Macworld Expo (sans Steve Jobs) and the International Consumer Electronics Show (sans Bill Gates) got the new year off to a start, providing plenty of IT news this week. Jobs' decision to forgo giving the Macworld keynote was in the news again, as he released a public letter saying his obvious weight loss owes to a hormonal imbalance. In another continuation of news that started last year, economic woes continued to hit IT (along with pretty much everything else). But happy new year anyway.
1. Ballmer sets loose Windows 7 public beta, Microsoft's Web site overwhelmed by would-be Windows 7 downloaders and Microsoft postpones Windows 7 public beta: Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer showed off the Windows 7 public beta in the opening keynote at CES Wednesday night in Las Vegas, with downloads set to be available worldwide (beyond developers) Friday, leading to a rush that slammed the company's site even before the software was online. In response, Microsoft has delayed posting the public beta until its site is better equipped to deal with the traffic surges.
2. Jobs says he has 'hormone imbalance': A hormone imbalance has caused Apple CEO Steve Jobs' marked weight loss, he said in a letter posted at the company's Web site. The letter was meant to put an end to rumors and speculation about Jobs' health after it was announced he would not give the keynote speech at this week's Macworld Expo. He is being treated for the imbalance, and doctors expect that by late spring he will have put back on the weight he lost. For months now his public appearances have set off rumors that he is badly ailing because he had become thin to the point of appearing to be gaunt. Jobs had treatment for pancreatic cancer in 2004 and ever since his health has been a hot topic of discussion.
3. Obama includes broadband, smart grid in stimulus package: Broadband rollout, an Internet-based smart-energy grid, computers for schools and a push for all U.S. medical records to be in electronic form within five years are part of President-elect Barack Obama's enormous economic stimulus proposal. In announcing his plan, he called the economic state of the U.S. a "crisis unlike any we have seen in our lifetime."
4. Consortium tackles cloud computing standards: The Open Cloud Consortium, which Cisco recently joined, is trying to look at the big picture of cloud computing and deal with issues like compatibility before they become too entrenched. In particular, the group wants to establish standards for cloud computing such that a company moving from one cloud provider to another won't have to rewrite its applications.