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Thursday, December 21, 2006

New Trillian (Astra) Getting Ready for Vista

Here comes a sleek, stylish, and minimalistic chat screen of Trillian. The New Trillian Astra.

Just a short sneak peak from their website and blog.

"Today we are unveiling the sneak preview of the first public alpha version of Trillian Astra, our codename for Trillian 4.0.

The current build is 21. From this point forward, it is our goal to release builds every 2-3 weeks or earlier should the situation demand it.

Some of you have noticed that is down. This was a side-effect of recent server changes we made and was intentional. It will be back up within a few weeks. We're slowly moving away from an older server cluster and we took the opportunity to bring down now before it was receiving too much traffic....."

Put some larger screenshots up today here for your viewing pleasure. These are largely out-of-date already due to the fast-paced nature of an alpha product, but they get the point across.

Our internal testing is moving along smoothly, and current plans are to open the doors to a larger testing base the first week of January. Given the rush around the office during the holiday seasons we felt it best to avoid a larger scale test when we're not 100% staffed. :) We are continuing to build new features and fix existing ones in the meantime."


Over the years, the one point that has been continually driven home to us is performance, whether it means operational speed or memory consumption. We've made some great strides in this realm with Trillian Astra. Time spent with the message window should be enjoyable and functional. We've improved nearly everything about the message window in Trillian Astra, opening the doors to new input methods and stronger integration with the world around you.

Start chatting faster, Redrawing times improved, Network connections are more efficiently managed, Memory usage reduced, Memory leaks plugged, Skin variety with memory in mind, Easy image sharing, Handwriting mode, Always know the local time of your contacts, RSS news delivered directly to your window and many more cool features.....

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Skype’s Free Phone Call Plan Will Soon Have Annual Fee

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 12 — Skype, the Internet calling service owned by eBay, said Tuesday that as of Jan. 1 it would begin charging $30 a year for unlimited calls to landline and mobile phones within the United States and Canada. Those calls had been free since last spring.

The new annual fee for unlimited calling, while still nominal compared with other Internet calling plans, is part of a broader strategy by eBay to expand Skype’s product offerings and revenue.

EBay, the online auction giant, paid $2.5 billion for Skype in October 2005, prompting criticism from some analysts that it had overpaid for a start-up company focused on a different market and technology.

EBay executives assert that Skype can help it by allowing low-cost voice and video communication between its buyers and sellers. In addition, eBay wants to capitalize on Skype’s base of 136 million registered users.

As a promotion, Skype began allowing its users to place free domestic “SkypeOut” calls from their computers to traditional and mobile phones last May. At the time, the company said the promotion would extend only through year’s end. The company is offering a half-price subscription to those who sign up before Jan. 31. Calls from one computer to another have been and will continue to be free.

“We see a willingness by consumers to make SkypeOut calls that are well priced,” said Don Albert, Skype’s general manager for North America. He noted that the cost was still a fraction of the typical $25 monthly fee that other Internet phone providers charge for unlimited calls. Mr. Albert declined to predict the adoption rate for the plan or the revenue it could bring in.

Despite the relatively low cost of the service, industry analysts said Skype was not considered to be serious competition in the telecommunications business. Skype, unlike Vonage, the cable companies and other competitors, generally requires users to download software and to make calls from the device on which it is installed.

“Skype requires a behavioral change. Consumers have grown quite comfortable using their telephones,” said Jeffrey Halpern, a telecommunications services industry analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein & Company. “I don’t view Skype as a real threat to the telephone companies or even Vonage or the cable companies.”

Over all, the Internet calling business is booming. Mr. Halpern said that by the end of the third quarter, there were around 8 million subscribers to Internet calling plans in the United States, up from 6.5 million in the previous quarter. That figure did not include users of Skype.

Mr. Albert, a former eBay executive who joined Skype this year, said the new prices were part of a broader plan.

“We get put in a bucket of being a cheap way to make phone calls, but our vision is quite a bit more expansive than that,” he said.

The company has been developing and deploying technology that allows Skype to be used on other devices, including wireless phones and pocket computers.

But potentially more significant innovations are planned for next year, when Skype will introduce services with Yahoo and Google that will allow Web surfers to click a button and call a business they have found during a search.

Mr. Albert said the concept, known as “click to call,” was an important example of combining eBay’s expertise in online sales with Skype’s capacity to allow people to make inexpensive calls.

Industry analysts have mixed opinions about how successful such a program can be and whether it can help justify the hefty price eBay paid for Skype.

Tim Boyd, an analyst with Caris & Company who has a buy rating on eBay, said he saw click-to-call as a “tremendous opportunity” for eBay to generate revenue by charging businesses for the calls.

But Mr. Boyd and other analysts were less sanguine about eBay’s hopes that its own auction buyers and sellers would become heavy adopters of Skype.

EBay has projected that those buyers and sellers will use the service to iron out details and provide basic support during the sales process.

“Many of the folks selling do not put a telephone number on their listings,” said Derek Brown, an analyst with Cantor Fitzgerald & Company, who has a buy rating on eBay stock. “It’s not because telecom costs are too high. It’s because it costs too much to have people answering the phones.”

Mr. Brown said eBay had yet to demonstrate how it could integrate Skype into its business in a way that would justify the acquisition costs.

In the third quarter, Mr. Brown noted, Skype generated $50 million in revenue, a mere 3 percent of eBay’s $1.45 billion in total revenue.

“We get lots of questions of when eBay is going to be able to monetize Skype,” Mr. Albert conceded. But he said the new calling plan underscored the company’s effort to do so.

“If you ask, ‘Was this worth our investment,’ you’d get an enthusiastic triple-thumbs-up from Meg Whitman,” eBay’s chief executive, Mr. Albert said.

By MATT RICHTEL, NewYork Times

Google to Offer Variation on Stock Options

In a move that will enable its employees to earn more money from stock options — and perhaps motivate them to settle for fewer of them in pay packages as a result — Google said yesterday that it would create a system allowing options to be sold as well as exercised.

Under the program, Google will grant employees a new type of option, called a transferable stock option. The company will work with Morgan Stanley to set up a market that will enable financial institutions and other investors to bid for those options.

Experts briefed on the plan were divided on whether it might provide a useful model for other companies. But the move appears likely to reinforce Google’s reputation for financial innovation. When it went public in 2004, Google priced the initial offering through an auction, allowing any investor to get in on the offering, rather than granting assured allocations to preferred investors.

That led to an offering price of $85, which was below what some had expected. Those who bought have prospered, as the share price has risen to a high above $500. Yesterday it closed at $481.78, down $2.15, before the options plan was announced.

Google said the plan was aimed at showing employees the full value of their stock options. In addition to giving options to most new employees, Google also issues options annually to many employees who have been with the company for more than a year.

Stock options give their owner the right to buy stock for as long as 10 years at a price set when the options are granted. Google officials said they believed that employees typically underestimated their value.

“It is very difficult for employees to understand what their options are worth,” said Dave Rolefson, Google’s equity and executive compensation manager, in an interview. “If they can see what others would pay for them, then option valuation would become simple for employees.”

The new options, which will have lives of 10 years, will have the same vesting schedule as existing options, with some options vesting after 12 months and all vesting within four years. Once the options are vested, employees will be able to hold them, exercise them or sell them. They are likely to reap greater gains from selling than from exercising them.

For example, an employee who holds a vested option permitting him to buy shares at a strike price of $460, assuming the stock is trading at $482, can currently exercise the option and pocket $22. The new transferable stock option could be worth a lot more than that, because of the expectation that the stock could rise further.

Google said any options that are sold when their remaining life is greater than two years would immediately become two-year options. In those two years, the financial institution or investor buying them would not be able to sell the options in a secondary market, but would be able to use various financial instruments to hedge against fluctuations in Google’s stock price.

The financial institution is likely to pay less than it would if the option life was not reduced, but much more than the employee would receive if he or she exercised the option and sold the stock.

In trading yesterday, an option to buy Google for $460 a share in January 2009, a little more than two years from now, sold for $123.50 in trading at the Philadelphia Stock Exchange, far more than the value that would have come from exercising it now. A financial institution that bought such an option now from an employee probably would pay a price below that level, but not too far below it.

Even options with strike prices higher than the value of the company’s stock — so-called underwater options — would probably have some value in the market being created, and they could be sold by Google employees. Yesterday, at the Chicago Board Options Exchange, a January 2009 option with a strike price of $520 sold for $99.80. For years, technology companies opposed efforts of accounting rule makers to force them to record as an expense the cost of options granted to employees. Since the rule went into effect last year, some have tried to change the terms of the options, or the assumptions made in valuing them, to reduce the reported expense. But Google’s change, because it will increase the expected life of the options, will raise the reported cost of each option.

In the long run, however, Google’s reported profits could climb if it is able to offer fewer options to attract and retain employees.

“We want to continue to use stock options, but we don’t want to be wasteful either,” Mr. Rolefson said. “We won’t need to use as many options to deliver the same value to employees.”

Google is not the first company to offer employees the possibility of selling options, but it is the first to propose doing so regularly. In 2003, Microsoft arranged for J. P. Morgan to offer to purchase all options with exercise prices over $33 a share. Employees who took that offer have had no cause to regret it, because the share price has never risen to that level. Read More >


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Vista: who's afraid to upgrade?

We have a small company which just bought a new notebook computer. It came to us equipped with Windows XP Service Pack 2. We're told that this little roadster can easily run Windows Vista when it becomes available and we can get an upgrade for next to nothing. Will we upgrade? Absolutely not.

Like most most small businesses, we have a good deal of our IT investment tied up in our existing software and hardware. A quick check of Microsoft's compatibility program for Vista shows that the new operating system does not recognize our printer, our scanner and we know that our current security software will not work with it.

From testing an early RTM version of Vista, we know that our new notebook will run slower on Vista than on Windows XP unless we give it more memory and perhaps a better graphics card.

Vista certainly looks nice, with features like Aero and Flip 3D, and we're told it's more secure than Windows XP SP2. However, we can't see a single reason to upgrade right now and a number of reasons why we should not.

AS far as security is concerned, there are a number of excellent security options available for Windows XP SP2 machines and the ones that we use all work well. We haven't suffered a security breach since we've been using the system.

Microsoft regularly updates our system with security patches each month and the process is automatic. True, we have to reboot when the system is updated but it's a minor inconvenience. Security is not a reason to upgrade to Vista.

So why should a business user, small or large, upgrade to Vista just as Windows XP has finally matured? We can't think of a single reason other than the fact is that from January 30, 2007, Microsoft will stop selling Windows XP and eventually we'll be forced to move to Vista - or something else.

HP, Cingular Unveil Global Mobile Broadband Laptop

Hewlett-Packard and Cingular Wireless have teamed to integrate Cingular's 3G UMTS/HSDPA network capabilities into the new HP Compaq nc6400 Notebook PC. The laptop, according to the companies,is the first to feature built-in support for global high-speed connections.

The HP Compaq nc6400 features a tri-band UMTS modem, which enables it to support data rates up to 3.6 Mbps in the United States and in many countries around the world, according to the companies.

The plan is to have the HP Compaq nc6400 Notebook PC with integrated Cingular Wireless BroadbandConnect on store shelves by late December. The notebook comes with a suggested retail starting price of $1,599.

In October, Cingular and HP announced another first. The companies announced Cingular will be the first carrier in the United States to offer a new HP iPAQ handheld device with five wireless communications technologies. The hw6920 series Mobile Messenger with built-in GPS device features TeleNav GPS Navigator from TeleNav and uses GSM/GPRS/EDGE, Wi-Fi, GPS, infrared and Bluetooth.

In other Cingular news, the wireless carrier announced the opening of five new company-owned retail stores in the Florida cities of Miami, Fort Lauderdale, St. Petersburg, Winter Haven, and Mount Dora. With the opening of these new stores, Cingular now has 129 company-owned stores in Florida.

The stores follow Cingular's recent launch of its 3G network in various cities throughout the state. Specifically, the carrier now offers its mobile broadband network throughout the metro areas of Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville, Daytona Beach, Melbourne, Cape Canaveral, Lakeland, Tallahassee and Gainesville.
By Susan Rush

Monday, December 11, 2006

Looking for a Gambit to Win at Google’s Game

There is a lot about the way Microsoft has run its Internet business that Steve Berkowitz wants to change. But he is finding that redirecting such a behemoth is slow going.

“I’m used to being in companies where I am in a rowboat and I stick an oar in the water to change direction,” said Mr. Berkowitz, who ran the Ask Jeeves search engine until Microsoft hired him away in April to run its online services unit. “Now I’m in a cruise ship and I have to call down, ‘Hello, engine room!’ ” he adds with an echo in his voice. “Sometimes the connections to the engine room aren’t there.”

The pressure is on for Mr. Berkowitz to gain control of Microsoft’s online unit, which by most measures has drifted dangerously off course. Over the last year, its online properties have lost users in the United States. The billions of dollars the company has spent building its own search engine have yet to pay off. And amid a booming Internet market, Microsoft’s online unit is losing money.

Google, meanwhile, is growing, prospering, and moving increasingly onto Microsoft’s turf.

Microsoft lost its way, Mr. Berkowitz says, because it became too enamored with software wizardry, like its new three-dimensional map service, and failed to make a search engine people liked to use.

“A lot of decisions were driven by technology; they were not driven by the consumer,” he said. “It isn’t always the best technology that wins. It is the best experience.”

It is no small task to run an Internet operation that can move as fast, be as popular and make as much money as Google. (That explains why Yahoo announced this week that its chief operating officer was leaving, and why the chief executive of AOL was fired last month.)

But Mr. Berkowitz’s job is made far more complicated because Microsoft is also counting on its Internet operations to breathe new life into its gargantuan but aging Windows and Office franchises.

In a strategy developed largely by Ray Ozzie, who has succeeded Bill Gates as the company’s chief software architect, Microsoft is trying to create online services that are the equivalent of an operating system — a platform that other companies can use to develop their own Web sites using Microsoft’s powerful data centers. It wants to sell advertising that will appear on these independent Web sites and in Microsoft’s own software and video games, as well as its own Web site. And it wants to use its online services to freshen up its own software.

This thinking led Microsoft to create a new brand, Office Live, to incorporate the online extensions of Word, Excel and other business services. And it repackaged its e-mail, instant message, blogging and Web search services under the brand Windows Live, supplanting the venerable if musty MSN.

“There are a billion Internet users in the world, and a lot of those PC users are running Windows,” explained Kevin R. Johnson, who oversees the 20,000-employee division responsible for the Windows operating system as well as the online unit.

Once traditional software is complemented by services delivered online, he said, “it’s a pretty logical thing that people would say, Hey, I’ve got Windows and here’s a set of Windows Live things that extend those services.”

Yet what seems logical at Microsoft seems like a marketing gaffe to most of the advertising and search industry.

Kevin Lee, the chairman of Did-It, a search marketing agency, said neither MSN nor Windows Live would appeal to consumers in a market where Google has become a synonym for Web search. “People don’t see Microsoft as the place you search,” Mr. Lee said. “MSN is not a verb, and neither is Windows Live.”

Mr. Berkowitz does not defend the brand choice he inherited.

“I don’t know if Live is the right name,” he said, saying he had not decided what to do about it. But before he gets around to deciding whether to change the brand, he wants to make Microsoft’s search engine itself more appealing to consumers.

What he did decide was to keep the MSN name afloat, too, as it is well known and its various services have 430 million users around the world. He promoted Joanne K. Bradford, Microsoft’s head of advertising sales, to oversee and revive the MSN portal.

“I have all these users who come to MSN and a very small subset of them use our search,” he said. “My No. 1 strategy is to keep these people from leaking.”

So for now, Mr. Berkowitz has decreed that Microsoft will promote at least two Internet services. MSN, in Mr. Berkowitz’s conception, is a conventional portal with links to programming on various topics that competes with Yahoo and AOL. Windows Live, which uses the site, is meant to look much like Google, a spare-looking page that can be customized with modules from various services and news feeds. Read More >>>

Published By: NewYork Times
By Saul Hansell

Saturday, December 9, 2006

Skype 3.0 with Extras Manager

Fresh News from Skype Developer's Zone

With the new Skype 3.0 Beta release this week, developers are waking up with a bunch of good news.

The release includes the following long-awaited feature: Skype extras (plug-in) framework provides a streamlined process to publish extras to the Extras gallery. Users can find, install, and launch extras from Skype client menus and in the Extras Manager.

Please visit: The Extras guide

A lot more! There's new Skype SDP professional partners directory which you can use to view detailed information on Extras and support from the developers. Thank's to Zoverlord for pointing this out.

Apple iPhone, Just an idea?

Googling and wondering if iPhone is just ideas by Apple Fans. Will it really exist? There are many design concepts around blogs, news, site, etc... but many has never heard directly from Apple Company nor read from their RSS News this upcoming product.

Image below really grabs my attention. Looks real apple product. For more concepts visit this blog: Apple iPhone

"There's a lot of debate about how Apple will do it. Will Apple continue to license iTunes to Motorola, being the software partner to Moto's hardware? Or will Apple develop its own hardware and partner with Cingular or T-Mobile to sell the iPhone as a subsidized handset? Perhaps Apple will set up a virtual phone company, a so-called MVNO, that leases airtime from a cell company but slaps the Apple brand on it, like Disney has done?

All these scenarios are fraught with problems. The current Motorola partnership has wrought crippled Frankenphones that are neither fish nor fowl. A partnership with a cell company would cede the customer experience to the cell provider -- not something Apple is likely to do. And running an MVNO would be a lot of pain with little payoff. The headaches are huge and the margins low.

The most likely scenario, as Jupiter analyst Ian Fogg has pointed out, is that the iPhone will be a stand-alone device that will accept a standard SIM card. You'll pop the SIM card out of your current cell phone and plug it into the iPhone. It'll be just like buying an unlocked handset from Asia, except you'll buy it at an Apple store instead of on Craigslist.

An iPhone with no provider strings attached would be better for the online iTunes store than selling tunes over the airwaves, as some cell companies are trying to do.

As Fogg notes: "Apple could continue to sell music via PCs and make its traditional retail margins. This approach doesn't even need an expensive 3-G radio -- which would help Apple keep handset cost, size and weight down and make the handset competitive with (relatively) bloated 3-G handsets sold by operators."

The thing is, will Apple really sell an iPhone? I sometimes have my doubts.

I'm not entirely convinced that the combination of phone and music player is as natural as it seems. I've owned two or three phones that can play MP3s, but I've never really used them. True, their capacity is small and syncing them is a pain. But the real problem is that music is just another feature among many that I don't use.

I use the phone for making calls. I don't use the other functions -- not even the camera. The one exception is syncing it with my calendar. I set up alarms to jog my memory when there's something I've got to do.

But perhaps Apple will do what it does best -- remove the clutter so there's not a bunch of confusing functions to get in the way. Maybe the iPhone will be a music player that makes phone calls, rather than a phone that plays music.

I have no doubt that Apple has developed such a device internally. I can see Steve Jobs playing with a prototype, issuing orders that the screen has to be brighter, or his songs aren't coming up fast enough.

Apple and its manufacturing partners in China have certainly developed the expertise to build an iPhone. Look at the latest nano. It's small and tough and the battery lasts for days. This wasn't true of previous iPod models -- they weren't ready to be phones.

When will the iPhone be launched? Likely when other devices start to eat into the iPod's market share, which won't be this holiday. Next year maybe?

Of course, Steve Jobs has a history of developing devices that never see the light of day. The first iMac was a disc-less Network Computer that was within a few months of launch before he decided there were too many problems, and the iMac should be a more traditional desktop. Jobs also admitted that Apple built a prototype PDA but decided not to release it. Likewise an Apple branded "internet service," which he killed because it wasn't a "viable business," according to the New York Times.

One thing's for sure, Apple won't be paying royalties to the record companies on every iPod sold. Funny how Universal pulled a Microsoft on Microsoft. It's the same business model that put Microsoft at the top of the PC industry: tax a license on every box sold."
Leander Kahney

Friday, December 8, 2006

GoogleOS: What To Expect

There's no such thing as the GoogleOS in reality - but despite that, it is one of the most talkedabout Web products. People can't stop discussing it - and even imagining screenshots for it! Seems like everyone expects Google to get into direct competition with Microsoft, by releasing an operating system. However Google refuses such claims and even makes fun of this kind of buzz. Nevertheless we decided to analyze where Google may be heading with their product strategy - and from that determine what are the chances of a GoogleOS.


We see 3 scenarios for a GoogleOS:

  • A web based desktop (i.e. operating system)
  • A full featured Linux distribution
  • A lightweight Linux distro and/or BIOS

We'll try to explain each of these in detail - then in the conclusion, make our prediction. What's more, we think this could be less than 6 months away from happening.

A Web Based Operating System

If you asked "what will a GoogleOS look like?" - most people would answer that it'll be an AJAX-powered copy of the Windows desktop. In other words, a WebOS (aka webtop). To remind you of what a WebOS is, it is basically a virtual desktop on the web and has various built-in applications. Google already has a history of producing web-based products that mimic desktop apps - Gmail was the first desktop client like email reader, and now they have Google Docs & Spreadsheets, Google Calendar and other desktop-like products. Also note that Google's internal open sourced widget toolset, GWT, allows them to replicate any desktop capability.

On the other hand, a bunch of startups like YouOS , Goowy, DesktopTwo, Xin and open source eyeOS are already tackling this exact problem - and have been for a while now. So if Google engineers are not already working on their own webOS project, they may want to snap up one of these! AJAX powered YouOS, which is a yet another Paul Graham investment, seems like the most obvious choice at this time.

Screenshot from YouOS

Besides the startups we've already mentioned, there may be other surprises that Google looks at for WebOS purposes. Meebo, for instance, has created a very large user base with their web-based meta instant messaging product (it enables you to use multiple IM services on the same webpage). IM is a crucial application, because many people spend a lot of time on the computer IM'ing. So Meebo could use IM as a base - and utilize the empty spaces on their page for new applications.

Meebo OS with fictional Calculator application (taken from YouOS)

30 Boxes also has a webtop offering, but it looks less promising than their calendar. Start pages like NetVibes, PageFlakes and WebWag could also potentially enter the webos business.

A Full Featured Linux Distro

Another possibility for Google is to create their own Linux-based operating system. The free license of Linux allows anyone to create their own version of Linux. Although Linux is the most popular operating system in the server market and it's free, it is still far behind Windows and MacOS in the desktop market. Some believe this may change with the latest enhancements to the Linux user interface.

This scenario is a more traditional model to replace Windows - with a direct competitor, instead of creating a web-based replacement. Indeed this has already been widely speculated - Ubuntu, a semi-free Linux derivative, was rumored to be acquired by Google.

If this scenario happened, Google may open up their operating system as a free download and promote it on their homepage - as they once did with Firefox. They could also make a networked file system the default, instead of the complex UNIX file hierarchy of Linux - which is another reason why Linux struggles in the mainstream desktop market.

A Lightweight Linux Distro or BIOS

A lightweight Linux distro is a possibility. For example an OS that simply booted up the computer, connected to the internet, and then opened Firefox. Then leave the rest to Google's web sites and apps. This is possibly the most logical strategy, because Google could then create a homepage that connects all their services and applications - and people will have the freedom to use other web sites and services as well.

Similar concepts already exist. For instance, Puppy and Damn Small are 2 credit card sized Linux distros. The good thing about these is that you can carry them everywhere you go - putting the credit card sized CD or the USB drive into your pocket and using your own operating system anywhere you go. Why? Because these distributions don't need to be installed and can work directly from the CD or the USB drive.

ByzantineOS, a dead project now, was doing exactly this. Its sole purpose was to boot up and open a Mozilla based window manager - but then you could not get out of your browser window!

A screenshot of ByzantineOS, showing the user stuck inside the browser

However, Google may be considering an even more radical solution and planning to replace BIOS with their own version. BIOS means 'basic input/output system' and it is the built-in software that determines what a computer can do - for example it controls the keyboard and display screen. Google's latest sponsorship of LinuxBIOS may be a step towards researching this. In that case, Google could agree with hardware vendors to pre-install Google's BIOS-based operating system.

Conclusion: GoogleOS will tackle Microsoft's Vista OS head on

We believe that everything will become much clearer in the following 6 months. Microsoft will put pressure on Google with its Vista OS, which will receive relatively high adoption just like any other new Windows release (although probably not as high as historically Microsoft has enjoyed!). As Vista's adoption increases, so will the adoption of its default search engine Live Search. From Microsoft's perspective, this will have a positive effect on all Live and MSN sites. What end users are looking for is ease-of-use and satisfactory experiences - which in a lot of cases starts from the Vista OS.

In that scenario, Google's usage rates may be negatively affected. So we predict at that point, Google will start a more punchy strategy - pushing Firefox and some form of Google OS. Yahoo! has already responded to the Microsoft threat in a friendly fashion, by offering a customized IE7 for its users. But we think Google will be more aggressive and competitive and will push their own OS. The GoogleOS may be a reality within 6 months!

Credit: Written by Emre Sokullu and edited by Richard MacManus.

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Alternative to Gmail Shell Extention

Gooping early Thursday, i've found a nice alternative for Gmail Extension (XMHD site). I haven't tried this personaly, but this works similary with Gmail Hardrive using your own gmail account. I was looking for something that will make work easier like uploading files online and get it whenever you need it at different computers without any costs, and wondering if those file attachments in gmail can be retrieved as fast and easy as getting files from your local drive. Ofcourse, nothing can still compare .mac account (with membership fee) where you can have your own idrive and other features that most web newbies can easily manage.

Here's another great tool. Connect Google Talk to AIM, MSN and Yahoo. It's called PSI, alternative for Trillian.

Go to PSI site.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Yahoo, Aiming for Agility, Shuffles Executives

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 5 — Yahoo said Tuesday that it was restructuring its operations and shuffling its management ranks amid growing criticism in and outside the company that it had become too bureaucratic to compete effectively against nimbler rivals.

The moves include the departure of Daniel L. Rosensweig, the chief operating officer since April 2003, and the resignation of Lloyd Braun, the former ABC executive who has run Yahoo’s media group.

Under the plan, Yahoo will reorganize itself into three operating units, including one focused on its audience and one on its advertisers and publishers. A third unit, focused on technology, will develop products serving the entire organization.

“There is no question, our new structure will increase accountability, will reduce bottlenecks and speed decision-making,” Terry S. Semel, Yahoo’s chairman and chief executive, said in an interview.

The reorganization appears to signal the ascendancy of Susan L. Decker, the chief financial officer, a well-regarded executive whose responsibilities were recently expanded to include autos, classifieds, HotJobs, shopping, travel and other Yahoo products. She will now head the advertiser and publisher group.

Ms. Decker joined Yahoo in 2000 from Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, where she served as global director of equity research and before that, a newspaper company analyst. Ms. Decker, known for her tight hold on Yahoo’s purse strings, is seen as a possible candidate to succeed Mr. Semel, a path unobstructed now that Mr. Rosensweig is leaving the company.

Mr. Rosensweig will depart at the end of March, when the company expects the reorganization to be complete. Currently, a number of operating and other units report to Mr. Rosensweig.

Among them is the media group led by Mr. Braun, who joined Yahoo two years ago with ambitious plans to develop original programming for the Internet from a base in Santa Monica, Calif. He scaled back his plans after run-ins with Yahoo’s management, especially Ms. Decker, over budgets.

Despite its position as the leading Internet destination, Yahoo has suffered many setbacks in recent months, including the delay of a major overhaul of its advertising system. Its problems include the growing lead that Google enjoys in searches and advertising, and an inability to compete effectively in social networking media, where companies like MySpace and YouTube have been acquired by rivals. There have been increasing reports of departures, low morale and internal complaints of a growing bureaucracy.

Mr. Semel said that when he joined the company five years ago, he focused on increasing the breadth of Yahoo products. Now, he said, the company is beginning a transformation to make itself “more customer-centric, not more product-centric.”

“Yahoo has always been very product-specific,” Mr. Semel said. “Many different groups in the company were building new product innovations and features for whatever group they were working for.” The company will now have the ability to put its engineering resources into technology platforms that could be used across the entire Yahoo network, he added. READ MORE >>>

Published: December 6, 2006

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

PC Tip of the day

Save time booting up your computer

One of the most frustrating moments of my morning is getting to work and sitting there for 10 minutes while my computer boots up. Most mornings, I can get a cup of coffee and visit coworkers while my computer starts and Outlook, IE, and the other applications I use regularly open. My wait time is even more frustrating when I have an early meeting and need a document, but spend the first half of the meeting waiting for my computer to start.

One way I’ve learned to save time in the morning is to put my PC into hibernation mode in the evening. By putting my PC into hibernation mode, all the applications and documents I had open will be exactly the same as they were when I left the previous evening. Hibernate saves an image of your desktop with all open files and documents, and then it powers down your computer.

To put your computer in hibernation:

  1. Open the Control Panel and double-click Power Options.
  2. Click the Hibernate tab and tick Enable Hibernation. Click OK.
  3. Hibernation mode

  4. When you leave your computer, click Start and then Turn Off Computer.
  5. Hold down SHIFT and a new Hibernate option will appear. Click Hibernate.
  6. Your computer will save its state to memory and shut down. When you turn on your computer, your files and documents will open on your desktop exactly as you left them.
This feature saves me about 15 minutes a day in the morning. Give it a try and let me know if it helps you.

—Jason Kozleski

Published Monday, November 20, 2006 9:44 PM by ahawblog

Google Pack - A free collection of essential software

Have you heard of Google Pack? I must be late about this but for those who have not yet seen what google can offer, here's a handy pack for you.

Visit Google Pack Site

Google Pack is:
  • Essential: Enjoy safe, useful software for your computer
  • Simple: Download and install everything in just a few clicks
  • Customizable: Choose only the software you want
  • Up to date: Get updates and new software via Google Updater
  • System Requirements
  • Windows XP with Administrator privileges
  • Firefox 1.0+ or Internet Explorer 6.0+

  • Google Software Included
    Google Earth - 3D Earth browser
    • Zoom from space to street level — tour the world
    • Find maps, driving directions, hotels, restaurants, and more

    Google Desktop - Desktop companion
    • Find all your email, files, web history, and more
    • Get all your personalized info in one place with Sidebar

    Picasa - Photo organizer
    • Find, edit, and share your photos in seconds
    • Easily remove red eye and fix photos

    Google Toolbar for Internet Explorer - Search toolbar
    • Search from any web page and autofill forms
    • Block annoying pop-ups

    Google Pack Screensaver - Photo screensaver
    • Enjoy photos from your personal collection
    • View pictures full screen or as a collage

    Additional Software Included
    Mozilla Firefox with Google Toolbar - Web browser
    Mozilla Corporation
    • Browse the web quickly and securely
    • Switch between pages quickly with tabbed browsing

    Ad-Aware SE Personal - Antispyware utility
    • Safely detect and remove spyware
    • Protect your privacy with powerful features

    Norton AntiVirus 2005 Special Edition - Antivirus utility
    • Protect your PC from viruses, worms and Trojan horses
    • Includes 6-month subscription to protection updates

    Adobe Reader 7 - PDF reader
    Adobe Systems
    • View, print, and search PDF files
    • Launches up to 50% faster than Reader 6.0

    Optional Software
    Google Talk - Voice and IM application
    • Connect with your friends via IM or free voice calls
    • Send and receive files and voice messages easily and quickly

    Google Video Player - Video player
    • Play videos purchased and downloaded through the Google Video website

    RealPlayer - Media player
    • Play popular media formats, organize music and videos
    • Transfer music to iPod and other portable media players

    GalleryPlayer HD Images - Images
    • High-quality artwork and photos
    • Perfect for your screensaver or desktop

    Skype - Voice, video and chat
    • Make free voice and video calls to anyone else on Skype™
    • Call landlines and mobile phones at pretty low rates

    Skype running on Nokia 6680 S60 Handset

    Published by Rafe Blandford.

    On Tuesday Skype announced a partnership with Hutchinson to put Skype on phones on the 3 networks around the world. However, Skype were not willing to answer questions on specific handsets saying only that they were actively working on development for the Symbian platform. However at the 'Do New' booth on the Nokia stand there was a demo of Skype running on two 6680s over a 3G network. Read on for details...

    The S60 Skype application was a complete implementation supporting Skype text chat, Skype voice calls (both to PCs and to other S60 handsets), and Skype Out dialing. Running the application over 3G results in latency of up to about a second. It is the equivalent to calling your granny on their other side of the world via a satellite phone. It does work, but it is annoying and I can not see most people being willing to put up with it. It was indicated that better performance would be achieved over a WiFi connectivity link. The call quality was similar to that achieved in a normal call.

    The application has been developed for S60 2nd Edition (S60 2.6 to be precise), but Skype are working on a 3rd Edition product which would make sense given the WiFi available in the N80, and Eseries handsets.

    We'll be covering more on Skype's plan for mobile in a later write up.

    Skype on 6680
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