techtiptom

Tech Tip Tom, formerly of WIBC 93.1FM and wibc.com

Month: June, 2013

Computer History

microsoft-logo-evolution

June 25, 1981

Microsoft Incorporated

Microsoft incorporated. Founded six years earlier by Bill Gates and Paul Allen, Microsoft grew out of the friends’ development of BASIC for the MITS Altair home computer kit. With later successes in its Windows operating system and software such as Word and Excel, Microsoft has grown to dominance in the personal computer software industry and billions of dollars of revenue.

Microsoft made a name for itself in 1981, when IBM unveiled the first PC to run MS-DOS. Perhaps the company’s most famous product, Windows, was introduced in 1985.

Windows replaced the daunting command-line interface of MS-DOS — essentially a blank screen with a blinking cursor that waited for you to type commands in the form of words and symbols — with a much friendlier interface.

But it was the first version of Office software in 1989 and the release of Windows 3.0 in 1990 that started Microsoft’s climb to the top of the software industry.

In 2000, Gates named Steve Ballmer CEO and continued his bigger-picture role at Microsoft as chief software architect. Microsoft’s market position surged during the 2000s, as the company released Windows XP and aligned itself as a premier business-to-business vendor.

Microsoft got into video gaming with the release of the Xbox in 2001. First considered a questionable decision, Xbox and the subsequent Xbox 360 have turned into one of the company’s billion-dollar businesses. After trailing Nintendo’s Wii for years, Microsoft secured a lead in gaming with the release of the Kinect motion sensor in 2010.

Gates stepped down from day-to-day responsibilities in 2008, leaving Ballmer and his other deputies in charge. While he is still chairman of the board, Gates works mainly with Seattle’s Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which he built into the largest charity in the world.

After Windows Vista failed to take hold and since the release of the Apple iPhone in 2007, Microsoft’s image as an influential consumer company has faded. Once a powerful player the early game of smartphones, Microsoft is now trying to claw back into the mobile-devices race. Despite numerous attempts, the software giant has found it difficult to make waves in hot markets such as smartphones, tablets, music players, cloud computing and search engines.

However, its consumer cash cows — Windows and Office — continue to dominate their markets. Windows 7, released in 2009, was the fastest-selling operating system on record, and Microsoft is hard at work on a major refresh with Windows 8.

After its acquisition of Skype in 2011, the company now includes six business units and operates more than 100 international subsidiaries. As of Sept. 30, 2011, Microsoft had about 90,800 employees.

Advertisements
ENIAC

SCO vs. IBM battle resumes over ownership of Unix

sco-vs-ibm-1.jpg

Zombie lawsuit back and wants to suck the brains out of Linux

By Simon Sharwood, APAC Editor, 17th June 2013

IBM’s lawsuit with SCO over just who owns Unix has crawled out of the grave and seems set to shuffle back into US courts.

For the uninitiated, or those who’ve successfully tried to forget this turgid saga, a brief summary: SCO in 2003 sued IBM for doing something nasty to bits of Unix it owned. Or felt it owned. SCO also sued Novell, which it felt did not own some copyrights for Unix.

Many private school educations later for the offspring of the lawyers involved SCO lost against Novell. By this time SCO was out of cash with which to keep up the fight against Big Blue, so the matter hibernated for a while.

That stasis persisted until early may when SCO applied to get things going again. As Groklaw reports, that attempt has succeeded.

Groklaw’s assessment of SCO’s current position is that it has asked the court for “a Time Machine, so it can go back in time and do a better job”.

Bored yet?

Don’t be: if SCO can eventually prove it really, truly does own a critical bit of Unix it’s a chance of saying it therefore owns that same bit in Linux. And given that world+dog runs Linux – a couple of billion Android devices for starters – if SCO wins it can start throwing sueballs at the Googles, IBMs and Red Hats of the world and cash in big time.

A more likely scenario is that this case drags on for years longer and that the lawyers involved start to eye off yachts now that the kids have left home.

Ford SYNC

ford_sync_logo

Ford SYNC is a factory-installed, integrated in-vehicle communications and entertainment system that allows users to make hands-free telephone calls, control music and perform other functions with the use of voice commands. The system consists of applications and user interfaces developed by Ford and other third-party developers, and runs on the Windows Embedded Automotive operating system designed by Microsoft.

Ford first announced the release of SYNC in January 2007 at the Detroit International Auto Show.   SYNC was released into the retail market in 2007 when Ford installed the technology in twelve Ford group vehicles (2008 model) in North America.

The Ford SYNC technology was promoted as a new product that provided drivers with the ability to operate Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones and digital media players in their vehicles using voice commands, the vehicle’s steering wheel, and radio controls.

Later, new technology was added to SYNC in which text messages received by the driver are “vocalized” by a digitized female voice device named “Samantha”. SYNC’s text message function also has the ability to interpret approximately one hundred shorthand messages, such as “LOL”, and will read “swear words”, but does not decipher acronyms that have been considered by the designers to be “obscene”.

I purchased a Ford Escape over the weekend, and must say that SYNC is very nice.
I press a button on the steering wheel, say “Call Barry’s cell”; and SYNC makes the
call via its Bluetooth connection to my phone…

SYNC has various mobile-integration capabilities, including “Push to Talk” on the steering wheel, wireless transfer of contacts between a mobile phone and the on-board phone book, as well as various advanced calling features, such as caller ID, call waiting, conference calling, a caller log, a list of contacts, a signal strength icon, and a phone battery charge icon. Personal ring tones can also be assigned to identify specific callers.

Some of the applications include:

 911 Assist

The 911 Assist application places a direct call to a local 911 emergency operator in the event of a serious accident with an air bag deployment. Before initiating the emergency 911 call, SYNC will provide a 10-second window to allow the driver or passenger to decide whether to cancel the call. If not manually cancelled within the 10-second window, SYNC will place the emergency call. A pre-recorded message will play when the call is answered, and occupants in the vehicle will then be able to communicate directly with the 911 operator.

Vehicle Health Reports

After setting their personal preferences online, users can access free car reports at any time using SYNC. This feature was released with SYNC version 2.0. All SYNC owners have access to upgrade to this version…

Facebook updates could cost young people jobs, study finds

Facebook updates could cost young people jobs, study finds

ByDara Kerr /CNET/ May 30, 2013, 3:02 PM

Ashley Payne didn’t know that a festive photo of her holding both a pint of beer and a glass of red wine would lead to her losing her high school teaching job.

The 24-year-old educator posted the image to her Facebook profile, and after a parent complained, school officials told Payne she’d have to choose between resigning and suspension, according to IOL News. She resigned.

If those same school officials were hiring and found a candidate with a similar photo shared on the social Web, it’s most likely that person wouldn’t even get an interview.

According to a new report, turning down young job candidates because of what they post on social media has become commonplace. The report, by On Device Research, states that 1 in 10 people between ages 16 and 34 have been turned down for a new job because of photos or comments on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other social networking sites.

“If getting a job wasn’t hard enough in this tough economic climate, young people are getting rejected from employment because of their social media profiles and they are not concerned about it,” On Device Research’s marketing manager Sarah Quinn said in a statement.

Ten percent of young people said they knew they were rejected from a job because of their social media profiles, yet 66 percent of young people still don’t seem to care that these profiles may affect their career prospects. The majority of young people cater their social media presence to friends rather than potential employers, according to On Device Research.

Quinn says that better education on how social media can affect employment is needed to ensure young people aren’t making it even harder to excel in their careers.

Several U.S. states have created laws to protect employees from being fired because of what they post on social media. In January, six states officially made it illegal for employers to ask their workers for passwords to their social media accounts.

It’s unclear how many employers have demanded access to workers’ online accounts, but some cases have surfaced publicly and inspired lively debate over the past year. In one instance last year, a teacher’s aide in Michigan was suspended after refusing to provide access to her Facebook account following complaints over a picture she posted.

As for Payne, even though she ultimately resigned, she since has sued the school to get her job back or receive monetary damages, according to IOL News.

On Device Research surveyed 17,657 people, ages 16 to 34, in China, India, Nigeria, Brazil, the U.S., and U.K.

On Device Research

This article originally appeared on CNET under the headline “Facebookers, beware: That silly update can cost you a job.”

© 2013 CBS Interactive Inc.. All Rights Reserved.