Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Windows XP Service Pack 3 Final Version _ Release is now delayed until end of April 2008. Story here:

Monday, March 24, 2008

MS Windows Vista SP1 grief: Luckily it worked well on my Apple Intel Xeon MacPro, but not for many other folks, and so Microsoft is now offering free "support" for folks having problems with Vista SP1: story here. Not sure why the story omitted the phone number Microsoft says to use: (866) 234-6020, then push 1, 6 and 2 to get through the menus so as not to be charged. Microsoft site here.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Sony will rip you off: Sony, like most PC makers, make some extra bucks by loading your machine with software you may not want, like trial (short lived) versions of some programs. It's been labled bloat, its (not unfairly) also called crap. Now Sony for $50 extra, if you also have paid another $100 extra for an "upgrade" to Vista Business, will sell you a "Fresh Start" PC with out the bloat. Story here.

I call it a rip off, because one can easily remove the unwanted stuff by running simple software as soon as you unbox your new PC. PC DeCrapifier, now at version 1.8.8 and available for free download here.

Followup: Sony, after other complaints like mine, has backed off charging the extra $50 for "Fresh Start" but it's still only availble on PCs with Vista Business at $100 extra. Story here.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Todays downloads? As of 9:30 AM CDT, I can't find Vista SP1 for download, but Apple's Safari 3.1 is available. Great browser !

Followup - as of 12:15 PM CDT, Vista SP1 is now available here.

Followup 2: Took 2 hours to Install as one first has to uninstall Service Pack 1 Release Candidate,
then install the release version of Service Pack 1. It would be nice if the separate
SP files had different names and different Knowledge Base numbers. It all went
smoothly, except that Kaspersky AV initially kept Internet Explorer from
connecting to the Internet. Luckily, no such problem with Firefox. Now at 54 updates to Windows Vista.
FiServ's Vaporware : Last week I expressed interest after reading about the coming ability to deposit checks at your bank via home computer. Turns out it's likely at least a year away (IMHO) if ever. I wrote FiServ enquiring which bank could I get see this service at and was told:

We announced the product in February and now banks are signing up for a test. Currently we are working with several banks, but they are only in test mode. Once this passes to the consumer test we’ll let you know so you can sign up. It is exciting news, but a few months away.

Thanks for your interest

Translation: It's VAPORWARE

P.S. I have zero interest putting my money at risk being an alpha tester.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Windows Vista SP1 - Will officially be released on March 18, 2008. It will likely take you over an hour to do the Install, and there is a published list of software that breaks under Vista SP1 here. SP1 will provide for faster copy times between computers on a network, and fix many bugs and glitches.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

This I like: It is now possible and likely soon available at a bank near you, for one to be able to remotely deposit checks, by scanning them, and electronically sending that info to your bank.
Story here. Apparently not available yet from any bank I can identify.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Digital TV: Received my $40 "coupon" towards the purchase of an eligible converter box in the mail on Monday March 10. Despite a promise of being good for 90 days, it has an expiration date of May 23. Checked out reviews on the web, and folks were saying the $49.87 Walmart RCA box was as good as the $59.99 boxes at BestBuy, Radio Shack or Circuit City. So I went to my local Walmart, and no one there knew how to handle the $40 coupons. I went to another Walmart store and it was easily handled.
If you don't have a coupon, go here.
I hooked the converter up to a 10 year old 27" TV, and old pair of rabbit ears, and its GREAT. Gets all my local digital video channels (depending which way I turn the rabbit ears), has a wonderful setup function and easy to use remote. I programmed it to skip the Spanish Language stations, and programmed the Converter's remote to control power, input and volume on the TV.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Even Microsoft Vice Presidents had grief installing Vista: Turns out "Vista capable" meant nothing. Story here.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Beware WinZix: Alledgedly (not so) a better compression format, but install it, and you've sabotaged your Internet Explorer also by installing Malware. The WinZix folks even admit to their trouble causing, trying to spin it thusly:

WinZix is financed by advertising and will display 4-5 pop up ads on your computer every day while using the software. We do not collect any personal information from our users. The advertising can easily be stopped by uninstalling WinZix and the sponsor software. If you only uninstall the sponsor software you can continue to use WinZix without any ads.

And the 4-5 is hourly, not daily, not to mention the other malware besides "Sponsor".

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Houston trying again for WiFi? You'd think they'd learned their lesson when Earthlink gave up on trying to wire the city for WiFi, but no. Story here.