Particle Debris from the Week of March 31

On T hursday, Channel Web reported that Windows XP, SP3 has been released to manufacturing. That update has to be one of the best kept secrets ever as Microsoft hopes that people will just forget about XP and briskly move to Vista. And on Friday, Bill Gates is so excited about Vista that he talked about how Windows 7 may be coming sooner than believed. Can things get any more confused? Probably.

Now for all those who just can't wait to install Vista into Parallels, Microsoft is offering a secret, cost saving ($110) upgrade to Vista by purchasing the SP1 upgrade alone. Microsoft knows about the loophole. I guess it's a good idea to sell Vista in as many ways as possible.

Earlier in the week, for all those who aren't entertained by Microsoft enough, the New York Times reported that Microsoft has reached an agreement with a company headed by Peter Safran, a veteran producer, to produce original content for the Xbox. One can have a lot of fun thinking about what kind of original stories Microsoft and Mr. Safran will dream up. Is John Hodgman the real Iron Man? Who knows?

On Monday, the Mercury News pointed out that an iPhone can turn one from a mere know-it-all into an incredibly annoying know-it-all, and Erica Sadun can prove it. After all, if you have the entire Internet in the palm of your hand...

The Newton Virus is a piece of software that exploits the accelerometer in a MacBook Pro to create all kinds of havoc on the screen. The idea is that you wait until the target, er, user, steps away and then insert the USB drive with the code. People should think long and hard about this stuff. We all like to think we have a good sense of humor -- except when it comes to our PowerBooks. Watching the promo movie is probably more fun than getting shot at or fired after you install this software on your boss's Mac.

Of course, we all know why Blu-ray discs are so expensive, right? They require new equipment to make and can't be made on the old DVD mastering equipment. That truth, however, probably doesn't reveal the fact that it costs maybe 50 cents to master a DVD and $1.50 to master a Blu-ray disc. So why not sell movies for $40? Greed seems to work for Hollywood. These prices aren't going to last long in this economy. The studios better wake up fast.

It seems game manufacturers are getting hammered by piracy and are turning more and more away from PCs to game consoles. The result this week is that EA announced that there will be no Madden 2009, according to ars technica. We could be off to the passing of an era.

Finally, in ultimate irony, Sony BMG has been accused of piracy. A French company, PointDev, found unlicensed software on Sony's servers in France. "For Sony, the development seems to mark a copyright-related public relations debacle," according to MediaPost. Delicious scandal indeed for a company that backs the RIAA.