It looks like Comcast is moving forward with their plans to migrate all of their analog cable subscribers to digital cable, despite having the infrastructure to support analog for some time to come. It appears it is an attempt to increase the monthly fees on these accounts, as the analog-only plans are the most inexpensive. Here is their letter:
Dear Comcast Customer:
In a continuing effort to bring you the best entertainment value possible, we are making some changes to your current channel lineup.
As a result of these changes, the premium channel(s) which you currently subscribe to will be available exclusively to those customers who have digital converters, and any analog packages or promotional offers you currently have that include analog premium channels may no longer be available.
However, you will be able to receive these channels on our digital lineup for a special discounted price.
Now, while they mention a discounted price, the fact is that the bill is more. The price reflects a per channel discount, yet digital cable by default includes many more channels than its analog counterpart.
Read More | Detroit Free Press
Now do note that this is all purely speculation - but there is a lot to be taken from it. Why did Apple choose Intel when AMD seems like such a better fit for the company? Why did they announce the partnership two full years before it is expected to be complete, if Rosetta would make it pretty much seamless anyway? Will Steve Jobs really be giving keynotes over the next two years hawking new Apple PC’s that will be considered by the average user to be obsolete in a couple of years since they don’t have an Intel chip in them? These are all questions that deserve a deeper look. Could is be that Apple and Intel are joining forces as a way to defeat the almighty Microsoft?
Read More | PBS
After losing $1.1 billion during the first quarter of this fiscal year, GM has plans to cut 25,000 jobs by 2008. Rick Wagoner, GM’s chairman and CEO, has justified his plans by stating that it could save the company $2.5 billion a year. It will undoubtedly save the company money, but its competitiveness will not be reaffirmed by cutting jobs. Hopefully the 25,000 jobs figure will be cut, but that’s wishful thinking - good luck to GM and good luck to their employees.
Read More | New York Daily News
Macrovision is in the business of helping content creators keep their works safe from being pirated, providing enterprise level DRM solutions. They recently did a survey on video game piracy, and found that up to 40% of gamers have pirated a game at least once. They have a few very interesting ideas going forward to protect content, such as inserting what are essentially little bugs into games that will self-recognize they have been pirated, changing the game mechanic altogether. We chat with Robert about this and more. Click here to download the MP3, or you can just subscribe to the Gear Live Podcast feed.
Voices: Andru Edwards, Jesse Easley, Robert Ellison - Macrovision Director of Product Management
Length: 9:24, 8.6 MB
Listen | Macrovision Interview
So the rumors were true. Apple did indeed announce today that they are ditching IBM in favor of Intel. But now what? This heralds a total architecture change — are we going towards a more “PC-like” build? What is to come of the technology that Apple has so prided themselves on? Many Mac geeks are distressed over the announcement at Keynote today that Intel and Apple are indeed teaming up, and as a friend of mine aptly said “It just doesn’t sound right. Or feel right.” He’s right. It just doesn’t. The whole Mac scene is buzzing about this shocking announcement, after days of everyone shooting down the rumors as “media garbage.” A step backward? Or maybe a keen move ahead that none of us can anticipate, slim though that chance may be. However, it is only a few hours following the announcement, and that is far too early to tell what that tricky old Steve Jobs may have up his sleeve. Let’s hope it’s an ace, because this is starting to look a little ugly. Yikes. As one anonymous game developer said:
This is the death of the platform. Unless Apple integrates DirectX, the port time would only decrease by roughly 33%. We really only spend about a 1/3 of our times AT MOST on Endian issues (ie, byte-swapping). The rest of the time is spent converting DX and Windows OS calls to OpenGL and Mac OS. The big problem is that for the next few years, developer time will increase. You now have to make sure the software runs on two completely different architecture sets. We’ll still have to do all the byte-swapping mess for the older PPC Macs. So say a game today takes 12 months to port. That time will be increased to probably 14-16 months, simply on the basis of having to do additional testing and debugging on the Intel architecture.However, Andrew Welch of Ambrosia Software provides a counterpoint:
If you can run Windows games on a Mac, will it kill Mac gaming and the need for ports? Yes and no. If you have a machine that will dual-boot under Windows, it’s certainly possible that some people who might not have purchased a Mac due to lack of games (or what have you) may now do so. They will be able to dual-boot the machine. This may result in developers not wishing to spend the money to port games to the Mac, certainly. But people who prefer one platform over the other will always rather not have to dual-boot, just as folks still clamor for native Linux games, despite the dual-booting ability.The death of the platform? Or a slick marketing maneuver? Only time will tell. In the meantime, let’s not get carried away worrying. Read More | Inside Mac Games
United Airlines has announced that they will be the first commercial airline to offer WiFi Access in-flight. Now, this is still in the works because the frequencies that will be used have not been finalized and approved for broadband use yet - though it is expected to be finalized sometime this fall. No concrete details of price or speed have been announced either, but the frequency that they’re looking at is 8Ghz which will be split into several smaller frequencies. The service will be provided by Verizon.
Read More | WiFi Net News
With Apple getting a lot of heat lately for their lack of environmentalism, they have decided to take a step to help good ol’ mother nature. If you take your iPod into any of Apple’s Retail Stores, they will give you 10% off of the purchase of a new iPod. The catch is that it has to be the iPod, iPod Mini, or iPod Photo and it has to all be done the same day. Apple has agreed to take the iPods that are brought into the stores and dispose of them without exposing the environment to the hazardous materials that the iPod consists of including lead. The major incentive to this is that if you have an older iPod and you’re battery is on the fritz, you can get a substantial discount on a replacement.
Critics have blasted Apple for the fact that the iPod’s battery is difficult and expensive to replace, giving consumers an incentive to throw them out and buy new ones. Apple recently agreed to extend service warranties and replace batteries for free in certain cases. The agreement is part of Apple’s settlement of several class action suits related to iPod battery complaints.
Read More | News.com
Word has been getting around like wildfire that Apple will formally announce tomorrow that they are dumping IBM as their processor manufacturer in favor of Intel. It’s an interesting move which seems to point to Apple’s frustration with the length of time it is taking IBM to get the latest PowerPC into laptops. Intel has been very successful in high-performance, low power consumption mobile computing. The Apple World Wide Developers Conference begins tomorrow, and we will keep you updated.
Read More | MSNBC
Sony is testing out some new Anti-CD burning technology in hopes of stopping what they refer to as “school-yard piracy”. Ah, when will they learn? I mean it takes them how long to come up with a “new” anti-piracy technology; and it takes people how long to come up with a work around? Even without someone breaking the security there’s always some other method to work around it. Nonetheless, Sony’s new method allows consumers to make limited copies of protected discs, but blocks users from making copies of the copies
Read More | ABC News
Last March, the European Union’s Antitrust Regulators slapped Microsoft with a whopping $624,000,000.00 fine (that’s 624 million United States Dollars – and that ain’t chump change!) for using their market-dominating Windows software “abusively” to lock out competition in the EU. Additionally, the Redmond, WA based software giant was forced to share their source code selectively with rivals to encourage competition.
EU antitrust chief Neelie Kroes said last week she wants to take stock of the situation by Wednesday and could move to impose sanctions on noncompliance soon afterward if she is not satisfied with the concessions. The EU has within its rights the possibility to fine Microsoft up to 5 percent of its daily global sales for each day that a decision is not applied to its satisfaction.
In other words, Microsoft will be subject to huge fines and penalties if, by Wednesday, 01 June 2005, there aren’t more concessions made in favor of the competition in Europe. Microsoft has yet to reach a compromise as the deadline looms nearer, and the EU threatens sanctions and punishment that could be as steep as 5% of Microsoft’s global daily sales for each day that passes after the deadline, before an agreement is reached. And that really isn’t chump change.
Microsoft EU Antitrust Case | KOMO