News & Commentary
Content tagged with PC & Servers posted in January 2006
IE 7 Beta? It's Not Quite 'Just Click Here'
Commentary  |  1/31/2006  | 
Microsoft really wants the IT pros to check out the just-released Internet Explorer beta. It's got checklists of stuff you should run through on the download site. But if you're just an average Joe Tirekicker, be prepared to jump through some hoops to get the beta up and running on your system. Not big hoops, just enough annoyance to make you think maybe you don't need to bother.
What Bush Might Say About Health Care In Tonight's State of the Union Address
Commentary  |  1/31/2006  | 
Besides the war in Iraq, another hot-button topic that President Bush is expected to give a lot of attention to tonight in his State of the Union Address, is health care, including its spiraling costs and the coverage that millions of Americans lack.
Don't Look Now, But You're A Blogger
Commentary  |  1/30/2006  | 
Studies show most Internet users don't maintain a blog, and even fewer keep an RSS feed. There has been plenty of buzz around blogging over the past two years but, as some observers have pointed out, blogging is just writing that's shared with others using software that makes it all very easy.
RFID Connects U.S. Outsourcing With India And China
Commentary  |  1/29/2006  | 
Savi Technology Inc., a privately held company that generated revenue of approximately $90 million in 2005, is working with retail companies and ship-vessel operators to build out an international supply chain. This supply chain is enabled by radio frequency identification technology (RFID). The goal is to gain access to real-time data transmitted from the RFID tags on containers in transit to make split-second decisions that could redirect cargo in transit. The application will become more va
Hands Off My Internet, Mark Cuban!
Commentary  |  1/27/2006  | 
Common Cause has picked up the cudgels for "network neutrality," the idea that the Internet should be an equal-opportunity medium, not for sale to the highest bidder the way Big Telco would like to see it. And I love the way the consumer-advocacy group has gone about it -- with pictures of five telco executives in devil's horns posed against the fires of hell. That's about right. But one of those executives is Mark Cuban, the technology maverick who owns the Dallas Mavericks. Wait, this is a guy
Intel-AMD MPU War Over, We're All Winners
Commentary  |  1/25/2006  | 
It's officially time to call an end to the microprocessor war between Intel and Advanced Micro Devices. War implies that there will be an ultimate victor and a vanquished, a result that's increasingly apparent will not be occurring any time this decade.
Vista: Exclusivity By Design
Commentary  |  1/25/2006  | 
Hoo boy. If you thought Microsoft Vista was going to be complicated to run on a PC, that looks like simplicity itself compared to writing applications to run on it. At every level from the lowliest device driver to the most complex GUI app Microsoft is putting developers through hoops and tightening its grip. If you're a developer who thought it was tough to compete with Microsoft before, get ready for a whole new relationship: Microsoft as God.
Web Talk Show To Be Hosted By Cartoon Character
Commentary  |  1/25/2006  | 
Here's something that could only happen on the Internet -- a new talk show in development that will be unveiled later this year will be hosted by a cartoon character. A British-accented baby named "Stewie" from the Fox animated series "Family Guy" is slated to host the new, online-only show.
What Disney's Pixar Deal Means For Apple: The MoodPod
Commentary  |  1/24/2006  | 
With Disney set to buy Pixar for $7 billion in stock, there will be two main beneficiaries. The first, of course, is Steve Jobs, who stands to double his $3 billion net worth. The second is Apple Computer.
Counterpoint: You Don't Have To Be A Busybody To Worry About Privacy
Commentary  |  1/23/2006  | 
Bob Evans turns his razor-sharp pen on self-styled "privacy advocates" who object to the government subpoenaing search records in defense of the Child Online Protection Act. But you don't have to be a kook to be worried about government setting a big bucket to scoop up thousands of gallons of information about Internet searches.
Now They're Giving Away Kid's GPS Cell Phone
Commentary  |  1/23/2006  | 
A company in the UK is actually now giving away cell phones aimed at children. The phones have four preset buttons and feature GPS. The company doesn't charge for the phone or the GPS tracking, but does charge a normal rate for the phone
Five Ways To Avoid Gaming Addiction
Commentary  |  1/20/2006  | 
In November, we ran a poll on this site asking what kind of electronic crack you're addicted to. The results were shocking: Video games - 9% PC games - 14% Online multiplayer games - 15% Instant Messaging - 5% Web surfing - 18% Online pornography - 7% E-mail - 14% Cell phone text messaging - 3% Mobile gaming - 2% None -- I'm not addicted to any of the above - 13% You'll note that somewhere between 15 and 40 percent of you are
Lower That Windows Threat Condition Level, Please
Commentary  |  1/20/2006  | 
Well, darn. I was hoping Steve Gibson was right last week and Microsoft had planted a secret backdoor in the Windows Metafile format (WMF) that would let Bill Gates run mind-domination software on all our PCs and achieve his goal of taking over the universe. Yesterday Gibson said after another week of looking at it that the backdoor is d
High-Tech Obsolescence: How To Date Yourself In A Nanosecond
Commentary  |  1/19/2006  | 
I'm a night owl, or, as one of my smarty-pants sisters likes to put it, a vampire. I don't require lots of sleep, and I can get so much done in the distraction-free hours of the night. That's also when I happen to listen to TV the most--usually in background for a little white noise. Every now and then, something flashing across the screen from one of the mostly boring late-night talk shows catches my attention. The other night it was the Jimmy Kimmel Live! show. He did a very amusing ske
No Cell Phone Cancer Risk Found -- Again
Commentary  |  1/19/2006  | 
British researchers say in a British Medical Journal report to be published tomorrow that they have found no evidence that mobile phones cause brain cancer.
Three New Mice-Phones Unveiled
Commentary  |  1/18/2006  | 
In the dark, forbidding corners of the recent CES event in Las Vegas two weeks ago, a new, underappreciated micro-industry emerged: The desktop PC mouse that doubles as a VoIP phone. The idea is an unholy convergence between the ubiquitous mouse, and the largely non-existent PC handset for VoIP calls through Skype, Google Talk or some other service.
Ultimate PC? I Can Dream
Commentary  |  1/17/2006  | 
I confess: I have lust in my heart -- lust for the ASUS P5N32-SLI Deluxe motherboard, for the eVGA e-GeForce 7800 GTX KO video card, even for the Antec Performance P160 case. I've been reading Bill O'Brien's article on The Ultimate PC For 2006. I want one just the way I have always wanted a Porsche, or Diane Lane.
Advertisers Planning To Spam Your Phone With Video Ads
Commentary  |  1/16/2006  | 
It's called ad creep. As an increasing number of available spaces -- from stadiums to grocery store floors, from beach sand to people's foreheads -- become littered with advertising, marketers look hard for new places to hit you with their advertising messages. It's driving them nuts that you spend so much time looking at your cell phone, yet that phone isn't as polluted with spam as your e-mail inbox.
Smartlabs Gaming And Movie Technology
Commentary  |  1/14/2006  | 
The idea came out of the Insteon technology group at Smartlabs. Imagine the lights in your home begin to flicker as thunder and lightning affect the characters in the movie you're watching or the video game you're playing. Wouldn't that make it the ultimate movie or gaming experience? It's possble, and I'll tell you how.
The Urge To Converge - And Embed
Commentary  |  1/13/2006  | 
Everywhere you look, convergence is the air. I'm not just talking about the much celebrated intersection of consumer and business technology, nor the newly emerged jockeying for position, as IT vendors seek to cozy up to consumer companies and their lucrative customers. It's way more than that.
Big Phone Company, Little Problem
Commentary  |  1/13/2006  | 
For the Desktop Pipeline email newsletter this week I wrote a rant about the greedy telephone companies who charge you for access to the Internet and have decided they also want to charge Internet sites for access to you. I got several attaboys from readers, including a note from Syd Warburton, who recounted his own struggles with SBC. (SBC is the company that, under bully
Google Runs First-Ever Home Page 'Ad'
Commentary  |  1/12/2006  | 
Google is running today its first-ever "ad" on its home page. Some users in the United States are reporting that a pitch for CSI and NBA TV shows on Google Video is showing up at the bottom of their Google home page screens. Others don't see it at all.
Clothing Makers Jump On iPod Bandwagon
Commentary  |  1/11/2006  | 
Makers of everything from jeans to underwear are jumping on the Apple iPod bandwagon, hoping to boost sales by hanging on to the coat-tails of the Apple iPod juggernaut. In the past, iPod clothing has come from little known niche manufacturers. But today, the first major international clothing maker has jumped in front of the iPod clothing parade. Levi's announced today that the company plans to sell denim jeans with an iPod remot
New Macs: If Not Now, When?
Commentary  |  1/11/2006  | 
I'm dying to get my hands on one of the new Intel-based iMacs or MacBook Pro laptops, just to see what Steve Jobs' "twice as fast" would feel like. I've offered up my first-born child to the hardware loan people at Apple (I didn't tell my first-born, because if Apple turns me down it would probably hurt his feelings), but I'm not counting on hearing from them any time soon. I just called my neighborhood Apple store and . . . I'm not counting on seeing the new Macs there anytime soon either.
Video: Mona Lisa Smile
Commentary  |  1/10/2006  | 
Researchers at the University of Amsterdam analyzed the Mona Lisa using advanced emotion-recognition software and figured out why she's smiling. Watch my video commentary (1 min., 32 sec.) WARNING: May induce laughing behavior.
Digital Rights Management Will Get Worse Before It Gets Better
Commentary  |  1/10/2006  | 
Most online services and entertainment-related concerns, I'm hoping, learned lessons from Sony about what *not* to do with DRM, sure, but there aren't a lot of models yet about how to do DRM right.
Not Digging the Mob Mentality
Commentary  |  1/10/2006  | 
A whole community gave O'Reilly Media blogger and editor Steve Mallett a rude introduction to the pitfalls of social bookmarking, blogging and syndication yesterday. Popular technology news site and Slashdot heir-apparent Digg, where users control a story's prominence with their votes, promoted to the front page of that site a community member's accusation that Mallett purposefully stole Digg code to crea
Jobs Throws Around Big iPod Numbers At MacWorld
Commentary  |  1/10/2006  | 
Apple CEO Steve Jobs and senior Apple executives tossed around some huge iPod and Apple Store numbers on stage today at MacWorld in San Francisco. Among them: * 26 million people visited Apple stores over the holidays * Apple stores enjoyed the group's first-ever "billion dollar quarter" * Apple had a $5.7 billion quarter overall * Some 26 million people visited Apple stores over the holiday season * Apple sold 14 million iPods last quarter
For Sale: Your Phone Records
Commentary  |  1/9/2006  | 
Rack it up as another chink in your already scuffed and dented privacy armor. Your cell phone records can be had for a relatively small chunk of change. That's right, for $110, I can buy records of the last 100 calls made from your cell phone. I can also buy incoming calls, duration and time of call, names and addresses for unlisted numbers, and
The Keyboard We Really Want
Commentary  |  1/9/2006  | 
In the past couple of decades, hundreds of new keyboards have come out -- most with alternatives to the clunky QWERTY layout. Unfortunately, for the companies that make these alternative input devices, the QWERTY train has left the station, and ain't comin' back. That's not to say users don't want keyboard innovation.
Washington Times Reporters Free to Blog, As Long As It's Not About The Times
Commentary  |  1/9/2006  | 
It's always sruck me how the newspaper industry--ostensibly all about the free exchange of ideas and information--often seems more controlling than the Pentagon when it comes to internal or external scrutiny. It was, after all, media baron Conrad Black who said, "I shall not have the press in my home." Here's the latest example of the Fourth Estate's fear of microscopes and mirrors...
It's Not The Size Of The Data Breach That Matters: All Of Your Customers Are Affected
Commentary  |  1/6/2006  | 
The oft-forgotten element of the endless procession of consumer data breaches is how companies manage the aftermath. It's an undertaking that can be summed by two words: Damage control. And one company that found itself on the wrong end of a breach last month--Marriott Corp.--is only getting half of the effort right.
A More Unreasonable Take On HP's Laser Printer
Commentary  |  1/5/2006  | 
Recently I wrote a blog entry about an HP laser printer that a user complained forced him to buy new toner cartridges even though the old ones weren't empty. In an effort to be reasonable (and you better believe that for me it takes a real effort) I concluded that the user, not HP, was at fault. A reader, Chris Tune, wrote to disagree with me. "Despite the fact that HP has a provision for overriding the pag
"Hey! You Can't Take Pictures In Here!"
Commentary  |  1/4/2006  | 
USA Today has an interesting article for people who found digital cameras under their Christmas Trees; it's a guide to the laws about taking and publishing photos. It comes down to: If you can see it without a telephoto lens (and usually even with a telephoto lens), you can photograph it and publish it. Mostly.
Searching For Conscience In The Tech Industry
Commentary  |  1/3/2006  | 
It's not every day that an employee publicly condemns his company as a tool of state-sponsored thuggery and gets to remain employed. On Tuesday morning, Robert Scoble, technical evangelist at Microsoft and the company's most noted blogger, weighed in about a report posted by blogger and former CNN reporter Rebecca MacKinnon that MSN Spaces on New Year's Eve shut down a blog written by Zhao Ji
CES Watch: Samsung's New Nano Killer
Commentary  |  1/3/2006  | 
Samsung plans to unveil this week at CES an iPod-Nano competitor MP3 player called the YP-Z5. The gadget offers storage between 2 and 4 GB, has a 1.8-inch screen and boasts great 3D sound. It also reportedly gets about 38 hours of battery life. (The photo below is of the YP-Z5.) Another Korean company, called Mannetel, will roll out their
Cheap Laptop? Sure!
Commentary  |  1/2/2006  | 
The Consumer Electronics Show, which starts Tuesday in Las Vegas, will probably be the most important technology tradeshow on the planet this year. Which says as much about the current sad, sorry state of corporate IT as anything else. After a decade when the innovation -- and the big bucks -- were to be found in corporate computing, the center of gravity has shifted to the consumer. Part of the reason may well be buyer fatigue: the big companies have cut up their IT departments' credit cards.


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