A few weeks ago, I started telling friends my wild and crazy prediction that Apple will own a majority share of the personal computer market within three years. Apple's biggest weakness is in their vertical monopoly over their own hardware. OSX is fabulous, but their hardware is crap, let's face it. You simply have to figure the cost of Apple Care into any Mac purchase because you can count on some sort of hardware problem.
Despite this -- and who's to say Apple won't change its tune regarding hardware? -- Apple's star is definitely rising, while Microsoft's is in a self-inflicted crash and burn.
The Mobile Intelligent Terminal was unveiled at a Samsung-sponsored industry conference on Mobile WiMax, which is just coming into use and promises fast broadband connections over long distances.
The device weighs about a pound and contains a fold-out keyboard, 5-inch screen and 30 gigabyte hard drive. It runs the full version of Microsoft Corp.'s Windows XP operating system and also supports the CDMA mobile phone communications standard, which is used in South Korea and other countries including the United States.
Kim Hun-bae, Samsung vice president for mobile research and development, told reporters that the gadget is the world's first WiMax device that also works as a mobile phone. It also can access the Internet, make video phone calls and display television as well as other video.
If you haven't been running one of the release candidates already, you may want to get the latest and perhaps best browser to date, Firefox 1.5, now that it's been officially released. And really, if you're using another browser -- especially the buggy and unsafe Internet Explorer -- you owe it to yourself to at least try Firefox, which is safer for your machine.
That's reason one.
As a designer, Firefox is a pleasurable development in the online world. I can't speak for others, but I think websites look better in Firefox. Meanwhile, Internet Explorer, thanks to Microsoft's defiance of web standards, continues to be a nightmare for web designers who waste additional hours upon hours to hack all the Internet Explorer quirks in CSS so that IE doesn't break the website altogether.
Nothing like lawsuits to get a response, if only for the moment.
Stung by continuing criticism, the world's second-largest music label, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, promised Friday to temporarily suspend making music CDs with antipiracy technology that can leave computers vulnerable to hackers.
Sony defended its right to prevent customers from illegally copying music but said it will halt manufacturing CDs with the "XCP" technology as a precautionary measure. "We also intend to re-examine all aspects of our content protection initiative to be sure that it continues to meet our goals of security and ease of consumer use," the company said in a statement.
Note that customer satisfaction is not mentioned. We don't even get a crocodile tear.
I must say, I find their contempt for the customer -- or, at best, disregard for customer satisfaction -- astonishes me.
Sony's now infamous decision to use system destabilizing DRM malware in order to "fight piracy" (despite it being shockingly easy to defeat) has earned Sony a lawsuit or three. A new class action suit has been filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, another is expected in New York this week, and there have been a handful of rumblings in other countries, as well.
The story goes like this. Starting in June 2004, Sony BMG records began copy-protecting its pop-music CD's. Over the months, the company has used several software schemes for preventing you, the customer, from making illegal copies of its discs. But 20 albums are protected by a scheme devised by a company called First 4 Internet-and it's caused an incredible online furor.
These CD's, all bearing "Content Protected" labels on the packaging (meaning "copy protected"), do something very sneaky if you try to play them on a Windows PC: they install a proprietary watchdog program that prevents you from copying the CD more than twice. (On a Macintosh or Linux machine, these CD's play just fine, without any copy protection.)
Last week, a programmer and blogger named Mark Russinovich dug a little deeper, and found out something disturbing: the Sony watchdog program not only installs itself deep in the core of Windows-it's what's called a rootkit-but it also makes itself invisible.