Encarta’s Passing: Harbinger of Redmond Doom?

Microsoft has announced that Encarta, its digital encyclopedia, will be dead by year’s end. First off, hands up who thought it had died long ago? Secondly, and before we get on to the whole Wikipedia thing, I’d like to make a more general comment about Microsoft: its online stuff is awful, and Encarta is no …

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Shoot The Messenger

Every time I start to feel warm and fuzzy about Microsoft something jumps up and slaps me back to reality. Here’s my latest slap: For some reason my Trillian messenger wasn’t connecting to MSN because of some weirdness with my ISP so I had to download and install the 9 MB behemoth that is MSN …

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This week’s column – Wikipedia

This week’s Loose Wire column is about Wikipedia: Wouldn’t it be great if there was a place on the Internet where educated folk pooled their knowledge for nothing, conscientiously building up a huge, orderly and free database on subjects as varied as wind gradients and the yellow-wattled lapwing? Actually, it’s already happened. It’s an on-line …

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Microsoft Rush Out New Toolbar

Microsoft’s MSN have gone the way of Google and launched a toolbar that also blocks pop-ups. To explain the business behind this business, read the excellent Microsoft Monitor. It points out that Google’s toolbar does all this already, and is at the same time diverting searches away from Microsoft. Given that a ‘sizeable chunk’ of …

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Goodbye To The Browser?

Here’s some more interesting end-of-year stuff from Nielsen//NetRatings: a report issued today (PDF file) says that three out of every four home and work Internet users access the Internet using a non-browser based Internet application, particularly media players, instant messengers and file sharing applications. “With 76 percent of Web surfers using Internet applications, functionality has …

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News: Microsoft Takes on Google’s Customisable News

 Microsoft is taking on Google, at least in its news. The New Scientist says Microsoft is testing a a news-gathering web site that tailors the stories selected to individual users. Once MSN Newsbot is fully functional, Microsoft says the site will personalise results within 10 minutes of a user starting to browse.   Microsoft is …

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News: Worming Its Way Into Korea

 Warning of a new computer worm, this time from South Korea. Yonhap reports Friday that W32/Smess.worm, BadTrans, appears attached to an instant message in MSN’s instant messenger service. The worm is a mutant version of another worm called Sinmsn, which was detected last July.   MSN’s messenger service, which gives pairs or groups of users …

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Less Features, Less Bugs Please

 From the It’s About Time Someone’s Talking Sense Dept comes an interesting column by Sean Ammirati the founder and director of Avanti Strategies, who points out that in software, as in most things, less is more (and whose web site seems to take the concept to its furthest practical point).     Writing in InformationWeek he …

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News: Another Reason To Dump MSN Messenger?

 Microsoft look like they’re going their own way again. An article by IDG says it’s making changes to its MSN instant messaging (IM) service that will lock out users of third-party software that uses the service as well as users of older versions of Microsoft’s own Messenger client.     Users have to upgrade to …

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Software: Money, Money, Money

Microsoft has just released a new version of its Money software, 2004. New features: — An extensive Credit Center provides a free credit report and one year of ongoing credit monitoring, in addition to a summary of debt accounts, educational content, access to “what-if” scenarios and information on credit protection. — Money 2004 Premium offers …

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