DSL DISCOUNTS

There’s a bit of a price war going on among the larger DSL providers. SBC has extended its $29.95/month fee until August 31. Verizon discounted its DSL price last month, Earthlink will match telco prices if pushed, even AOL has lowered its DSL price in some cases. Here’s some info and comments from DSLReports.com about the price war. […] continued

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PARENTAL-CONTROL SOFTWARE

PC Magazine just ran a short review of parental-control software that can block Internet sites with inappropriate content when kids are surfing. The magazine liked Cybersitter 2002, which stops web pages from appearing, as well as filtering POP3 and web-based e-mail, instant messaging, file sharing, and newsgroups. It looks appealing, but this is strictly for what it’s worth – I don’t have any personal experience with any of the programs. […] continued

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EXTERNAL HARD DRIVES

Your new computer probably includes USB 2.0 ports – physically identical to USB 1.1 ports, but capable of transferring data at much higher speeds.

One interesting way to use them is to buy an external hard drive. Like everything else, external drives have been dropping in price. With USB 2.0, the external drives work at the same speed as an internal drive. […] continued

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GOOGLE TOOLBAR 2.0

The Google toolbar is one of the only utilities I allow on my computers. It’s so handy that I’m willing to let it take up a bit of valuable screen real estate.

Google will be announcing a new version of the toolbar, with one extraordinary feature: a built-in free popup blocker. […] continued

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EARTHLINK TOTAL ACCESS

Earthlink is promoting a software bundle called “Total Access.” It includes features that sound tempting – including a popup blocker, something more and more people are looking for as popup ads get more intrusive.

“Total Access” is a bad thing. Stay far away!

Earthlink doesn’t adequately advise you that the “Total Access” suite is intended to take over your computer and control your Internet experience for Earthlink’s benefit. […] continued

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APPLE’S CLAIM TO HAVE THE “WORLD’S FASTEST PERSONAL COMPUTER”

Perhaps you saw the mainstream press breathlessly reporting Apple’s announcement that its upcoming Power Mac G5 system would be the “world’s fastest personal computer,” based on independent benchmark testing.

It’s not the first time Apple has used phony benchmarks to make outlandish claims, and this one unraveled practically before Steve Jobs left the stage after making the announcement. […] continued

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RECORDING INDUSTRY TERRORISM

When last seen, the RIAA had been told by a federal court judge in Los Angeles that it could not shut down Grokster and Morpheus by suing the programs’ creators, since they weren’t responsible for alleged copyright infringement by users of the software. At the same time, however, another judge ruled that Verizon had to disclose the names of a few people alleged to be offering lots of music on the same software. […] continued

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MICROSOFT TAKES ON GOOGLE

Microsoft is taking the first steps towards its own search engine, currently using the name MSNBot. It will appear first as a competitor to Google, but Microsoft’s vision actually goes far beyond that – and in typical Microsoft fashion, they stand a chance of dethroning Google by extending its capabilities in new directions, making their copycat tool into a dominating force. […] continued

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ICANN, VERISIGN, AND AMERICAN CONTROL OF THE “WORLD WIDE” WEB

ICANN was intended to be an autonomous, independent body charged with making decisions about the World Wide Web, particularly concerning registration of domain names.

Its main benefactor is Verisign, formerly Network Solutions, the company that at one time had a monopoly on registering domain names. It lost the monopoly by making such mind-numbingly stupid decisions that it earned a special place in people’s hearts as perhaps the worst company in the world. […] continued

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NEW COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT MADNESS

Republican Senator Orrin Hatch, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee said at a hearing on Tuesday that he would favor legislation authorizing copyright holders to engage in wide scale destruction of computers that have downloaded music files or other copyrighted material. “I’m all for destroying their machines,” Hatch said during the Committee hearing. […] continued

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WIRELESS SPEEDUP

You may not have realized that there are several different flavors of wireless equipment. Most consumer and small business wireless components used the 802.11b standard, capable of moderate speeds and reasonably long ranges. The other standard, 802.11a, had some advantages – primarily less interference, because it uses a different part of the radio spectrum – but 802.11a devices can’t talk to 802.11b devices, and the market settled on 802.11b pretty decisively. […] continued

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AMERICA’S TWO BOOK MARKETS

Hillary Clinton’s memoirs had the highest opening day sales in the history of nonfiction. The fifth Harry Potter book will undoubtedly have the biggest launch ever for a work of fiction. But the publishing industry is in trouble and most publishers are struggling economically.

Here’s an article about the increasingly bifurcated industry. […] continued

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HP DESKJET PRINTER MAKEOVER

HP spent a billion dollars recently to do a complete makeover of its Deskjet printer lineup – redesigning the entire line from scratch to ensure that HP continued to hold onto its lead instead of losing the low end of the market to Lexmark and other competitors. Here’s an article from Fortune magazine about the business decisions and technical choices that were made to accomplish the audacious project in record time. […] continued

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THE WIRELESS WORLD

The rollout of wireless is going faster than I would have thought possible. Prices have kept dropping – a Linksys wireless access point/router costs only $79 now. And I’m finding them in the oddest places – a small hotel in Mendocino, a quiet community in San Carlos. Today I opened up the Centrino notebook in a condo on Kauai and discovered that there’s an open access point somewhere within range of my dining room table, giving me free access to someone’s DSL line or cable broadband. […] continued

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ALIENWARE

Alienware is a relatively small PC manufacturer that’s on a roll lately. They hand-assemble PCs and tune them for performance with high-end components, then put them in very stylish cases. Gamers are snapping them up. Even non-gamers might want to take a look.

Alienware reminds me of the way Dell and Gateway looked at the start of their buildup – small, motivated, selling systems at slightly higher prices but providing quality and support for the money. […] continued

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