Wednesday, February 28, 2007

I Almost Ordered a Sprint Phone...

but ...

The page cannot be displayed

There are too many people accessing the Web site at this time.

Please try the following:

HTTP 403.9 - Access Forbidden: Too many users are connected
Internet Information Services

Technical Information (for support personnel)

  • Background:
    This error can occur if the Web server is busy and cannot process your request due to heavy traffic.

  • More information:
    Microsoft Support

Thanks go to Microsoft for saving me from another unnecessary expense!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Application Exchange: Business Software Built on Google Apps

From the website:

"The first business applications fully integrated with Google Apps for your domain. See meetings scheduled with your prospects, support cases open, and use Gmail to track and follow-up on both.

All of this available on-demand, on-site and 100% open source. Find out more.

Launching Q1 2007. "

Dell to Linux users: Not so fast

Last Friday night, Dell posted a note on the IdeaStorm Web site saying it was listening to thousands of users who had posted messages asking for Linux on its machines by moving forward to certify three of its corporate hardware lines -- OptiPlex desktops, Latitude notebooks and Dell Precision workstations -- for use with Novell SUSE Linux.

The company said today that the note was just about certifying the hardware for being ready to work with Novell SUSE Linux, not an announcement that the computers would be loaded and sold with the operating system in the near future.

McKesson Offers Health Care Apps On Red Hat Linux - Technology News by InformationWeek

"McKesson Corp. is selling its clinical applications for doctors' offices and hospitals based on Red Hat's Enterprise Linux operating system, offering what McKesson says is a less-expensive alternative to non-open source platforms."

Honeybees Vanish, Leaving Crops and Keepers in Peril - New York Times

VISALIA, Calif., Feb. 23 — David Bradshaw has endured countless stings during his life as a beekeeper, but he got the shock of his career when he opened his boxes last month and found half of his 100 million bees missing.

In 24 states throughout the country, beekeepers have gone through similar shocks as their bees have been disappearing inexplicably at an alarming rate, threatening not only their livelihoods but also the production of numerous crops, including California almonds, one of the nation’s most profitable.

“I have never seen anything like it,” Mr. Bradshaw, 50, said from an almond orchard here beginning to bloom. “Box after box after box are just empty. There’s nobody home.”

Monday, February 26, 2007 - Donston: Google Apps Had Me at Hello - Technology News | News On Technology

"When Google Docs and Spreadsheets came along, we toyed with the idea of using the spreadsheet functionality for our Labs schedule, but we were a little bit skittish. Would our super-secret Labs schedule be safe hosted by Google?

In short order, however, we decided that the benefits would be worth whatever small risk there was.

And the benefits have been big. The document is live, of course, so anyone with read or write access and an Internet-connected system can see the most recent changes."

Post Office Pitches New 'Forever' Stamp

"Here's how it would work. If the 3-cent increase takes effect next year, the forever stamp would be made available for 42 cents, the same as other first-class stamps. If the first-class rate were to rise to 45 cents in a few years, the 42-cent forever stamp would still be honored for postage on letters. Once the new price took effect, forever stamps would then sell for 45 cents."

Such a drop dead obvious idea, I first started thinking about such a thing back when postage was under 20 cents.

I was reminded of it recently when I found a bunch of unmarked "temporary" stamps that the postal service often issues when they have asked for a rate increase but it hasn't been approved. Sometimes they will put a letter ("a" or "b") on it but usually it's just a flag, or flower. The concept is that people are supposedly going through stamps so fast that a sheet of these will only last a few weeks. Not me though. I used to buy sheets, then rolls, then books as the newer technologies came into play (books for the no-lick variety for example). But then I misplace them, only to find them a year or more later. I don't think I am alone in this.

Once a few years ago I put such a stamp on an envelope and presented it in person at the counter just in case it was not sufficient. It wasn't, as the postal employee gave me a dirty look and informed me that the stamp I had used was only worth a penny. I still don't know if I believe that, but by implication, they also have issued "supplement" stamps that will make up the difference between the old rate and the new as yet undetermined) rate. I have no recollection of buying such a stamp, but maybe I did.

More recently, I did a similar thing, not wanting to get the evil eye, I told the postal employee right away that I didn't know if the stamp was worth anything near first class postage and simply wanted to buy the difference rather than throwing all such stamps I had away. (An exchange program for stamps would be nice, but I don't think any such thing exists). This employee was at least friendly about it. Said he didn't recognize the stamp. Then consulted "The Book" and couldn't find it there either. I was about to call the whole investigation off if it was too much trouble, but he went around asking all the other postal clerks if they recognized it, finally going into the back of the post office for several minutes.

Hmmm I thought, maybe this wasn't a postal stamp at all, but some free decorative thing like some charities send out. Was I about to be arrested for postal fraud? Finally he came back though, telling me I owed two cents, which I also didn't believe. If they had had to search that hard for the stamp it must have been 15 years old or something, but I payed up and didn't think much more about it. Until just now when I heard this reported on the radio.

So, congratulations US Postal Service, for demonstrating that someone within your ranks has two contiguous brain cells. You must be taking classes in "innovation" at a Microsoft training facility somewhere.

I intend to stock up on these stamps and never have to buy stamps again!

Well, unless until I lose them.

Ohio school district upgrades to Linux, saves $412K

"The Bexley, Ohio high school district reportedly is migrating all of its desktop computers running Windows ME to Linux, instead of to Windows XP. The move is expected to save taxpayers as much as $412,000 in licensing costs, according to an article in a local community newspaper."

Advocates for Self-Government - Libertarian Education

I still love Xbox, TabletPCs, Media Center, Halo, etc. Scobleizer - Tech Geek Blogger

NEVER trust someone to be objective about their employers products vs alternatives. It's not human nature, it's certainly not smiled upon by most companies, and there are always more objective sources to go to.

It is useful to have an insiders perspective on a company, and for such insiders to establish their credibility they have to avoid statements that are verifiably false. But there is certainly no dearth of people willing and able to speak up on behalf of Microsoft, including people who have relatives on the payroll at the Washington Post.

View the comments for this article, written by Bill gates:


What you'll find is that among ordinary people, not technogeeks (well some of those in there too including mine) people's opinions about Microsoft are almost uniformly negative. Even when Bill Gates makes several statements that most people would agree with, we almost universally question his motives.

Actions speak louder than words. We all know that. What the world waits for is some indication, not an open letter or a press release, that the company has changed its attitude about how it competes, and how its products fit into the vast world of technology.

The insatiable, palpably pathological urge for a few top executives to dominate, rather than just contribute to the "technosphere" worries the average informed person, and with good reason. What is needed is for these tendencies to not just be curbed, but eliminated.

Still watching for signs of (real) change.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Patrick J. Michaels on An Inconvenient Truth on National Review Online

Nowhere in the traditionally refereed scientific literature do we find any support for Gore’s hypothesis. Instead, there’s an unrefereed editorial by NASA climate firebrand James E. Hansen, in the journal Climate Change — edited by Steven Schneider, of Stanford University, who said in 1989 that scientists had to choose “the right balance between being effective and honest” about global warming — and a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that was only reviewed by one person, chosen by the author, again Dr. Hansen.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Google's 0.1 Percent Solution: Technology Evangelist

Sure, Gtalk is XMPP-based, but I have been told that the former 2entwiners are working on a cross-platform application to enable the use of Google Apps in an offline state, to be a re-branded form of Google Desktop that will include Gtalk.

Bill Gates - How to Keep America Competitive -

"Innovation is the source of U.S. economic leadership and the foundation for our competitiveness in the global economy. Government investment in research, strong intellectual property laws and efficient capital markets are among the reasons that America has for decades been best at transforming new ideas into successful businesses."

And my comments which were FUBARed by WAPOs website:

Could we first pass a law that would prevent anyone else from Microsoft from using the word "innovation"? They have practically worn the word out and it only serves as a sick joke these days that one of America's most successful companies (in money terms at least) continues to use an attribute they lack to describe themselves.

Yes, innovation is important to America, and the world, but what does Bill Gates mean by "strong intellectual property laws and efficient capital markets"?

IP laws are intended to help get new ideas off the ground by promising an inventor, but more importantly a manufacturer, at least a chance on return of their investment in production of a new product. But software patents have turned this system on its head, with more patents issued than anyone can keep up with, and in some cases on almost trivial concepts, we have the opposite effect, namely that someone can invest significantly in a new product only too find out that the proceeds belong to Microsoft.

Efficient capital markets? Like one where hardware costs continue to go down while software costs continue to go up? Where Steve Balmer can suggest that the world needs a $100 PC, while omitting that he'd like to see $1000 worth of MS software running on it?

What Gates and Balmer want is a parody of "The Al Franken Decade", and we are living it too. These two men, and their company want to continue to rest on their accomplishments from the 80's (which were significant) while the rest of us struggle with software that doesn't work, old disks we can't read and laws that threaten to put us in jail if we code up anything that might work against their retirement programs. The MS decade is OVER! Long since in fact. Deal with it Mr. Gates, get back to your charity efforts.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Pogue’s Posts - An Experiment in Virtual Living

"Second Life, as about 2 million people have already discovered, is a virtual world on the Internet. You’re represented by a computer-generated character (an avatar) that can walk around, fly, teleport, or exchange typed comments with other people’s characters. You can make yourself young and beautiful, equip yourself with fancy clothes, build a dream house by the water, or make the sun set on command. The average member spends four hours a day in Second Life."

SL continues to get good press. From everyone but Scoble that is. I wonder if anyone ever helped him cancel his account? (I hope so!)

Microsoft Ordered to Pay $1.52 Billion in Patent Case -

"In April, Lucent sued Microsoft for illegally using Lucent's video-decoding technology in Microsoft's Xbox 360 videogame system. The two had a prior agreement for the original Xbox, but Lucent argued that it didn't extend beyond the older system. A month later, Microsoft filed a countersuit seeking to dismiss the claims."

Once a code stealer always a code stealer?

Microsoft dirty tricks, part two: Technology Evangelist

This was, for Microsoft, a perfect ending. The damning tapes were lost in a way that could be blamed on a contractor -- a contractor over which Microsoft had great power -- power greater than just a services contract. The contractor "accepted" responsibility though there was no real evidence they had done anything wrong. It could just as easily have been a Microsoft employee who destroyed the tapes. It is clear that Microsoft never [r]evealed to the court either that the tapes had been found or that they had been destroyed. This would have had to have taken place at the spoliation hearing that would have happened had Microsoft not settled with Burst for $60 million.

Google goes after Microsoft with software suite -

"Google (GOOG) is getting serious about taking on Microsoft (MSFT).

Today, it introduces Google Apps Premium Edition, a software suite for companies that provides e-mail, instant messaging, calendar, word processing and spreadsheets. The cost is $50 per worker per year vs. about $500-$600 for Microsoft Office."

I got mine while it was free (YAY!) and convinced two other companies to give it a try. While I was already satisfied with what I'm getting from Linux, Firefox and Open Office, this is icing on the cake as far as not having to keep frequently used docs on every machine, backed-up etc.

Yes, Microsoft will have to match this in some way, possibly a more Office-like implementation at a similar starting price. Next step for Google though might be to offer this whole service in a pizza box with backup to their servers built-in.

The next question is whether Microsoft will open up their competing product to non-Windows systems. Will they claim their developers are too shabby to be able to figure this out? The alternative is almost as embarrassing.

Also *here*:

Ms. Wettemann noted that a business may spend about $80,000 on a systems administrator to manage e-mail and desktop office software. For the same amount of money, Google Apps allows a business to support 1,600 users, she noted. Simply in terms of staffing, “this may be a better proposition even if Microsoft were free,” Ms. Wettemann said.

and *here*

And large customers would, in effect, turn over management of their applications to Google, which would host them on its own global network of servers. This model of software as a service, rather than a product, was pioneered by and has gained momentum over the past three years. Through so-called "service-level agreements," Google would guarantee customers that their business software applications would be up and running around the clock.

Links courtesy of Slashdot, and various others...

Like *here*

One company that decided to make the shift is Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, a Chicago-area franchise that employees 450 sales agents and support staff. The agency has been using Gmail for nearly a year in place of an outsourced e-mail service that performed so poorly that it had to be replaced, said Camden Daily, the group's technology director.

The agency had already worked with Google on the Google Earth and Maps projects, so it used its Google contacts to join the Gmail beta program. "We went ahead and switched, and basically everybody loved the interface ever since," he said.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

GameDaily BIZ: January Game Sales Explode; Wii Dominates

Looking at hardware, for the first time in a while, the DS didn't steal the show. That said, Nintendo still took the spotlight. The Wii sold around 436K units, easily beating the 360's 294K units and the PS3's 244K units. And the PS2 also continues to outperform the PS3; Sony's six-year-old system sold 299K units. Nintendo's DS still managed to sell another 239K units in January after selling like hotcakes in November and December. This beat out the PSP's 211K units. Trailing the pack were the GBA with 179K units and the GameCube with just 34K units.

I think I'll wait for the PS9. I wonder what MS will call their next model...YBox 720?

Really now, in a couple of years these game processors will be so powerful they can do everything in your house. Run the "TV", "Radio", flash recipes up in your kitchen, toggle the thermostat when you are sleeping, and store all your files, keep them backed up in multi-generation store.

Why would we need a PC? Just a keyboard and monitor for every member of the house or at least as many as you have simultaneous users, or one per room, whatever.

"Unlimited" Data Plans

The Unlimited Data Plans and Features MAY NOT be used for any other purpose. Examples of prohibited uses include, without limitation, the following: (i) continuous uploading, downloading or streaming of audio or video programming or games; (ii) server devices or host computer applications, including, but not limited to, Web camera posts or broadcasts, automatic data feeds, automated machine–to–machine connections or peer–to–peer (P2P) file sharing; or (iii) as a substitute or backup for private lines or dedicated data connections. This means, by way of example only, that checking email, surfing the Internet, downloading legally acquired songs, and/or visiting corporate intranets is permitted, but downloading movies using P2P file sharing services and/or redirecting television signals for viewing on laptops is prohibited. A person engaged in prohibited uses, continuously for one hour, could typically use 100 to 200 MBs, or, if engaged in prohibited uses for 10 hours a day, 7 days a week, could use more than 5 GBs in a month.

I think they meant to say that it has unlimited limitations. Yeah, that must be it.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Everything is Miscellaneous

"I had a brainstorm-y idea I floated to NPR I will try out on you, too. Keep in mind that it's an ill-formed, un-thought-through idea, which you should feel free to kick the bejeezus out of.

NPR values civil discourse. And, despite its reputation in some circles, it's committed to being non-partisan. So, suppose on pages devoted to particular segments or topics, NPR listeners were explicitly charged with pulling together links that represent the spectrum of opinion and thought on that topic. If it were a page about, say, the Libby trial, users would be asked to find Web references from the left and right, from US and elsewhere, from the scholarly to the flippant. If this were to work, it would presumably be because some small cadre of users stepped up to the task. Getting the 'social physics ' right would be crucial, of course.(This idea is spurred by Debatepedia, except it aims at a plurality of views, not a duopoly.)

Bad idea? Impractical? Undesirable? Too much coffee, not enough reality?"

Maybe I'm missing the point of your idea, but I'll kick the bejeezus out of anyway:

Slashdot, Digg, Netscape, the list is endless of places you can go and have a good argument (insults are down the hall). We started down this road before the Internet even got popular with the original "Usenet" newsgroups, where the word "flame war" was first coined (I think).

Never in these "debates" doesn't anyone appear to change their mind about anything and almost never does anyone even admit to having discovered an aspect of the issue that they were previously unaware of. Such discovery does take place I suspect, it's just that everyone too proud to admit it.

I've never understood why media outlets maintain the pretense of neutrality (they don't do a very good job of it generally), but my hunch is that it is simply to get the largest audience. You can lean to the left or right, so long as you don't lean so far as to drive half the audience away in disgust.

Let's face it, we can't all be well informed about everything. Read one of the web sites mentioned above to see how woefully uninformed we can be. Even journalists display their ignorance on a regular basis, and some of this ignorance comes through as bias (eg: yes there ARE scientists that don't buy global warming theories, no matter how often you say the issue is settled, their stories are on the net, why not on NPR?).

My favorite programs often have well spoken (key ingredient) representative from across the political spectrum, and a moderator that lets them have more or less equal time. I've never seen anyone do this better than the McLaughlin Group, but others do a passable job. Often the commercial interruptions or the need to cover too many topics spoil the chance for any depth. If there is such a show where they only cover one topic per week I don't know of it (but I'm a radio and Internet person who rarely watches TV).

I don't know of anything like this on the Internet, but it could be a perfect, in ways, a much better format:

1: Pick topic
2: Assemble two or three topic matter experts with views that span the spectrum.
3: Post starter article (this could be in written, podcast, or video format, or some combination) that lays out the basic issue in the most broad terms (no potentially biased details). Topic expert could express themselves at this point, but I sort of think this would be distracting to "viewers" who might start forulating responses rather than just spelling out what they think from their existing knowledge.
4: Allow readers, viewers, etc. to either post their ideas to a public forum, or (this might be better) e-mail their points of view, to prevent the flame wars. E-mail would encourage each viewer to give it their best shot in one message rather than drop into "debate" mode.
5: Have the topic matter experts read all the responses (offline) and prepare a statement that puts forth their (the expert's) point of view, augmented by any supporting statements from the received comments (and/or pointing out particularly flawed arguments from those same comments).

Give each expert the same amount of time to speak or the same word limit to stay within. Optionally have a rebuttal round or two.


The problem with this format is of course it doesn't give the professional journalists much to do. That is unless they also serve as the topic matter experts, something that might be OK for some political discussions, but not so OK for hard science, technology issues, and other areas where journalists don't have enough depth. Maybe thats why it's never been done.

We used too expect our politicians to do our homework for us. Daily public opinion polls have made our democracy more participatory, but do we really want these decisions made based on who shouts the loudest? Our form of government could well vote itself out of existence if we don't find a new way to carry on the debate soon. I'm not optimistic.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Solution to ID Overload


"’s just too f****ing bad I can’t remember my Yahoo user ID so I can log on to Pipes or any of this other “cool” stuff that Yahoo is doing. You say you want a revolution, well you can just count me out (in) only if you can remember one of the thousand IDs I’ve logged on to Yahoo with over the years of ignoring all their cool apps."

And here:

Well, I just tried to get back into Second Life to cancel my credit card. Problem is, I can’t get in. Someone changed my password.

The other problem? I can’t get my password. I think I signed on with my Microsoft address.

Are two bad examples of a real problem, the solution to which is known, and fairly easy to implement.

In the first case, celebrity journalist Gilmor can't remember IDs and passwords, so he makes up new one whenever he wants to sign in. Well, that certainly helps Yahoo inflate their user numbers for the "benefit" of advertisers. If you sign up for some new (as in new to the world, not new to you) service, chances are you can get your name, or favorite pseudonym as an ID, but for Yahoo, AOL, MSN, Google, chances are such an attempt will result in a friendly suggestion that you try something like "Gilmore4983" or "mac$beach_whoohoo". Nobody can be blamed for not remembering such monstrosities.

In the second case, Scoble has enough income that he can subscribe for months to a service he isn't using, and then blame the company for not magically being able to do anything about it even though it's the Sunday before a holiday, he has changed e-mail addresses, moved, gotten a new phone number. Secondlife has one of the better support systems on the planet, but he can't be bothered to even attempt to contact them. So, instead, he compares them by implication to Netzero, that has a truly deserved reputation in this area. Give us a break!

In days gone by, when there were only a dozen or so big names in "Internet Service Provision" it probably made some sense that you would get a unique ID for each of those dozen or so services. Chances were you would only be using one or two of them, and companies like Yahoo were sure you only needed one of them, so they set out to provide every possible service, proven or not, fully functional or not, buggy and broken or not, developed in house, or bought. Those days ended about ten years ago, but to this day, most ISPs (in the broad sense) still demand that you try and create a unique ID for yourself to use their service. Go ahead, try it! It's sort of like a game. "We have 75 billion users, see if you can come up with a short meaningful name for yourself"... "R6vnt_768x? HA! your going to have to try herder than that! We've never expired an old ID and we don't plan to start now succa."

Now for the solution. It starts with everyone, including Robert Scoble, obtaining a nice meaningful personal e-mail address for themselves. Preferably, the basis for the e-mail address should be a domain name, and that might be tricky too in terms of all the names already created. But the domain name system is far less tapped out than the Yahoo or AOL name systems are, for one thing, domain names aren't used as the basis for ad sales. For another, domain names expire, although you can register for 100 years or so if you really find a name you like. But while there are a lot of people out there who think having one or several domain names is the key to fame and fortune, there are fewer of those than the number of people who have signed up for free e-mail addresses from one or more of the above mentioned companies. Scoble owns (I presume), so he certainly should be able to use rather than a hotmail address.

Why is this a good idea? Well, that takes step two. ISP companies need to stop requiring people to have an ID that only goes with their service. If I am "macbeach" on blogger that should not tell you anything about my e-mail address, nor should it imply that I even have such an address at gmail. For most of these companies, identifying yourself as "macbeach" implies that you have an e-mail address by that name. That name also gets used for every other service you use from that vendor. That seems like a convenience at first. But what if I really like Flickr and I also really like Blogger, and I really like the MSN live web page system, it is very unlikely that the same name, unless I make it intentionally obscure, will exist for all three of those services.

Secondlife (while we are at it) makes you pick a first name, and select a last name from a list. I always thought this idea sucked. There was a reason for it, but not a technical reason. It was to provide something like a genealogy, except not really, of older names, and newer names, or something. Cute, but not really useful. I picked "Beach" as a last name because I was preparing to move to the beach, and since then the combined name has found a lot of homes, but there are a surprising number of places where the name is taken already. Maybe there is actually someone out there named "Mac Beach", but it isn't me, except in Secondlife that is. I also have short meaningful names at Yahoo, and Google, because I started using them when they were new. My name at AOL isn't very pleasant to me, so I use that service less as a result.

AOL has recently taken a half-step in the right direction. They now allow you to create a domain name of "your own" for free. So if your last name is "xxxyyyzzz" (sorry if that actually IS your last name) you could set up a domain at AOL called (or .net I think) and allow your family to each have a personalized email address there. Half-step, because the "free" domain doesn't actually belong to you, and if you decide you don't like AOL e-mail at some point you can't move the domain to another service. It's also half-assed, so far, because they promised the ability to set up a family (or other small organization) web page, and so far there is no indication of when, or if, you will actually be able to do that.

Google on the other hand, appears to be getting it right (they didn't at first, but it's getting there.) You can now sign up for almost any Google service by using any existing email address. If you hate Gmail, you can still use most of the other Google services by using a Yahoo, MSN, AOL or any other e-mail address as your login ID. If you are not paranoid about security, you could also use the same password you use for e-mail, if you are both paranoid and have a bad memory, you'd better start recording things like this somewhere safe.

I did a test just the other day and signed on to almost every Google service using an external e-mail address. The exceptions (of course) are Gmail (for e-mail) and Googlepages (for personal web pages) neither of which would make sense with external IDs.

Imaging if all vendors took this step... I'd pay somebody (cheapo, or free if a truly open service were available) to register my preferred name (by the way I did this long ago, but I ain't tellin' what it is to just anybody until Gate's promise of "solving spam" is universally fulfilled) and then I'd direct that ID/domain name combination to my favorite e-mail service (and how many free e-mail services allow you to do this so far? I can think of only one) and I'd use that to sign up for all the Google services I liked, and if the other service providers would open up their name spaces the world would be a better place. TADA!

Can I do this with MSN? I don't think so, first, since you have to run Windows to even get to the sign-up page I'll likely never know how wonderful it is (although I've read several newsgroup messages from people that USED to use it).

Can I do this with Yahoo? Only sorta. They do allow external e-mail addresses for Yahoo Groups, but that's only if you are just receiving e-mail message from the group. Anything else requires you to get a Yahoo ID that you may have no other use for. They recently made some changes with the Flickr ID system which were unpopular, again, favoring the use of Yahoo IDs I would guess (I stopped using Flickr when Yahoo took it over).

AOL? Like I said they show a glimmer of intelligence in this area, but it is clear that their management shuffles make any promises they make for future capabilities suspect. My free domain name gets mail, and that's about it. Using it to log into almost every other AOL service gets either a cryptic, or just plain wrong error message.

How about the smaller players? Do any of them allow you to just sign in with an e-mail address as your ID? There must be some, but I don't know of any. I'm all sign-ined out. This wave of web services is (I hope) coming to an end. So many new things aren't really that new and are also not different enough to be worth even trying out, much less switching to. They current Internet bubble is ending with a slow pin-hole hissing sound, hardly audible, not with a bang, at least so far.

I'm just hoping that if there is a next wave of new technology, really new, not just warmed over, they will start out in such a way that everyone doesn't have to invent yet another new name.

We'll see.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Apple - Support - Discussions - MacBook Close and shut down .

Every now and then I take a look at the Apple discussion boards to see if there are any major problems affecting Apple users. I concluded long ago that the most common problem for these things, particularly laptops is overheating. For some reason, even though there are all sorts of failsafe mechanisms both hardware and software to deal with an overheating processor, nonetheless, what often seems to happen is the processor itself, after screaming for help in various ways, does all it can do in the realm of self preservation and just stops.

One can only assume after all the hand waving and shrugs from people who claim to work for Apple that much of this is totally beyond their control, it ain't your friendly Apple COMPUTER company any more you know.

But this visit to the Apple discussion forum took me to a post for someone who WANTS his computer to just suddenly stop. Apparently this guy has never used a computer of any kind before and expects to just turn the thing off like a TV set. Well, that WOULD be nice wouldn't it, but the notion of a purely "appliance" PC has never had enough traction for a successful implementation, even though some have tried.

More surprising, Apple employees missing in action on this discussion forum. Sometimes they seem to monitor the thing and sometimes they don't, although they seem to monitor quite carefully for disparaging remarks about Apple, while ignoring actual customer problems. But in this case, even other helpful Apple users seem to be ignoring this quite easy to answer question. Either that, of Apple users have become more computer illiterate than ever. Has the forum become so useless that the guru users have stopped visiting it?

I'm still quite sure that in spite of strong laptop sales, all the DOA and seriously messed up systems that Apple is shipping will cost them mind share sooner or later. I think laptops sales are strong for everyone making computers as more people switch to laptops from desktops, and with much higher margins on laptops this is good for everyone's bottom line. Yes, quite a few more people are buying Apple computers to run Windows, but this is will be a short lived phenomena if many of those people have bad experiences compared with earlier experiences with Dell and Compaq etc.

Anyway, I wrote and explanation for why computers don't shut down instantly. An Apple person should have been on staff to do something as simple as that... heck you could almost automate the process. Maybe one day soon there will be computers that can be just shut off, by under-the-covers elimination of the distinction between shut-down and sleep modes for example, but that's another story.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Horseshoes and Hand Grenades: Joel Johnson Spank Us All for Supporting Crap - Gizmodo

'You want to know the punchline? The average Joe that makes up the market is smarter than you saps. The market-at-large waits until a clear leader emerges, then takes a modest plunge. You may think you're making up the "bleeding edge" of "gadget pimpatude" but you're really just a loose confederation of marks the consumer electronics industry uses as free market research and easy money. "Give me the latest version," you coo, hiking up your skirt another inch over your exposed wallet. "Point Oh One upgrades make me so hot." '

Hard to pick a best paragraph from this story. Well deserved criticism of tech media.

Linux arrives on 50,000 Brazilian desktops

"Estimated monthly deployment is about 10,000 desktops, with 50,000 desktops already delivered, EnabledPeople, a Linux development company, said. The company did not indicate the total number of desktops that are to be deployed in the course of the project."

Sunday, February 11, 2007

My-ESM Research - iPhone margins smaller than reported, claims analyst

"Apple hasn't invented anything really new here. Multi-touch already existed; Apple did not invent it. What they have done is what they are famous for -- they have improved something. The touch-gesture vocabulary, the excellent integration of touch into every aspect of the iPhone's operation, and the overall simplicity of operation is what is really new. And it is very, very good!"

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Google Steps Into Microsoft's Office

After months of dancing around with Web versions of e-mail, group calendars, and the like, Google Inc. (GOOG ) is finally about to take a big leap onto Microsoft's turf. Since last August, the search leader has offered a test version of an online office productivity software suite, called Google Apps for Your Domain, that lets companies offload e-mail systems to Google while keeping their own e-mail addresses. Soon, it's expected to add word-processing and spreadsheet services to the suite, which includes an online calendar, chat service, and Web page builder. In coming weeks, Google Apps will turn into a real business as Google begins charging corporations a subscription fee amounting to a few dollars per person per month. "We're dying to use something like this," says Brandeau (Of Disney). He's "on the cusp" of signing a contract with Google.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Get Linux Genuine Advantage. NOW!

Once you've installed Linux Genuine Advantage™, you'll want to register and send in your licensing fees to receive these important benefits:

* Your computer, which worked just fine before, will continue functioning normally!
* Our software which you just installed will not disable logins on your computer (as long as our license server keeps working properly)!
* It's totally awesome!
* We might not raise the yearly licensing fees in the future!

Apple - Thoughts on Music

"In 2006, under 2 billion DRM-protected songs were sold worldwide by online stores, while over 20 billion songs were sold completely DRM-free and unprotected on CDs by the music companies themselves. The music companies sell the vast majority of their music DRM-free, and show no signs of changing this behavior, since the overwhelming majority of their revenues depend on selling CDs which must play in CD players that support no DRM system."

Peter Coffee Leaves e-Week

"Speaking of moving on, I said last week that Jan. 22 would mark the end of my time with eWeek. Thank you for letting me be part of your world view for these past 18 years—and make sure that your view continues to include clear cues for when something's about to break, with a strong set of options for what to do when that warning comes. Someone out there is counting on you to know how everything works.

Former Technology Editor Peter Coffee can be reached, for a while, at"

I don't read anything regularly in eWeek any more, but I was sorry to see this departure notice. One less person in the media with hands on experience in the older technologies, some of which still haven't been surpassed by the new stuff... Virtual PC... indeed.