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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

DeskScapes 2.0: Animated wallpapers no longer just for the Vista elite

Animated wallpapers have been one of the “Extras” that Microsoft has touted as a selling point for customers of its priciest Windows Vista SKU. But now Stardock is bringing animated wallpapers to the Vista masses.

DeskScapes 2.0: Animated wallpapers no longer just for the Vista eliteStardock, a Gold Certified Microsoft partner, worked with Microsoft on DreamScene — a desktop-display feature that allows users to make looped, full-motion video their desktop wallpaper (as opposed to using static images only for background wallpaper). After a number of delays, Microsoft finally released DreamScene in September 2007.
Stardock helped to create much of the initial wallpaper content for DreamScene and then went on to release DeskScapes 1.0 for Vista Ultimate users interested in enhancing DreamScene.

With DeskScapes 2.0, Stardock has decided to make animated wallpapers avaialble to users of Vista Business, Home Premium and Ultimate users. The Standard edition of the product will be available as a free download; an enhanced version with additional features and “premium” content also will be availbale for $19.95.

Stardock plans to provide more information about its DeskScapes 2.0 plans on November 14, and to release a beta version of the technology “shortly,” company officials said. The final DeskScapes 2.0 release will be ready by February 2008, according to Stardock.

Stardock emphasizes that DeskScapes, though animated, use virtually no CPU power. Users will be able to configure the performance of animated wallpapers based on their system requirements. Settings are so granular that users will be able to have their wallpapers change, based on the time of day, and configure dynamic “dreams” independently.

Microsoft has said it plans to continue to release new premium “Extras” to entice users to buy premium versions of Windows. Looks like the company will have to look beyond animated wallpapers, now that Stardock is leveling the playing field in that area.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Conclusion: GoogleOS will tackle Microsoft's Vista OS head on

I found this fantastic article about google OS

Original SOURCE>>

GoogleOS: What To Expect

Written by Emre Sokullu / November 21, 2006 / 102 comments

Written by Emre Sokullu and edited by Richard MacManus.

There's no such thing as the GoogleOS in reality - but despite that, it is one of the most talked about Web products. People can't stop discussing it - and even imagining screenshots for it! Seems like everyone expects Google to get into direct competition with Microsoft, by releasing an operating system. However Google refuses such claims and even makes fun of this kind of buzz. Nevertheless we decided to analyze where Google may be heading with their product strategy - and from that determine what are the chances of a GoogleOS.


We see 3 scenarios for a GoogleOS:

  • A web based desktop (i.e. operating system)
  • A full featured Linux distribution
  • A lightweight Linux distro and/or BIOS

We'll try to explain each of these in detail - then in the conclusion, make our prediction. What's more, we think this could be less than 6 months away from happening.

A Web Based Operating System

If you asked "what will a GoogleOS look like?" - most people would answer that it'll be an AJAX-powered copy of the Windows desktop. In other words, a WebOS (aka webtop). To remind you of what a WebOS is, it is basically a virtual desktop on the web and has various built-in applications. Google already has a history of producing web-based products that mimic desktop apps - Gmail was the first desktop client like email reader, and now they have Google Docs & Spreadsheets, Google Calendar and other desktop-like products. Also note that Google's internal open sourced widget toolset, GWT, allows them to replicate any desktop capability.

On the other hand, a bunch of startups like YouOS , Goowy, DesktopTwo, Xin and open source eyeOS are already tackling this exact problem - and have been for a while now. So if Google engineers are not already working on their own webOS project, they may want to snap up one of these! AJAX powered YouOS, which is a yet another Paul Graham investment, seems like the most obvious choice at this time.

Screenshot from YouOS

Besides the startups we've already mentioned, there may be other surprises that Google looks at for WebOS purposes. Meebo, for instance, has created a very large user base with their web-based meta instant messaging product (it enables you to use multiple IM services on the same webpage). IM is a crucial application, because many people spend a lot of time on the computer IM'ing. So Meebo could use IM as a base - and utilize the empty spaces on their page for new applications.

Meebo OS with fictional Calculator application (taken from YouOS)

30 Boxes also has a webtop offering, but it looks less promising than their calendar. Start pages like NetVibes, PageFlakes and WebWag could also potentially enter the webos business.

A Full Featured Linux Distro

Another possibility for Google is to create their own Linux-based operating system. The free license of Linux allows anyone to create their own version of Linux.  Although Linux is the most popular operating system in the server market and it's free, it is still far behind Windows and MacOS in the desktop market. Some believe this may change with the latest enhancements to the Linux user interface.

This scenario is a more traditional model to replace Windows - with a direct competitor, instead of creating a web-based replacement. Indeed this has already been widely speculated - Ubuntu, a semi-free Linux derivative, was rumored to be acquired by Google.

If this scenario happened, Google may open up their operating system as a free download and promote it on their homepage - as they once did with Firefox. They could also make a networked file system the default, instead of the complex UNIX file hierarchy of Linux - which is another reason why Linux struggles in the mainstream desktop market.

A Lightweight Linux Distro or BIOS

A lightweight Linux distro is a possibility. For example an OS that simply booted up the computer, connected to the internet, and then opened Firefox. Then leave the rest to Google's web sites and apps. This is possibly the most logical strategy, because Google could then create a homepage that connects all their services and applications - and people will have the freedom to use other web sites and services as well.

Similar concepts already exist. For instance, Puppy and Damn Small are 2 credit card sized Linux distros. The good thing about these is that you can carry them everywhere you go - putting the credit card sized CD or the USB drive into your pocket and using your own operating system anywhere you go. Why? Because these distributions don't need to be installed and can work directly from the CD or the USB drive.

ByzantineOS, a dead project now, was doing exactly this. Its sole purpose was to boot up and open a Mozilla based window manager - but then you could not get out of your browser window!

A screenshot of ByzantineOS, showing the user stuck inside the browser

However, Google may be considering an even more radical solution and planning to replace BIOS with their own version. BIOS means 'basic input/output system' and it is the built-in software that determines what a computer can do - for example it controls the keyboard and display screen. Google's latest sponsorship of LinuxBIOS may be a step towards researching this. In that case, Google could agree with hardware vendors to pre-install Google's BIOS-based operating system.

Conclusion: GoogleOS will tackle Microsoft's Vista OS head on

We believe that everything will become much clearer in the following 6 months. Microsoft will put pressure on Google with its Vista OS, which will receive relatively high adoption just like any other new Windows release (although probably not as high as historically Microsoft has enjoyed!). As Vista's adoption increases, so will the adoption of its default search engine Live Search. From Microsoft's perspective, this will have a positive effect on all Live and MSN sites. What end users are looking for is ease-of-use and satisfactory experiences - which in a lot of cases starts from the Vista OS. 

In that scenario, Google's usage rates may be negatively affected. So we predict at that point, Google will start a more punchy strategy - pushing Firefox and some form of Google OS. Yahoo! has already responded to the Microsoft threat in a friendly fashion, by offering a customized IE7 for its users. But we think Google will be more aggressive and competitive and will push their own OS. The GoogleOS may be a reality within 6 months!

Google OS has become a REALITY!

EDIT: This gOS (also known as good - OS) should not be confused with the upcoming google OS which you can see in a video of a beta here>

This post contains 2 new things. 1st the new google OS, and second, a new very cheap PC.

You can find out more and download google OS for free here: The site will become live on Nov 1.

About the PC:

A $198 PC that is energy efficient. Less that 2 watts of energy for the CPU!!!

This is great news.. The CPU that this pc uses is one of the most energy efficient ones ever made!

I also like the fact that for the first time Google is doing what everyone expected it do slowly introduce a Google OS. Its about time MS started to have some real competition...

I expect to see more and more of this. Cheap, energy efficient computers that run linux and use lots of WEB BASED APPLICATIONS>

The future is green, lite, interconnected and its cheap enough for EVERYONE ON THE PLANET to have access to all the information on the WEB.

Humanity is changing... this is EVOLUTION not only of technology, but of humanity itself.


Everex, a longtime personal computer vendor, has unveiled its latest PC featuring Ubuntu Linux-based open-source productivity software and Google-based Web 2.0 applications, for a mere $198.

(Click for larger view of the gPC TC2502)
Everex is following Dell, which pioneered the broad release of Linux-powered desktops and laptops to the consumer market in the United States. Since Dell's first moves, other PC vendors such as Lenovo and HP have explored broader Linux PC releases.
The Everex Green gPC TC2502 includes popular applications from Google, Mozilla, Skype and It runs gOS Initial G, which in turn is based on Ubuntu Linux 7.10 The gOS operating system features a simple and intuitive Linux Enlightenment E17 desktop interface with a Google-centric theme. The system comes with a lifetime of free updates and revisions.

The company opted to use Enlightenment, rather than the more popular KDE or GNOME, because Enlightenment requires minimal hardware resources for its interface.
Although the company claims in a FAQ that it was "created as a conceptual Google PC with a conceptual Google OS," Paul Kim, Everex's director of marketing, in a discussion with DesktopLinux clarified that "popular applications such as those from Google are an integral part of our product, however, gOS is an entity entirely independent from Google. Furthermore, while we make use of many applications from Google, 'Google Apps' is not bundled with this particular system."

"There has been a latent demand for a consumer-friendly Linux operating system, generating countless inquires from customers seeking an alternative PC experience," said John Lin, general manager of Everex. "The vision behind gPC was to provide mainstream users with all their favorite applications wrapped in a no-compromise, low-cost, consumer-friendly product. We're simply giving the people what they want. Everex enlisted the collective intelligence of users throughout the world. Customers love Google products, so we added them. Hackers want administrative privileges, so we provided it. The ultimate potential of a mainstream, open-source PC is tremendous."

At the heart of the gPC TC2502 is an energy-efficient 1.5GHz, VIA C7-D processor. This CPU draws less than 2W on average (with a maximum of 20W). Operating at a mere 28dB, the gPC also ranks as the quietest Everex desktop computer ever produced. It also includes 512MB of system memory, 80GB hard disk drive and DVD-ROM/CD-RW optical drive. The system also comes with six USB 2.0 ports; an RJ45 Ethernet port; an RJ11 port; and a serial and parallel port.

The package, which doesn't include a monitor, does include a keyboard, mouse and stereo speakers. For graphics, it uses a VIA UniChrome Pro chipset on the motherboard. This, in turn, uses 64MB of system memory.

The computer's pre-installed and linked Software includes Mozilla Foxfire, gMail, Meebo (a browser-based IM client) Skype, Google Documents & Spreadsheets, Google Calendar, Google News, Google Maps, GIMP, Blogger, the Xing Movie Player, and 2.2.
The Everex gPC will be available at some, but not all, Wal-Mart stores and for $198 starting in early November. This is not the first time Wal-Mart has sold a low-priced Linux desktop. Earlier, the company sold Microtel systems running Linspire. For the last few years, though, Wal-Mart has not been selling Linux systems. Everex is expected to make the gPC TC2502 available through other retail partners if demand warrants this move.

EDIT: This gOS should not be confused with the upcoming google OS which you can see in a video of an early beta here>