22:00 PM

Newswatch 3.18.08: SP1, APPL numbers, Facebook features

The Grand Master passes. Arthur C. Clarke, most famous for 2001: A Space Odyssey but the author of dozens of novels, hundreds of stories and quite a few screenplays, died at the age of 90. Clark's three laws: 1. When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
2. The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible. 3. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. (Wikipedia.)

SP 1 is here. After a lot of back and forth, with quite a few buggy bumps along the way, MSFT made SP1 available to Windows Vista users through Windows Update and as a standalone installer package from the Microsoft Download Center. (Ed Bott.)

The return of Wintel. MSFT and INTC are hooking up to spend $20m on parallel computing research at UC Berkeley and U. of Ill. Champagn-Urbana. "Twenty-plus years ago, the research space in parallel computing was looking toward the end of Moore's Law, and so there were bases that were built there to exploit parallelization," MSFT dir. of multicore computing Dan Reed said. "The challenge has been that long-term research had been required to support this. There is no silver bullet there. Some of it is going to be incremental advances; some is (sic) going to be new languages." (InfoWeek.)

Privacy ... on Facebook. Facebook announced its very own IM system plus new privacy controls. Says News.com: Most notable about the new privacy controls is the fact that Facebook members will now be able to choose how much of their profiles are visible to those on their friends list. There's also Facebook Chat, which is intended as a lightweight ease-of-use feature, not competition to AIM. VP Matt Cohler: "We want Facebook to be part of your experience all over the Web. Our business is not to make Facebook an island."

AAPL numbers. Wow, people really are buying Macs. The cooler PC accounts for 14% of the US market, as of Feb. 08, compared to 9% in Feb. 07. NPD analyst: ""The MacBook and MacBook Pro did pretty well and made a smooth transition to the Penryn. And Apple got a nice bump from the MacBook Air." But it's not just the machines: the Apple Store experience is key. "Apple's stores are key to what they do." (ComputerWorld.)

More numbers. iPhone users love the Web. Some 85% of them regularly check mail and websites on their phones, compared to 58% of all smartphone owners and 13% of all phone owners.

OK, Steve, we'll make Flash better. To Steve Jobs, Adobe is just another engineering group to kick around. When he told the world that Flash wasn't good enough for the iPhone (/.), you could just imagine him screaming "THIS SUCKS!" behind closed doors. Anyway, Adobe sheepishly is skulking back into the room, announcing it will work on a Flash that meets with the boss's approval. Flash Light might not be good enough for iPhone but apparently it is good enough for WinMob, Silverlight be damned. (Eric Zeman.)