August

SONY ATRAC, R.I.P.

Sony is killing ATRAC, its proprietary format for music files. Here’s a brief news article about today’s death notice.

This isn’t important – no one every downloaded any files from Sony’s store in the ATRAC format. (The store is being shuttered, too.) I find it amusing for two reasons.

One, because I get a kick out of Sony’s extraordinary list of failed formats: ATRAC, Betamax, MiniDisc, Sony Dynamic Digital Sound, HiFD, Multi-Media Compact Disc, UMF disc for PSPs, Memory Stick and Super Audio CD. […] continued “SONY ATRAC, R.I.P.”

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MORE COPYRIGHT CRAZINESS

The world of copyright protection is a mess, and each day brings new craziness.

  • A Federal District Court judge granted a ruling for summary judgment against a family that had run Kazaa on a computer with copyrighted material in a shared folder – with no evidence that anyone had ever downloaded those files.
[…] continued “MORE COPYRIGHT CRAZINESS” Read more

ACER ACQUIRES GATEWAY

Acer, the third largest PC manufacturer globally, announced that it is acquiring Gateway and the eMachines brand purchased by Gateway a few years ago.

I’m nostalgic about Gateway after all the years of buying computers in the famous cow-spotted boxes, but Gateway’s slide into irrelevance began long ago and the brand name does not mean anything now. […] continued “ACER ACQUIRES GATEWAY”

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BRUCEB.COM FACELIFT

The award-winning bruceb.com web site has been given a much-needed facelift. If you find anything that isn’t working correctly – dead links, buttons that pulse ominously, pages that smell bad and are unpleasant to be around, or the like – let me know. (Click here if you want to see what we’re leaving behind.)

It’s worth mentioning that I’m always grateful for your help to keep the bruceb favorites page up to date and useful. […] continued “BRUCEB.COM FACELIFT”

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BRUCEB REMOTE SUPPORT

Providing support by phone is far more effective when the person at the other end can see your screen. I’m in a position now to work with your computer remotely at your request – any time, anywhere.

Remote computing has been around for a while, but it’s only recently that it has become ubiquitous for small businesses and individuals. […] continued “BRUCEB REMOTE SUPPORT”

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GOOGLE NEWS

An interesting collection of news about Google projects today.

[…] continued “GOOGLE NEWS” Read more

THE QUEST FOR FREE ONLINE COURT RULINGS

Another attempt is being made to bypass West and Lexis-Nexis and make court rulings available online for free – and it’s coming from Sebastopol.

Carl Malamud is an Internet activist whose offices are in the Sebastopol complex owned by publisher Tim O’Reilly. For more than ten years he has been battling companies and institutions to put documents online that were “public” but not readily available. […] continued “THE QUEST FOR FREE ONLINE COURT RULINGS”

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VISTA & CONTENT PROTECTION FOLLOWUP

Vista’s implementation of copyright protection for video does its job quietly and effectively. Early claims to the contrary are being debunked.

Let’s be clear. Copyright-protection schemes – “DRM” – are intrusive and unforgivable. You’ll be forced to jump through complicated, frustrating hoops to play high-definition movies on a computer or set up a high-definition TV or DVD player, dealing with acronyms like HDCP and HDMI – and trust me, you’d rather not know about the blur of hardware and cables and incompatible equipment that those acronyms represent. […] continued “VISTA & CONTENT PROTECTION FOLLOWUP”

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HOTMAIL UPDATE & OUTLOOK CONNECTOR

There are new reasons to use Microsoft’s Windows Live Hotmail for your e-mail.

Hotmail got a facelift a few months ago that made it speedy and attractive, but the interface will get some additional tweaks and performance will be improved in August. Small but welcome changes: you’ll be able to set up an out-of-office or vacation message; you can forward incoming mail to other e-mail addresses; and you can go straight to your Inbox without a stop at the “Today” page. […] continued “HOTMAIL UPDATE & OUTLOOK CONNECTOR”

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REDUNDANCY IS OUR FRIEND, AND SO IS REDUNDANCY

Very small businesses frequently depend on computer systems with several potential failure points, where a single failure can cause the network to go down for an uncomfortable length of time.

  • Many small businesses – many of my clients – depend on a single server to hold files and run the company e-mail system.
[…] continued “REDUNDANCY IS OUR FRIEND, AND SO IS REDUNDANCY” Read more

PATCH TUESDAY – AUGUST

Microsoft will release nine security updates today, on its regular monthly schedule. If your computer is set to install updates automatically, then your computer will restart. Close all programs but leave the computer running tonight!

It’s possible (but not confirmed) that last week’s updates for Vista will be included. They’re designed to improve performance and compatibility, not security, so they may not be installed automatically with the other critical updates. […] continued “PATCH TUESDAY – AUGUST”

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DROWNING IN PASSWORDS

There are more web services in our future, and your entrance to each of them will be controlled by a name and a password. If you don’t already have some method of tracking your passwords, it’s time to get organized.

Microsoft intended its Passport service (now called Windows Live ID) to be the single sign-on for all web services – one password and all the services on the Internet would open themselves up to you in a secure way. […] continued “DROWNING IN PASSWORDS”

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WINDOWS LIVE SKYDRIVE

Microsoft has opened Windows Live Skydrive for beta testing. (During development it was known as Windows Live Folders.) It’s a place to store up to 500Mb of files online for storage or sharing. Many companies offer similar services but perhaps this will stand out; it offers the comfort of Microsoft’s brand name and lately Microsoft has been doing a good job of putting an appealing and simple interface on its products. […] continued “WINDOWS LIVE SKYDRIVE”

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WINDOWS VISTA SP1 PREVIEW

There’s a frequently repeated piece of conventional wisdom: many businesses have delayed buying computers with Vista because they never purchase Microsoft’s first release of an operating system. It’s not clear whether that’s true, but for whatever reason, Microsoft bumped up the announced schedule for Vista’s first service pack and beta testing of SP1 began recently. […] continued “WINDOWS VISTA SP1 PREVIEW”

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GOOGLE SEARCH RESULTS & ADVERTISING

Solicitations arrive constantly in my mailbox offering to help move bruceb.com to the top of search engine results (where it so clearly belongs). It is easy to become confused about the world of online searches and advertising. If you’re brand new to the idea, let me give you the briefest of overviews, using Google as the example. […] continued “GOOGLE SEARCH RESULTS & ADVERTISING”

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