Thursday, May 29, 2008

Drape Your Website With Google Maps With New Google Earth Plug-in.

Google Earth in your Browser with new Google Earth Plug-in. The Google Earth Plug-in and its JavaScript API let you embed Google Earth, a true 3D digital globe, into your web pages. Using the API you can draw markers and lines, drape images over the terrain, add 3D models, or load KML files, allowing you to build sophisticated 3D map applications. If you have an existing Maps API site, you can 3D-enable your page with as little as one line of code.

After watching th video;

  1. Sign up for a Google Maps API key.
  2. Read the Google Earth API Developer's Guide.
  3. Check out some Google Earth Plug-in samples.
  4. Review the Google Earth API.
Or you can continue to read Lat-Long Blog, which is Google Earth blog; Google LatLong: Google Earth, meet the browser

Monday, May 19, 2008

Leaked Microsoft Email Outlines M$' Catchup Strategy!

From: Kevin Johnson
Sent: Sunday, May 18, 2008 1:30 PM
To: Platforms & Services Division; APSP FTE - Adv & Pub Solutions Platform; Employees.all.corp.adf@main.corp; Employees.all.adf@main.corp
Subject: Online Services Strategy Update

We have been executing against the core strategy I first presented at our Financial Analyst Meeting in July 2007 to go after the growing opportunity in online services and advertising. Four pillars have formed the basis of our strategy:

1. Consolidate ad platform and win in display
2. Innovate and disrupt in search
3. Deliver end-to-end user experiences across PC, phone, and web
4. Reinvent portal and social media experiences

We have many options that support acceleration of our strategy. As announced earlier today, we are also considering new alternatives for a transaction with Yahoo! which do not involve a full acquisition. At this time, we have not made a new bid to acquire all of Yahoo!, but we reserve the right to reconsider that alternative depending on future developments and discussions that may take place with Yahoo!, shareholders of Yahoo! or Microsoft, or with other third parties.

Regardless of the outcome of any new discussions, it is important that we continue to move forward to strengthen our online services business. The fact is that we are not where we want to be in this business yet and we've been in this position longer than we'd all like. To that end, we will be accelerating elements of our core strategy, and breaking ground in new areas.

On Tuesday, Brian McAndrews is hosting advance08, our annual advertising conference here in Redmond. Over 400 leaders from across the media, technology and advertising landscape will be here for two days to engage in dialogue on industry trends and opportunities. These leaders are some of our closest partners in the digital transformation of the advertising industry, and they recognize the increasingly important role Microsoft plays in this transformation.

We are very excited to have these customers and partners on campus.

Brian's keynote will highlight our unique position in the advertising industry. It's amazing to see how far we've come with the aQuantive acquisition in differentiating our advertising platform. This foundation is paying off, with Q3 advertising revenue growth of nearly 40%, a rate that has accelerated over the past two quarters while growth rates at Google, Yahoo and AOL have slowed.

On Wednesday, we will be announcing a major new initiative that our search teams have been driving. We are getting better and better with our core algorithmic search, and at the same time, we are investing to differentiate in vertical experiences and to disrupt the current model. You'll hear more about our plans Wednesday.

advance08 will underscore our commitment to search and online advertising, and you'll continue to see announcements demonstrating our progress in this space. Earlier this week, I spoke to leaders across our online services business about our core strategy, the importance of acceleration and a set of actions we are taking, including:

1. Innovate and disrupt in search - We will disclose some elements of our plans with this week's release of search and sharpen our focus on user experience and business model innovation. The work we have done over the last 4 years on search has established a solid foundation to build upon.
2. Win targeted distribution - With this release of search, we are now ready to throttle up broader distribution initiatives.
3. Reinvent portal and deliver new experiences across PC, phone and web - We are building our new releases of Windows 7, Windows Live wave 3, Windows Mobile 7, Internet Explorer 8, Search and MSN with an eye towards optimizing and unifying experiences and scenarios.
4. Fix our online branding - Our brands are fragmented and confusing today, and we recognize a need to clarify and align our online branding. We are now driving forward to address this opportunity.
5. Win in display advertising - We have an advantage in tools, agency assets/relationships and a team laser-focused on capturing the display ad platform opportunity. As we build from a position of strength, we will increase engineering resources to drive even more innovation.
6. Build on our strengths in Europe - As measured by comScore in March, our online business in Europe is doing well. We have over 3 times the page view volume and nearly 7 times the minutes of usage compared to Yahoo!, and 68% reach to internet users throughout Europe. We will double down on our investments in Europe and expand on this strong position.
7. Expand strategic partnerships - In addition to our organic innovation agenda, we will expand strategic partnerships that increase inventory on our display ad platform, enable new paradigms in search and accelerate growth in key geographies.
8. Pursue small, targeted acquisitions - Looking forward, we will focus on small, targeted acquisitions that support our work in search, complement our value in the ad platform and help us grow scale in key geographies. Recent acquisitions including Rapt and YaData are examples of these types of acquisitions.

The PSD leadership team is actively working on the FY09 budget, including resources and investments to support the actions above. Additional elements of our work will be revealed in the coming weeks, leading to our Financial Analyst Meeting in July where I will share more details on our strategy and business/financial outlook.

As we move forward, I want to remind everyone that we are well positioned to compete. We have some of the industry's best assets on our side: technical and business talent, global scale, a culture of self-criticism and tenaciousness, a healthy balance sheet and an unparalleled product portfolio. It's time for us to seize the opportunity.

Thanks again for your continued leadership and focus on our business. If you have any feedback or thoughts, please feel free to send me mail.


Kevin Johnson
Leaked Microsoft Email Outlines M$' Catchup Strategy!
Thanks goes to WebGuild.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

French Judge Orders Reimbursement of Microsoft Pre-Installed XP (Now Known As Racketware)

Last modified: 05/17/2008 02:38 PM
A Judge in Caen, Normandy (case Hordoir vs. Asus, 30 April 2008) has ruled against Asus in a pre installed and unwanted windows software case. The user who purchased an Asus computer with Windows pre-installed was awarded the damages of 130 Euro for unwanted racketware from M$.
This ruling will certainly help the case put forward by French consumer association UFC-Que Choisir against systematic sale of pre-installed Windows with Personal Computers was held in Court in Paris.

While the judgment in Paris is pending, this decision should encourage users to demand reimbursement from computer manufacturers and Computer manufacturers to reimburse clients more willingly, otherwise many users will follow the racketware guide sue these M$ Yes Sir Followers.
Press release by

Complaint by UFC Que Choisir

Let us recall the facts : when consumers buy the computer of their choice, they are generally forced to simultaneouly acquire the license of pre-installed software, even though it would be easy for the professionals to dissociate both purchases, for a marginal cost, as recommended by the Globalisation Institute, a liberal reflection group, in a report for the European Commission. This dissociation would also dissolve the lack of publicity for the software prices and conditions of use. Moreover, it would induce an evolution of software licenses, considered to be unfair and to contain abusive terms.

Encouraged by the Director General of the DGCCRF at the time, Mr. Cerruti, at a tripartite meeting in November 2006, this trial is intended to provide a jurisprudence related sales of computers and software. The recent response by Luc Chatel to a written question confirms this need: the Secretary of State said he will not do anything.

New victory by an individual: confirmed liberty to choose one's software.

Happy coincidence: on the eave of this hearing, an individual won a new trial in Caen, Normandy. He obtained a posteriori reimbursement of pre-installed software.

The judgement recalls the client's right and liberty to adopt any particular operating system or use other software and licenses than the systems and software installed by [the manufacturer] on the computers.

One of the jurists in the Racketware team that edits the Reimbursement Guide, comments : The obstacles introduced by the manufacturer to a simple and fast reimbursement of an amount corresponding to usual prices are clealy condemned by the judge. Asus' practice can thus be assimilated to bundled sales. The manufacturers, and hence, the vendors, will need to revise their practices if they do not want to undergo more frequent appeals.

This is the fourth victory in a proximity juridiction (Rennes, Puteaux, Libourne, Caen). This victory is the first of a long series of procedures conducted along the lines of the Reimbursement Guide which meets great success.

What is the consumers' opinion?

Petition Stop racketwarewill soon reach 30 000 signatures, which is surprising for a complex matter with so little coverage in traditional media.

Meanwhile, Vista is increasingly rejected. The consumer prefers keeping XP and manufacturers HP and DELL attempt to find way to revive this system to meet demand. As for Microsoft, she receives the timely payment for the Vista license anyway. Only the consumer is the looser : he must pay for software he is not using!

Does the consumer wish anything else than Microsoft products? With bundled sales, he is rarely entitled to speak. Yet EeePC, by the same manufacturer, ASUS, meets a tremendous success: the public chooses an innovative machine that runs a free operating system [11].

What Justice can achieve

The French executive power is schizophrenic. On the one hand, the State has no more money. On the other hand, according to our estimations, Microsoft tax optimization in France, artificially swollen by bundled sales, is on the order of twice the annual cost of the national family card for train transportation. By ignoring bundled sales, not only does the State act against the consumers' interest, but it comforts the monopoly of the editor that controls from 90 to 95% of market shares [12]. A clear court settlement on bundled sales could compensate for the State's lack of action.

Despite what vendors and manufacturers pretend, the solutions we suggest (identical pre-installation for all copies of a model, but selective activation upon client's request) have a minimal cost, they are simple and fast to set up [1]. A clear court settlement on bundled sales would cut manufacturers' dilatory arguments.

Besides, bundled sales illustrates a real problem in France: the law exists and only needs to be enforced. A clear court settlement on bundled sales would re-delineate the spirit of the law where it has been continually eroded by the influence of manufacturers and vendors for their exclusive profit.

Live from Paris Tribunal de Grande Instance

Today's hearing shows that the result of this action mainly relies on the Court's decision. It should be noted that Darty's representents seem to exempt the vendor from its responsibilities regarding customers, just as today's State Secretary Luc Chatel eludates his responsibility [13]. Associations AFUL and April celebrate the quality of the pleading by UFC-Que Choisir representents, which included several key arguments from the Racketware team.

Alain Coulais, one of the leaders of the Racketware workgroup, says: With a victory at Tribunal de Grande Instance, the current situation, which is unfavourable to all consumers, will evoluate towards optionality during the purchase, which is favourable to all consumers and to the State. For a marginal cost, everyone would be winning: the majority that still wants to buy a machine with pre-installed software, the growing minority that knowingly chooses alternative solutions like GNU-Linux, and those who have acquired licenses that entitle them to re-use the software on several machines.

Microsoft Is At Yahoo Again, Looks Like They Can't Let Go!

The wolf can't let the sheep go. M$ published the following short news item. I think M$ and some other people has much to gain, if Yahoo is in their pocket!

REDMOND, Wash. — May 18, 2008 — Microsoft Corp. today issued the following statement:

“In light of developments since the withdrawal of the Microsoft proposal to acquire Yahoo! Inc., Microsoft announced that it is continuing to explore and pursue its alternatives to improve and expand its online services and advertising business. Microsoft is considering and has raised with Yahoo! an alternative that would involve a transaction with Yahoo! but not an acquisition of all of Yahoo! Microsoft is not proposing to make a new bid to acquire all of Yahoo! at this time, but reserves the right to reconsider that alternative depending on future developments and discussions that may take place with Yahoo! or discussions with shareholders of Yahoo! or Microsoft or with other third parties.

“There of course can be no assurance that any transaction will result from these discussions.”

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Microsoft's Future Lies In Gaming Consoles?

I went here to learn about startup business issues but came back with this article about M$'s service pack trend! Initial jab was from Social|median.
This isn’t news to anyone. Vista is a flop. But why?
If you evaluate the way that Microsoft develops and releases its products you’ll notice a trend. Not just in actual perception but what people expect. Most administrators you speak to will say that they don’t implement new Microsoft products until SP1. Lately, many I’ve spoken with have increased this to SP2! So why is this happening and why doesn’t this happen with Mac?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Two-factor Authentication Solution For OpenID.

I use OpenID for my web and net wanderings. I am also implementing OpenID for two of my projects that needs universal authentication. In my view, of all the authentication solutions that we had for the net, OpenID has been the mana that we have been waiting for. So when I read today that myOpenID, my personal OpenID provider, has introduced CallVerifID TM, A method for two factor authentication for OpenID. It uses phonefactor service for phone based authentication.
If you are a myOpenID user, you can immediately start using it. This phone-based authentication service can use any phone (mobile or landline) as a second authentication factor. The user enters a myOpenID username and password as usual, then simply answers an automated instant telephone call and presses “#”. And that completes the authentication process.
Following is the press release by JanRain;
JanRain and Positive Networks have developed a phone-based, two-factor authentication solution specifically designed to support users of myOpenID. myOpenID, the most popular independent OpenID provider, is a free, fully featured, and secure solution for users who want their own personal OpenID identity. The new secure authentication offering, CallVerifIDTM, is available immediately to all myOpenID users and is based on Positive Networks’ PhoneFactor service. PhoneFactor is the leading phone-based authentication service and does not rely on text/SMS messages, tokens, certificates or the installation of hardware. OpenID is an open standard shared identity service, which enables users to log on to different web sites and applications using a single digital identity, eliminating the need to create and manage separate user names and passwords for each site. OpenID empowers users to control when, where, and how they share personal information. “As the adoption and usage of OpenID accelerates across thousands of websites and applications, it is becoming increasingly important to provide multi-factor authentication options, said Brian Kissel, CEO of JanRain. “Adding CallVerifID powered by PhoneFactor to the myOpenID service provides users with the best two-factor authentication solution available.” The new offering is based on the award-winning PhoneFactor technology and provides simple two-factor authentication and identity protection with far greater security than only using passwords. This phone-based authentication service can use any phone (mobile or landline) as a second authentication factor. The user enters a myOpenID username and password as usual, then simply answers an automated instant telephone call and presses “#”. This completes the authentication process. Complete two-factor authentication and identity protection is instantly enabled with no need for tokens, smart cards or certificates. CallVerifID is currently available for free to myOpenID users in the United States and many other countries, and as an additional service for business clients provisioning OpenIDs to both customers and employees. “Adding strong authentication to OpenID must be simple,convenient and very secure if it is to work for most people.This rules out most traditional solutions like tokens, but is ideal for a phone-based solution like PhoneFactor, said Tim Sutton, CEO of Positive Networks. “We think that the marriage of OpenID and PhoneFactor will be the first really scalable multifactor solution”.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Hyundai And Kia Cars Get Ready For Blue Screen Crashes! Plan To Install Microsoft Software.

Microsoft and the Hyundai Kia Automotive Group announced today an agreement to put Microsoft's Automotive Platform, the technology behind the Ford Sync system, into Hyundai and Kia cars by 2010. Ford Sync lets users integrate MP3 players and cell phones with their cars, allowing for hands-free calling and voice-command music selection.
Continue to read at

RIAA in Tampa, Florida.

Well, makes more reasons to avoid buying listening music from labels under RIAA! They continue to abuse the system according to this article on Slashdot.

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Sunday, May 04, 2008

Wolf Walks Away From Sheep, So You Can Still Say Yahoo!

Microsoft is walking away from Yahoo! Acquisition after upping the ante to US$40bn-plus. The news is a blow to Microsoft, which had seen the acquisition as a way of competing more effectively with rival Google. But the wolf err Steve Ballmer said he knew the exact price that that Yahoo! is worth. So After Jerry Yang has said my company worth more than you think; M$ decided to walk away, after writing a letter to Jerry Yang.

“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,” Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said in a statement.

Here is the full letter;

Dear Jerry,

After over three months, we have reached the conclusion of the process regarding a possible combination of Microsoft and Yahoo.

I first want to convey my personal thanks to you, your management team, and Yahoo’s board of directors for your consideration of our proposal. I appreciate the time and attention all of you have given to this matter, and I especially appreciate the time that you have invested personally. I feel that our discussions this week have been particularly useful, providing me for the first time with real clarity on what is and is not possible.

I am disappointed that Yahoo has not moved towards accepting our offer. I first called you with our offer on January 31 because I believed that a combination of our two companies would have created real value for our respective shareholders and would have provided consumers, publishers, and advertisers with greater innovation and choice in the marketplace. Our decision to offer a 62% premium at that time reflected the strength of these convictions.

In our conversations this week, we conveyed our willingness to raise our offer to $33/share, reflecting again our belief in this collective opportunity. This increase would have added approximately another $5bn of value to your shareholders, compared to the current value of our initial offer. It also would have reflected a premium of over 70% compared to the price at which your stock closed on January 31. Yet it has proven insufficient, as your final position insisted on Microsoft paying yet another $5bn or more, or at least another $4/share above our $33 offer.

Also, after giving this week’s conversations further thought, it is clear to me that it is not sensible for Microsoft to take our offer directly to your shareholders. This approach would necessarily involve a protracted proxy contest and eventually an exchange offer. Our discussions with you have led us to conclude that, in the interim, you would take steps that would make Yahoo undesirable as an acquisition for Microsoft.

We regard with particular concern your apparent planning to respond to a “hostile” bid by pursuing a new arrangement that would involve or lead to the outsourcing to Google of key paid Internet search terms offered by Yahoo today. In our view, such an arrangement with the dominant search provider would make an acquisition of Yahoo undesirable to us for a number of reasons.

First, it would fundamentally undermine Yahoo’s own strategy and long-term viability by encouraging advertisers to use Google as opposed to your Panama paid search system. This would also fragment your search advertising and display advertising strategies and the ecosystem surrounding them. This would undermine the reliance on your display advertising business to fuel future growth.

Given this, it would impair Yahoo’s ability to retain the talented engineers working on advertising systems that are important to our interest in a combination of our companies.

In addition, it would raise a host of regulatory and legal problems that no acquirer, including Microsoft, would want to inherit. Among other things, this would consolidate market share with the already-dominant paid search provider in a manner that would reduce competition and choice in the marketplace.

This would also effectively enable Google to set the prices for key search terms on both their and your search platforms and, in the process, raise prices charged to advertisers on Yahoo. In addition to whatever resulting legal problems, this seems unwise from a business perspective unless in fact one simply wishes to use this as a vehicle to exit the paid search business in favor of Google.

It could foreclose any chance of a combination with any other search provider that is not already relying on Google’s search services.

Accordingly, your apparent plan to pursue such an arrangement in the event of a proxy contest or exchange offer leads me to the firm decision not to pursue such a path. Instead, I hereby formally withdraw Microsoft’s proposal to acquire Yahoo.

We will move forward and will continue to innovate and grow our business at Microsoft with the talented team we have in place and potentially through strategic transactions with other business partners.

I still believe even today that our offer remains the only alternative put forward that provides your stockholders full and fair value for their shares. By failing to reach an agreement with us, you and your stockholders have left significant value on the table.

But clearly a deal is not to be.

Thank you again for the time we have spent together discussing this.

Sincerely yours,

Steven A. Ballmer
Chief Executive Officer
Microsoft Corporation

Jerry should be happy Steve did not throw a chair at him or curse him.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Update on XP Service Pack 3 Post Install Experience.

Update on XP Service Pack 3, Since I installed the service pack 3 for Windows XP. I have installed Java Version 6 update 5 and oOo, Open Office version 2.4 and they are behaving fine. The next will be Microsoft's own Office version.
I also have Avast 4.8 running together with Zonealarm. Then I have the Spybot Search & Destroy and I think they are keeping the system safe and clean. But I will soon change the firewall to Jetico. Why, Here is why! results of leak tests. I will also install Lavasoft's adaware 2007 as together with Spybot S&D, they keep off most of the bad boys away. All the software mentioned above are free if you are using them for personal use.

"I won't go a dime above" Ballmer To Yahoo!

According to this Yahoo news article, Microsoft or Chief Executive Steve Ballmer if you follow the article plans to go hostile with take over bid, as soon as today!;
""We're willing to pay for that at some level, and beyond that level we're not willing to pay for it. I know exactly what I think Yahoo is worth to me," the executive (Ballmer) said. "I won't go a dime above, and I will go to what I think it's worth if that gets the deal done."

But he didn't offer a figure, and he didn't say whether Microsoft is considering raising its unsolicited bid, worth $44.6 billion at the time it was made in early February.

The offer is currently worth about $42.4 billion, or $29.48 per share, based on Microsoft Corp.'s closing stock price Thursday. Yahoo Inc. has rejected the offer, saying it undervalues the company. Microsoft's board has been considering whether to raise the bid to as much as $33 per share, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Ballmer didn't provide any new insight into the company's efforts to buy the Silicon Valley pioneer during the meeting at Microsoft's Redmond, Wash., headquarters, but he did indicate that an end to months of speculation was near.

"We ought to announce something in relatively short order," Ballmer told employees.

His comments were first reported by Silicon Alley Insider, an online technology news site, and confirmed by a Microsoft spokesman.

Ballmer added that buying Yahoo is just one of many moving parts in the software maker's strategy to compete with Google Inc. in search and Web advertising, and that if neither a friendly nor a hostile deal "look good," he's willing to walk away.

Microsoft's board met Wednesday but reached no decision on a next step, the Journal reported. The software maker had given Yahoo until last weekend to agree to a deal or face the prospect of an ugly proxy fight.

Meanwhile, Yahoo is exploring a possible advertising partnership with Internet search leader Google Inc. or a merger with the online operations of Time Warner Inc.'s AOL as possible defenses if Microsoft tries a hostile takeover.

Impressed by a two-week test completed last month, Yahoo could firm up a long-term deal within a week, according to the Journal. Any alliance between Yahoo and Google would face intense antitrust scrutiny, however, because the two companies control more than 80 percent of the U.S. market for search advertising.

Yahoo and Google hope to allay those concerns by structuring their deal so their rivals, including Microsoft, could participate in an auction-based system, the Journal said."

Windows XP Service Pack Experience.

I had to check this out so I finally installed this on a fresh Windows XP with Service Pack 2. Installation itself took some time ( I was able to almost complete a Ubuntu 8.04 on a old notebook) but the service pack installation went smooth. First it took an inventory of the notebook I was installing it on and the did a file and registry backup and created a restore point. Then installed the service pack 3. Everything went fine and I rebooted the notebook. It started without much fuzz and created/changed registry entries.
The system has been running for a while without any problems. I do not have many applications on the machine as yet and I will certainly do so as time allows. As of now I have tested, Zonealarm firewall, Spybot S&D with tea timer, Firefox along with VPN and some other remote access programs.
Although not available for down load, you can still get the service pack 3 if you know where to look!