Moving and Shaking in Techland
March 22nd is National Goof Off Day, and since we're usually busy goofing off, we figured the perfect way to celebrate was by doing a bit of work. We've rounded up a bundle of interesting news, full of moving and shaking, but no goofing off.
First up, the February search rankings are in, and the big name is as always, Google. Big Search was both up and down last month, gaining 0.7% in the U.S. market, but dropping 0.3% internationally, while Yahoo and Microsoft both were down from January. Every pundit from Portland to Pawtucket has been foaming at the mouth with predictions of what the numbers mean for Google, though they can't decide if it's imminent destruction or universal conquest. For our part, we think Leo Laporte had the best line of any we saw.
Meanwhile, Sony was getting a lesson in consumer mathematics, after reports appeared yesterday morning that the company would be charging a $50 fee to strip its Vaio systems of bloatware. Within a few hours they were pulling their digital foot from their digital mouths, after an angry online mob planted its own foot...well, somewhere else. Sony originally claimed the fee covered the cost of removing the software, but will now not be imposing it, apparently judging the cost of removing the bloatware to be less than for an in-house proctologist.
In other news, Apple — which we all know is renowned for keeping the doctor away — is considering its own free service, with reports circulating that the iPod manufacturer is negotiating contracts to open iTunes for unlimited free downloading. Of course, there's no such thing as a free lunch — unless it's Open Source — and Apple is no different — the deal will only be available to iPhone and iPod customers who pay a premium tacked on to the cost of their phones. Of course, the music will only be available to download to the premium-paid Apple devices, and will still have the DRM protection that prevents iTunes music from playing on rival devices.
Last but not least, a bit of moving and shaking at One Laptop Per Child, where it looks like quite a bit has been going on behind the scenes. Most by now are aware that Mary Lou Jepsen, OLPC's Chief Technology Officer, took her leave at the end of last year to take the OLPC-idea for-profit, but the last week seems to have seen the floodgates open. First was Ivan Krstić, Director of Security Architecture, who revealed on his blog Tuesday that he resigned from OLPC at the beginning of March, with a laundry-list of reasons for the split described as a "drastic internal restructuring coupled with...a radical change in its goals and vision." Almost as if to confirm Krstić's charges, it was revealed on Thursday that three members of the OLPC Board and one of its advisors were removed from the list of people involved with the project. Just what is going on inside $100 Laptop Land we don't know, or at least haven't heard officially, but it certainly seems like things are far from business as usual.
Now we're going back to the traditional celebration of Goof Off Day, and we wish you all a Happy Easter, Sunny Spring Holiday, Vivacious Vernal Equinox, and enjoyable other holiday you might be celebrating this weekend.