Microsoft’s Vista OS pricing leaked to the public

August 29, 2006

Ed Bott, a blogger at ZDNet, grabbed what was only temporarily available data on Microsoft’s Canadian web site.

He translates the Canadian prices to the following (first price is for NEW; second price is for UPGRADE)

Windows Vista Ultimate $349/$199
Windows Vista Business $269/179
Windows Vista Home Premium $239/$139
Windows Vista Home Basic $199/$99

And yes, there will be (at least) four different versions from which to choose.  The Vista (view) from here becomes murkier… and more expensive.

Full article here


Apple Suffers Battery Melt-down, Too

August 24, 2006

Today Apple announced it is recalling some 1.8 million batteries for laptops made between October 2003 and August 2006, in its iBook G4 and Powerbook G4 laptop models. Overheating and potential fires is the reason.

Does this sound like the same thing that Dell just announced it is going through? Last week Dell announced it was recalling 4.1 million batteries. (See our other post about Dell batteries). Interestingly, all batteries being recalled by both companies were made by Sony.

Here is the critical information on Apple’s web site concerning exchanging dangerous batteries with new.

Windows vs. Mac Security: Reading for the hearty

August 24, 2006

Tom Yeager writes for InfoWorld.  He’s been accused at times of being biased towards Apple’s Mac platform and against Microsoft’s Windows platform.  But he’s just cut an interesting article comparing Windows and Mac security.  Some is technologically detailed, but the points are well taken.

Click here to read Tom Yeager’s article.

Software Goodies from Microsoft

August 23, 2006

Little known outside of Redmond, Microsoft has an impressive array of very bright inventors sequestered in an internal research group. They are free to explore almost at will, in the hopes that great products would spring from their work. They and also are there to satisfy technology needs of Microsoft’s other internal teams.

Out of this wellspring of genius and technology (no puns, really) have sprung such goodies as Microsoft Power Toys and Microsoft’s Shareware intranet software (you’ll hear much more about that when Office 2007 hits the shelves).

Wondering what other goodies lay in wait for the picking – and all free. A fellow blogger has assembled his list of 150 favorites. Some I agree with, some not. But there are many gems.

Take a look

Dell’s XPS line: what’s up with these systems (and their prices)?

August 17, 2006

Dell is now getting clobbered in their traditional stronghold:  cheap computers.  HP and Toshiba are eating their lunch with products and support that are actually decent for the price.

So Dell has done a couple of very un-Dell like things:

1.  They buy the boutique PC vendor Alienware – high-end, high-margin systems
2.  They develop their ‘XPS’ line of desktops and laptops

Why?  Because they’re profits are dropping precipitously at the low end as more people have problems with their systems and realize that they’re support isn’t up to snuff.  People are buying, instead, from HP and Toshiba, who are currently providing deep discounts at retail.

The XPS line, from what we’ve seen so far, contains pretty good components – although we won’t really know how these systems hold up for another year or more.

And Dell is charging good money for anything with the XPS label.  Their margins are higher, and apples to apples with other companies, their pricing is only fair.  Combined with sub-par support (though they claim they’re committing $100M this year to improving support), we still can’t recommend Dell products.

On the low end, look at HP, Toshiba, or even Lenovo’s new 3000 line.

Dell: Batteries from Hell.

August 16, 2006

I don’t like disparaging companies. Dell was a good company. Ten years ago, I wouldn’t have recommended anything BUT Dell. But they’ve cut costs to the bone, outsourced support to India, and generally now make inferior products sold at cheap prices that are prone to failure.

Recent reports indicate that Dell is trying to turn things around. They’re investing $100M this year to improve support. They’ve moved a lot of the engineering and design work in-house, and have sworn to improve quality.

In the mean time, quality woes continue. Check out this story on a massive recall of Dell laptop batteries:

NYT Article on exploding laptop batteries.