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Microsoft yanks Origami UMPC developers into new secret project

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In his blog post about the availability of the new Origami Experience pack for UMPCs, Microsoft’s Darren shares this little tidbit:

On a completely seperate note, I wanted to formally announce that my entire team and I (with the exception of Jeremy) have been asked to move off of UMPC and go to work on a new secret project. The new Product Unit Manager (PUM) for UMPC at Microsoft will be Oscar Koenders. Moving forward you can expect to see some new faces from Microsoft blogging and responding to forum posts, but I’m sure Sears, Emily, myself and the rest of the team will still be checking in from
time to time.

Ooh, secret project! I have no idea what it could be, but it’s got to be pretty cool if they’ve got the guys who did Origami/UMPC working on it.

I can’t wait to find out what it is! Darren, if you want to give me a sneak peak, I promise not to tell! πŸ˜‰

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Consumerist stole one of my Creative Commons licensed images (resolved)

Update: I emailed the folks at Consumerist, and Ben promptly added a photo credit to the page. Thanks, guys! Β :mrgreen:

Saw a story come across Consumerist today, about how long your Verizon Fios connectivity would last under battery power if your power goes out, and I saw an image that looked familiar:

verizonfiosbackup.jpg

“Hmm,” I say to myself. “That looks just like the one of the photos that I took of my Fios installation.” So I dove into my archives, and sure enough, it is:

They cropped it a little, but http://consumerist.com/assets/resources/2007/01/verizonfiosbackup.jpg is definitely the same image as http://farm1.static.flickr.com/40/87167480_7fa6199f41.jpg.

I originally posted the image under my default Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial license, just like all of my other photos on Flickr, but I don’t see any attribution anywhere in the Consumerist post. And I don’t know if posting it on their site, which has ads, constitutes a violation of the “no commercial use” clause of the CC license.

I posted a comment on the story at Consumerist:

Hey! You guys stole this photo, which belongs to me:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/joshb/87167480/

You posted it without attribution (thus violating the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial license it’s posted under). You guys now officially owe me one meeelion dollars. I take PayPal. :-) Or just add some attribution, to be compliant.

I’m ticked off that a site that’s supposed to be all about protecting consumers’ rights stole one of my photos so blatantly. Bad form, guys. πŸ‘Ώ

This one is easy to make right, and we’ll all be happy.

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Happy Windows Vista Day

Today is the official launch day for Windows Vista. You can now mosey down to your favorite tech store and buy a boxed copy, or order a new computer with Vista installed. Hooray.

Of course, depending on your level of geekitude, you’ve had access to Vista for months now. Countless betas and tech previews, as well as the fact that the final “gold” version of Vista has been available to those with an MSDN subscription for a little over two months now.

I’m currently running Vista on my X41 tablet pc, and it’s beautiful. No problems, and the tablet enhancements in Vista are really nice. I also had Vista on my Asus R2H UMPC for a while (see the video I posted of Vista on my R2H), but I went back to XP Tablet Edition for the time being, due to some small inconveniences. I’ve been toying with the idea of giving Vista another try on my R2H. It is, after all, the only UMPC that’s listed as “Vista Ready”, meaning that Asus at least has some intention of supporting Vista on it (unlike Samsung and others, where you’re at the mercy of the clever UMPC community at large to figure out enough hacks to get it working on a Q1 reliably).

So what do you think about Vista? Is it worth it? Are you going to upgrade? Why or why not?

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Penryn at 45 nanometers is Intel’s latest breakthrough – Scoble has the goods

The news about Intel’s new 45 nanometer (!) process, and the first chip to use it (codenamed Penryn, it will be the successor to Conroe), is all over the net this weekend. Must have been an embargo date that expired or something. πŸ˜‰ Disclosure: I work for Intel, but not in design or manufacturing, and I don’t know anything more about any of this than what I read on the web.

The nerdy gritty details: more than just another die shrink, the move to 45nm represents a breakthrough of a problem that has been limiting further progress towards smaller transistors in microprocessors: that is, previous materials started the lose the properties that made them work once they got smaller than a certain size. The new Intel 45nm process uses a “high k dielectric” material (hafnium) that lets the transistors get smaller than was previously possible, and still work.

What it means to you: chips based on the 45nm process will be faster, run cooler, and use less energy than the current generation of 65nm chips (a.k.a. Core 2 Duo). Prices should eventually come down, because it’s more efficient to make chips at 45nm (you can fit more onto a silicon wafer). It will also make it possible to fit more and more cores on a single chip, so the current Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad processors are only the beginning of multicore computing.

If you really want to get past the press release marketing speak, and find out more about Penryn and 45nm, Robert Scoble has you covered. He’s got some great video of a tour he did of Intel’s D1D fab here in Hillsboro, Oregon. I had wanted to hook up with him while he was here, but schedules didn’t work out. I definitely recommend the videos, though. He’s got some good blog posts around them as well – like this one with 31 interesting facts learned from his fab tour. Robert titled one of his posts “Your Next Mac Processor“, which is a good way of looking at it – Apple has consistently put the hottest processors from Intel into their systems, and when Penryn chips finally hit the market, I don’t doubt that they’ll show up in Macs shortly thereafter. He also speculates that Penryn and 45nm had something to do with Google’s recent decision to start buying Intel again.

Thanks for the coverage of Intel, Robert. Even though I work there, I’ve ever only been on one fab tour, and I’ve never seen D1D (which is the “flagship”, state of the art), so it’s fun for us “carpet dwellers” to get a closer look at the hardware side of Intel.

Now, if only we had a way to get a closer look at the software side of Intel… You did know that Intel is a software company, too, right? πŸ˜‰ (This is called foreshadowing…)

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Emma’s a Rockstar



Rockstar on the Slopes, originally uploaded by Josh Bancroft.

I love this photo. Taken by my wife Rachel during the famous Portland Snow a couple of weeks ago. Rachel said the sunglasses were Emma’s idea – she insisted on them.

She knows how to stay incognito when the paparazzi are out on the slopes. πŸ˜‰

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Yay! Upgrade to WordPress 2.1 went perfectly!

I’m writing this in the schmancy new post editor interface in WordPress 2.1, which was released today. The upgrade went smoothly – just remember to back up your site files and database before you try it! Knowing I could fall back if something went wrong was important, because I’ve been dumb, and burned by that before. Oh, and when you’re reactivating your plugins, activate Sidebar Widgets first, since a lot of other plugins depend on it, and if you activate one of them first, you’ll get an error, and have to rename/delete the offending plugin file to get back into your WP-Admin interface.

I’m really digging the new visual editor, and the fact that I can flip back and forth between “visual” and “code” (HTML) views with tabs. I used the “visual” mode most of the time in WP 2.0.x, but occasionally I wanted to edit in HTML, and now it’s much easier to switch.

I haven’t played with the new uploader/file manager – I’m off to find that after I post this. If you’re running your own WordPress hosted blog (e.g., not on wordpress.com), and you’re feeling adventurous (just used the new spell checker to fix that word!), go get WP 2.1 and follow the upgrade instructions. If you need to know why you should care, check out the release notes, and “10 Things You Should Know About WordPress 2.1“.

It’s fun, I promise! :-)

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New “click to expand” to read RSS items right in Google Personalized Home

I just noticed something on my Google Personalized Home page (that link will go to yours, if you have one and are signed in to your Google Account): little “plus/click to expand” buttons next to the items in the RSS feeds:


Now you can read a feed item in an smooth AJAX-y fashion right on the Personalized Home page, without having to click away to the originating site. Cool – thanks, Google engineers! :-)

For reference, I have the RSS feeds for Digg and Techmeme on my Google Personalized Home, so I can always see what’s new on them when I first open my browser.

Update: Steve Rubel and I always seem to recognize and post about things like this in the same instant. :-) I don’t know or really care which one of us was first with this, so go check out his post, too.

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55 Photos from the Intel IT Innovation Center in Folsom

While I was down in Folsom, the IT Innovation Center was pretty much my “home base” – Phil Tierney, the guy who manages the place, let me hang out and play with all of the cool toys, plus our IT@Intel Blogger meeting was held there, too. I had wanted to do a video tour of the center, Channel 9-style, but Phil’s schedule was busy, and it didn’t work out. Next time, for sure!

You can see all 55 of the photos I shot in this photoset on Flickr. Lots of cool things to see, but naturally, I gravitated to the several UMPCs that were in use in the various displays. I finally got to put my hands on the TabletKiosk eo7210 UMPC, and I was very impressed. It felt much smaller in my hands than my Asus R2H, though the dimensions show it’s not that much of a difference.

Here are some of my favorite photos of the set.


The “digital living room” has a very nice Media Center/Viiv PC setup with lots of cool toys (like video from a webcam that shows you who’s at the door when someone rings the doorbell). I didn’t get much time to play here – I was busy fondling the UMPCs and other gadgets. :-)


Here is a very interesting Intel vPro PC form factor – it’s kind of bent at an angle. Never seen one like that before. It had a very nice glossy black and white acryic (I assume) finish, and was actually quite cool to the touch (I expected it to be at least a little warm).


Here’s the “digital fridge” in the kitchen, with a PC and display embedded in the front door. it appeared to be running Windows Media Center, though I admit I didn’t play much with it. There are lots of cool possibilities once your fridge is a PC and has internet access. Log on to it from the store on your cell phone and see what you’re out of! :-) More photos of the fridge, and other cool gadgets in the kitchen (including a Roku Soundbridge and an LCD TV with D-Link HD Media Player) in the Flickr set.

I really love this little NEC Tablet PC. It’s SO thin and light! Talk about the perfect form factor. I’d take one of these over a UMPC-sized device in a heartbeat. Unfortunately, this unit was dead – Phil said the NEC guys looked at it, and couldn’t bring it back. Bummer. :-( You can’t buy these in the U.S., and they’re spendy on eBay (not to mention a little underpowered, compared to today’s tablets). But dang if I don’t really, really want one. πŸ˜‰


I took quite a few shots of this TabletKiosk eo7210 UMPC. Almost a full “hardware review” worth. I really like the design and feel of the device – possibly the best out of the UMPCs I’ve used so far. Feature-wise, it’s akin to my Asus R2H, but it doesn’t have integrated GPS (it does have a 60GB hard drive, integrated webcam, and SD slot). It also uses a Pentium M 1.0 GHz processor, which, in addition to being more powerful than the Celeron 900MHz CPU in my Asus and in the Samsung Q1, the Pentium M can “SpeedStep” to slow down the CPU to, say, 600 or 200MHz, depending on the load and demand on the system. This saves battery, and reduces heat. Nice feature. Now that I’ve had some time with the Asus, Samsung, and TabletKiosk UMPCs, I’ll have to write up a comparison post, with my opinion on each. Someday. πŸ˜‰

Anyway, check out the rest of the photos. Let me know what you think, and if you have any questions. :-)

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Photos from the IT@Intel bloggers Face to Face

Last Thursday and Friday, I was down at Intel’s Folsom, California campus for the first “face to face” meeting of those of us who write on the IT@Intel blog on blogs.intel.com. We were meeting so that we could get to know each other better, and to go over the goals and process of the blog, what we want to get out of it, etc. This is a bunch of extremely smart people, and I’m lucky to work with them. I’m looking forward to seeing the IT@Intel blog rock even more in 2007! :-)


You can see the rest of the photos I snapped in this photoset on Flickr. I got everyone’s permission to post these, and we were meeting in the IT Innovation Center in FM7 (of which I have a ton of photos, coming soon). Yes, that’s my Asus R2H UMPC on the table there. It was the only PC it took with me on the overnight trip, and it performed wonderfully. Now I need to get a smaller bag so I can take advantage of the fact that I’m carrying around a much smaller than usual computer (I’m working on that more to come soon!).


Here’s my favorite photo of the set – the inimitable Jeff Moriarty, who is known for his rapier wit and side-splittingly funny posts on the internal Intel blogs. It was great to meet you, Jeff! Looking forward to working with you on the stuff we talked about.

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At the Intel IT Innovation Center in Folsom

My meetings in Folsom start tonight, so I after grabbing some lunch at In n Out and picking up some MiniDV tapes (I ran out!), I’m hanging out/working in the IT Innovation Center in the FM7 building.

This is a really cool place, full of great displays, demos, and toys. Last time I was here, I forgot to bring my video camera (I had no idea what I’d be seeing). This time, though, I came prepared, and I’m going to try to get a quick video tour/demo of some of the cool stuff here.

Hardware highlights so far: several UMPCs – Samsung Q1s and TabletKiosk eo7210 units. I’ve never actually used the TabletKiosk unit before. It feels really small. Very thin and light, though it doesn’t have the double capacity battery. Makes my Asus R2H feel like a brick. :-) A couple of Apple 30″ Cinema Displays, a high end Canon camcorder, a Neuros MPEG4 recorder, and lots of other cool stuff.

I’m going to wrap up now and find my hotel. Look for more updates, and some photos and video if I’m lucky, soon! :-)

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