An often irreverent look at this week's other news ...
Lenovo Introduces Window 8 ThinkPad Tablet
Lenovo this week introduced its ThinkPad Tablet 2, which—unlike its silly predecessor—will run Windows 8 instead of Android. The Tablet 2 features a 10.1" screen running at 1366 x 768 (ideal for Windows 8), an Atom-based mobile processor, optional 3G and 4G connectivity choices, and a fingerprint reader, and it will weigh less than 1.3 pounds while measuring just 9.8mm thick. You’ll be able to get a keyboard, dock, or stylus as extras, and the device will go on sale in October alongside Windows 8. It runs Windows 8 Pro, the big boy version of Microsoft’s new OS.
Google to Pay Biggest Fine in FTC History
Online advertising giant Google this week agreed to pay a record $22.5 million fine to settle at US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charge that the firm “misrepresented” the privacy assurances it made to users of Apple’s Safari browser. (And imagine how much the fine could have been if it involved a browser that people actually use!) Google had previously reached a privacy settlement with the FTC and had informed Safari users that it would not use tracking cookies or serve them targeted ads. And then the company did both. “All companies must abide by FTC orders against them and keep their privacy promises to consumers, or they will end up paying many times what it would have cost to comply in the first place,” FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said. “The record-setting penalty in this matter sends a clear message to all companies under an FTC privacy order.” As far as I’m concerned, all the governments on Earth cannot investigate, charge, and fine this company enough. To answer a rhetorical question posed by Politico this week: “Can Google be trusted?” The answer, obviously, is no. Remember: For all the technology and engineering crap this company throws in our faces, its only point—the reason it exists—is to serve you ads everywhere.
Microsoft Teams with NYPD to Fight Crime
Microsoft this week unveiled a partnership with the New York Police Department in which the two entities will co-develop a crime-prevention and counterterrorism information-analysis platform called Domain Awareness System. DAS will “aggregate and analyze public safety data in real time, providing NYPD investigators and analysts with a comprehensive view of potential threats and criminal activity,” the firm notes. And although this sounds like something from a Daniel Suarez or Marc Russinovich cyber-thriller novel, it’s nice to see law enforcement embracing technology. Certainly, its opponents have.
Microsoft Helps Bring Pulse to the Web
Microsoft helped Pulse port its mobile app to the web, and the result—a standards-compliant version of the app that runs in Internet Explorer (IE) 10 and other modern web browsers—looks and works as expected. Microsoft, of course, is pushing the IE 10 angle. “Playing with Internet Explorer 10, we were amazed by the fluidity of it, and that inspired us to create an experience on the web that, in some aspects, will be even more beautiful and intuitive than our mobile apps,” Pulse’s Akshay Kothari says. “It’s very fluid, very fast. And what you can do with Internet Explorer 10 and touch on the web will surprise a lot of people.” You can access the web version of Pulse at http://www.pulse.me/.
New Microsoft Job Listing “Confirms” a Late-2013 Launch for Next Xbox
Of course, we already knew this, so confirming something in this fashion is somewhat compulsive. But a now-deleted Microsoft job posting at careers.com noted that “Microsoft will release new versions of all of our most significant products including Windows (Client, Server, Phone, and Azure), Office, and Xbox over the next eighteen months,” so now I guess it’s a fact. Ah, the blogosphere.
Microsoft Replacing VBA in Office with Web Technologies
Microsoft this week detailed how it is replacing the aged Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) in Office 2013 with a more modern extensibility platform based on web technologies. It’s a big change, especially when you consider that VBA debuted about 20 years ago and that related technologies, like VBScript and non-managed versions of Visual Basic, started getting pushed aside around the time Bill Clinton was still president. OK, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but the new Office 2013 web technologies, called the Office cloud app model (which I will always call CLAM), uses standards-based web technologies, and is not a proprietary, Microsoft-only product. The goal here is that anyone who can write a web page can create custom content for Office. Check out the link above for the full details.
Windows Phone Usage Surpasses that of Symbian … In Finland
Actually, that’s kind of a big deal, since Nokia—which is in the process of replacing Symbian with Windows Phone—is from Finland. According to StatCounter, Windows Phone usage finally surpassed that of Symbian on Nokia’s home turf, grabbing about 13 percent of the market. If Windows Phone can succeed in Finland, it should be able to succeed anywhere, right? Right?
Nokia Sells Off Qt Developer Library
As part of an ongoing effort to collectively tighten its financial belt and focus only on core businesses going forward, struggling smartphone maker Nokia this week sold off the once-controversial Qt developer library, which was originally designed to help programmers target multiple mobile platforms. Qt was created by Trolltech, which Nokia purchased back in 2008, when Symbian was riding high and plans for a replacement—called, alternatively, Maemo, Moblin, and then Meego—actually seemed to make sense. Actually, none of those ever made sense.
Listen to Paul. No, Really Listen. Or Watch. Or Both!
I was away for most of this week on a Normandy trip (heavily biased toward World War II sights, of course), so I was unable to record either of my podcasts—What the Tech with Andrew Zarian on Tuesday or Windows Weekly with Leo Laporte and Mary Jo Foley on Thursday—though I’ll be back next week. Leo and Mary Jo did forge ahead without me, however, and recorded an episode with my British doppelganger Peter “Dr. Pizza” Bright, so that should be a fun listen/watch. It should be available soon, on the web, and via iTunes, the Zune Marketplace, and wherever else quality podcasts are found. You can also find all of my podcast activities on the SuperSite for Windows.
The Paul Thurrott Mobile App: Is That a Paul in Your Pocket?
The Paul Thurrott: Pocket Tech app is now available for both the iPhone and Windows Phone, bringing all of my technical content to your favorite mobile device in a fun, on-the-go format. We'll have an Android version available soon as well, I'm told. And who knows? A Windows 8 app would make plenty of sense too. Download for Windows Phone - Download for iPhone
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