One of the hits at this year's TechFest in Redmond was the so-called translating telephone.
The effort combines speech recognition, machine translation, and text-to-speech technology to let two people who don't share a common language nonetheless carry on a phone conversation. As part of a regional TechFair at Microsoft's Silicon Valley offices on Thursday, I got a chance to try out the technology, conversing with Frank Seide, one of the researchers behind the project.
I asked a few questions in English, while Seide answered in German. As one can see from the video below, it's far from perfect, but even being able to get the gist of what someone is saying without sharing a common language is pretty cool.
Netbooks are expected to get a dual-core Intel Atom processor by June, finally giving this category of tiny laptops all of the goodness that multicore processors offer.
Netbooks from Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, Dell, and Toshiba are offered exclusively with single-core Atom processors, which provide good battery life but lack the performance of multicore chips. Though Asus has been offering a dual-core Netbook, this kind of design is rare because it shoehorns a more power-hungry Atom chip built for desktop PCs into a larger laptop-sized casing.
AOL has filled two key positions, grabbing Alex Gounares from Microsoft as the new CTO and promoting Julie Jacobs as the new general counsel.
Gounares arrives at AOL this week to take over as chief technology officer and join the company's Global Executive Operating Committee, the company announced Monday. In his new role, Gounares will spearhead AOL's technology strategy, in charge of platform development and external partnerships. He'll also manage the expansion of AOL's engineering centers and technology staff around the world and be counted on to play a leading role in the company's overall direction.
Microsoft opened the doors to its Silicon Valley research center here to show off the latest technologies it has under development. The show, called TechFair 2010 Silicon Valley, is similar to the TechFest events held at Microsoft's main Washington campus.
Microsoft Research is the home to a lot of very smart researchers with PhDs and advanced training in very esoteric technologies who don't worry about selling technology, just how to develop it; the product part comes later.
As Rick Rashid, senior vice president of research at Microsoft noted in his keynote, many key developments have come out of the software giant's research division. He said that "there isn't a product on the market today that hasn't been at least somewhat affected by Microsoft Research." This includes everything from Microsoft's Bing search engine to the Xbox to SQL Server to its new Azure cloud services.
Microsoft quietly announced that it is shipping two new IT products aimed at keeping the enterprise safe while at the same time enabling secure collaboration among workers using its SharePoint tools.
The two Microsoft products -- Forefront Protection 2010 for SharePoint and Active Directory Federation Services 2.0 -- began shipping Wednesday, according to company officials.
Along with the new products, Microsoft is also talking up the security philosophy behind the products and how that fits with the company's overall vision of secure collaboration using Microsoft's SharePoint collaboration technology.
As cybercriminals grow in number and sophistication, Microsoft thinks it's time for government and industry to rethink their approach to the problem.
Scott Charney, the corporate vice president of Microsoft's Trustworthy Computing division, has offered up a new blueprint for defining and responding to cybercrime. Charney places a particular emphasis on attribution, and calls for new laws and partnerships among nations to combat the growing menace.
eSecurity Planet takes a look at Microsoft's new cybercrime framework, presented at the EastWest Institute's Worldwide Cybersecurity Summit in Dallas.
Denver-based technology research firm Janco Partners, Inc. today released a study profiling the international browser and operating system market.
The study shows that in the less than seven months that Windows 7 has been available, it has already attained a 14.8% share of the international OS market.
"There are now more users of Windows 7 than Vista. That is a major factor in their improved record earnings. The last OS that was accepted as quickly in the market was XP," Janco CEO Victor Janulaitis said in a statement today. "Vista's market share has peaked, and is in the process of being decommissioned in most enterprises."
"More and more people are getting excited about the opportunity of what PCs can do for them in their living rooms to improve their entertainment experience." That was the message I was getting as far back as 2005, as companies including AMD, Intel, Microsoft, and yes, even Sun were exploring form factors for "entertainment PCs." Soon, we'd be seeing brands like Intel Viiv, AMD Live, and Microsoft TV at a store near you.
With its purchase of Palm, Hewlett-Packard acquired more than just a smartphone maker. It also picked up a whole new strategy for its mobile devices.
HP said Wednesday it plans to acquire Palm for $1.2 billion, or $5.70 per share, which amounts to a 23 percent premium over Palm's actual stock price at the end of the day. But for a leading technology company like HP with almost zero mobile phone presence and $13.5 billion in cash, picking up a company with a fully developed mobile operating system, a decent lineup of devices, and trove of mobile patents is a bargain. It will also make HP a viable competitor in the growing mobile market.
The mobile phone wars got more interesting late on Tuesday as Microsoft publicly asserted for the first time that Google's Android operating system infringes on its intellectual property. Microsoft has taken the position, according to those close to the company, that Android infringes on the company's patented technology and that the infringement applies broadly in areas ranging from the user interface to the underlying operating system.