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Friday, May 29, 2009

Microsoft kills Windows 7 Starter Editions 3 application limit

Microsoft has dropped a limitation from Windows 7 Starter, the edition expected to ship on most netbooks, that would have blocked users from running more than three applications at the same time.

Earlier editions of Windows XP Starter and Windows Vista Starter, both of which were sold only in a small number of markets outside the U.S., came with the three-app restriction.

But even as Microsoft dropped the application limitation from Windows 7 Starter, it confirmed that the version would lack a host of features that higher-priced editions will include.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

AT&T plans to double wireless broadband speeds by 2011

AT&T announced Wednesday plans to double the speed of its wireless broadband network by 2011. The move to HSPA technology, and eventually LTE networks, will begin later this year.

HSPA, which stand for High Speed Packet Access, is the next evolution in the carrier's 3G wireless broadband network. Though it promises peak data speeds of 7.2Mbps, slower speeds will be more likely in real-world use. AT&T's current UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) network tops out at 3.6Mpbs. The carrier also plans to expand coverage of the GSM 850 band, deploy 2,100 new cell sites across the country, and add 20 new 3G markets for a total of 370.

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Friday, May 22, 2009

US Army to adopt Vista and Office 2007 by end of 2009

Even with Windows 7 and Office 2010 on the horizon, most companies have yet to make the change to the latest Microsoft software. The United States Army this week announced it will be moving all of its Windows-based computers to the Vista operating system and will also be ditching Office 2003 for Office 2007.

As it currently stands now, estimates are that half of the army's computers are currently using Office 2007 and 13 percent are powered by Vista.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

UC Davis seeing more students and faculty choosing Macs

The IT staff at the UC Davis campus has seen significant increases in Mac use among students and faculty. Usage seems to spike around new Apple product introductions, like new iPods and the iPhone 3G. This was revealed as part of the results of an annual survey by US Davis's Computer Lab Management.

Mac use dropped considerably in the late '90s and early '00s, dropping to only 2.3% in 2002. Since then, Mac use among students has slowly increased over the last seven years, back up to 23.4% and trending upward. In the same period, laptop use increased from 12% to 87%. These findings are in line with laptops being a far larger part of Apple's computer sales than desktops, especially among consumers.

Two of the main reasons for the increase of Mac use on campus is theincreased brand awareness and "coolness factor" of Apple and Macs and also its relative dearth of malware and general tendency to be free of crashes or bugs.

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Friday, May 15, 2009

HP Recalls 70,000 Fire-Hazardous Batteries

Hewlett-Packard has recalled 70,000 laptop batteries that pose a fire and burn hazard to users. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced the recall saying there have been two reports of batteries overheating and bursting into flames. The fires caused minor property damage, but no injuries.

The faulty lithium-ion batteries are used in laptops sold under a variety of brands, including HP Pavilion, Compaq Presario, HP, and HP Compaq.

The systems were sold through computer and electronics stores nationwide and HP's Web site from August 2007 through March 2008. The laptops cost between $500 and $3,000. The batteries also were available separately for between $100 and $160. The battery manufacturer was not named, but the product was built in China

HP is offering replacement batteries at no charge and has a Web site that provides additional details. Customers also can call 800-889-2031 to get support.

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Xerox Goes for the Green With Crayon-Like Printer Ink

New advances in solid ink technology have paved the way for Xerox's new ColorCube 9200 office printer, a device that uses solid, crayon-like chunks of ink rather than liquid or toner to put color onto the page. The system, Xerox says, can save users money and is less punishing for the environment.

The new ColorQube 9200 could be a significant development in the industry. Its solid ink printer technology can cut the cost of color printing by 62 percent, Xerox claims, and it's also easier on the environment, thanks to less packaging and materials used.

The ColorQube technology represents an advance in solid ink technology that's been used in Xerox's desktop printers for about 10 years. It uses blocky, crayon-like sticks of solid ink that are placed in the printer and then heated. The molten ink flows onto the paper at faster speeds, says Xerox -- speeds approaching 150 million drops per second, or 85 pages per minute. The ink sticks don't need as much packaging, saving landfills and recycling facilities, and the company claims that using solid ink instead of laser printing cuts down on greenhouse gases used by 10 percent.

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Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Windows 7's "XP Mode" Won't Run on Some CPUs

Many Intel powered notebooks including Asus, Dell Studio, HP Pavilion, Sony Vaio, and Toshiba Satellite models may not have what it takes to run Windows 7's XP mode. Featured in the recent Windows 7 release candidate, Microsoft included XP mode to entice business customers to upgrade to Windows 7 even if they're using custom made programs that run only on XP.

To run XP Mode, your Intel powered computer must support Intel Virtualization Technology. Problem is, many Intel laptops found on retail shelves aren't packing Intel VT. MD-powered computers may also find difficulties running XP mode since Sempron processors and some Athlon 64 chips don't support virtualization. For the everyday user this may not be as big an issue since XP Mode is targeted at a small segment of the market. And gamers should take note that XP mode was not built to support video games.

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Saturday, May 02, 2009

Windows 7 could launch as early as August

Although Microsoft refuses to name a delivery date for Windows 7, it could launch the new operating system as early as August. A senior Microsoft executive said that a release in time to make 2009's crucial holiday selling season was "accomplishable," a departure from policy that has only promised to deliver Windows 7 within three years of Vista's appearance.

Microsoft declined to comment on a Windows 7 ship date. A company spokeswoman stuck to the official, and well-practiced line. "We are currently in the development stages for Windows 7 and expect it will take approximately three 3 years from Windows Vista Consumer [general availability] to develop".

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