Quick post between meetings that I wrote up before the kids headed off to school today... a week's worth articles from the reading file for you. As noted these are all (for the most part, Nov 20-30) available for download, making it easy to read the files off-line.

Have a good weekend.

The customer and the CEO (indiatimes.com)  While many factors including brand equity, pricing, service and quality play an important role in maintaining a brand’s success in the marketplace , in an increasingly competitive scenario, customer service has become a distinguishing tool.

Costco boss bucks Wall Street by being generous to workers, customers

HP expands PC market share lead over Dell in 3Q07, says iSuppli   Hewlett-Packard (HP) in the third quarter continued to expand its lead over rival Dell in the global PC market, shipping 13.1 million PCs, a 32.7% and 3.2 million unit increase from 9.9 million in the third quarter of 2006.

Taiwan market: Toshiba and Sony to launch new blue-laser drives (digitimes)  Jimmy Hsu, Taipei; Adam Hwang, DIGITIMES 11/30/07 -- There will be a promotion competition between the HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc (BD) standards at the IT Month expo in Taipei, which will run from December 1-9, with Toshiba scheduled to launch its IDE-interface...

Dell moves 40,000 Ubuntu PCs | The Register -- By Ashlee Vance in Mountain View, 11/30/07 -- Dell agreed to ship PCs and laptops with the Ubuntu operating system after more than 130,000 people promoted the notion on the company's IdeaStorm web site.

BetaNews | Microsoft shows off Windows Mobile update, but not 7.0  By Nate Mook, BetaNews, November 29, 2007, 3:58 PM -- Two dozen invited attendees to Microsoft's Mobius event in Amsterdam this week got a first peek at the next update to Windows Mobile.

Zune 2.0: Playing Tomorrow's Tune? (businessweek) by Stephen H. Wildstrom, 11/28/07 -- It won't catch the iPod soon, but it may be a harbinger of the subscription era. One thing you can say for Microsoft (MSFT): It doesn't give up without a fight.

Mike Walker's Ramblings about Industry Architecture : How NOT To Use PowerPoint "This is a bit off topic but I thought it was pretty funny. Since I do a my fair share of public speaking I thought I would share some comedic wisdom with you after this long holiday weekend."

Microsoft gets better at carrying a Zune - International Herald Tribune  By David Pogue, Nov 29, 2007 -- "Microsoft might finally be getting the hang of hardware. The company's overall track record for designing gadgets is pretty awful. Remember the Smart Display? The Spot Watch? The Ultra-Mobile PC? The original Zune? Me neither.

The Day the Video Games Died (extremetech) By Joel Durham Jr. , 11/29/07 -- A reviewer's view of SOny and Xbox replacement policies for impacted hardware. "So I'm down two consoles, one of which I had to replace by dropping $180 on a new one (and wait for the online stop to ship it to me).

RAID Class Terabyte Hard Drives Reviewed--Western Digital WD10EACS and Seagate Barracuda ES.2 (extremetech.com) For this article, we've tested and reviewed a pair of enterprise RAID class terabyte hard drives, and also compared their performance with a few desktop terabyte drives.

Three-Way Music Software Comparison featuring Cakewalk, ACID Music, and MAGIX Music  By Joel Durham Jr. 11/28/2007 -- "Who needs a band? If you can jot down a few lyrics, wield a mouse, and maybe bang some keys on a MIDI keyboard, you can create your very own music.

How Does Bruce Schneier Protect His Laptop Data? With His Fists -- and PGP (Wired) Bruce Schneier 11.29.07 -- "Perhaps encryption isn't so easy after all, and some people could use a little primer. This is how I protect my laptop."

Microsoft hit with $5 million lawsuit over Halo 3, Xbox 360 problems  A federal lawsuit filed against Microsoft and Bungie last week attempts to throw some serious doubt into the mix. The suit alleges that Halo 3 "routinely, consistently, and systematically 'froze,' 'crashed,' or 'locked up.'"

IEBlog : IE Automatic Component Activation (Changes to IE ActiveX Update) Back in April 2006, we made a change to how Internet Explorer handled embedded controls used on some webpages. Some sites required users to “click to activate” before they could interact with the control. ... saved by 49 other people ...

XP SP3 speed lead over Vista SP1 narrows under similar workloads (BetaNews) By Scott M. Fulton, III, BetaNews, 11/27/07 -- A heavily promoted performance test by an evaluation software firm appeared to situate Windows Vista SP1 performance against Windows XP SP3.

Time to end the digital 'arms race' of parental spying? | Tech news blog - CNET News.com "Online safety for teens is a complex issue that cannot be covered in one blog post, but the CBS Evening News series gave me a lot of food for thought. They posed the question, is parental spying on teen Internet use an "invasion of privacy..."

America ships electronic waste overseas - NewsFlash - OregonLive.com 11/18/2007 By TERENCE CHEA (AP) — Most Americans think they're helping the earth when they recycle their old computers, televisions and cell phones. But chances are they're contributing to a global trade in electronic trash that endangers workers...

Fry's shoppers offered chance to cut in line - for a price (Local News, KING5.com) By BERNARD CHOI / KING 5 News, 11/23/07 -- Fry's Electronics is known for ads touting low prices, but nowhere on its day-after-Thanksgiving sale advertisement did it mention a special offer some people found questionable.

NPR : Naughty Customers Deserve Some Blame Day to Day, November 26, 2007 · On "Black Friday," Day to Day aired a segment about lagging customer service. Listener David W. Miller wrote in to say customers are the ones with the bad attitude.

If you receive bad service, complain about it (Vancouver Sun) Shelley Fralic, Vancouver Sun, 11/27/07. "If we do nothing about it and let service crumble, we deserve to be treated like pond scum. If you can stand one more discussion about the abysmal state of customer service in Metro Vancouver...

Verizon Wireless to Introduce 'Any Apps, Any Device' Option for Customers in 2008 - Forbes.com 11/27/07. Verizon Wireless today announced that it will provide customers the option to use, on its nationwide wireless network, wireless devices, software and applications not offered by the company.

Hey Skype, how about some phone-based customer service? | IP Telephony, VoIP, Broadband | ZDNet.com Posted by Russell Shaw 11/26/07. "Skype has some serious customer service and support issues. It was one thing to provide minimum four-day Web-based response when Skype was Web-based only.

Customer service bane of new banks: McKinsey- Hindustan Times  Narayanan Madhavan, Hindustan Times, New Delhi, 11/26/07. A comprehensive survey of the Indian banking system by global consulting firm McKinsey reveals that new banks including private and foreign ones lose out to old nationalized banks...

Is it satisfied customers you're after? NO - EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA By JEFFrey Gitomer, Eagle-Tribune, 11/25/07. "Every company is hoping that their customers will reorder. They're hoping that their customers will spread the word about how great their products are and about how great their people are.

Amazon's customer service number, revealed! - - Slate Magazine -- Timothy Noah, tired of companies hiding from their customers—by creating Web sites that offered no contact information for consumers in distress, for example—took on a mission: "to compel Web-based retailers to take phone calls from the public."

On the hunt for a Zune 80? Good luck - USATODAY.com  The view at USA Today that the Zune 80 is the must-have, hard-to-get device this holiday season.

Out Of The Box : Another reason to like Vista -- "If you can find a good machine that is from a company that makes good drivers (and has hardware partners that are making nice behaving drivers), then you will have a good experience with Windows Vista. That's why I'm enjoying 64 bit Vista on my Lenovo T61..."

.net DEvHammer : Add Silverlight video to your blog Thanks to the folks in Expression Media and the Silverlight Streaming it is now amazingly easy to add video (or other Silverlight content to you blog with Windows Live Writer. With nearly any blog host, you can write your blog, "Insert Silverlight Video"

Adrian Ford : DOCX to XPS

Office Natural Language Team Blog : MSR blog on the Microsoft Research Machine Translation system  Our colleagues from the Microsoft Research (MSR) group have started blogging about the statistical machine translation (MSR-MT) system they are developing. We announced the Windows Live Translator when it was launched in September.

NZ Academic Alliance Blog : XNA Game Studio 2.0 Beta Released Check out the new XNA game studio 2.0 beta which is available on the XNA Creators Club Online here!

Buying Guide: HDTVs Up Close - Reviews by PC Magazine We lay out the major types of HDTVs and what key factors you should consider before buying.

Windows Time Service blog The official blog site for the Windows Time Service

A taste of Apple’s public relations - istartedsomething

BetaNews | Invasion of the Eee: Asus plans something small for CES By Jacqueline Emigh, BetaNews, November 16, 2007, 3:30 PM Hardly content to rest on its laurels with its widely heralded Eee "PC gadget," Taiwan-based Asus has additional slick consumer products in mind for display at CES.

BetaNews | Microsoft refreshes Vista's value proposition  By Scott M. Fulton, III, BetaNews November 15, 2007, 11:33 AM Vista's Software Assurance customers need more value from Vista more often, and now the company has a plan for addressing their needs come next spring.

BetaNews | Microsoft to Sell Downloadable Full Xbox Games By Nate Mook, BetaNews November 14, 2007, 2:17 PM To celebrate the fifth anniversary of Xbox Live, Microsoft is preparing a system update that will be delivered to users starting December 4 and bring support for downloading full versions of older Xbox games...

Health: Prolonged Sitting Causes Disease, Standing Fights It A recent study at the University of Missouri-Columbia reaffirms that a sedentary life increases your risk of diseases like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity, but the study suggests that even if you get in the recommended 30 minutes of activity...

The Paperless Map Is the Killer App (businessweek) Forget media downloads. Cell customers really want GPS and navigation features: First, cell phones made the streetcorner pay phone obsolete. Now they're doing away with the need to ask for directions. A surge in phones with built-in satellite navigation...

Computing Heads for the Clouds (businessweek) Nov 16, 2007 -- IBM, Yahoo!, and Google are all putting the power of cloud computing to work. Here's a short primer on how the new technology works, by Aaron Ricadela

HP's Cultural Revolution (businessweek) Nov 15, 2007 -- To pick up the pace of innovation, the tech giant is betting on startups and injecting their DNA into its operations, by Reena Jana

How to Pay for Kids (businessweek) Parents today will spend more than $300,000, on average, to raise a kid from birth to age 21. Here are tips for making ends meet, by Lauren Young

Mounting Peer-to-Peer Pressure for Comcast Comcast's traffic-filtering efforts are the subject of FCC complaints and a lawsuit. At issue: ISPs right to control the flow of data over their networks by Peter Burrows

Tags: misc, articles, what I read. (Nov 20-30).