Saturday, December 30, 2006

Microsoft tries to buy good reviews of Vista: Read about it here:

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Microsoft's lack of security really hurts them: Lately I've been getting daily emails offering me Microsoft Office at $300 off, and it must obviously be counterfeited pirate copies at those prices. So being a good citizen I forward such emails to Minor problem. If the email has embedded graphics, Microsoft's email system rejects it. The error message says: Your e-mail was rejected by an anti-spam content filter on gateway ( Reasons for rejection may be: obscene language, graphics, or spam-like characteristics.

Monday, November 06, 2006

AOL is Guilty !! : If you use their webmail, they stick tracking cookies on your Computer from Doubleclick. AOL sticks you with SPYWARE !

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Effect of Dell buying Alienware ? As you may recall, the upscale PC manufacturer was bought by Dell last March. Now it turns out they've childlishly cut off a reviewer because they didn't like a review written. Not that it was wrong, just it pointed out a unit was overpriced for what it offered.
Details here.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

More info on Firefox 2.0: All is not lost. Upgrading to 2.0 keeps your prior configuration, and if that was blocking 3rd party cookies, that functionality remains. That feature can be added anytime by the arcane method of entering about:config in the URL window, and hitting enter. Then set the key : network.cookie.cookieBehavior; the default value is 0 (all cookies allowed) you want a 1
(no 3rd party cookies).

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Delay for Vista: Microsoft has announced that Vista will be delayed and is not shipping to computer makers at the end of October. It still has 500 known bugs. Story here .
Apparently the retail versions, to be released in January will be released on time ready or not. We can safely predict that as Microsft working with Computer manufacturers will provide upgrade coupons for Vista to anyone now buying a new PC with Windows XP installed. The coupon will provide a free or reduced price copy of Vista (when available). Story here .
What will be interesting is to see what happens with these coupons. Will they be counterfeited out of Ukraine? Will they, or can they be resold on eBay?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Whither Firefox 2.0: I can no longer recommend Firefox, and I will not use Firefox 2.0.
They have removed the ability to block 3rd party cookies/tracking cookies/Spyware.
Others have noticed this perfidy also. Read here: I will continue to use Firefox, and perhaps being open software, someone will add back the necessary feature Mozilla has removed from Firefox 2.0. The released final version of Internet Explorer 7 still allows blocking of 3rd party cookies.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

No Salespeople Needed ? At a Macy's in Houston, TX, I happened across an iPod vending machine. Swipe your credit card, and select an iPod or any of a large variety of accessories. Strangely it was placed at the edge of the shoe department. Such machines apparently have been around for 18 months.
See here.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Internet Explorer 7 released: A non beta, non Release Candidate "Final Version" is now available from Microsoft. Download it here.

Followup : Less than 24 hours later, Security Flaw identified. And soon another.

Monday, October 16, 2006

I HATE SPYWARE : Yet many of the most "reputible" Internet Sites stick your computer chocky fulll of spyware in the form of "Tracking Cookies" so they'll know where you're going. They don't ask permission, they just do it, and in addition to violating your privacy, it slows your Internet connection down. Luckily it's easy to stop it all. Just configure your browser to not allow "Third Party Cookies", and that will stop Yahoo and others from their perfidy. Instructions here . I think all Browsers should as a default block 3rd party cookies; the only one I know that does that is Safari. Ironically, the Washington Posts' (home of the just linked instructions) web site is one of the worst offenders for sticking you with third party cookies (and tricks your browser into accepting some even when 3rd party cookies are blocked!) aka tracking cookies, aka Spyware, so make sure you clear your cookies after setting your browser and leaving that website; Instructions here. Cookies can helpful for a website, for instance to retain information as you navigate within the website, i.e. what State you live in, that you're already authenticated, etc. Therefore some websites won't work if you blocked all cookies. In theory websites could block you if you refused to accept third party cookies. Any such website, you shouldn't be visiting anyway.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Running MS Windows Vista RC2 on a Macintosh: Not too hard to do on a MacPro. Runs fast, doesn't seem all that different or better from Windows XP. In fact:
MS Windows Vista is likely to be the most insecure Operating System ever published.
Two main reasons.
1. Microsoft wants a piece of the antivirus program market and has locked competitors out of its Security Control Panel in Vista. Symantec and McAfee are playing chicken, and refusing to release a Vista compatible AntiVirus product. Not easy finding antivirus software for Vista RC2.
2. For security reasons Microsoft makes the user confirm EVERYTHING whenever you run an executible or download a plug-in. It's so annoying that quickly a user will likely blindly click OK for everything, thus totally negating the benefit of Microsofts' planning.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Running Windows XP simultaneously With Mac OS X: Parallels is the software that provides for this. They just posted a "Release Candidate" that works on the MacPro. Parallels has many defects remaining. USB grief, won't work (for me) with both of my DVD-RW drives, Sound still not working correctly, but installing the included "Parellels Tools" helped a lot. I can share my Fat 32 partition with my OS X paradigm, and I love the way the cursor goes in and out of a Windows XP Window as you move it in and out of the Window.

It took far too much time to get it in a usable condition, but it does now do all I need it to. I can run MS Money, MS Access and IE 6 (which some websites require because they never learned about FrontPage 2003 provided authentication grief with Microsoft, they sure know how to alienate customers, but a barely intelligible CSR in India finally provided a code. Working just fine for the apps that I need most, I'll be using Parallels in preference to Boot Camp, (and Parallels never has a SATA slowdown, like Apple's Boot Camp 1.1 does without hacking your Windows Install CD), so I orderd a copy of Parallels (through MacInTouch at Amazon) at a discount.

The 15 day trial copy is a great way for folks to evaluate software.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Amazon thinks it's iTunes. Amazon has launched a new "service" UNBOX, which provides downloads of TV shows and Movies. Only issue - you can't burn them to a playable DVD. So it's hardly like an unboxed commercial DVD. It reminds me more of the failed Circuit City DIVX. Take a known service and provide extra restritions on the use, and expect people to pay the same price.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Beware new AOL free client: Leading Industry watchdog at Harvard labels the free version of AOL 9.0 as badware. Full story here.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Turnabout is fair play ! Microsoft has been trying to minimize the Google monopoly on search function. Now Google is going to do the same for Microsoft's big cash cow, Microsoft Office. Story here.

Monday, August 21, 2006

I love my new MacPro ! The new Mac Pro is a great Workstation PC. It uses 2 high end dual core Xeon Processors, fast SATA Hard Drives, and fast ECC Memory. Since it uses Intel processors, in theory one should be able to run Windows on it. Apple in fact has made that easy with their "BootCamp" software. I created a 32 Gig Partition and formatted it with FAT32 to simplify transferring files between Windows and Mac OS worlds. Software exists to run both OSs simultaneously, but a version that works with the new MacPro hasn't been released yet, so for now, switching requires a simple reboot; and that reboot is relatively fast with this fast machine.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Dump Windows Update and WGA - How to is here.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Microsoft retreats (a little) - Microsoft's WGA spyware no longer checks daily allegedly. Story here.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Microsoft has Installed Spyware on your PC - Brian Livingston, author of many "Windows Secrets" books and normally a mild mannered person, takes Microsoft to task for their WGA beta program, which they secretly have "phone home" - thus it is spyware. Full story here:

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

This TiVo could live forever: My son bought a lifetime contract (for $250) 3 1/2 years ago when he got a 140060 SA TiVo. Monthly fees would have cost him $543 by now. He was upset when his TiVo "died" last month.

I told him: Let me try and fix it, it's probably just the hard drive", and if he decided to stay with the Comcast DVR he got in the meantime, I could sell it on eBay for him. Frys had 300 Gig Seagates for cheap to use to replace/upgrade his OEM hard drive so I got one.

When I got the unit, I plugged it in, and despite lighting up, nothing to the TV screen, upon opening it up, the Hard Drive wasn't spinning up. I tried a different hard drive, and it too lay dormant. I went to the site where it confirmed my suspicion that the Power Supply was bad, so I ordered a replacement from them. It came today, and I swapped it in, and voila : TiVo LIVES. Then I restored the 3 1/2 year old OEM 60 Gig HD onto the new 300 Gig HD, which saved all my son's settings and recording (took about 90 minutes). His TiVo now has ~ 370 hours recording time, and still has its Lifetime Subscription. Instructions here.

My son wants it back, telling me his Comcast DVR only recorded 80% of what he told it to.
I own a DirecTv unit with TiVo, so I have no need for it, and it's being shipped now.

It's nice to be able to do things for ones' children.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Can you hear me now? Allegedly a high frequency ringtone has been making the rounds in Great Britain. Teens can hear it, adults can't so the story goes. I'm not aware of any cell phone that has the capability of producing such high frequency sounds, so I'm skeptical. Story here:
Download the ringtone here.

Friday, June 09, 2006

I knew, do you know? Five things you should know before trying to Install
Windows Vista, Beta 2. Story here.

Five other things you should know.

1. GHOST your hard drive before installing Vista.
2. Create a new partition for Vista so you can dual boot.
3. Download your Soundblaster Drivers from Creative Labs.
4. Turn off Energy Savings on your Network Card. Turn off Vista Sidebar.
Configure settings for your Domain/Workgroup.
5. Firefox 1.5.0x works great, use it.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Microsoft is too cheap to buy enough bandwidth from Akamai. Anyone can now download a beta of Windows Vista here. In theory anyway. Try it Thursday morning, June 8, 2006, and you get this message:

Thank you for your interest in Windows Vista Beta 2.

We are currently experiencing a high level of demand and cannot process your request at this time.

Please check back later for availability. We apologize for any inconvenience.

FOLLOWUP: Luckily third parties have mirrored it. You may have more luck downloading it here. Don't forget to get an install code from Microsoft. Thanks to that mirror I downloaded it quickly. Read one opinion of installing Vista in the June 8 posting on a blog here, and here .

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Glad I didn't buy an HP Digital camera: Cause they might burst into flame they're being recalled. Story here.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

More cut and paste from Press Release disguised as news: Forbes has news (which is 100% wrong) that Microsoft launched its first Macintosh keyboard. Forbes baloney here.
The reason I know it's baloney is this April 16, 2002 Microsoft Press Release announcing that the Microsoft keyboards work with Macintosh.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Writing by committee ? PC World has an interesting list of 25 Worst Tech Products. Problem is they seem to have three separate criteria for inclusion. With some products only meeting one of the criteria.
1. Doesn't work as advertised or not fit for purpose.
2. Way overpriced.
3. Commercial failure.

Interesting discussion topic, however

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Surprise, surprise, NOT - Microsoft admits Vista may slip past its' January planned release. Of course you read that here 3 weeks ago.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Free download for MS Office 2007 Beta: Click here.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Worse than SPAM: SPIM: Don't click on unexpected links while using Yahoo Messenger, or you'll be a victim. Story here:

Friday, May 19, 2006

Windows VISTA requirements: Microsoft makes official what one needs in a PC to be able to run VISTA (the new version of Windows, now due out next year). Check it out here.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Industry expert predicts next version of Windows will be LATE: Microsoft claims the public will see Windows Vista in January, others say April if you're lucky.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Add-on for Sony Digital Camera: I got me a Sunshade for the LCD screen on the back of the camera. Found it locally for 20% less than the web price. See it here. Buy it here.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Sony has wonderful digital cameras: I decided to sell off some of my Canon SLRs on eBay and use the proceeds to buy a new digital camera. My current Canon G2 is a great camera, but these days, newest models have higher resolution, smaller form factor, and can take pictures under lower light conditions (i.e. effective ASA of 800 or higher).

A good friend of my son has a Canon S2, and produces remarkable pictures for her website, but the S2 is about to be replaced by the S3, and such cameras are larger and heavier than I wanted, as is a soon to be available Sony H5 . I wanted one of the new under 8 ounce models. The small form factor camera will be great as I go on land excursions from a cruise this summer. A 2 gigabyte memory stick now costs less than a 128 Meg memory card did 4 years ago.

I finally chose a Sony DSC-W100 over similar Canon models, due to a lower cost, 8.1 megapixels instead of 7.1, higher effective ASA, and a good protective shield over their LCD screen on the back of the camera, which I proceeded to further protect with a Belkin PDA screen protector sheet (which Belkin apparently no longer sells). Reviews of Canon models tell of grief with failing LCD screens, and Canon's refusal to cover such under warranty. The Sony comes with Windows software, but none for the Macintosh, so I was pleased to discover that despite not being on the list of supported cameras, Apples' iPhoto software works perfectly with the W100, plug in the camera, turn it on, and "## pictures ready to import" pops up on the computer screen.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Dell slows down their PCs with all kinds of superfluous software: Took me weeks to get all the stuff off, but now others as unhappy about Dell's selling out as I have done something about it. Free software - called "Dell de-crapifier" removes all that stuff from a new Dell PC. It's available here.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Vote Early, and often: The state of Washington had an online poll to allow folks to vote amongst three proposed designs for the 2007 Washington State quarter. They just happened to make it trivial to stuff the ballot box. Read about it here.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Run Windows XP on an Intel Macintosh - or If you can't beat them, join them !

Apple Computer has now released software to allow anyone to install Windows XP on an Intel based Macintosh. Download here.

Of course I'd like it the other way around. I want to be able to run OS X 86 on my Dell PC.
One set of instructions for doing that is here.

Followup: PC World tests out Apple's XP Install, and finds it works great. Read the review here.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Do you REALLY need a laptop : When buying a new computer, some folks are tempted to buy a laptop. But unless you regularly travel out of town, or have to work in multiple locations daily, the disadvantages of a laptop may make you regret buying a laptop:
In order to lighten weight and squeeze in components, a laptop:

1. Is typically one year behind a desktop in technology on day one, but costs more anyway.

2. Has less capacity in terms of memory and storage;
and costs far more and/or be more difficult to upgrade either.

3. Typically has a battery life of half of
what the manufacturer may claim.

4. A used laptop likely may have a (or a new laptop after 2 years)
"geriatric" battery that when it fails will
- be expensive to replace
- may be difficult to find immediately

5. Will have a smaller screen with less resolution than a desktop.

6. With exception of a couple of specifically designed models
a laptop is exceedingly fragile and subject to major damage
from a minor "bump"

7. Is susceptible to theft or attracting a mugger. Never
carry one in a case with a big bold label of the
computer company. It's the same as having a badge on it
saying "STEAL ME FIRST" .

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Bye-bye movies on disc for the Sony Portable Playstation : Underwhelming sales have studies stopping production of movie releases in the Sony format. Story here.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

More Microsoft security issues: Here is exactly the reason why I use Firefox, like right now as I compose this. Read here.

FOLLOWUP 3/29 : Why wait for Microsoft to do the right thing? A program developed outside of Microsoft is discussed here. Turns out it's BLINK, an overly agressive firewall, that I quickly uninstalled. Next to try. IE 7 beta isn't supposed to be vulnerable. Get it here.

Followup 4/6: I quickly gave up on Internet Exploder 7 beta 2.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

It's Official: Dell buys Alienware. Here's their memo to their own employees about it.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Two Great Free programs to protect Your Windows System !!!

1. Siteadvisor - Download a plug-in or Firefox and/or Internet Explorer that will warn you about websites that will install Spyware. Review here.

2. WinPatrol - Realtime protection against having your Windows taskbar clogged up. Basically a user friendly version of msconfig. They sell a $25 version with a great database thats ommitted from the free version. Review here.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Dell and Alienware: According to reports Dell has already/is about to swallow up Alienware, maker of high end PCs for folks that mainly use their PCs as a Game machine.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

I love my DirecTv with TiVo: TiVo is awesome. It saves ever having to look at a TV listing in the newspaper. It does the work for you. Some people however do get carried away. Story here.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Sales of Motorola RAZR phones halted: Both and Cingular and T-Mobile both! Story here.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Microsoft isn't this bad ! Long time readers of this Blog may have discerned I tend to have a low opinion of Microsoft, its arrogant ways, and wish it HAD been broken up. But even though Microsoft Excel years later is buggy, and still tends to fragment memory on quitting, I wouldn't call it a virus. McAfee did on Friday March 10, 2006.

Friday, March 10, 2006

How smart is Microsoft?: I had nothing but grief from PC Relocator. It would crash with no error message if it ran into too long (for it) a path name. It have difficulty updating itself. It transferred things it shouldn't (bits and pieces of programs that had been uninstalled), and thus created an unstable new system. I returned it under their Money Back Guarantee, only to discover Microsoft has just bought the company, and will incorporate the program as a downloadable extra for Vista. Job security for phone support I guess, and a deep pocket to finance refunds.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

GMAIL goes down - Tonight 3/8/2206 6:15 PM CST it presents:

Server Error

We're sorry, but Gmail is temporarily unavailable. We're currently working to fix the problem -- please try logging in to your account in a few minutes.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Atari in trouble: Story here. But the story understates Atari's effect in home computers. For a brief period in the early 1980's Atari outsold Apple. Then Atari (which had it's own version of Visicalc) concentrated on games and ignored productivity software. And then they made matters worse by concentrating on games for their game systems rather than their home computers. Eventually they were sold off by Warner to the founder of Commodore Computers who later in the 80's introduced the first mass computer with a full megabyte of ram, back when ram was $300 per megabyte.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

MovieBeam - DOA - Again? With Cable, DirecTv, Echostar, Netflix and Blockbuster; why would you pay for a set-top box that will only store the newest Disney Movies, and then charge you to see those movies. Whats wrong with Moviebeam?
1. You have to pay for a set top box.
2. You have to pay an activation fee.
3. You have to pay for each movie you wish to view. Currently $3.98 for new releases.
4. Only Disney Movies are available as current releases. Some older Warner titles also available. At present no Sony movies are available. Other studio movies
will be available later, as they are released to Pay-per-view.
5. "Upto" 10% of 100 movies stored on Moviebeam are replaced each week,
if it's one you rented POOF, you can't watch it anymore.
6. You can watch a rented movie as many times as you want, but only for 24 hours.
7. If you live out in the stix, you can't receive OTA datacasts to update the box.
Elsewhere, hopefully the antenna will work OK.
8. Will they leave you holding the bag when they shut down again?
9. Why does the 800 number on their website not work?
10. CNN panned it on their morning news show on 2/14.
11. Why does 100 movies seem like less than 50,000 of Netflix?
12. Only some of the movies are HD format, and their rental currently is $1 extra.
13. You have a 14 day trial period, during which you can opt out and return the hardware, BUT there's a $39.99 restocking charge in the fine print.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Great cell phone: I ended up with a Sony/Ericsson w600i to replace my Motorola v600 which at 20 months age started having reception issues. The Sony phone is mahlvelous.
Sony calls it a Walkman phone, but its everything an iTunes phone should have been but wasn't. Only shortcoming is you can't add memory.

w600i .......................................v600
256 Megs Memory .................5 Megs Memory
400 Hours Standby ..............175 Hours Standby
.....battery Life .............................battery Life
18 bit color screen ...................16 bit color screen
1.3 Megapixel Camera ................VGA Camera
Flash for Camera
FM Radio
Supplied USB Cable......................USB Cable extra cost
Supplied software extra cost
for PC transfer

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Firefox minor fix out. Firefox 1.501 is now available, even in custom builds for Macintosh G4 or G5, available here. For the rest of you folks, it's here.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

First report of running Windows XP on an Intel Mac: Someone has figured out how to do it. Whether its an easily reproducable technique is another matter. In theory, it should be easier to run XP on the new Macs, than run Mac OS X on a PC. Story here:

Monday, January 23, 2006

Fake MSN phishing web Pages shut down : Guess they weren't bribing enough. Bulgaria shut down some scammers. Story here.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

New Firefox Browser for Intel Macintosh : Read about it here. Download it here.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Outrageous fear mongering : A storage "Expert" with perhaps a vested interest in Backup Tape solutions warns that CDs can have a 2 year life span, maximum 5 years. Story here. Silly me, despite the lack of credibility of the story, I pulled out some 5 and 6 year old CDs, and they were ALL perfectly 100% as readable as one created yesterday.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Google Earth - The Killer App for 2006. Totally awesome. And free for the Basic version. With the $200 add-on for the $400 Pro version you could plan a trip, make a video of the route, export it to a wmv, and then to a Podcast? Get the software (Windows or Macintosh) at

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Same Tune, different verse - I'm sorry, I'm underwhelmed by new "Intel" Macintosh computers with Intel Dual core processors. If I thought it was bogus talking how much faster these processors make your computer before, it's still the same if they're in a formerly single processor Macintosh. Folks with an iMac tend not to be the one's doing commercial movie editing where (when it comes out in March) there's a high-priced application that can take advantage of the dual core Intel processor. Indeed, for now, most Macintosh applications are in worse shape. Not only don't they take advantage of the dual core processor, they don't even run directly on the Intel processor, but have the added overhead of "Rosetta" which translates PowerPC apps for Intel on the fly. It was sad watching Steve Jobs trying to double talk his way through using Photoshop that was struggling on a new Intel iMac. And of course forget about "Classic", as there's now no way of running OS 9 aplications on the Intel Macs. Real Soon Now, however, you will be able to run PC apps on such a Macintosh.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Free is Good - Thank you Google: Google announced that it will give away free software to help folks with their PCs. Story here:

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Intel trickery - Fast new dual core Pentium D chips allow parallel processiing. Too bad no extant software you are likely to use gets any benefit from the more expensive chip. Read here:
Where's the Beef? of VISTA Bill Gates gave a "keynote" speech at yesterday's opening of the CES. It was largely a commercial for the next version of Windows : "VISTA", which has already been delayed. Microsoft is now in a lose-lose situation. It's credibility is suffering by the continued delays in anticipated release dates for VISTA (not to mention patching serious bugs in Windows WMF files). Microsoft already has web pages urging people upgrade to this vaporware OS. Computer sales will soon start to slump as folks will hold off buying Windows XP loaded computer(s), but rather have a VISTA loaded computer, thereby saving $200 per machine. Very soon, if not already, it will be time for Microsoft to issue "Technology Guarantee Upgrade" coupons for free upgrades to Windows VISTA with each new computer loaded with XP.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Symantec doesn't understand how a calendar works. My Macintosh has one of their products installed, Norton AntiVirus 10.0.2, and today Jan 1, 2006, it says "Your virus definitions appear to be out of date", despite the fact their date is 12/28/2005.