Pic of the day #149

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PDF Ads

pdf.jpg Yahoo! and Adobe are bringing pay-per-click ads to Adobe’s Portable Document Format so that publishers can serve up ads inside PDFs distributed on Web sites and over e-mail that are contextually relevant to the content.

The text advertisements appear in a panel to the right of the content in the PDF and are subject matter matched using keywords and analysis of associated concepts. The ads are dynamic, meaning different ads can pop up at different times and clicking on an ad takes you to the advertiser Web site.

Publishers upload their PDF content into Yahoo’s ad serving system and then monitor the performance through Yahoo!’s system. Publishers take a cut of the revenue from each click on the ads and Yahoo will split its share of the revenue per click with Adobe.

The service gives PDF publishers access to Yahoo’s network of advertisers and allows them to make money off the content without having their own sales force or having to do the ad insertion themselves, says Josh Jacobs, vice president of publisher solutions at Yahoo.

Publishers participating in the beta include IDG’s InfoWorld, which moved to a Web-only format earlier this year, as well as Wired, Pearson’s Education, Meredith Corporation and Reed Elsevier.

Source: CNET News

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Pic of the day #148

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Silverlight 2.0

mssl.pngMicrosoft Corp. is raising its Silverlight rich-media delivery software to a new level — in name, at least. Instead of calling the next release of the cross-platform browser plug-in Version 1.1, as previously planned, Microsoft will bestow a Version 2.0 name on the upgrade, according to a blog posting today by Scott Guthrie, a general manager in the company’s developer division.

Microsoft had already released an alpha version of Silverlight 1.1. But Guthrie wrote, “After stepping back and looking at all the new features in it, we’ve realized that calling it a point release doesn’t really reflect the true nature of it.”

Guthrie said in the posting that Microsoft plans to release a beta version of Silverlight 2.0 in next year’s first quarter. The beta code will include a go-live license, enabling programmers to immediately create and deploy applications based on Silverlight 2.0.

Since launching Silverlight last spring, Microsoft has focused much of its marketing efforts on potential uses of the software for streaming content on consumer-facing Web sites.

But Silverlight 2.0 could hold far more relevance for corporate users, because it will include a subset of the .Net Framework, Microsoft’s underlying software development platform. That will enable Microsoft’s vast community of third-party developers to use familiar tools like Visual Studio to create so-called rich Internet applications for delivery via Silverlight within multiple browsers, according to Guthrie.

In his blog posting, Guthrie discussed some of the new features planned for Version 2.0, including support for higher-level components of Microsoft’s Windows Presentation Foundation user interface framework. He said the upgrade will also add new layout management and data manipulation controls for developers, support for a variety of communication protocols and a base class library of .Net functionality.

In addition, Guthrie said that Microsoft plans to release a free update of Visual Studio 2008 with support for Silverlight 2.0.

A Microsoft spokesman said the company wouldn’t comment on the Silverlight plans beyond Guthrie’s blog posting.

Source: Computerworld

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Pic of the day #147

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XP SP3 Faster than Vista SP1

xp-sp3-faster-than-vista-sp1.pngMicrosoft Corp.’s Windows XP operating system is about to get faster and Windows Vista isn’t, according to a report that caused a stir online this week as industry watchers speculated that a zippier XP could keep customers from upgrading to Vista.

Microsoft, however, said it’s too early to evaluate the two service packs it plans to release next year.

Early versions are already in the hands of testers like Devil Mountain Software Inc., which helps big financial services companies track trading-floor computer performance.

Wellington, Fla.-based Devil Mountain Software ran several versions of XP and Vista through a test simulating common desktop computing tasks. It found the original Vista performed 50 percent to 100 percent slower than the prevalent XP Service Pack 2, or SP2.

Vista SP1, due out in the first quarter of 2008, barely improved the operating system’s performance.

But XP SP3, scheduled for the first half of 2008, did improve on XP’s earlier performance, running 10 percent faster than SP2.

That’s a strike against Vista for IT professionals on the fence about switching, according to Craig Barth, the company’s chief technology officer.

Kevin Kutz, director of Microsoft’s Windows Client group, said the company is working on speeding up tasks like moving files between PCs, but it’s a work in progress.

Michael Cherry, an analyst for research group Directions on Microsoft, said it’s impossible to say if Microsoft has started tuning Vista SP1 for speed. Even if XP gets faster, consumers and businesses may still switch to Vista.

“It might be an acceptable thing to me if it were slightly slower but more stable,” Cherry said.

Benjamin Gray, an analyst for Forrester Research, said businesses will upgrade to Vista regardless, to “stay current with Microsoft’s support life cycle.”

Source: Yahoo! News

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Pic of the day #146

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GTA IV Upcoming Trailer + Boxart Revealed

gta-iv-boxart.pngThe next GTA IV trailer is called “Move Up, Ladies” and is scheduled for appearance on the 6th of December. The official boxart has been revealed today. Click on the thumbnail on the left to see it.

A movie that shows the making of the boxart can be seen here.

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Pic of the day #145

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Google, Mozilla – No Match for Microsoft

google-mozilla-microsoft.pngIn a brief submitted to federal court, state antitrust regulators dismissed companies such as Google and Mozilla, and technologies such as Ajax and software-as-a-service, as piddling players that pose no threat to Microsoft’s monopoly in the operating system and browser markets. Ten states and the District of Columbia made the unusual claim to try to show that the OS and browser spaces had changed much more slowly than expected in 2002, when state regulators and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) brokered a deal with Microsoft in a long-running antitrust case against the Redmond, Wash. company. The lack of change, they said, means that potential competitors need more time — and judicial protection — if they are to develop into real rivals to Microsoft.

“The relevant markets — those for Intel-compatible PC operating systems and Web browsers — have not experienced the rapid development that the Court had anticipated they might when it limited the initial term of the Final Judgments to five years,” the states argued in a Nov. 16 filing to U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly. “This is a ‘changed circumstance’ that has an important bearing on whether the Final Judgments have had sufficient time to achieve the pro-competitive benefits that the Court expected they would — and that the public itself is entitled to receive.”

Lead by California and New York, the states have asked Kollar-Kotelly to extend her monitoring of Microsoft’s business practices another five years, until Nov. 2012. In a series of legal filings since August, Microsoft and the DOJ have argued that an extension is unwarranted while the states have pressed for the longer oversight.

In their most recent brief, the states countered Microsoft’s contention that Web-based companies — Google, Salesforce.com, Yahoo, eBay and others — and new Web-centric technologies constitute what Microsoft dubbed a “competitive alternative to Windows.”

Not even close, said the states.

“While these companies’ products provide some functionality for users, they still depend upon a PC operating system and browser — the two spaces where Microsoft dominates — and thus they are not yet able to reduce the applications barrier to entry.”

A pair of experts that the states hired to write rebuttals to Microsoft’s position were even more damning. For all the talk about “OS agnostic” applications, Web. 2.0, Google’s dominance in search and Firefox’s inroads against Internet Explorer, the collective cannot compete with Microsoft where it counts, said Ronald Alepin and John Kwoka in separate reports filed along with the states’ brief.

“The ‘Internet Platform’ … does not even exist, much less constitute for the foreseeable future a practical or viable alternative to the desktop platform,” said Alepin, a technical advisor with the law firm Morrison & Foerster, and a frequent expert witness for parties facing Microsoft in court. “Firefox has yet to reach a level of penetration and use that Microsoft’s own internal measures indicate is necessary for survival and for the all-important ability to influence developer choices,” Alepin added later in his rebuttal. “With a market share of less than 20%, Firefox does not have the influence to promote the adoption of alternatives to standards or extensions advanced by Microsoft.”

He even badmouthed Apple, which has been lauded for its hardware market share gains and the design of its operating systems, as too weak to capitalize on its successes, and ultimately no threat to Microsoft. “In spite of the advantages of arguably superior products and missteps by Microsoft, Apple has been unable to raise its share of the worldwide installed base of PCs, hovering near 3%,” Alepin said.

Kwoka, a professor of economics at Northeastern University, was even blunter in his assessment of Microsoft’s rivals. “I analyzed the economic evidence and concluded that there was no indication in the relevant market that these technologies have yet had a restorative effect on competition,” he stated flatly.

“Competition in the market for Intel-based PC operating systems has not been restored by the five year term of the Final Judgment,” he concluded.

Under the temporary extension agreed to late last month, Kollar-Kotelly has until the end of January to decide whether to extend the settlement’s oversight terms.

Source: Computerworld

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