Jon's News Wrapup - May 8, 2008 Edition - Jon Galloway

Jon's News Wrapup - May 8, 2008 Edition

Here's another monthly installment in my news wrapup series. I've fallen into publishing them at the end of the first week of the month, because so much stuff seems to happen in the first week of each month that it'd be a shame to sit on it for three weeks.

Please comment if these are wrapup posts are valuable to you. I'm harvesting them from my ma.gnolia feed, so if few people are reading them, I'll just point you over to that feed and dispense with all the html formatting, organization, and comment. Let me know if I missed any big news this month, too.

Microsoft + Yahoo? Nope.

After a few months of negotiating with a Yahoo! who clearly didn't want to merge, Microsoft withdrew their offer. Yahoo! took some pretty extreme measures to prevent a hostile takeover, indicating that they'd essentially rather give their business to Google than merge with Microsoft. There's some speculation that Microsoft's just doing this to drive Yahoo's stock price down so they can buy them cheaper, but my guess is that they're done here.

Hey, straw poll: Do you actually use Yahoo! search? I don't know anyone that does.

  • Microsoft Withdraws Proposal to Acquire Yahoo!

    Microsoft Withdraws Proposal to Acquire Yahoo!
    “We continue to believe that our proposed acquisition made sense for Microsoft, Yahoo! and the market as a whole. Our goal in pursuing a combination with Yahoo! was to provide greater choice and innovation in the marketplace and create real value for our respective stockholders and employees,” said Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer of Microsoft. “Despite our best efforts, including raising our bid by roughly $5 billion, Yahoo! has not moved toward accepting our offer. After careful consideration, we believe the economics demanded by Yahoo! do not make sense for us, and it is in the best interests of Microsoft stockholders, employees and other stakeholders to withdraw our proposal,” said Ballmer.
    • 1_32 jongalloway
    • May 03, 2008 at 05:27 PM
    • May 03, 2008 at 05:27 PM
  • Microsoft To Yahoo: Take a Hike! - GigaOM

    Microsoft To Yahoo: Take a Hike! - GigaOM
    "A few days ago I had pointed out that Microsoft’s bid for Yahoo was a checkmate kind of a move: Yahoo couldn’t win from this attack. Today, by pulling its bid for the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based search company, Microsoft proved that again, and showed why it is still the Prince Machiavelli of Technology."
    • 1_32 jongalloway
    • May 04, 2008 at 10:36 PM
    • May 04, 2008 at 10:36 PM
  • Mary Jo Foley on the MicroHoo near-miss

    Mary Jo Foley on the MicroHoo near-miss
    "Some — probably many — are going to portray Microsoft’s decision announced on May 3 to withdraw its Yahoo bid as a victory for Yahoo and a defeat for Microsoft Chairman Steve Ballmer & Co. Me? I see this as the smartest thing Microsoft could do. In fact, I’d go so far as to say Microsoft’s decision to walk restores my faith in the future of the company."
    • 1_32 jongalloway
    • May 04, 2008 at 09:53 PM
    • May 04, 2008 at 09:53 PM
  • The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs: Ballmer's brilliant move

    The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs: Ballmer's brilliant move
    "This fantastic bait-and-switch maneuver on Yahoo just proves it. In one fell swoop Ballmer has upended this entire market space, roiled up everyone, forced all of his competitors into more difficult positions -- and none more so than Jerry Yang of Yahoo who looks more foolish than ever right now."
    • 1_32 jongalloway
    • May 04, 2008 at 03:42 PM
    • May 04, 2008 at 03:42 PM

The Cloudy Mesh

After years of vague PowerPoints, we finally get a look at Mesh. I have to say I'm impressed, although I'm suspicious of any software that takes years to ship a beta these days. The web-based remote desktop thing was a cool surprise. I guess we'll need to see what's being built on this platform to see the real value here.

  • Ray Ozzie: Introducing Live Mesh

    Ray Ozzie: Introducing Live Mesh
    "In his first Channel9 interview, Ray Ozzie, Microsoft's Chief Software Architect sits down with Jon Udell to talk about Live Mesh, a new technology and platform that enables synchronization and storage "to the cloud." You'll hear about the history of Live Mesh, how it has been influenced by Ray's previous work on products like Groove and Lotus Notes. Ray also discusses the core technology that forms the basis for Live Mesh including REST APIs, XML, and synchronization APIs that enable you sync your Mesh across multiple devices."
    • 1_32 jongalloway
    • May 04, 2008 at 10:25 PM
    • May 04, 2008 at 10:25 PM
  • Hands on with Live Mesh | Channel 10

    Hands on with Live Mesh | Channel 10
    "Live Mesh is a new piece of technology from Microsoft that allows you to do all this and more including a 5GB Live Desktop 'in the cloud'. George Moromisato and Noah Edelstein from the Live Mesh team came into the Channel 10 studios and gave us a demo of the Live Mesh Technical Preview"
    • 1_32 jongalloway
    • May 04, 2008 at 10:24 PM
    • May 04, 2008 at 10:24 PM
  • Mary Jo Foley's wrapup on Mesh.com

    Mary Jo Foley's wrapup on Mesh.com
    "Microsoft took the wraps off Live Mesh at 9 p.m. PDT on April 22, just ahead of the service’s official debut at the Web 2.0 Expo this week. Live Mesh is an ambitious initiative — a combination of a platform and a service — and one that’s been more than two years in the making, according to company officials with whom I spoke earlier this week. I’d go so far as to say Live Mesh will be Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie’s “make it or break it” project, given Ozzie has been setting the stage for Live Mesh since October 2005, when he outlined his pie-in-the-sky goals for it (without calling it Live Mesh) in his “Internet Services Disruption” memo to the troops."
    • 1_32 jongalloway
    • May 04, 2008 at 10:12 PM
    • May 04, 2008 at 10:12 PM
  • The Ozzie Memo: Software is Dead, Long Live the Web

    The Ozzie Memo: Software is Dead, Long Live the Web
    "In a remarkable strategy memo to employees (embedded below), Ozzie essentially shifts Microsoft’s mission from one of creating software for the PC and stand-alone servers to creating an interconnecting mesh between devices and people. He is not abandoning Windows or Office, but he is saying that the value of Microsoft’s software will increasingly depend less on what it can do on its own than what it can do with others."
    • 1_32 jongalloway
    • Apr 29, 2008 at 12:42 AM
    • Apr 29, 2008 at 12:42 AM
  • Microsoft Live Mesh to get more competition — from Sun | All about Microsoft | ZDNet.com

    Microsoft Live Mesh to get more competition — from Sun | All about Microsoft | ZDNet.com
    "At the opening day of JavaOne on May 6, Sun officials began laying out their vision for a future cloud-computing platform, code-named Hydrazine, that Sun plans to field against competitive offerings from Microsoft, Google, Amazon and others. Robert Brewin, Sun Chief Technology Officer and Distinguished Engineer, described Hydrazine to me as a combination of Amazon’s Elastic Cloud, Microsoft’s Live Mesh and Google Analytics all rolled into one. It’s a platform that Sun is building on top of JavaFX, which is Sun’s rough equivalent to Adobe AIR and Microsoft’s Silverlight. Sun announced JavaFX a year ago."
    • 1_32 jongalloway
    • May 08, 2008 at 12:30 AM
    • May 08, 2008 at 12:30 AM
  • Architecture astronauts take over - Joel on Software

    Architecture astronauts take over - Joel on Software

    "The hallmark of an architecture astronaut is that they don't solve an actual problem... they solve something that appears to be the template of a lot of problems. Or at least, they try. Since 1988 many prominent architecture astronauts have been convinced that the biggest problem to solve is synchronization."

    Note: This is one of those Joel posts that's so poorly written I close the browser in disgust and come back to it several times to actually finish it. Nevertheless, I think his general point here is worth considering.

    • 1_32 jongalloway
    • May 08, 2008 at 01:26 AM
    • May 08, 2008 at 01:26 AM

Xobni Goes To Public Beta, But Not To Redmond

I've been using the Xobni Outlook plugin for a while, and I've gotten totally hooked on it. It's hard to imagine using Outlook with out it. Microsoft offered to buy them, but Xobni turned it down. I think that was a dumb move, because I think that their only proven value is in an Outlook plugin, and nobody's going to pay them more for it than Microsoft. Anyhow, Xobni is in an open beta now, so give it a shot.

  • Xobni makes Outlook better, but where's the business? | Webware : Cool Web apps for everyone

    Xobni makes Outlook better, but where's the business? | Webware : Cool Web apps for everyone
    "Here's what Xobni has up its sleeve: Xobni the app runs on Xobni the platform. This platform has hooks deep into Outlook. The platform is what enables Xobni to graft a viewing pane into Outlook, something other plug-ins can't do. It can also integrate into Outlook's default search bar (it doesn't, yet). The platform is what gives Xobni access to all the message data that it uses without bogging down the Outlook host app. Xobni plans to do two interesting things with the platform: First, write hooks into other e-mail apps (like Yahoo Mail and Gmail), and second, make the platform available to other vendors. So, for example, if Salesforce.com wants to write a plug-in that tightly integrates its CRM data into Outlook or whatever e-mail app its customers are using, Xobni's toolkit could make that work. Salesforce presumably would make money from such a feature, which Xobni would profit from as well."
    • 1_32 jongalloway
    • May 05, 2008 at 11:18 PM
    • May 05, 2008 at 11:18 PM
  • Xobni opens public beta

    Xobni opens public beta
    "Xobni, a company that solves the growing email overload problem, today launched its highly-anticipated Microsoft Outlook add-on that organizes your inbox by relationships. With email volume growing rapidly and monopolizing many people's workdays, Xobni helps users quickly find and understand what's in their inbox, freeing up wasted time. Displayed as a sidebar in Outlook, Xobni's proprietary technology analyzes email in the same way your brain naturally understands communication. The rich data provided by Xobni offers a quick glimpse into your contacts--how you've communicated with them, how they've interacted with each other and what files have been exchanged. This unique set of data, personalized for each user's set of contacts, exposes the social architecture buried in every inbox."
    • 1_32 jongalloway
    • May 04, 2008 at 11:16 PM
    • May 04, 2008 at 11:16 PM
  • Xobni Walks Away From A Microsoft Deal

    Xobni Walks Away From A Microsoft Deal
    "After negotiating over the past few weeks with Microsoft and signing a letter of intent to be acquired, e-mail startup Xobni has walked from the deal, according to a source close to the negotiations. The deal would have been a natural for Microsoft, which was offering to buy the two-year old startup for somewhere in the $20-million range."
    • 1_32 jongalloway
    • May 04, 2008 at 11:14 PM
    • May 04, 2008 at 11:14 PM

.NET News

Nothing too exciting happened in the .NET world. A few scattered announcements and releases:

  • ASP.NET MVC Source Refresh Preview - ScottGu's Blog

    ASP.NET MVC Source Refresh Preview - ScottGu's Blog
    "This update includes a number of improvements to ASP.NET MVC. Some of these include:
    1. In addition to posting the source code for the ASP.NET MVC framework, we are also posting the source code for the unit tests that we use to test it. These tests are implemented using MSTest and the open source Moq mocking framework. A VS 2008 project file for the unit tests is included to make it easy to build and run them locally within your VS 2008 IDE.
    2. Significantly easier support for testing Controller classes. You can now unit test common Controller scenarios without having to mock any objects.
    3. Several nice feature additions and usability improvements to the URL routing system"
    • 1_32 jongalloway
    • May 06, 2008 at 12:36 AM
    • May 06, 2008 at 12:36 AM
  • Visual Linq query builder for Linq to Sql

    Visual Linq query builder for Linq to Sql
    "The Visual Linq query builder is a Visual Studio 2008 addin. It's a designer that helps you create Linq to Sql queries in your application. Both C# and VB projects are supported."
    • 1_32 jongalloway
    • May 05, 2008 at 11:12 PM
    • May 05, 2008 at 11:12 PM
  • XNA Team Blog : Announcing: XNA Game Studio 3.0 Community Technical Preview (CTP)

    XNA Team Blog : Announcing: XNA Game Studio 3.0 Community Technical Preview (CTP)
    "Today, we are delivering the first Community Technical Preview (CTP) of XNA Game Studio 3.0, giving you the ability to build games for the entire family of Zune media devices. This feature gives you access to the majority of the XNA framework APIs while retaining a seamless sense of integration with the Zune media experience. In addition, this release now requires either Visual Studio 2008 Standard Edition and higher (C# language support must be installed), or Visual C# 2008 Express Edition. Keeping with Zune media experience, the XNA Game Studio 3.0 integration includes discoverability/access to user’s non-DRM music – allowing you to customize background soundtracks or create real-time visualizations. In addition, we’ve announced the ability to have multiple nearby Zunes wirelessly engage in an ad-hoc social gaming experience."
    • 1_32 jongalloway
    • May 07, 2008 at 02:52 PM
    • May 07, 2008 at 02:52 PM
  • Introducing LINQ To Regex (Roy Osherove)

    Introducing LINQ To Regex (Roy Osherove)

    Roy Osherove wrote a LINQ provider that builds regular expressions using a fluent language syntax:

    RegexQuery.Against(input) where match.Word.Repeat.AtLeast(1).IsTrue() select match;

    See my previous post on Regex's and fluent interfaces. 

    • 1_32 jongalloway
    • May 07, 2008 at 09:14 AM
    • May 07, 2008 at 09:14 AM
  • Scott Hanselman's Computer Zen - The Weekly Source Code 25 - OpenID Edition

    Scott Hanselman's Computer Zen - The Weekly Source Code 25 - OpenID Edition
    Scott Hanselman has the definitive writeup on how to implement OpenID in .NET circa May 2008.
    • 1_32 jongalloway
    • May 04, 2008 at 04:04 PM
    • May 04, 2008 at 04:04 PM

General Microsoft News

  • Windows XP Service Pack 3 includes IE6

    IEBlog : IE and Windows XP Service Pack 3

    "XPSP3 will continue to ship with IE6 and contains a roll-up of the latest security updates for IE6. If you are still running Internet Explorer 6, then XPSP3 will be offered to you via Windows Update as a high priority update. You can safely install XPSP3 and will have an updated version of IE6 with all your personal preferences, such as home pages and favorites, still intact."

    XP Service Pack 3 will include IE6. That's frustrating, because this was a good opportunity to migrate millions of upgrade-averse folks to IE7 in the name of security (and, incidentally, eliminating a huge amount of web developer pain).

    • 1_32 jongalloway
    • May 05, 2008 at 11:59 PM
    • May 05, 2008 at 11:59 PM
  • Mass scripted SQL Injection Attacks on IIS Web Servers

    Mass scripted SQL Injection Attacks on IIS Web Servers
    "You may have seen recent reports that have surfaced stating that web sites running on Microsoft’s Internet Information Services (IIS) 6.0 have been compromised. These reports allude to a possible vulnerability in IIS or issues related to Security Advisory 951306 which was released last week. Microsoft has investigated these reports and determined that the attacks are not related to the recent Microsoft Security Advisory (951306) or any known security issues related to IIS 6.0, ASP, ASP.Net or Microsoft SQL technologies."
    • 1_32 jongalloway
    • May 04, 2008 at 10:30 PM
    • May 04, 2008 at 10:30 PM
  • Microsoft hires Photoshop guru from Adobe

    Microsoft hires Photoshop guru from Adobe
    "Mark Hamburg has decided to leave Adobe after having worked at the company for over 17 years. Mark joined Adobe in the Fall of 1990, not long after Photoshop 1.0 was released and was instrumental in devising many of the ‘wow’ features we have all come to love and rely on daily when we work with Photoshop. Mark left the Photoshop team after Photoshop 7 shipped and went to work developing a new paradigm in image processing which would finally ship as the product named Adobe Photoshop Lightroom."
    • 1_32 jongalloway
    • May 04, 2008 at 10:10 PM
    • May 04, 2008 at 10:10 PM

Rich Internet Applications

  • An update on JavaFX

    JavaOne: Sun rolls out JavaFX | Outside the Lines - CNET News.com
    "Sun introduced JavaFX, a rich Internet application environment set to compete with Adobe Systems' AIR and Microsoft's Silverlight."
    • 1_32 jongalloway
    • May 08, 2008 at 12:31 AM
    • May 08, 2008 at 12:31 AM
  • Adobe Open Screen Project - Open Specifications and Open Technology to Help Expand Flash Player Reach

    Adobe Open Screen Project - Open Specifications and Open Technology to Help Expand Flash Player Reach
    "The biggest part of the announcement in my mind is that we’re finally removing the restriction on the use of not only the SWF specification but also the FLV and F4V specification. We think we’ve gotten to a point where users don’t want different versions of a Flash Player and that there isn’t much incentive to create one, so opening up and removing the restrictions on the SWF, FLV, and F4V spec is a way to show that."
    • 1_32 jongalloway
    • May 06, 2008 at 12:26 AM
    • May 06, 2008 at 12:26 AM
  • An Update to Deep Zoom Composer

    An Update to Deep Zoom Composer

    "Ever since we released Deep Zoom Composer during MIX, there has been a ton of great feedback you have all sent us on what you liked and what you would like to see improved in future versions. To give you a sneak peek at where we are currently, we're releasing an updated version of Deep Zoom Composer for you all to play with."

    Feature overview:

    • Improved Exporting
    • Better Design Experience
    • Updated Collections Export
    • Greater Access to Help
    • 1_32 jongalloway
    • May 05, 2008 at 11:17 PM
    • May 05, 2008 at 11:17 PM
  • Silverlight Roadmap questions

    Silverlight Roadmap questions
    Some info on codecs, image support (no GIF), release timing, etc.
    • 1_32 jongalloway
    • May 05, 2008 at 11:16 PM
    • May 05, 2008 at 11:16 PM

Software You Should Know About

  • OpenOffice.org 3.0 Beta is available

    OpenOffice.org 3.0 Beta is available
    "OpenOffice.org 3.0 will support the upcoming OpenDocument Format (ODF) 1.2 standard, and is capable of opening files created with MS-Office 2007 or MS-Office 2008 for Mac OS X (.docx, .xlsx, .pptx, etc.). This is in addition to read and write support for the MS-Office binary file formats (.doc, .xls, .ppt, etc.). OpenOffice.org 3.0 will be the first version to run on Mac OS X without X11, with the look and feel of any other Aqua application. It introduces partial VBA support to this platform. In addition, OpenOffice.org 3.0 integrates well with the Mac OS X accessibility APIs, and thus offers better accessibility support than many other Mac OS X applications."
    • 1_32 jongalloway
    • May 07, 2008 at 09:27 AM
    • May 07, 2008 at 09:27 AM
  • Search Commands

    Search Commands
    "Search Commands helps you find commands, options, wizards, and galleries in Microsoft Office 2007 Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Just type what you’re looking for in your own words and click the command you need. Search Commands also includes Guided Help, which acts as a tour guide for specific tasks."
    • 1_32 jongalloway
    • Apr 29, 2008 at 12:37 AM
    • Apr 29, 2008 at 12:37 AM
  • Pointui, the coolest thing I've installed on my Windows Mobile Phone, gets an update.

    Pointui, the definitive user interface for mobile devices.

    "Pointui (pronounced point-you-i) has been built from the ground up and sets the benchmark in pioneering the delivery of total user experience, never before achieved on a Windows Mobile device."

    Pointui is a great addon for Windows Mobile phones. It's free, it's a simple program that doesn't involve any frightening ROM flashes or the like, and it completely changes the way you use your phone.

    • 1_32 jongalloway
    • Apr 29, 2008 at 12:41 AM
    • Apr 29, 2008 at 12:41 AM
  • Start++ Updated

    Start++ Updated

    "Start++ is an enhancement for the Start Menu in Windows Vista. It also extends the Run box and the command-line with customizable commands. For example, typing "w Windows Vista" will take you to the Windows Vista page on Wikipedia!"

    I've been using Start++ for a while; there's a new update out. It turns the Vista Start Menu into a pretty nice application launcher.

    • 1_32 jongalloway
    • Apr 29, 2008 at 12:40 AM
    • Apr 29, 2008 at 12:40 AM

Miscellany

  • Clay Shirkey on Social Surplus: Explaining why people are giving so much away for free

    Clay Shirkey on Social Surplus: Explaining why people are giving so much away for free

    "And what's astonished people who were committed to the structure of the previous society, prior to trying to take this surplus and do something interesting, is that they're discovering that when you offer people the opportunity to produce and to share, they'll take you up on that offer. It doesn't mean that we'll never sit around mindlessly watching Scrubs on the couch. It just means we'll do it less."

    A common response to the open source model is "How can people give work away for free?" I think this is a pretty good answer: there are a lot of talented people with time on their hands who are happy to have something better to do with it than watch sitcoms.

    • 1_32 jongalloway
    • Apr 29, 2008 at 12:39 AM
    • Apr 29, 2008 at 12:39 AM
  • RumorL AT&T to cut the price of Apple’s new iPhone

    RumorL AT&T to cut the price of Apple’s new iPhone

    "When the 3G iPhone is introduced this summer, AT&T, the exclusive U.S. iPhone sales partner with Apple, will cut the price by as much as $200, according to a person familiar with the strategy. AT&T is preparing to subsidize $200 of the cost of a new iPhone, bringing the price down to $199 for customers who sign two-year contracts, the source says. Apple is expected to have two versions of the new iPhone, an 8-gigabyte-memory and a 16-gigabyte-memory model with price tags widely expected to be $399 and $499. AT&T and Apple declined to comment."

    I still think the iPhone is a sucker deal at this point. They could give them away for free and it would still be a ripoff, given the exorbitant prices they charge for the data plans. But hopefully now you'll get ripped off on the payment plan, and this time you'll at least get 3G with it.

    • 1_32 jongalloway
    • May 04, 2008 at 10:17 PM
    • May 04, 2008 at 10:17 PM
  • SourceForge Now OpenID-Friendly

    SourceForge Now OpenID-Friendly

    "SourceForge, an immense base of open software development and discussion, today announces its newly instated mechanism for accepting OpenID users. According to an estimate provided by the website, this enables some 250,000,000 potential OpenID registrants to join the collaborative, which SourceForge already counts to be some 1.84 million strong. Naturally, the chair of the OpenID Foundation, Scott Kveton said that this move will be a huge step forward for the organization’s efforts."

    Passwords are slowly dying. Hurrah!

    • 1_32 jongalloway
    • May 07, 2008 at 01:37 PM
    • May 07, 2008 at 01:37 PM
Published Thursday, May 8, 2008 2:14 AM by Jon Galloway

Comments

# re: Jon's News Wrapup - May 8, 2008 Edition

Hey Jon, I'm finding these valuable.

I found "Microsoft + Yahoo? Nope." and "Miscellany" most interesting.

Thursday, May 8, 2008 11:51 AM by adam.kahtava

# re: Jon's News Wrapup - May 8, 2008 Edition

I installed Xobni and it told me things I already knew, such as the persons with whom I have the most e-mail exchanges. Then, after about 10 minutes of indexing (at which point it had reached 8% of completion) it locked up Outlook.

I was, however, able to un-install Xobni and resume using Outlook without any problem.

Monday, May 12, 2008 9:10 PM by Howard