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Multi-Post 9, featuring FlexGo, Hyperthyroidism, Windows Mobile Emulator, “What’s Next?”, and 360 Controllers On Macs

I absolutely have to clear all my tabs by tonight, so you’ll forgive the flood…

Microsoft Rolls Out Pay-As-You-Go Computing
Microsoft has unveiled FlexGo, a means of pay-as-you-go for computing, letting those in poorer countries get computers they might not be able to afford all at once. This is one of those ideas that seems like it might be a terrible plan, but sometimes just works out. Still, I can’t picture people having a non-working computer sitting around, waiting for you to pony up a few bucks for it to start working.

Two things I found interesting: When Microsoft released this news, they had four different press releases, each one giving the credit differently. I don’t need to even explain the difference, just read the headlines:

I just find that hilarious.

Also, you might remember some rumors that Microsoft was working with Transmeta on some secret low-power chips, and that those chips were being designed for the Xbox Portable? Well, the truth is out: They are what makes FlexGo work. Sorry if it wasn’t more exciting…

Send Your Love To Alex
Alex Barnett, who works at Microsoft, who’s blog I’ve always enjoyed and been impressed by, and who I met at Search Champs (and discovered to be even cooler in person), posts about his hyperthyroidism. To put the problem to bed permanently, the doctors are cutting out the thyroid, which is actually more of a good thing than it sounds. I’m just glad he’ll be feeling better, but nobody likes surgery, so send along your love.

Check Out The Windows Mobile 5.0 Emulator
Microsoft has released a great standalone version of the Windows Mobile 5.0 device emulator. This is the same emulator that ships with Visual Studio 2005, but all you need is Windows XP SP2 or Server 2003 to run it. If you ever wanted to try out the Windows Mobile 5.0 OS, you can do anything with this as though you were holding one of those devices in your hands. I even played a little solitaire, as you can see in the screenshot:

Windows Mobile Device Emulator.jpg
(via Jason Langridge)

Microsofties Asking “What’s Next?”
Michael Kaplan is wondering, now that his work on localization for Vista is basically complete, what comes next. I’m willing to bet that, as Vista Beta 2 rolls out, a lot of Microsoft employees are asking that same question, both about themselves and the company. Vista is a huge deal for Microsoft, but no one knows for sure what the next big thing is, and it isn’t like a company of Microsoft’s size can afford to not have big things.

Use Your 360 Controller With A Mac
Here’s something useful for Mac heads who don’t hate Microsoft too much to buy an Xbox 360: someone whipped up a driver that lets you use the Xbox 360 controller on your Apple computer. Hopefully this work will continue, since getting the Wireless PC Adapter, which will let you use wireless 360 accessories with a PC, to work on a Mac would be a huge boon to Mac users who want nice gaming peripherals.

May 22nd, 2006 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Vista, Windows Mobile, Xbox 360, Xbox, Blogs, Windows, General | 2 comments

Multi-Post 7, featuring Win XP In Flash, Dell Retail Stores, Windows Vista Pricing, Why No Podcasting In WMP 11?, and ODP Decription Opt-Out

I’m really trying hard to clear out my old tabs in time for Windows Vista Beta 2 and Office 2007 Beta 2, so you’ll have to forgive more of these…

Windows Done In Flash
Apparently this isn’t new, but as NBC would say, it’s new to me: Someone created a Flash version of Windows XP, although I suspect they were trying to make some kind of sick joke! How else can you explain the huge amounts of viruses, spyware, terrible software…


Anyway, it’s pretty funny. For less funny, but to be pretty impressed, I remember someone had created a really good online version of Mac OS. Anybody remember the link?
(via Digg)

Dell Opening Retail Stores
PCPro reports that Dell is looking to open two retail stores, one in my own backyard. Well, not literally my backyard, but, if instead of trampling on my backyard, you head the other way, hop on a bus, then a subway… Anyway, the strange thing: The retail locations will let you look at PCs, but you’d still be buying them from the central store and having them shipped.

Why? The most annoying thing you can run into at Dell are shipping charges. I won’t even buy a Dell without a free shipping coupon. Why can’t you just sell me the PCs in store, and even charge a little extra for labor, just to cut out the shipping? What a waste. This is never going to be as successful as Apple.

In other news, Coca-Cola announced vending machines that come stocked with Coke, but only let you order one for mail delivery two weeks later.

Vista Price Leak A Stupid Hox
Ed Bott reports on some site that decided to create linkbait by publishing fake prices for Windows Vista and trying to pass it off as the real thing, without making the slightest bit of effort to be believable. For example, they had Vista Ultimate costing less than Vista Business, even though Ultimate includes Business!

If I had to guess Vista’s pricing, it would be:

  • Windows Vista Home Basic - $75 upgrade/$175 retail
  • Windows Vista Home Premium - $150 upgrade/$250 retail
  • Windows Vista Business - $225 upgrade/$325 retail

Why do I think these? Microsoft wants to price the cheapest Vista lower than XP, so that they can claim a price reduction and fight open source better. However, they actually want to make more money on average, so they crippled Home Basic, forcing smart users to actually pay more than they did for XP Home ($99/$199), by buying Home Premium.

Home Premium makes up for the mistake of XP Professional ($199/$299), which many refused to buy, and thus didn’t make Microsoft as much as they’d hoped. Meanwhile, Business costs $25 higher than XP Pro, making Microsoft again a few more bucks.

To summarize: Under these prices, Microsoft can claim Vista is cheaper than XP, but sell enough Home Premium to make more money than XP Home, since people who didn’t buy XP Pro will buy Vista Premium. Keep in mind, these are just my guesses.

Did Microsoft Screw Up By Not Including Podcasting In Windows Media Player?
Amit Agarwal and Geek News Central wonder why Microsoft didn’t include a podcasting client in the new Windows Media Player. I think the Media Player guys were afraid that if WMP 11 included podcasting support, all the buzz at their big release would be “Microsoft is copying Apple!” By not including it, people can see how great the software and the UI is, and they can release podcasting support later, once people already like the product.

MSN Gives Opt-Out For ODP Descriptions
MSN Search has come up with a meta tag to stop search engine spiders from using Open Directory descriptions in search results. If you aren’t into search engines, this probably means nothing to you, but webmasters should be happy that a third party isn’t getting to describe their sites to the world anymore against their will.

May 22nd, 2006 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Humor, Apple, Vista, XP, Windows, Search, Applications, Media Player, MSN, General | one comment