October 7, 2007

Don’t tax the Internet

October 3, 2007


The Washington Times


Time is running out for the Internet taxation moratorium. The current ban expires Nov. 1, after which states and municipalities can swarm Internet users with new e-commerce levies (and they will). There is even talk of taxing individual e-mail messages. Congress should extend the ban.


This widely popular legislation has been extended twice over nine years and has enjoyed wide bipartisan support. It flew through the Senate by a 93-3 margin when it was renewed in 2004. Everyone from Sen. Chuck Schumer, New York Democrat, to bill sponsor George Allen, Virginia Republican, supported it. In the House, its 134 cosponsors included figures across the spectrum, from Rep. Marty Meehan, Massachusetts buy tadalafil cialis Democrat, to Rep. Tom Tancredo, Colorado Republican. The merits of the moratorium have not changed much.


So why the delay? The short answers are dueling legislators and the accompanying congressional foot-dragging. Groups such as the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the National Governors Association want a short extension; grandfathered privileges for the nine states that tax e-commerce; and a narrowing of definitions. Last week, Rep. John Conyers, Michigan Democrat, introduced a bill containing those and extending the moratorium through 2011. This follows Mr. Conyers' apparent rejection of a bill by Rep. Anna Eshoo, the California Democrat who represents Silicon Valley, and Rep. Bob Goodlatte, Virginia Republican, to make the ban permanent. (We prefer a permanent ban.)


A ban expiry would be a serious disservice to consumers, not to mention a drag on a high-performing sector of the economy. Some on the left are swayed by the argument that the Internet tax moratorium places a disproportionate tax burden on low-income Americans because it is the wealthy and middle class, not the poor, who spend online. This is more than a bit of tax-and-spend revenue hunger. The disparity is likely to lessen in the future, as the costs of computers and online access continue to fall.


There is no compelling reason for this commonsense legislation to expire, other than to fill the grubby hands of state and local politicians. On behalf of consumers, businesses and for economic prosperity generally, Congress should renew the moratorium on Internet taxes.


Pasted from <http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071003/EDITORIAL/110030017/1013/EDITORIAL&template=printart>


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Is Adobe breathing down Microsoft’s neck?

By Charles Cooper, News.com


Published on ZDNet News: Oct 5, 2007 4:00:00 AM


Remember the initial hoo-ha that greeted Netscape in the mid-'90s? The idea being that a new computing platform–in this case the Web browser–would obviate the need to use Microsoft Windows anymore.


That fired imaginations. Instead of writing applications chained to a proprietary operating system, developers would build programs that ran on top of the Internet browser.


Microsoft was dead in the water. Or so a lot of smart people wanted to believe.


Even Netscape's co-founder, Marc Andreessen, got caught up in the hype, famously dismissing Windows as a "poorly debugged set of device drivers." A lot of people felt the same way. If the industry was about to embrace Web-centric computing, Microsoft would be in danger of losing its hegemony over desktop computing.


Of course, if I had a nickel for every time some smarty-pants claimed to have found a surefire Microsoft killer, I wouldn't have to meet deadlines for a living. The optimistic scenario obviously didn't work out the way Andreessen and his fellow travelers hoped it would. But the final coda had yet to be engraved on this story.


Microsoft is getting used to living–and competing for your loyalty–in a brave new world.


Now comes the announcement of a new product from Adobe Systems that intrigues me–as much for what it suggests about Adobe's ambitions as for what it might presage about the future.


I'm simplifying, but Adobe Integrated Runtime, or AIR, lets you build applications that are kind of the best of both worlds. That is, they'll run in a Web browser or as a standard client app on your desktop (and, presumably, OS-agnostic, too).


There's a lot of activity in this field–including the rise of browser-based Office competitors. This cross-platform development approach has been attempted before. Sun is still trying with Java on desktop. The company announced Java FX at JavaOne this year.


Of course, there are some potential limitations. People can do a lot with scripting languages. (That's where Ajax comes in. You can write an AIR application with an Ajax toolkit.) buy real cialis online Adobe's doing Photoshop Express with scripting, but some apps still will require the native OS. But to the degree that any of this is successful, it means the further marginalization of Windows (someday, maybe).


We can quibble over who's got the better technology, but there's a bigger picture to consider. With all the recent advances in Web development the last couple of years, this is emerging as a golden era for users. We're up for grabs and now we've got options–lots of them.


When former Sun CEO Scott McNealy and Oracle CEO Larry Ellison were barnstorming around the country during the bubble trying to sell the world on the network computer, it was–as McNealy was wont to say on other occasions–all hat and no cattle. (Sorry Scott, but I couldn't resist.) The big reason the network computer approach failed to work was the "cloud" factor. Critics like Microsoft would (rightly) note that it was impossible to work on your spreadsheet or word processing documents unless you were first connected to the Internet. If you needed 24-7 access to your stuff, you had to pay The Man.


But a product like AIR, which is still in beta, allows people to do their work offline. They can drag and drop graphics or text between Web and desktop applications without first needing to be online. One potential negative: AIR is another proprietary plug-in and people may not want to write to it because it's Adobe's technology and consumers may get sick of downloading yet one more download.


In public, Adobe's observing diplomatic protocol. Instead of waving a red flag in front of Microsoft, Adobe execs dismiss any suggestion that they're spoiling for a fight with Microsoft (or the Java development community, for that matter.) Speaking earlier in the week with my CNET News.com colleague Martin LaMonica, Adobe's chief software architect Kevin Lynch offered this gem of an understatement: "Microsoft is trying to bring the .Net community to the Web. We are really focused on bringing the larger Web community to the desktop. It's two different approaches. It's not a head-on thing–it's just two groups of developers," Lynch said. "Our bet is on the Web."


I'm not sure that's going to mollify the folks in Redmond. But Microsoft is getting used to living–and competing for your loyalty–in a brave new world.


Pasted from <http://news.zdnet.com/2010-3513_22-6211802.html>


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Winamp 5.5 Full Beta 1600

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AIM 6.5 Released, Upgrade Recommended

Posted by Jeff Jeff is offline on 10-03-2007, 11:19 PM  

Last week, we reported buy cialis tadalafil the serious security flaw in AIM discovered by Core Security Technologies. Now AOL has officially released AIM 6.5. This version does not contain the security flaw. If you are using an older version of AIM, BigBlueBall recommends that you upgrade now, or use a web-based AIM alternative.

Here's the word from the AIM Social Media blog:

Drum roll, please! The much anticipated AIM 6.5 version is finally here. Version launched this morning and can be downloaded from http://www.aim.com. You can read the official press release right here.

This version touts new features like:

  • Status Message: Now you can set a personal message that will be displayed regardless of whether you are away, idle, available, etc. This is similar to the past away messages that could be personalized but only displayed when you set yourself away.
  • AIM® Tunes Plugin: During the AIM Install, you can choose to add this plugin. Once activated, upon signing into AIM, you will be able to stream non-DRM music that your buddies have added to their playlists. AIM users can listen to the music on their PCs anytime their buddies are online while fully respecting copyright issues of the music industry. AIM Tunes does not require a separate media player download.

    (NOTE: If you are running version you will need to download the latest version []. To find your AIM Tunes version, open the AIM Tunes website and click "About AIM® Tunes." At very bottom of the pop-up you can find the version number.)

  • Buddy Notes: You can add notes (that only you see) to each person on your Buddy List simply by mousing over them when your Buddy List window is active and choosing "Add notes".
  • Tips From AIM: When you open a new IM window for the first time every AIM session, you will see a "Tip from AIM" appear to hopefully help enhance your knowledge of some of the lesser-known features of AIM.
  • QQ Games from Tencent: Also during installation, you can opt to install another AIM plugin that will permit you to play select MMO games with your AIM Buddies. These games include QQ Treasure Hunter, QQ Match Master, QQ Pool, QQ Robo and QQ Black Jack. Keep checking back as Tencent is continuing to enhance the selection of games that are offered.
  • Toolbar for AIM: This AIM release also offers you the ability to install an AIM Browser toolbar to provide one-click access to perform some of the important IM functions without leaving your web browser. These functions include sending an IM, setting your status, checking your email and searching the web.

In addition, there are several enhanced features such as

  • TXT Message Mode: Easily toggle between sending a buddy a text message or an IM.
  • More Color Themes: Selecting the color wheel at the top of the Buddy List Window provides several color schemes you can choose to change the theme colors of your AIM software. Among these choices are themes such as "Boot Cut" " and "Midnight Storm."
  • Linked Accounts BL/Away Display Updates: When you have a linked account, you can more easily see the status and personality of each of your accounts right at the top of your Buddy List. Moreover, when you go away, you can see all of the away messages being displayed right in your IM window for each linked account.

And for those mobile users, a new AIM shortcode (246246) "AIMAIM" will be available later this week. Using this text message shortcode, you will be able to send IMs, update your status message, and perform several more IM related tasks. Keep checking back here – we will not only announce when it is available, but also be able to provide more details on how to use this new shortcode.

Please keep checking back here as we'll be providing more details on what you will find in the new AIM 6.5 software. In addition, we will be providing "how-to-guides" to use these features.

Happy IMing!!!

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Microsoft bows to pressure to extend Windows XP’s stay

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  • Date: September 29th, 2007
  • Blogger: Paul Mah


Microsoft has bowed to pressure from customers and will allow large manufacturers to continue selling PCs with Windows XP preloaded until June 30, 2008. This is an additional five months from the original January 31, 2008 date.


If you recall, we reported just last week on how Microsoft has softened its stance and has been quietly allowing PC makers to furnish a “downgrade” to Windows XP for customers who request it. Allowing PC makers to furnish a downgrade, or selling it with XP preloaded, reduces the hassle to system administrators. This is especially true for larger orders.


Microsoft now plans to keep XP on retail shelves even longer. In fact, computer makers in emerging markets will be allowed to build machines with Windows XP Starter Edition until June of 2010.


Excerpt from Microsoft extends Windows XP’s stay on News.com:


Kutz [Kevin Kutz is a director in Microsoft’s Windows Client unit] said Microsoft had seen similar demand patterns with past releases and noted that in the past, old operating systems remained available for around 18 months after the release of a new operating system.


“While Windows Vista sales are still going strong… we recognize there are some customers that need more time,” Kutz said.


Any wagers that the June 30 date will be pushed back again?


Pasted from <http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/tech-news/?p=1262&tag=nl.e064>


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