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Charles Simonyi

The time has come for non-astronauts to journey into space if they can just afford the ticket. Case in point is Hungarian-born, 58 year-old Charles Simonyi, a former Microsoft engineer who now owns his own company. Simonyi paid more than $20 million to Space Adventure to accompany two cosmonauts to the orbital lab via a ten day journey on Soyuz TMA-10, and becomes the 5th paying visitor to the ISS. He also obtained his own space suit for the journey from the Russian company Sokol and we think he looks pretty dapper in it.

Simonyi’s quest to the final frontier will begin April 9th and you can monitor his progress by visiting his web site, which features blogs, images, links, a timeline, videos, and a “Kids’ Space.”

 

Read More | Charles in Space

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Fidel CastroCuba’s government has joined with socialist country Venezuela in converting its computers to open-source software. Both claim they are trying to rid themselves of Microsoft Windows to get on Linux, which was created by programmers who freely share their code.

Communications Minister Ramiro Valdes, longtime compadre of Castro, spoke of these issues and Microsoft’s possible cooperation with U.S. military and intellegence at the opening of a technology conference going on this week in Cuba. The two countries join the ranks of China, Brazil, and Norway, who find Microsoft’s high cost and security issues a little too much to bear.

Read More | USA Today

So, my boy Jake Ludington dropped me an email this morning telling me that if I had been home this weekend and answered my phone, I would have been able to take part in this experiment that he was a part of where a group of people got together down in Mountain View, CA, and got their Xbox Live gaming on in a moving vehicle. Of course, Mountain View is the place where Google has blanketed the city in free WiFi, which is how this was all possible in the first place. In order to get it done, they used a Windows XP computer to connect to WiFi, and had the Xbox 360 pick up the shared Internet connection, thus allowing it to jump online for some Rainbow Six and Uno action. Check the video above for the proof.


Vista logoWith all the negative hype of late, we aren’t surprised that Windows Vista’s sales in the first quarter have so far lagged behind those of Windows XP when it was released. Marketing company NPD released figures based on sales that users install themselves. Vista sales were down 58.9% compared to those of XP with a revenue decrease of 32.1%. Windows Vista was launched on Jan. 30, 2007 and Windows XP on Oct. 25, 2001.

One possibility for the decrease may be that current XP users don’t think their old computers can handle the software. “All the reviewers have been beating people over the head about hardware requirements,” NPD’s Chris Swenson said. “The preliminary data suggests that consumers are getting the message that they need a more robust system to take advantage of some of the new features in Vista.” These consumers are choosing to “get Vista on a new PC rather than at retail.” We’re glad we could help, Chris.

 

Read More | Microsoft Watch

Xbox 360 Black

We have been hearing about the possibility of a black Xbox 360 since before the console launched back in 2005. The early development kits were black, so it didn’t seem too far-fetched an idea. Here we are, over a year later, and we now have had two internal sources send us the above image of the supposed Xbox 360 Limited Edition Black. The first one was confidential and featured the entire box art and folding instructions, the second was just the image above, which matches the first image we got. On the side, it lists that this model specs out with three USB 2.0 ports as well as an HDMI port. The hard drive size isn’t listed on the box, so we can’t confirm any hard drive size increases. Other than that, if our sources are to be believed, this looks to be the real deal.

EDIT: For all the people saying it’s a Photoshop job…well, yeah. We are pretty sure that companies like Microsoft use programs like Photoshop to create their box art. The fact that such software is used isn’t enough reason - on it’s own - to discredit it the image.


Daylight Savings TimeRemember 1999? Remember how everyone was so panicked about Y2K and how their computers would think it was the year 1900 instead of 2000…and all hell would break loose?  Well, this coming March 11—Daylight Savings Time—brings “Baby Y2K”, which will likely cause problems in some Microsoft programs. This is due to a 2005 law that, starting this year, moves Daylight Savings Time up three weeks (and ends it one week later), in an attempt to improve energy savings. But this creates a problem in software programmed before 2005; for example, calendar appointments and transaction dates could now be thrown off. Fortunately, Microsoft has released a patch, available to Windows XP users via it’s “automatic update” feature, or it can be downloaded straight from Microsoft. If you’re running Windows 2000 or an older version of XP, manually go into the Control Panel and change the setting for Daylight Savings Time (Vista users are completely unaffected). By the way, pre-2005 devices such as digital watches and DVD players are vulnerable too, so be prepared!

Read More | Wired

Microsoft VistaSometimes it’s tough being an early adopter, just ask a user. Last week, Microsoft’s new operating system made news for it’s incompatibility issues with Apple’s iTunes. Now comes word that hardcore gamers are experiencing slowness and even crashes when playing certain XP-friendly games such as Counterstrike, Half-Life 2 and Doom 3 on their Vista-upgraded PC’s. This despite Microsoft’s promise that Vista would be backwards-compatible with DirectX9, XP’s graphic engine. Problematic software drivers and a lack of video cards supporting Vista’s DirectX 10 engine are being blamed. Fortunately top graphics chip makers Nvidia, Intel and ATI are offering drivers to assuage the situation.

Read More | ComputerWorld

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Read More | The Bleeding Edge

Sony VIAO G-11Sony has released its new VIAO G-11 series of laptops hot on the heels of yesterday’s release of MS Windows Vista and Office 2007. Designed primarily for traveling business-folk, each comes with 1 or 2GB RAM, a 100GB hard drive, an Intel 945 GMS chipset, a 12.1-inch XGA screen, 2 USG ports, supports SD and MS cards and Ethernet, and of course Windows Vista Business. Check with Sony for price and availability if you just can’t wait to see what’s up with the Vista.

Read More | Sony

MS Vista Demo

We know we don’t need to tell you that Microsoft Vista and Office 2007 were unleashed upon the masses today. This is a headline for not only every ezine on the planet, but newspaper and TV news as well. You can even catch the webcast yourself if you weren’t able to attend the gala. What we admire is the glitz and glamour that only a Bill Gates could provide. In a press conference given at the Nokia Theatre in Times Square, Gates actually commented, “Everything is becoming digital. Vista is key to the era.”

Software analysts claim that Windows and Office are Microsoft’s most profitable products and account for about half of its $12.5 billion in 2nd-quarter revenue. So the Olympic-like festivities were used to convince Windows and Office devotees to shift to the new versions. Microsoft expects to sell 200 million copies globally in the next two years. That’s a hell of a cash cow.

 

Read More | Microsoft

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