Windows 7 Family Pack Returns For $149.99

Microsoft is bringing back its Windows 7 Family Pack for $149.99. The package will contain three upgrade licenses of Windows 7 Home Premium. According to one article Microsoft is celebrating the first year of Windows 7 and wants to share the festivities with all consumers. In order to qualify for the offer you will need to be using a valid copy of either Windows XP or Windows Vista. In addition the article states that:

“Starting October 3 in the U.S., Windows 7 Family Pack will be available for purchase at participating retailers and online at the Microsoft Store,” Microsoft’s Ashley Brown revealed.

At the same time, the return of the Windows 7 Family Pack special deal will not be limited to customers in the United States.

As before, Microsoft will expand the availability of the Family Pack to customers in additional markets worldwide.

“For those of you who don’t live in the U.S., Family Pack may be coming your way too. It goes on sale in Canada, UK, Germany, France, Australia and many other markets on or after Oct. 22 (Windows 7’s 1 year anniversary!),” Brown added.

I’m hearing that Windows 7 Family Pack availability could begin as soon as October 5th for Canadian customers, just two days after it goes live the US, but this specific detail still remains to be confirmed.

Though the official release date of Windows 7 was actually October 22nd, 2009, it doesn’t matter that Microsoft is jumping the gun. A deal like this should be well accepted.

Comments welcome.

Source – Softpedia

Which Countries Hold The Top Spots For Internet Usage?

No Surprise That China Holds The Top Spot

It is now estimated that some 1.8 billion people from around the world now have access to the Internet. The importance of the Internet has over shadowed any other medium including that of television. TV is limited to a one way presentation, whereas the Internet provides the user with a way to communicate with others from around the world. In a recent article it also stated that:

Here are some standout facts and observations that give additional perspective to the Internet usage of the top countries on the Internet.

  • There are a total of 1.8 billion Internet users in the world.
  • There are 32 countries with more than 10 million Internet users.
  • The top 10 countries on the Internet together have 1.17 billion Internet users. That’s 65% of all Internet users in the world.
  • The top 20 countries on the Internet together have 1.47 billion Internet users. That’s just under 82% of all Internet users.
  • India is the fourth largest country in terms of Internet users in spite of having an Internet penetration of a measly 6.9%. This thanks to its huge population.
  • China takes the top spot both in terms of population and Internet users. China has almost twice (1.8x) as many Internet users as the United States.
  • China together with the United States, the top two countries, make up half of the Internet users in the top 15.
  • Out of the top 20 countries, the five with the highest Internet penetration (not users) are: United Kingdom (82.5%), South Korea (81.1%), Germany (79.1%), Japan (78.2%), United States (76.3%).

By Internet penetration, we mean the share of the population made up of Internet users.

If one looks at China with a population of 1.3 billion people, it is easy to see that there is a large potential for future expansion of Internet users in that country. Whereas others countries like the U.S. may not see limited growth when it comes to Internet users. We can call China the new frontier.

Comments welcome.

Source – pingdom

Why Bloggers Can No Longer Use The Term ‘Smartbook’

Over in Cologne, Germany there is a company called ‘Smartbook AG’ that provides computers to businesses and ‘lifestyle’ markets. It seems that the company claims to have a trademark on the word ‘Smartbook’ and claims that some companies are using this term in violation of their trademark. Some companies use the term ‘Smartbook’ in describing a device which is basically a netbook of sorts.

In a recent article it also states that:

Let me kick off by saying that Smartbook AG does indeed own a trademark on the word smartbook in most of Western Europe, Australia, Singapore, South Korea and a couple of other countries. The company sells laptops that are named Smartbook, so I guess the company is well within its rights to try and protect their trademark in any way it deems appropriate.

To me this seems like kind of straight forward. If one does choose to use the term ‘Smartbook’ to describe a device, the trademark company should receive credit.

Case closed.

Comments welcome.


Smartbook AG web site


Easy Web site creation tools have risen in popularity, and there are plenty of services to choose from if you’re looking to create a Web presence for something. Of course, if you’re wanting to build a site for your business or for some other serious and somewhat professional endeavor, then it only makes sense to either use some of the more advanced tools or hire someone to give your site that fine polish that it needs, however, if you just want to have fun and share some information with a group of your friends and family, then the simple and free tools are the way to go. Jimdo qualifies as one of these simple and free tools.

The company is based in Germany, so you might encounter some content that you may not fully understand as someone who speaks English, but it’s really not a big deal. This is a multilingual service, so it’s accessible to a lot of people, which is great. If you can use a mouse then you can use Jimdo, and the service works well with content like pictures, RSS, and so on. You can even edit the code, but doesn’t that defeat the purpose of a ridiculously simple Web site creation tool?

Two Places To Stay So Very Far Away

Informal though these may be, I thought it was important to share my thoughts not long after staying at two separate hotels in Frankfurt, Germany.

First, the Frankfurt Westin (formerly the Arabella Sheraton):

  • Our bathtub had a mold spot in it (Ponzi says it was rather large, but she’s a total mold freak).
  • The shower was inside the bathtub, but there wasn’t a full shower door or curtain – only a glass partition that covered half of the tub’s length (which caused water to spray onto the bathroom floor). It was poor engineering, further exacerbated with the shower being a handheld nozzle.
  • The toilet was good, but its “button” wasn’t foolproof.
  • The Internet connection was ample, but definitely dogged in the evening hours when more people were online. Moreover, we couldn’t switch to a second computer as we were not given some kind of username / password.
  • The laundry service messed up and requested that Ponzi help go through a few packages in question to verify that we were not given someone else’s clothes. She was mortified, apparently.
  • The thermostat had one temperature: cool.
  • The breakfast bar was pretty extensive, although some of the hot plates needed to be refreshed more frequently.
  • The bed was overly stiff, and the pillows were without substance.
  • The television had few native English channels, but this is par for the course in a foreign country. Moreover, the television cabinet doors did not fully collapse so that BOTH sides of the bed could view the screen without occlusion.
  • The view was of a back alleyway – nothing to write home about.
  • We had to call room service one evening after being gone most of the afternoon (so that they could make up our room).
  • The location was quite convenient for shopping and walks to museums.
  • It was a large-ish room with ample space.

Second, the Frankfurt Hilton:

  • There’s a general snack bar open during common meal / after hours on the 11th floor, which proved to be quite convenient on our way in or out of the hotel.
  • Internet access was phenomenal. Took me no time at all to upload videos to YouTube. It was also seamless to switch between my computer and Ponzi’s when necessary (as they give you access to Wi-Fi so long as you pay for a wired connection).
  • Toilet and shower controls were very well engineered – and I never thought I’d ever bother to point that out.
  • The view was amazing from our room.
  • Every day, the housekeeper seemed to give us something new – including a nice little tin with dark chocolate coins from around the world. Nice touch.
  • Room service wasn’t bad, but we had to laugh when they brought us fried mozzarella sticks when we ordered dim sum from the menu.
  • It’s close to shopping and food markets.
  • The bed was overly firm, and the pillows were undersized.

I’d definitely choose the Hilton over the Westin in Frankfurt.

[tags]frankfurt, germany, hilton, hotel, sheraton, westin[/tags]

Had To Park Too Far Away? Here's One Way To Deal.

We live-streamed the unveiling of GM’s newest electric car concept fully at a substantially lower bitrate, but here’s the Segway segment from Ponzi’s perspective. Again, our position was not fully ideal – but at least we were able to capture the energy.

[tags]astra, auto, autobahn, automobile, automotive, car, cars, frankfurt, germany, iaa, infobahn, live, opel, pirillo, race, racing[/tags]

A Chat With Dr. Thiesen About Hydrogen Cars

Ponzi and I had a rare opportunity to learn more about hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles with one of the automobile industry’s leading minds, Dr. Lars Peter Thiesen.

The GM HydroGen4 is the European version of the Chevrolet Equinox Fuel Cell. In fall 2007, the first of these fuel cell cars — a global fleet of more than 100 vehicles is planned — will be on the roads in the USA.

The HydroGen4’s fuel cell stack consists of 440 series-connected cells. The entire system produces an electrical output of up to 93 kW. With help from a 73 kW/100 hp synchronous electric motor, acceleration from zero to 100 km/h takes around 12 seconds. The front-wheel drive vehicle’s top speed is around 160 km/h.

[tags]astra, auto, autobahn, automobile, automotive, car, cars, frankfurt, germany, iaa, infobahn, live, opel, pirillo, race, racing[/tags]

Ich Bin Ein Frankfurter!

Calling all Lockergnomies! Calling all Twitter followers! Calling all YouTube producers! Calling all bloggers! Calling all podcasters! Calling all videocasters! Calling all Facebook fanatics!

Ponzi and I are still in Frankfurt, Germany – and we’ve found a spot in our schedule in which to accommodate a Blogger Meetup. I guess it’s more than just for bloggers – if you’re doing anything online that’s interesting or fun, you’re also invited to this informal gathering of the minds. Any European or worldwide traveler is certainly welcome to join us. Spread the word!

We’ve set the time for 4 pm tomorrow (Friday, September 14th, 2007) at the Westin Grand Frankfurt. This is located at Konrad Adenauer Strasse 7, Frankfurt 60313. We realize it’s in the middle of IAA, but that means more car bloggers should already be in town for activities.

[tags]europe, german, germany, meetup[/tags]

A Little Early For Oktoberfest?

So, a few people have been asking why Ponzi and I are heading to Germany for the next week or so – and the answer, while perfectly sound, may surprise you.

GM (yes, General Motors) is hosting us for the International Automotive Ausstellung (IAA) – the Frankfurt Motor Show 2007. They saw how much fun we were having with live video and YouTube and thought it’d be nice to share the expo and a few semi-exclusive interviews with the rest of the galaxy.

Even though my car has Bluetooth, XM, OnStar, etc. – I’m not a true car geek. That said, I’m quite interested in learning about efforts in “green tech” for international and domestic markets. GM gave me a running list of top initiatives for their company:

  • New HydroGen4 fuel cell vehicle, Volt electric car
  • More than 700 million euros for new engines and transmissions until 2012
  • Opel / Vauxhall: Electric car concept, ecoFLEX initiative, new Agila
  • Chevrolet: New Aveo generation, distinctively designed HHR
  • Saab: New 9-3 generation with top-of-the-line Turbo X model
  • Cadillac: BLS Wagon, new generation of Cadillac CTS luxury sedan
  • Corvette: More power for Coupe and Cabrio
  • HUMMER: H2 is film star in “Transformers”

So, looks like they’re not killing the electric car after all…? :)

As noted before, I’ll have my camera, laptop, microphone, etc. We hope to stream whatever we can stream live to everyone (thanks to a Vodaphone modem with my MacBook Pro). There will be plenty of stills and videos to share with you as well. I’m quite excited, as you can imagine.

This will be my first time in Europe altogether. I don’t speak a lick of German – beyond hallo, bitte, danke, and sprechen zie English. We’ll have free time from the 13th through the 16th, I believe – so if any informal blogger meetup was to happen, it would likely be within that space (in Frankfurt or not, so long as Ponzi and I could get to the destination with relative ease and minimal frustration).

[tags]car show, germany, green tech, iaa[/tags]