Microsoft Makes Mac-Board

Microsoft has released a Keyboard and HD laser mouse to be used with Macintosh computers.

The keyboard in white appears to be a fairly typical Microsoft Comfort Curve Keyboard (absent the Windows button of course). It doesn’t take much for a OEM to spit out a slightly different version of a widget, so this isn’t a technical release to “oooo” and ‘aaaahh’ about.

However, this would be unique in that Microsoft is building a hardware component to use with Macs (as opposed to the software they have been creating for decades now). It also appears to be a transparent move by both Apple and Microsoft. Apple lovers often gush over the usability of their Macs and guffaw at the lack of usability of Windows based PC’s. However, Apple is a pragmatic company and they partner with anyone that can help their bottom line whether that’s Microsoft or the RIAA or any of the sometimes identified ‘corporate bad guys and monsters.’ Yet despite Apple’s partnerships with all of these Narry-do-well conglomerates (never mind Apple’s stronghold on the MP3 player market and recent regulative efforts to curb its potential to create its own monopoly), Apple always seems to walk away from the fray with a pristine reputation.

I have my opinions on this but today would like to here back from some of my readers.

Why does Apple’s reputation remain in tact despite growing an MP3 player business into a potential monopoly and partnering with the RIAA and for almost all the years Apple has been in existence, they have partnered with Microsoft (begrudgingly at times) to provide a complete software and now hardware solution?
Microsoft Releases 1st Mac-Specific Keyboard, Mouse – Microsoft Informer – Blog – CIO


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Bloggers win over Apple: 1st Amendment Protected too

“San Jose-based 6th District Court of Appeal broke new ground by concluding that bloggers and Web masters enjoy the same protections against divulging confidential sources as established media organizations.”MercuryNews.com 05/27/2006 Apple loses case against bloggers

Apple had taken a blogger, Jason O’Grady to court 2 years ago when O’Grady published plans and information relating to upcoming Apple products. Apple did not sue for publishing the information. No instead their litigation focused on forcing Jason O’Grady to turn over his confidential sources of information in the case. Apple, a computer company who advertises its own computers as tools that help people blog easily, wanted to have blogs categorized as ‘illegitimate news’. The courts flatly rejected this position.

This case had made it to the Appeal level and there is no word on whether or not Apple might wish to take their case up with the highest court in the land.

Apple’s court successes have been piling up lately as Apple Computer walked away from a trademark case brought by Apple Corp, primarily owned by The Beatles. Apple also won big in the EU recently. This case will not bring a severe financial setback for Apple, but it does bring negative publicity to the company from a base group in the blogging community, many of which blog with Apple computers.

Recently Creative the makers of the Zen MP3 player, has brought a suit against Apple, who counter sued Creative. Creative’s suit stems from a patent that Creative recently was awarded.

The patent according to Creative, gives Creative the ownership over the intellectual property used by most MP3 player designers including Apple to navigate songs through menu systems. If Apple loses this patent infringement case, Creative could walk away with a license deal on all MP3 players sold by Apple, and possibly punitive damages. This one smells a lot like settlement!


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Gridlock News: Guilty! Skilling and Lay both Guilty

Gridlock News: Guilty! Skilling and Lay both Guilty

Reactions to the Enron criminal trial verdict – May. 25, 2006: “Enron founder Kenneth Lay was found guilty on six counts of conspiracy and fraud and former CEO Jeff Skilling was found guilty on 19 counts by a Houston jury after the trial in the biggest of the corporate fraud cases.”

Lay was separately found guilty of 4 counts of false statements and fraud.

Skilling and Lay are looking at 20 to 30 years in prison each.


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Splitting the Internet Down the Middle – Yahoo!-Bay

Well as it turns out there was no merger. Instead of getting hitched, Yahoo! and eBay have decided to live together with a distinct delineation of what is ‘his’ and ‘hers’. They have established a two way exclusive partnership with each other without combining assets.

“Under the partnership between Yahoo, the world’s largest Internet media company, and eBay, the biggest e-commerce player, Yahoo will be the exclusive provider of graphical, branded advertising throughout EBay’s auction site.

In return, Yahoo has chosen EBay’s online payment system PayPal to allow its own customers to pay for Yahoo services.” see Yahoo, eBay form far-reaching alliance – Yahoo! News

On the surface, there appears to be an immediate benefit for Yahoo, as its ‘Small business’ arm will now be able to offer its customers access to PayPal’s very cost effect Merchant services plan. Similarly, eBay can benefit from an improved revenue stream from advertising on its popular site.

A full marriage would pair up the Skype and Yahoo! Messenger Assets and possibly blur the lines between Yahoo! Shopping and eBay sales and stores.

It will be interesting to see how this couple fairs in their new cohabitation experiment. If they can get along without fighting too much, we might yet see a Yahoo!-Bay.

Note. The author of this article owns shares of Yahoo!.


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Yahoo!-Bay?

A 56 page JP Morgan report and analysis on potential merger scenario puts a Yahoo + Ebay Merger as a higher likelihood over something like a Yahoo + Microsoft or Microsoft + Ebay Merger. The report leaves Google as the outsider continuing to go it alone leaving Yahoo!, Microsoft & Ebay to consider how to partner/merger together to fend off market share advances from Google.

Note. The author of this quick excerpt owns shares of Microsoft and Yahoo!.

New Zealand’s source for technology news on Stuff.co.nz: Big internet deal being rumoured


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iRobot Delivers Successful Robots for Military Use

iRobot has been working in robotics for the military since the early 90′s. They are commercially known more for their Roomba robots.

Reuters put out a great human interest story detailing the attachment and sentiment that has reportedly been built up by soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan using robots as tools to perform tasks such as sniffing out bombs and improvise explosive devices.

“‘Please fix Scooby Doo because he saved my life,’ a soldier told repair technicians”

Its not hard to understand the attachment someone could develop for a machine. Naming a rifle was glorified a bit in the movie ‘Full Metal Jacket’ and to an extent this is an extension. In the military, personnell are trained to take care of their equipment as their lives depend on the equipment. A robot that can check to see if a potential object is a bomb, can literally save their life time and time again.

iRobot is hoping to leverage this perception of this attachment into future robotics devices as well. How much could your average consumer appreciate a robot that can actually mow the grass, fold and separate laundry, pick up around the house or diagnose and service your car?

(Uh wait, you’ve got a Mazda 3? Sorry too technical for us, was the words I heard over and over again by quick change oil places when I was on a short business trip in Illinois last month and needed an oil change. If I had a robot to service the car, it might be as simple as downloading an update to the robot overnight, while I’m drinking a beer and watching TV – or more realistically, programming a web page or reading some archane book to teach me how to program something.)

I’ll be up front with my audience here. I’m an Isaac Asimov fan, have been for almost 25 years now. I’ve had the future laid out for me in fiction for a long time coming and Will Smith only gave us a tiny glimpse.

I can’t wait to see what strikes up next.

Soldiers bond with iRobot machine; CEO dreams big


Source Documents NSA spy case Published by Wired Magazine

Gridlock News provides links to source documents published today by Wired Magazine. The documents detail (down to the wiring detail) how the NSA & AT&T rigged up a ‘secret room’ in multiple locations around the country to read internet traffic including messages, emails and surfing activity.

Whistleblower Mark Klein, not covered by the Gag order impacting the EFF, AT&T and the NSA provided copies of the evidence he gave to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), which can be read by you now!

click here ->Gridlock News: Read NSA Spying Documents from Whistleblower

here’s a picture of one of the previously secret rooms


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Real Night Clubs go Virtual – Snow Crashing the Front Door

In a concept straight out of Neil Stephenson’s 1992 book “Snow Crash” real night clubs like the Pussycat Dolls Lounge are setting up virtual clubs on the net.

Visitors can set up an avatar of themselves and listen to the music sets playing, interact with other guests and even some of the celebrities that happen through.

Many other entertainment based clubs and areas are pushing virtual, interactive aspects into their line up. They might not make as much from watered down mixed drinks, but they don’t have to worry about the local fire marshall shutting down the place if it gets too crowded.

For those of you interested in the new trend, watch out for sword packing avatars dressed in black named Hiro Protagonist. :)
Net nightclubs, virtual venues generate real dollars – Yahoo! News


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