needs for its notebook computers exclusively from Intel.
Payments to prevent sales of specific rival products
Intel also interfered directly in the relations between computer manufacturers and AMD. Intel awarded computer manufacturers payments - unrelated to any particular purchases from Intel - on condition that these computer manufacturers postponed or cancelled the launch of specific AMD-based products and/or put restrictions on the distribution of specific AMD-based products. The Commission found that these payments had the potential effect of preventing products for which there was a consumer demand from coming to the market. The Commission found the following specific cases:
For the 5% of computer manufacturer B’s business that was not subject to the conditional rebate outlined above, Intel made further payments to computer manufacturer B provided that this manufacturer :
- sold AMD-based business desktops only to small and medium enterprises
- sold AMD-based business desktops only via direct distribution channels (as opposed to through distributors) and
- postponed the launch of its first AMD-based business desktop in Europe by 6 months.
- Intel made payments to computer manufacturer E provided that this manufacturer postponed the launch of an AMD-based notebook from September 2003 to January 2004.
- Before the conditional rebate to computer manufacturer D outlined above, Intel made payments to this manufacturer provided that it postponed the launch of AMD-based notebooks from September 2006 to the end of 2006.
The statement is here, and comments from Neelie Kroes, European Commissioner for Competition Policy are here. Intel denies the charges and a statement by Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini is here.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Recent DMCA Exemption Hearings Available as MP3s
The Library of Congress held its triennial hearings for copyright exemptions under section 1201 of the DMCA, Rulemaking on Exemptions from Prohibition on Circumvention of Technological Measures that Control Access to Copyrighted Works. The podcasts of each hearing session are here. I'm pretty sure it's legal to download and listen to them despite the presence of of the media industry at the event. [MG]
Monday, May 11, 2009
U Missouri Journalism School Requires an iPhone or iPod Touch
The University of Missouri School of Journalism is requiring students this fall to purchasean iPhone or an iPod touch. This will be the communication device that the school will use to communicate announcements and course materials to students. Forget the Kindle, netbooks, or even a laptop (which a student is likely to own anyway). Coincidentally, or not, the school's Reynolds Journalism Institute has a competition to develop apps for the iPhone/Touch.
Europe Considers Software Warranties
The European Union is considering rules that would extend basic consumer protection guarantees to software and the underlying code. Software vendors are aghast at the idea, including those in the open source environment. More in CNET.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Microsoft Will Play to Google's Ad Dominance in Defending European Browser Complaint
Microsoft is under the gun in the EU because of it's browser share in Europe, somewhere between 65% and 85% of the market. Microsoft is formulating its response to the chargesbrought against it by Opera and joined by other industry competitors. Microsoft is going to argue to the European Union that adding competing browsers to Windows would strengthen Google's hold on the advertising market. There is no doubt that Chrome is optimized for Google services. While Chrome makes using Google easier, would a person who doesn't use Gmail or Google Docs start using them because of Chrome. The browser doesn't serve up ads. It's the sites. What Chrome might do is make it somewhat easier for Google to track online behavior, and that may lead to better ads served up. That's not as direct and argument as Microsoft would like to make, but the reply is still being formulated. Moreover, Chrome is not key to Google's business. It build an impressive lead in the search and online ad business well without a browser, and has a minuscule market share, somewhat slightly larger than Opera, which is nothing but a browser company. Firefox is also a browser only entity, and it seem to do pretty well for itself.
Should Microsoft's competitors succeed and get placement in a new Windows system, they may not get what they want. If Europe wanted Opera, the residents could just as easily download it. Apparently they don't. Increased visibility may raise Opera's market share from minuscule to somewhat minuscule. More likely Firefox would be the biggest beneficiary of desktop placement. We'll see how this plays itself out.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Amazon Announces Kindle DX
The Kindle DX is listedfor pre-order at the Amazon.com web site with a release date listed as "summer." It sports a thickness of just 1/3 on an inch with a 9.7" diagonal display, larger than the current Kindle models. More details at the Kindle DX page. A nice analysis of what this all means and where Amazon is taking this product is at CNNMoney. Obviously Amazon wants to reach out beyond the older demographic where the Kindle is most popular. The new model has the right features that can expand the mainstream appeal of this technology. I remain skeptical of the over all success of Kindle, but changes to the product made over time have softened that. At $489 a pop, however, Amazon has more work to do on the price point.
Windows 7 RC Available
The Windows 7 release candidate is available for download here. Here's a report on the actual use of XP Mode in Windows 7 from the Vnunet.com Labs blog. It works, but has a high hardware cost for working well. Read about it here.
Saturday, May 2, 2009
Piracy Is Bad, No Matter What
The leak of the new X-Men movie last month really took a toll on the market for the film. It made $35 million at the opening and could read $90 million before the weekend is over.
Google Sued Over Android Trade Name
Someone else is using the name as well, and has a registration with the PTO. Google says the suit has no merit, but that's what all defendants say. More in Vnunet.com.
Another Data Breach
Sigh, this time from LexisNexis and Investigative Professionals. Data for 40,000 was compromised and 300 people were actually victimized. More in the Washington Post.
Friday, May 1, 2009
Windows 7 News
It looks as if Windows 7 will show up for sale in October. The Release Candidate will be available for almost 13 months once it goes public on May 5, and XP will be around for netbooks for a while as well. Seems as if the first downturn in Microsoft profits motivates the company to sell something that people want, and they seem to want XP. At least until Windows 7 wins them over the way Vista did not.
Minnesota Says Yes to Discovery for DUI Source Code
The Minnesota Supreme Court has ok'd a discovery request for breath testing machines. This has been a ongoing issue in DUI law as the manufacturers have guarded their code as trade secrets. Access has been denied in several other states. The ruling is here, and the story is in Ars Technica.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
XP, the Operating System that will not Die
Microsoft is adding an XP virtualization mode to Windows 7. Compatibility under Vista was sketchy, even when the property box was checked for earlier versions of Windows. Microsoft is adding its virtualization technology directly into Windows 7 which means XP won't appear to run on top of 7. Once the virtualization and application are run, it will appear to run as any other Windows 7 program. An XP license not required for this feature. This is Microsoft's way of moving business to the new OS. More from Computerworld.
Supreme Court Rules in Favor of FFC Policy on Fleeting Expletives
The Supreme Court ruled today that the FCC does indeed have the authority to fine broadcast networks for fleeting expletives uttered on their shows. The ruling, however, did not address whether the FCC policy could be overturned on the First Amendment issues. The Court sent the case back to the lower courts for consideration of that issue. The case is FCC v. Fox Television Stations, Inc.
Friday, April 24, 2009
Congress Considers Legislation on DPI
Congress considers deep packet inspection and what to do about it. The House committee on Energy and Commerce held a hearingyesterday. Because the ISPs have as many deep pockets as deep packets, expect little movement on a bill. More in PC Magazine.
RealDVD Trial Starts Today
The wheels of justice move slowly. The trial over the legality of RealDVD, the software that lets consumers back up their DVDs starts today. More in the New York Times.
Homeland Security Cuts Newspapers
The Department of Homeland Security is giving up newspaper subscriptions because the news is available on the Internet for free. Well, the President did ask his cabinet to cut a hundred million from the budget. More here.