Microsoft Employees Celebrate iPhone and Blackberry Funerals

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Microsoft employees celebrate release of Windows Phone 7.

These people work at Microsoft. To celebrate the release to manufacturing of Windows Phone 7—which means it’s now market-ready—they took the streets carrying a dead giant iPhone and BlackBerry, followed by a parade. Update: And they danced Thriller. (Video)

 

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Microsoft Develops 3D Without the Glasses

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Microsoft’s 3-D screen can project multiple images simultaneously.

Today’s 3-D movies are far more spectacular than the first ones screened more than 50 years ago, but watching them–both at the movie theater and at home–still means donning a pair of dorky, oversized glasses. Now a new type of lens developed by researchers in Microsoft’s Applied Sciences Group could help make glasses-free 3-D displays more practical.

 

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Cow Manure from Dairy Farms Could Help Power Internet Giants

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Cow manure from dairy farms could help power Google and Microsoft

Hey diddle diddle. Guess what the cow has done this time? America’s dairy farmers could soon find themselves in the computer business, with the manure from their cows possibly powering the vast data centers of companies like Google and Microsoft.

 

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Microsoft’s Chinese Factory Workers Treated Like ‘Prisoners’

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Some of the workers making computer accessories for Microsoft at a Chinese factory

Showing Chinese sweatshop workers slumped over their desks with exhaustion, it is an image that Microsoft won’t want the world to see.  Employed for gruelling 15-hour shifts, in appalling conditions and 86f heat, many fall asleep on their stations during their meagre ten-minute breaks. (Pics)

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Ford SYNC Hits 2 Million Mark

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Ford SYNC is the popular device manager for your car built on a Microsoft platform

The popular Ford SYNC voice-controlled communications and infotainment system has been winning over buyers at its fastest pace ever, with Ford announcing SYNC has now been installed on more than 2 million Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles.
“The success of SYNC proves that customers want to be connected,” said Ken Czubay, Ford vice president of U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service. “The speed with which we’ve hit the  2 million mark, the premium SYNC adds at auction, and the improvements in purchase consideration show that it is a true differentiator for us, adding real value for the customer.”
SYNC, built on the Microsoft Windows Embedded Automotive software platform, hit 2 million units only 10 months after Ford delivered its 1-millionth SYNC-equipped vehicle, a 2010 Fusion Hybrid, to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. The first SYNC systems were delivered in fall 2007.
“Microsoft and Ford share a common vision when it comes to connecting drivers and passengers to their digital lifestyles,” said Kevin Dallas, general manager of Microsoft’s Windows Embedded Business. “The beauty of building on the Windows Embedded Automotive software platform is that its flexibility has enabled Ford to create new, engaging in-vehicle experiences over the past three years for their consumers to enjoy behind the wheel. We’re excited to see what new roads SYNC explores in the future.”
SYNC boosts resale values
In addition to providing customers with voice control of most entertainment and communications systems in the vehicle, SYNC also pays dividends at resale time.
Ford data analysis shows that SYNC-equipped models of the 2008 Focus are worth more than those without SYNC. After one year in service, the SYNC-equipped models sell for a $240 premium on average. With another year in service added, the SYNC premium is still a significant $200. Ford’s ability to isolate SYNC and attach a resale value to the optional system is based on a company-exclusive statistical VIN-decoding vehicle option residual impact modeling strategy.
The increased transaction price for pre-owned vehicles equipped with SYNC reflects market demand for the feature. In a recent study of Ford SYNC-equipped vehicle owners, one-third of respondents indicated that SYNC played an important role in their purchase decision.
Another reason for the added value is likely due to Ford continuously improving SYNC, year after year, without raising the option price of $395. First launched on 2008 models, including the Focus, Ford has added valuable new capabilities each model year since. For 2009 models, Ford added the 911 Assist™ and Vehicle Health Report applications, at no added cost for the life of the vehicle.
•               911 Assist can place a call directly to a local 911 emergency operator in the event of an accident involving the activation of an air bag or, on certain vehicles, the emergency fuel pump shutoff. If an occupant cannot respond, SYNC can deliver a recorded message to the 911 service to alert an operator that a crash has occurred.
•               Vehicle Health Report gives customers the ability to monitor and manage their vehicle’s health in a single, easy-to-read report and receive important notifications. The report includes diagnostic systems’ statuses, scheduled maintenance, needed repairs from the last dealership visit, and will even alert owners of any open recalls.
In fact, those first 2008 models can be upgraded with these applications with a quick visit to their local dealers, thus adding unexpected value to the vehicle.
For 2010 models, Ford improved SYNC even further with the addition of a GPS receiver integrated into the vehicle, thus creating the opportunity to offer location-based services through the Traffic, Directions & Information (TDI) app. TDI can deliver personalized traffic reports, precise turn-by-turn driving directions and up-to-date information including business listings, news, sports and weather – without the need for a built-in or aftermarket navigation system.
SYNC Traffic, Directions & Information services are free for the first three years of vehicle ownership, and only $60 per year after that, delivering capabilities, features and affordability that rival competitors’ embedded telematics and navigation systems.
SYNC satisfaction remains high
Among Ford customers who have SYNC on their vehicles – and use its voice command features – 87 percent are satisfied with how the system operates, and 88 percent would recommend the purchase of a vehicle with SYNC to others.
So what do SYNC users take advantage of most? Hands-free calling is used daily by two-thirds of study respondents, with 89 percent using the feature at least once a week. More than half use the voice-activated dialing features available through SYNC, helping drivers keep their eyes on the road and hands on the steering wheel.
Use of the Traffic, Directions & Information application is also on the increase. Among users aware of the feature, up to 39 percent are taking advantage of the turn-by-turn directions, local business search and real-time traffic services.

The popular Ford SYNC voice-controlled communications and infotainment system has been winning over buyers at its fastest pace ever, with Ford announcing SYNC has now been installed on more than 2 million Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles. And studies now show it boosts the resale value of a vehicle by over $200.

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The Future of Microsoft’s Desktop Could Look Like a Mobile Phone

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The future of Microsoft’s desktop?

Competition in the personal computer market is heating up, even as it becomes increasingly difficult to distinguish just what we mean when we talk about a PC. Airline flight attendants seem to be able to discern the difference between mobile phones and personal computers in their in-flight announcements, but the vendors who make and sell them increasingly can’t.

 

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Microsoft’s Courier – A Dual Screen e-Book Device

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Microsoft’s Courier

You didn’t think Microsoft was just going to sit there and let Apple take all the tabletmania glory today, did you? New pics have surfaced of Microsoft’s dual-screen Courier, and the book-like device seems to be dolled up a bit to compete directly against the iPad. (Pics)

 

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Top 7 Most Hacked Softwares in 2009

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What software are tops on a hackers’ hitlist? Applications and software that are most vulnerable and are the potential targets of scammers and hackers to install malicious codes into your PC?

Forbes recently released 2009’s `Most-Hacked Software’ list. The list names the software and applications that were biggest targets of hacker attacks in 2009. The software used most by hackers and other cyber criminals to sneak into your system and cause havoc.

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The Secret Government Surveillance Document Microsoft Doesn’t Want You To See

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Microsoft has a 22-page document which outlines how they store all your private data in their online servers. The document also tells government agencies how they can get it. But, oh surprise, they don’t want you to see it! Too bad. Here ya go…

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Project Natal – Meeting Milo

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Meeting Milo

Serious groundbreaking technology here. I have always said that motion controls for gaming, no matter what tech you used to derive your motion control, was a complete dead end for gaming, unless someone developed a revolutionary method to make it essential for gaming.

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‘Godfather of Spam’ Sentenced to 4 Years in Prison

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Alan Ralsky, the self-proclaimed ‘Godfather of Spam’, has been jailed after being convicted of committing wire and mail fraud.
Alan M. Ralsky, the self-proclaimed “Godfather of Spam” who pleaded guilty to fraud-related charges in June, was sentenced Tuesday to 51 months in prison, the Department of Justice said.
Ralsky, 64, allegedly was the mastermind of an e-mail spamming network that gained the attention of authorities and Microsoft in 2004. He and his associate Scott Bradley, 48, were convicted of conspiring to commit wire fraud and mail fraud, and to violate the CAN-SPAM Act; and for committing wire fraud, engaging in money laundering, and violating the CAN-SPAM Act.
They also were given five years of supervised release after prison and ordered to forfeit $250,000 that the federal government seized in 2007. Both men are from West Bloomfield, Mich.
Two additional associates – How Wai John Hui, 54, a resident of Hong Kong and Canada; and John S. Bown, 45, of Fresno, Calif. – were sentenced Tuesday.
“Through this conspiracy Ralsky and the others were able to manipulate the stock market and maximize their profit,” Andrew G. Arena, special agent in charge for the FBI, said in a DOJ news release. “They flooded our e-mail boxes with unwanted spam e-mail and attempted to use a botnet to hijack our computers assist them in the scheme.”
From the DOJ release:
According to court documents, from January 2004 through September 2005, Ralsky, Bradley, Judy Devenow, Bown, William Neil, James Bragg, James Fite, Hui, Francis Tribble and others allegedly engaged in a related set of conspiracies designed to use spam e-mails to manipulate thinly traded stocks and profit by trading in those stocks once their share prices increased after recipients of the spam e-mails traded in the stocks being promoted. …
According to court documents, many of the spam e-mails promoted thinly traded “pink sheet” stocks for U.S. companies owned and controlled by individuals in Hong Kong and China. The spam e-mails contained materially false and misleading information or omissions and were created and sent using software programs that made it difficult to trace them back to the conspirators. According to the indictment, the conspirators used wire communications, the U.S. mail and common carriers to perpetrate their frauds. The conspirators also engaged in money laundering involving millions of dollars generated by their manipulative stock trading.
Microsoft, for its part, was elated to the point of posting on its Microsoft on the Issues blog. Tim Cranton, associate general council, congratulated the prosecution for successfully putting Ralsky, Bradly, Hui and Bown behind bars.
“Yesterday’s sentencing is a significant success and sends a clear message that the courts take this type of illegal conduct seriously,” Cranton wrote. “Thanks to the diligent efforts of law enforcement and prosecutors, even the most successful and sophisticated spammers may find themselves behind bars for a very long time.”
As with most criminal cases, Microsoft turned evidence over to the DOJ to assist with the investigation, Cranton said.

Alan Ralsky, the self-proclaimed ‘Godfather of Spam’

Alan M. Ralsky, the self-proclaimed “Godfather of Spam” who pleaded guilty to fraud-related charges in June, was sentenced Tuesday to 51 months in prison, the Department of Justice said.

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