Free Boingo Wifi In San Francisco

If you’re traveling, working, or just walking around and near San Francisco, Christmas is coming early, courtesy of Microsoft and Boingo Wireless. Microsoft recently inked a deal with Boingo, to sponsor free Wi-Fi access at certain hot spot locations in San Francisco, as part of the Windows 8 celebration, to be announced later this month.

Here’s the announcement from Boingo’s website.

Boingo Wireless (NASDAQ: WIFI), the Wi-Fi industry’s leading provider of software and services worldwide, announced today that Microsoft is sponsoring free Wi-Fi access at high-traffic New York and San Francisco locations from now through the end of the year. The Wi-Fi sponsorship is part of the launch celebration for Windows 8, and will introduce the new Windows Store for Windows 8 to the app builder community. Consumers can also enjoy browsing great new apps in the Windows Store, view staff recommendations and get personalized picks based on apps they may already use.

As part of the holiday promotion, Microsoft’s sponsored Wi-Fi is immediately available for users of all Wi-Fi enabled devices in six Manhattan subway stations, supported by Transit Wireless’ state-of-the-art network, and across Wi-Fi hotzones covering iconic San Francisco locations including Union Square, Fisherman’s Wharf, UN Plaza, the Financial District, Nob Hill and more. Microsoft will also sponsor Wi-Fi via more than 200 Manhattan hotzones, starting November 1. The Wi-Fi hotspots are part of the Boingo’s Cloud Nine media platform, a global advertising network that enables brand advertisers to reach target audiences through high engagement Wi-Fi sponsorship.

Windows Phone In A Horse Race

Have you ever watched a horse race with two horses running neck to neck while a third horse lags far behind? Yea, that third horse is Windows Phone, trailing behind the iPhone and the Android by a wide margin.

It’s hard enough to play second fiddle. How much more a third wheel. I think the sooner the better it is for Microsoft to realize that this gap is too wide to make up to make this a competitive race.

Dropping out of the race might be a smarter option for Microsoft, but then again smart choices and Microsoft sometimes don’t belong in the same sentence. Microsoft has made many flopped ventures. Who hasn’t!

Clearly this is a two-horse race, and it’s not changing anytime soon.

Windows 8 Dizzying Array of Versions

As you are aware, development of Windows 8 is in full force. Microsoft has already started to market its next operating systems by making it available for anyone to download. A recent look at what options are available reveals a dizzying array of options. Tom’s Hardware compiled a list of Windows 8 options, and they are:

  • Windows 8 Enterprise Edition
  • Windows 8 Enterprise Eval Edition
  • Windows 8 Home Basic Edition
  • Windows 8 Home Premium Edition
  • Windows 8 ARM Edition
  • Windows 8 Professional Edition
  • Windows 8 Professional Plus Edition
  • Windows 8 Starter Edition
  • Windows 8 Ultimate Edition

This doesn’t even take into account more options if you take into account 32-bit and 64-bit CPU architectures. This list is quite lengthy. The list can potentially change come release time. As a comparison, Linux Mint has 7 different versions. But, if you take away the 32-bit and 64-bit stuff, it essentially comes down to just 4 different versions.

Do you think there are too many Windows 8 options?

Microsoft Silverlight Snubs Linux Users

Microsoft Silverlight is a powerful development platform for creating engaging, interactive user experiences for the web, desktop and mobile applications, either while connected online or offline. At least, that’s what Microsoft’s says on its website. Silverlight is a browser plugin people use to view streaming movies, videos, and sporting events, as well as running business applications online. Microsoft touts that Silverlight works on all browsers, from Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and of course, Internet Explorer.

However, Silverlight only works in Windows and in Safari on the Mac OS. It doesn’t work in Linux. There are however, several open-source alternatives, like Moonlight, which mimics Silverlight. But it has come up short. There are still a number of Silverlight-powered websites that are inaccessible from the Linux desktop. Netflix comes to mind. There are also several major sports leagues that use Silverlight exclusively for live streaming. The NFL, MLB, NBA, and the MLS are just a few.

Netflix uses Silverlight because of the DRM or digital rights management issue. Netflix has to some way protect movies from being pirated online, hence the use of Silverlight. Here’s the Netflix message you’ll get if you try to run Netflix on Linux. It doesn’t really say it doesn’t support Linux, but Linux is not on the list.

Microsoft or Netflix has no plans whatsoever to include Linux users into the fold. Micorosoft doesn’t seem bothered that Linux users are being isolated from viewing popular video streaming websites. I don’t see Microsoft or Netflix changing their stance anytime soon. They are certainly not going to throw resources to develop Silverlight for the Linux desktop. It’s really a shame, because I still have to keep an old copy of Windows XP running either in a dual-boot configuration or in a Virtualbox, just for the purpose of accessing Silverlight-powered websites and other programs that work in Windows only.

I won’t hold my breath for this to change anytime soon. Maybe, one of these days Linux developers can come up with a better alternative to Moonlight. Waiting for Microsoft to open up the source code for Silverlight, is a waste of time. In the meantime, you can get a Roku box or a Xbox 360, albeit a Microsoft product, to view Netflix and other websites online.

But, there’s a catch. You also have to fork out an additional $60 a year for Xbox Live, and whatever additional subscription price others have with their services. Microsoft technology is just the opposite of what open-source and Linux stands for. It’s all about money and doesn’t care about standards.  It just doesn’t act in the best interest of all.

The Latest Xbox 360 Update

I was dismantling the Xbox 360 last night since the DVD tray would not open. I tried every trick in the book, but no cigar. I ended up breaking the seal (gulp, don’t tell anyone) and removing the plastic covers. I vacuumed the unit. and poked the hole near the DVD tray with a metal wire to free up the DVD tray. It worked.

I’m not sure if I needed to remove the plastic covers to poke the hole, but since it was already open, I took the opportunity to vacuum the unit. I can’t believe the amount of dust collected over the years. I left the covers off momentarily. It seems to have better ventilation without it. Who would have thought? Maybe, this will fix the red ring of death which I still get ocassionally.

Upon bootup, I was prompted with a message to run an Xbox update. So, I ran the update. After 20 minutes, the update completed. The Xbox rebooted. Lo and behold, the new Xbox 360 interface was right before my eyes. In case you haven’t seen it yet, here’s the new XBox 360 interface, courtesy of theRadBrad.

I’m not sure what to think of it yet. What’s with the Bing Search? You can now search the entire Xbox for movies, games, etc, but it’s not for searching the internet. I seem to like the easy access to videos and apps, like Netflix, Hulu Plus, etc. I also noticed viewing Youtube is now possible? I haven’t tried it yet. I’m going to have to play around with it some more before making anymore silly comments.