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Archive for October 2007

rich internet applications… it is hot!

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The bridge connecting designer and programmer is the central focus for software companies like Microsoft and Adobe. Especially since both are venturing into each others’ turf with Microsoft providing Expression Studio coupled with XAML and the .NET framework while Adobe with Flex Builder and the web programming language environment. Microsoft is extending from its desktop stronghold to the web while Adobe is bringing its web tools and Flash dominance onto the desktop (see my recommendation on Adobe AIR)

And now, Adobe is bringing in another big gun, Thermo.

Adobe Systems Inc. next year will release a visual tool for designers to help them more quickly and easily build RIAs (rich Internet applications) and work better with developers writing code on the back end.

The tool, code-named Thermo, allows designers to draw a picture of what an application will look like and then, without having to write code, generate applications from those pictures that have the full ability to interact with users, said Mark Anders, vice president of engineering for Adobe. He and Adobe Product Manager Steven Heintz demonstrated the tool on stage during Tuesday’s keynote at the Adobe MAX 2007 user conference in Chicago.

Adobe, like Microsoft Corp. and other companies providing tools to develop RIAs, are trying to solve the problem of how designers and developers work together, since their processes are very different. It has been traditionally difficult for designers’ vision for the visual presentation of the application to come to fruition once developers code the logic of the application. Moreover, designers that are visually oriented are not typically good coders, and it has been difficult for them to create an application that truly meets their vision for it with the tools available today.

According to Anders, Thermo should help solve these problems by allowing designers to turn their visual representation of an application into a working program before it gets to developers. “We’re really trying to make it so that designers don’t have to change the way they work, and what they give to a developer makes more sense,” he said.

Read here for the full article.

Written by gooddealz

October 3, 2007 at 10:39 am

Posted in News Only

windowblinds 6.0 has landed

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My favorite all time software company Stardock, has released the latest version of its skinning application, WindowBlinds 6.0.

As part of the yearly subscribers to Object Desktop, I had the chance to really try out WindowBlinds 6.0 while it was in beta form and I must say I loved it completely! Together with the rest of the cool stuff like ObjectDock and LogonStudio… you skinning experience will not be the same again.

Check it out here.

Written by gooddealz

October 3, 2007 at 10:29 am

Posted in Great Stuff

what the… jellyfish.com

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Microsoft Corp. has bought comparative shopping Web site Jellyfish.com, which gives its customers a cut of advertising revenue from retailers, offering a rebate on purchases made through the site.

Microsoft sees Jellyfish.com as a way to augment its e-commerce and search offerings, although no details were immediately available on how the company may transform the site or wrap it into other offerings. Microsoft revealed the acquisition in a blog posting Tuesday, but did not say how much it paid for the site.

“We think the technology has some interesting potential applications as we continue to invest heavily in shopping and commerce as a key component of Live Search,” Microsoft’s search engine blog announced.

Advertisers choose the level of commission they will pay to Jellyfish.com for sales made, at least half of which Jellyfish.com says it will give back to purchasers as a rebate. Jellyfish.com ranks products according to the price including that rebate.

While the discount the consumer will receive appears in the search results, Jellyfish.com doesn’t immediately apply the discount to the product. Instead, the money is kept in an account for 30 to 60 days to account for product returns, refunds and to guard against fraud. After the waiting period, a check can be mailed when the accumulated rebates exceed $10.

Jellyfish.com is not the only company to sell adverts based on “pay per action,” rather than pay per click.

In June, Google Inc. expanded its beta trial of a pay-per-action program, opening it to worldwide users of its AdWords service. The pay-per-action ads can appear in Google’s regular contextual ads results that Web site publishers put on their page, or publishers can choose which pay-per-action ads go on their page based on content.

Jellyfish.com tells merchants that its cost-per-sale advertising model is risk-free and not subject to e-commerce problems such as click fraud, where advertisers overpay for fraudulent clicks on their ads. So far, Jellyfish.com says it lists at least five million products.

Jellyfish.com, started in mid-2005, is based in Madison, Wisconsin.

Information taken from IT World.

Written by gooddealz

October 3, 2007 at 10:26 am

Posted in News Only

the rise of yahoo… or so it seems.

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The Yahoo new search features is all over the front page news this week. Microsoft Live Search added some functionality to compete just last week and no doubt both are trying very hard to compete with search leader Google.

Interestingly though in Singapore, Yahoo portal occupies around 60% due to the vast information at a a glance style from those portal site. But when it comes to search, I am pretty sure Google is way ahead.

Here’s an excerpt on the new features added to Yahoo search:

Get ready for the “new” Yahoo Search, a revamped version of the old search that now offers blended results, improved analysis of search intent, and a new “Search Assist” tool. The improvements made to the world’s second largest search engine are designed to make the site more interactive and better able to offer rich results. The company claims that these are the most significant changes since switching back to its core search technology from Google in 2004.

Yahoo appears to be doing something right, which is good news for a company that many believe is destined to always play second fiddle to Google. Web analysis firm Compete recently published data on search queries between several of the top search engines and found that although Google still retains a substantial market share lead over the competition, Yahoo appears to trounce Google when it comes to search fulfillment. That is, more Yahoo queries result in a successful clickthrough to one of the results—75 percent of searches, in the month of August, compared to Google’s 65 percent and Live Search’s 59 percent. This data seems to indicate that Yahoo’s results do a better job at presenting information that is useful to the user. Building on this success, Yahoo’s new search enhancements look to improve further on the core search experience.

The most significant change, Search Assist, tries to help predict what the user is looking for and offers up variations or alternatives. It has been added as an AJAX layer on top of the page that pops up when it senses that the user is hesitating on a search query. Looking for something that starts with “ars?” Maybe you’re looking for Ars Technica, ares, ars national, or ars poetica.

The tool can also offer up related concepts—Yahoo! Search VP Vish Makhijani offers up a query for “energy savings” as an example, which causes Search Assist to present a plethora of search options and alternatives that don’t necessarily contain the term “energy,” but could be related. “In testing Search Assist, we found that users were 61% more successful in completing their task with this new search feature at their disposal,” Makhijani writes. For those who are simply slow or hesitant typists, Yahoo (thankfully) does offer an option to turn off Search Assist if you should so choose.

Other improvements include the integration of photos from Yahoo-owned Flickr that are tagged with words from the user’s query, inlined videos when they are available (such as movie trailers), and even streaming audio snippets from Yahoo Music when you search for certain bands. The blended search catches Yahoo up to the rest of the leading search engines, although Yahoo’s formatting more closely resembles Google’s blended results than do its competitors.

For more information, check out this article from Ars Technica.

Written by gooddealz

October 3, 2007 at 10:22 am

Posted in News Only

Blackbird… landed

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Anandtech has a wonderful review of the HP Blackbird, a super exotic design with performance in mind pc after HP acquired VoodooPC last year.

Below is some excerpts:

One of the most impressive aspects about the Blackbird is undoubtedly the case design. This isn’t just your typical rectangular computer case with a window, some lights, a design cut into the metal, and a fancy paint job. As we mentioned in the previous article, the fully assembled case is quite heavy, but it’s also extremely sturdy. The case is made from cast aluminum, and the main structure is extremely thick aluminum. The system we were shipped weighs about 70 pounds, and while the liquid cooling certainly accounts for some of the weight, the thick shell is the primary contributor.

blackbird-sm

One of the aspects of the case that we didn’t mention previously (in part because we weren’t aware of this fact at the time) is that the case door can actually be easily removed. Swing the door open and lift up on it and you can pull it off the pins and set it aside while you access the internals. Because of the heavy-duty design, this can all be accomplished without compromising structural integrity.
Other than looking cool and weighing a lot, the design of the case does serve other purposes. First, the raised chassis opens up a sixth side of cooling: air can now come in the bottom of the case. This may not be strictly necessary, but with the compartmental design that HP has created the bottom intake provides fresh air to the power supply.

internals-panels-sm

The purpose of the compartmentalized design is to provide optimal cooling to all of the major components without creating a bunch of turbulence, so the internals are broken up into three main sections: at the bottom is the power supply, in the middle are the expansion cards, and at the top we find the CPU and water cooling system. The hard drives are located towards the front of the chassis and cooled by an internal 120mm fan that also provides airflow to the expansion cards. Having this fan located several inches inside the chassis allows it to provide airflow without generating much in the way of audible noise.

For more information, check out the link here.

Written by gooddealz

October 3, 2007 at 10:14 am

Posted in News Only

Apple. Think different. think again…

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For all the iPhone jail breakers out there… the below is for you. (great video from Apple by the way)

Written by gooddealz

October 1, 2007 at 12:03 pm

Posted in Fun Stuff

the retaliation… from Microsoft

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I wrote a short personal thoughts previously on what I think Microsoft may be brewing in their labs on the online web 2.0 apps to extend Microsoft Office to compete with Google Apps… Turn out that my suspicious was right! It’s only logical to think that way anyway so here’s the announcement:

After months of speculation about what it would do to stave off potential encroachments on its Office turf by Google Docs & Spreadsheets, Microsoft has spelled out its strategy: Office Live Workspace.

Office Live Workspace is, in Microsoft’s words, “a new web-based feature of Microsoft Office which lets people access their documents online and share their work with others.” It’s aimed at consumers and small-business users, not corporations who are interested in being able to access their documents anywhere — from any computer and any browser. In other words, Microsoft isn’t playing up Office Live Workspace as a head-to-head competitor with Google Apps Premier Edition (GAPE). Microsoft is positioning its Microsoft-hosted SharePoint, Exchange and Office Communications Services (which it has now rebranded with as its family of “Office Online” services) as its GAPE competitors.

Microsoft is taking sign-ups from those interested in beta testing the English-language version of Office Live Workspace starting October 1. The actual invitation-only beta isn’t likely to launch for another month, according to Rajesh Jha, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Office Live. The beta and the final versions of the service (at least for saving/accessing up to 1,000 documents) will be free, the Softies said. No word on how much, if anything, Microsoft plans to charge once users have more than 1,000 Word, Excel and PowerPoint files they want to store online.

Office Live Workspace is not a hosted version of Microsoft Office. Instead, it is — like the rest of the Office Live family — an extension to the client-based version of desktop productivity software. Interestingly, Office Live Workspace isn’t just an extension to Microsoft Office 2007, but also third-party-developed office programs like OpenOffice, StarOffice and more, as well as Office XP, according to Jha. However, as you might expect, Office 2007 will work best with the new Live Workspace feature (other third-party and older Microsoft software won’t “light up” the same way, Jha said).

(Microsoft officials told me about Office Live Workspace under embargo late last week, but didn’t have any screen shots or sample version to show. So I am explaining all this based on a 30-minute phone conversation with Jha.)

Office Live Workspace is a password-protected SharePoint workspace, hosted by Microsoft. It’s a place users can store and access documents for “work, school and home,” Microsoft explained. Users will be able to e-mail drafts of these Web-based documents to multiple people. Those without a desktop version of productivity software handy will still be able to view and comment on stored documents via a browser.

Microsoft is positioning Groove (finally — a real, understandable use for the technology developed by Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie’s former company and acquired by Microsoft a couple years ago!) as the way that users will be able to access documents in their workspaces when they are off-line, Jha said.

For more information on the rest of the article, read Mary Jo Foley’s blog on All about Microsoft.

Written by gooddealz

October 1, 2007 at 11:56 am

Posted in News Only