Yahoo mini cooperMicrosoft Corp. met with Yahoo Inc. to discuss the software maker's unsolicited takeover bid earlier this week, a breakthrough that could be the first step toward a friendly deal between the two rivals.

The meeting occurred Monday near Yahoo's Sunnyvale headquarters, according to a person familiar with the situation. The person spoke Friday on the condition of not being identified because the preliminary talks haven't been formally disclosed.

No investments bankers attended Monday's meeting, nor was there any discussion about whether Microsoft is willing to raise its offer, initially valued at $44.6 billion, or $31 per share. Yahoo's board already has rejected that bid, arguing the company's Internet franchise is worth more.

Although it's unclear whether Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer and his Yahoo counterpart, Jerry Yang, attended Monday's meeting, senior management from both companies were on hand.

The gathering, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, gave Microsoft its first chance to sell Yahoo on the rationale for the proposed marriage since the software maker unveiled its plans six weeks ago.

Since then, Yang has been exploring different ways to ward off Microsoft. The alternatives have included possible alliances with Internet search and advertising leader Google Inc., News Corp.'s and Time Warner Inc.'s AOL.

Microsoft has held firm with its bid and warned it's prepared to pursue a hostile takeover if Yahoo continues to resist.

Most industry analysts believe neither side wants to engage in an acrimonious battle and expect Microsoft to resolve the impasse with a slightly higher bid.

Investors aren't so sure the stakes will be raised. Yahoo shares fell 79 cents to $26.71 Friday while Microsoft shares shed 66 cents to $27.96. At that price, Microsoft's offer — made partly in Microsoft stock — is worth about $40 billion.

The saga could still take several weeks to play out and may not be resolved until Yahoo releases its first-quarter earnings April 22. With Yahoo mired in a two-year slump, the first-quarter results could sway Microsoft's next move.

The waiting game works in Google's favor by distracting two of its biggest rivals while it strives to extend its dominance of the Internet's lucrative search and advertising market. Google added another layer of muscle this week by completing its $3.1 billion acquisition of online ad service, DoubleClick Inc.

Microsoft believes a combination with Yahoo will pose a more serious threat to Google.

By finally meeting with Microsoft executives, Yahoo could be laying the groundwork for more serious negotiations. Or Yahoo's board could just be touching base with Microsoft to show shareholders that it heard out its suitor before working out an alternative deal.

Yahoo's other options have been considered a long shot by most analysts and now there are signs that at least two of its potential partners aren't interested in getting together.

Rupert Murdoch, the chief executive of News Corp., downplayed his interest in a Yahoo deal at a conference this week. And AOL's plan to buy online social network Bebo for $850 million in a deal announced Thursday may make a combination of AOL with Yahoo more complicated.

Google has offered to work with Yahoo, but analysts say antitrust regulations will make it difficult, if not impossible, for those two companies to become business partners.

Yahoo still doesn't appear to be any rush to resolve the saga, based on how it's handling a key deadline for nominating candidates to supplant its current board. Microsoft has threatened an attempt to oust Yahoo's 10 directors if it can't broker an amicable takeover.

Last week, Yahoo postponed the deadline from Friday to 10 days after the date Yahoo announces its annual meeting.

Yahoo has no plans to disclose the meeting date before April and may not do so until its first-quarter earnings come out, according to a person close to the company. The person wasn't authorized to be identified publicly.

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Haze PS3 ScreenshotsIn Haze for the PlayStation 3, "you play a newly enlisted soldier seeking fulfillment and thrills by fighting for a good cause."

As the leading PMC, Mantel Global Industries offers a high-tech arsenal of vehicles, deadly weaponry, and on top of that a performance enhancing bio-medical support known as Nectar. As a result, Mantel troopers are the most feared by terrorists, dictators, and the corporation's political enemies.

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Palm Breast (Boobs) MassagerIt's a Lucky Palm Breast Massager, straight from Japan, powered by AA batteries. As someone who studied a bit of Buddhism, I can say that Siddhartha would probably approve (he was real letch). When he was around, no lady's middle road was safe.

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Ironman debut trailorSlated for release on May 2nd is SEGA's Iron Man on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 platforms.

Produced in part by Marvel's dedicated game production division, this game is based on the Marvel comic and upcoming movie.

Ironman debut trailor snapshot
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iPhone 2.0The iPhone is now available in Ireland and Austria, for the usual 399 (8GB) and 499 euros (16GB.) Yes, that's $778 for the same 16GB version that is manufactured in Asia for exactly the same price.

Apple Europe keeps milking european consumers with extremely abusive pricing, citing "marketing and importing costs." Whatever. European Union, it's time to bust this daylight robbery.

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Red Hat BetaRed Hat has rolled out a beta-test of the next version of its flagship OS, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 5.2, with a new kernel and significant changes aimed at server farms and at workstations.

The test version, running on kernel version 2.6.18-84.el5, is intended to give system administrators a chance to see what their systems will be running later this year.

Versions are available for standard RHEL and the Advanced Platform edition running on 64-bit systems and mainframes, as well as workstation versions, with testing intended to run until 7 May, 2008.

For server virtualization, Red Hat is updating its built-in Xen hypervisor to Xen 3.1.2, improving the Non-Uniform Memory Access (NUMA) interface and adding support for up to 64 processors per system with 512GB of memory per server.

The test version also updates server clustering capabilities, with tweaks to application failover support.

The new system includes better IPv6 support, with the addition of a DHCPv6 client and server.

On the desktop, Red Hat is refreshing most of the main workstation applications to their latest versions, with updates to Evolution, Firefox, OpenOffice and Thunderbird, among other applications.

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3rd Gen Zune in 2009Seeing how long it took the Zune to make it over the northern border and into Canada, it shouldn't be any surprise that it's going to take even longer to get to Europe -- not until late next year, according to the director of Microsoft France. The wait should be worth it, though: that's when the third generation of Zunes will be released, as well as a Europe-friendly version of the Zune Marketplace.

There are also some sketchy rumors that Windows Mobile 7 devices will be able to take advantage of Zune content and services, but it doesn't look like Microsoft has anything to say about that yet -- but if that goes down you know a Zune phone is right around the corner.


Update: Office 2010 The Movie account on Twitter mentioned that - June 2009 will be an important month for Zune lovers. This basically confirms the fact that Zune related announcement is bound to come.
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Playstation 3.2.17 upate bug freeThis small point release for Sony's PS3 just fixed a few bugs and exploits, but brought a new feature that allows PlayStation 2 games that needed to install onto a hard drive to do so. Great for those who are still playing Final Fantasy XI.

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Nokia N810 wimaxRemember the rumor we saw floating about a few weeks ago about a Nokia N810 refresh? Well, the lads at The Boy Genius Report are reporting -- on a rumor mind you -- that Nokia is set to launch its N810 refresh with WiMAX at CTIA in April this year. Interestingly, the name will remain the same, and not be labeled the Nokia N830 as we'd first thought.

Yeah, it's only a rumor at this point, but we're thinking that giving this radio-less internet appliance a bit more reach is nothing but a good thing.

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5$ Bill 2008Expect the new $5 bill to enter into circulation this Thursday. Fittingly, the new bill will be used at President Lincoln’s Cottage at a sort of inauguration. The biggest changes are more color on its face and a large obscene ‘5′ on the back.

Other features include small yellow ’05s’ on the front and back. The $100 bill is next in line for a makeover.

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For the longest time Google Maps and Windows Live Search have been clashing for title of best map software. In my experience both have been very useful tools in my everyday life. The funny thing is that after I went through each of them extensively, I concluded that both are needed in order to be productive.

Windows Live excels in category search. With a simple address Live will recommend local bars, clubs, and restaurants in your vicinity. Then once you found your local restaurant or movie theater you can check reviews on it, get directions to it, or send that address to a friend to meet up for the date. Easy access to gas prices in the local area and movie info make it that much more useful. My favorite is showing up to the theaters and using Live Search to check info and ratings before we head in. Then again there are some features such as my location and faster maps that Windows Live Search lacks.

Google maps makes up where Windows Live Search misses. Need faster maps? Googles got it. Need the ability get an approximate location? Googles got it. For me it’s the fast map scrolling and zooming that has me using Google maps more often. When I’m out and about and want to check traffic or the fastest route to a new address I need speed. The difference from the zoom on Live search to Google maps is about 3 to four seconds. That means when I’m panning around a map or zooming in or out Google is about 3 times faster than Live Search. The ability to look up contacts addresses makes it easy to pick up friend in the timeliest manner.
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Motorstorm 2 PS3 debut trailerMotorStorm 2 for Sony's PlayStation 3 "will move away from the desert environments of the original title, including locations such as 'a lush island environment, full of interactive vegetation'; also included will be monster trucks and four-player split-screen capability."

It was announced by Sony after their acquisition of Evolution Studios, with an anticipated release in 2008. It has been confirmed that a modified version of the original MotorStorm game engine will be used for this title.

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Microsoft LucidTouch transparent touch screen deviceNow, after a long time (when we first laid our eyes on the LucidTouch prototype from Microsoft back in October), Microsoft has unveiled some artist mock-ups of what the device could look like as a final product.

When compared to the prototype, is readily apparent that they have a long way to go (especially with that bulky camera), but at least it is still an ongoing project. Whether users will prefer the UI to a traditional touchscreen remains to be seen.

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iPhone 2.0Here are a few features that should brighten up an iPhone user's day -

Mass Email Delete
It’s quite odd when you think about it that Apple, in its first try would not incorporate a feature like this their very first try. Then again they left a lot out. So with the latest firmware ready to be out in June, those of you iPhone users who use their device for emailing can rejoice, your cluttered up mail will be much easier to get rid off now than ever before, so instead of getting irked by the singular deletion feature you’ll able to pretty much wipe all your junk clean with a wave of your hand (quite literally as you can imagine thanks to multi-touch).

This system allows iPhone users to connect computers and other iPhones on a given network. Just like you would connect to other devices using Bluetooth by searching and connecting, Bonjour will be able to do the same on a network.

Full-Screen Mode on Safari
Another feature that should have made it in the first round and didn’t was a full-page web browser. The Safari browser, may be brilliant and all and occupy a good 90 percent of the iPhone's superb display, but hey, why have 90% when you can have it all right?

Scalable Vector Graphics and New CSS Effects
The iPhone, with the latest firmware, would also have SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics). So files can be compressed and their original resolutions can be maintained. The new firmware will also support CSS effects, which works like Flash for animations, effects etc.

PowerPoint Support
The iPhone would also have support to view PowerPoint presentations with the next upgrade.

Locally Stored Web-Apps
Users will also be able to store web-apps on their handsets and use them offline. According to Apple the latest firmware version would also be able to support functional web client-side database API when the network isn’t running.

The iPhone will also be getting a search option for looking up contacts and other information on the device.

With these features in mind, which are seemingly just the tip of the iceberg, the anticipation for the iPhone to hit India is only getting more than just difficult to bear. Let’s just hope it doesn’t take too long or we’ll be seeing one only once a v3.0 is out. I don’t think India can wait that long Mr. Jobs.

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F-117 stealth fightersAir Force buffs, prepare to salute a true American hero as it makes it way into the annals of military history: the F-117 stealth fighter.

The planes -- one of the most enigmatic members of the military's arsenal -- will be making their final trip on April 21st from Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico to Tonopah Test Range Airfield in Nevada, the home of their first flight. The aircraft is being replaced by a newer model, the F-22 Raptor, and the government says it has no plans to bring the radar-dodging planes out of retirement. In all, there have only been 59 F-117s that have rolled off the assembly line, 37 of which have already been taken out of the skies, and another seven which have crashed. We'll miss you, F-117, and all the totally awesome, completely secret stuff you did.

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Soul Calibur 4 Xbox360 TeaserSoul Calibur 4 for the Xbox 360 offers "new gameplay modes, characters and enhanced features with unprecedented 3D modeling and animation."

The unrelenting pursuit of two legendary swords continues when Soulcalibur IV is released in 2008. Developed by Project Soul (the legendary team behind Soul Blade and Soulcalibur I-III) Soulcalibur IV re-introduces classic warriors from the series as well as introduce new characters that bring new conflict and intrigue.

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Xbox 360 snapshotA "rock-solid" source says Microsoft will upgrade the storage capacity of the Xbox 360 Premium by the end of June, a new report says.

"If you've been saving up for a 20GB Xbox 360, hold off," writes reporter Gordon Kelly. "The 60GB model IS coming and you can take this exclusive to the bank."

What's more, the report corroborates the idea that Microsoft will soon launch an Xbox 360 model with Blu-ray drive now that HD DVD has swum with the fishes, not to mention ongoing negotiation between Microsoft and Sony.

With regards to the source's reliability, Trusted Reviews reminded its readers that it confirmed the impending sale of the 16GB iPhone in February before it was officially announced.

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Online gaming demoThe European Union launched an investigation on Monday into whether U.S. measures on foreign online gambling companies break international rules, possibly paving the way for World Trade Organisation action.

European online gaming companies, such as PartyGaming and bwin Interactive Entertainment, complained in December that the U.S. Justice Department was singling out foreign online gambling companies for prosecution.

"The U.S. has the right to address legitimate public policy concerns relating to Internet gambling, but discrimination against EU companies cannot be part of the policy mix," EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson said in a statement.

"We are interested in a constructive and mutually satisfactory solution to this issue."

The Commission said it would look into the complaints over the next five to seven months and could decide to launch WTO proceedings against the United States if warranted.

Separately, the Commission agreed in December to an offer from the United States of openings in other sectors as compensation for closing U.S. gambling market to foreign firms.

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Things you can do with GoogleCalculate complex equations, track shipments, build a Web site, and more--all on Google. Plus, how not to move a palm tree.

Every time I turn around, Google's come up with something new, cool, or innovative. It's no wonder it has Microsoft on the run.

Nifty Google Features

Calculate This: You can use Google Calculator to crunch numbers and figure out conversions. Try entering 12*12 and see what happens; you can also run more complex equations, like G*(6e24 kg)/(4000 miles)^2). Google Calculator handles conversions of all types, such as 3 ounces in tablespoons, 16 dollars in euros, or 19999GB to MB.

Find That Number: You can track FedEx, UPS, and U.S. Postal Service shipments just by sticking the tracking number into Google's search field; do the same with zip and area codes, vehicle IDs, patent numbers, airplane registration numbers, and even UPC codes.

Make Me Special: Google has special search sites just for you. There's one for Firefox users, another for Linux users, and a spot for those of you who can't get enough of Microsoft.

Dig This: This is one flight I'm glad I missed. [Thanks to MCraig.] The other video had me going until the passengers started jumping out of the plane.

Dig This, Too: So you need to move a palm tree? Watch this safety video first. Step one: Hire a professional.

Useful Google Services

Sights on Google: My buddy Leo F. sent a note asking if I wanted to create a quick Web page, or something fairly complex, with just novice skills. "Google Sites is fun to play with," Leo said, "and even makes a useful Web page, too. Of course, it's free."

Ongoing Experiments: If you like poking around with Web tools, you need to explore Google Labs. For instance, Experimental Search gives you five new ways to search, each aimed at tightening and focusing on specific results.

BTW, Goog411 is a Google Labs graduate and a great service. Read about how it's replaced traditional 411 in a blog I posted last year.

Alert Me! Google sends me an e-mail every time it sees a new occurrence of "steve bass PC World," "steve bass PC Annoyances," or keywords about my various hobbies and interests. If you haven't tried Google Alerts, you're missing out on a terrific service.

Hello, Google? If you're using Firefox and find something cool on the Web, you can use Google Send to Phone to pass the info along to a U.S.-based cell phone. It's a nifty service that's really useful for, say, sending a map to a lost buddy. Check the FAQ for details.

Dig This: You may not be old enough to remember Soap, the LOL TV spoof from the seventies. So here's a short video excerpt of "Chuck and Bob Mindreading."

Even More Fun With Google

You probably think there's not much more to say about Google. Nope, there's still lots.

Start by downloading the Google Cheat Sheet, a two-page PDF with lots of valuable Google shortcuts, search and query examples, and services.

Even better is 55 Ways to Have Fun with Google, a free e-book with Google trivia, games, and nonsense, enough to kill an afternoon (I did). The more I explored, the better I liked this 228-page book. For instance, I wasted time with The Image Quiz, which has you guess the Google search term for a bunch of images. I also picked up a nifty Google magic trick, learned how to find world records, read IRC chat logs people didn't know were public, and browsed to some very funny Google parody sites, such as UnderGoos, the underwear search site, and Cthuugle, the Lovecraft search engine.

Dig This: I always get a kick out of the way the folks at Google occasionally transform the logo to match up with the day. Here are some Google logo rejects.

Dig This, Too: What's more interesting than a hole in the ground? Not much, you'll think, after you take a gander at these amazing pictures.

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Hand Painted 3D WiicaseFor Mario fans looking for a unique Nintendo Wii case, this hand-painted system is a great pick. Project page.

The hand-painted Super Mario themed Wii features a scene from the classic platformer, including a 3-dimensional Mario busting out of the side of the console, courtesy of ample quantities of modeling clay and Bondo.

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Scrabble and a revised Mini Golf are both available for the newer models of iPods.

Each costs US$4.99 and can be played on third-generation iPod nanos, iPod classics and fifth-generation (video) iPods.

Mini Golf isn't truly a new game -- this is a reworked version of a game that EA previously released specifically for fifth-generation iPods, now capable of being played on newer iPod models as well. The game features three themed courses full of obstacles and shortcuts, and three game modes -- single player, pass 'n' play and practice hole.

Scrabble, on the other hand, is a new addition to the iTunes Store's growing list of iPod games. It's an iPod-ready version of Hasbro's popular crossword board game. Scrabble features multiple difficulty levels, different play styles (classic, pints and rounds), a zoom-in feature so you can see the board more closely, "pass 'n' play" mode for up to four players, with customizable rules, tracking of games and score statistics, game tips and multiple audio tracks.

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Ashes of 400 fired mobile phonesThe 37-year-old Chinese woman wasn't particularly stoked about her husband walking out on their marriage, so she did the only reasonable thing that presented itself: rounded up the entire stock of more than 400 phones the couple had at their joint-owned cellphone shop, and set the entire lot ablaze -- inside her home.

The collection was valued at roughly 300,000 yuan, about $42,000 US. You might want to take this time to inform your significant other how sane, rational and sexy he or she is, while simultaneously removing all lighter fluid from your home.

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Top social networks feb'08 market shareMySpace is down 1% while FaceBook is up 77%. The biggest movement is by some new comers, namely who grew by, get this, 3272217%. Fubar is billed as “the first online bar and happy hour,” with free well drinks all night long.

All but two on this top 20 list had positive year over year gains confirming the general feeling that social networking is far from done. Newcomers like myyearbook and linkdin saw triple digit growth proving these smaller, segmented markets have lots of growth potential.

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