August

EXCITE@HOME

CNET put together a good analysis of why Excite@Home is falling apart. It’s the largest high-speed Internet provider in the United States, and it’s speeding like a locomotive towards bankruptcy. Lots of things were done wrong to put them in this position, but there’s no way to know how the company would have fared even if it had done everything right. […] continued

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WINDOWS XP ANSWERS

This is a good article with brief comments on five questions about Windows XP:

Can your system run Windows XP?

How can you check for Windows XP compatibility on your computer?

Is Windows XP faster than the Windows you’re now using?

Is Windows XP less crash-prone than the Windows you’re now using?

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DIRECPC vs. STARBAND

Slowly but surely the satellite service is getting more consistent. It’s still not a trouble-free choice, but it hasn’t made me scream in the last few weeks. CNET has a comparison of the two major players, StarBand and DirecPC. No surprises – it concludes that the two satellite services are comparable, and that anyone with access to DSL or cable service should pick one of those instead. […] continued

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AMAZON SELLS COMPUTERS

Amazon has opened up an online store for selling computers from major manufacturers – Compaq, HP, IBM, Toshiba, and Apple. Amazon inked a deal with Ingram Micro, the number one wholesale distributor of computer products, which minimizes Amazon’s exposure to inventory problems. Amazon’s web site collects the order, Amazon ships money to Ingram Micro, and Ingram Micro handles logistics and shipping. […] continued

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WINDOWS XP AND DIGITAL CAMERAS

I have a Sony digital camera. It was tough to get it to work with Windows 2000 – I had to hunt down beta drivers and deal with Sony’s non-standard way of accessing the photos.

I hooked it up tonight to the Windows XP system. Within twenty seconds the camera had been installed and a wizard came up that previewed the pictures, offered to rotate them, copied them to a folder on the hard drive – and offered to print them, or send them to an online photo developer, or a few other things. […] continued

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GATEWAY WOES

Gateway is struggling more than you realize. Its business plan is a mess – there’s no money to be made from consumer PCs, but it’s had no luck figuring out what else to sell. It laid off 3,000 employees earlier this year, and it’s laying off another 15% of its US employees and 25% of its worldwide employees. […] continued

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NEW CELERON PROCESSORS

On Friday, Intel will release new, faster Celeron processors, which will show up in PCs in the $800-$1,000 range. For that price, you’ll get a 1GHz or 1.1GHz processor, 128Mb of RAM, a monitor, and probably some toys – maybe a CD recorder or a DVD. Not bad!

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INTERNET EXPLORER 6

No rush, but if you’re interested Microsoft released Internet Explorer 6 today. It addresses some additional privacy concerns, supposedly including a cookie manager of some sort. I’ve gotta go check it out.

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INTEL CUTS PRICES

I’ve been distracted by Windows XP for the last week. Sweet stuff!

Watch for prices to take another sharp plunge this week. Intel is slashing processor prices today – more than 50% on the 1.8Ghz Pentium 4, and more huge cuts on the rest of the Pentium 4 line. There will also be amazing deals on Celeron and Pentium III-based systems as manufacturers and dealers try to avoid getting stuck with old inventory. […] continued

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WINDOWS XP

I wiped out my hard drive and did a clean install of Windows XP over the weekend. This is just dynamite stuff, folks – every place I look I’m finding new things to like about it. There’s a lot of changes on the desktop and start menu, so it was a bit disconcerting at first – but the things you need really are at your fingertips, so it feels like a step forward after a very short time getting used to it. […] continued

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SATELLITE UPDATE

New software, new hardware at the network operations center – slowly but surely the DirecPC two-way satellite service is coming to life. July was dismal but August has been reasonably steady. The system is being upgraded right now and there’s hope that it will mature soon into a steady, reliable service. […] continued

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CHEAP COMPUTERS

There’s good reasons to spend a bit extra on a Dell computer – better quality, better support, and better software choices (including Microsoft Office XP and a free upgrade to Windows XP). But if you’re on a budget, there’s wonderful deals out there. The latest one to catch my eye is this HP Brio system – $499 for a Celeron 733 processor, 20GB hard drive, and CD-RW. […] continued

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PONG

If you’ve got your Shockwave plugin all spiffed up and ready, go play 3D first-person pong. A remarkable bit of programming.

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DUTTON-GOLDFIELD WINEGROWERS

Take a look at the web site for Dutton-Goldfield, Russian River Valley Winegrowers. The opening graphic is one of the most effective introductions to a web site that I’ve seen – it communicates an enormous amount in ten seconds or so. Oh, and they make wonderful wine, too.

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KODAK AND MICROSOFT

Kodak got a bunch of publicity last month when it attacked Microsoft for not giving its photo finishing software fair treatment in Windows XP. (See my link and comments on July 7.) It was played up as another example of big bad Microsoft giving preferential treatment to its own services and squashing competition. […] continued

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