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July 26th, 2009

Watching the watchers

There's something about Meerkats. It's probably the way we anthropomorphise their eusocial behaviours, the watchers guarding the foragers.

Transplanted to the US, their normal predators may be thousands of miles away, but there are still dangers. The ubiquitous turkey vultures circle overhead, and red-tailed hawks swoop out of the sky on unsuspecting small mammals, all while the silver-brown coyotes lope across the plains. Then there are the new threats: the roar of the jet, the deep growl of the Harley Davidson.

It pays to be alert, to be on watch at all times.

Watching The Watchers

Watching The Watchers

Watching The Watchers

That, and they're just so cute...

Escondido, California
May 2009

Recent words

A couple of recent news pieces on ZDNet UK:

First , on the RTM release of Windows 7:

Microsoft has finalised the Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 code and released it to manufacturing.

The announcement, made on Wednesday, marks the last engineering stage for both products before their scheduled release to the public on 22 October. Microsoft has spent nine months working on Windows 7 and the Windows Server update since demonstrating them at its Professional Developer Conference last year.

There is very little difference between the RTM (released it to manufacturing) versions and the release candidates that have been widely available since May, according to Microsoft executives who took part in a conference call about the announcement.

"Frankly, we didn't anticipate any major changes, and that's proven to be true", said Rich Reynolds, general manager for Windows commercial marketing. "The code is ready for the masses".

Read more.

And then, on the Windows 7 family pack, and the fact that it may not make it to the UK (where I get to share a byline with CNet's Ina Fried):

Microsoft plans to offer a 'family pack' for Windows 7 that can be used on up to three PCs in the US, but is not sure whether it will be sold in the UK.

The software maker acknowledged it would sell the bundle, which allows three installations of the Home Premium version of the operating system, in a blog post on Tuesday. However, in a conference call on the release to manufacturing of Windows 7 on Wednesday, Microsoft executives acknowledged that the family pack may not be released in Europe, including the UK.

"We're evaluating that, to see how attractive it will be to the market and how effective, as it's been designed for upgrades, and in Europe we will be having the 'E' versions, which are full versions," John Curran, director of the Windows Client group at Microsoft UK, said in the call.

Read more.

No more Astoria

Recently marypcb and I got to ride a shiny metal elevator high over the streets of London.

We ended up on the 31st floor of the Centrepoint tower, looming over the West End and Oxford Street. The views were spectacular, as the sun slowly set in the west. Looking down we could see the sad remains of the Astoria, one of those rock venues that seemed to be a fixture of the London scene. Until the great hand of the planners came along, and decreed that it was right they wanted to build the entrance to an expanded and refurbished Tottenham Court Road tube station as part of the Crossrail project.

The top floors of the building are gone now, and you can see right down into the theatre - as well as into the hidden atrium that lit the next door office block.

No more Astoria

The end of an era (or two).

London
July 2009