Microsoft Mix09 videos, Jeff Pulver on the communications industry, the history of the Internet, moms at SXSW and more of what I've read

A round up from my article pile which includes a new favourite video from Mix09: Bill Buxton's Keynote followed by Scott Guthrie's announcement of the Silverlight 3 beta, the Expression Blend 3 Preview, and more. As noted in Microsoft Exec: Red Polos, To Us, Are Like Turtlenecks to Steve Jobs - Digits – WSJ by Nick Wingfield

"Every year Microsoft puts on a bash for Web designers and programmers in Las Vegas called Mix. At this year’s conference, the company focused on its new Internet Explorer 8 Web browser, reviewed here, but it also took a not-too-subtle dig at Steve Jobs, with a send-up of prima donna executive antics. The company rolled a video before Microsoft corporate vice president Scott Guthrie took the stage at the conference, showing Mr. Guthrie in the hours before his speech having his hair done, working out in a disco ballroom and getting a tattoo that said “Thug Life.” At one point in the video, a bewildered conference producer barks that Mr. Guthrie has to make a wardrobe selection, when a clothes rack filled with dozens of identical long-sleeved red polo shirts drifts by."

         

And just in time for the weekend on YouTube: Microsoft revisits the best and worst of the web in this look at the history of the Internet from an Internet Explorer 8 perspective.

         

Software geeks to tackle energy efficiency in the home - TechFlash: Seattle's Technology News Source by John Cook on March 20, 2009 - "Three former workers from Amazon.com, Microsoft and aQuantive are working on a new startup company called Evoworx to help people reduce energy use in the home. Backed with less than $500,000 in angel financing, the team includes former Microsoft program manager Aaron Goldfeder and former Amazon.com and Pelago developer Leo Shklovskii. Co-founder Karl Siebrecht, the former president of aQuantive's Atlas unit, serves as chairman. What do a bunch of software and digital media geeks know about residential energy efficiency?"

This video clip from the O'Reilly Tools of Change for Publishing Conference (TOC 09) of the "Reasons to Be Excited"

stevenberlinjohnson.com: Old Growth Media And The Future Of News: "The following is a speech I gave yesterday at the South By Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin. If you happened to be hanging out in front of the old College Hill Bookstore in Providence Rhode Island in 1987, on the third week of every month you would have seen a skinny 19-year-old in baggy pants, sporting a vaguely Morrissey-like haircut, walking into the bookstore several times a day. That kid was me. I wish I could tell you that I was making those compulsive return visits out of a passionate love of books. While I do, in fact, have a passionate love of books, and bought plenty of them during my college years, I was making those tactical strikes on the College Hill Bookstore for another reason."

Pulver: Time to reboot the communications industry - March 20, 2009 By Doug Mohney -- "Scorning the status quo of PSTN and mobile phone call quality, industry pundit Jeff Pulver says he is on nothing less than a mission to "reboot" the communications industry around high-definition communications--regardless of how a call is made. "Just because someone at AT&T defined [voice calls] as between 300 and 3000 Hz means we have to settle for that sixty years later?" Pulver said. "[WTF]? We have technology, we can make it better." Pulver described his efforts to rally all the stakeholders in high definition communications--including voice and video--as a "quest." While he may sound a bit like Don Quixote at times..."

Streaming Live With Scott Guthrie, Jeff Atwood and Twitter : Jeff Sandquist from Friday, March 20 2009 - "Once again for Mix, my team worked on what we call the live experience. Since PDC 2003, we’ve been working on ways for the folks at home and those attending in person can make a connection to the event. With this work we’ve streamed the keynotes live, published breakout sessions for on demand viewing, filmed behind the scenes videos for Channel 9 along with some humorous ones and even overlaid Tweets tagged #MIX09 on top of the live keynote player on the web site and on the big screens in the keynote halll via our Flotzam screen saver."

Why Microsoft Continues to Chase Internet Search - Bits Blog - NYTimes.com by Saul Hansell, Mar 20, 2009 - "If you are making something that is growing and profitable, why throw billions at something else that has kept losing money and market share? That was the last question I had for Steve Ballmer, the chief executive of Microsoft, when he came by The Times Thursday. I wrote earlier about most of our conversation, which was about the company’s plans to offer computing services from its network of data centers to corporate customers. While I wondered about the complexity of Microsoft’s software design, it has the advantage of a strong position in the corporate software market, which it won over the last 10 years. But I asked Mr. Ballmer, why bother with trying to catch up to Google in search when it looks as if the enterprise market has much better potential return given the risk? He flatly rejected the premise of the question."

Report: Improper use of Deep Packet Inspection could be Internet game-changer | Between the Lines | ZDNet.com – "There are legitimate uses for a technology called Deep Packet Inspection. But it’s the “improper” use of the technology that prompted Washington-based Free Press to release a report this week entitled: “Deep Packet Inspection: The End of the Internet As We Know It.” In a nutshell, DPI allows Internet Service Providers to monitor Internet traffic in their pipelines in real-time and use that data to deliver targeted advertising, control the speed of access to Web-based services or impose tiered pricing models for light or heavy users. That’s the “improper” use that’s made the technology controversial. The legitimate usage would fall in the lines of routing traffic to make sure that emergency services - such as a 9-1-1 call over a VoIP service - isn’t slowed down by a large number of people streaming a March Madness game. In its report, Free Press explains how DPI works"

The Top Smartphones by OS - Reviews by PC Magazine – March 20, 2009, by Jamie Lendino -- "There are the smartphone enthusiasts, and then there are the true fans. While members of the former group surely have a preference, in most cases they'd be open to switching camps if a cooler phone came along on another operating system. (Millions of folks jumped on the iPhone bandwagon without so much as a glance back.) True fans, however, stick with their OSs through thick and thin, either for practical reasons—like a large investment in third-party apps—or simply for the bragging rights. Whether or not you subscribe to any particular allegiance, it's important to know your options. After all, there could be a much better device you've never even considered. To help you out, we've rounded up the highest-rated phones in each OS category."

Microsoft proud of its first 'post-Gates' OS, Ballmer says 2009-03-20, By Elizabeth Montalbano, IDG News Service – "Ballmer hints that he and colleagues were limited in their ability to make certain technical decisions at Microsoft while Gates was there By Elizabeth Montalbano, IDG News Service, March 20, 2009 -- "Windows 7 is the first Microsoft OS developed away from the watchful eye of Bill Gates, and the technical leaders who built it had to adjust to life at the company without its co-founder and former chief software architect, CEO Steve Ballmer said Thursday. "We have a lot of people who are stepping up and growing in new ways," Ballmer said, speaking at the McGraw-Hill 2009 Media Summit in New York. "There's no question about that. I'm growing in some new ways. Some of the senior technical guys are growing in new ways. "

Researcher cracks Mac in 10 seconds (Computerworld) By Gregg Keizer, Computerworld, March 19, 2009 -- "Charlie Miller, the security researcher who hacked a Mac in two minutes last year at CanSecWest's PWN2OWN contest, improved his time Wednesday by breaking into another Mac in under 10 seconds. "Five New Year's Networking Resolutions for 2009 - read this white paper. Miller, a principal analyst at Independent Security Evaluators, walked off with a $5,000 cash prize and the MacBook he hacked."

Information on Daylight Saving Time, Time Zone and related DST changes for Microsoft Windows and other products in 2009 – My update on some of the recent daylight saving time changes around the world coming this year to Morocco, Pakistan, Syria and Tunisia in 2009…

Privacy group to FTC: Google's cloud is unsafe | Between the Lines | ZDNet.com – "A Washington-based privacy group wants the Federal Trade Commission to launch an investigation of the cloud-computing services offered by Google - including Gmail, Google Docs, Google Calendar and others - to ensure that they are as secure as Google promises they will be. "Specifically, the matters stems from reports earlier this month that a software bug in Google Docs publicly exposed documents believed to be private. The company said the glitch affected one-half of one percent of the documents stored online. "The Electronic Privacy Information Center pointed out in its petition to the FTC that Google uses language in its marketing statements that suggest to users that their documents are safe and secure and that users can "rest assured that your documents, spreadsheets and presentations will remain private unless you publish them to the Web or invite collaborators and/or viewers."

A password vault is as mandatory as anti-virus Posted by Adam O'Donnell, 18 March 2009 -- "We all need to get out of the mindset that our primary e-mail address combined with a single universal password are our credentials for the world. "Having a strong and diverse password everywhere is mandatory now. It is as mandatory as running anti-virus on a PC and having a working set of backups. Like backups and anti-virus, if you don’t have a strong and diverse password that is different on every website you visit, you have no right to complain if you get compromised because someone took down the one-stop yak shop. It is your own damned fault."

Also from ZDNet is this on Adobe swings and misses as PDF abuse worsens  "After more than two weeks (months?) of inexplicable silence on mitigations for a known code execution vulnerability in its Reader and Acrobat product lines, Adobe has finally posted public information on the problem but the company’s response falls well short of providing definitive mitigation guidance for end users. [ For background and a timeline on how *not* to handle incident response, HD Moore's blog post is a great start. ] Adobe’s response simply confirms what we already know and reiterates that turning off JavaScript will NOT eliminate the risk entirely. However, the company does not offer any definitive suggestions or workarounds, instead pointing to a list of anti-malware vendors blocking known attacks. Here’s what we have from Adobe…"

One-year-old (unpatched) Windows 'token kidnapping' under attack - "Exactly one year after a security researcher notified Microsoft of a serious security vulnerability affecting all supporting version of Windows (including Vista and Windows Server 2008), the issue remains unpatched and now comes word that there are in-the-wild exploits circulating. The vulnerability, called token kidnapping (.pdf), was originally discussed last March by researcher Cesar Cerrudo and led to Microsoft issuing an advisory with workarounds. Five months later (October 2008), Cerrudo released a proof-of-concept in an apparent effort to nudge Microsoft into patching but the company has not yet released a fix. Now comes word from the SANS ISC (Internet Storm Center) that the flaw is being used in a blended attack against an unknown target…"

Apparently Dell forgot it was a recession (ZDNet.com) - "As I sometime am inclined to do, I’m going to head a bit off-topic (the topic being educational technology) and take a stab at Dell’s Adamo laptop. Fellow blogger, Larry Dignan, gave a fairly measured assessment of the “MacBook Air Killer” this morning, ultimately asking if the market was really ready for this product. My answer? NO! Are you kidding me? A $2000 laptop so fashion-conscious executives and yuppies can sit in first class or at Starbucks comfortably typing on their uber-sleek laptops?"

At SXSWi, how much should big media be listening? | The Social - CNET News – "With panels and discussions every year about social engineering, hacking, remixing, and culture jamming, South by Southwest Interactive is the must-attend conference for geeks who want to shake things up. Maybe that's why the many panels at the conference about the future of media--from print to broadcast to music to film--were tinged with the message that fast, often radical change is necessary. With panel topics like "How Copyright Law Failed The Digital Age," "New Think for Old Publishers," and "Old Media Finds New Voice Through Twitter," this year's SXSWi promised to offer a blunt take on some longstanding stalwarts of the media industry that now lie in states ranging from evolutionary flux to full-out crisis mode."

The round up wouldn't be complete without a look at Cutting the Cable on Cable TV with the Help of Apple and Amazon especially as we cut the cable ties in our own home – "A recent apartment move provided eWEEK Labs analyst Cameron Sturdevant with an opportunity to cut the cable on cable TV. He used Roku, Netflix, Amazon, Tivo and Apple to free himself. He still uses high-speed cable and pays a premium price NOT to have cable TV bundled with the service. It was a battle royale to get the cable provider to even admit it had an Internet-only plan. Even with the premium price, over the year he'll still save money and have the pleasure of purposely watching plotted content. He'll also be using an over-the-air HD TV."

Alltop Gets a Custom Feed Reader March 16th, 2009 | by Jennifer Van Grove -- "This year’s SXSW Interactive festival marks the one year anniversary of Guy Kawasaki’s official launch of Alltop, and since its debut the service has transformed from a site with just a few categories to a resource that now houses over 31,000 feeds on 550 different topics. "It wouldn’t be a monumental birthday if Alltop didn’t have big news, so thankfully Kawasaki does not disappoint with today’s big reveal of MyAlltop. MyAlltop makes it easy for users to save any of the feeds they find interesting on their own personalized page."

Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable « Clay Shirky – "Back in 1993, the Knight-Ridder newspaper chain began investigating piracy of Dave Barry’s popular column, which was published by the Miami Herald and syndicated widely. In the course of tracking down the sources of unlicensed distribution, they found many things, including the copying of his column to alt.fan.dave_barry on usenet; a 2000-person strong mailing list also reading pirated versions; and a teenager in the Midwest who was doing some of the copying himself, because he loved Barry’s work so much he wanted everybody to be able to read it. One of the people I was hanging around with online back then was Gordy Thompson, who managed internet services at the New York Times. I remember Thompson saying something to the effect of “When a 14 year old kid can blow up your business in his spare time, not because he hates you but because he loves you, then you got a problem.” I think about that conversation a lot these days."

And this article with a tip of the hat to my friend Beth as she ventured down to the SXSW Roundup: “Moms Who Tech” in the WSJ By Rachel Emma Silverman, Associated Press, Mar 16, 2009 -- "I attended an interesting discussion Sunday on “Moms Who Tech” at the South by Southwest Interactive conference here in my hometown of Austin, Texas. The conversation was led by Beth Blecherman, a mom of three boys who also runs the blog Techmamas.com, which discusses parenting and technology. "

As Mobile Data Grows, People Want Wireless Carriers To Buzz Off by Om Malik | Monday, March 16, 2009 -- "No one really gives two hoots about carriers’ attempts to sell mobile applications via cellular phones. And yet, they keep trying and trying. Maybe a recent survey by Zogby (commissioned by Skype) would help persuade them to leave selling of mobile apps to those who know how to do it. Folks like Apple, RIM and maybe Nokia.

Zogby, a market research firm polled 3,000 mobile users in four markets — US, UK, Spain and Japan, and came up with some interesting findings.

  • 62% do not yet view their mobile device as an extension of their computer.
  • Only 23% feel that they have more or the same level of control over their mobile device as they have over their computer.
  • 70% have never downloaded an application to their mobile device.
  • 67% want to be able to choose their mobile applications for themselves, rather than have their carriers choose for them."

The rumours abound with this on the guess on Windows 7 public RC and also noted by Gregg Keizer in his article Report: Microsoft plans Windows 7 release candidate for May (17/03/2009) "Microsoft Corp. will deliver a release candidate of Windows 7 to the public in late May, according to a report from a noted Windows Web site. Windows 7 Release Candidate (RC), the next slated major milestone for the under-development operating system, will be made available to the public the last week of May, said Neowin.net today. Prior to that, Microsoft will wrap up an "escrow build" of the release candidate and offer it to a small invitation-only group of testers near the end of April, said Neowin, citing information from a Russian-language Web site and sources within Microsoft's Technical Adoption Program, which gives large corporations sneak peeks at pre-release software."

Tags: articles, what I read, Las Vegas, travel, Mix09, SXSW.

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