Like Windows 7, Vista got good reviews too

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SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – As Microsoft Corp’s Windows 7 release approaches, early reviews are generally positive. But so were reviews for Windows Vista just before its launch.

In the months leading up to Windows 7’s release this Thursday, publications from ComputerWorld to the New York Times have written favorable assessments, praising, in particular, its increased speed and compatibility with older computers.

But Vista got high marks before its release as well, with writers back then praising a new visual design — and glossing over quirks that later became common gripes.

Nvidia changing direction

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SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – ANALYSIS – Nvidia Corp’s decision to indefinitely postpone investment in chipsets for Intel Corp’s next-generation processors signals a shift in focus to fast-growing mobile devices that could see the company exiting the PC chipset market.

Led by Taiwan-born Chief Executive Jen-Hsun Huang, executives at the company that spends up to $1 billion annually on research have been talking up its Tegra mobile chip platform — which manages power, memory and graphics for devices such as Microsoft Corp’s Zune media player.

Spending on U.S. rail seen stuck at the station

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CHICAGO (Reuters) – ANALYSIS – Major U.S. freight railroads and their advocates have argued for years that government investment is needed in the country’s rail system to take freight off congested highways and keep the economy moving.

But supporters say rail investments have been largely ignored by Congress, suggesting political support is lacking, despite warnings action must be taken sooner rather than later.

Hartmarx sale price rises-CEO

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CHICAGO, July 31 (Reuters) – The sale price for bankrupt Hartmarx, the men’s clothing company from which President Obama gets his suits, has risen to about $130 million, Chief Executive Homi Patel said in an interview, adding that he would step down as CEO on Friday.

Patel declined to say why the price had risen from $119 million, the price listed in court documents filed last month.

Lumber recovery to be dictated by housing

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CHICAGO (Reuters) – ANALYSIS – When the U.S. housing market was booming earlier this decade, lumber prices were too. When the housing market went into a slump so, too, did lumber.

Now, with nascent signs of a housing recovery, it’s natural to assume lumber prices will follow suit.

But experts say that it may be years before lumber recovers in any substantive way, thanks mostly to conservative production mixed with unpredictable demand.

Starbucks now most popular brand on Facebook

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The popular social networking website has a new champion among its brands: Starbucks.

With a combination of recent social networking promotions and front-page ads, the Seattle-based mega coffee company has attracted more than 3.6 million fans to reportedly passed Coca-Cola to become the most popular brand on Facebook.