News Bits: Vista Downgrade Option, OLPC Give 1 Get 1, Dell Offers no Bloatware

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Microsoft offers XP ‘downgrade’ for Vista users

Despite Microsoft’s hype over the Vista operating system which was supposed to transform the way we all compute, it simply is not happening for many consumers. The operating system has been dismissed as bloated, unstable, and slow compared to Windows XP. The User Access Control (UAC) has also been found to be annoying by many consumers.

Due to the compalints, Microsoft has given the option to OEMs of offering a ‘downgrade’ to Windows XP for Vista Business and Ultimate customers. Vista Home Basic and Premium users are not eligible for the ‘downgrade’. It is up to the OEM to offer the downgrade.

The time for getting Windows XP is running short – direct OEM and retail licensing of XP will stop on January 31, 2008.

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OLPC announces buy a laptop for yourself, one for a child program

The One Laptop Per Child non-profit foundation has recently announced a "Give 1, Get 1" marketing program that allows Americans and Canadians to buy two laptops for $399. One of the laptops goes to the purchaser and one goes to a child in a developing nation. The program will last for two weeks between the dates of November 12 and November 26. The donated laptop is considered a tax-deductible charitable donation.

Nicholas Negroponte, founder of the OLPC foundation, said that if there were $40M in donations that 100,000 laptops could be distributed around the world. The purpose of the program is to kick-start slow orders.

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Sony announces VAIO AR600 series 17-inch notebook

Sony has recently upgraded their AR-series 17-inch entertainment notebooks. There are three new models: the AR630E, the AR660U, and the AR690U. The AR630E is the most inexpensive of the bunch at $1,700. It features a Blu-ray drive, an Intel Core 2 Duo T7250 processor, and Vista Home Premium. The AR660U takes things up a notch with a T7500 and Vista Ultimate and trades the Blu-ray drive for an OCUR receiver, a digital cable receiver, and an interface that accepts a TV CableCARD which allow for DVR functionality. Basically it means users can watch and record high definition TV content. And finally, the AR690U goes for $3,300 and features both Blu-ray and the CableCARD device.

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Dell allows Inspiron and Dimension customers to pay for no bloatware

Don’t want your Dell PC to arrive full of pre-installed junk software? Dell is now providing Inspiron and Dimension customers with the option to get a bloatware-free PC like it does with its XPS systems. The machines will not be entirely bloatware-free if your purchase out though – they will still come pre-installed with Adobe Acrobat, anti-virus, and Google Tools. The anti-virus can be uninstalled by declining the licensing agreement at start-up, and the other two can be easily uninstalled using Dell’s new software uninstall utility.

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Acer announces Ferrari 1100 ultraportable

Acer has announced the Ferrari 1100 ultraportable notebook, an update to the Ferrari 1000. It features AMD Turion 64 X2 processors and ATI Radeon X1250 graphics along with a 12.1-inch widescreen display, Dolby certified surround sound system, N wireless, and a slot-loading DVD burner. It is available with Vista Home Premium, Business, or Ultimate. There is no word on pricing or availability.

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