FryUp: ICANN, you can, Google's can

The internet is liberated from US hegemony. Hurrah!

Not in your Facebook

Facebook seems to have realised that not everyone’s a Zuckerberg for annoying, meaningless “applications” and similar dross that gets in the way of the site’s actual purpose, namely online socialising. Try the “lite” version of Facebook and unless you’re a masochist, I’m pretty sure you won't go back to the bloated normal variant. Perhaps the back-to-basics approach will even mitigate all those Facebook worm attacks... Mashable: New Facebook worm spreading

ICANN haz control too?

Transparency and accountability is finally within reach for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. The argument that quite simply, the United States government created the internet and needs to be in charge didn’t prevail and now ICANN is going global, galloping into an era of international oversight. This will, naturally, result in less transparency and threaten accountability, American interests point out. Also, North Korea will hijack the DNS and nuke all TLDs bar .kp [that’s Dear Leader in Hangeul, in case you wondered]. I for one welcome our new worldwide ICANN overlords! ICANN freed from US government oversight Lawmakers push to maintain US oversight of ICANN

Ach, mein Googlesack

It’s yellow, requires no admin effort as such, comes with a t-shirt and sits there inside the firewall, incessantly searching and indexing company documents and websites without complaints, breaks and salary. This jaundiced tool is the Google Search Appliance and appears to be what managers of web-enabled businesses have been asking for. Google’s got the basic concept right — plug it in, and it works — but importantly, the GSA is also the thin end of the wedge. It allows the Google Computing Cloud to penetrate corporate firewalls so to speak, and opens up a breach for Google Apps and other services. Microsoft must have conniptions at the thought, but where’s their Bing Box that does the same? Appliance key to market, even to cloud leader Google Google Search Appliance helps TVNZ compete

Not so fast, telcos!

Being fans of mobile broadband doesn’t mean you won’t feel a bit miffed to discover that that advertised 21Mbit/s connection delivers around 3 to 5Mbit/s on a good day. That’s pretty fast but it’s not as marketable as the heady headline speed figures some mobile telcos bandy about. In fact, apart from in tightly controlled laboratory conditions, nobody will reach the 3.6, 7.2, 14.4, 21Mbit/s download speeds advertised in real life. You won’t even get close to the theoretical maximum, so I’m pleased to see that the Aussie regulators are reminding telcos that it’s not fair to promise customers something they’ll never be able to receive. Vodafone and Telecom seem to have taken that on board, at least on their websites. Vodafone doesn’t give any speed promises at all for its 3G network, whereas Telecom reckons 3Mbit/s down and 1Mbit/s are the average speeds for XT. Truth in advertising is good, even if it gives the telcos marketing headaches. At the same time though, there seems little point in spending money on doubling or even trebling the theoretical maximum performance of networks when the actual throughput creeps up at a far less impressive rate. If 21Mbit/s is the tops, surely a reasonable expectation would be to hit 10 to 15Mbit/s regularly? Perhaps it’s time for the telcos to have a quiet but stern word with their suppliers about this? ACCC warns mobile operators against overstating wireless data rates

XKCD Surgery

Cartoon: www.xkcd.com

Robert X. Cringely Windows 7: The hypeman cometh

What's that awful noise? The sound of Microsoft's hype machine, grinding away to tout Win 7. Will this be the time Redmond finally gets it right?

Listen closely. Can you can hear it? It's the kapocketa-pocketa-pocketa of the Microsoft hype machine, as the Windows 7 launch bears down upon us.

Though it's never worked quite as well as it did back in the halcyon days preceding Windows 95, Microsoft still drags the thing out of the basement every few years, fills the tank with diesel, cranks it up, and hopes it doesn't spew oil on the carpet or overwhelm us with fumes.

As always, the hype starts with Steve Ballmer. In a letter sent to customers and developers (but that mysteriously made its way to several reporters), Ballmer boasts...

"Windows 7 simplifies tasks and lets people get more done in less time with fewer clicks. Ready to deploy now, it enhances corporate data protection and security, and increases control to improve compliance and reduce risk.... making it easier to reduce costs, improve performance, and enable end users to work anywhere. These and other enhancements are the result of close collaboration with millions of customers and thousands of IT professionals... Thanks in large part to their help, Windows 7 is the best PC operating system we have ever built."

Of course, this time Ballmer really means it. He also really meant it when he said the same things about Vista, XP, NT, Windows 98, Win 95, and every other Windows OS going back to DOS 2.1, with the possible exception of Windows ME. More disturbing is that he truly believes it.

Meanwhile, the braniacs in the Microsoft marketing department have come up with a truly wacky idea. They're encouraging Microsoft fanboys and girls to throw Windows 7 launch parties on the big day — kind of like Tupperware parties, only with more burping and less sealing. There's even a website and a vague-yet-perky video describing what's supposed to happen at these fetes.

(The wags at eSarcasm have a few suggestions for how to liven up your Win 7 bash, not all of them safe for work, as well as a hilarious "censored" version of that video.) Of course, Microsoft is also sweetening the pot by offering a shot at a $750 Windows 7 PC to some lucky party thrower. Hey, it wouldn't be a Microsoft promotion if it didn't include a bribe. This is apparently from the same crack team that brought us the "show us your wow" website back when Vista was the Apple — er, the gleam in Ballmer's bloodshot eyes. The site encouraged fans to upload photos and videos so that Microsoft could showcase Vista's whizzy Flip 3D navigation, but it had its own moments of unintentional hilarity — most memorably the video of a skinny topless transvestite shimmying to Shakira to show his/her OS love. Sadly, that site has been consigned to the dustbin of web history. It was so awful they even purged it from The Wayback Machine. Also from the Department of Deja Vu Department: It appears Microsoft will indeed include a logo program for Windows 7, slapping stickers on machines that have been officially certified "Compatible With Windows 7." Lack of hardware compatibility was one of the big black eyes for Vista; unfortunately, so was the Windows Vista Capable labeling program. It seems only devices that work with all versions of Win 7, including the 64-bit version, will carry the Win 7 sticker. Which means that 32-bit netbooks won't. So if it doesn't carry a sticker, will it still run Windows 7? The answer: a) probably, b) maybe, c) we don't know, d) all of the above. Nice. Expect more user confusion to ensue. Maybe a class-action suit and more deliciously juicy internal emails will come out of it too. (A man can dream, can't he?) Still, Microsoft seems to have learned a few things from the Vista debacle. Early looks at Windows 7 seem mostly positive, noting the relative simplicity of the OS compared to the mess that was Vista. Reviewing the shipping software for PC World, Technologizer Harry McCracken writes:

"Windows 7 is hardly flawless. Some features feel unfinished; others won't realise their potential without heavy lifting by third parties. And some long-standing annoyances remain intact. But overall, the final shipping version I test-drove appears to be the worthy successor to Windows XP that Vista never was." Maybe Microsoft got it right this time — or right enough. We'll find out some time on or around October 22, when Win 7 officially ships. Me, I'm not upgrading, not right away at least. In my experience, the machines that have the most problems with Windows are the ones with new versions grafted on to older hardware. I may take it for a spin on some new machines, though. As long as I don't have to rely on them to get any work done. Are you making the move to Windows 7? If so, are you planning to throw a party and invite all your dweeby friends? Post your thoughts below or e-mail me: cringe@infoworld.com.

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