Tico Byte
October, 2007

Hello PC Club members,

The monthly club meeting is coming up this Saturday, Oct. 20th. As usual it will take place at the Pan American School, in Belen at 9am. Items to discuss will include what's new, with show and tell; we will share what we have all learned this last month; and there will be discussion of recovery of your operating system. Also, we will talk about sites that are fun and of interest and will make you more productive. There will be an update on the Christmas party and the election of officers as well as a vote on a revision of the bylaws. There will be lots of time for coffee and donuts and to talk with your friends. So come and bring anyone else who might be new and interested in computing in Costa Rica.

On with the Byte:

Item 1) Microsoft live search (what the world is coming to)
Microsoft Corp., lagging behind Google Inc. in Internet search, introduced a new version of its search engine for Windows-based mobile phones that enables customers to find listings using their voice.

Live Search Mobile, which users have to download to their handsets, displays listings and driving directions on maps, Microsoft said Monday. The company will also offer free 411 directory assistance from any phone.

Item 2) (Oh God, again?) Microsoft - Supreme Court - Racketeering
Way back in 2003, we wrote about accusations that Microsoft and Best Buy were scamming customers into signing up for Microsoft's ISP MSN. The accusation was that Best Buy employees would scan the "free trial" MSN CD-ROMs that were at the store when customers would make a purchase. Customers wouldn't realize it, but the scan would then charge that customer's credit card once the free trial ended, signing them up as fully paying customers. While we wondered how widespread this practice was, some Best Buy employees have come forward to confirm that it was done at times.
Site: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20071015/141410.shtml

Item 3) Hurrah, hurrah, (for Mac users)

After much speculation, Apple has confirmed that the next version of its Mac OS X operating system, "Leopard," will hit stores on Friday, October 26, at 6 p.m. The company has stated that Leopard, which was delayed this spring due to the high-profile iPhone, includes more than 300 new features in comparison to its predecessor, Tiger. Among these are an improved "dock" interface for easy access to applications, more robust parental controls, the Time Machine automatic-backup service and a redesigned Finder interface.

Site: http://www.news.com/8301-10784_3-9798013-7.html


Item 4) Gutsy Gibbon (for you Ubuntu fans)

Some of the Gutsy Gibbon work involved introducing new features Canonical hopes to stabilize for Hardy Heron, said Canonical's chief executive and founder, Mark Shuttleworth. Take, for example, the "tickless" kernel, which is designed to reduce power consumption and improve server virtualization performance by letting the processor enter a somnolent state more often. "I'm quite glad we're not trying to make the decision between tickless and long-term support. This is a fairly radical piece of surgery on the kernel," Shuttleworth said. Among other Gutsy Gibbon developments are snazzy 3D graphics for the desktop version, desktop search called Tracker and the first incarnation of a Ubuntu Mobile version for portable gadgets.



Item 5) From China; the future?

Apparently, the Chinese government is trying to build a huge 3D virtual world online that will function as something of a direct-to-consumer portal for Chinese manufacturers. The idea is that rather than buying "Made in China" goods through retailers, you could just log into this virtual world and order your products directly. In fact, the idea includes putting unique identifiers along with the "made in China" stickers so that people know where to go in this virtual world to order more. This raises a ton of questions, so we'll just start with the easy ones, and let you fill in the rest in the comments:

Site: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20071015/031356.shtml


Item 6) Are you 'top down' or 'bottom up'

Sometimes people wonder why so many people in the tech industry tend to fall into more of a "libertarian" viewpoint on things. Perhaps it's because they realize the empowering nature of technology to do away with the need for many more centralized top down structures. The reason that we often have big top down structures is because there was no efficient way to spread the control outwards, so you consolidate power at the top allowing someone else to make decisions for a large group of people as their "representative." However, technology erodes some of that, by creating more efficient means of communication, breaking down the need for such top down control. We see it many different aspects. Companies today are more fluid, with a much more bottom up approach. Products and services that involve a bottom up approach are becoming more popular (and more useful) every day. So it's only a matter of time until the same thing happens to the government.

Site: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20071012/025333.shtml


Item 7) What do you do when you have to reload your entire operating system?

Come to the meeting and find out. 9 am, Pan American School. See you there.