August

SAM & MAX HIT THE ROAD AGAIN

LucasArts announced that another game is in the works featuring Sam & Max, “popular madcap dog and rabbity thing.” Here’s the press release. The original game, Sam & Max Hit The Road, was released in 1993 and became a cult classic – one of the signature games for LucasArts. It’s one of the most wonderfully bizarre items ever released by any company. […] continued

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WINDOWS XP SERVICE PACK 1

Service Pack 1 for Windows XP will be available at some point during the next ten days. It’s a big update, full of security fixes and a few new features (including built-in support for USB 2.0). I’ll be in touch with my clients when I receive it on CD. Here’s an article with more information (New York Times – free registration required). […] continued

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WORDPERFECT: THE DEATH WATCH CONTINUES

Corel has announced a couple of bundling deals for slimmed down versions of the WordPerfect suite. Hewlett Packard is installing WordPerfect on all of its Pavilion computers, and Dell is including WordPerfect on its budget Dimension model. In each case, WordPerfect is replacing the Microsoft Works suite. Here’s an article about the bundling deals. […] continued

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MORE INFORMATION ABOUT PALLADIUM AND “TRUSTED COMPUTING”

Here’s an extensive discussion of the “Palladium” software that Microsoft is developing for future versions of Windows, to work with hardware designed by the “Trusted Computing Platform Alliance” led by Intel. It is promoted for its “security,” but that has deep meanings you don’t suspect. And its digital rights management features will complete the transfer of control from consumers to copyright owners in ways that will leave us pining for the good old days. […] continued

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FREE AMAZON SHIPPING

Amazon has improved its free shipping offer – starting today, you can get free shipping for any purchase over $25.

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THE TEN IMMUTABLE LAWS OF SECURITY

This is important reading for everyone that owns a computer: The Ten Immutable Laws Of Security. The article has a short, non-technical discussion of each one. Highly recommended!

Law #1: If a bad guy can persuade you to run his program on your computer, it’s not your computer anymore.

Law #2: If a bad guy can alter the operating system on your computer, it’s not your computer anymore.

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USB 2.0 vs FIREWIRE

There’s two new ways to connect devices to your computer, USB 2.0 and Firewire (aka IEEE 1394). Each requires new hardware to support it – either a new card added into your existing PC, or a new PC with support built in. USB has been getting more stable and reliable, but it’s relatively slow; USB 2.0 and Firewire are each 30-40 times faster, and there are many potential uses where that makes a difference. […] continued

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GATEWAY COMPETES WITH IMAC

Gateway is taking aim at Apple Computer and the flat-panel iMac. Gateway has had an all-in-one, flat-panel-based Profile PC series for far longer than Apple’s new iMac. The new Gateway Profile 4 outperforms the iMac for considerably less money ($999 versus $1299 for starter models). Gateway’s new ads use the tagline “Think Smarter,” a play on Apple’s “Think Different” ad campaign. […] continued

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NEW PATCH FOR INTERNET EXPLORER

There’s another update for Internet Explorer versions 5.0, 5.5, and 6.0, to fix a slew of vulnerabilities that have come to light recently. Here’s an article with details. Everybody and their brother are trying to find ways to break Microsoft products. Microsoft has issued quite a series of security updates during the last few months, so columnists and competitors and Microsoft-bashers have had lots of opportunities to criticize Microsoft for the weaknesses in its software. […] continued

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ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY DEMANDS CENSORSHIP RIGHTS ON WEB SURFING

The recording industry heavyweights – the usual gang, including Vivendi, Sony, Bertelsmann and Warner Bros – have now filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against a number of the major Internet service and network providers, including Sprint, AT&T, and UUNET. This time, they’re trying to get a court order compelling the ISPs to block access to a Chinese web site that allows folks to download music. […] continued

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LEGISLATORS ASK ASHCROFT TO JAIL FILE SWAPPERS

Another strong indication that executives and legislators are actually becoming insane whenever copyright issues are discussed.

Nineteen of the most senior members of Congress sent a letter urging Attorney General John Ashcroft “to prosecute individuals who intentionally allow mass copying from their computer over peer-to-peer networks.” Here’s a copy of the letter itself. […] continued

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BIGGER HARD DRIVES AHEAD

Hard drive manufacturers see demand for bigger drives ahead when we start storing digital video on devices integrated into our entertainment centers. You can already buy 120Gb and 160Gb drives for less than $300 down at the mall. Here’s an article about how those drives can hold so much, and where the technology is expected to go in the next few years. […] continued

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BLUBSTER

AudioGalaxy is gone, Kazaa is loaded with spyware, Morpheus is having legal problems. The new peer-to-peer file sharing network getting the most buzz is Blubster. I don’t have any experience with it but I get the impression it’s the up and coming service for music downloads.

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TELEVISION LOCKDOWN IN PROGRESS

The FCC has proposed draft regulations on two issues:

(1) Beginning July 1, 2004, all new televisions with 36” screens or larger must include digital receivers; in 2007, all new televisions must include digital receivers.

(2) The digital receiver will be required to include copy protection technology, making it impossible to copy digital programs.

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THE BATTLE BETWEEN HOLLYWOOD AND HIGH TECH

There is growing tension between the computer industry and the entertainment industry about how to handle copyright issues.

It’s easy for me to imagine new business models for the recording industry that would make it unnecessary for them to act like thugs. But the movie and television industries have more complex problems to solve – and more opportunities as well. […] continued

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