In these economic times, always to get more than you expect. Well, here's another installment of what is usually a weekly post on articles and posts from my reading pile.

Is Microsoft working on software center for Windows? By Andrew Lyle, Jan 21, 2009 -- "Questions arise as to why Windows Vista and Windows 7 have renamed the "Add and Remove Programs" to "Programs and Features", alongside "Windows Updates". "It is possible that Microsoft is planning to release a software center that will be able to find updates for all your programs that are deemed safe by Microsoft, right inside Windows Update. This type of software already exists in programs like FileHippo.com's Update Checker that scans installed programs on your machine, and compares the updated version onFileHippo.com."

Truemors :: Obama Keeping Blackberry Thanks to Super Encryption Package, Jan 21, 2009 - "Barack Obama often joked, in a dead serious kind of way, before taking the presidential oath of office about his Blackberry addiction, once telling reporters, “they’re going to pry it out of my hands.” Speculation flew about whether or not the new prez would get to hold on to his beloved CrackBerry, and now, thanks to a super-encryption package care of the National Security Agency, it seems Obama won’t end up in a headlock as agents try to pry the gadget from his belt. No word if Obama already has his hands on the new, uber protected device, but, if not, you will likely spot Bam Bam unconsciously air texting over the next couple days."

A new way to get Hotmail on your phone - Windows Live -- Thanks to Carnage4Life today on Twitter, I saw that Hotmail now provides POP3 access. More news at http://bit.ly/yWgF: "We are happy to announce that POP3 technology is now available to Hotmail users in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, France, Japan, Spain, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands. If you don’t see your country or region in this list, never fear, we’ll be rolling POP3 out to more parts of the world later this year. "What is POP3? It is a protocol that allows almost any e-mail software program that you’ve installed on your mobile phone or PC* to get messages from your e-mail inbox on the web and deliver them in the designated program. "Although you always could access Hotmail on your web-enabled mobile phone by going to mobile.live.com, now that Hotmail has POP3, you can get to it more conveniently using the e-mail software on your PC or mobile device* such as a Windows Mobile phone, iPhone, or BlackBerry."

Giz Explains: Why the Windows 7 Taskbar Beats Mac OS X's Dock, by matt buchanan, 2:01 PM on Wed Jan 21 2009, 43,267 views -- "Yeah, I said it. The Windows 7 taskbar is the most important Windows UI change since Windows 95, and it will dramatically change the way you use Windows. And it's better than the Mac's Dock. "That's because the "superbar"—as the taskbar is known by developers—jerks taskbar functionality in a new direction. It's no longer merely a window manager—just a place to manage open windows and by proxy, open applications. It's now a bona fide application launcher. More than that, it blends the two in ways that will remind many of the OS X Dock—apps that are running and those that aren't can live together. True, you've been able to launch apps from the Windows taskbar's Quick Launch ghetto for ages, but that's been demolished so that Microsoft could completely and seamlessly integrate the launching of new apps and the managing of running ones."

Group aims to sort out home networking morass, By Brian Santo, CedMagazine.com - January 21, 2009 "The Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions’ (ATIS) Home Networking (HNET) Forum has released a Work Plan aimed at developing a cohesive home networking infrastructure to support VoIP, IPTV and other IP-based services. "The effort focuses largely on the needs of phone companies and other IPTV providers, but the group appears welcoming of any cable participation in an open meeting scheduled for Feb. 3. "The Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions created the Home Networking Forum in December to sort out the bewildering and growing array of home networking standards. "The forum is new, but ATIS has been working on the plan for more than a year with the participation of representatives from Cisco, Verizon, AT&T, Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Qwest, Sony, Hitachi, ADC, Corning, Haywire, Intrado, Conexant Systems and Widevine.

Change Has Come To WhiteHouse.Gov – by WSJ.com's Marisa Taylor -- "At noon Eastern time on Tuesday, the very moment that the president-elect Barack Obama officially became Commander in Chief, the presidential Web site also made the switch from outgoing President George W. Bush to Obama. The new whitehouse.gov site promises more interactivity than that of the Bush administration, with a presidential blog as well as a briefing room, where President Obama will give a weekly video address. A “citizen’s briefing book” will allow users to add suggestions to posted proposals so that heads of agencies and the president will see them, and another feature called Your Seat at the Table lets users follow the proceedings of government meetings and add their commentary.

Why Microsoft should forget about Yahoo and buy Palm. - By Farhad Manjoo, Slate Magazine -- "Does Microsoft need to be in the ad business now? Only if you believe that advertising is somehow a threat to revenue from software—in other words, that the economic future of software depends on advertising rather than paying customers. But that's a foolish bet—and buying Yahoo will only magnify the foolishness. Instead, I've got a better idea for Ballmer: Abandon the Internet ad business and focus on your main market, developing and selling software. I've even got a great way to jump-start that strategy: Buy Palm!"

Women and IT at Microsoft Tech Days - Techvibes Blog -- Posted by Warren Frey on Wed, January 21, 2009 2:20 PM -- "Qixing Zheng is a Microsoft User Experience Advisor. But she's also the driving force at Microsoft behind both encouraging more women to join IT and to help them gain acceptance once they’ve joined the industry. Zheng has been traveling across Canada all year as part of Microsoft Tech Days, and along the way she’s been informally networking women in IT at lunch and dinner meetings. Those meetings have already provided tangible benefits here in Vancouver, she says, with senior IT professional meeting their junior counterparts. Without this initiative, it’s likely they would have never met, Zheng said. From: http://www.techvibes.com/blog/women-and-it-at-microsoft-tech-days#ixzz=4rckkA 

Obama’s Path to Putting Points On the Board (Newsweek Voices) -- Jonathan Alter of Newsweek.com -- How Obama can score in the first 100 days, Published Jan 16, 2009 (From the magazine issue dated Jan 26, 2009) "Nearly every president since Franklin D. Roosevelt has loathed the idea of the "hundred days," and Barack Obama is no exception. The concept, first used to encapsulate the time elapsed between Napoleon's return from exile on the isle of Elba and his final defeat at the battle of Waterloo, is handy but artificial. Roosevelt provided its present meaning when he noticed that the special session of Congress he called in 1933 had lasted that long. It was a way for him to pat himself on the back. "Fortunately, there's a plan for what to do with the rest of the first 100 days. We just don't know it yet because the Obama people are so damn disciplined."

I will discuss why I can never have another Diet Coke here: - FriendFeed

"Technical Difficulties: Switch to Digital TV May Not Be as Smooth as Advertised" By Kim Hart -- "Joyce Powell can get a dozen analog channels with her seven-year-old television set. But when she hooked up a converter box to prepare for next month's transition to digital broadcasts, she discovered that she couldn't receive any local channels…"

Microsoft divests of Comcast, had owned 7% - Philadelphia Business Journal: The Philadelphia Business Journal reports today (Jan 20, 2009) that "Microsoft Corp. has sold its entire stake in Comcast Corp., according to a filing the software behemoth made with the Securities and Exchange Commission Friday. Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) said in the document that it owned no Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA,CMCSK) shares..."

Microsoft 'town hall' meeting will cap week of layoff suspense - TechFlash: Seattle's Technology News Source -- Todd Bishop writes (January 19, 2009) that "Microsoft has alerted employees to a "town hall" internal meeting with CEO Steve Ballmer "and other senior leaders" scheduled for Friday morning, following its Thursday afternoon earnings release. For the record, the company says it routinely holds these types of town hall meetings after it reports earnings. However, given widespread rumors of impending cutbacks -- including possible layoffs -- this one seems to be generating quite a bit of buzz among employees, and feeding the rumor mill. If the company were to announce cutbacks toward the end of this week, the Friday session would provide an obvious forum for discussing and explaining the plan."

Senator Twitters Obama’s inauguration - Inauguration- msnbc.com -- http://twitter.com/clairecmc msnbc.com and NBC News, updated 10:52 a.m. PT, Tues., Jan. 20, 2009 "Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri used her close friendship with Barack Obama to give her constituents a front-row seat at the new president’s inauguration Tuesday. "McCaskill, not heretofore known as an early adopter of new technology, was using the Twitter Internet service to post updates throughout the day. She has been updating followers since Sunday's concert at the Lincoln Memorial — according to McCaskill, the highlight was the finale, featuring Pete Seeger. "The senator apparently has not taken quickly to Net-speak. Twitter.com limits users to 140 characters per message, accelerating the rise of text-message abbreviations, but McCaskill was resolutely plowing on in full sentences, complete with capitalization and the odd spelling error or two."

Open Brolly Cluster Marketing » Blog Archive » IE8 Accelerator for Twitter -- David Sim writes… A bit of a technical one this…. "If you’re using Internet Explorer 8, you might be aware of accelerators. They allow you to select some text and search for it, map it or send it by email or to your blog. Quite useful all round, and a great new feature. I’m trying them out to see what use we can make of them to enhance use of our database systems. One idea could be: a database administrator selects some text on a member’s web site. An accelerator could automatically add the text to the information we hold on the member in the database, without cut / paste / search for entrant. To try out the technology, I’ve created an accelerator for the social networking site, Twitter. Select some text on a web page, right click and it will post the text and the URL of the page to Twitter."

metrocurean: Tom Colicchio Is A Hero -- Washington, D.C.-based food writer Amanda McClements offers up "epicurean news from the D.C. metro area" in her Metrocurean blog. In my mind, it's a must read. Yesterday she wrote that "The Internet Food Association has the scoop on "Top Chef" Tom Colicchio's heroic act last night during a celeb-studded shindig at James Beard award-winning cookbook author Joan Nathan's house. In short, he saved Nathan from a rogue piece of chicken. But Ezra Klein's account is a great read, so I won't attempt to rehash it. "Colicchio is just one of the many talented chefs participating in the 12 Art.Food.Hope dinners, taking place across town tonight to benefit D.C. Central Kitchen, Martha's Table and FreshFarm Markets. I'll be volunteering as a server for Chicago chef Rick Bayless. (Hey Obama, you should really stop by to say hello.)"

Microspotting | Raymond Chen, Microsoft’s Chuck Norris -- The geek in question: Raymond Chen The job title: Principal Software Design Engineer, and well-known Microsoft blogger. What are you working on now? I’ve been with Microsoft for 17 years, and I’m currently in the Windows Experience Group. We’re the people who do the stuff that end users see and interact with. Basically anything that goes wrong, it looks like we did it.

Tags: articles, what I read, blogs.

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