Oracle buys Sun for $7.4B

Oracle, known for its database business, has announced today that it will buy Sun Microsystems for$9.50 per share in cash. The valuation of the deal is $7.4 billion, or $5.6 billion net of Sun’s cash and debt. Weeks ago IBM approached Sun for a buyout, but Sun rejected IBM’s offer because they did not like the terms IBM was offering.

Sun brings several benefits to Oracle through the acquisition. First off, Oracle has not had a hardware or server OS business to date and this is the area of IT where Sun earned its reputation during the dot-com boom. In addition to hardware, Oracle’s most important product to acquire is Sun’s best-know technology: Java software. Java is the most important software Oracle has ever acquired because it’s one of the computer industry’s best-known brands and most widely deployed technologies. Java is also critical to Oracle because its fastest growing business, Oracle Fusion Middleware, is built on Sun’s Java language.

Another important product Oracle acquires with Sun is Solaris, the successful platform for Oracle’s database business; which is Oracle’s largest business. Acquiring Sun’s two key software assets will ensure Oracle continued innovation for the benefit for the customers.

Oracle is mainly focused to tackle large-scale business intelligence problems along with Sun and its enterprise servers and server software. If you are a small business or medium sized business, you would probaly be more interested in tower servers.

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Vevo: New Music Video Site To Be Launched By Google And Universal Music

YouTube

YouTube

Last week, Universal Music Group and Google announced they were working together on a new music and video entertainment service set to launch sometime this year. The new website will be called Vevo.

Google-owned YouTube will handle the technology side while Universal Music supplies all the content; and the two plan to split the revenue generated by ads. Currently, YouTube visitors use songs from Universal Music and will continue to be allowed to do so. Moving forward, the professionally made videos from Universal Music will only appear on the new site, Vevo.

Doug Morris, Universal Music’s chief executive, originally wanted to build his own music and video site with better quality video and additional features, but decided to partner with Google seeing how it would be difficult to find a bigger audience than that of YouTube’s.

The test of time will tell us if a stand-alone music-video site can earn the needed visitors and ad revenue. What do you think? Is Vevo a website you would want to visit?

Writers from CNET commented on the website to be launched and listed, in their opinion, five features that would make Vevo work.

Microsoft Pushes Users to Upgrade to IE8 and One Day to Windows 7


Lately, there has been a lot of chatter about Microsoft and its products. Last month the big news was the release of the latest version of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer Web browser, IE8.

While the latest edition was released on March 19th, 2009, a lot of people have yet to upgrade from IE6 or IE7.  Microsoft announced they would start sending notifications via Auto Update to their entire user base beginning in the third week of April. They have already pushed auto-updates to anyone who previously downloaded the beta version. Now, Microsoft is sending out notification to those users still running IE6 or IE7 on Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003, or Windows Server 2008.

I just received an email notifying me of the update with a link to download Internet Explorer 8 today (see image below).  You don’t have to upgrade to IE 8, but it will be much more secure than IE6 and possibly IE7. The notifications do not auto-install the software on anyone’s computer,  so don’t worry. You must opt-in to install the update so you can wait if you would like to.

Download Internet Explorer 8

Download Internet Explorer 8

Additionally, Microsoft is working on their new Operating System, Windows 7. There are many people in the industry that believe the final version will be completed soon. They believe this because versions of Windows 7 have leaked on the internet and it appears to be almost complete. Windows 7’s performance is promoted to be far superior than XP and Vista’s performance.

Hopefully this holds true, but we will not see until later this year when it is released. If you are looking for laptops, I would personally choose from one of the operating systems out on the market and currently loaded on laptops today. Even if the OS is releases this year, you will want to wait until they have worked out the kinks and improved upon it – unless you enjoy being in the test group. If you have XP you can upgrade your software now. If you would prefer not to upgrade now you do have some time, but eventually Microsoft plans on killing XP, so you will need an exit strategy in the foreseeable future.

Great HP Color LaserJet Printers

A few years back, the HP Color LaserJet 2550 series had some of the best color laser printers. The HP Color LaserJet 2550L was very affordable at the time for less than $500 and came with a nice design, very good print quality, network capabilities, and was highly expandable so you had the option to upgrade as your businesses printing needs changed. Due to this, the supplies for the HP Color LaserJet 2550 series are still in high demand. For a decent price, you can still replace your HP Q3964A Imaging Drum, HP Black Toner Cartridge for Color LaserJet 2550, 2820 and 2840 Series (part HP Q3960A), and the HP High Capacity Magenta Toner Cartridge for Color LaserJet 2550, 2820 and 2840 Series (part HP Q3963A). A family member of mine still has his HP 2550L printer in his home office, and it still works great. If you own one as well, you can find any needed support and download drivers and software at the HP website.

I will note that the HP 2550 Color LaserJet printers are discontinued currently and are, therefore, unavailable. What printer should you buy, then, if you are shopping for a great color laser printer? One of the best, affordable color laser printers today is the HP Color LaserJet 3600n. The design couldn’t make clearing paper jams and maintenance any easier and has a printing speed of 17 ppm (pages-per-minute) for black and color. It produces good text documents, sharp images and is fully networkable for your office. Not only is the printer itself a decent price, but it has a low cost for consumables as well. I found the HP Yellow Toner Cartridge for the Color LaserJet 3600 Series (part HP Q6472A) at the low price of only $127.99. The toner cartridge can print approximately 4,000 pages at 5% coverage – that’s a great value! The HP Color LaserJet 3600n will deliver performance and reliability right out of the box like many other HP printers. You can find better color laser printers, but you will pay a much higher price tag for a bit crisper text documents and additional features you probably won’t use. I feel the HP 3600n Printer is a great value and will suit most users’ needs.

iMac: Now up to 3.06 GHz

Apple Computer

Apple Computer

The iMac has been an icon of Apple’s computer line for years; the new iMac takes that tradition of style and quality and adds a dramatic, powerful punch with the addition of new features, new technology and an amazing new design. It’s truly the “all-in-one for everyone.” In addition, the price is much less than one would expect (or at least those PC users).

So, what makes the new iMac so impressive? Let’s take a quick look at the improvements, starting with the all new look of the apple computer.

Once upon a time, the iMac was a white, polycarbonate machine that appealed to some, though not all, of Apple’s customers. The new iMac is something different altogether. The sleek, modern aluminum case is a thing of real beauty. It exudes style and power and is crafted from a single sheet of aluminum, which means no screws or bolts in view. Combine that look with the fact that all of the hardware is integrated into the monitor case (for space saving) and you have a look that is unique on today’s market.

What else is new with the iMac? The Intel Core 2 Duo Processors pack a bigger punch than older Apple machines. With up to 3.06 GHz worth of power, these workhorse processor chips provide much more computing power for the serious user. The addition of Intel to the Apple lineup has been a great improvement over older models and provides far more than standard operation.

Standard on board memory is another area in which the new iMac generation has improved. With up to 2 GB of standard onboard memory, the iMac runs faster than ever before, though you can configure them with much more, if that’s your desire. You can decided to get one with two SO-DIMM slots to support up to 8GB of memory. The hard drive capacity has also been increased. The iMac now offers three different hard drives. A 320GB hard drive is standard with optional 640GB or 1TB hard drives for expanded hard drive space.

The OS of the new iMac is Mac OS X v10.5 Leopard, billed as the world’s most advanced operating system. Whether it blows past other OS’s out there or not, Leopard does not disappoint. The other software additions, such as iLife and iWork make this software solution one of the best on the planet. The iMac also has great NVIDIA graphics cards available and video support for premium movie watching.

So, how does the iMac stack up with real consumers? To find out, just try to find a real negative review of the machine. With astounding reliability and performance that a PC just cannot touch, this new machine is a winner with Apple lovers the world over.

Skype iPhone App Now Available!

Courtesy CNET

We’ve been waiting forever it seems, or at least since Skype announced it was coming at CES, but it’s finally here! What you ask? The Skype VoIP phone service we all know and love and use on our desktop PC’s is now available as an app on the Apple iPhone.

Today, Tuesday, March 31st, you can now download Skype for iPhone through Skype’s website or Apple’s iTunes / App store direct. The Skype iPhone app allows you to make calls over a Wi-Fi network and save money by skipping AT&T’s wireless phone network. You can make free calls to other Skype users using Wi-Fi and use your Skype account to call landline phones at a reduced price. The problem with making calls using only Wi-Fi and not the traditional phone network is that you depend on being close to a wireless network. As we all know sometimes you have a strong connection and sometimes you don’t so in the later scenario, you probably wouldn’t be able to make a call.

For full details, read CNET’s review on Skype for iPhone. They have a lot of great images for a sneak peek at the Skype iPhone display.

Brother HL-4040CN Printer Review


Brother’s HL-4040CN printer was designed for small offices and home users. I tested out the Brother printer this weekend, and here is what I found:

Overall, the HL-4040CN printer has great print quality, decent speed, and plenty of useful features. The printer prints at about 21 ppm black, and a little bit slower ppm for color (it says 21ppm for color, but it’s probably more like 18-19 ppm). Black text was generally very crisp and color output was good, although there was a bit of yellowish, grainy, color-banding on large color images. I would say the quality is perfect for home users and office use, but not quite at the standard required to send out print materials to clients.

The Brother HL-4040CN is network-ready and offers additional features such as reprint and secure print, direct-print, USB port for cameras and flash drives, and has a great LCD control panel with basic functionality. The Reprint and Direct Print buttons allow you to print without touching your computer, which can be handy. The Brother printer also has a 250-sheet paper tray and a 50-sheet manual input tray, although the later is unmarked and hard to find. The high-yield toner cartridges are economical, but for a home user, it is a bit pricey to replace its four laser toner cartridges – It all depends on how much you print and what types of documents you print whether this printer is a great deal for you or not.

For its $350-$400 price range, the Brother HL-4040CN printer is a great deal for home users and small offices due to its easy and convenient features, great print quality and decent speed. Because of the quality of its average color imaging, it’s not the best match for users who need color images with excellent print quality.