Monday, December 31, 2007

Most common - unknown problem of Windows. - As part of "Energy Saving" your network card will turn itself off, and you'll lose connection to the Internet!
To prevent that from happening in Windows XP:

1. Go to "My Computer" icon, that hopefully is on your "desktop".
Otherwise find "My Computer" under the Start Menu.
2. Right click, select "Properties" (at bottom of list)
3. Select Hardware (in Tab at top)
4. Click on Device Manager Button
5. Click on "+" next to Network Adapter(s)
6. Double click on your network card
7. Select "Power Management" Tab at top right
8. Uncheck (the default is checked)
"Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power"
9. Click "OK" button at bottom.
10. Quit "Device Manager", Close "System Properties"

If that Device (your Ethernet Network Adapter) is turned off cause you stepped away from the computer or got caught up in a phone call, you'll lose your Internet Connectivity.

In fact Google Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power and you'll see EVERY
manufacturer of Network Adapters recommends unchecking the energy saving settings.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Windows Vista SP1 RC :

That program is now available here. Will try it out on the Vista Home Premium installed on my MacPro and report back.

FOLLOWUP: It's installed with less grief than the XP SP3, but the installation took way too long,
(over an hour), with too many reboots (3 ?), and zero useful information while processing, cycling through "Stage 3", "Stage 1", "Stage 2" multiple times. I wonder how much information is sent back to Microsoft.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Comcast and Tivo:
At the end of November 2007, Comcast announced that its DVRs withTiVo would now be available to the general public. A month later, apparently only one person has had it installed. His story here. I can believe his grief, if you telephone 1-800-COMCAST and ask them about Tivo, nobody has been trained on it, and they don't know what you're talking about.

Friday, December 28, 2007

New Software for the PC in my MacPro

I've been adding software to the Windows XP PC in my MacPro

1. Windows XP SP3 RC1
For a Intel Macintosh one needs to add a key to the Registry for the Installer to work
You need to create a regkey (STRING VALUE) (REG_SZ) called BootDir under HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Setup
and set it to C:\ This solves a problem
Otherwise you get an out of disk space error when the Installer looks at the BootCamp partition and the Install fails.

2. and a new Firefox I like Firefox 3.0b3

I like that you can save your tabs between sessions.
Check for updates daily.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Bye Bye Moviebeam - An ill considered business to give consumers less and charge more has now totally failed. All 1800 remaining subscribers now lose. February 14, 2006 I detailed what a poor proposition Moviebeam was. How do I get a job saving these folks from themselves?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

MS Windows Vista - So I boot into my Hard Drive with MS Windows Vista for the first time in 2 weeks, and Microsoft has 200 Megs of updates, security patches etc to download, requiring a reboot. This doesnt even include the soon to appear Windows Vista Service Pack 1. Then my Kaspersky AntiVirus latest update also wants a reboot.
Also due soon, Windows XP Service Pack 3, which allegedly speeds up XP enough that you wouldn't want to use Vista, which I hardly do anyway.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Will Steve Jobs retaliate?:
7 years ago when the head of ATI let slip that their newest graphic
cards would be included with soon to be released high-end Macintosh
computers Steve Jobs went ballistic for them leaking that. He
retaliated by starting to use NVidia Graphics cards.

Now, with AT&T's CEO leaking that new iPhones next year will have
3G built in, I would imagine Steve is rather upset.
1. For the leak.
2. Because it could hurt current sales.

I expect Steve is now speeding up work on a CDMA phone.

To not violate contracts with AT&T, the similar phone will be
an "Apple Phone" and not an "iPhone", since AT&T has
exclusivity for 4 1/2 more years with the iPhone.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

GPS or I'll wait some more for an iPhone:
iPhones came down $200 in price, but GPS devices have dropped more than
half this Christmas shopping season; a careful shopper can find what was $649
last year for under $300 now. I just won't use Amazon, their customer
support is now in India.

I took the money I was saving for an iPhone, and decided that as
long as its screen is less than 640 x 480 resolution, its not TRUE
Internet; and have ordered a Garmin GPS with Bluetooth, which costs
less and likely will be used more. I'm also contributing Holiday gift dollars
towards one son to buying himself a Garmin GPS unit at Black Friday prices.
Like Apple, Garmin's stock price has doubled in the past year. Apparently some
of the GPS sale prices are units that don't have the latest "2008" maps, but
Garmin provides a free update if that's the case.

If iPhone 2, possibly out early 2008, supports 3G for faster Internet connectivity,
AT&T likely will charge $40/month for data, as they do for 3G Smartphones,
rather than the $20/month data currently for iPhones.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

My Leopard (Mac OS 10.5) experiences : Luckily Amazon was wrong about its predicted Nov 3 - 7 arrival. As it shipped from Dallas, it took just 2 days for USPS to get it to Houston. I was fortunate the DVD wasn't damaged as it fell out of the flimsy cardboard box Apple used for it. Trivially simple and painless to install. Put the DVD in, click install, reboot, select English as language, accept the License agreement, and off it went, with nary a problem. When it finished, only a few minor issues. I had to "install" the drivers for my LaserJet 3800n which the Macintosh no longer knew was there, and bootup is slower, likely because of the beta McAfee VirusScan I'm running. Time Machine defaulted to wanting to backup every Macintosh volume it could see, rather than just the boot volume, so after I realized that and adjusted preferences it worked fine, but it is slower than slow. I'll have to try disconnecting from Internet and turning off VirusScan and see if that helps, or I can go back to doing a backup by restoring the Boot disk to another Hard Disk. Disappointing Apple still doesn't provide a HD optimization utility. As for BootCamp, the setup file is dated April 2007, so nothing new there. Selecting "Startup disk" no longer sees my Vista volume, but it can be selected at Bootup. New drivers are provided on the Leopard DVD for XP and Vista, and there I have 2 major issues. The drivers for my NVidia 7300 didn't install and crapped out in both XP and Vista, so it required a side trip to to get their Sept. 2007 drivers which worked fine. Apple a year later still hasn't provided a PC driver for its own external iSight webcam. One review said the Macintosh could now write to PC hard disks, and I did not find that to be the case for NTFS formatted volumes. Ethernet must be working better because any browser now seems to run faster under Leopard than before.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Apple has released OS X 10.5 : I've made a clone of my Macintosh Hard Drive, and checked both drives for "permissions" preparatory to installing Leopard. Amazon says my Leopard shipped, and is due Nov. 3.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Epson biodegradeable inkjet printers: I have a color inkjet printer as it's an excellent poor man's Xerox.

My Epson Stylus CX6400 had a terminally clogged printer head (soaking overnight in either
alcohol or Windex didn't help) so I bought a nice new HP Photosmart C5280 at Office Depot,
as they swapped my still NIB leftover Epson ink cartridges for HP ones. Now I fear it'll be
months till HP has a working OS X 10.5 driver.

Monday, October 08, 2007

No iPhone for me (at the moment) :
I can't put my own ringtones on it.
After the iPhone 1.1.1 update, the phone only works with ringtones bought through the Apple iTunes store or the original Built in Ones.
What if you have a public domain sound file thats not available through iTunes and you'd like to use as a ringtone? You're out of luck at the moment.
Example sounds:
Flint phone (works great on my Sony-Ericsson Walkman phone), now with a 4 Gig Memory Card
Star-Trek Warning sound (Red Alert)

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Macintosh AntiVirus ? Apple is about to introduce a new version of OS X, version 10.5,
rumored for later in October 2007. Last update broke the then available major antivirus products. Fearing a repeat, I wasn't anxious to pay to renew my Norton AntiVirus 10.0, given Symantecs' failure to promise me a technology upgrade if needed with 10.5

Luckily McAfee has just released a free beta of its VirusScan, version 8.6; which it promises to be compatible with OS X 10.5. So that is what I now run with my OS X 10.4.10

Monday, September 24, 2007

Add a nice feature to Windows XP: Wouldn't it nice to be able to right click on a folder and have one of the options be "Print Listing of Contents"? Turns out Microsoft didn't include that feature but has instructions for you to add it as an always available option. Just go here.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

I lost my Cingular phone:
The other day, I lost my (going on 2 year old) Sony-Ericsson w600i
(a swivel model, that had started to sometimes turn itself off when swivled) I called my cell number, and the person that answered declined to return it "I just bought it" they said.

I went to my local ATT store, and was issued (for free) (after providing the PIN for my cell number, and showing a Drivers License for ID) a new SIM, which of course deactivated the old SIM, and made the lost phone dead and useless. Luckily my account has International Calling deactivated. The new SIM was put in an old Sony T616 which is working fine until I get a new phone. That took all of 2 minutes. Checking my account online no calls seem to have been made with the lost phone.

I had backed up my address book to my Macintosh (in case I get an iPhone), so it took just a couple of more minutes to sync the T616 to my Macintosh and restore my address book.

I called 611 and was able (in exchange for another 2 year committment)
to get a FREE Sony W300i; and its already been shipped from Fort Worth.

The W300i will use the same car charger and USB cable I already have,
and adding a $20 Memory card my new W300i will allow it to hold 4 times as many songs for its "Walkman" features as the W600i had. Only downside is the low resolution camera, 0.3 megapixel), but I always have a Sony W100 - 8 Megapixel camera with me.

Or the W300i might be sold on Ebay and provide about $140 towards an iPhone purchase.

Followup: 9/24 - I could be getting my new phone delivered today if AT&T had sent it UPS or FedEx ground. 1 day from Forth Worth to Houston. NOPE - They sent it (at Extra Cost) 2 Day FedEx, so it had to be shipped by FedEx to Memphis first.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Make your Firefox even better: Two great additions to Firefox -

1. Adblock Plus
Blocks banner ads and pop-ins etc Makes browsing fast again.

2. IE Tab - Run Internet Explorer web pages inside Firefox.

Check out other possibilities to enhance Firefox here. Also make sure
you're running the latest Firefox. As of today, it's

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Many ways to save Money on a iPhone:

1. The $200 Apple Price drop

2. Save another $100 by buying a 4 Gig Model

3. Save $50 by buying a refurb.

4. Save $50 by using the Telesales code.

5. Save ~$150 or more by getting your upgrade phone after 18 months in
contract, and then reselling NIB on eBay.

6. Save 10% with a new AT&T credit card.

7. Save $50 to $100 by selling your old phone on Ebay.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Bell South not integrated/merged into AT&T yet ! : Despite years of SPAM from AT&T about their referral program, now that I have referred a customer (my cousin in Florida)
who is switching from MCI to AT&T (so she may get dsl); I find I don't get a referral credit or payment, because Bell South territory doesn't count.

I told my cousin that despite what she has been told, she's not getting AT&T service, because Bell
South isn't merged yet. Indeed the AT&T web pages revert to Bell South web pages after she enters her Florida phone number, and she'd get a email address.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Which company is nicer to its employees?

Apple employees get a FREE iphone. Story here.

AT&T employees can get 10% off an iPhone. Story here.

Friday, August 17, 2007

An excellent recommendation for OS X on the Macintosh: The Houston Chronicle's technology writer wrote an article with all the things he'd recommend you do to make Microsft Windows Vista usable. Read it all and it could be easy to conclude Vista should be avoided.
Story here.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Intuit makes it near impossible to switch from Money: Quicken no longer will import a QIF file for a checking account or a Credit card account, which is how Money still exports data (account by account), and so there's no easy way to move from Money to Quicken. Here are the instructions Quicken gives you:

Convert Your Microsoft Money Data File

The Data Converter converts your data from Microsoft® Money 2003 or later for use in Quicken for Windows version 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007. It may also work with other versions of Money. If your version of Money can copy .XML files to your desktop, then the Data Converter will likely convert your data.

To convert your data, you'll create an Account transactions report in Microsoft Money for your standard transactions and an Investment transactions report for your investment transactions. Next you'll import the reports into Quicken and add some information that will help you take advantage of several Quicken features.

Step 1: Download and Install the Data Converter

  1. Download the Microsoft Money to Quicken data converter.
  2. Double-click the downloaded file and follow the on-screen prompts to install the data converter.

Step 2: Start Converting

  1. Be sure Quicken 2004 or later and Microsoft Money 2003 or later are both installed on the same computer as the Data Converter.
  2. Click the Launch MS Money button.

Step 3: Create an Account Transactions Report

  1. Create an account transaction report using the procedure that applies to your version of Microsoft Money.

Microsoft Money 2003 or 2004

  1. Select Reports menu > Reports Gallery.
  2. In the Pick a report or chart list, select Account Transactions.
  3. Click the Go to Report/Chart button.

Microsoft Money 2005 or later

  1. Click the Reports tab.
  2. In the Income and expenses area, select Account transactions. If the Account transactions report is not in the list, display the advanced reports by selecting Change report settings in the Other tasks list. Select Switch from Essential Reports to Advanced Reports and click Use Advanced Reports to display the Account transaction option.
  1. In the Common tasks list, select Customize. If the Reset button is not available, proceed to step 3. Otherwise, click Reset, click Yes if a confirmation message appears, and select Customize again.
  2. In the Rows & Columns tab, in the Include fields area, select the Memo, Account, Cleared status, and Category options.
  3. In the Subtotal by field, select Accounts.
  4. Select the Show splits check box, and then click OK.
  5. In the Accounts field, select All Accounts.
  6. In the Date range field, select All dates.
  7. Select Send to menu > Desktop. This step may take some time, depending on the size of your data file.
  8. Click OK when the transfer is complete.

Step 4: Create an Investment Transactions Report

Note: Complete this section only if you have investment transactions to convert.

  1. Create an investment transactions report using the procedure that applies to your version of Microsoft Money.

Microsoft Money 2003 or 2004

  1. Select Reports menu > Reports Gallery.
  2. Click Investments.
  3. In the Pick a report or chart list, select Investment Transactions.
  4. Click the Go to Report/Chart button.

Microsoft Money 2005 or later

  1. Click the Reports tab.
  2. In the Investment area, select Investment transactions. If the Investment area doesn't show, display the advanced reports by selecting Change report settingsOther tasks list. Select Switch from Essential Reports to Advanced Reports and click Use Advanced Reports to display the Investment transactions option. in the
  1. In the Common tasks list, select Customize. If the Reset button is not available, proceed to step 3. Otherwise, click Reset, click Yes if a confirmation message appears, and select Customize again.
  2. Click the Rows & Columns tab, and in the Include fields area, select the Memo, Account, Transfer account, Cleared status, and Category options.
  3. In the Group by field, select Investment Types and click OK.
  4. In the Accounts field, select All Accounts.
  5. In the Date range field, select All dates.
  6. Select Send to menu > Desktop. This step may take some time, depending on the size of your data file.
  7. Click OK when the transfer is complete.

Step 5: Finish Converting

  1. Close Microsoft Money.
  2. In the Data Converter dialog, click the Import into Quicken button. Quicken starts when the import is complete.
  3. Review your transactions for accuracy.
  4. Reconcile your converted data before adding new data (the Data Converter does not retain the reconciliation state of your accounts). For more information, in the Quicken Help menu, select Contents or Quicken Help, click the Index tab, and enter reconciling, accounts.
  5. See the Next Steps section for more helpful tips and information.

Next Steps

For security reasons, Intuit recommends that you:

  1. Delete the Microsoft Money reports from your desktop by right-clicking the Microsoft Money reports on your desktop and selecting Delete.
  2. Empty your recycle bin by double-clicking the Recycle Bin icon on your desktop and selecting File > Empty Recycle Bin.
  3. Add a file password to your data file by selecting File > Passwords > File, and following the on-screen instructions. Click the Help button for additional assistance.

The Data Converter groups asset and liability accounts with cash flow accounts in the Cash Flow Center. To track these accounts in the Property & Debt Center:

  1. Click the account in the Account Bar list on the left to open the account.
  2. Click the Overview tab and click the Edit Account Details button.
  3. Select Property & Debt: Asset or Property & Debt: Liability in the Account Location list, and click OK.

If you have converted investment data and would like to download current investment quotes needed for accurate current totals, you can manually update the security symbols and run One Step Update.

To update a security symbol:

  1. Select Investing > Security List.
  2. Select the security you want.
  3. Click Edit and enter the symbol in the Symbol field.
  4. Click OK.

To run One Step Update:

  1. Be sure that your copy of Quicken is registered to run One Step Update.
  2. Select Online > One Step Update.
  3. Select the Download quotes, asset classes, headlines and alerts option, and click the Update Now button.

The Data Converter does not convert items such as unexercised employee stock option grants (ESOGs), memorized transactions, online account activation information, budgets, classes, loan accounts, planner data, or exchange-traded options. For information about how to add missing information to Quicken manually, see the Read Me file. You can find this file in the Data Converter installation folder or by clicking the Read me.txt file in the Data Converter dialog box.

Note: Your Quicken data file contains the cost basis and price values for the bonds you tracked in Microsoft Money. However, Quicken tracks bonds differently from Microsoft Money. Quicken adjusts the number of shares in the Edit Shares Bought dialog box to reflect the number of bonds you own and the number of shares in the Quicken Transaction List to reflect correct total share information.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Time to switch from Money to Quicken While running my Microsoft Money 2007 today it offers me a discount and a rebate on Money 2008. So I go to the website (Digital River) and download it. This year for the first time Money requires authorization with an arcane long serial number. One problem. Digital River sent me a number in 5 character segments, and the software only accepts 4 character segments. I call Microsoft, who relucantly gives me Digital River's phone number. DR says, oh thats a known problem, we'll email you a new number. They do, but its also in 5 character segments and won't work. Further calls to Microsoft and Digital River provide no help. Finally got a US agent, but he is also clueless, and wants me to pay for technical support.

Now I'm trying to get a refund, and if I have to, I'll get a chargeback from my credit card.

Luckily I backed up my 2007 MS Money database to a USB Flash Drive before I installed 2008. MS Money converts any files it finds, so you cant go back, a trick they've used for many years now.

Friday, August 10, 2007

My visit to Epcot : Lots to like, lots to dislike. The admission price is just flat outrageous ($75 for one day visit). The "SOARIN'" ride however, is almost worth that price. The technology part of Epcot, has in large part been watered down for 10 year olds. The International Countries part is interesting, seemed just like the 1984 New Orleans Worlds Fair to me. A few customer unfriendly things. The cafeteria in LANDS doesn't have enough seating at lunchtime. And the Environmental rides/exhibits adjacent to the cafeteria are at odds with the disposable plastic plates and flatware and the paper cups. It was almost a 3 hour drive each way from the Miami suburb where I was staying, which (combined with high admission price) makes one want to stay a full 12 hours, despite how exhausted that makes one. Strangely the parking lot had no zone mappings (i.e. South D3) like you'd find in an airport parking facility to make it easy to find your car at end of day. The large pretty maps on the grounds always lacked a "You are Here" designation, sometimes making finding your way not as easy as it could have been. There were ample restroom facilities. Even though we weren't at Magic Kingdom, there were sufficient opportunites and places for parents to photograph their child with Beauty and the Beast or Pluto, or just about any of the Disney characters, and of course myriad kiosks to buy Mickey ears.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

I try to be "GREEN": Flashlights with rechargeable batteries I owned were demonstrating seriously diminished performance (they had a right to, they were ~10 years old). I opened one up to see what sort of battery it had in it, and was pleased to find, that instead of an impossible to replace proprietary battery, it was powered by 4 "AA" batteries. I went to a local Walmart where for a reasonable price, they had Kodak brand batteries, which I put in the flashlight, and the flashlight is now better than new. Similar flashlight here.
Next, what does one do with old NiCad rechargeable batteries? AT&Ts' web site says they will accept them as part of their recycling program. One minor glitch. My local company owned store rudely refused to accept said batteries.
I just sent an email to the Store manager, and everyone up the chain of command at AT&T reporting that incident. I made sure to include Steve Jobs, the local media, and Greenpeace, so they'll know about ATTs' efforts at being "GREEN".

Sunday, July 22, 2007

IPhone and WiFi networks: Last week you may have read stories claiming the iPhone was causing problems for Duke University's WiFi Network. Duke after checking it all out found the real cause! Cisco !

Story here.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Vacation in Miami and Bahamas I'm about to head off to some nice beaches, and for a moment I thought I saw the Continental Airlines Deathstar emblem on the Tail of this plane on the beach.

Actual plane story here:

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

More on U-Verse : Seems like its unanimous. No one likes U-Verse, the TV service over phone lines from AT&T. Local newspaper technology columnist pans it here. He failed to mention it's capped at 6.0 mbps for dsl, despite using a 100 mbps pipe. Also failed to mention that Comcast TiVo hasn't seen the light of day yet. Also failed to mention that 6.0 mbps dsl is widely available on regular phone lines now, it's called dsl Elite, and I can vouch for it, I have it, it works and its great and it's cheaper than Cable.
Last person I knew who canceled their U-Verse, then found out it took them a week to get the regular dsl back up and running, and further their U-Verse installer had bollixed up ( sabotaged?) their Dish satellite wiring in their attic, requiring an Echostar service call.

Monday, July 02, 2007

iPhone Sales - First Weekend

Late Saturday I said Apple's iPhone sales would blow past 300,000 Sunday.

I was wrong.

The Los Angeles Times says the correct Final Number
for the three day weekend is:


By Sunday every California Apple store was sold out of iPhones ! ! !

AT&T didnt remember the lessons of when Porting started 3 years ago, and some Activations got delayed over porting issues.

If you live on Dixie Farm Road, but Verizon goes to PORT you and
you told the computer you live on Dixie Farm Rd, it wont match !!!

And with AT&T stripping all discounts from Account and refusing to
allow iphones on Business Accounts, I wonder if the real reason is:
Is Apple getting 10% of all Service revenue from iPhones rebated?
And since there is no discount for signing up for 2 years, maybe the $150
discount one might have traditionally got is going to Apple.

LATE NEWS July 2 : WooHoo - AT&T will give me free access to its WiFi hot spots since
I have High Speed dsl from AT&T. Story here. Almost reason enough to get iPhone.

Followup July 4 : all Texas Apple stores are now sold out of iPhones. By now
we learn most folks having trouble activating their iPhone, it's due to one cause -
USER ERROR. Some want to activate on a business account - which AT&T isn't allowing and told everyone that. Others submit data that won't allow a credit check, or insufficient or incorrect information to Port a phone number from a different cellular carrier. Turns out it's not AT&T's fault in most cases in the small minority of cases where activation doesn't take only a few minutes.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

iPhone - First day happenings: According to Apples' web site indication of iPhone availability, not a single Apple store sold out the first day. Despite a number of sales that Apple was prepared for, AT&T couldn't handle it. A unique procedure was set up for activation. You'd use the new iTunes 7.3 (a free download) plug your iPhone into its dock, which would be plugged into your computer, and with a Broadband connection they'd step you through some questions, pass you off to AT&Ts' computers and you'd get an email, which would have a link a finish the activation and get your phone live. Many folks didn't get their email after 10+ hours of waiting. Apparently AT&Ts ' computers got swamped. Postings here, here, here and here

Monday, June 25, 2007

MS Windows Vista Grief : Even computer experts have problems installing Vista. Read stories here and here.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Dell sees the light on decrapification? : February 3, 2007 we wrote about all the Bloatware new Dell computers come loaded with, and how someone even wrote a freeware program to allow removal of all that junk that only slows down ones' computer. First it was Dell only, and then a generic version to clean any new PC of unwanted crap software. Now according to news reports, many new Dell computers will come preloaded with software to perform such decrapification, only it's called "preinstalled software" by Dell.
The real decrapifier will do a better job of removing the Bloat, not leaving behind the "Google Toolbar" !!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

To heck with Norton Internet Security: I had upgraded my Intel based MacPro's Window's XP Hard Disk to Norton Internet Security 2007 from Symantec (which I had bought for "Free" after Rebate) from Frys. It was not pretty. Three hours to Install, and multiple reboots with all the updates it required before it decided it was fully installed and updated. Even after all that it was unstable, at random time it would announce it had an Error and wouldn't "AutoProtect", it also refused to allow Microsoft Messenger to run. And following Symantecs' instructions and running a "Check" program failed to help, only a system reboot would get it going again. Finally after I read some reviews, I uninstalled Norton (requiring a special download of a special Symantec uninstaller). And I bought and installed Kaspersky AntiVirus v. 6. It seems far more stable, allows MS Messenger to run, and a virus scan found 11 (thankfully old, archived and unused) items Norton had missed. According to one review test and another test Kaspersky is better than Norton and even scans significantly faster than Norton.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Buying a new computer: Many's the time I've been asked, and have volunteering to help a friend or colleague buy a new computer. Sometimes I talk them out of a laptop due to their fragility, sometimes I have them order extra memory, every case is unique. Now I see posted, many useful tips from a former Dell employee. Read it here:

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Best speed improvment for Internet Access since Broadband ! : A broadband hookup (I love my dsl. I wish AT&T would get fiber to my door so they could match Verizon's 30 Mbps) speeds up Internet surfing. The weak link now commonly is your ISP's DNS (Domain name Server), they have zero incentive to make it as fast as possible, and often (as in AT&T'/Yahoo's case) it's much slower than it should be. A DNS translates a http address into an IP number so your browser can connect you.
There is now a solution to this issue. Don't use AT&T's DNS, replace it with those of , who work hard at having the fastest possible DNS.
If you are in a hurry for your speed up, just change your network settings to manually selected DNS, with the addresses of:

and watch your internet surfing speed up. More cautious, just go to the Opendns website.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Most of the rest you wanted to know about the iPhone : AT&T Sales Training Workbook for the iPhone is out on the web, with lots of information. Read it here. It could be not on the web soon.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Manhattanhenge : Learn something new every day. I spent the first 21 years of my life in New York City, saw a beautiful eclipse of the Sun on sunrise June 30, 1954, but never knew about Manhattanhenge, named after Stonehenge. Twice a year the rise and setting of the sun aligns with the grid of New York City. One pcture of the phenomena is here.

Friday, June 08, 2007

A pox on all them Presidential candidates. Some dirt on each of your favorites can be found here.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

iPhone lacks fastest Internet connectivity. "3G" is the fastest service AT&T has, but the iPhone lacks that capability. It will use EDGE, AT&T's last years' best thing. Latest word is that AT&T is allowing EDGE more bandwidth that had been restricted to voice by adding more capacity to towers. Story here.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

AT&T CRAMS my bill: In the High Speed Internet section there's an incorrect, bogus charge for "Sales Tax", obviously fraudulent, as when taxes are totaled at the bottom, they total $0.00; a phone call to their billing department (with 14 minutes on hold) confirms the incorrectness of the charge, and their instant willingness to credit back the charge means they know is wrong, so why wait for customers to complain? Just a scam to make millions extra with a WHOOPS charge? Email to AT&T corporate HQ are ignored. Time to go public?

Click here for what I think of AT&T.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

I like DirecTv, but.. For me DirecTv has proven to be far, far better than Warner Cable, but I'm glad their screwup of June 2 didn't happen to me: Reported on USENET:

Was anyone else watching the History Channel on the evening of June 2
when, about 90 minutes into a two hour program, the screen suddenly went
blank and the receiver demanded payment of $34.95 to watch this "pay per
view" program?

This wasn't a receiver problem, as all my receivers were doing it. I also
tried resetting the receiver.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Thanks for your loyalty: That's included in BOT email answers from AT&T which provided no reason for loyalty Friday. My phone line goes dead. I use my cell to call their 800 "Repair" number, and immediately told "There's a long delay due to heavy call volume", that's there whenever one calls. Then I'm told it'll be quicker to report an outage online. Duh, if my phone line is dead my dsl is dead. Finally they indicate my line should be fixed by 5 PM Sunday; makes me think I'm working with the Bulgarian National Central Services.
To add insult to injury, my first bill for "Dsl Elite" (6.0 mb/s) over charges me, and I get to email my favorite lady in their Executive Offices who after checking all day confesses I'm right, they're wrong and she'll give me credits. Of course she doesn't say when these credits will appear on my account, which translate into "maybe on your next bill", There's a new invention out that would allow AT&T to apply credits in Real Time. It's called a "computer".
This sort of poor service they expect loyalty for?

Monday, May 28, 2007

Low priced PCs : I read where Dell computer will soon be selling its low priced PCs at Walmart. I have some recent experience with a low priced Acer T690 purchased at Walmart that I helped a friend set up. They had bought it while Walmart had it on sale for $599.99. Certainly a great price for a fast PC (Pentium-D at 3 Ghz, 2 generations old, but plenty fast) with MS Windows Vista Home Premium installed, and a 19" wide screen LCD monitor that has speakers built in. Obviously at that price a few corners were cut other than the CPU. It comes with 1 Gig of RAM, but can only be upgraded to 2 Gig, and that requires replacing 512 Meg sticks with 1 Gig sticks. My friend was happy that I found them such upgrade memory at for about half the price of BestBuy. The other corner cut was with Video. It has an Intel video chip on the motherboard which uses System Memory, but luckily the motherboard has a PCI-E slot that would accept any much faster Video card with its own RAM, and I identified an NVidia 8400 Video Card at for under $90 with free shipping, which tested out at 4.5 on a Vista speed rating. When we installed the video card, the motherboard/BIOS was smart enough to turn off the motherboard video and use the Video Card, so no BIOS setting changes or jumper settings were needed.
The Acer has an ASUS motherboard using an Intel chipset (similar to the N4L-VM DH) , so it has USB 2.0, Firewire, and Sata connections. Apparently competition has gotten to the point that even the low ball Hitachi 250 Gig Hard Drive that came in the computer was a 300 Mhz one, and provided for fast read/writes. The packaging box didn't say so, but also on the motherboard is 10/100/1000 Ethernet. The motherboard has only 2 standard PCI slots, and one is taken up by a PCI standard Acoustic modem. It does have a Realtek sound chip for audio.
SETUP: We ran Decrapifier on the hard drive, downloaded myriad Microsoft Windows updates and patches, and an update for the 3 month Norton AV 2007 that came preinstalled. We installed Acrobat Reader. Then we changed the screen saver from one that runs Acer commercials, set the screen for thousands of colors instead of millions, and defragged the hard drive. The 3 cooling fans inside the box ran quietly. It comes with software to create a restore DVD (or 7 CD disk restore) from NTI. Easy to do with the Lite-On DVD burner in the machine.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

T.V. over phones lines ? Verizon seems to have the best plans cause they wire fiber to your door. AT&T wants to use copper the last mile, and therefore has to cap its Internet download speed at 6000 kb/s, the same as I get now from them without fiber. AT&T's service, known as U-Verse is described here. Like other new high tech services it sounds like they could break their arm patting themselves on the back. Folks I know who have (or had) U-Verse in the Willowbrook section of Houston, complain about reliability. Here's a review from a like minded fellow. Forty-eight hour outages do not win friends. Reminds me of the early days of Internet over Cable. Some folks can wait a day to email a child at school, but if they miss their Grey's Anatomy, thats more serious.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

This will make for a major hit to American productivity: Google Trends. Story here. One can waste much time checking it out daily, and testing searches against it.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Best Digital Photographer I've ever seen. : Her work can be seen here. The poor lady had some grief from Flickr. Story here.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

iPhone on track to be released on time: June 15 is what the rumor mills say. The FCC has approved the iPhone for sale. Story here.

Monday, May 14, 2007

AT&T / Cingular seems optimistic about iPhone. PC World has a story saying so. Including info from a leaked Cingular Internal memo. Allegedly:

....according to an internal memo circulated to employees that also noted no employee vacation requests would be approved from June 15 through July 15 to ensure adequate staff is on
hand during the initial roll-out.

I guess that means June 15 is the release date.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

ATT doesn't believe their own hype. ATT has been bragging that it has had 1 million signups for information about the new Apple iPhone, as if that can be translated into a given number of potential sales. That must have been put out there for Wall Street, cause now they're cooking up plans to sell this Consumer item to businesses. Story here. Too bad the experts say thats a nonstarter.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Another ATT/Cingular screwup I signup in a Cingular store on April 13 for an upgrade from dsl pro to dsl elite, which would put me at a possible 6 mbps download speed, and it was scheduled for April 16. April 16 came and went, and no upgrade, and ATT has no record of a service order for such upgrade.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Swiss Cheese: Cingular's published maps of 3G (equivalent to cheapest dsl speeds if you're lucky), are to say the least overly optimistic, showing 100% coverage in areas with very discontinuous non contiguous coverage, for which the fine print has enough weasel words to cover them. See the Houston Map here, Fine print follows:

Map may include areas served by unaffiliated carriers, and may depict their licensed area rather than an approximation of their coverage. Actual coverage area may differ substantially from map graphics, and coverage may be affected by such things as terrain, weather, foliage, buildings and other construction, signal strength, customer equipment and other factors. Cingular does not guarantee coverage.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

As I predicted: The price cutting on Vista has begun. Office Depot is offering a $40 rebate.
By fall you'll get a free Microsoft Money with your Vista, or better.

Followup: April 22 - The Office Depot rebate sale is over. But then Microsoft has its own sales now. See here.

Friday, April 13, 2007

AT&T problem with their Unity Plan sales on the Web reported here 3 weeks ago, continues.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The iPhone will appear on time ! - Apple has pushed back the scheduled debut of OS X 10.5 so it can bring the iPhone out on time. Story here.
Too bad Cingular's internal marketing folks will likely repeat the effort they made for the Motorola iTunes phone, which sold 1% of the volume of the Motorola's V3 phone. Old story here. It's worse than that now. Cingular gives away those iTunes phones for free now with new 2 year contract, as opposed to the $599.99 they want to get for the 8 Gig iPhone.
My prediction: Big initial sales spike, which will fall off VERY QUICKLY due to poor Cingular support of the phone.
For $399.99 (after rebate) one can now get a Cingular 8525 Windows Mobile phone, with slide out keyboard. Too bad it has the non-intuitive Windows Mobile 5.0 Operating System, which acts like it was designed by committee, having menus pop from different places for each different function.
Cingular is having a hard time enforcing its desire to charge $39.99/month for a data plan for that phone when its' web site only wants to sell a $19.99 plan. This phone however does have 3G capability, lacking in the iPhone and for $9.99 a month one can add a GPS program.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Just (hopefully) resolved more grief with Cingular. I think they've
merged too many companies too fast and don't have knowledgable folks in the right places in their Systems Department.

In January 2005 they were confident of merging the then Cingular Network with the ATT Wireless network by Dec 2006, but 4 months later, still a long way to go.

I also remember their outage last August which convinces me they route all their long distance calls through Bothell Washington for monitoring by the N.S.A.

Monday, April 02, 2007

A $300 Apple Computer ! - Just as TiVo units have been "hacked" (it's just a Linux box after all), the new Apple iTV has also now been hacked (It's just an Intel Mac after all).

Friday, March 23, 2007

Serious computer database problem at the new AT&T :
I go online drilling through a "" website, to see the new AT&T Unity Plan and it tells me my legacy SBC line (20 years old) of 713-xxx-yyyy is not recognized as an AT&T line. Such issues with the computer database the website ties into will:

1. Generate many, many needless support calls.
2. Guarantee to lose AT&T Unity plan sales.
3. Cause grief for Unity Plan participants, and possibly generate lawsuits when folks get
charged for calls promised to be free.

and if it today after the Unity Plan has been in existence many weeks AT&T still doesn't know which phone lines are its own it has major database problems.

Not that I'd ever get the Unity Plan. I can make all the long distance calls I need with my Cingular cell phone, so converting my $13 (base price) land line to a $40 (base price) plan to qualify isn't going to happen. Indeed if AT&T ever keeps its promises to the FCC (made as a condition of being allowed to merge with Bell South) and sells "stand-alone" (or "naked") dsl, I'd have almost zero reason to retain a landline.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Time to upgrade to 802.11n With prices dropping on 802.11n equipment it was time to upgrade my home network. Went with DLink equipment for four reasons.
1. It's worked well for me in the 802.11g paradigm.
2. Its less than half the price of Apple hardware.
3. Apple doesn't provide 802.11n hardware for PCs.
4. Dlink hardware was on sale at Office Depot, who also
accepted a $10 off Office Max coupon.
Would've been very easy but I had to go through two steps.
1. First set up as 802.11g network with new hardware.
2. Change over to 802.11n, and convert from WEP encryption to WPA encryption.
My legacy 802.11g Linksys Bridges, and Belkin PC card (in my Macintosh "Pismo")
all talked nicely to the new Dlink after reconfiguring them for WPA. I haven't been
able to identify an 802.11n PC card for the Macintosh laptop that would work;
it'd need to use a Broadcom chipset as Apple does for 802.11n.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Thank you Bill Gates: So I want to scan in a document so I can email it to someone; I was going to insert it in an MS Word document. Then my MS Word decided not to run. So I got out my Install CD for Office 2003, and "Repaired" my Office 2003. Apparently it just reinstalled it, as when it finished, I needed to reinstall 11 patches, updates and security fixes for Office 2003.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Rattling Cingulars' (The New AT&T) Cage:
Finally worked my way up to a Vice President; and got satisfaction for
Cingular sending txt message SPAM to an account that had txt messaging

They went through many iterations.

First the CSRs said it was an Administrative Message.

Then the head of the "Office of the President" said it was a Marketing

Today the VP called it an accident and proved to me they were sorry.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Cingular plays semantic games: "I think I've never seen a SPAM message we can't call an administrative message" they might say. Yesterday, despite having txt messaging disabled for my account, Cingular SPAMed my cell phone with a txt message SPAM promoting txt and photo messaging. I called to complain, and they're worse than Lily Tomlin now; just total arrogance.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Upgrading an HR20-700 DirecTv unit:

Trivial to add Hard Drive Space to this DVR, just use the eSATA port on the rear.
Only gotcha, is the unit transfers to using ONLY that new external drive, so all your
settings for what to record, and all your previous recordings become unavailable.
They're all still there on built in hard drive, so one could reboot with new hard drive
removed to get back to old recordings, but for now no transfer mechanism between drives.

It was all so trivial. I had a spare Hitachi 500 Gig SATA 150 drive,
It was an OEM drive on my MacPro, now replaced by SATA 300 drives.

I used Macintosh Disk Manager to make the drive one partition of
"Free Space". The drive was then mounted in a Nexstar-3 External Drive
Enclosure with eSATA interface; bought at Frys. The HR20-700 is
powered off. The eSATA drive is plugged into the HR20, and then
powered on; THEN the HR20 is powered up; after about 10 minutes;
voila; the HR20 is now using the 500 Gig Drive instead of its original
300 Gigger.

One could also use the now available (but still pricey) 750 Gig Hard
Drives, or an even pricier eSATA RAID drive of larger capacity; I
learned that from reading some Discussion group which said the HR20
only supports SATA 150.

Monday, February 19, 2007

DirecTv Plus HD Dvr : I got one delivered this past weekend, with a new larger dish with 5 LNB and receiving both Ka and Ku band, it receives Mpeg4 signals from DirecTv, so it spot beams local stations in HD. The DVR is not a TiVo, so it took some edumaction, as its quite different. But for every nice Feature it lacks that TiVo has, it has some others that TiVo lacks. DirecTv is promising that with the launch of two more satellites this summer, they will carry many more National HD channels. One of the nice features of this unit is the RF capable remote. Upon setup it downloaded firmware upgrade 012a, which apparently corrected many of the recording bugs.
Only real downer was grief that DirecTech caused with an incorrect work order.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

More on Vista Launch Event : Lots of food and drinks, plenty of ball point pens, t-shirts or Post-It pads from Vendors with displays. Most had drawings for a Zune. Perhaps MS threw it in after charging so much to let them co-sponsor the event and have a booth. Almost seemed like it was Drawing: First Prize - Zune, Second prize - Two Zunes.

Then the Free software. NOT AT ALL AS PROMISED. Office 2007 - Not provided. A link to download a 2 month trial copy (in 2 pieces even), which if you remembered to use the "Promotion Code (Activation Code) supplied, rather than the one emailed with the download link, you would have a permanent copy of Office Professional 2007. One minor glitch after that grief, if you installed it with the "Pre-release" Vista supplied, Office refused to install security updates, saying "Can not install update, you're running a Beta of Vista, would you like to Upgrade?" At full retail price of course. I declined, and instead Installed Office 2007 on my XP partition, but Office 2007 failed to run after the final reboot, but decided to behave after a 2nd undocumented reboot, and even authenticated with no hitch despite having been already installed once.

So I'm posting here and telephoning and emailing to Microsoft complaining about not providing the promised goodies for attending the Launch Event (did you know that in Excel 2007 you can take a column of data and sort it - from highest to lowest value? Such was the valuable information presented by Microsoft).

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Vista will wait : Microsoft didn't produce a 180 day licensed copy of Vista at their "Launch" event as promised, so I'm sticking with XP SP2, which running IE 6 when I have to use IE is so much better than the buggy resource hog of IE 7.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Windows Vista on an Intel Macintosh? : I've been runing Vista Release Candidate 2 on my Intel MacPro with not too many problems; so I was interested to read reports of others using the Released Retail version of Vista on the MacPro. One such experience is here . Conclusion: It runs fine under Bootcamp, not so fine under Parallels.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Keep your PC System secure : I find out about this great Security site that will give your PC a free scan. Http:// download Java if necessary, and then scan. I found out that my freshly installed Flash player, version; wasn't current and some exploits could make me vulnerable, so now I have version

Apple gets snarky? Great new TV commercial. See it here. It makes the same point I made many Oct. 9 last year about Vista's "security". Vista asks for verification for seemingly EVERYTHING, which when users get annoyed at that will cause them to turn it off, leaving Vista insecure, as Apple suggests, or blindly clicking "Allow" for everything as I feared will happen.

An earlier commercial, also fully grounded in the truth, apparently got Bill Gates' goat. See that one here.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Just wait, after Vista : Vienna. Lastest rumors from Microsoft is they won't wait 5 years between Operating Systems versions next time, indeed they're planning on the next version, code named "Vienna" for late 2009, and to help speed up its debut, Microsoft may worry less about backward compatibility. Perhaps a good way to sell more copies of MS Office if MS Office 2007 and earlier won't run on Vienna? Story here:

Friday, February 09, 2007

More ways to save on a bonafide copy of Vista:
An "Upgrade Version" can be made to work as well as a full Install version, allowing Clean installs to an empty Hard Drive. Save Big! Instructions here or here .

Save even more if there's a teacher or student in the family with an Academic Version.
Prices here.

Let's review: Full version MS Windows Vista Home Premium : $239.99
Upgrade version MS Windows Vista Home Premium: $159.00
"OEM" version MS Windows Vista Home Premium: $129.99
Academic Upgrade Version MS Windows Vista Home Premium: $69.99

So save the most with an Academic upgrade version. $69.99 is almost reasonable.

Also if you add in Academic versions, my previous count of 27 different versions of Vista
is an undercount.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Dell pulls Windows Vista from Top of the Line machine: Seems NVidia's Vista driver is causing serious grief with Vista and the NVidia top of the line video card, used in Dell's top of the line PC. Solution: Sell computers without Vista. Story here.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Buying ink for Printers : With ink jet printers especially, but I discover now with a color LaserJet, the price of consumables is relatively high. The old Gillette cheap razor, expensive blades marketing, I presume. For some Epson inkjet printers its cheaper to go to Frys and buy a refurbished printer, throw away the printer and keep the ink, rather than buy a set of ink cartridges. With my new HP LaserJet 3800n (which I love) it'll be a close call whether to buy replacement toner cartridges or buy a lowercost LaserJet 3600 (which uses same toner cartridges), throw away the printer and keep the ink cartridges. I see any sales on the LaserJet 3600, I'll know what to do.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Slow going for Vista ? : So I'm in an Office Depot and ask the Store Manager: "How's Vista selling?" "Not very many" was his reply. Stories of slow sales are appearing. One such.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Microsoft Windows Vista for Free : Not really, in some ways it's better than Vista. Some reviews have complained that Vista is just a gussied up Windows XP that requires a new computer. Well go here, and gussy up your Windows XP so it looks just like Vista, and you can feel like you're running Vista, without the slowdown or the expense. It's free software called the "Vista Transformation Pack".

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Decrapifying : Dell computer makes extra money by loading up their computers with software you may not want, but will slow your system down. One clever gentleman wrote software to strip off all those add-ons at once, to leave one with a closer to virgin version of Windows XP. Between the facts that the software worked well and became popular in some circles, and the fact that other computer makers learned from Dell how to make a few extra bucks; a need appeared for a more generic version of the Dell Decrapifier. Thus the PC Decrapifier was born. It's available free here. It's been refined and is now up to version 1.7 The author is now working on a version for your new computer that comes with Windows Vista, and already has a "beta" version available at the same web location.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

The 'Huh?' starts now : A look at the big picture surrounding Windows Vista. Story here.
Story tells how Microsoft is confusing every one with 10 versions of Vista (its 27 by my count), and by keeping secret about some of its policies. Here's my list of 27 Versions:
  1. Windows Vista Starter Edition (Third World only)
  2. Windows Vista Home Basic
  3. Windows Vista Home Basic Upgrade
  4. System Builder Vista Home Basic
  5. Windows Vista Home Premium
  6. Windows Vista Home Premium Upgrade
  7. System Builder Vista Home Premium
  8. Windows Vista Business
  9. Windows Vista Business Upgrade
  10. System Builder Vista Business
  11. Windows Vista Ultimate
  12. Windows Vista Ultimate Upgrade
  13. System Builder Vista Ultimate
  14. Windows Vista Enterprise Edition
  15. 64 bit versions of 2 - 14, make for 13 more Versions.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Whither WOW of Vista : A Microsoft brochure obtained in a computer store brags on Vista. It's worse than a 20 year old Amiga advertisement:

Vista is good cause you can play a 1980's version of Poker?

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Microsoft warranty difficulties with Zune : Zune screens are cracking, and Microsoft is apparently refusing to honor their warranty. Story here:

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Buggy new version of Microsoft Defender: Defender was a good program for catching spyware, not so anymore IMHO .

Microsoft deactivated Windows Defender and required download of a new version January 1 (to make it Vista compatible?). So I downloaded it, updated it, and ran it, and it seemed slower and less effective than previous version, so I properly uninstalled it from my Windows XP Hard Drive.

One minor problem, I couldn't boot into Windows XP anymore, it would hang on startup. Eventually after booting into Safe mode (F8 on a PC, rather than SHIFT key on a Mac, neither of which work with wireless keyboard), and running MSCONFIG, I discovered Microsoft has a buggy Defender uninstaller, leaving behind a startup command for Defender, which naturally would hang not finding the program, and apparently not error trapped for that eventuality.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Why buy VISTA now ? When I attend a Microsoft Product Launch next week, they'll give me propaganda, lunch and a free copy of MS Office 2007 Professional. Then they'll tell me the secret web site to download a 180 day licensed copy of Vista. Likely after 180 days, majors bugs will have been patched, and sales and/or rebate promotions will have occurred. Also one can buy "OEM" copies of Vista for substantially less than "Retail" copies and still be Legal.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

My Cingular billing issues are nothing compared to this poor gentleman, who Cingular declared Guilty until proven innocent. Story here.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

If Microsoft redesigned the Ipod, here's what the box would look like: See it here on YouTube

Friday, January 26, 2007

Forty Year Jail term for being in wrong place at wrong time. A substitute teacher was convicted because of pop-up porno ads in the room she was teaching that day; and the defense was prevented from explaining everything. Read this sad story here:

Followup: IT Manager sort of accepts blame. Story here.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

The History of AT&T : Told here.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Cingular tried to CRAM my bill: Whoops charges, where when you call in they'll remove the charge, but is it worth the grief, and then they pocket millions. Three months ago they falsely charged me for using their 411 service, now at $1.79 per call. It's more like free if you use 1-800-FREE411. A phone call to Cingular's 611 and a short discussion got that charge removed. This month I got charged for using "data", which is nigh impossible, as I haven't subscribed to their data service, and if tried to use it, I'd get "Connection Failed", once again a call to their 611 number got the charge removed, again after some discussion with the representative, who is trained to be obnoxious. A call to senior Cingular management got an admission, that "Sometimes" errors occur.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

I could like Seagate: I had two 300 Gig Seagate IDE Hard Drives die simultaneously on me. They were different batches, one made in China, one in Singapore. Seagate drives now come with 5 year warranty, and Seagate goes by serial number, no proof of purchase required. So I went to the Seagate website, got an RMA, sent the drives in. In less than 2 weeks I received back two refurbished Seagate drives. And they were 400 Gig models.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Steve over hypes again: The new iphone looks like a great gadget, but its not the 5 years ahead of everything Steve says it is. Looks like it could be only one year ahead of this puppy. And in the rush to get the iphone to market it has no GPS applications, which it should have the horsepower for.