Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Is Google Dying?

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Vol. 1, #53 - Jan 25, 2011 - Issue #463

 Is Google Dying?



  1. Editor's Corner
    • Is Google Dying?
    • Follow-up: Laws regulating online life
    • Quotes of the Week
  2. News, Hints, Tips and Tricks
    • To shorten or not to shorten; that was the question
    • New eBook application for XP and above
    • Apple removes XP (and Vista) from Boot Camp options
    • IT pros are still using XP
  3. How To: Using XP Features
    • How to change the Categories arrangement in Control Panel
  4. XP Security News
    • Mandatory Windows Live Messenger and Essentials Refresh for XP
  5. XP Question Corner
    • Is there a way to automatically delete the contents of the paging file?
  6. XP Configuration and Troubleshooting
    • Administrator can't unlock a locked computer
  7. Fav Links
    • This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
  8. Product of the Week
    • DriverHive: Keep Your Drivers Updated - 80% of PC Crashes are Caused By Conflicting Device Drivers



VIPRE Antivirus is the Fastest Antivirus

VIPRE has the fastest real-time protection against 5 major competitors according to a comprehensive test by a leading independent testing organization in November 2010.

VIPRE processed 4,500 megabytes of file data in 195 seconds, compared to a benchmark of 127 seconds; the next closest competitor processed the same data in 233 seconds. Complete results are available upon request from GFI.
http://www.wxpnews.com/110118-SpeedMatters


 Editor's Corner

Is Google Dying?

That might seem like a silly question, given the Internet behemoth's presence in almost everything. Google is still by far the top search engine, despite slow inroads being made by Bing. Their Android phone OS has overtaken Apple's iPhone in market share. They're preparing to release a new netbook operating system to compete with Windows and Linux on low powered laptops.

On the other hand, their stock is down 14.94 (or 2.38%) as I write this (but that's from a two year high of $639 in December). More troubling, perhaps, is the reason for this downward turn. Last week saw a major management shakeup within the company, with Larry Page taking over the CEO reins from Eric Schmidt:
http://www.wxpnews.com/110124-Schmidt

Next came the news that Schmidt, while not leaving the company, filed to cash out $335 million in Google stock. Remember the outcry, when Steve Ballmer sold $84 million of his Microsoft stock, about how it was an indicator that the company was in trouble?
http://www.wxpnews.com/110124-Sfgate

Companies go through reorganizations all the time; Microsoft has recently seen the departure or announced the pending departure of several key employees, such as Server and Tools Business (STB) Division president Bob Muglia and marketing chief/vice president Brad Brooks.
http://www.wxpnews.com/110124-Softpedia

http://www.wxpnews.com/110124-Biz-Insider

Although Schmidt is staying with the company, some of Google's best and brightest have departed over the last year. Lars Rasmussen, co-creator of Google Maps, left to join Facebook. Key architect Matthew Papakipos also went over to Facebook. Android senior software engineer Cedric Beust left for LinkedIn.
http://www.wxpnews.com/110124-Tech-Crunch

http://www.wxpnews.com/110124-Chrome

http://www.wxpnews.com/110124-Android

Why are they leaving? The chief complaint we've heard from inside is that the company has grown too big and bureaucratic - the same problem that plagued Microsoft and before it, IBM. http://www.wxpnews.com/110124-NY-Times

Google is weathering storms on several fronts, too. Oracle filed a suit against the company last summer, alleging that Android infringes on their Java patents. Now we're hearing that there's evidence that Google directly copied some of the Java code.
http://www.wxpnews.com/110124-Guardian

If Oracle/Sun wins the lawsuit, will that kill Android? Probably not - but it could cost Google a pretty penny.

Google has been trying to position itself to own the cloud, but it has ignored the fact that a) a large number of consumers and businesses don't want the cloud in the first place and b) it faces some formidable competition from Amazon, IBM, Microsoft and others in that space - and these are companies with far more experience working with the enterprise market (where the real money is).

Google is also trying to position itself as the ultimate innovator, and has come out with lots of new technologies and services. However, many of these didn't go over too well. Business Insider named four of them - Buzz, Wave, Google TV and the Nexus One phone - in its list of the 15 biggest tech flops of 2010.
http://www.wxpnews.com/110124-Nexus

Even Google's prominence as the Search King is coming under attack. Many users are complaining that Google's search results have deteriorated recently, at least in part due to the way search optimization, content farms and paid advertising have skewed search results. Here is Google's response to those complaints:
http://www.wxpnews.com/110124-Google

Some analysts are even speculating that social media could eventually replace - or at least cut heavily into - the search business. In their vision of the future, when you want to find content, you just ask via a social networking site. This has the advantage of not being subject to manipulation as automated search results are.
http://www.wxpnews.com/110124-Social-Replace

Is this idea completely far-fetched? There is a lot buzz right now around a new social site called Quora. It's a Q&A site, somewhat like Yahoo Answers - but it connects to your Twitter and Facebook accounts and gleans from them the topics it thinks you would be interested in, and shows you questions pertaining to those topics. Something similar to this could be used to ask for pointers to various types of content. Check out Quora here:
http://www.wxpnews.com/110124-Quora

Tell us what you think about Google's future. Is it all downhill from here? Will the company turn itself around? Will Android thrive, or will Oracle bring it down? Will Chrome OS be a big success, or will it be on next year's list of the biggest tech flops? Is the management shakeup a good thing or a bad thing for the company? If you own Google stock, is it time to sell? Is there room for Google, Microsoft and Apple at the top of the tech heap, or will only one emerge victorious? Have you noticed a recent deterioration in the quality of Google searches? Tell us what you think in our forum at
http://www.wxpnews.com/110124-Discuss-This-Weeks-WXPNews-Here


Follow-up: Laws regulating online life

Last week's feature article addressed the increasing control being exerted over online behavior by governmental laws and regulations. There were a number of comments indicating that many people are not happy with this tightening of the reins, especially when it comes to rules made by an agency like the FCC that do an end-run around the legislative process.

George95662 made an interesting statement: "I'd love to sit down with some folks who have the teeth of law enforcement and show them how easy it is to flush out criminals on the 'net. They are literally everywhere, especially if $ is involved. Why they can't do this on their own is a better question." It happens that I'm currently working on an article for my Cybercrime column, published monthly by TechRepublic, that will provide some answers to that question. It's called What Makes Cybercrime Laws so Difficult to Enforce and explains some of the obstacles that law enforcement officials encounter, including jurisdictional issues and the nature of the evidence in such cases. Watch my Facebook page (Deb Shinder) or follow me on Twitter to be notified when it's published.

In response to fbanta, who quotes the fourth amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure to support his contention that a husband has no right to search his wife's "papers" without her permission: The constitutional protection applies only to governmental agencies, not to private persons, and applies only to search for evidence of a crime. While there may be statutory privacy laws in some jurisdictions that prohibit private persons from accessing others' "papers," the Bill of Rights doesn't. (And yes, I know what I'm talking about; I taught U.S. Constitution as a college criminal justice instructor for many years). For the record, I do agree with most of fbanta's other points.

As always, thanks to everyone who participated in the discussions!


'Til next week,
Deb Shinder, Editor
feedback@wxpnews.com

Follow Deb on Twitter

PS: Did you know this newsletter has a sister publication called Win7News? You can subscribe here, and tell your friends:
http://www.wxpnews.com/3UDXV2/100518-Win7News

And for IT pros, there's our "big sister," WServer News, at
http://www.wxpnews.com/3UDXV2/100518-WserverNews

Look up the WXPnews Fan Page and join us on Facebook!

Quotes of the Week

Bureaucracy defends the status quo long past the time when the quo has lost its status. - Laurence J. Peter

Bureaucracy gives birth to itself and then expects maternity benefits. - Dale Dauten

Every revolution evaporates and leaves behind only the slime of a new bureaucracy. - Franz Kafka



VIPRE Antivirus is the Fastest Antivirus

VIPRE has the fastest real-time protection against 5 major competitors according to a comprehensive test by a leading independent testing organization in November 2010.

VIPRE processed 4,500 megabytes of file data in 195 seconds, compared to a benchmark of 127 seconds; the next closest competitor processed the same data in 233 seconds. Complete results are available upon request from GFI.
http://www.wxpnews.com/110118-SpeedMatters



 News, Hints, Tips and Tricks

To shorten or not to shorten; that was the question

I mentioned last week that three readers had requested that I be less "long winded" and keep the editorials shorter. Based on the responses I got to that, it seems they're in the minority. Many of you wrote to urge me to stick to the chattier and more in-depth format. In fact, those who prefer the "long form" outnumbered the "shorties" by over twenty to one. I want to give you what you want, but I know I can't please everybody, every time. I'll be trying to strike a happy medium when it comes to the length of the articles, and I thank you all for your input and for the kind words.

New eBook application for XP and above

Ebooks are becoming more popular all the time, and it's no wonder. Carrying around an armload of heavy hardbacks gets old fast, but you can carry hundreds of books on a tiny SD card when they're in electronic format. There are plenty of ebook reading applications out there - Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader and more - but now there's a new player in that game. KooBits offers some features that will appeal to those who still feel torn between ebooks and the paper variety. It lets you create custom categories for your books and drag them around to arrange them on virtual bookshelves. You can also bookmark, highlight and clip notes from your books, and the company wants to add more sophisticated features such as narration, animations and interactive elements. The software is available for Windows computers running XP and above. Find out more about it here:
http://www.wxpnews.com/110124-PR


Apple removes XP (and Vista) from Boot Camp options

Apple's Boot Camp feature allows users to install Windows in a dual boot configuration on their Apple computers. The newest version of Snow Leopard has apparently removed support for Windows XP and Vista, and now requests only a Windows 7 installation disk. Whether or not you can ignore the text and install XP anyway isn't clear, but if any of our readers have tried doing so, please let us know your results. Read more here:
http://www.wxpnews.com/110124-Boot-Camp


IT pros are still using XP

This month, TechRepublic put up a poll to ask IT professionals what version of Windows is being used in their organizations. The assumption was that IT pros would be using the latest and greatest - i.e., Windows 7 - but so far the results have proven otherwise. As of the time of this writing, 66% responded that they're using Windows XP Pro, compared to 29% running Windows 7. You can keep up with the ongoing results and put your own vote in here:
http://www.wxpnews.com/110124-IT-pros


 How To: Using XP Features


How to change the Categories arrangement in Control Panel

Personally, I don't like the Categories view of Control Panel; I always immediately switch back to the "Classic" Control Panel view. But some folks find the categorization useful - yet don't necessarily agree that Microsoft has put everything into the right category. Well, if you're brave enough to venture into the registry, you can actually assign a different category to a Control Panel item. Here's how:
  1. In your registry editor, navigate to the following key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Control Panel \ Extended Properties \ {305CA226-D286-468e-B848-2B2E8E697B74} 2
  2. Now in the right pane, find the item that you want to recategorize. Double click it to bring up its properties box.
  3. Change the DWORD value to the number that corresponds to the category where you want to place it. See the list below for the numbers for each category.
  • Other Control Panel Options - 0

  • Appearance and Themes - 1

  • Printers and other Hardware - 2

  • Network and Internet Connections - 3

  • Sounds, Speed and Audio Devices - 4

  • Performance and Maintenance - 5

  • Date, Time, Language and Regional Options - 6

  • Accessibility Options - 7

  • Add or Remove Programs - 8

  • User Accounts - 9



  •  XP Security News

    Mandatory Windows Live Messenger and Essentials Refresh for XP

    If you're running Windows Live Messenger and other Live Essentials programs on your Windows XP computer, Microsoft has made it mandatory for all XP users to update the software. The update includes security updates as well as performance improvements and some bug fixes and it's been available for a while, but Microsoft is just now making it mandatory, and that's because of the security issues. You can find out more here:
    http://www.wxpnews.com/110124-Messenger


     XP Question Corner

    Is there a way to automatically delete the contents of the paging file?

    QUESTION:
    I work with confidential information on my XP Pro computer, and even though I'm diligent about deleting files that contain something sensitive as soon as I'm finished with them, I worry that someone could find out information that's stored in the paging file or swap file or whatever you call it. I can delete the file before I shut down the computer every night but is there a way to make that happen automatically? Thanks! - Dean L.

    ANSWER:
    There is a registry edit that you can use to clear the page file whenever you shut down the computer. Here are the instructions:
    1. In your registry editor, navigate to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ System \ CurrentControlSet \ Control \ Session Manager \ Memory Management
    2. Double click the item ClearPageFileAtShutdown to display its properties box.
    3. Set the value to 1.
    Note that if the item doesn't exist, you can create it as a new DWORD value. Also note this will make your system shutdowns slower. That's because all the data in the paging file is being overwritten with zeros.
     XP Configuration and Troubleshooting

    Administrator can't unlock a locked computer

    When you restart your XP computer, you can't log on and you get an error message, telling you that the computer is in use and has been locked. But even though you're an administrator, you can't unlock it. What's up with that? This happens when the default screen saver is set to use a non-existent screen saver program or you use a corrupted screen saver that's password protected? What to do? KB article 242917 has the answer. Check it out at
    http://www.wxpnews.com/110124-MS-Support-242917
     Fav Links

    This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff

    Disclaimer: WXPNews does not assume and cannot be responsible for any liability related to you clicking any of these linked Web sites.

     Product of the Week

    DriverHive: Keep Your Drivers Updated - 80% of PC Crashes are Caused By Conflicting Device Drivers

    80% of PC crashes are caused by outdated or conflicting device drivers. Out of date and incorrect system drivers can lead to driver conflicts, system errors, system crashes, poor operation, and slow PC performance. In the old days, Windows driver Issues typically resulted in the dreaded Blue-Screen-of- Death (BSOD). Today, things have changed. While faulty windows drivers or driver conflicts can still result in blue screen crashes, there are numerous other, less intuitive performance issues that can result, including: hardware not working properly, slow web surfing, slow boot times, system crashes, and overall sluggish computer performance Hardware manufacturers regularly update their drivers, in many cases to correct conflicts, stability, and performance issues. DriverHive will scan your computer, identify any out-of-date drivers you have, set a system restore point, and then download and install the most current drivers on your PC, transforming a typically tedious and time consuming task into a few quick clicks of the mouse. Maintaining updated drivers on your PC is one of the best ways to ensure top PC performance. Protect your system with DriverHive! Get a Free System Scan with DriverHive here to see if your PC drivers are out of date.
    http://www.wxpnews.com/110124-Product-Of-The-Week


     About WXPnews

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