Sunday, June 27, 2010

Weekly Wrap-Up #4 (June 20-26, 2010)

This week marked several releases in the technology world. I was able to get my hands on a few of them, but others, I’ll have to point you somewhere else for further information. Here’s the week in review in the Microsoft and related world.

Windows 7 … 150,000,000 copies sold

And if that doesn’t make you think Microsoft’s doing a great job, then you should read this article from the Microsoft blog on different Microsoft statistics, which lists too many amazing factual numbers that prove Microsoft is still very much in the technology industry. Either way, having sold 150 million copies of Windows 7 thus far makes it the fastest selling Windows operating system ever. But that’s not all, since Windows is the biggest and broadest operating system in the world (as far as market share), this makes it the fastest selling operating system ever. Windows 7 is doing great, there’s no doubt about it.

Don’t forget to try out the new Windows Live Essentials Beta

You can now download and try out the new Windows Live Essentials Beta from the Live Experience website. Recall that Windows Live Essentials are separate programs that make Windows 7 even better, they include Live Mail, Live Writer, Live Messenger, and several other must have applications. It’s worth checking out. This is the 4th major revision to Live Essentials since it first was debuted, and I must say, Microsoft has come a long way with these feature-set programs. This new rendition of Microsoft’s Live Essentials will encompass several new changes. The biggest of which is probably the new Ribbon UI (not so new for Office 2007/2010 users) and Windows Live Sync (which isn’t new per se, but offers a new and better experience). You can download the beta from Windows Live website. I’ve already downloaded it and installed it on all of my systems. I’ll be working with it for a little bit and then provide an in-depth review of how it works and what’s new. Considering Live Essentials is free and offers similar functionality to Apple’s costly iLife, Apple may want to watch out.

Apple iPhone 4 available as of yesterday

And if that wasn’t enough, June 24th was the day customers could go and pick up their new iPhone 4. The new iPhone offers several unique and amazing features that would make anyone drool over the phone. I won’t be getting one, mainly because of the monthly service fee, but it would definitely make a nice phone.

More iPhone news: Apple: You’re holding the phone wrong

With all of the great reviews of the Apple iPhone, it seemed like there was nothing wrong with the iPhone 4. Of course, most reviews mentioned all of the great features of the iPhone and then mentioned “oh, and it’s a phone too…” This is nice and all, but what really got to me was how reviewers reviewed, what I think, was one of the most important aspects of the iPhone, the ability to use it as a phone. Reviewers seemed to give the iPhone a poor review in this category, mainly due to dropped cell coverage. Apple of course responded to these criticisms by blaming their user base and taking no credit for the dismal signal quality. Apparently, users must hold their phone a certain way in order to get the best reception. Really Apple, is this the best you can do? I would have expected better from this advanced of a device.

Users can get relief from this awkward issue by purchasing a $29 case for their phone from Apple, something, I think, that should have been provided for free from the get-go. Either way, reports have it that Apple will be shipping an update to its newly released iOS 4. The update will be version 4.01 and will hopefully fix the antenna issue.

Bing Summer Updates

As part of its yearly spring update, the Bing team added several new and interesting features to Microsoft’s excellent search engine. Many of these keep along with the theme of using the Bing search engine as a decision engine. Mary Jo Foley points out several of these changes including Bing TV (includes videos from Hulu and CBS), Bing Games (includes Walkthroughs, Reviews, etc), Bing Movies (movie trailers, reviews, previews, and the like), Bing Travel (enhancements to the already great Bing Travel service), and Bing Health (other enhancements). The Bing Decision Engine first debuted on June 4 last year. I’ve slowly been becoming more and more interested in the Bing design and have left it as my default search engine (or decision engine) recently. If you would like to learn more about the Bing Spring Update, you can check out the blog post.


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