News Bits: Vista Update, Apple Market Share for 2006, Dell Battery Recall, HP backs HD-DVD

News Bits: Vista Update, Apple Market Share for 2006, Dell Battery Recall, HP backs HD-DVD

Microsoft Launches Updated Windows Vista Preview

Microsoft today launched an updated test version of Windows Vista (the OS to replace XP) that has been made available to a pool of testers such as Microsoft’s MSDN and TechNet developer communities.

The update has some of the following features:

  • Windows Defender, an update to Windows AntiSpyware, designed to protect Windows PCs against spyware, rootkits and other threats.
  • BitLocker Drive Encryption is meant to protect data on computers when lost or stolen. The full disk encryption feature is designed to work with a chip called the Trusted Platform Module, or TPM, which offers protected storage of encryption keys, passwords and digital certificates.
  • Tighter control over removable storage devices lets system administrators centrally block the installation of, for example, USB flash drives and external hard drives.
  • Parental controls designed to let parents limit and monitor computer usage, including setting time limits, restricting Web sites that can be visited and generating reports on computer usage.
  • Updated Vista user interface, adding transparent windows, smoother transitions and a redesigned start menu.
  • Update to Windows Media Player and gives a peek at the successor to Windows XP Media Center Edition with the new Windows Media Center

Microsoft promises more details at the CES show in Las Vegas at the beginning of . Strangely, some people are mentioning that Vista is starting to sound and look more and more like the current Apple OS X Tiger, and this screen shot would confirm that:

Okay, that screenshot above is actually a photoshop job, don’t take it seriously please.


Apple to Increase Laptop Market Share in 2006?

The rumor mill continues to churn on the new Intel based Apple laptops, Apple rumor site claims a single core Yonah processor will be announced at MacWorld in early and a dual core Apple Yonah based laptop will hit the market by the end of the first quarter:


Furthermore, a report issued by the Topology Research Institute indicates that Apple will be releasing a lightweight, stylish female focused laptop to capture more of that half of the market: Apple will grab consumers attention next year as the company will unveil light-weight models with a stylish design aimed at luring female users, including 12-inch notebooks weighing in at 1.5kg (3.3lbs) as well as 14-inch models below 2kg (4.4lbs). Topology estimates that Apple will sell 3.27 million notebooks in 2006, a 42% increase from the 2.29 million shipped this year.


Dell Recalls 35,000 Batteries

Dell and the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) have announced a worldwide recall of about 35,000 notebook batteries that could potentially pose a fire risk.

No injuries have been reported from the faulty batteries. Dell has received three reports of damage to table tops and desks as a result of the problem, it said in a joint news release with the CPSC. Approximately 22,000 batteries were sold in the U.S. and the rest were sold in other places around the world.

The recall affects certain Dell notebooks sold between Oct. 5, 2004, and Oct. 13, 2005. Customers who purchased the following models are advised to visit a Web site ( to check whether they need a new battery: Latitude models D410, D505, D510, D600, D610, D800, D810; Inspiron models 510M, 600M, 6000, 8600, 9200, 9300, the XPS Generation 2 notebook; and Precision M20 and M70 mobile workstations. The batteries were also sold on their own and provided as part of service replacements, Dell said.

Quanta Computer to Make the $100 Laptop

For those that have been following the $100 laptop project by Nicholas Negroponte of MIT, the project took a step closer to reality as Quanta Computer, who also produces laptops for Dell, inked an agreement to make the Linux based hand cranked laptops that will be sold to 3rd World countries governments. This is a noble effort, but whether the kids this is targeted at in the 3rd world will actually benefit when the schools they go to and education system they learn in are in shambles, is another debate entirely.


HP Switches from Just Backing Blu-Ray to Backing HD-DVD as Well for Next Generation Laptop Optical Drives

When you can’t decide which of two horses to back in a race, put money on both right? Well, that’s what HP is doing as they switch from just backing Sony’s Blu-Ray optical drive technology to also backing Toshiba’s HD-DVD next generation optical data storage format.

HP wanted the Blu-Ray association group to adopt iHD and Mandatory Managed Copy (which permits users to make legal copies of video content) into the standard, Blu-Ray Disc Association said no to the Mandatory Managed Copy technology and so HP decided to jump over and support HD-DVD as well since they are adopting both iHD and Mandatory Managed Copy. Microsoft backs HD-DVD while companies such as Dell and Sony back Blu-Ray.

Oregon Scientific MSN Direct Powered Weather Station

Oregon Scientific MSN Direct Weather station front (view larger)

On our sister site we’ve reviewed a coolio weather station that uses Microsoft’s Smart Personal Object Technology (MSN Direct) to get updates and display the latest weather forecasts. Check out the pictures and review here: newsID=143

Nokia 770 Internet Tablet First Look

When a laptop is just a bit too much to carry, but you need to be able to access email and the web in an easy way, it’s always a dilemma as to which device suits best: a SmartPhone with a tiny screen or a larger PDA that’s still not optimally oriented for web viewing? How about neither, but an Internet Tablet instead? This is a cross between a Tablet PC and PDA, and although it’s from Nokia, it has no phone functionality.


  • Display: 800×480 touch screen, 16-bit color
  • CPU: 250MHz TI 1710 OMAP (ARM-based)
  • Memory: 128MB internal flash (64MB available to the user), 64MB via includedRS-MMC card
  • Operating system: Internet Tablet 2005 Software Edition
  • Connectivity: 802.11b/g, Bluetooth, USB, memory card expansion (RS-MMC), audio out, AC power adapter
  • Size: 5.5in x 3.1in x 0.7in
  • Battery: 1500 mAh Li-ion battery, 3 hours browsing time, 7 hours standby
  • Language support: English (US and UK), French, German, Italian, Spanish
  • Supported file formats:

    Audio: MP3, MPEG4, AAC, WAV, AMR, MP2

    Video: MPEG1, MPEG4, Real Video, H.263, AVI, 3GP

    Image: JPEG, GIF, BMP, TIFF, PNG, SVG-tiny, ICO

For a first take check out the article on newsID=353

The Nokia 770 is available from for about $400





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