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Google Spreadsheet Spreads Wings

Posted by Geetesh Bajaj on June 30, 2006 09:43 PM

Google Spreadsheets did create a flutter when it was announced -- and I still had not tried it out. So when it started spreading its wings and there was this news report of Panorama Software integrating its business intelligence software with Google's spreadsheet move, I knew I should take a look.

I actually quite like what I see on the site -- as long as you are a Google member with a GMail account, it's super simple to sign in and start creating your spreadsheets. You can import your Excel spreadsheets, and save them too in Excel format. And the interface is great -- actually, it's more like a simplified version of the Excel 2007 interface -- you can't miss the fact that Google Spreadsheets has just one menu option (like the Office Button in Excel 2007), and everything else is accessible in tabs (again like the Excel 2007 ribbons). So is that where Google is trying to land its flight?

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Categories: Google , Microsoft

The Ultimate Keyboard from Microsoft

Posted by Geetesh Bajaj on June 30, 2006 07:07 AM

Microsoft announced the Ultimate Keyboard that has niceties like mood lighting, rechargeable power, and wireless connectivity to the computer. Check it out here...

Elsewhere, Art. Lebedev Studio from Russia has created the Optimus keyboard -- just look at this stunner.

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Categories: Microsoft

What is an Origami PC?

Posted by Geetesh Bajaj on June 28, 2006 06:29 AM

An Origami PC, also known as the Ultra-Mobile PC (UMPC), is a PC that runs the real version of Windows, like Windows XP, or Windows Vista. It's larger than a PDA, but smaller than the smallest laptops. The screen on most of these PCs will be around 7 inches.

So is everyone excited about these devices? Yes and no -- there are many who will sing songs of praise but there's no dearth of skeptics as well. Everyone does agree though that there is so much more evolution down the road for these Origami PCs.

As CNET news says -- Bill Gates' vision of an ultramobile PC seemed like a winner: a device with all-day battery life, yet small enough to fit in a pocket and much cheaper than a laptop. But as devices begin to come out a year later, reality still trails Microsoft's ambitions. The first generation of devices, being announced Thursday and already featured on Microsoft's site, are bigger, pricier and more power hungry than the software maker had hoped.

Echoing in the same voice, Vnunet reported how the companies behind Microsoft's Origami ultra-mobile PC project were unable to demonstrate it successfully at a recent news conference in Seoul.

PC Magazine was not too much more enthusiastic in their review of Samsung's Q1, one of the first UMPCs released, but it did look at the good aspects as well -- at first glance, the Q1 looks like a pumped-up Sony PSP. Even the scroll button resembles the joystick on the PSP. The big difference, of course, is that the Q1 is a fully functional PC loaded with the Windows XP (Tablet Edition) operating system.

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Categories: Microsoft

Yahoo! Messenger Opens Out to Developers

Posted by Geetesh Bajaj on June 22, 2006 11:44 PM

Yahoo! is all set to allow individual programs to embed themselves within Yahoo! Messenger, a move that could have huge implications in the way these small collaboration and sharing programs are used.

Information Week said that Yahoo Inc. is set to allow users to embed in its instant messaging service formerly independent programs that help them collaborate on activities ranging from calendar scheduling to watching videos or even trading commodities. The company said it was introducing on Monday a handier way for tens of millions of users of Yahoo Messenger to share a variety of Web services, media or software created by independent software developers or by Yahoo itself.

MSNBC added that Yahoo's effort builds on the growing popularity of "widgets," or mini-applications designed to work on computer desktops. Yahoo is making it possible for developers of thousands of these mini-applications to be incorporated into instant messaging services instead of sitting static on PCs.

TG Daily provides even more details -- dozens of plug-ins ranging from extremely useful to utterly useless are already available. Users can install plug-ins for calendar sharing and viewing where friends live. Shoppers and online auction addicts can also install plug-ins for Amazon.com and Ebay.com services.

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Categories: Yahoo

Microsoft Office gets Creative Commons

Posted by Geetesh Bajaj on June 22, 2006 10:38 PM

Microsoft announced that it is teaming up with Creative Commons to integrate a copyright licensing tool in their Office suite. So what is Creative Commons? Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that offers flexible copyright licenses for creative works -- you can see Flash movie tutorials on their site that explain this better.

Redmongmag.com reports that the copyright licensing tool, which is free, will let Word, Excel and PowerPoint users choose among a selection of copyright licenses to address particular documents from within the Office applications, according to a joint statement by Microsoft and Creative Commons.

ZDNet was a little more euphoric when they gave kudos to Microsoft for making it possible for users of their Office suite (now numbering 400 million) to easily apply a Creative Commons license to the work they author using the applications in that productivity suite. ZDNet also adds that there is no word on whether this capability will be built into 2007 Microsoft Office system.

If these were the bouquets, then there are brickbats too. Tectonic says that Microsoft downplayed the links between Creative Commons and open source in its announcement, and everyone suddenly seems to be on friendly terms.

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Categories: Microsoft

Apple to create iTunes Movie Store?

Posted by Geetesh Bajaj on June 22, 2006 06:50 AM

Apple is working on repeating its iTunes music store success story with movies this time, but movie studios are not bending backwards. It might be something before its time because the iPod's small screen is not the size that Hollywood movies are made for -- so does Apple have something larger than life looming ahead?

The Guardian reports that Apple, which already controls more than 75% of the music-download industry, hopes to introduce a service that would allow users to download films for $9.99 each by the autumn.

The International Herald Tribune adds that consumers have been willing to spend 99 cents to buy Shakira's "Hips Don't Lie" or $1.99 for an episode of "Desperate Housewives" from iTunes. Now Steven Jobs is betting they will also pay $9.99 to download "The Godfather" to play on their iPods.

Not surprisingly, MSNBC doesn't agree. According to their Hollywood sources, Apple has hoped to get the store up and running within weeks. But the deal isn't yet doneā€”and there's a chance it won't be any time soon. That's because Apple and the studios remain at loggerheads on a range of issues, from how much movie downloads should cost, to the degree of piracy protections they should carry. "This will take months and months to figure it out," says one source involved in the talks. "It may even be a 2007 kind of thing."

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Categories: Apple , DRM

Microsoft in Robotics Arena

Posted by Geetesh Bajaj on June 22, 2006 03:24 AM

Microsoft quietly stepped into the robotics arena with the launch of its new Robotics Studio. Microsoft claims that Robotics Studio offers end-to-end robotics development environment customer technical preview for hobbyist, academic, and commercial developers.

Betanews adds that one of Microsoft's first partners in the field is Lego, whose Mindstorms NXT products will be able to take advantage of the new platform. With Robotics Studio, Lego robots would be able to perform more advanced functions.

The Inquirer quotes Microsoft sources -- according to the site, General manager of the Microsoft Robotics Group, Tandy Trower says that Microsoft wants to have its products in place by the time the market takes off in three to five years time.

ABC News found rivals to be quite skeptical of Microsoft's robotic ambitions -- according to the site, just hours after Microsoft announced the beta rollout of its DirectX, Aegia-based Microsoft Robotics Studio (MRS), Evolution Robotics president and chief technical officer Paolo Pirjanian called the concept of building a software robotics standard, without heeding demands and costs of hardware, "a nice academic exercise." Although Pirjanian did not mention Microsoft by name, the implication was clear to the 750 or so attendees.

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Categories: Microsoft

Adobe to distribute Google Toolbar

Posted by Geetesh Bajaj on June 22, 2006 02:53 AM

Adobe has decided to distribute the Google toolbar with a few of its products starting with its Flash player. That could be a setback for Yahoo!, since until now, the Yahoo! toolbar was being distributed along with the Flash player. Adobe does not mention if this ends their relation with Yahoo!

Related Links

According to the Washington Post, Adobe said it had begun distributing Google search software to new users of Adobe's Shockwave multimedia playback software, which plays interactive programs such as games, entertainment, business presentations, and advertisements in a Web browser.

eWeek adds that Google's deal with Adobe will help Google continue to spread its products to consumers and compete with Microsoft, which is planning to embed its new search tool in its Vista operating system, which should ship early next year.

And QCK.com reports that Google's share prices rose over 3.9 per cent to $402.50 at close on Nasdaq yesterday, in light of the company's new deal with software distributors Adobe.

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Categories: Adobe , Google , Microsoft , Yahoo

Dell Laptop Explodes

Posted by Geetesh Bajaj on June 22, 2006 12:25 AM

Inquirer reported that a Dell laptop exploded into flames at a Japanese conference. Check out the story that includes pictures...

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Categories: Off_Topic

And now Amazon Grocery

Posted by Geetesh Bajaj on June 17, 2006 04:36 AM

If you don't want to make the trip to the local Walmart or Target, and are in no real hurry, you might want to shop your groceries from Amazon!

Yes, Amazon is jumped on the grocery bandwagon -- the Grocery site is currently in beta, but do check it out...

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Categories: Amazon

Bill Gates to Retire

Posted by Geetesh Bajaj on June 15, 2006 11:13 PM

Microsoft's legendary co-founded says he would retire from everyday work in 2008 to concentrate more on his work with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation -- he would not leave the company entirely, but will focus more on the Foundation.

Here's the Microsoft press release...

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Categories: Microsoft

eBay to enter Contextual Advertising

Posted by Geetesh Bajaj on June 14, 2006 09:45 PM

Online marketplace eBay Inc. is set to unveil a keyword advertising system for eBay sellers to promote auctions on other Web sites, borrowing from the strategies of Google and Yahoo.

Michael van Swaaij, eBay's chief strategy officer, told a conference of software developers here on Saturday of plans to allow eBay's army of auctioneers to run contextual ads on other Web sites in exchange for a cut of the resulting eBay sales.

More on the Reuters site...

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Categories: eBay

Yahoo! and eBay Team Together

Posted by Geetesh Bajaj on June 05, 2006 10:54 PM

First there were voices that said that the Yahoo! and eBay team-up would hurt Google the most. Then there were rumors that the talks broke down and that eBay was talking to Microsoft. And then there was the news that Yahoo! and eBay will indeed work together.

And now Red Herring reports that Yahoo! and eBay are still competing in China!

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Categories: Google , Microsoft , Yahoo , eBay

Edge Interview with Tim O'Reilly

Posted by Geetesh Bajaj on June 05, 2006 09:35 PM

In this interview on the Adobe site, Tim O'Reilly discusses a wide variety of topics including Adobe, Google, and DRM.

Read the interview on the Adobe site...

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Categories: Adobe , DRM , O'Reilly

Adobe, Microsoft, and PDF

Posted by Geetesh Bajaj on June 05, 2006 09:23 PM

Whatever might have happened is unclear, but Adobe's insistence and threat of a court case has resulted in Microsoft quietly deciding to ship the upcoming Office 2007 product without PDF export options.

That's very strange since these products include PDF export:

Corel WordPerfect Suite
Mac OS X (PDF export built-in at system level)
Apple Keynote
Quark XPress
and many, many more...

So what's different with Microsoft Office including PDF export?

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Categories: Adobe , Microsoft

Blogger or Movable Type?

Posted by Geetesh Bajaj on June 03, 2006 10:17 AM

What's the better platform? That question is like comparing apples and oranges. While Movable Type is certainly the most integrated and richer environment, Blogger is far ahead in the ease-of-use front. For me, this is my first Movable Type blog after doing three full time blogs using the Blogger engine.

So why did I choose Movable Type this time? Mainly because Blogger gets too many Broken Pipe errors while publishing -- and Blogger support seems to believe that the error does not exist. I'm hoping they will resolve this issue soon.

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Categories: Blogging



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