Just as the Beijing Olympics were winding down, radio-controlled robots were going head-to-head in a sports event of their own--the annual Robot Athletic Meet in Tokyo's Akihabara district, which is known as a hub for anime and gadgets. In the photo above, two bots compete in a 2-meter dash. Fifteen bipedal robots took part in last weekend's athletic meet, which was organized by Tsukumo, a maker of robot kits and products.
One day after Microsoft released the second public beta for Internet Explorer 8, readers have contacted CNET News with warnings about its installation and sites and services that are incompatible. While such behavior is expected of beta software, some problems appear to exist within Microsoft services themselves.
Microsoft acknowledges some of this. In a blog on Wednesday, Microsoft IE developers explain how IE 8 users running Windows XP SP3 will not be able to downgrade back to IE 7 without uninstalling the service pack first. Indeed, depending on which version of Windows a person has, 32-bit or 64-bit edition, it … Read more
The meeting time broker TimeDriver, which has been in closed testing since I covered it back in January, will finally enter its public beta period on Monday. I had a chance to play with the product Thursday. For a lot of people, this service could be a great help.
TimeDriver is designed to help people who need to schedule a lot of one-on-one meetings. If you're interviewing job candidates, for example, or taking appointments with customers, you can set up either one-time or recurring blocks of time, and send people links that let them grab appointment times in those … Read more
What is it about meetings that brings out the worst in otherwise reasonable and intelligent people? Is it an opportunity to childishly engage and disrupt others? Or perhaps it's a chance to demonstrate animalistic dominance. Who knows.
All I do know is, for companies to operate effectively, executives, managers, and key employees need to know how to run effective meetings. Meetings are how conflicts are resolved and plans are agreed upon. They are how critical strategic and operating processes are developed, managed, and to some extent, executed.
Conversely, ineffective meetings result in lost productivity and frustration. They can also be a sign of a dysfunctional workplace, which can result in operating failure.
In my experience technology managers and executives are so inept at conducting effective meetings you'd think it's rocket science or a rare genetic trait. I have no idea why that is.… Read more
REDMOND, Wash.--Microsoft CFO Christopher Liddell said Thursday that Yahoo is a "declining asset" and that the chances of a full-on acquisition are now "negligible."
Liddell elaborated on CEO Steve Ballmer's earlier comments, saying the company went into its bid "totally genuine" but soured on a deal because it was taking too long. He called Yahoo a "declining asset."
"Time passed and value eroded," he said. "I think the chances of us buying Yahoo...are so small that they are essentially negligible."
A search deal, he said, … Read more
REDMOND, Wash.--Microsoft's receptionist of the future is a robot.
Chief Research and Strategy officer Craig Mundie on Thursday demonstrated a software-based robot that uses a combination of visual and voice recognition as well as speech synthesis to handle basic tasks. Microsoft itself plans to use the software robot to handle shuttle requests in its own buildings, which typically have a pair of receptionists to handle visitors and shuttle requests.
In a video, two Microsoft employees approach the robot, who said (in a rather robotic voice) "Which building do you want to go to?"
After checking that … Read more
Microsoft's annual Financial Analyst Meeting, in which the company goes over its past fiscal year's results and highlights areas of focus for the coming year, is always a good opportunity for tea-leaf reading.
After CEO Steve Ballmer's introductory speech, in which he spent a lot of time talking about Microsoft's online business, efforts to compete against Google in search, and the aborted Yahoo tie-up, Entertainment and Devices President Robbie Bach was up. He talked about nearly everything in his business division. He started with the upcoming Xbox Live redesign. He talked about Xbox games. He spent … Read more
REDMOND, Wash.--Microsoft's annual culture clash takes place Thursday as the software maker tries to dazzle and delight with technology and long-term plans, while a crowd of financial analysts presses the company for profits they can take to the bank.
Although Microsoft has continued to return solid profit and earnings, the company has also been spending more than some analysts would like, particularly in its online services area. There were already grumblings over the company's plans on last week's earnings conference call and I'd expect that to be an area of discussion on Thursday, especially in … Read more
Tungle, launching today, may be the meeting coordination utility to beat. Like TimeBridge, Jiffle, and other products in this new category, it lets you block off a bunch of times for a meeting you want to have with a person or group of people, and then it handles all the back-and-forth while your attendees figure out which of the available times they want to grab. Once the meeting is booked, it enters the appointment into your Outlook calendar and sends the recipients calendar entries, too.
Tungle's success is in its design. If you're setting up a meeting, you … Read more
On Thursday morning, at this year's RSA Conference in San Francisco, Chris Boyd of Facetime and I will present a talk called "How to Adapt to the Echo Generation's Social-Media Hacking Game." The following is a preview of that talk, presented in three parts. Yesterday, we saw who the Echo Generation are. Today, we're looking at how they use online social media for hacks. Tomorrow, we'll see how Chris uses features of social networks and Web 2.0 to shut these kids down.
For the last few years, Chris Boyd, director of malware research … Read more