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: