Justice Department Asks FCC To Expand Wireless Spectrum

In a country that prides itself as being technologically advanced, it is still an unbelievable fact how many people in our country do not have a broadband connection. By freeing up more wireless spectrum, the hope is that other companies, besides the teleco giants, will be able to provide broadband service for a lower price. In a recent blog post it states that:

The Department of Justice filing states “Given the potential of wireless services to reach underserved areas and to provide an alternative to wireline broadband providers in other areas, the [FCC]’s primary tool for promoting broadband competition should be freeing up spectrum.”

The response continues, stating that among other obstacles impeding Clearwire, T-Mobile, Sprint, and others from deploying effective wireless broadband systems “the scarcity of spectrum is a fundamental obstacle that the [FCC] should address. Stated simply, without access to sufficient spectrum a firm cannot provide state-of-the-art wireless broadband services.”

The FCC request for input, and the DOJ response are indications of the urgency the United States government is placing on making broadband Internet access available universally. The problem is that much of the nation is rural and does not have the wired infrastructure necessary to deliver broadband access.

Increasing the availability of wireless broadband resolves two issues simultaneously. First, it would make broadband access available on a cost-effective basis in areas not currently served by wireline broadband service. Second, it levels the playing field between wireless and wireline broadband access and offers an opportunity for new players to compete against traditional communications giants.

I personally believe that this is a great idea and should be implemented as soon as possible. Without a broadband connection the Internet is basically useless for those left with dial up only. I couldn’t imagine life without broadband. What about you?

Comments as always are welcome.

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Yahoo CEO – Life Is Wonderful! Has Marijuana Been Legalized In California?

OK. I know most of us are already tired of hearing about the Microsoft – Yahoo deal, but the statements made by the CEO of Yahoo are just to good to pass up. In a morning Yahoo blog posting the CEO of Yahoo, Carol Bartz, made several blog entries that beg to ask the question. Has California already legalized pot? Or was their a super sale on bull shit this AM?

Better search: You’ll still find search boxes all across Yahoo!, but this deal will make the difference between a great Yahoo! search experience and an awesome one. Some of the biggest brains in the business work on Yahoo! Search, and they will continue to innovate to create a better search experience on Yahoo!. As a result of the deal, Microsoft, which has great technologists and deep pockets,will have the scale to bring users faster, more useful and more personally relevant search.

Could we say that if Yahoo was great, Bing is awesome, that Google must be stupendous?

Better everything else: With Microsoft powering Yahoo! Search, we’ll be able to focus on the things we do best -– being the center of people’s lives online with properties like our homepage, mail, finance, news, sports, entertainment, mobile, etc. Sure, we’re the world’s largest online media company and your loyalty has made that possible. But we’re not satisfied – we still want you to say “wow” a lot more often. And that’s what makes this deal especially exciting.

Hmm. The last time we said ‘WOW’ to something that Microsoft had to offer we got saddled with Vista. What will also make this especially exciting is that now all of the Yahoo executives will be able to get their severance bonuses once Microsoft takes over.

Better competition: Competition equals innovation. But with one player dominating 70% of search, that field has been pretty lopsided. This transaction will create a healthy competitor that’ll keep everyone on their toes.

Does this mean that Microsoft admits that with a 90% market share with Windows that there is no competition? Hello DOJ ! Hello European Union ! LOL

I realize that the CEO of Yahoo had to say something positive to make everyone feel warm and fuzzy all over. But the bottom line is that she should of wrote a eulogy. Yahoo died this morning. The only problem is that the people at Yahoo haven’t realized it yet.

Comments welcome.

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PS Remember what happened after Time Warner scooped up AOL? Whatever happened to AOL?

Windows 7 Will Be Watched Closely By Regulators

Back in 2002 Microsoft agreed to have their future opearting systems monitor for future release. So with Windows 7 on the horizon, regulators are gearing up for a close inspection of the operating system. This could explain why Microsoft has left some features out of Windows 7 like an email program and such, that have to be downloaded by the consumer.

In a recent article the scrunity parameters are explained as:

Microsoft has been under a microscope since it struck a deal in 2002 that required the company to document communication protocols so that other developers, competitors included, could craft software that works smoothly with Windows clients and servers. The decree also set up the technical committee and forced Microsoft and state and federal antitrust officials to deliver regular reports to Kollar-Kotelly.

The newest report spelled out changes the committee, dubbed “TC” by the court, will make to test Windows 7, the successor to Vista.

“In light of the number of new documents that need to be reviewed, the TC is going to shift its focus to direct review of the documents by the TC’s engineers as the most efficient method of identifying issues with the documentation,” read the status report. “The revised strategy will enable the TC to review the new Windows 7 and system documents more thoroughly than it would otherwise, which is particularly desirable given the significance of these new documents to the project as a whole.”

So it appears that Windows 7 will be looked out closely before we see the final release this year.

Source

The DOJ Gets First Look AT Windows 7

The DOJ is getting a sneak peek at Windows 7, since in 2001 Microsoft had agreed to allow the Feds to monitor all future operating systems. Once Microsoft stated a new operating system was in the works, the Feds wanted a look-see to make sure Microsoft was in compliance with a previous court judgment.

One could conclude that Microsoft may have a feature enriched version available and has been working on Windows 7 for quite some time. Rumors have circulated that Microsoft began working on a new operating system, right after Vista was released.

In an article from eweek Microsoft Watch it states:

Under terms of Microsoft’s November 2001 Justice Department settlement and final court judgment issued about a year later, a government-sanctioned “Technical Committee” has overseen Windows development. The TC is responsible for ensuring that Microsoft complies with the terms of the final judgment, investigating complaints about Microsoft abuses and regularly reporting on the company’s compliance.

The TC oversaw Windows Vista development and required some changes before the operating system’s release. Each quarter, the Justice Department, Microsoft and states attorneys general file a joint “status report,” largely based on the TC’s activities. The process should have mostly ended on November 12. But Google (and some other Microsoft competitors) requested an extension, and U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly gave it to them: Two more years of government oversight.

Maybe those rumors of a 2009 release could be true this time. Microsoft may try and get the new operating system out the door before the 2009 holiday season. I am sure this would please the OEM’s and retailers.

Comments welcome.

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Microsoft Wins Deal To Install Crapware On HP Computers

Just when you thought we would be getting away from more ‘crapware’ on new computers, Microsoft and HP strike up a deal to install more gunk. Microsoft has announced that HP computers will come with Microsoft Live Search Toolbar which will take advantage of Microsoft’s wonderful new Silverlight technology.

According to this press release which states:

 Microsoft Corp. today announced that it has won a key distribution deal with HP, the world’s largest PC manufacturer, to install a Live Search-enabled toolbar on all HP consumer PCs planned to ship in the United States and Canada, beginning in January 2009. As part of this deal, the default search engine setting in the browser on all HP consumer PCs will also be set to Microsoft Live Search.

“This agreement with HP is a strategic indicator of our increased focus on securing broad-scale distribution for Live Search,” said Kevin Johnson, president of the Platforms & Services Division at Microsoft. “This is the most significant distribution deal for Live Search that Microsoft has ever done, and we are very pleased to be partnering with HP to help bring Live Search to millions of consumers across North America.”

Microsoft is building a custom, Live Search-enabled toolbar for HP customers that takes advantage of the exceptional user experience capabilities of Microsoft Silverlight. The toolbar will provide HP with customization capabilities within the buttons on the toolbar, providing quick and easy access to a variety of online services and tools, such as Snapfish by HP, the company’s online photo service, and HP customer support.

The PR goes on to use words like ‘user friendly’, customizable’,  ‘favorite online services’ and the best one of  ‘Microsoft shares HP’s passion’ .

Which translates into something that the average consumer may not want nor need.

I’m sure Google will be taking a close look at this. It smells of the old Microsoft prior to the DOJ fiasco.

And you thought Bill Gates was really going to be gone! :-)

Comments welcome.

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DOJ – Terroists Missed On Watch List

Yipes! In a recent released report by the DOJ it is reported that 20 known terrorists failed to make it to border agents or immigration officials. The report states that the FBI was unable to post these bad guys on a watch list because of a computer glitch of some sort. None of the reported suspects made it into the US as a result of the non-reporting.
Fortunately the glitch was detected and subsequently corrected.
However, the Inspector General has given the FBI mixed reviews on how well the FBI has cleaned up their database of known terrorists. The hope was that after 9-11 one single agency was to consolidate and manage some 12 government agencies in keeping up with known terrorists as recommended by the 9-11 Commission. Information on some 700,000 known bad guys are in the system.
One would think that in this technological age that these glitches would of been corrected by now especially in light of 9-11.

When I read this report I was somewhat dismayed. It makes one wonder how many other ‘glitches’ have not been caught.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.Complete report in .pdf located here.

[tags]doj, terroists, database, fbi, glitch, [/tags]

Microsoft Scorecard – State Attorney Generals 7 vs DOJ 1

You gotta laugh. Depending on who you wish to believe in the monopoly fiasco, Microsoft is either a saint or a sinner. On the on hand the DOJ is telling us that all is now well. They site Firefox, Opera and Safari to show that their is now plenty of competition in the market place. Oh yeah. They toss in Linux as a show stopper saying see, Dell and Lenovo are shipping systems with an alternate operating system. I guess HP shipping Linux systems to Australia doesn’t count.

On the flip side, we have 7 State Attorney Generals from, Connecticut, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, the commonwealth of Massachusetts, the District of Columbia and California who disagree. They seem to feel that not enough change has been accomplished and that Microsoft is still a monopoly. They cite all kinds of numbers and percentages which purport to show that the monopoly is still intact.

Oops! Now we have New York, Louisiana, Wisconsin, Maryland, and Ohio who are happy campers and think that the DOJ has done a fine job. These states side with the DOJ so now the score is 7 to 6 with a few more innings left to play. Don’t bother trying to keep track of the balls and strikes. I’m still trying to figure out who is on first.
I guess the big question is does anyone really care? Does placing a label on Microsoft as a monopoly or non-monopoly going to change what has been and continues to be a……….well……… a monopoly …….. I mean friendly competition! LOL
What do you think?

Comments welcome.

You can read Microsoft’s court filing here in .pdf

[tags]microsoft, doj, states, monopoly,  [/tags]

Department of Justice – Warns Email Spam A Hoax

The United States Department of Justice is warning citizens of an email scam that is being sent to unsuspecting recipients claiming to be from the federal agency are a hoax.  The DOJ states in their press release that the department does not send out unsolicited emails and that such messages should be reported immediately upon receipt and they list a reporting agency to make follow up complaints to. In addition the DOJ states:

WASHINGTON – The Department of Justice has recently become aware of fraudulent spam e-mail messages claiming to be from DOJ. Based upon complaints from the public, it is believed that the fraudulent messages are addressed “Dear Citizen.” The messages are believed to assert that the recipients or their businesses have been the subject of complaints filed with DOJ and also forwarded to the Internal Revenue Service. In addition, such email messages may provide a case number, and state that the complaint was “filled [sic] by Mr. Henry Stewart.” A DOJ logo may appear at the top of the email message or in an attached file. Finally, the message may include an attachment that supposedly contains a copy of the complaint and contact information for Mr. Stewart.

THESE EMAIL MESSAGES ARE A HOAX. DO NOT RESPOND.

These spam email messages are bogus and should be immediately deleted. Computers may be put at risk simply by an attempt to examine these messages for signs of fraud. It is possible that by “double-clicking” on attachments to these messages, recipients will cause malicious software – e.g., viruses, keystroke loggers, or other Trojan horse programs – to be launched on their computers.

Do not open any attachment to such messages. Delete the e-mail. Empty the deleted items folder.

Be careful and follow what the DOJ recommends and do not open any attachments that may come with the hoax email. Also on the DOJ site there is a link to report this hoax should you receive such an email. Follow safe computing practices and keep your anti-virus and anti-spyware software updated at all times. You may wish to pass on this information to your family and friends.
Full DOJ alert here.

[tags]doj, alert, email, hoax, [/tags]

DOJ To Microsoft – Make Changes

Funny, Microsoft has basically remained mum on when Service Pack #1 for Vista will hit the streets, but the DOJ has spelled out that SP1 for Vista will be in beta before the end of the year. Also it has spelled out how Microsoft must make available the ability for users to be able to use any desktop search software they wish, even the one from Google. This is kind of contradicting what Microsoft has been saying that Google doesn’t have a case about their software not working correctly with Vista.

In the DOJ document which can be found here, it states:

“Microsoft will deliver the required changes in Service Pack 1 of Windows Vista, which Microsoft currently anticipates will be available in beta form by the end of the year. ”

In reading further it also appears that Microsoft will have to make further changes to Windows XP as per the DOJ request, and that those changes will be incorporated in Service Pack 3 for Windows XP, but no time frame is included in the document.

I always thought that the settlement between the DOJ and Microsoft was basically finished. It is interesting that the DOJ continues to monitor Microsoft and their antics. One now can see why the European Union keeps a watchful eye as well.

Comments welcome.

[tags]microsoft, doj, vista, xp, windows, service packs, [/tags]

Living in a Windows Media World

Here’s what gets my goat: how come Apple gets away with “ripping off” their customers while Microsoft gets slapped in the wrist for trying to do the same thing? If they’re both doing the “same thing,” shouldn’t both companies be held liable for such actions? What’s sauce for the software goose is sauce for the software gander, I may claim with a splash of naivete. While Microsoft commands a hefty portion of the computer desktop space, *WHO* has the lion’s share of the portable media world sewn up? iWill give you one guess. Here are a couple of factoids about “everybody’s favorite gadget” you might not know:

  • Market research firm iSuppli has taken apart the new video-enabled fifth-generation iPod and concluded that the 30GB device, which sells for $299, costs Apple $151 to manufacture — a profit margin of around 50%. ‘This is in line with what we have seen with other iPod products from Apple,’ says iSuppli analyst Chris Crotty.
  • An iPod armband, which is nothing more than plastic and velcro, sells for $29.

Continue reading “Living in a Windows Media World”