Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Windows 7: Microsoft's secret weapon against Google

Author: Preston Gralla

October 27, 2008 (Computerworld) With the first public alpha release of Windows 7 due today at the Microsoft PDC2008 conference, the outline of the new operating system is taking shape. What you won't see when that alpha comes out is the way that Microsoft will try to use Windows 7 as a Trojan horse in its war against Google.

Google's domination of the search market continues unabated, but Microsoft hasn't given up on it. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer recently said that his company is willing to lose "5% to 10% of total operating income for several years" to fund its ongoing attempt to make inroads into the search market. Much more than search is at stake. Google wants to replace Microsoft's desktop-based applications, such as Office, with its cloud-based applications, such as Google Docs.
So where does Windows 7 come in? What new features can Microsoft possibly introduce that will help it overtake Google in search and retain its domination of productivity software such as Office?

Microsoft's secret weapon in Windows 7 is not what features the operating system has, but instead what features it doesn't have. Microsoft is stripping Windows 7 of some of Windows' best built-in applications, and it's making them available only as downloads on its Windows Live site.
When Windows 7 comes out, it won't include Windows Mail, Windows Photo Gallery and Windows Movie Maker, which are some of Vista's most useful applications. Windows Movie Maker is a surprisingly sophisticated piece of software for creating videos and DVDs, and it's worthy of being sold as stand-alone software. Windows Photo Gallery is a well-done, elegant way to manage digital photos. And Windows Mail is the successor to Outlook Express, with a very big installed base. Expect users to howl in protest when they find those applications gone, particularly Windows Mail.

To get them, users will have to visit the Microsoft Windows Live site, where the software can be downloaded for free. And, of course, there will be plenty of other Windows Live software they can download, as well as other Windows Live services they can use. It's a variation on the classic "loss leader" in retail, where you lure folks in with freebies and then pounce with a hard sell.
Microsoft claims that it is stripping the applications out of Windows 7 because it makes for a "cleaner" operating system. But there are plenty of useless applications it could strip out of Windows to no ill effect. The backup program in Vista, for example, is close to useless. And as for People Near Me or Windows Meeting Space -- do you use either of those programs? Do you know anyone who does? Those could easily go to make for a cleaner operating system. And while Microsoft is at it, it could get rid of User Account Control. I don't know anyone who would cry real tears if that one bit the dust.

I expect that there will be plenty of other hooks in Windows 7 to get people to go to Windows Live. And I don't expect all of those hooks to be consumer-oriented like Photo Gallery and Movie Maker. Don't be surprised if there are enterprise-related hooks as well.
All this may be clever marketing, but it won't work. Microsoft may be able to push users to Windows Live, but if it doesn't build better search and better services than Google, people will stay with Google.

If Microsoft wants to eat into Google's share of the search market, there's only one thing it can do: Build better search. If it wants to make sure that Google doesn't threaten its near-monopoly of productivity suites, it will need to make some version of Office available over the Internet.
The key to battling Google is building better software and services. Stripping useful applications out of Windows isn't the way to win the war.

About the Author:
Preston Gralla is a Computerworld contributing editor and the author of more than 35 books, including How the Internet Works and Windows Vista in a Nutshell. Contact him at preston@gralla.com.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

8 Advantages of Remote Backup Service

To backup your important data you should firstly choose a backup media storage. There are HDD, CD, DVD, FTP, Blue-ray, and other storages for backup. Let's consider a remote backup service which has unique pecularities for everyone who'd like to use a distant location to store his/her data files.

Firstly we should examine pluses and minuses of remote backup. On the one hand, this method has advantages compared with offsite storage (independency from computer problems as well some physical disasters), broad access to your files and the possibility to automate all process. On the other hand, we depend on the internet connection, we need more time to backup to local storage and we have a small probability for access of third party. But all these problems are no so hard and could be solved easily.

So, let's review the main advantages of remote backup service:
1) Free software.
Often it's suggested free backup software after signing up to remote backup account}
2) Professionally protected servers.
From hackers, fire, flood and even nuclear explosions. Due to the fact that server is located in underground shelters usually.
3) 24/7/365 technical support.
4) Backup statistics and logging.
You can always check up the backup process and the details of the last backup.
5) Automatic data encryption.
Every remote backup service an encryption algorithm to protect your privacy while transfer and storage your files.
6) Data compression.
This feature helps use less bandwith and space on the server.
7) Multi-site data collection.
It will allow you to backup data from different places to the defenite server using the same service.
8) Unlimited space.
Usually remote backup service gives you the server space as much as you need.

Nevertheless usually such services are not free. It depends on the amount of space you want, the number of computers to backup and the options you wish to choose. Approximately, the price will be $2/1GB per month, so, the price will be around 5-10 USD per month. What do you think - it's not so big price compared to Data Recovery prices or to the loss of valuable files?

Finally, conclude that secure remote backup service meets the requirements of any customers such as individuals, organizations and networks. It's a real guarantee that all your precious data has a copy and you have an access to it any time you want.