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.