COMCAST SPEED INCREASE

Comcast has increased speeds for its cable Internet subscribers in Sonoma County.

Speed increases have been rolled out across the country by Comcast; Sebastopol got the higher speeds at some point in the last 48 hours. Basic Comcast Internet service now provides download speeds of 6 megabytes per second, up from 4Mbps. […] continued

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TRACKING SANTA

If you have Google Earth installed, then clicking on this link will allow you to track Santa Claus as he delivers presents around the world. at 3:00pm PST, he’s travelling from city to city in India. Click here: http://dev.keyhole.com/santa/SantaRadar.kml

Here’s the Google blog entry explaining that the company did not license the Naughty and Nice data layers this year – even though Santa explained that it had been checked twice. […] continued

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GOOGLE ZEITGEIST 2005

Google Zeitgeist studies the aggregation of search queries for the year and comes up with some interesting lists – top news searches, top gainers in 2005, top shopping searches. Then it adds a visual look at searches for everything from significant events in world affairs to natural disasters to celebrities.

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GOOGLE BUYS STAKE IN AOL, SELLS SOUL

Google’s agreement to purchase a five percent stake in AOL was widely reported, but I missed the important detail: as part of the deal, Google agreed to start putting AOL-sponsored search results on its main search results page. Here’s Paul Thurrott’s description:

“Ignoring its “don’t be evil” corporate mantra, Google has forsaken its pledge never to let its search pages be subsumed by corporate interests.

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G-FORCE STOCKING STUFFER

If you’re looking for a stocking stuffer for a music lover, consider G-Force, which integrates with most computer music players and creates stunning visuals to accompany the music. It’s a long time favorite! The current version supports iTunes, Windows Media Player, Winamp, J River Media Center, and others. It makes a great screensaver, too. […] continued

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DELL WIDESCREEN MONITOR

Dell’s 24″ widescreen monitor is possibly the most satisfying product I’ve ever purchased. The difference in crispness and readability between this and the old CRT is far greater than I expected. (Anybody want a 20″ CRT that weighs 80 pounds? I’m sitting by the phone waiting for offers . . .)

The Dell UltraSharp line continues to be a good choice for flat screen LCDs. […] continued

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MSN MESSENGER ENCARTA BOT

Here’s an interesting thing to do with MSN Messenger. Add the Encarta bot, encarta@conversagent.com, to your contact list, then ask a question. If the answer can be found in an encyclopedia, you’ll get the answer. Who is the president of Russia? Why is the sky blue? What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow? […] continued

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EXTERNAL HARD DRIVES AND BACKUPS WITH WINDOWS ONECARE LIVE

If you’re not backing up your computer, you’re not alone – but the backup utility in Windows OneCare Live should be on your mind. The price is low, the software is easy to use, and losing data when a hard drive fails is awful, whether it’s business data, Outlook folders, financial data, family photos, or a big music collection. […] continued

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WINDOWS ONECARE LIVE

Microsoft’s antivirus program, Windows OneCare Live, is now open for general beta testing by anyone running Windows XP with Service Pack 2. Go to the Live.com web site (http://ideas.live.com/) and click on Windows OneCare Live Beta / Sign Up.

This is a potentially huge development that will eventually affect almost every computer user. […] continued

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RIAA BANS TELLING FRIENDS ABOUT SONGS

In the news today:

“LOS ANGELES-The Recording Industry Association of America announced Tuesday that it will be taking legal action against anyone discovered telling friends, acquaintances, or associates about new songs, artists, or albums. “We are merely exercising our right to defend our intellectual properties from unauthorized peer-to-peer notification of the existence of copyrighted material,” a press release signed by RIAA anti-piracy director Brad Buckles read.

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CYBER MONDAY

The retail industry built the day after Thanksgiving into a cultural icon as “Black Friday” – the must-shop day when consumers are meant to feel a nearly physical need to get to the stores. The media’s obsessive coverage of Black Friday is bolstered by incessant advertising, heavy newspaper inserts, and small quantity special deals to build a feeling of urgency. […] continued

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VIRUS OUTBREAK

Update your virus definitions and stay away from e-mail attachments! There’s a new virus out there, the “SOBER” worm, that’s generating an unusual amount of virus-laden e-mail traffic. Two clients were hit with it in the last 48 hours. Don’t spend Thanksgiving wrestling with a virus!

The latest virus definitions will stop the SOBER worm from getting on your systems, or remove it if you do a scan and then restart the computer. […] continued

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QUICKTIME INSTALLATION

Quicktime has a special place in my heart, along with America Online and RealPlayer, for its annoying and nonstandard installation routine. Here’s a blog that provides a pretty good summary of what it’s like to install the latest version.

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SONY ROOTKIT OFFICIALLY MAINSTREAM NEWS

Sony is having a bad month. They’re still trying to sweep the whole thing under the rug, but their malware has even hit the comics page.

If you haven’t been following this, here’s my note about the first report that some Sony audio CDs secretly installed a “rootkit” without disclosure – basically a virus that cloaked itself in an unsafe way by changing Windows behind your back and monitoring all CD activity, as well as reporting to Sony. […] continued

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QUICKBOOKS PRO 2006

Intuit has been working on an improved interface for Quickbooks for years, and the result just hit the shelves this week. The first review is very positive and it’s the first time I can remember than an Intuit product has gotten more than one star from Amazon reviewers.

If you’re a Quickbooks user, take a look at the screenshots accompanying the review. […] continued

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