Friday, November 22, 2002

65th Time this year Microsoft has issued another security alert. Why do companies insist on putting themselves at risk using this stuff?

Monday, November 18, 2002

X-Box Live Works quite nicely thank you. I bought me a Linksys Wireless Bridge to plug into my XBox, and it "connects" to my Airport, which connects to my Netgear Router, which is fed by my Earthlink dsl modem. Just wish the Bridge had an on-off switch.

Saturday, October 26, 2002

Apple is pushing too hard It is one thing for Apple to promote OSX, and to encourage people to use it, it is another to leave OS9 slowly twisting in the wind with no support. Luckily others feel the same way I do, and I just discovered a great web site for the rest of us.

Tuesday, October 22, 2002

ANOTHER new version of Microsoft Office Its reported here that a new version of Microsoft Office (version 11) will see the light of day soon. The current version: Office XP SR-2, aka Office 10, aka Office 2002, is a big yawn as far as having any significant improvements productivity wize. Years ago (1996?) Microsoft asked for suggestions for additional features. 80% of features asked to be added were already included. Of course with the "Typical" install leaving out many features, but installing many extra dlls to run at bootup to make Office Applications seem to load "fast" you have to wonder about Microsoft. Then again every new version has promotional material about the great new wizard (actually there since before Office 95) for doing a Mail Merge. Apparently so few people use it, Microsoft can always pretend it's a great new feature.

Sunday, October 20, 2002

Windtunnel Macintosh Replacing fans in the power supply, contrary to published reports has no appreciable affect on the Windtunnel noise on System 9 reboots of the DDR G-4 Macintosh. That Windtunnel noise is caused by intake of air for the larger fan blowing on the Heat sink on the dual Processors.

Saturday, October 19, 2002

A true Switcher story Read This !

Friday, October 18, 2002

Apple's Rebates and Promotions While some are reporting horror stories with Apple rebates, I apparently am having good fortune. I sent in get get a free copy of Adobe InDesign and in less than 4 weeks, it's being shipped to me. Apple has a web site one can use on checking on rebates.
Then Apple has a promotion where K-12 teachers can get a free copy of "Jaguar" OSX, so naturally I had my wife apply.

Thursday, October 17, 2002

A Quieter G4 DDR Macintosh - Tonight I went to Fry's here in Houston to pick up the parts I need to make my Macintosh quieter. Apparently Apple cut corners in 2 places on these new models. First cheaper noisy cooling fans in the power supply, secondly, OS 9.2.2 does not have the firmware/software to control the fan speed, so they rev up to max for no apparent reason. These Macs have therefore deservedly been nicknamed the Windtunnel Macs.

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

Microsoft Lies and gets Caught - Microsoft put up a web page that was a blatant lie about someone switching from a Mac to a PC. Now it's all been documented. Whats even more amazing is the lengths Microsoft went to to cover it up. When my workplace had a confidential web page not properly secured we took it down, only to find out it had been cached by Google. It took us 3 weeks of effort to get Google to uncache it. Microsoft, it took them 12 hours.

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

DUDE - You're getting a Dell : That Dell campaign has been so successful that Dell has a web site for Steven. Of course when HP says its sales are down because of the economy, one wonders then why Dell's sales are up?

Tuesday, October 01, 2002

Yellow Meteorology I live in Texas and the local weather stations always want to scare you with how bad a hurricane is (or could become) and likely it is (or might possibly be) that it will hit where you live. No matter the National Weather Service is forcasting it 300 miles away. Reminds me of the 1974 Xenia tornado I narrowly escaped. Next year everytime sky turned gray, TV stations were scaring folks with how likely it was more tornadoes were on their way.
They have all lost their credibility with me.

Tuesday, September 24, 2002

Apple Promotions As part selling new Macintoshs Apple has a new promotion. If one has bought a new Power Macintosh since September 10, and they mail in the UPC and a copy of their Invoice, they get a free copy of Adobe's InDesign. Sofar, so good. Now the gotcha's. Apple has apparently been scammed before and has draconian measures in place to make sure only legimate requests get filled. You must have the Original UPC and all layers of cardboard its attached to. Makes for fun if you also bought an Apple Monitor and want the $200 rebate on that and have to mail one UPC to two places. My dealer sent me a packing slip, not an Invoice, and I needed an Invoice with the Serial Number on it for the terms of the promotion. I called up, and they said "All our computers come with Invoices" - "Mine Didn't" I replied, "Sure we'll send out an invoice" they agreed. Over a week later no Invoice. "We have no record of such a request, we'll send it out". Finally I agree to let them FAX me an Invoice, and sure enough they get the serial number wrong. One more nastygram email, and finally a proper Invoice. Now, we'll see how long six to eight weeks takes. I never did figure out why such promotions took 8 weeks.

Saturday, September 21, 2002

Apple Store in Houston Galleria Apple Computer opened a store in the Houston Galleria at 10 AM today. Promo said next to Saks 5th Avenue. NOT. Around the corner in a low traffic area, actually. By getting there at 6:20 AM I was first online. I wouldn't do that again. They had zero opening day specials. You'd think maybe free ingraving with iPod purchase. Maybe instant rebates for monitor and computer purchase. NOPE: none of that. T-Shirts for first 1000 customers, with about 150 online when store opened. What did I get for being first? I got to shake the store manager's hand, the same store manager that later wouldn't come to telephone. I got to high-five all the employees as store opened. Was anybody in a position to sell anything? NOPE. Did the Genius come to talk to me as I sat down first on the middle chair? NOPE. I wanted to ask why DVD's burned on a SuperDrive can't be read on DVD drive in my Pismo. I gave up inside 10 minutes and left the store. No one asked to help me, no one asked if I wanted to buy anything, just one lady to give me my T-Shirt as I left. 20 + employees, zero salespeople. I had gone planning to buy an iPod, but I didn't. I did get to surf the Internet while waiting inline, as they had a basestation with Public name of "AppleStore" live at 6:20 AM. Very secure that. Also a printer online with the name of "Genius Bar". Sure saves energy, to leave a printer on all night. NOT.
All-In-All very underwhelming. Reminded me too much of a 1983 IBM store.

Thursday, September 19, 2002

OS X 10.2.1 I just upgraded to this puppy yesterday. No problems or other observations yet. I did Install Netscape 7 for OS X, and had a minor problem, it was default configured to go through an AOL proxy server (perhaps because it saw AOL installed on my Mac). I connect to the Internet through a Netgear Router that connects to an Earthlink dsl modem, so after I deleted the proxy setting, all was well. I downloaded and installed iCal, and it asked to be registered as if I had bought it. No problem, I did that. Apple sends me an email thanking me, and giving me a link to a free 1 year subscription to MacWorld; which I quickly signed up for. Strange they don't offer this anymore for when you spend thousands on a new Macintosh, but do for a free download.

Wednesday, September 18, 2002

Microsoft Hardware - So I hit my local CompUSA last night and buy a Microsoft Optical Mouse and a Microsoft Business Keyboard for my new Macintosh, already added to with extra memory, hard drive, TV Card and SCSI card, and connected to a Dell P991 monitor. I ask CompUSA what their reaction is to Apple opening a store in Houston (literally across the street) and they profess no concern. "We have our great technicians here". I comment in passing: "They have more turnover than a mixmaster".

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

New Mac for the TeraBlogger Knowing that Apple will configure new Macintoshs to not be able to boot into OS9 starting January 1, 2003; I figured I better bite the bullet and buy one of these new mirrored door Macintoshs. I couldn't buy the 1.25 Gig Hz model, they're still vaporware, so I bought a dual 1 Ghz model. With ATA 100 support, it does feel faster. I bought it over the Internet from ClubMac to save sales tax. Then I bought a 120 Gig HD for $150 at MicroCenter to drop into it; and an extra 256 Meg of DDR PC2700 SDRAM from DataMem.
So far its woking like a dream, until the cooling fan kicks in. NOISY !!

Wednesday, September 11, 2002

Whither Sprint Vision A USA Today review of Sprint Vision,
basically pans it; as I have done.

Tuesday, September 10, 2002

PowerMacs still vaporware A call to various authorized Macintosh dealers indicates they don't expect to have any dual 1.25 GHz Power Macintosh computers available for at least another month yet. Even the Apple Store optimistically says 3 to 4 weeks.

Monday, September 09, 2002

TSA Charade I got to fly across the country and back this past week, and got to see the Transportation Safety Administration rookies in action. Randomly choosing folks to hand search carry ons and take off shoes and socks. You know how they chose someone? A first boarding frequent flyer gets grabbed first, usually; some 70 year old man. The next one is just who is presenting their ticket 7 minutes later when TSA agent finishes the first poor flyer. A 27 year old 8 month pregnant 200 pound lady in a couple of cases, another a clean cut 120 pound high school senior. Such a total waste of time and money.
The right way to do it. The way it was done at Heathrow in 1989 a year after Lockerbie made more sense. All folks transfering planes had to pick up their luggage on the tarmac and recheck it. One carry on bag strictly enforced. Every carry on bag hand searched. Either you check all, or you don't play games grabbing random folks on the line at the wrong time. FAA stopped asking if you packed your bag. El Al still asks it. In 1985 Switzerland was already checking every Passport of every entering person against a computer database. It took the United States 14 more years to catch up. INS still hasn't.
All in all a charade to make it look like something is being done when nothing is being done. Last week folks from the New York Daily News got contraband past screeners and onto flights 14 out of 14 tries.

Tuesday, September 03, 2002

An RMA for my Treo 300. I just got tired of having to push the reset button many times a day in order to make this thing decide to try to connect to Sprint. Makes me feel like an Alpha tester. I got a chargeback from my credit card and an RMA from Handspring. Then the battery won't last two full days, and is sealed internally so you cant carry a spare. The screen is illegible outdoors in daylight. All in All, a great idea, but not ready for Prime Time.

Saturday, August 24, 2002

Whither OS X 10.2 - The same CompUSA with no PowerPC Macintoshs for sale, and a too small Treo case had a new pretty sign promoting "JAGUAR" today. and lots of copies of OS X 10.1 for sale at $129. No copies of 10.2 however; maybe they had sold the one copy they got in.
The case for a Treo Hard finding these. Handspring wants $25 for a $5 quality canvas padded case, that fits so tight it activates the buttons. Not wanting a discharged Treo every afternoon, I got a refund, 2 minutes after I bought it at CompUSA today. I found 2 that work. An $8 leather Targus case at Target, and a $15 Canvas and Leather case by Samsonite for Palm Pilots at MicroCenter. Same kind of issue with handsfree kits. The Treo comes with an ear bud, which always seem to fall out of my ear. I read on Usenet that Handspring uses a unique plug that only their handsfree kit works with. Not so. Any Nokia 8000 series handsfree kit works great. BestBuy wanted $29.99 for one, but I found one at Target for $5.90 on closeout, and it has a microphone and an over the ear hook.
You can't buy a Power Macintosh So there I was in CompUSA in Sugarland, Texas; and like the MicroCenter I was in on Thursday and the Fry's I was in on Friday, there are no new Power Macintoshs for sale. Just a single dual 867 MHz model on display at CompUSA. I was considering buying the prior model dual 1 GHz which benchmarks faster than the new dual 1 GHz. So at Fry's I ask if they have any at the new $2199 price. The salesman says yes, they just got one in from the Austin store. I say "New in a sealed box?", He says: "yes". So he goes off for 5 minutes, comes back and says "Let me try the other side"; 5 minutes later: "Let me try up front"; 5 minutes later "Yes it's up front in the Service Department, its an open box, but we'll sell it to you." I say "I wouldn't touch an open box at Frys unless I got 25% off"; he declined my offer, and I left the store, buying only an ADS Firewire enclosure.

Friday, August 23, 2002

Is AOL the next MCI or Enron ? AOL stock price, below 10 recently after being above 50 last year, takes another pounding after it was reported today that they may take another huge (11 figure) writedown of assests.

Thursday, August 22, 2002

New DDR Macs are slower : It gets worse every day. Today its reported that in real world tests the "new" DDR Dual 1 GHz PowerPC Macintosh is slower than the "old" SDR 1 GHz PowerPC Macintosh. Could it be that halfing the amount of L3 cache is making itself felt, and offsetting the "faster" RAM ??

Monday, August 19, 2002

Apple selling Overclocked Macs? Another good reason not to buy a new PowerPC Macintosh has now been divulged. Apple is using 1 GHz chips and overclocking them where it thinks it can get away with it.
PopUp Stopper = Browser Stopper: Earthlink got some free publicity from Reuters this morning, in an alleged news story that looked more like a cut and paste of a press release. Earthlink will now provide Free PopUpStopper software. On paper a good idea. This example in practice is not ready for prime time. PopUp Stopper's web page, like Real Player hides the free version, and tries to sell you a pay version, and other software too. The default is to get on their SPAM list. Then the program doesn't work too well. My default Start up page in Netscape^IXIC&d=c&k=c4&t=1d won't load. Thus I give the program the moniker of Browser Stopper. PopUp Stopper also stops Blogger's Spell Checker from showing up. Time to uninstall !
P.S. I do like my Earthlink dsl service, so much more reliable than Warner Cable.

Saturday, August 17, 2002

Treo 300: As I already stated, I'm not buying a Macintosh anytime soon, in January I'll re-evaluate the situation when again new PowerPC Macintoshs come out.
I did buy a Treo 300 to replace my Samsung I300. I like the Samsung I300; I love the Treo 300. Its lighter, smaller shape, but bigger brighter screen, and the neato keyboard. I've had a few folks tell me "Nahhh you're not really on a cell, you sound so clear", so apparently it does better than the Samsung on that regard also. Sprint has a new system for what had been their "Wireless Web". now that they are rolling out their 3G, they have a "Vision" Plan, that charges you (IMHO) way too much on a per Byte basis, so I won't be using that until the price comes down. I assume Sprint is trying to stick it to early adopters. When I ordered the phone on the Handspring Web Site it said the phone came with 3 free months of Vision. I guess Sprint has a different idea, as they refused to give it to me.

Tuesday, August 13, 2002

More on the missing OS 9 Double talk in an email just received from Steve Jobs. "We do supply Mac OS 9 on every hard disk." Yes, but you are not saying I can boot into OS 9. Maybe the story about not booting into OS 9 is "Simply true".
No new Macintosh for the Terablogger Maybe my expectations were raised too much by the rumor mills, but too many features I know to be technologically possible are missing from these new Macintoshes. No 8x AGP; no faster SuperDrive, no faster Firewire, no USB 2, no faster Airport, and I still don't know for sure about OS 9. I'm still upset that Apple pulled AV capability 3 years ago. The Apple Store says about OS 9 "Does not come with it, that will be $99 extra". The Apple Web site is horribly vague about OS 9.
Email to Steve Jobs: How does the new PowerPC Macintosh boot into OS 9, if you do not supply OS 9 with it. As far as I am concerned you lied to me, and you have LOST an Apple Evangelist. Thanks for saving me over $3 Grand.
Microsoft: End of Summer = November 15 Microsoft, never known for keeping to promised introduction dates, has just announced a delayed introduction date for XBox Live

Monday, August 12, 2002

Netgear 802.11a Equipment Review. I'll give it (NetGear HE102) an A for functionality and a C for setup. It works just fine and gives me upto 50% faster download speeds than my 802.11b equipment it replaced. It probably could have gone faster but bumped up against the limit of my dsl connection. Same ftp source on a 22 Megabyte file: 802.11b 88 KB/sec; 802.11a 118KB/sec.
I've set it up to only accept the Mac address of my Netgear PCI card (HA311), so drive by hacking is ruled out. I am disappointed in Netgear because the Access Point defaults to the lowest frequency in the 5 GHz range that it operates in. By changing the frequency to a higher one, the Access Point broadcasts with 5 times the power, a fact not explicitly stated but buried in a table on page 8 of the 30 page manual. No tips on the 180 degree rotatable antennas either.
Anyone want to buy a "gently used" Apple Airport and a Lucent Wavelan/Orinoco PCI card setup?
Wireless Networking 2002 I gave up waiting on the vaporware Linksys and rumored Apple 50 megabit wireless Networking gear, Linksys is 802.11a; Apple supposed to be 802.11g. I have ordered (due to arrive today) Netgear 802.11a Basestation and PCI card. Will report back tomorrow on how it compares to
Apple's 802.11b Airport / Lucent wirelsss at 11 megabits/sec maximum speed.

Sunday, August 11, 2002

Bumper Sticker Spotted in Houston on 8/11/2002:

If they outlaw teaching Evolution
Only Outlaws Will Evolve

Wednesday, August 07, 2002

Who is Lying to me ? I've been trying to find out about these early morning pornography infomercials on TechTv. I enquired of DirecTv and was told they merely pass on the program and do not slip in these infomercials. TechTV writes me: "Local carriers or satellite providers have segments of the schedule for their own use. We tend to stick with tech associated paid commercials and have no control over the other. ".
So each one blames the other, but seems not to care how bad it looks their carrying this slime.

Monday, August 05, 2002

EMAIL from Steve Jobs: This rumor is simply not true. (Can't boot into OS 9 in coming Macintosh computers)


Sunday, August 04, 2002

I hope Apple isn't this arrogant. I've been waiting already 6 weeks for August 24, when Apple is to introduce new Power Macintoshs. Now I may not buy one. E-Week is reporting that Apple will fix its new Macintosh Computers so they can't boot into OS9.
If they do that I won't buy one until a couple of weeks later when a hack is developed to allow that. I love OS X and version 10.2 is supposed to be great. But there are cases when one will still need OS 9. How about using my Apple Scanner? I'm sure others can quickly identify many other situations that still require a full fledged (read boot into) System 9 for functionality.
Apple: No System 9, No SALE.
You know my 2GHZ DDR Dell 4400 is starting to grow on me. Microsoft Windows XP doesnt require I pay extra to use Backup Software, or to optimize my Hard Drive, and it doesn't greatly prefer OEM Optical Drives, or make it hard to use floppy drives.
TECH-TV gone BAD I often like to watch TechTV on DirecTv being somewhat of a nerd. I especially like their "ScreenSavers" show in the evening, which has new stuff and useful tips. However it is obvious to me that Tech-TV (formerly ZDNET) is not long for this world. They (or did DirecTv do this without telling them) must be hurting for money in a bad way. They're running informercials in the middle of the night (i.e. 4 AM CDT). Today it was for videos from a softporn distributor that it would serve no useful purpose for me to name. Terribly sad to see them descend into the morass.

Thursday, August 01, 2002

A push for HDTV ? It's reported today that the FCC may start requiring TV makers to include HDTV tuners in their HDTVs, as a means to help speed the move to HDTV. Me, I'm all for that! The manufacturers are complaining about the increased cost, but with everyone equally affected it will be a level playing field. These are the same manufacturers that 30 some years ago complained about having to include UHF tuners in their TVs. That hurt no one.

Tuesday, July 23, 2002

Bye-Bye HOTMAIL For the past few years my wife has had an email address on HOTMAIL, which served her well as I changed ISPs from dialup to Cable, and finally (happily) with dsl on Earthlink. The SPAM level on HOTMAIL finally got unacceptable, and no amount of diddling with their filters seemed to help, so I created an Earthlink address for her (free) and that is now working great. Earthlink (last year?) added a web interface connection to email. She can use a POP client at home and any Browser away from home, and Earthlink's spaminator does a credible job of elimianting junk email (ie 1 per week, instead of the 10 per day at HOTMAIL). Did I mention that one of the SPAMMERs on HOTMAIL is HOTMAIL/MSN which you are not allowed to filter?
MASS TRANSIT My employer will pay for a bus pass for me to Bus to work, as my parking lot is going away. I live a mere 6.5 miles from my office, I have always worked close to home, or lived as close to work as possible. No transit plans take that into account; one seems to be rewarded for living 30+ miles away from ones office. So I filled out a form for the bus company and they suggested a route. Coming home: 3 buses, 2 transfers; one hour 10 minutes total, about the same time a fast walk of 6.5 miles might take.

Monday, July 22, 2002

New Macintoshes The new Macintosh's I had half expected to be intoduced on July 17, are now rumored to be coming out on August 24. Apple says they will work in a Windows Centric World. For me that boils down to "Can it load a Verisign Digital Certificate to be used by a Cisco VPN?"
If the answer is no; I may not buy it.

Friday, July 19, 2002

YAHOO EMAIL If you have a Yahoo email account; Yahoo may be changing your email, and in ways that could embarrass you.

Wednesday, July 17, 2002

MACWORLD CONFERENCE I was very disappointed by Steve Jobs keynote speech at MacWorld today. No new Desktop Macintosh was announced; so I'll save $3000. Lots of vaporware, and at least 2 failed demos, and another time it looked like Steve reached under the desk to throw a switch to switch which Mac was displayed when one failed to respond. What was probably the worst for Apple is that Steve seemed to go out of his way to be picking fights with Microsoft. That has proven suicidal for others. I do love that iCal will work with my "Palm Pilot". Maybe I'll get a new iPod at CompUSA with one of their extended warranties, the internal Hard Drives apparently are not as rugged as one might hope judging by comments at Macintouch. I'll certainly wait until after August 24th to buy a new Mac so OS X 10.2 will come preinstalled and on CD. Now if only I can remember my iDisk username and password so I could save $50 on .Mac.

Tuesday, July 02, 2002

Microsoft Makes An Offer You Can't Refuse - Thanks to Richard F. Forno for this latest piece of Microsoft arrogance. Microsoft sets its self up as Judge, Jury and Executioner for Digital Rights.

Thursday, June 27, 2002

July 17, 2002 Apple will introduce a new line of Desktop PowerPC Macintoshs. If 3rd party reports are correct they will include up to a Dual Processor 1.3 GHz PowerPC G4, dual speed Firewire, DDR RAM (PC2100), and perhaps a 133 MHz 120 Gig HD, 8x AGP with a Radeon 8600 card and USB 2.0

I may just buy one, as OS X 10.1.5 is awesome, and 10.2 is due out Real Soon Now.

Wednesday, June 19, 2002

There oughta be a law - So I'm trying to decide which Insurance of the ones my employer is offering to take. As I have to take a few drugs for minor ailments, I figured I'd check the formularies to see which prescription drugs they agree to cover. Humana is justifiably reviled in may quarters. They post a special web page where they say "drugs on the list may be added or deleted at any time". Well, golly, to me that makes a list totally meaningless and worthless, if by whim of a bean counter it can be unilaterily changed.

Tuesday, June 18, 2002

Television and Computers - By 1987 as the 8 bit computers were becoming history, using your TV as a monitor became history also, it just didn't have the resolution needed. Using a computer monitor as a TV is another story. I was using an external TV Tuner with my first AV Macintosh. Even better in recent years is the ability to put a TV program in a resizable Window anywhere on your Computer Screen. ATI All-In-Wonder cards have provided that capability for years for PCs, by putting a TV tuner on a Video Card, thereby taking up none of the precious PCI slots a separate TV tuner requires. The last 2 generations of that card (with various flavors of Radeon chips) have been especially nice, with stable drivers that do an excellent job of also allowing playing of DVDs. The newest models even include Firewire ports. On my Macintosh I had to use up a slot since Apple abandoned its AV models, and the IX-Micro ixTV card worked very well; although IX-Micro is now out of business, although drivers are still available. So as I move to OS-X there's no one to write OS-X drivers(?) for that card. I bought an Eskape Labs My TV 2 Go USB box, which is a TV Tuner that plugs into a powered USB port. It works OK in OS 9.2.2, but interestingly enough its "beta" drivers for OS-X provide better functionality and better stability on the OS-X platform. ATI makes a similar product, but does not have, and has no plans for OS-X drivers. I often like to keep up with news or sporting events by watching TV whilst I'm computing/surfing. The Eskape Labs product is the last piece that will allow me to move to OS-X when I buy a new Macintosh next month.

Saturday, June 15, 2002

Dell Computer and printers? HP is casting aspersions about Dell starting to sell printers. Truth be told, as much as I love Dell, I think HP is correct in this case. Dell has never had an expensive research effort in any area, so it has no basis to make breakthroughs in printing technology or manufacture. If it partners with someone else, and just slaps a Dell tag on say a Ricoh printer, the profit margin is paper thin and may not be worth the effort.

Wednesday, June 12, 2002

How to sabotage your sales Many businesses have done that. Announce that new, improved or cheaper models will be available at some future date. BINGO, sales plummet until the new models come out. Latest folks to do just that? Palm Should I be buying puts on Palm stock?

Monday, June 10, 2002

You have to teach Blogging ? I thought if you were a high school graduate, and knew how to put a sentence together, you could be a credible blogger. But to make sure and because some professor is likely coming up for tenure and wants to show the Dean that lots of students will come to his/her class, the University of California at Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism will have a class on blogging.
Ready for a different paradigm? then click here and read on.

Thursday, June 06, 2002

The potential of Macintosh PowerPC is finally realized. I got to work on my home Mac last night (June 5). A dual 800 MHz G-4 with 80 Gig HD for 9.2.2 and a 40 Gig HD for OS X and 1.25 Gig Ram. I updated to Mac OS-X 10.1.5 via software update and all went well, although the download (via Earthlink dsl) was slower than other recent updates.

Then I applied the SR-1 patch to my MS Office-X. I was somewhat apprehensive about doing that. I own a University licensed copy of Office-X legally bought at discount at my school bookstore where I work. It has an imbedded CD-Code. With warnings about Microsoft's secret Sledge Hammer approach to anti-piracy requring re-entry of codes in some cases described on Macintouch, I wasn't sure what to expect. But it all went smoothly and I wasn't asked for the code, which I didn't know and Office still worked.

Actually worked is not the correct term. It flew! MS Word-X loaded in 2 seconds, about as fast as any 2 Ghz PC loading MS Word XP. The curse of MS Word 6 bloatware, taking 28 seconds to load is now lifted. The potential of the PowerPC, OS-X and dual processors seems finally realized. To say I am thrilled is an understatement.

I'm almost ready to make the switch to OS-X and leave System 9 behind. One of the main things I'd like to see is a full featured OS-X version of NewsWatcher so I can track Usenet, although Google ain't all bad, and better than Netscape. UPDATE: A former colleague has pointed me here for what I may want.

Tuesday, June 04, 2002

I LOVE APPLE - I just already (in less than 48 hours) received my advance replacement for my Wireless Access Point basestation - Airport. Then one just places the old device in the same box, peels off the top shipping label, and voila, a prepaid return label is shown.

FOLLOWUP - Just a refurbished Airport was sent, shrinkwrapped in a foamlined box, no documentation or software. It worked perfectly, although Airport Administrator software wanted to (and I allowed it to) download new firmware (part of Airport 2.0 software). All I had to do was plug it in, run Airport Administrator, pick a broadcast channel, name the device, give it a password, and pick an IP number for it that worked with my Router that fed it.

This free advance replacement, with Apple paying shipping both ways was so much better than Western Digital's treatment of me with a DOA Hard Drive.
X-Box hacked/cracked Its reported in the news today that there are no more secrets to the copy protection of the Xbox, and with minimal additonal effort, one could have a $200 Linux box. Until its pulled here is a link (found on to the paper.
IBM Hard Drives die - I won't buy any. Why? They're being sued because of high failure rates. And in my opinion, IBM knows they have more skeltons in their closet and are just dumping the business. So today (June 4) it's announced they found a sucker (uh.. ) buyer for the business. Hitachi. I sure hope Hitachi did all their due dilligence.
IBM Press Release.

Monday, June 03, 2002

No TIVO for me. I had been considering getting a Tivo, when TIVO 2 with DirecTv in one unit hits the streets later this year. Now I have firmly decided against TIVO. Seems in Great Britain, the BBC paid Tivo to arrange for Tivo boxes to download and record a 30 minute sitcom, totally unannounced to the Tivo box owners. This new invasion of privacy or TV spam is totally unacceptable.

Sunday, June 02, 2002

Such irony. Earlier today I was reading (and blogging) about the new generation of Wireless Access Points, and this afternoon just hours later, my 31 month old Apple Wireless Access Point (Airport) malfunctioned. Its a known problem apparently caused by failed inferior grade capacitors. Actually most fail just after the normal 1 year warranty period. Luckily, being knowledgeable, I know of Apple's secret extended warranty on these puppies. So I call 1-800-SOS-APPL and within minutes arranged for an advance replacement to be on its way to me: no charge for item, no charge for shipping either direction. Certainly better treatment than that offered me by Western Digital last month.
Dishonest Merchants (IMHO) - Linksys has announced an 802.11a Wireless Access Point (WAP54A), and a PC Card also. What this does is to allow wireless networking at 5x the speed of current 802.11b wireless standard. 802.11a operates in the 5 GHz band, while 802.11b operates in the 2.4 GHz band which it shares with many cordless telephones phones. Only one gotcha. The product seems unavailable from them. It is what is referred to as VAPORWARE, because one can't buy it. Linksys' web site refers one to, and CDW. Neither merchant has any in stock. CDW dishonestly says it usually ships in 1-2 weeks. Hah - Has it ever shipped any? says it is back ordered (they're honest there), but then they invent a fake $499.99 price so they can brag about a fake $210 discount. CDW offers it for a mere $299.99. CNET correctly gives the list price as $299.99 Egghead/Amazon lists it as in stock for $271.97, but can Amazon be believed when Linksys is not delivering product to its favored vendors? Just go to CNET and search on "WAP54A".

Friday, May 31, 2002

IBM STUPIDITY (IMHO) - IBM wants folks to have PCs without Hard Drives and force you to Network Boot (iBoot) and have all your data on Servers.
......................."You just have a disk that is physically distant from your
....................... PC, The disk looks like it's local."
Whoever came up with this must be too young to know we gave all that up 21 years ago. Why?
Security: Data you control is more secure, than data out of your hands.
Reliability: You still have access to your data if a Router or Switch burps, or if DHCP Server fails.
Speed: Data on a local Hard Drive will always be accessed faster than on a shared Network Drive
Privacy: Same argument as for security

The only reason to use IBM techniques is to save a little money on the desktop, which then requires more money spent on the Servers and folks to maintain the servers.

Thursday, May 30, 2002

I'm almost think I'm too old for Xbox, as any game I've tried so far is too hard for me, even in easiest setting. But then one of my sons emailed me that he just got his July XBox magazine. I ran out and bought me a copy. They tell in there about XBox Live coming in the fall, so we could play over the Internet. If only they have a new 3-D version of MULE by then. Actually the magazine with its playable demos are perfect for my attention span and skill level with Xbox. I loved the demo of All-Star Baseball 2003. Any hit was a BIG Home Run. Any of the "scab" players are not in the game as they are not members of the Players Association which won't let the 94-95 strike breakers join. The Players Association is a licensee of this game.

Wednesday, May 29, 2002

I HATE SPAM When I go to web sites that require an email address, I usually give "" so I won't get added to yet another email list. I must get 3 "You've won a Vacation" emails a day at my HotMail account. TechTV has a good section on SPAM. Microsoft tells how to get SPAM out of Outlook 2002.
And new legal action may help too.
Handspring has finally started selling the color Treo, a combo Palm device and cell phone, with a built in mini keyboard. It looks very interesting, and might be better than my Samsung I300, but I'll never know. It only runs on the "GSM" Cell phone protocol, which is the default in Europe, but not in the United States. In the U.S., one would have to use VoiceStream, bought last year by Deutche Telecom. VoiceStream itself bought Aerial the preceeding year and immediately starting requiring 1 year contracts and discontinued First Incoming Minute Free. VoiceStream's web page seems more interested in promoting vaporware, ie. a yet to be delivered PocketPC/cell phone device, rather than the now available Treo. Go Figure. I use Sprint on my cellphone. I'm not especially enamoured of Sprint as their Customer Support is as poor as everyone else in the cell business, but they do provide true free Nationwide Long Distance.

Saturday, May 25, 2002

I violated one of my prime rules in Computing. "Don't buy promises". I bought an X-Box and hope real soon now to be able to play something online with my sons, who both now have broadband. I went into Frys yesterday and they had stacks of X-Box up to ones armpits. I carefully picked one that had been made in Mexico, which I trusted better than the new batch "Made in China".

Wednesday, May 22, 2002

I earn a good living taking care of a large Network of mostly PCs, running Windows 98, Windows 2000 and Windows XP; and everyday I say Thank you Bill Gates, because Microsoft software is so illogical and nonintuitive that it provides great job security for us IT folks.

This Blog is being written at home on a Macintosh. I note for instance that if one wants a lap top; The PowerBook G4 is less expensive with 50% longer Battery life than an (almost) equivalent IBM ThinkPad T23.
Blogger is full: Error /home/localOutput/gen3496413.html (No space left on device) (server:disco) popped up today
[5/22/2002] 9:22:00 AM CST All is fine now.
The Klez virus continues to confound folks. It uses an infected computers Email address book to pick senders and also to randomly pick an address to forge as a from address. Thus its not obvious who the infected email is coming from or who has an infected computer.
I personally blame Symantec and Norton Anti-Virus for most of the problem. Their software comes free with many computers, but is only updated for free for 3 months, and many folks don't want to or don't appreciate the need to keep the antivirus software current when it costs extra money. To further confuse end users, Norton Anti-Virus will continue to perform a "Live Update" for its "Live Update" component, when it stops updating the antivirus, thus tricking many folks into thinking their software is being updated. Dell fails to even mention the future cost in a prominent web page promoting Norton Anti-Virus. Gateway recommends folks check for updates every 2 weeks, when Symantec publishes new updates at least weekly.

Having not up-to-date AntiVirus software is worse than useless. The software uses up memory and computer resources but won't protect one against new viruses, of which there are litterly 100 + new ones appearing every week. But then thats another advantage PCs have over Macintosh. PCs have so many more viruses.

Monday, May 20, 2002

Reuters is 3 days behind TeraBlog. Friday we told you about defeating copy-protection on Audio Cds. Today, three days later, Reuters does.
GOODBYE MS Internet Explorer. At least if AOL (owner of Netscape) has its way. AOL is currently beta testing new versions of its AOL software for both Windows Machines, and Macintosh OS X that use Netscape, instead of Microsoft Internet Explorer. Perhaps its in partial retaliation for Microsoft not including AOL software on its Windows XP disks.

Sunday, May 19, 2002

In the last two years we learned how Ford Motor Company cut corners and ordered up cheaper tires for the Explorers, which already were (too) prone to tipping over in emergency situations. Now we learn that Experian who they used to check on credit for folks who still wanted to buy those cars, also cut corners (in terms of computer security) and for months had folks dipping into its database. And this was not the first such problem for Experian ! ! ! So 13,000 folks are now likely candidates for indentity theft. Thanks Ford. Thanks Experian (formerly TRW).

Friday, May 17, 2002

Copy protection on audio Cds I blogged about on Tuesday can in fact be easily defeated by some very low-tech techniques as reported in the Register.

Thursday, May 16, 2002

I've been taught the three most important things about personal computing. 1. Backup 2. Backup
3. Backup. David Coursey of ZDNet today brags about discovering a backup solution I've been using for almost a year now. Backup your home computer to an external Firewire (IEEE1394) Hard Drive. I went him one better by rolling my own Firewire Hard Drive. One saves $100 or more by buying a Hard Drive and putting it inside an external case. Takes all of 6 screws. 4 screws to mount the Hard Drive in the case, then insert a power cable and a data cable, and lastly 2 more screws to reassemble the case. With Windows XP one has to do an image backup, but with Macintosh a simple drag and drop backup works wonderfully (and faster than any other known backup). This has the benefit of a file oriented backup where any single file can quickly be recovered from the backup. Macintosh computers come with built in firewire ports, most PCs, one has to add a $50 PCI card, although combo cards with firewire are beginning to appear. The All-In-Wonder Radeon 8500 has firewire ports.

P.S. The Blogger spell checker wants Firewire to be fireweed.

Wednesday, May 15, 2002

My opinion of Western Digital is as low as it is high for Maytag. I just bought (mailorder) a 120 Gigabyte Special Edition (8 Meg Cache) Hard Drive. It was DOA. Strange it came sealed in an anti-static pouch dated Feb 02, but the drive shows a manufacture date of 10 March 2002. I called Western Digital on the telephone (using an 800 number), and for 15 minutes heard voice over telling me to use their web site for RMAs. Funny thing that - you end up at web pages dated February 2002 that says this service is unavailable. Finally I got a "live" person who said their system was down and they could not give me an RMA. I asked if he could take my info, create an RMA when their system came up, and email me the required information. No they couldn't. That response means I never again buy Western Digital products, since effectively there's no warranty replacement. I will be returning the drive to the mail-order vendor, and getting a charge back if they don't perform pefectly. Thats the advantage of using a credit card. It allows one some leverage in cases like this.

5/16/200211:53:00 AM FOLLOWUP. I just received an email from Western Digital. "If you can return the drive back to the place of purchase then that is always the best option." So much for honoring the warranty and replacing a DOA drive with a like new one.
Capitalistic competition works. When there is true competition, prices fall. When Microsoft cut the price of MS-DOS 1.0 to way below that of CPM/86 in 1982, they captured the market. Earlier this week Sony dropped the price of its Playstation 2 by $100, and today Microsoft followed suit for its X-Box; with both now selling for under $200. Likely they are each losing money at that price, but they make big profits on the game cartridges and accessories, so it's a sound business move.

Tuesday, May 14, 2002

Sony and Epic are busy trying to bust your PC/Mac with their "copy protected" music CDs. Some are suggesting that such copy-protected CDs be correctly called "Corrupted Audio CDs". They do after all vary from the Sony/Phillips specification for what an Audio CD is.

Monday, May 13, 2002

I'm looking forward to the day later this year when I can buy an Apple PowerPC G5.

Sunday, May 12, 2002

So there I was wandering stores today. CompUSA, MicroCenter, BestBuy. Generally with prices significantly higher than one can get mailorder, except for items that manufacturers manage to get everyone to sell at the same price. And in this city I wonder why they now have cable modems available on their shelves. The Cable Company here has basically now got the whole city covered, and for now, gives away the Cable Modem if one subscribes to cable Internet. So there should be next to no one who would need to go to CompUSA to buy one. Apparently the stores' National Buyers don't know these local nuances. Maybe someone eventually will wonder why they sell so few (maybe zero) cable modems here.

Saturday, May 11, 2002

In my humble opinion Maytag appliances are as trouble free as they say. Our Maytag DE-408 Electric Clothes Dryer stopped working today, after 22 years. The drum was not rotating anymore. I opened up a panel on the back and found that the drive belt had busted. Imagine that - only holding up for 22 years. So I went to a local appliance store and paid $18 + tax for a new belt. The price was high, but I guess I was paying for the cost of their having it in stock. Luckily it had some good instructions on the back of the plastic bag that told me to remove the front, and then remove an inner panel to put the new belt in place. Thirty minutes of effort later, I had saved myself the $500 a new dryer would have cost or the $150 a repairperson might have charged. Any luck at all, it's good for another 20 years.

Friday, May 10, 2002

Todays top Tech News Story: major computer manufacturers will come to your home to set up your newly purchased computer. They see this as a new revenue source. Well if Dell used $18/hour Dell employees, this could be great. If they use contract employees, it will be an unmitigated disaster. Windows XP has some excellent migration tools for getting data and settings from an old computer to a new one.

Will they take the time to download the 23 Windows XP updates from Microsoft that a computer needs? It takes only a few minutes with dsl or cable, but could be hours via dial-up. Will users be told to not install Gator, Comet Cursor or Webshots because the Spyware it installs will mess up their computer? Likely not. Will they be told that antivirus needs to be updated at least weekly, and that typically updates stop working after 3 months if you don't pay a nice fee to Symantec (or whoever)? Likely not.

I won't even get into the fact that all this setup difficulty flat doesn't exist in the Macintosh paradigm.

Thursday, May 09, 2002

I have a SprintPCS cell phone. Actually its a fancy combo Palm Pilot, the Samsung I300. I've grown kinda used to it, as its nice having both functions in one device, but I haven't yet started using the "Wireless Web" functionality, as effectively its 9600 baud transmission of data, and I don't feel like boldly going back to 1985.

All Cell Phone companies (Sprint is certainly no exception) have cut corners in a major way on customer support. Folks that don't like Sprint even have their own website.

SprintPCS employees should be glad that last years planned merger with MCI/Worldcom didn't go through. Last time I looked, Worldcom stock price was below $2.

Wednesday, May 08, 2002

Too many pundits are hailing the "Death" of System 9. All that has happened is that Apple Computer has proclaimed it will henceforth devote all its development efforts to OS X and its successors. I have no complaint with Apple's decision. But with tens of millions of Macintosh Computers running OS 9 or earlier versions of Apple's System software, and likely more than half of those won't even run OS X suitably, if at all, it will be many years before we have seen the last of OS 9. I for one picked up a PowerPC 8100/100 at work today that another department was about to surplus. It can still be a very functional and productive computer, but not with OS X.

Tuesday, May 07, 2002

Hewlett-Packard moves slowly to make Compaq disappear from the web. redirects to, but compaq drivers are still found at, unchanged with all the Compaq logos like the merger never happened.

Monday, May 06, 2002

How does Microsoft still get away with this stuff? Intel announces a new 2.53 GHz Pentium 4 CPU today, Dell announces its Dimension 8200's with this chip available immediately. Two catches. It has to come with Microsoft Windows, and it has to have Microsoft application software. Isn't that illegal bundling, forcing me to take Microsoft application software? And just because I am a State employee and can get a legal licensed copy of Microsoft Office XP Premium for $10, I still have to buy Microsoft application software from Dell, so Microsoft by its monopoly is forcing me into a duplicate purchase.