Jeeves Gets Fired

Looks like the AskJeeves search engine will be firing the butler. According to this PCWorld article, chair and CEO Barry Diller of IAC/InterActiveCorp, the company that finished its purchase of AskJeeves this July, said:

“By the way, Jeeves will disappear, and we will be called Ask or Ask.com,” Diller said during the conference. “Not that I don’t like that butler. He’s actually a thinner butler now.”

It seems that the mascot was giving people wrong impressions about the search engine. Also from the PCWorld article:

…surveys revealed that users tended to pigeonhole the search engine as “old-fashioned” and appropriate for only question-based queries, Meakin said.

The company’s research has shown that use of the Jeeves character as the prominent symbol of the brand blinds people to recent changes and improvements in the search engine, the company said in a statement.

eBay Buys Skype

According to this PCWorld article, EBay recently bought out internet telephony company Skype for $2.6 billion. eBay said that they hope their acquisition of Skype will improve communication by allowing auction buyers and sellers to talk to each other. It’s also likely that users of Skype’s premium services will be able to make payments using eBay’s Paypal.

Windows Vista Editions

The Supersite for Windows has managed to obtain information about the different editions of Windows Vista (previously known as “Longhorn”) that is due next year. The tentative list of editions and features is:

  • Windows Vista Starter Edition – Aimed at developing countries, Starter Edition is a bare-bones version of Windows that only allows 3 programs to run at a time. Analogous to Windows XP Starter Edition.
  • Windows Vista Home Basic Edition – Basic version of Vista upon which other editions will build on. Will not include new Aero interface. Roughly analogous to Windows XP Home Edition.
  • Windows Vista Home N Edition – In order to comply with antitrust rulings in Europe, Microsoft has released the “N” versions of Windows. Vista Home N Edition will basically be Vista Home Basic Edition but without Windows Media Player and other media features. Like the Windows XP N Editions, the Vista N Editions will only be available in Europe.
  • Windows Vista Home Premium Edition – Adds Windows XP Media Center Edition and Windows XP Tablet PC Edition functionality, plus numerous other features, to Home Basic Edition.
  • Windows Vista Professional Edition – Business operating system which will include encryption, remote desktop, and other business features. Also includes Tablet PC functionality. Roughly analogous to Windows XP Professional Edition + Windows XP Tablet PC Edition.
  • Windows Vista Professional N Edition – Vista Professional Edition without Windows Media Player, etc.
  • Windows Vista Small Business Edition – Aimed at small businesses. Based on Professional Edition and adds small business features: fax, more backup features, and possibly a security suite based on Microsoft’s OneCare. Not analogous to any XP version.
  • Windows Vista Enterprise Edition – Adds enterprise features to Professional Edition such as Virtual PC and advanced security and encryption technologies. Not analogous to any XP version.
  • Windows Vista Ultimate Edition – “Has everything.” Includes features of both the Vista Home and Professional lines. Also adds features like a game performance tweaker. Microsoft is also considering adding Ultimate Edition features and benefits such as a podcast creation utility, deluxe games, custom themes, preferred customer support, Microsoft OneCare subscriptions, free music and movie downloads, and more. Not analogous to any XP version.

Although all of these editions could cause confusion for the average consumer, the choices could benefit more knowledgeable computer users by giving them more control over what features they want in their operating system. Personally, I’d go for Windows Vista Ultimate Edition (assuming it isn’t outrageously expensive), especially if it includes a high-quality podcast creation tool. 😉

For more information on this milestone Windows Vista development, visit this Supersite for Windows article, which includes a detailed description of each edition, plus a table showing which features will be included in each edition.

Year of the…?

As some readers will know, Pope John Paul II had given “themes” to certain years. The “Year of the Rosary” was October 2003 to October 2004, and the “Year of the Eucharist” is October 2004 to October 2005. I think it’s highly possible that Benedict XVI will continue this tradition. If so, I’m going to make a wild guess as to the theme… I’ll say, “Year of the Priesthood.” I’ll find out if I’m right or wrong in two months :-). I haven’t seen or read any other predictions for the October 2005-2006 theme yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if some other people have made this or other guesses. Do you have a theme prediction? If so, what is it?

Google Moon

When I went to visit the Google homepage today, they had a “Google Moon” logo and a sentence that read:

See what the astronauts saw on July 20, 1969. Try Google Moon.

If you follow the link to moon.google.com, you’ll get a version of Google Maps that shows satellite imagery from the moon, along with information about the various lunar landings. Also check out the Google Moon FAQ, where they mention their G.C.H.E.E.S.E. research center that was announced on April Fool’s Day of 2004.

And when you’re looking at the Google Moon maps, just remember – don’t zoom in too close. 😛