Microsoft Introduces New Search Engine Bing

BingMicrosoft’s newly released search engine Bing is up and running, and it appears to be a hit.

I have several items I keep in a search list that I look for every now and then. I immediately put Bing to the test with the list, and was quite pleased at the results.  I was shown relevant sites, and not one result sent me to an outdated, invalid, or non-existent link.  To be fair to Google, I tried the same searches, and was given a completely different set for each query, of which two were invalid results.

Bing also plays thumbnails live in the search results by simply hovering your pointer over the image and boasts a snappy and clean interface.  I could do without the wallpaper though.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge Google fan and they have come up with some of the most innovative ideas in browser and search technology, changing how we all use the Internet.  I’m anxiously awaiting Google Wave, the real-time communication “multi-tool”.

Ironic isn’t it, that Bing is the number one sponsored ad on Google.  Google may be getting paid for the sponsored ads, but Microsoft has a chance each time to convert the user to a “Binger” rather than a “Googler”.

Mac users taking over the world

OK not really the world, but the market share is up a good 40% from last year. Mac users, don’t get to excited, Windows still owns 91% of the marketplace. Yahoo news reported today,

Mac’s worldwide market share among Web users increased to 6.6 percent in September, compared to 4.7 percent a year ago

It’s been almost a month now since I bought my way into the cool club and ordered a Macbook, my Windows desktop has been fired up I think twice over the last month. There is still some photos and data, along with music and movies I need on it, but I don’t need them on the laptop. One of the primary reasons the laptop is getting more use then the desktop is because I can park my ass on the couch and watch TV and surf the net. Outside of that, it is merely a tool for me to use.

The learning curve for me has been pretty mild, simple stuff, keyboard shortcuts, working in terminal, stuff like that. Outside of that, most programs I use operate the same for me. I don’t love my Mac the way others told me I would, I enjoy the speed it has and the ability to do what I need when I need it, it is stress-free, that is what is important.

This recent spike in Mac users, like myself, is only likely to grow though. I’ve had my sticky fingers on Vista enough to know I don’t like it. I have to support it for work, but I still much prefer XP or even win2k. Most computer users now-a-days are not buying their first computer. They have time vested, programs they are used to using, things that work and don’t work and ways of working around the hardware not living up to what they thought it would be. In my case, buying a Mac was a matter of getting the most from a computer with the least amount of money. To equip a Windows powered laptop with the hardware to match that of my Macbook, the price was only dollars apart, for me it was a choice of operating systems and expandability, most of which I covered several articles ago. I still couldn’t imagine spending $2,500 or more on a Macbook Pro or even $1,500 on an iMac.

Apple could continue to grow its user base if, and only if, they continue to offer products that are financially viable for most users. The fact that Dell and HP offer desktop units that do what most home users need, email, internet, photos, etc for half the price of an entry level Mac desktop will mean that they will continue to dominate the home market. Not until someone has specific needs do they start to look elsewhere. It is also my belief that, with Vista being as shitty as it is, more average users will start to look into other operating systems like Ubuntu. Ubuntu offers what the vast majority of home users want and need, even though mine is currently dusty, as soon as someone figures out an affordable way to offer support and get some marketing behind it, it will grow.

For now I am a content Mac user who also utilizes Windows and likes to play with Ubuntu now and again.

Halo 3 Drops Today!!

I reported it here first… well, not first, but whatever, I reported it and I’m gonna link back to it. For those of you who spent the last 9 hours sleeping instead of PLAYING THE LATEST CHAPTER OF ONE OF THE BEST VIDEO GAME FRANCHISES OF ALL TIME, then you weren’t aware that Halo 3 from Microsoft and Bungie Games dropped at midnight. If most of your male and/or nerdy co-workers are absent today, it’s because they’ve been up all night shit-talking to 12-year-olds in Kansas via XBOX Live and shooting the shit out of each other in Slayer mode. Halo 3 is Microsoft’s core game (with Master Chief being it’s new hero) and they apparently had everyone at Bungie working their asses off to make this deadline. Well, they did, beating out RockStar Games (GTA4 got pushed back until freaking 2008) and making this the sure hit of 2007.

Sadly, I have not gotten the chance to try it out yet. My buddy Dan is picking it up after work and hopefully he won’t kick me off his front lawn where I will sit until he lets me in to play.

Here’s a screenshot from the game to hold you over until you get home from work:

halo3.jpg

Safari Beta 3 released for Windows (and Mac)

Today Apple released a bunch of new things, mainly their operating system, and their website. Additionally, they released a beta of their popular browser, Safari for Windows and Mac. Way back when, I had a G3 iBook, the second generation white ones. It was nice for what it was, but only had it a short while before moving onto other things. Safari has always been a really nice, well built browser with some great functions built in and extremely easy to use.

As soon as I found out that there was a beta available for windows, I downloaded it for my XP box. This was about 8 hours ago when I was still at work; I needed to test it anyway to see if my company’s website would function properly in it.

First impressions, on Windows it looks and feels just like Safari on Mac. Third website I went to and it crashed though, like splat, asking if I wanted to send the error to Microsoft. After quitting the application, I re-launched it and started to surf again. One thing I noticed right away is that most of my favorite Firefox shortcuts work except for one. Ctrl + Enter to add the www. and the .com doesn’t work, major bummer.

It’s nice for what it is, but it is no where near as customizable as Firefox is. I have way too many add-ons right now in Firefox to switch to another browser; it does what I want and how I want. I will use it for web development, but that’s about it.

The Best News… EVER.

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!

CNN.com: Microsoft Sets Launch Date for ‘Halo 3′

On Sept. 25, I will be hanging out with my buddies who have XBox 360s and ordering food and sitting in my own filth for approximately 36 hours watching/playing the final installment in what I consider to be one of the finest video game franchises… ever.

For a girl, I kind of don’t suck at Halo. I’m nasty with a sniper rifle, but cannot, for the life of me, play on “inverted,” which my hardcore gamer friends make fun of me for (they swear that “inverted” is the only true way to play the game). However, I take equal amounts of enjoyment in merely watching people play the game. Visually, it’s stunning… especially on an HDTV. The sountrack kicks ass and the video interludes and storyline are supercool. I also have heard rumors for years of a possible ‘Halo’ movie, which had better be made by someone other than the dudes who made ‘Doom,’ because that movie sucked (although the FPS at the end was kinda cool).

In addition, I apologize for the lack of verbal acuity in this post, but I need to talk like a 15-year-old boy when I talk about ‘Halo’ because that is what this game turns me into.

For those of you who also think MasterCheif is hot as hell, here you go:

Mastercheif.

Thanks to HaloSquad.com for the image!

Dell to ship computers with Ubuntu installed

UbuntuThere is still no official statement or press release on this, but word hitting the blogsphere right now is that an insider from Ubuntu has leaked the information. Dell will be offering computers with the Linux distro Ubuntu preinstalled.

I’ve played around with Ubuntu and really like it, but admit that I haven’t fired up my Ubuntu box since installing it close to a month ago already. What this should mean for everyone though is a lower priced, rock solid computer from Dell, even if the customer support is a bit wishy-washy.

Without having to pay the bloated price for Windows (Ubuntu is free), it should drop the price of an average home computer by at least $75. This is also a great solution for people who want to get their parents or grandparents who need to do nothing more then email, get on the Internet and look at their digital photos.

Ubuntu isn’t the answer for me yet; no Photoshop, no Dreamweaver and a few other programs I use are still Windows only, so I won’t be making a full switch anytime soon. This is really exciting news though and should really make Microsoft wake up and figure out some of the Vista bugs that still exist.

Source: Gizmodo

Microsoft and Linux together at last

I never thought I’d see these two arch nemesis together, but here it is:

Microsoft & Linux together at last
Source: Digg

Windows blue screen of death

Last week a co-worker brought in his three month old Dell laptop with the dreaded blue screen of death. Upon booting, it showed an Unmountable_Boot_Volume error screen. After making sure that his RAM was seated properly and that there was no physical damage to the laptop, I prepared him for the worst, we may need to format the hard drive and reinstall Windows, possibly have Dell ship a new hard drive out to replace this one.

He wasn’t all that happy with me, but I told him I would see what I could find on the internet. A quick search proved that the Microsoft page for this problem was a joke and offered no real solution, but I did find Tech Tips 4 U, possibly one of the ugliest pages ever created with Front Page. In any event, they provided the simplest solution:

  1. Boot from a Windows XP CD
  2. Go into the recovery console
  3. Once the command line comes up type chkdsk /p
  4. When completed, type fixboot
  5. Hit the Y key and Enter key when prompted
  6. Type exit when finished
  7. Remove XP CD before reboot

This is the only time in the last seven plus years that the recovery console in any Windows operating system has ever worked for me! It took less then five minutes to do the recovery and verify no data was lost.

If you come across this problem, there is your solution, or wait for the fan boys to say how much better Mac or Linux is, heh.

Black Market Microsoft Vista for $2.50

Reports started to show up yesterday that Microsoft’s new operating system, Vista, was out in the wild, pirated of coarse. And who else would be doing this so early, before the official release? China, and it costs about $2.50. It is believed that these pirated versions are a hacked Beta release that was publicly available on the Internet, but with a crack so that the 180 day serial number never expires.

I’m still not sure what the demand for this new operating system is yet, I have no plans to upgrade until at least SP1 is out, and at that point I’ll just buy a whole new computer (thinking laptop). In China, the average wages are considerably less then here in America, however Microsoft still insists on charging through the nose for software. This may be a bad business decision, seeing they have more people then any other country in the world and a continuing growth in the tech sector due in large part to the free trade that is now possible between China and the western world.