Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer: Vista is ‘a Work in Progress’
While Microsoft recently extended the date when the XP software will be available for low-cost PCs, it doesn’t plan to listen to some other complaints, including that Vista is too big. “Vista is bigger than XP and it’s gonna stay bigger than XP,” Ballmer said. “We have to make sure it doesn’t get bigger still.””
Apple fixes Windows Software Update utility
Following considerable public criticism, Apple has release a new version of its Software Update utility for Windows, bringing it to v2.1. The patch is available through the current version of Software Update — bundled with programs such as iTunes — and addresses an earlier policy of Apple, under which Safari 3.1 would be pushed to Windows users whether they wanted it or not, as if they had already downloaded the application previously. Some have accused Apple of trying to artificially improve the distribution of the Safari web browser in the Windows sphere.
Safari continues to appear as a default checked item in Update 2.1, but has been moved to the “New Software” category, and so is readily identifiable as non-essential. New versions of Safari should now also stop triggering the automatic appearance of Software Update, unless users do in fact already have an earlier edition.
Hulu to come to phones, other platforms?
NBC’s Hulu TV streaming service is likely to expand beyond its web-only presence of today, the service’s CEO Jason Kilar said this week at the NAB video production expo. While not committing to any one format, the company head explains that cellphones and “anything connected to the Internet” would be an ideal platform for the feature, which allows users to stream (but not download) episodes of NBC and Fox shows.
Kilar also observes that the presentation would have to change on each device, potentially evading the requirement to use Adobe’s Flash browser plug-in to view shows. The NBC senior staffer doesn’t explain how he would expect ads to air on non-Flash platforms; currently, the technology is built to automatically insert ads in between segments, keeping a fresh rotation of advertising and mirroring conventional TV.
The change follows similar efforts by the BBC to bring its iPlayer video archive service to mobile platforms. In its implementation, the British TV producer has already created versions of iPlayer for the iPhone and iPod that stream the raw video files rather than requring Flash, though the public, UK-only nature of the service lets the BBC avoid ads. A similar service is available for the Wii.
Services for Apple devices may prove difficult, as NBC continues to decline hosting shows on the former’s iTunes Store after a pricing dispute and hints that it would prefer a return only if iTunes adds DRM to the software itself rather than just purchased media files.
Online Photoshop Plug-In Ready for Leopard
For Web designers who need to upload things they make in photoshop, there is a a new easy plug-in for Photoshop called SiteGrinder 2 that lets you convert documents directly to Cascade Style Sheet (CSS) code right in Photoshop. Both the basic and the pro versions the ability to upload everything from videos and slideshows to flash animations and interactive menus directly to a website, while keeping the same layouts and design exactly as it would appear in Photoshop
“We’re very excited to be releasing SiteGrinder 2 for Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard,” said Thomas Summerall, co-founder and President of Media Lab, Inc. “SiteGrinder 2 puts extremely powerful and easy-to-use webpage creation capabilities in the hands of our customers, letting them focus exclusively on their designs rather than on confusing webpage code. SiteGrinder 2 lets customers take ownership of their websites like never before, and at an extremely reasonable price point”. The program costs $129 and $349 for basic and pro respectively. Media Lab, inc. and Sitegrinder have quite the reputation (Media Lab’s products, including SiteGrinder, have been used in multiple Hollywood movies, along with productions at Disney World), so hopefully the product will live up to its name.
AT&T WiFi portal for iPhone users shows up at Starbucks
It was only a couple months ago that Starbucks announced that AT&T would take over hotspot services from T-Mobile. Now the WiFi hotspots are rolling out to some of the Starbucks stores. David Chartier, of previous TUAW and now ArsTechnica fame, recently posted an article on his personal blog about the portal and what it offers. He also took the picture that you can see above.
According to David, AT&T is giving WiFi users 2 free hours of access per day. But AT&T didn’t stop there — they designed an iPhone-specific portal to sign onto the service. A local Starbucks manager told David that all 7,000+ Starbucks stores in the US should be “finished by summer.”
I should note that this iPhone portal isn’t specific to Starbucks — every AT&T WiFi hotspot features the same interface — and all devices are eligible for the 2 free hours of access (not just iPhones and iPod touches). Any WiFi device should be able to logon to the service. It is nice to see AT&T finally giving connectivity away for free.
(Via The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW).)