Trouble at the PlayStation Network

If you’ve been watching the news lately, you’ll have noticed that the PlayStation Network, which provides online gameplay and digital game shopping for owners of PlayStation 3 and PSP devices, has been down since last Wednesday. Their on-demand streaming service, Qriocity, is also down. There’s been a huge buzz about it for the last week, but it’s hard to cut through the buzz to get the actual information. I’ve done a little digging, so here are some of the basics.

OpenOffice is dead

The guys at Oracle put out a statement sometime last week about their free and open-source office suite, OpenOffice. Guess what? They’re making it a “community project”; i.e. they’re leaving it to die.

The sad part is that OpenOffice was very popular: many Mac users used it (since Office for Mac costs a ton) and plenty of Windows users used it as well (most people aren’t going to use all the features of Microsoft Office, which costs, what, $100?) But don’t be discouraged, it’s not as bad as you might think. Read on to see.

Firefox’s new release strategy

Back in the day (and by that I mean a week ago), new versions of Firefox were released “when they were ready” – that is, when all the features they wanted to put in were in it. That’s called feature-based releases, and most developers use that strategy.

But there’s another release strategy that focuses on releasing new versions every so often. Some features might not make a version, but that’s OK; a new version is coming in x weeks so it’ll be included then. This is called fixed releases.

Firefox 4 is out

It’s been about a year in coming (it was in beta for a full year), but Firefox 4 is finally out and can be downloaded at The open-source web browser’s latest version is a gigantic step forward from the 3.6 version (the old stable version from a year ago, which is pitifully outdated by now.)

What’s changed

  • Firefox 4 is about 3 times faster in page loading and JavaScript performance than 3.6. This means your favorite web apps and websites are – get ready for this – 3 times faster than before.

Microsoft helps kill spammers

Well, not really kill, just bring down. But it makes the title sound nice.

In other news, Microsoft has finally done something right by bringing down Rustock, a botnet that infected millions of computers and caused them to send massive amounts of spam. Rustock was one of the (if not the) biggest spam networks in the world.

Microsoft (and some feds) raided some hosting facilities in the US and took down the servers that instructed infected computers to send spam.

You can read more at cnet.

Internet Explorer 9 is out

Well done, Bill, you’ve finally done something right. Internet Explorer 9 is now out and can be downloaded from Here’s the catch: it only works on Windows Vista and 7.

Let me repeat that:

It only works in Vista and 7. It doesn’t work in XP.

Thoughts on the new browser

For one thing, it’s a lot better than Internet Explorer 8, although that isn’t saying much. To be honest, it’s actually decent; Internet Explorer can now compete with the other popular browsers like Firefox and Chrome.

Here’s what really matters: