Microsoft out to save the world, Beeb looking to catch students young. Wait, no...

Good morning readers, I do hope all is well. Bit of a rush today so we’d best get cracking...

First up we have the news that Windows Vista Build 5365 - the Beta 2 preview to you and me - has (finally) arrived, with some decent updates to boot. Internet Explorer 7 has received a polish and a tweak, and works much better now, and other features like the sidebar gadgets have been implemented for the first time in a public build. Go fawn over there

Sticking with things Microsoft is doing to better humanity (or something like that) with their new generation of crap, they’re sending Windows Live (previously MSN...) to college. The company will be offering services to college students (in the States at the moment) such as email accounts which will have the domain name of their particular place of learning, and no ads to boot. Microsoft is hoping that if it gets ’em young it’ll get ’em for life. The students meanwhile will probably take what they can get for nothing

Speaking of things happening in places I’m not, though in this case I’d say it’s a thing not likely to be coming this way either ; Warner Brothers are trying something innovative in China in an attempt to combat the rife movie (and just about everything else) piracy. They’re lowering their prices. Shock, horror goes the audience. By cutting back on the packaging to a simple cardboard sleeve they’re managing to drop the price of their legitimate products to around that of their pirated counterparts : Around $1.50. Good luck to them sending such a cheap product our way (of course the stingy market here would probably be disgusted at the sight of cheap packaging as well...) I’m going to learn to speak Chinese, it may be cheaper in the long run

Users of Google probably recognise at this stage the variations on the sites logo whenever the Googlers are wanting to celebrate something. This time however they’re getting into trouble for it, with the family of artist Joan Miro a tad miffed at the fact that they used some of his designs in the logo they used to celebrate his life. The Artists Rights Society have been writing strongly worded, possibly colourful, letters to Google to complain about the underlying copyright infringements. Google has been shooting back with a respectful "We’re sorry you feel this way, but we are trying to pay tribute..." You can’t keep everyone happy...

The US state of Michigan may be about to become the first to require that secondary school students either take a course in online studies, or else complete part of their existing studies through the internet ; in an effort to make the states students more tech savvy. The usual "Preparing for a new century" statements have been thrown about, but it does raise an interesting point for all educators to consider : If everyone is so worried about the MySpace’s of this world, and how the youngens will cope in the new tech workforce, why not teach them part of their existing course through the internet and let them pick up a few side skills along the way ? Perhaps a tad "Hip" for skool

The Beeb seems a tad obsessed with climate change of late. Still, can’t be all that bad as they’re at least giving us food for thought : Apparently (and this is in the category of "really surprised me, makes sense now that I think about it"), all the stereos in Britain cost £290m and produce 1.6 million tonnes of CO2 from energy usage, whilst TV’s on standby (which, personally, I would have thought were bigger culprits) cost £88m and produce 480,000 tonnes of CO2. Of course it makes sense because there are more stereos than TV sets. The biggest culprits however are our computers which consume power even when turned off, the cheeky buggers. If you want to save on power, turn the thing completely off and then plug it out of the wall or else you’ll wake up underwater, we’re told. Activists against Gaming Machines here we come...

Bob Parsons, the chap behind, has been playing the soapbox of the domain name registration business (yes, now that I think about it I can begin to see why people outside the tech business look at us a bit funny). Last month it was the .EU domain land grab, today it’s the big moneymaking scheme behind domain name registrations. We have all heard of people who park themselves on domains, and we’ve all come across a site or two which has endless links waiting for us to click on just one to land the owner a few cents in ad revenue. Well Bob explains the whole system. Of course is completely, utterly, undeniably innocent of any such charges in any way, shap [We get the rose tinted picture -Ed] Well, not being a l33t agent in the domain name business how would I know ? But seriously, bring this up in conversation with normal people and watch their faces

Right, that’s about it for this morning. Coming up later today we have something the Beeb might appreciate in low power desktop systems, some chipsets raced and young Mr Wright does his Monday gaming thing. Bless his cotton white socks. And so on.

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