I’m not sure what to use this for, but I love the concept. The Agate Storage Device is about the size of a car key. When you plug it into a USB port with the built-in connector, the computer immediately recognizes it as another drive attached to the computer and lets you store or retrieve files. […] continuedRead more
DSL was supposed to be the future of the Internet – the technology that would bring broadband to the masses and fuel the technologies that depend on high-speed access. It didn’t happen that way. This article describes what happened to Covad and the entire industry, which was crushed by unfair competition and horrible service from the huge Baby Bells. […] continuedRead more
If you want a headstart on tomorrow’s headlines, here’s an article about today’s appeals court ruling vacating the remedies ordered by Judge Jackson and remanding the case back to a different trial judge.
Microsoft also backed away from the controversies about the “smart tags” feature planned for Windows XP. (See the June 19 item below and this article about today’s decision.) People raised the specter of Microsoft trying to take control of the Internet. […] continuedRead more
Microsoft is the first major software manufacturer to try to implement aggressive anti-piracy measures in its software. The press is treating it as something new, but it’s not – if you’ve ever used a program that’s been designed for a niche market, you’ve probably dealt with the same license requirements. For example, attorney case management programs (Amicus, Abacus) have been rigorously patrolling their licenses for years. […] continuedRead more
Pegasus’ consumer-grade satellite service has been just fine for the last few weeks. There have been occasional outages, none lasting more than an hour or so. Several times the satellite modems have needed to be unplugged and replugged, but they’ve started right up afterwards. The lag between clicking and getting a response is noticeable. […] continuedRead more
After months of speculation, Microsoft has now confirmed that Photodraw has been discontinued. There’s no obvious replacement. Photodraw was perfect for quick work with photos and clip art. Nothing on the market comes close for ease of use or breadth of features. We can keep using Photodraw – it’s not broken, and it works fine after upgrading to Office XP – but this announcement means that there will be no new release to deal with Photodraw’s shortcomings. […] continuedRead more
The current selection of kids’ software is pretty uninspiring. The interest in getting computers and Internet connections into classrooms arose from the belief that there would be rich content that would engage kids and trigger their creativity and desire to learn. For the most part, I don’t see it happening. And since the entire computer game industry is in the doldrums, it shouldn’t be surprising that kids’ games are mostly uninspired retreads as well. […] continuedRead more
The leading web sites for independent information and reviews of computer hardware have long been Tom’s Hardware and AnandTech. Tom’s and Anand’s have been meticulous about remaining independent and providing unbiased commentary. Ziff-Davis, the megapublisher, has created its own hardware site, ExtremeTech.com. There’s every reason to expect it to be a valuable resource – thorough, well-designed, and professional. […] continuedRead more
Windows 2000 Magazine had this commentary in today’s e-mail newsletter. It’s by Paul Thurrott, the news editor. It’s long, but it might help you put a couple of recent news items into perspective.
“Because Microsoft is such a large company, its actions vary widely, and most of the situations in which the company finds itself aren’t neatly black or white. […] continuedRead more
In addition to Hewlett Packard’s computer recycling service (see news item on May 29), the Press Democrat just published an article about a local company doing recycling. Computer Recycling Center at 3249 Santa Rosa Avenue will restore systems if possible, recycle the rest. If you visit them, let me know what your experience is like! […] continuedRead more
If you’ve got a broadband connection (DSL or cable) and you want to listen to some music, don’t overlook AOL Time Warner’s Spinner.com and Microsoft’s MSN Music. Both allow you to choose a channel from a long list of narrowly-targeted choices (Big Band jazz, Dixieland Jazz, Fusion, Ragtime, Smooth Jazz, and a couple of dozen more jazz channels, for example). […] continuedRead more
Now that Napster has gone, other services are slowly coming up to speed for file sharing. It’s a slow process – the record companies have successfully created an atmosphere of fear and paranoia. Here’s an article about AudioGalaxy, a new service that operates similarly to Napster. It sounds like it’s on the verge of being overwhelmed by new users – and more importantly, I can’t imagine that it will be around for more than the blink of an eye before the record companies turn their doberman attorneys loose. […] continuedRead more
Oh, this is a nasty one. According to this article, Microsoft sends information about its Hotmail subscribers – email address, city, and state – to InfoSpace, an Internet white pages service. InfoSpace then combines this information with the subscribers’ telephone numbers and home addresses. The result is a user database that spam advertisers use to generate junk mail. […] continuedRead more
If you’ve been reading the tech news, you’ve seen references to a controversy about “Product Activation” in Microsoft Office XP, and more controversy over a new licensing scheme for large companies called “Software Assurance.” This article is a good summary of the various methods Microsoft has cooked up to increase sales of Office XP. […] continuedRead more