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Windows 7 keeps growing in popularity over XP

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Wednesday 31 October 2012 10:40 pm

Net Applications)

Windows 7 increased its lead over XP during the month of October.

As recorded by web tracker Net Applications,
Windows 7 scored a market share of 44.7 percent last month, a slight gain from September. Over the same time, XP’s share fell to 40.7 percent from 41.2 percent.

Though the gap between September and October is hardly earth-shaking, the numbers show that Windows 7 is slowly grabbing more users from the now 11-year-old XP. After years of XP holding the dominant position, Windows 7 finally won the top OS spot in August, according to Net Applications.

Just a year ago, XP’s share was 48 percent, while Windows 7 was resting below 35 percent.

Microsoft had been on a kick to convince consumers and businesses alike to upgrade from XP to Windows 7. The company has often reminded users that extended support for XP will expire in April 2014. After that point, security patches and other updates will no longer be available, meaning people will be running XP at their own risk.

Microsoft has also been phasing out application support for XP. Internet Explorer 9 and 10 will not run under XP. Office 2013 will work only under Windows 7 or Windows 8.

Windows 8 itself continues to be a blip on the radar, grabbing a share of 0.41 percent last month, compared with 0.3 percent in September. But since the new OS officially debuted last week, we’ll have to see what numbers it captures for the month of November.

Overall, Windows was king of the OS market last month with a share of more than 91 percent, leaving the
Mac OS with 7.1 percent and Linux with a little more than 1 percent.

The Streaming Video Market Is So Messed Up It’s Scary

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Wednesday 31 October 2012 4:39 pm
The Streaming Video Market Is So Messed Up It's Scary

Fanhattan just put up a somewhat amazing post on its corporate blog describing how hard it is to find specific movies or TV shows on various streaming video services. Sure, this is why Fanhattan exists – it’s an app that lets you scan a bunch of streaming sites to find what you want. But I had no idea how crazy things are in the world of streaming content.

To make a point, Fanhattan looks at horror movies (“screaming media,” nyuk nyuk) that you might want to watch on Halloween. There’s lots of stuff online, but it’s scattered all over the place.

Fanhattan reckons there are 2,300 horror movies that can be streamed right now. However: “About 71% of the horror movies currently available are exclusive to a single digital media source and more than 22% can be accessed on only two sources.” 

Of the 100 top Halloween movies curated by Fanhattan this year, about 65% are available from just one source, and about 25% are available from only two sources. 

Worse yet, even specific horror franchises get split up and spread across different streaming platforms, so if you want  to watch an entire series you need to deal with a bunch of different services. Says Fanhattan: “Hostel is available for rent on Amazon Prime and purchase on iTunes. But Hostel: Part II is only available on iTunes right now. Hostel: Part III is available with a Netflix subscription and for sale on iTunes.”

But wait, it gets even worse, because all of this is changing all the time, as content providers keep moving stuff around. So a movie might show up on one service this week but be gone next week. 

That’s why Fanhattan exists. The app pulls together content from 16 video distribution services. “Our aim is to simplify what has become strikingly complex – finding what’s on,” a spokesperson says.

Someday maybe Hollywood and its streaming partners will get their act together. Until then, Fanhattan has a market opportunity.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Fanhattan.

HP Cloud Relies on Being Open to Compete

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Wednesday 31 October 2012 10:14 am

Zorawar ‘Biri’ Singh, SVP Converged Cloud and HP Cloud Services, has some big responsibilities. Singh is responsible for HP’s cloud efforts, which increasingly involve the open source OpenStack platform.

In an exclusive interview with InternetNews Singh detailed his views on the cloud and how HP can leverage the open approach and still provide competitive differentiation.

The importance of an open approach for the cloud is a key tenant of HP’s cloud strategy overall. According to Singh, what customers are really looking for in the cloud is a single management backplane and an environment through which they can provision, secure and build services.

HP’s converged cloud strategy involves managed, private and public cloud efforts. Singh noted that partners are an important component of HP’s overall cloud strategy. Partners are important because they can help HP close the gap with Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Read the full story at Datamation:
HP: Why an Open Cloud Matters

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Installing Windows 8: the pain, the poetry, the pleasure

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Wednesday 31 October 2012 4:13 am

Windows 8, working after a bumpy but successful installation.

Windows 8, working after a bumpy but successful installation.

screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET)

Let me get the bad news out of the way up front: installing personal computer operating systems isn’t easy, and Windows 8 is no exception.

I’ve installed more versions of DOS, Linux, Windows,
Mac OS, OS X,
Android, and iOS than I can remember over more than two decades, and the fact of the matter is that there’s a basic level of technical difficulty. How many average people actually know the name of their hard drives?

It is getting better, particularly with iOS and Android updates or with PC upgrades. But PCs are complex beasts with complex operating systems, and I prefer clean installations of Windows to sweep away the accumulated cruft.

Given how many PCs are in the market and that Microsoft sold 4 million Windows 8 upgrades, a lot of people could have a move to Microsoft’s newest OS in their future. For anybody in that circumstance, here’s a look at one person’s experience.

10:39 a.m. Here I go. I’m putting Windows 8 on a three-year-old Dell Studio XPS 16 (aka 1645), a machine that for the last few months has been running the Windows 8 preview release. I downloaded the installation software overnight and put it on a USB drive. To start the installation, I have to restart the machine to boot from the USB drive, but typically, on the first go around I missed the brief window to hit F12 for setting boot options. (Microsoft moved to a new boot options menu because on some newer machines, Windows 8 boots too fast to let people change the startup options.) The second time around I paid closer attention and began the installation process.

10:43 a.m.: OK, here’s my first chance to actually do something: an input screen for language preferences. But there’s only one language option, “English (United Kingdom).” Why not U.S. English? Is it because I live in Paris? Perversely, time and currency and keyboard lets me set it up with U.S. settings.

This old machine has a nice screen, but the installation starts only with a very coarse, low-resolution view. I’m used to this from earlier Windows installations, but it sure is an ugly introduction to a new OS.

10:45 a.m. Some more churning, then time to type in my product code. Good thing I wrote this down before the installation.

10:48 a.m. Some muddy, techie language on the installation screen for picking an upgrade that keeps my files and apps vs a custom installation: “If you want to make changes to partitions and drives, start the computer using the installation disc.” What installation disk? I’m installing off a USB drive. Fortunately, I don’t need to change partitions.

10:49 a.m. OK, now it’s installing for real.

10:53 a.m. But slowly. “Preparing files… 35%”

11:00 a.m. A message: “Please unplug the following external drive: D:” and the machine will restart.” It doesn’t take a genius to translate that as “Please unplug your USB drive,” but seriously, “D:” is a hideous throwback to the old DOS days. And what if I did have an external drive plugged in, not just the USB thumb drive?

11:01 a.m. The system is rebooting itself.

11:02 a.m. Things are getting serious! I now have two options for installation: “Windows 8 on volume 3” or “Windows 8 on volume 3.” Yes, they’re identical words. I have no idea whether they’re identical choices. I go for the first “Windows 8 on volume 3.” Oh, and what’s volume 3? I presume some partition, but again, this is information most people won’t know, and frankly, I can’t ever remember seeing any slices of my hard drive called volume 3.

11:03 a.m. Ah, there’s support for my screen. It’s now much more pleasant to look at the “Getting ready” message and the whirling dots that Windows 8 uses to indicate a process whose progress can’t be monitored. I have to ask, though, why not? Some kind of progress bar to indicate how long I have to wait would be nice here.

11:13 a.m. No more “Getting ready.” Blank screen. Reboot again. (This is the third time, including my own restart to begin the process.)

11:15 a.m. Now I get to pick my screen “colour.” This is the English (United Kingdom) speaking to me.
11:17 a.m. Wi-Fi is arriving…

11:18 a.m. Now it’s time for custom vs express settings. I’m going for the express settings, including that controversial “Turn on Do Not Track in Internet Explorer” option. I’m grateful there’s no hidden submenu here where I have to disable the installation of some browser toolbar garbage.

11:19 a.m. I’m signing in with my Microsoft account. As with Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google nowadays this is the moment where I hook up with the whole giant ecosystem. It’s much more significant with Windows 8 because it ties into the Windows Store to keep track of my purchases. It’s nice that the installation remembers my phone number and backup e-mail address from my installation of the preview version of WIndows 8. Now it’s creating my account on the system.

11:20 a.m. Now a blank screen appears. And one word — “Hi” — in white letters with no punctuation, I laugh out loud, reminded of the old 128k Macintosh’s “Hello.” Turns out this begins a very basic tutorial, which is smart since the Windows 8 user interface is so radically different.

The words blink in and out. I find them almost poetic:

While we’re getting things ready
Take a look at the new way to use Windows
Once your PC is ready
Move your mouse into any corner

11:21 a.m. There’s a nice color-shifting background while I read this notice: “We’re getting your PC ready. This will take a few minutes.”

11:22 a.m.: “Installing apps. This will take a few minutes.”

11:23 a.m. Done! I have a Windows 8 screen covered with live tiles. Their occasional bursts of activity remind me of jumping beans.

This is par for the course with mobile operating systems nowadays, but it’s great to see on Windows: It’s personalized to me from the first moment I can use it. I see Flickr photos, Facebook contacts, and e-mails.

Microsoft did indeed remember preferences linked to my account, such as putting the task bar on the left edge of the machine. (I need vertical screen height much more than screen width.)

Time to explore now.

11:27 a.m. Trying the photo app. I get a warning that “This may take some time if you have a lot of photos.” Umm, yeah. I have 13,006 photos at Flickr. A lot of apps take some time to sync up during the first go around, and the mail app didn’t remember my Gmail settings from the last go around.

11:30 a.m. Boy are the electronic bonging alert noises annoying. I’m going to have to tweak some settings.

11:37 a.m. In the control panel I find that a 157MB Windows language pack is placed there before me to download — “English United States.” I guess Microsoft pared down the installer to save the download time and installer file size, and gave me U.K. English given my geography, then suggested the language pack as an update since I installed selected U.S. English for other settings.

I’m calling this installation done now — or at least the main part of it. Now I have to do the manual labor: new browsers, Skype, Dropbox sync, Google Drive sync, SkyDrive sync, and all the rest. Thank goodness so much of my data is in the cloud: it really makes moving to a new operating system easier.

My printer was supported from the start, but I had to download Hewlett-Packard’s software so I could scan, too, and I’m delighted to find out that unlike with the preview release, it now works.

Overall, though there were some hiccups to the installation process, I got through it in less than an hour, and it worked. Not only that, it was the best Windows installation so far, hands down, and I respect the fact that Microsoft has to support such an incredibly wide variety of hardware.

The user-interface split personality is a problem for Windows 8, as is the learning curve, but so far I’m happy. I’ve got a snappy new operating system that actually feels like it rejuvenated my computer.

Top 10 Tech Nightmares To Scare You This Halloween

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Tuesday 30 October 2012 10:13 pm
Top 10 Tech Nightmares To Scare You This Halloween

Halloween is the spookiest time of the year. Here at ReadWrite, we couldn’t help but think of tech-based nightmares. And we couldn’t help but share them…

  1. Google combines everything it knows about you from all its various services – and then uses it to blackmail you over your insipid kitten photos and lame taste in music.
  2. Gray Goo – nanobots running out of control and destroying everything. Or on a larger scale, your 3D printer starts making copies of itself. Which start making copies of themselves…
  3. You buy a brand new tablet, and the next day a new model comes out and makes yours obsolete. And makes you feel like a sucker.
  4. Now that Disney is buying LucasFilm, Jar Jar Binks shows up in every new Disney movie.
  5. Being the first person to die in an accident caused by a self-driving car.
  6. Stuxnet decides to invade your smartphone.
  7. Not being able to catch your brand new fancy Nikon SLR when experimenting with Camera Toss Photography.
  8. You wake up from a dream, and you really are CEO of RIM.
  9. You get arrested for jailbreaking your iPad.
  10. Your startup gets bought for millions in stock – but it turns out to be Zynga stock.

Thanks to Jon Mitchell, Jim Nash, and Christina Ortiz for their terrifying contributions. And we all want to know, what are YOU afraid of today?

Besides this, of course:

Riverbed Expands Application Performance Management with $1 Billion OPNET Buy

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Tuesday 30 October 2012 3:38 pm

Riverbed Technology today announced its intention to acquire Application Performance Management (APM) vendor OPNET. The deal is valued at $1 billion and is expected to close by the end of this calendar year.

Riverbed will be paying $43 per OPNET share in a cash and stock deal. The plan is to combine the OPNET technology with Riverbed’s Cascade business unit.

“This is a strategic acquisition that is highly complementary to Cascade and Riverbed as a whole,” Jerry Kennelly, Chairman and CEO at Riverbed said during a morning press conference to discuss the deal.

Cascade is Riverbed’s Network Performance Management (NPM) technology. Riverbed acquired the Cascade technology with the acquisition of CACE technology in October of 2010. Eric Wolford EVP and GM for the Products Group at Riverbed said during the call that the acquisition of OPNET is an acceleration of the strategy that the Cascade product group is all about.

“This isn’t a new direction, but an acceleration of our existing strategy focused on delivering performance improvements to the network,” Wolford said. “Cascade NPM brings visibility to the network. OPNET goes beyond that, measuring the true end user experience with capabilities including application component monitoring, code level traces as well as root cause analysis.”

Read the full story at EnterpriseNetworkingPlanet:
Riverbed Acquiring OPNET for $1 Billion

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

The smug tweeter posting Hurricane Sandy misinformation

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Tuesday 30 October 2012 9:35 am

Screenshot: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET)

“Why do people do these things?” is a question that we at Technically Incorrect try to answer every day.

Sometimes, it is in vain. But we never lose heart, as heart is all we have left.

So please join me in considering the mindset of the fine gentleman behind the Twitter account @ComfortablySmug.

Last night, as cranes were dangling, winds howling, and waters flowing in New York, Smuggins thought it witty to emit what looked like news-filled tweets that were, indeed, not so full of news.

Indeed, they were full of false information (not unlike the many hoax #Sandy photos flooding social media.)

BuzzFeed has a collection of these tweets. Sample: “Breaking: Con Edison has begun shutting down ALL power in Manhattan.”

And then there was this: “Confirmed flooding on NYSE. The trading floor is flooded under more than three feet of water.”

There was also: “BREAKING: Governor Cuomo is trapped in Manhattan. Has been taken to a secure shelter.”

I have no idea if that last one was a Dick Cheney joke, but the slight problem with these tweets is that there are a number of reporters who follow Smuggins.

As the Atlantic follows it, some of these reporters took time to verify these tweets when they could have been doing, oh, just about anything else.

Indeed, folks from NPR, Reuters, and the Daily Beast reportedly re-tweeted these missives of fear, a decision some might well rue.

Notoriety can be a multi-edged saber. For elements on Twitter were so appalled at his, um, sense of humor, that they offered him ill-feeling. BuzzFeed tracked him down by comparing veiled images on the Twitter account to their unveiled counterparts.

Hoax #Sandy photos flooding social media (pictures)

He is reportedly (and, of course, allegedly) Shashank Tripathi, who is spending much of his emotional energy as the campaign manager of Christopher R. Wight, the Republican candidate for the U.S. House from New York’s 12th congressional district. (We’re trying to reach him to confirm his identity as well and will update if we have any luck.)

I am sure there were one or two ill-hearted souls last night who, on hearing that the flood waters were plaguing the southern parts of Manhattan, wished that the edifices of Wall Street would be swept away.

They will receive no reassurance, therefore, to hear that Tripathi appears to be a hedge fund analyst. Indeed, his Twitter feed links to Stone Street Advisors, which seems to advise on terribly complicated financial matters.

Stone Street Advisors appears to have offices in both New York and New Jersey.

Reporters who have pursued him since last night suggest that he has courted notoriety before and allegedly once told New York magazine that he had “asshole tendencies.”

Although he curiously tweeted real news mixed in with his goading nonsense (hedging his bets, I suppose), @ComfortablySmug hasn’t tweeted for the last 18 hours.

There will be those who will defend him as someone who was merely trying to be funny.

This is, of course, often the temptation when 30 or 40 of your fellow humans are dying, and many more are losing their homes, livelihoods and life savings.

Sandy’s Wrath: How To Recover Water Damaged Hardware

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Tuesday 30 October 2012 3:15 am
Sandy's Wrath: How To Recover Water Damaged Hardware

With billions of dollars of property damage already incurred from Sandy this week, it’s a sure bet that there’s going to be a lot of electronics included in that tally. If you’re one of the unlucky owners of some gear that’s been hit by water damage from the storm, don’t despair yet. You may be able to get your stuff back online… but it takes serious effort and a lot of patience.

Power Down

This may seem a gimme, but it’s very important that you turn off the power to your devices. If there’s been water damage, it’s not only dangerous to your device to send energy flowing across possibly compromised circuit boards and drives, but also potentially dangerous to yourself. Unplug everything that’s plugged, even if you think there’s no water damage to that specific device. If your home has a just a couple of inches of water on the floor, there could still be moisture gathering and condensing inside the case.

If your home is flooded, be very careful getting to the main circuit breaker panel. If there’s any water near the box, wait for the power company to come out and kill the power from the outside. Saving your devices isn’t worth electrocuting yourself.

For smaller devices, remove the battery if you can.

Regardless of the device, follow this one big rule: no matter how tempting it is to turn the device on to see if it’s still working, do not do it. Just one power activation is enough to completely short out the device (if it’s not already). Do not do turn on the device until you have tried all of the possible steps to get it dried out.

Wring It Out

First, move the device to somewhere dry. You’ll need to do that, no matter what path you take to recover the device.

After making sure the more important aspects of your life are in order, there are two main ways to get your device fixed. If you’re not insured and don’t want to replace it or even if you are insured, you may need to recover files that are stored locally on the device.

First, you can contact a professional restoration service. Check your local listings and be sure they are qualified to handle electronics. Depending on the level of damage, you might also want to find a drive-restoration service that can specifically go in and dig out the files from a damaged hard drive.

If you think you can handle it, you can try to dry out the device yourself. I would not recommend this for sealed Apple laptops and desktops… your best bet is letting them get mostly dry and bringing them into an AppleCare specialist for final opening and cleaning.

If you have a damaged PC desktop computer, open the case and let it air out. The same for a laptop, though that may be trickier depending on the model. Drying alone won’t be enough, because as water evaporates, it’s going to leave behind residue from salts or whatever else was in the water. That residue is enough to damage your machine when you try to power it on again.

Obtain a commercial cleaning solvent designed for circuit work and gently brush out the innards of your machine using the solvent with a soft toothbrush (one you never plan to use again). Get a can of compressed air and use that to blow out water, debris and residue, too. This will take a lot of time, so be patient.

After you are as sure as you can be that everything is dried and cleaned, put the device back together, plug it in and power it on. If things work, great. Immediately back up the data on the device and either use it or replace it as you originally intended to do.

If the drying process was not successful, chances are something else went wrong – perhaps corrosion set in faster than you could recover the device. At this point, data recovery may be your best option. This is something that should be left to the pros, recommends John Christopher, a recovery engineer from DriveSavers.

“Do not attempt recovery of your data personally by using any type of diagnostic or repair tools. Doing so may cause further damage or permanent data loss,” Christopher urged. “Remember, the first recovery attempt is the most successful. Play it safe and send hardware to a professional.”

Saving A Bricked Phone

If your phone has been dunked in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean that suddenly entered your front yard, or some similar mishap, a simpler solution may be at hand. First, don’t turn the phone on. Not even once.

Open the case (if you can) and remove the battery. Then get a big plastic container full of raw rice, and completely bury your phone in it, sealing the lid of the container. Leave it there for a couple of days at least. The rice acts as a natural desiccant and pulls moisture naturally from the phone’s innards. You may also want to blow compressed air into the phone’s ports a bit during the process to help the process along.

Once you remove the phone from the rice, charge it and and see if it works. This method worked for me after a recent camping trip accident where Android met creek.

Preparing For The Next Time

Whether you escaped the fury of Sandy or not, it’s critical to keep computing devices and their data backed up. Cloud services are a goodway to accomplish this, since on-site backups can become damaged in the same disaster that affects the device itself.

Ultimately you will have to decide the best recovery method for your particular situation, but if this week reminds us of anything, its the importance of being prepared. Disaster is never that far away.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

VeriSign Pushing for .com Contract Renewal

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Monday 29 October 2012 8:58 pm

VeriSign has been managing the .com domain registry since 1999. It’s an agreement that has already been renewed once, back in 2006 and is set for renewal this year. While ICANN has already awarded the contract to VeriSign, the deal is now under review by the U.S Department of Justice.

Jim Bidzos, executive chairman, president and chief executive officer of VeriSign discussed the review during his company’s third quarter 2012 earnings call. For VeriSign, it was another strong quarter with revenue reported at $224 million, for a 13 percent year-over-year gain. Net income grew to $78 million for the quarter, up from $59 million last year.

At the core of VeriSign’s success is the .com registry business. At the end of the third quarter, there was a base of 105 million registered .com domain names and an additional 14.9 million .net domain names. Bidzos noted that the current domain name base is a 7.1 percent increase over the same period a year ago.

VeriSign operates the .com registry under an agreement that requires the approval of U.S. Department of Commerce. It’s an agreement that was set for renewal by November 30th, but could now be delayed.

“As a result of communications beginning in October 2012 with the Commerce Department, we learned that the Commerce Department was conducting a review of pricing with the Department of Justice,” Bidzos said during his company’s earnings call.

He added that the review could extend beyond November 30, 2012, in which case a 6-month extension of the .com registry agreement would come into effect.

Read the full story at EnterpriseNetworkingPlanet:
VeriSign .com Renewal Under Department of Justice Review

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Apple’s Scott Forstall ousted after refusing to sign apology, reports say

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Monday 29 October 2012 2:47 pm

Apples Scott Forstall.

Apple’s Scott Forstall to leave in 2013.

Josh Lowensohn/CNET)

The controversy surrounding Apple’s mapping software apparently wasn’t just swept quietly under the rug among the halls of Cupertino.

Apple today reshuffled its top management, and now it’s come out that the exit of iOS software chief Scott Forstall is more than just a quiet departure. Forstall was forced out after he refused to sign a letter apologizing for problems with Apple Maps, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The New York Times confirmed the firing, along with the unrelated ouster of Apple’s new retail chief, John Browett.

The Journal reported that Forstall was considered to be a divisive figure in the company who could no longer avoid rankling Apple’s top brass once Steve Jobs was no longer around to mediate. “Mr. Forstall’s departure came after mounting tension with members of Apple’s executive ranks. For years, senior executives had complained that he wasn’t cooperative and showed off his close relationship with Mr. Jobs,” wrote the WSJ’s Jessica E. Lessin.

In fact, Forstall recently sent an email to some of the folks on Apple’s iOS software team saying that the group “wasn’t working on enough big ideas in mobile software,” according to the WSJ. That’s effectively saying that Forstall thought the company was struggling to compete, so it’s no surprise that tensions were mounting.

Apple has said that Forstall will be replaced by Craig Federighi in 2013. Federighi will oversee both the iOS and OS X groups under one umbrella.

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