20 Whats For Windows?
From the mailbag: My tepid birthday greetings to Microsoft Windows and its smarter cousin, the Apple Macintosh OS, last week in my e-mail newsletter (what, you're not a subscriber?) drew a couple of e-mail replies -- actually less backchat than I expected.
How To Rescue Federal IT
The issue of allowing federal CIOs to more actively manage their agency's IT investments certainly looms large. The other big problem is that of culture.
EBay Hears And Sees No Evil, It Just Sells It
Is eBay Adam Smith's perfect market, where prices are set by the honest interaction of buyers and sellers and everyone goes home happy--or is it simply the perfect vehicle for price gouging--and much, much worse? The short supply of Microsoft's Xbox 360 means the game system is now fetching up to $1,000 on eBay. Fair enough, if a gamester really can't wait a few more weeks to play the 360 version of Call of Duty 2 or NBA Live 06 then it's their money, right? Sure, but eBay's willingness to turn
Rugged MP3 Player A Solid Idea
Sharp plans to ship November 26 two ruggedized mobile music players that can survive being dropped from 1.4 meters.
The Sharp MP-S200 (512MB) and MP-S300 (1GB) players' electronics are protected against damage with what the Japanese news site Nikkei.net Interactive describes as a "
Ready, Set, Shop!
Don't look now, but Thanksgiving is bearing down upon us, which you probably know means that the biggest shopping weekend of the year is right around the corner. What you might not know, however, is that the Monday following that weekend, is fast becoming the biggest online shopping day of the year. This year, online retailers plan to help drive Cyber Monday shopping with special promotions and discounts, wi
Peter Jackson Re-Creates 1933 King Kong Scene
Movie director Peter Jackson, most famous for his Lord of the Rings trilogy and soon to be most famous for his spectacular King Kong remake, has spearheaded a project to re-create at least one awesome scene missing from the 1933 original King Kong.
When test screening the original movie in San Bernadino, Calif., in 1933, one scene terrified the audience so much that the mo
Piling On Sony
I've been as mad as anybody at Sony over its use of a rootkit as a "digital rights management" tool. It's a little like calling a sawed-off shotgun a privacy-management tool -- it's effective, but the consequences are both unpredictable and horrific.
Now both the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the Texas Attorney General have filed suit against Sony BMG Music Entertainmen
Google's Book Search: Best of Times, Worst of Times For Libraries
College professors complain about the current generation of copy-and-paste students. Raised online, impatient with card catalogs and paper indices, these students use Google to do research papers, finding even obscure references and far-flung sources in seconds.
Unfortunately, their results -- and their final papers -- tend to be heavily slanted toward the knowledge and opinion in magazines, on Web sites and other resources that were first to put their offerings online. Knowledge not digitized
OQO: Rich And Beautiful
OQO Inc. got $20 million in venture funding this week. All that money makes OQO very attractive, but I confess, I was in love with OQO even before it was rich, because it makes an intriguingly beautiful tiny PC.
If want a little dose of computer lust (or maybe a Christmas gift suggestion) go to www.oqo.com and gaze longingly at the OQO Model 01+. It's got a 1GHz processor, a 30GB hard drive, 512MB of RAM, integrated wireless networking, and FireWire and USB port
Vista: If Not Now, When?
Gartner Inc., the hotshot analyst firm, is advising its corporate clients to wait until 2008 to begin adopting Windows Vista. (That's presuming, of course, that it's shipped by then.)
The reason, according to analyst Mr. Michael Silver, is that Windows Vista will offer only "incremental, evolutionary improvements" over Windows XP and Windows 2000. If your company paid Gartner big bucks for that opinion, shame on you. I would have told you that for free.
New Hope That U.S. E-Health Record Effort Is Real
President Bush hasn't asked for my opinion lately, and I know he and I wouldn't see eye to eye on many important issues--like stem-cell research--even if he were the tiniest bit interested in what I had to say. However, I must admit that there is at least one subject where he and I are on the same general page--the need for this country's health-care system to rid itself of its addiction to paper.
IBM Looks East For Innovation
While venture capitalists look to China to make a buck, IBM is teaming with VCs through its newly formed Venture Capital Advisory Council to scout out young firms from emerging markets that are developing innovative IT services, which could be exported to the West.
The BlackBerry Just Got Edgier
Before the brand-new BlackBerry 8700c hits Cingular Wireless stores in the U.S. on Nov. 21, here's my own reviewer's guide of the latest and the greatest that the popular PDA has to offer. And believe me, it's evolving.
Oops, No Microsoft in Patents Venture
It's one of the perils of blogging. Yesterday I rushed into print after reading a story saying that a joint venture formed to promote Linux by acquiring patents included Microsoft. "You're kidding me, right?" I wrote. It turns out that somebody was, if not deliberately kidding, at least mistaken. An updated version of the story removes Microsoft from the list of companies putting money into the Open Innovation Network.
At Sony, The Customer Is Captive
The problem with Sony is evident in its financial filings. No, it's not that the company expects to post a net loss of $90 million for its fiscal year ending March 2006. That's a symptom, not a cause.
The company has locked the PDF file that contains its Q2 financial results to prevent computer users fr
External iPod Battery Powers 200 Hours
A $199 product called the iCel 205 Portable Power Supply gives you up to 200 hours of iPod listening enjoyment. It also comes in cheaper and less capable variants.
Initial Forum Reaction To iPod In 2001: It Won't Sell
Steve Jobs introduced the original 5-gigabyte iPod, which cost $400, in October of 2001. Sales of the device -- and the influence it has on the design of a wide range of consumer electronics and other products -- are now legendary.
But when the player was first announced, the Mac faithful were generally unimpressed. Here are some comments posted during and immediately after Jobs' announcement on the MacRumors forum. Enjoy!
Human Rights--And Wrongs
Now that electronics have become as pervasive as, say, cars, similar demands are being made on tech suppliers as on sellers of other consumer products. Procter and Gamble, for one, has long been under a microscope from groups all over the political map, and now it appears it's the computer vendors' turn to be similarly examined.
Majority Of Teens Change Identity On Net
Nearly six out of ten teenagers hide or change their identities while online, according to a new study of wired young Canadians reported in today's Globe and Mail newspaper.
The reasons vary, but a majority has pretended to be someone else online in order to flirt, pretend to be older or of a different gender -- or to "act mean" without consequences.
Online identity experimentation is "norm
Recycling Electronics: Let's Get Going
Let's get started now, while the problem is still manageable, and before we create yet another ecological disaster for subsequent generations to have to deal with.
Shouldn't That 'Will' Be 'Should Have Been'?
So Microsoft is changing the name of its antispyware named "AntiSpyware" to "Defender." Why? Here's a direct quote from the story: "The new name, said Jason Garms, the group program manager for Microsoft's anti-malware team, 'is about what Windows will do for customers, defending them from spyware and other unwanted software.' "
Excuse me, Jason, shouldn't that be ". . . is about what Windows should have been doing for customers all al
Radical New Camera Phone Spotted In Wild
A radically small and thin Samsung camera phone -- literally about the size of a stack of five or six credit cards -- has been spotted in the wild. More than 30 pictures posted on the Italian Cellularmania show just how amazingly tiny this upcoming phone really is.
Called the Samsung SGH-P300 phone, it sports a 1.3 megapixel camera, Bluetooth, and 90MB of flash memory and looks more like an old school calculator than a next-genera
Three New Treo Models Expected Next Year
Forbes magazine reported yesterday that Verizon and possibly Sprint Nextel will begin to offer the Palm OS replacement for the Treo 650 in May. The new phone will feature an EVDO radio.
The article also said that Palm would ship low-end Treos costing about $200 each sometime next year, and that the $700 Windows Mobile version previously reported would be a higher-margin product for Palm.
What WAS Sony thinking?
For your own protection, do not buy or play music CDs from Sony BMG Music Entertainment. Ever. That's the only reasonable conclusion you can draw, following the revelation that Sony's CDs install a rootkit on your PC as part of their so-called "Digital Rights Management" scheme. The company is backpedaling and posting fixes, but it's way too late for that
Immerse Yourself In Quake 4 - Without Getting Blown Away
Enter the dark and violent world of Quake 4 -- if you dare. A site called VRWAY, which houses all kinds of really cool images displayed with QuickTime Virtual Reality (QTVR) panorama, has posted 15 high-resolution screens from the game.
QTVR lets you look around in 360 degrees, both vertically and horizontally. You're totally immersed in the screenshot. It's a great way to check out Quake without being killed by one of those giant ugly things.
The site al
Are You Ready To Pay $2.50 For A Song Download?
As if the battle between Sony and Apple over the latest and greatest gadget that can play song downloads isn't enough, we are now faced with the decision whether to download music on PCs or have it pushed to our cell phones by wireless carriers as another "next generation" service.
E-ZPass For Airports? Sign Me Up
Listen to a version of this blog -- as part of a Daily Newsletter podcast -- here.
Here in New York and other Northeastern states, we have a wonderful system called E-ZPass that lets those with prepaid accounts buzz through highway and bridge tolls with little or no wait. If you've ever driven through any of the bridges in and around New York City, you can appreciate the time this system saves.
Asian Cell Phone Hotness Comes To U.S.
For years, we poor, neglected Americans have had to sit on the sidelines with our old-and-busted cell phones while Japanese and Korean gadget enthusiasts always got access the new hotness. It has always seemed like the coolest and wildest phones were not available here.
Now, however, Samsung is throwing us a fricken bone. The company said this week that it planned to offer for sale in the U.S. its "dual QWERTY phone
Windows Live Screenshots Leaked Online
Just one day after being unveiled, Microsoft's "Windows Live" site screenshots, as well as screenshots from the companion "Office Live" service, have been leaked and posted on TheHotfix.net web site, and other locations.
Are You Being Web-Served?
Bill Gates' announcement that Microsoft is charging into software-as-a-service shouldn't come as any surprise. It's late to the game, as usual, and Google is already way ahead. It's a really big deal for Microsoft, but is it a really big deal for the rest of us? Yes it is, and I'll tell you why: Microsoft can make it work.
We're already using a ton of Web-delivered software every day -- if you use IM, write a blog, pay bills online, use Web-based conferencing services, have a photo site you sha
An 'Ignition Key' For Your PC
Here's a great idea for security minded users. The I-O Data ToteBag is a USB flash storage device that doubles as a key to lock and unlock your laptop or desktop PC. The unit comes with special software that locks your system when it doesn't detect the ToteBag in a USB port. To unlock, just insert the ToteBag. It also functions as a normal flash storage device, and comes in 256MB, 512MB, and 1GB versions. (via
Found: A Very Interesting Search
I hadn't thought a lot about search engines lately. I mean, I know there's a lot of ferment in the marketplace over search programs -- Google's success has people theorizing that search could replace directory navigation as a way of managing files on a PC, "desktop search is a buzzword for security advocates, "enterprise search" is a business plan for software companies, and so on.
But search was just . . . search. You put in a search term, and you got back a list, you looked at the top two or
Electrify Your Digital Music
An innovative product called the MicroLink dLAN Audio system streams music from your PC throughout your house using the building's electrical system.
To use it, you plug a MicroLink dLAN Ethernet adapter to a PC on one end, and any wall socket in th