Apple announces iPad event, March 7 | ZDNet


Apple announces iPad event, March 7

By Zack Whittaker | February 28, 2012, 9:36am PST

Summary: Apple has said it will hold an event on March 7th — a little over a week from now — to announce the next-generation iPad tablet.

imageFinally. We now know something about the next-generation iPad for sure. It will be announced in just over a week’s time on March 7th.

The company remained tight-lipped over the announcement, indicating very little besides the date of the event.

As per previous invitations, little is given away by the invitation itself. What is seen, however, appears to be a high-resolution display.

CNBC this morning tweeted that the upcoming device would be quad-core and boast a high-speed 4G LTE chip. However, the logistics of doing so would require a far greater battery than is currently in the iPad 2. It also contradicts well-connected AllThingsD, a stable source of Apple news, and many others too.

It also claimed the event would be held in New York, rather than San Francisco. An Apple spokesperson confirmed that the event will be held in San Francisco.


Apple announces iPad event, March 7 | ZDNet

If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It: Ancient Computers in Use Today | PCWorld


If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It: Ancient Computers in Use Today

From 1970s minicomputers used for military programs (including nuclear weapons) to an IBM punch-card system still keeping the books at a Texas filter supplier, these are the computers that time forgot.

By Benj Edwards, PCWorld    Feb 19, 2012 8:00 pm

It’s easy to wax nostalgic about old technology–to remember fondly our first Apple IIe or marvel at the old mainframes that ran on punched cards. But no one in their right mind would use those outdated, underpowered dinosaurs to run a contemporary business, let alone a modern weapons system, right?


While much of the tech world views a two-year-old smartphone as hopelessly obsolete, large swaths of our transportation and military infrastructure, some modern businesses, and even a few computer programmers rely daily on technology that hasn’t been updated for decades.

If you’ve recently bought a MetroCard for the New York City Subway or taken money from certain older ATMs, for instance, your transaction was made possible by IBM’s OS/2, an operating system that debuted 25 years ago and faded out soon after.

A recent federal review found that the U.S. Secret Service uses a mainframe computer system from the 1980s. That system apparently works only 60 percent of the time. Here’s hoping that uptime statistics are better for the ancient minicomputers used by the U.S. Department of Defense for the Minuteman Intercontinental Ballistic Missile system, Navy submarines, fighter jets, and other weapons programs. Those systems, according to the consultants who help keep them going, will likely be used until at least the middle of this century.

Here are a few stories of the computers that time forgot, and the people and institutions that stubbornly hold on to them.

Punch-Card Accounting

imageSparkler Filters of Conroe, Texas, prides itself on being a leader in the world of chemical process filtration. If you buy an automatic nutsche filter from them, though, they’ll enter your transaction on a “computer” that dates from 1948.

Sparkler Filters’ IBM 402, with self-employed field engineer Duwayne Leafley in the foreground. Sparkler’s IBM 402 is not a traditional computer, but an automated electromechanical tabulator that can be programmed (or more accurately, wired) to print out certain results based on values encoded into stacks of 80-column Hollerith-type punched cards.

Companies traditionally used the 402 for accounting, since the machine could take a long list of numbers, add them up, and print a detailed written report. In a sense, you could consider it a 3000-pound spreadsheet machine. That’s exactly how Sparkler Filters uses its IBM 402, which could very well be the last fully operational 402 on the planet. As it has for over half a century, the firm still runs all of its accounting work (payroll, sales, and inventory) through the IBM 402. The machine prints out reports on wide, tractor-fed paper.

If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It: Ancient Computers in Use Today | PCWorld

Microsoft warns of dangerous IE browser vulnerabilities | ZDNet


Microsoft warns of dangerous IE browser vulnerabilities

By Ryan Naraine | February 14, 2012, 11:19am PST

imageSummary: The most severe vulnerabilities could allow remote code execution if a user simply views a specially crafted web page using Internet Explorer.

Microsoft is warning all users of its Internet Explorer web browser to immediately apply the latest security patch as a precaution against malicious hacker attacks.

As part of its Patch Tuesday releases, the company shipped a high-priority IE update (MS12-010) which covers four documented vulnerabilities that could be used in drive-by downloads with minimal user action.

The update is rated “critical” for Internet Explorer 7, Internet Explorer 8, and Internet Explorer 9 on Windows client machines and Microsoft expects to see reliable exploit code published with the next 30 days.

The most severe vulnerabilities could allow remote code execution if a user views a specially crafted web page using Internet Explorer, Microsoft warned.

[ SEE: Hackers pounce on just-patched Windows Media vulnerability ]

The IE patch addresses the vulnerabilities by modifying the way that Internet Explorer handles content during copy and paste processes, handles objects in memory, and creates and initializes strings.

The company is also urging Windows users to pay special attention to MS12-013, a critical bulletin that fixes a flaw that could allow remote code execution if a user opens a specially crafted media file that is hosted on a website or sent as an email attachment.

From the bulletin:

A remote code execution vulnerability exists in the way that the msvcrt DLL calculates the size of a buffer in memory, allowing data to be copied into memory that has not been properly allocated. This vulnerability could allow remote code execution if a user opens a specially crafted media file. If a user is logged on with administrative user rights, an attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could take complete control of an affected system.

Microsoft also noted that any application that uses msvcrt.dll could be affected by

Microsoft warns of dangerous IE browser vulnerabilities | ZDNet

DOJ approves Google, Motorola Mobility merger | ZDNet


DOJ approves Google, Motorola Mobility merger

By Rachel King | February 13, 2012, 2:09pm PST

imageSummary: Following a seal of approval from the European Commission, now the U.S. Department of Justice is reportedly following suit in the matter of Google’s proposed acquisition of Motorola Mobility.

Google could be well on its way to finalizing its proposed $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility.

Following the news earlier on Monday that the European Commission has cleared the way for the merger between the Android OS maker and its mobile OEM partner, now the U.S. Department of Justice has approved the deal as well.

Reported first via Twitter by Reuters technology correspondent Poornima Gupta, Google confirmed the news shortly later on its official blog.

The DOJ published a report after closing its investigation of this proposed merger as well as a few others, and all of them seem to have a common thread: patents.

After a thorough review of the proposed transactions, the Antitrust Division has determined that each acquisition is unlikely to substantially lessen competition and has closed these three investigations. In all of the transactions, the division conducted an in-depth analysis into the potential ability and incentives of the acquiring firms to use the patents they proposed acquiring to foreclose competitors…

DOJ approves Google, Motorola Mobility merger | ZDNet

Microsoft to launch Windows 8 Consumer Preview at MWC | ZDNet


Microsoft to launch Windows 8 Consumer Preview at MWC

By Mary Jo Foley | February 8, 2012, 10:06am PST

imageSummary: The Windows 8 Consumer Preview is launching in Barcelona during the Mobile World Congress on February 29.

Microsoft is holding an event at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona on February 29 to launch the Windows 8 Consumer Preview.

The event will be a two-hour affair (from 3 pm to 5 pm) on Wednesday.

February 29 also happens to be the last day of February. Microsoft officials have said the Consumer Preview, aka the public beta, is slated to arrive at the end of February.

Microsoft officials said last fall that Microsoft planned to deliver a developer preview (which went out in September), a single beta (the Consumer Preview), a Release Candidate and then release Windows 8 to manufacturing.

Microsoft officials continue to decline to provide a ship target for Windows 8, though it is widely believed at this point that it will be available on new PCs and tablets starting this fall.

Microsoft’s top brass also has continued to decline to say whether the x86 and ARM versions of Windows 8 will ship simultaneously. However, a member of the company’s communications team said this was the plan a couple of months ago.

For those asking whether the Windows 8 Consumer Preview launch will be Webcast, there’s no definitive answer at this time.  A spokesperson said when I asked: “There will be lots of online content on Microsoft News Center the week of February 29th. ”

I have to say, other than the fact that the MWC show happens to fall at the end of February, this strikes me as an odd place to launch the Windows 8 public beta. MWC is a gadget show. And sure, Microsoft wants to position Windows 8 tablets as mobile consumer gadgets — but supposedly Windows 8 is an operating system for business users, too, right?

Microsoft to launch Windows 8 Consumer Preview at MWC | ZDNet

Motorola Droid 4 Release Date, Price Announced By Verizon


Motorola Droid 4 Release Date, Price Announced By Verizon

The Huffington Post Jason Gilbert First Posted: 02/ 7/2012 1:29 pm Updated: 02/ 7/2012 image

The Motorola Droid 4, with its trademark slide-out keyboard, has gotten an official price and release date. The Droid 4 will be released on Friday, February 10, for $199 with a two-year Verizon contract.

Verizon has confirmed the price and release date of the newest Droid phone in a press release, touting the Droid 4 as "the thinnest and most powerful 4G QWERTY smartphone measuring at less than half an inch thin."

Among the other tech specs of note: a dual-core 1.2 gHZ processor; a 4.0-inch display screen; an 8 megapixel rear-facing camera and a 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera; and Android 2.3.5 "Gingerbread" (no timeframe yet for Ice Cream Sandwich, though Motorola has stated before that it is "planning on upgrading as many of [its] phones as possible."

The real star of the Droid 4, and its single defining feature, however, is that slide-out keyboard, a five-row QWERTY keyboard with edge-lit keys.

The Droid series was first promoted as an iPhone alternative in 2009, positioning itself as a better phone for texting and productivity than Apple’s keyboard-less offering; Kevin Fitchard of GigaOM notes that this incarnation of the Droid is the first to support 4G LTE.

With its launch on February 10th, the Droid 4 will join another recent high-profile release from Motorola: The update to the Droid RAZR, the Droid RAZR Maxx, whose apparently incredible battery life has garnered rave reviews since the device debuted at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January.

The Droid 4 will be available on Verizon in stores on Friday, February 10; Cnet notes that this coincides with a Verizon promotion that doubles the amount of data one gets for $30/month, from 2GB per month to 4GB per month. That promotion will be available to both new customers and existing customers signing new two-year contracts — perhaps, Motorola and Verizon hope, those picking up a new Droid 4.

Motorola Droid 4 Release Date, Price Announced By Verizon

Microsoft to deliver CRM apps for iPad, iPhone, Android, Windows Phone in Q2 | ZDNet


Microsoft to deliver CRM apps for iPad, iPhone, Android, Windows Phone in Q2

By Mary Jo Foley | February 6, 2012, 6:01am PST

Summary: Microsoft will deliver mobile versions of its Dynamics CRM app and service for iPad, iPhone, Android phone, BlackBerry and Windows Phone 7 in the second quarter of 2012.

imageSome time between April and May of this year, Microsoft will roll out Dynamics CRM mobile clients and service simultaneously for the iPad, iPhone, Android, Windows Phone 7 and BlackBerry devices.

The coming mobile components — something some Windows Phone users have been asking about for years — will be part of the Dynamics CRM Q2 2012 service update, Microsoft officials said on February 6. (February 6 is the day when Microsoft is releasing its preview guide for its next update, which Microsoft has committed to provide 60 to 90 days before a new update is available to on-premises and online users.)

All of the new mobile CRM releases will be ready at the same time and downloadable from their respective marketplaces on the same day, said Craig Dewar, Director of Product Management for Dynamics CRM.

Here’s a Microsoft-supplied screen shot of what the Dynamics CRM app on the iPad will look like:

The coming Dynamics CRM mobile clients/service starts at $30 per user, per month and supports the use of up to three devices per user. While this sounds pricey compared to the going rate for Office 365 and its component parts, it looks like it undercuts Salesforce’s comparable mobile-client offering, which starts at $65 per user per month. (Salesforce also has a free Mobile Lite CRM client with limited capabilities and connectivity, as does Microsoft, which still offers Mobile Express for Dynamics CRM.)

Microsoft to deliver CRM apps for iPad, iPhone, Android, Windows Phone in Q2 | ZDNet

Microsoft Office 15 technical preview kicks off | ZDNet


imageMicrosoft Office 15 technical preview kicks off

By Mary Jo Foley | January 30, 2012, 9:04am PST

Summary: Microsoft is making available to select testers the technical preview of Office 15 client, server and services as of January 30.

Microsoft is kicking off the technical preview for its Office 15 client, servers and cloud services today, January 30.

A beta of all of the same Office 15 deliverables will be available to the public in “late summer,” according to a new post on the Ofice Exec blog.

Microsoft officials are not commenting on the features in any part of Office 15; on the planned release-to-manufacturing (RTM) or general availability date; or on whether the technical preview will include a version of Office that will work on Windows 8 on ARM. (I asked about all of these.) Update: Also, for those asking, we also have no idea on platform-support specifics — such as whether this preview also encompasses the rumored Office for iPad; and whether it includes a separate non-touch-centric Office 15 update for those not using tablets/touch-enabled laptops.

I’ve heard from my contacts that Microsoft’s goal is to RTM Office 15 by the end of calendar 2012. I’ve heard the Softies are wavering back and forth between calling Office 15 “Office 2012″ and “Office 2013.” (If the product RTMs very late in the year, they may opt for the 2013 name.)

With Office 2010, July 2009 was the date of the tech preview release. November 2009 was the public beta. February 2010 was the release candidate. Release to manufacturing was in April 2010, and general availability was June 2010.

Microsoft Office 15 technical preview kicks off | ZDNet

Windows 8: Why the coming beta is likely to be labeled the ‘consumer preview’ | ZDNet


Windows 8: Why the coming beta is likely to be labeled the ‘consumer preview’

By Mary Jo Foley | January 23, 2012, 11:38am PST

Summary: The coming Windows 8 beta is looking more and more like it will be called the “consumer preview.” Why the change in nomenclature?

Is Microsoft going to position the coming Windows 8 beta as a “consumer preview”? And if so, why?

imageMicrosoft officials have repeated recently that the Windows 8 beta release is on track for late February 2012. But one public relations official with the Windows team provided a slightly different message — and one that escaped notice by most of those who read her quote — during the Consumer Electronics Show.

As reported by Pocket Lint, Windows Director of Consumer PR, Janelle Poole, stayed on message regarding Microsoft’s continued reluctance to talk about its release-to-manufacturing/ship targets for Windows 8. But, as Windows SuperSite’s Paul Thurrott noted last week, part of Poole’s message deviated from the usual script. Poole called the coming Windows 8 beta “the consumer preview.” Here’s her quote:

“We haven’t talked about the release date and we generally don’t. We are talking milestone to milestone, so for us right now we’re talking about the next milestone being the consumer preview happening in late February.”

If you know anything about the Windows org, you know words matter. This wasn’t a random throw-away.

My first question was whether it’s just the internal Windows consumer PR team calling the beta “the consumer preview” or if the Microsoft brass plan to do the same. I’m hearing that the Windows organization is highly likely to settle on “consumer preview” as the name for the late-February beta.

The bigger question — which Thurrott and I discussed during the most recent episode of Windows Weekly — is why Microsoft may label this the consumer preview.

Thurrott’s theory was that maybe the developer preview (the September Build version) will be followed by a consumer preview (the beta) and finally the enterprise preview (the release candidate).

Windows 8: Why the coming beta is likely to be labeled the ‘consumer preview’ | ZDNet

Microsoft fiscal Q2 revenue miss estimates thanks to Windows | ZDNet


imageMicrosoft fiscal Q2 revenue miss estimates thanks to Windows

By Rachel King | January 19, 2012, 1:24pm PST

Summary: The Windows and Windows Live Division was the only unit that declined from the previous quarter, posting a revenue of $4.74 billion, down 6 percent.

As the world waits for Windows 8, Microsoft is suffering as it fell just below Wall Street’s predictions for the second fiscal quarter.

Microsoft reported a second fiscal quarter net income of $6.62 billion, or 78 cents a share (statement). Non-GAAP earnings were 79 cents a share on a revenue of $20.89 billion — a 5 percent increase from the prior year.

Yet, Microsoft missed on the revenue mark. Wall Street was expecting Microsoft to report earnings of 76 cents a share on revenue of $20.93 billion.

See also: Microsoft’s second quarter: Hurry up and wait for Windows 8

In prepared remarks, CEO Steve Ballmer focused on what’s to come from Microsoft this year, asserting that will “accelerate many of our key products and services.”

Coming out of the Consumer Electronics Show, we’re seeing very positive reviews for our new phones and PCs, and a strong response to our new Metro style design that will unify consumer experiences across our phones, PCs, tablets, and television in 2012.

Microsoft fiscal Q2 revenue miss estimates thanks to Windows | ZDNet