Amazon settles, XP Mode is a go, Microsoft releases its anti malware suite and Palm sets a date for Pixi? All of that and more

Kindle

A few months ago, Amazon raised the ire of non Kindle owners everywhere by reaching into their non-existent Kindles-as well as a few dozen Kindle owners-and rip out copies of George Orwell novels.  Specifically, certain Orwell books from a specific publisher who did not have U.S. distribution rights.  Unfortunately, at least one of the actual Kindle users who had the books removed was using the book, allegedly, for some school work and had actually used the notation feature.  When the books were removed, the notes went away or became meaningless and the student sued.  Fast forward a few months to today.  Amazon settled the lawsuit for about a $150 thousand dollars and changes to its book revoking policy.  Amazon promises to: not remove books with out permission; remove books is the user requests it OR fails to pay; remove a book or books if they prove dangerous to the device or network (i.e. they have embedded code(!?!)) or are ordered to do so by the courts or by regulatory order.  So, all of those non-Kindle owners can now rest easy.

Microsoft

Windows 7 ‘XP Mode’ is ready to rock and roll.  The virtualized XP has been finalized (wait, wasn’t XP ‘final’ already?) and will be ready for download on October 22, when Windows 7 is officially released.  For real.  The Virtual PC + activated XP package is only available to Enterprise, Professional or Ultimate users.  Don’t worry, you are not missing a thing if you are not qualified to get the package.  If you really MUST have XP inside of Windows 7, then grab yourself Sun’s Virtual Box and that old copy of XP you have and install XP in your own virtual environment.  The latest version of Virtual Box has the same ‘seamless’ mode that Microsoft is offering and you can trade data between the host and guest operating system.  Oh, Virtual Box is free.

Microsoft also released its free malware protection suite this week.  Microsoft Security Essentials is a package of anti-virus, spyware and malware software that is free. It replaces Microsoft Live OneCare.  It is rather bare bones and non-intrusive.  I installed it on an HP Dv7 laptop running Vista Home Premium 64.  So far, I’ve not seen any slow downs.  You have about the amount a flexibility for scheduling scans as you would with most other packages.  I do wish it were a bit more flexible.  I’d like to schedule a comprehensive scan once a month and quick scans nightly.  As it is, you can only schedule one or the other, but not both.  I had been running AVG Free on the laptop, and I still am on the other computers in the house, but I will run the Microsoft package for a month and see how it goes.

In yet more court proceedings, Microsoft won an appeal of a case it had lost.  Microsoft had been sued by another patent company, Uniloc, over its product activation ‘features’ first used in Windows XP, many years ago.  Uniloc won $388 million dollars.  The verdict was overturned this week.  This is actually the second time that Microsoft ‘won’ the case.  Initially, it won a summary judgment, but Uniloc appealed and won.  Microsoft, in turn, appealed that appeal and, seemingly, won.  We’ll see, I suppose.  They are still awaiting the outcome of an appeal of a loss they suffered concerning ‘custom XML’ in Word.  That one still baffles me.  How i4i actually got a patent for something so blatantly obvious is just amazing.

Apple

AT&T finally brought the iPhone into the 21st century by turning on MMS on the much ballyhooed Smartphone.  Unfortunately, there have been many complaints as well as many people asking ‘why do I need this?’  (those are probably some of the same people who were asking why they did not have it.)  Well, ya got it now.  Hush! Hush!

Palm

The Palm Pixi may be launching on October 20.  Boy Genius is saying that the latest webOS device will be launching on Sprint on the 20th of this month.  There’s really not much to go on here and Sprint is keeping quiet about small details like pricing, though it is expected that the phone will be about $99.    Presumably, its release will also bring yet more updates to the webOS as well as a real Facebook application and Yahoo! integration with Synergy.  I’m guessing iTunes sync will be missing.

Speaking of webOS, Palm released the fifth update to webOS this week.  It’s an interesting release and contains many, many fixes, enhancements and tweaks.  One of the new things it introduced was a nice memory leak in the browser.  I’ve yet to confirm this with other sources, but my own experience indicates that there is one.  After the update, the device felt really responsive and quick.  The orientation switch, which has always been laggy, was working great.  Web sites loaded pretty quickly.  Until today.  I had been using the browser quite a bit and noticed that it began to slow down.  Then the switch from landscape to portrait started to go back to the way it had been.  Finally, late this evening, I could not even open a site.  I kept getting the ‘you must close a card’ error.  I had to reboot the device.  It is working great for now.  If the Oct 20 date is true, I hope a fix will be included in whatever update is put out then.  IF you have experienced the same behavior, please let us know.

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