Microsoft is tweaking its Windows Update service with Windows 8, and is trying to limit the number of restarts for consumers and small business users to one per month. Also, instead of the current 15-minute warning that a reboot is required, users will have three days to choose the most convenient time to update their PCs.
News and comment on what's happening in the technology industry, and the direction it's heading.
Jack Schofield spent the 1970s editing photography magazines before becoming editor of an early UK computer magazine, Practical Computing. In 1983, he started writing a weekly computer column for the Guardian, and joined the staff to launch the newspaper's weekly computer supplement in 1985. This section launched the Guardian’s first website and, in 2001, its first real blog. When the printed section was dropped after 25 years and a couple of reincarnations, he felt it was a time for a change....
PC shipments in Western Europe fell by 11.4 percent to 14.
Logitech has admitted that the launch of its Google TV set-top box, Logitech Revue, "was a big mistake" because the software wasn't fit for consumer use. Guerrino De Luca, Logitech's chairman, acting president and chief executive officer, didn't argue with the thinking behind Google TV, and said "the integration of television and internet is inevitable.
Google's Chromebook attracted a lot of coverage as journalists with overpowered laptops reported the launch of an underpowered single-function device -- the modern equivalent of a dumb terminal -- that's limited to browsing the web. But after an initial burst of novelty sales, the Chromebook is starting to look like a flop.
Microsoft is adding elements of the Metro user interface -- which is already familiar from Windows Phones and the forthcoming Windows 8 -- to its Xbox 360 games console. Metro's key feature is that it replaces dumb icons with "Live Tiles" that provide information at a glance, without the user having to run an app.
IDC has confirmed that "Samsung became the new leader in the worldwide smartphone market" in the third quarter of 2011, with shipments "topping the 20 million unit mark for the first time". The US-based research company credits both Samsung's Android-based Galaxy range and its Bada-powered smartphones, while noting that it is expected to launch a new Windows Phone handset later this year.
Free software pioneer Richard Stallman gave a talk in London yesterday, on the topic: "It's free software and it gives you freedom". Normally, this kind of thing passes without comment, because Stallman has given hundreds of talks.
Microsoft's Windows 7 is continuing its relentless climb, and now has over a third of the desktop operating system market, as measured by a NetApplications. Meanwhile, Windows XP is continuing its relentless decline, and now has less than half of the market.
The catastrophic flooding in Thailand will lead to "a significant shortage" of hard disk drives, according to IHS iSuppli, A US-based market research company. This will cause HDD prices to rise by about 10 percent in this year's fourth quarter.
Microsoft had a huge consumer hit with its Kinect add-on controller for the Xbox 360 games console, and it was rapidly adopted by hobbyists, academics and researchers working outside the games business. In particular, it was obvious you could use it to create something like the gestural interface in the movie, Minority Report, and someone created a virtual air guitar.