Monday, December 10, 2007

Technological Digest VI

Another week, another digest:
  1. Is the OLPC BS? - I've previously written about the OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) initiative, and thought it was a good idea, but reading John C. Dvorak's latest column, made me doubt myself. I recommend reading his searing opinion, about how offering a laptop to kids who have no water, food and electricity (let alone basic literacy levels) is akin to Marie-Antoinette's immortal "let them eat cake". You don't necessarily have to agree with him, but he does attempt to explain why Google is so interested in the project...

  2. Green screen of death? - in other OLPC news, Microsoft announced they'll attempt to install a version of Windows XP on the OLPC, so the rest of the world won't be deprived of the joy that is Windows. Microsoft originally objected to the project, then announced they'll assist Intel in developing a cheap laptop and now they're - well not really embracing it - but tentatively testing the waters.

    And you know what? I applaud the effort. Time and again Microsoft has proven they can reassess situations, change their mind and even go 180 degrees if needed, in order to succeed. In business, as in life, i appreciate companies that admit to mistakes and adopt agile thinking, to companies that will not let reality stand in the way of their vision.

    Of course, it still remains to be seen what would be the final price of a $200 OLPC with Windows XP on it...

  3. Build web applications using "only the materials in the room" - Microsoft announced another new technology called "Volta". In layman's terms, it allows you to keep developing regular .Net client applications (C++, C#, VB.Net) and Volta will turn them into n-tier web applications automatically. Sounds intriguing and I'll keep an eye out for that. Read more here.

  4. SP3 - As I've written 2 days ago, I'm currently testing both Vista SP1 and XP SP3. I've included a link to SP1's changelog, here's the link to SP3's chamgelog.
    My impression so far: it does improve performance (both speed and memory consumption).

  5. Don't touch my stuff! - Western Digital, the hard disk maker, found it's way into the crosshairs of every technology blog out there this weekend. It appears that WD decided to block sharing of multimedia files hosted on MyBook external hard disks. This list contains all the blocked types: avi, mov, divx, mp3, aac.. etc. This is "due to unverifiable media license authentication". Let me make sure I understand: I buy a 1TB hard disk, put MY files on it, attach it to MY home network and I can't share it between MY users, because WD thinks I stole the file?

    What the hell were they thinking? What's next? Censorship? ("you are not allowed to host your porn collection on our disk. Also, that letter you wrote to the editor of NY Times has been deemed deemed inappropriate. A report has been sent to RIAA and Homeland Security - expect visitors").

    Of course it didn't take long for a hack to be found - but people are not paying good money in order to hack their product (unless its name begins with an "i" smile).

    Bottom line: don't buy WD disks. There are plenty of good external HDs out there that are agnostic to their content.

  6. Another beta - And finally, Microsoft has started a beta of the new Microsoft Download site. The design matches all the "Live" sites. I like it, but would like it much more if it'll have a more advanced search feature. Right now, I get too many results, spanning too many years, when I look for something (click to enlarge).

No comments: