Rumors have abounded over the years about a Google operating system, perhaps based on the Ubuntu version of Linux widely used within the company, but on Monday the company revealed an open-source project that provides a different answer to the same problem: Native Client.
The reason I've been skeptical about Google releasing an operating system of its own is that the company has such a Web-based view of the world. But Web apps have limits, impressive gains of Google Docs notwithstanding, and Native Client is geared to address those.
"At Google we're always trying to make the … Read more
Adobe's latest version of the Flash Player browser plug-in is just as trouble-free as previous versions, existing unobtrusively in your system until Web-based animations, games, or ubiquitous Flash ads require its services.
The latest version downloads and installs quickly, and will probably always require a browser restart. Our tests turned up nothing to make us scratch our heads, and upgrading from version 9 to the current one has fixed for many people a bug that caused embedded video to freeze.
You need a Flash Player to experience the Web at its fullest, so users at any level of expertise … Read more
Earlier this year, I expressed my skepticism that Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs) and Netbooks (essentially scaled-down, low-cost notebooks) would come to pass as mainstream product categories. My reasoning boiled down to an assertion that these things were neither fish nor fowl. As usually envisioned, a MID is a form factor that is neither as portable as a smartphone nor as full-functioned as a notebook. A Netbook is a notebook that is underpowered and otherwise compromised.
I've seen nothing over the past few months to change my mind about MIDs. If anything, Apple's continued march with the iPhone and … Read more
Digsby should easily be the instant messaging freeware of choice for the super social set. In addition to supporting the major IM networks--Yahoo, MSN, AIM, ICQ, Google Talk, and Jabber--Digsby also pulls in Web mail feeds, as well as access to MySpace, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook accounts. Updating Twitter is a breeze from the application's main interface, though users wishing to do anything more than read Facebook and MySpace news feeds will be redirected to their online accounts.
Users can initiate text, video, and audio chat from the conversation window, and transfer files, send SMS, and compose e-mail. Digsby … Read more
Ubuntu has been making gains on the server side of things. And that's likely where Canonical, the commercial entity behind Ubuntu, will earn its profits--as it hopes to do someday.
But its initial efforts on the client side arguably are what really helped shift the limelight to Ubuntu in the first place. Ubuntu gained the reputation of being easier to install and use than other Linux distributions--factors that have kept even many open-source enthusiasts from adopting Linux on their desktops or notebooks. And user experience remains a significant focus area.
Mark Shuttleworth, who heads and financially backs Canonical, … Read more
In most enterprises, PCs are what the accountants call a "corporate asset." The company buys them, loads software on them, sticks on a little asset tag, and lets employees use them as tools for their jobs. A given IT department may have more or fewer formal processes--or may simply be more or less control-freakish. But, whether employees get much choice in choosing a preferred PC model and whatever IT's general attitude toward running "unapproved" applications, the PC is company property.
There are lots of historical reasons for this general approach. Desktop PCs sat in an … Read more
For as long as I've been following alternatives to traditional "fat client" desktops, most vendors have been touting thin client and related technologies mostly in the context of better return on investment (ROI).
They'll admit that up-front costs are higher. They'll even reluctantly concede that the user experience (in the sense of response time, adding a unique application, and so forth) may not be as good as for a traditional PC. But, the pitch goes, management costs will be so reduced that you'll make back your money.
As for the users? Well, so long … Read more
Intel perhaps most of all, but a lot of technology vendors are pushing the idea of MIDs (Mobile Internet Devices) and Netbooks (essentially scale-down, low-cost notebooks). Intel's interest here is pretty straightforward: the more a mobile device resembles a traditional PC, the more Intel's x86 franchise gives it a leg-up. By contrast, smartphones are based on any number of low-power processors, typically something other than x86 architecture.
I'm skeptical that these categories between the smartphone and the notebook will amount to a whole lot.
The issue I see with MIDs and Netbooks in the general case, however, … Read more
Internet Relay Chat (IRC) clients don't usually get the exposure that some of the other, more well-known chat clients do, but they can be even more useful than their big-name cousins. While most online chat has evolved into a way to communicate exclusively with friends, family, and co-workers, you can still meet new people with common interests if you use the right program.
Join Jason Parker in this First Look video to find out more about mIRC and to see if Internet Relay Chat is your cup of tea. Packed with useful features, it's easy to see how … Read more