Recent Windows Commentary Posts



June 28, 2008

Forget the MacBook Air

Forget the MacBook Air, I want this. Thanks to Jason for bringing it to my attention.

April 13, 2007

Stupid C5150n Printer Driver, Stupid Windows

We have an OKIDATA C5150n printer in the office. It is a nice printer, even has Bonjour (Zeroconf). Setting it up on the Mac was a breeze, even without using Bonjour. Download the driver, go to Print Center, click More Printers, choose OKI TCP/IP and pop in the printer's IP address, and you are done. Or just use Bonjour and you are done in one step. But I explained the "hard" way to prove a point.

We have a couple Windows XP-based computers in the office. Installing this printer on Windows, not very strait-forward. No instructions or FAQ on the OKI site had a shred of help either. I am not joking.

Continue reading "Stupid C5150n Printer Driver, Stupid Windows" »

March 7, 2007

Microsoft Word 2007 .docx

You know I haven't had a good rant in a while. I think it is time.

I have a beef. I don't have Microsoft Word 2007. I have a PC with Office XP on it And you know what? My PC is dead right now (and I am willing to bet that Office XP will not open a .docx file). But I use a Mac all day. I have Office 2004. It does a really good job of opening .doc files, it allways has.

Why on Earth would Microsoft put some of the GDC fact sheets out in Microsoft Word 2007 .docx format? That is just plain stupid. Frankly, I am a little disappointed in Microsoft over this.

Maybe someone will read this who can post actual word documents, that can be read by any version of Word before 2007 (but I doubt it). I am sure (read: probably not) when Office 2008 ships for the Mac, it will read .docx files, but that is little help to me right now.

Couple this with the fact that the two games I am most looking forward to, and looking for information on (Forza 2 and Mass Effect) both have their fact sheets in .docx format.

How about putting the releases up in PDF format? Wouldn't that be a grand idea? I would have thought PDF was the standard by now.

Thank you Microsoft for making my job of covering your games that much easier.

January 5, 2007

Replacement Motherboard For My Dell

I bought my Dell June 24, 2005. I thought I got the three year warrantee for it. Turns out I only had a one year warrantee. Of course.

Both a friend and the tech. I talked to at Dell think the motherboard is fried. Since this is an out of warrantee repair, Dell charges a flat rate of $199. This covers shipping to and from, and fixes of everything (even the keyboard) but the LCD and the motherboard.

Continue reading "Replacement Motherboard For My Dell" »

November 19, 2006

Zune install screen raises eyebrows

You decide what this image is. Pain, singing, or …orgasm? Newsvine has the story.

September 10, 2006

Sony VAIO UX Micro PC

I want this. This is my next uber-geek gadget. I need to live up to my "Spoiled Little Bitch" name that Jake has bestowed upon me, after all.

Lets do a quick recap:

  • Intel Core Solo CPU
  • 4.5-inch wide SVGA screen
  • integrated keyboard
  • stylus and touch launcher
  • toggle between wireless WWAN, LAN and Bluetooth
  • two built-in cameras (VoIP, still pictures)
  • VGA adapter for projector
  • biometrics fingerprint sensor
  • hard drive shock protection
  • three 2.0 USB ports, Ethernet, VGA, FireWire, AV output
  • docking station
This costs $1,800 and will be available in July. Don't call it a UMPC, because it runs Windows XP Pro.

August 18, 2006

Microsoft Security website shows Apple Mac and says ‘you’re clean’

Checking out Microsoft's website home page of "Microsoft Security" (an oxymoron if there ever was one), MacDailyNews reader "MadMac" noticed that the image Microsoft is using next to the caption "Click. You're clean." is an Apple Mac!
Source: MacDailyNews

And they replaced it with a picture of what looks like a PowerBook without the Apple logo. Nice job!

July 28, 2006

Limited Or No Connectivity

I hate Windows. I think that is well known by now. This is why.

Out of the blue, my Dell laptop will not connect to my wireless network. The last time Sophos was updated was 7:23 on 7/26, so I assume that is the last time the machine was on the network. I know Windows auto updated at that time too.

Now I have a full signal, and "Excellent" connection, but "Limited Or No Connectivity." When Googling this, I find so many links to ways to solve this problem.

That is never good. I see a lot of talk about this being a problem when XP SP2 is installed. This had that on it when I bought it.

I am trying to use System Restore to restore to the 18th, the last System Checkpoint. It has been sitting at the same spot, about 80% done on the progress bar, for at least 30 minutes.

I think my PC is FUBAR now. I hate Windows.

July 23, 2006

Microsoft Makes Virtual PC Free

Microsoft said this week that it will make its Virtual PC software free — not just the older Virtual PC 2004 version, but its upcoming software for Vista, too.
Source: ABC News

I missed this entirely. Nice for Windows users, what about Mac OS X and Virtual PC 7? Oh yea, Parallels took care of that.

January 20, 2006

Engadget Bill Gates Interview

This interview is from this year's CES. I am just now getting through a backlog of links to post ;)

Lots of things covered here, including Xbox 360 and HD-DVD.

December 11, 2005

Microsoft Thanks Google for IE Fix

Google this week rolled out a fix to mitigate the risk from a newly discovered vulnerability in Internet Explorer that puts users of Google Desktop at risk even if they are running a fully updated system. Microsoft developers thanked Google for their work and say they are working on a patch for IE.
Source: BetaNews

Wasn't that nice of them!

August 20, 2005

Do you buy a Media Centre PC, or an Xbox 360?

MICROSOFT'S DECISION to make its Xbox 360 box available for the Yule season is likely to put pressure on PC OEMs, distributors and dealers attempting to sell full blown Media Centre PCs.
Source: The Inquirer

This is a good argument. If you are looking for a Media Center PC, the $400 price tag of the Xbox 360 is surely tempting. It does have a User Interface, although it is just not Windows XP. That might not be such a bad thing. The Xbox 360 will be able to do music, photos and video just like a Media Center PC, plus it can play Xbox and Xbox 360 games. You could go as far as saying that the Xbox 360 is much more a "Media Center" then the Windows XP powered Media Center PCs that are on the market.

August 13, 2005

Another experiment with Windows

I was getting bored. I guess. Never say never. A month ago or so I bought a Dell Inspiron 700m. Yes, it is true, I have gone back to the dark side. And I got some great rebates along the way!

I have flirted with getting another PC for a little while now. After a year (or so) without a Windows box I have come to the conclusion that I need a PC for my business.

Continue reading "Another experiment with Windows" »

Windows Vista Beta 1: A Guided Tour

Scot Finnie takes a long, detailed, and expert look at the features, foibles, and functionality of Microsoft's upcoming OS.
Source: InformationWeek

August 9, 2005

Windows offers new vistas of spending

People wanting to upgrade to Windows Vista are likely to need not only a new computer with more robust hardware, but a new monitor as well.

A US tech consultant says technology in the new version will fuzz protected digital content unless it is viewed on a monitor which has High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP).

Source: Sydney Morning Herald

Subscription Required. My only question is: What does Windows need copy protection of this magnitude for? There are plenty of other ways on a computer to secure content compared to a TV (where this technology came from).

August 5, 2005

First family of Windows Vista viruses unleashed

An Austrian hacker earned the dubious distinction of writing what are thought to be the first known viruses for Microsoft Corp.’s Windows Vista operating system. Written in July, the viruses take advantage of a new command shell, code-named Monad, that is included in the Windows Vista beta code.
Source: MacCentral

Microsoft is its own worst marketing nightmare. Getting people to adapt to XP was tough. I imagine it will be even harder to convince people to adapt to Vista. I really didn't think we would see any Vista exploits this soon in the game.

Oh well, you have to make your name some how.

Here is a radical idea. Buy a Mac.

August 4, 2005

Nonprofits slam Microsoft's Vista name

The VistA Software Alliance and WorldVista, two nonprofit groups that assist American veterans hospitals, nursing homes and clinics with the VA’s VistA software, have denounced Microsoft’s name choice, citing possible confusion between the operating system and the software used to store and manage veterans’ patient information.
Source: MacCentral

Do you ever just think that they wanted to get their name in the news thanks to good old Microsoft?

July 29, 2005

Leo Laporte: The PC and open source will outlive Windows

I really miss Leo, and The Screen Savers, and TechTV. Comcast and G4 can go to hell. Anyways, there is an interview up on Mad Penguin with Leo. Be sure to check it out.

Did you know Leo has a podcast? He has been publishing his radio broadcasts on his site for years. But now with the podcast balloon Leo's podcasts have become more popular.

June 25, 2005

Switching to Mac Easier Than You Think

With Longhorn still at least 18 months -- if not longer -- away from a final release, I decided now was as good a time as ever to try out the Mac OS X operating system.
Source: BetaNews

Another defector to the Apple camp. I love reading these stories. Its all about one thing: frustration.

PC makers, distributors pass on Windows XP N

PARIS, France (AP) -- PC makers and distributors are holding back from buying the new alternative version of Windows XP that Europe's competition commissioner ordered Microsoft Corp. to offer as part of the punishment in the software maker's long antitrust battle with the European Union.
Source: CNN

Yea. "Windows XP Pro N" sounds so much better then "Windows Reduced Media Edition." With "Windows XP N" costing the exact same, add to the fact that the buyers are going to (have to) download Windows Media Player anyways, I do not see the point.

Its great the the EU has bigger balls then the DOJ, and was able to actually get Microsoft to change part of their OS, but come on. Taking Windows Media Player out of Windows breaks more things then it "fixes."

If I were upgrading to XP, why would I want a copy that made me download multimedia software to make things work correctly. Lets face it. Windows Media is the standard on Windows. Lets just call it the QuickTime of Windows, because that is what it is.

I can see why PC vendors big and small are not selling and pre-installing Windows XP N.

Stupid. Just plain stupid.

June 23, 2005

Indian cracks Microsoft's anti-piracy program

An Indian researcher has breached the much-touted "impenetrable" Windows Genuine Advantage of Microsoft.

Bangalore-based Debasis Mohanty has cracked WGA through an "easy-to-exploit" weakness in the software for generating illegal copies of the Windows XP programme.

Microsoft confirmed the claims of Mohanty, but sought to downplay it saying, "It represents very little threat."

Source: rediff.com

May 7, 2005

Microsoft to publicise new Windows operating system through bloggers

LONDON - The involvement of blogging in marketing has taken a step up with the news that Microsoft is recruiting a team of bloggers to help generate a buzz for the next generation of its Windows operating system.
Source: Revolution

I guess they are banking on the readership. What if it backfires? I am sure at least one person is going to have problems, or just simply tell it like it is and talk bad about it.

But since they will be signing a NDA, I don't really see the point.

April 20, 2005

What can PC makers learn from Apple?

These days Apple is generating more buzz than a swarm of African killer bees. Of course, we PC users can sit back and watch the hoopla about the Mac Mini and its brethren with detached interest, right?
Source: MacCentral

PC columnists do a really good job of selling people on Mac computers. Its amazing. Great points indeed.

April 7, 2005

Beware unplanned SP2 downloads on April 12

On Tuesday, April 12, Microsoft will turn off the blocking feature that has made it possible for some enterprises to block Windows XP Service Pack 2 downloads by employees who use Automatic Update. That means in companies that used the blocking tool, SP2 will be downloaded automatically to desktop computers that use Windows' Automatic Update feature.
Source: InformationWeek.

Enterprise Windows customers must be thrilled. As if their IT staffs don't have enough problems. Thanks to Matt for the link. And if you are a home user and don't know about it, guess what? You are getting SP2 on the 12th. Hurray!

April 2, 2005

Microsoft OKs 'Windows XP N' name

SEATTLE — Microsoft (MSFT) said it will use a product name that antitrust regulators insist upon, and make other changes, as it moves to supply Europe with a version of Windows stripped of its media player.
Source: USA Today

I guess Reduced Media Edition was not a very catchy name.

And please tell me: How is it that the EU can get MS to do things that our DOJ cannot? Didn't the DOJ try and get MS to take Windows Media Player out of Windows? And now years later the European Commission has done just that, made them take it out? That makes no sense to me whatsoever.

March 31, 2005

Longhorn could be tough sell for Microsoft

Longhorn has already survived several major delays, intense scrutiny from the industry and a radical redesign of its features.

But the toughest test for Microsoft's next release of Windows is still to come: Will anyone buy it?

Source: C|Net News.com

That is a good question. I have another one: With no WinFS in Longhorn, what makes it worth buying? It is not out yet, but it seems they have cut more features from Longhorn then they have told us about.

March 19, 2005

Will Longhorn be short on features?

Microsoft's much anticipated and frequently postponed OS may ultimately lack compelling reasons for customers to upgrade.
Source: Yahoo News

Déja Vu? Lets rewind to when XP was first announced and then shipped. Many people were asking why they should upgrade. They had Windows 2000 Professional, what did they need XP for? For the most part this is a very relevant question.

Not that I am going to be buying another PC, but I was really looking forward for the largest change of all in Longhorn: WinFS. So much for a new file system.

So I have the same question to pose now, and we will see if it is relevant in 20XX when Longhorn ships: Why should I upgrade from XP to Longhorn?

March 6, 2005

Open source underlying MSN?

Could open-source tools be behind Microsoft's own MSN service?

An image posted online indicates that some of Microsoft's own developers apparently prefer open-source products to build Web pages than Microsoft's own proprietary software.

Source: C|Net News.com

What? You mean that ASP and SQL Server isn't used for all Microsoft sites? Heaven forbid that LAMP be involved. My guess is that this site is outsourced and these subcontractors don't really like Microsoft's web tools. Or is the image just a hoax. Either way, its pretty funny. Especially since Microsoft has a passion for hating on Open Source.

February 24, 2005

Fooling XP SP2

Microsoft says its Service Pack 2 update adds an additional layer of security to Windows XP based PCs. However, recent PC World tests seem to show that at least two major security suites are crippling SP2's ability to offer users accurate security information.
Source: Yahoo! News

Now this is just want people want to hear.

Dell hit with class-action lawsuit in S.F.

Two San Francisco residents have filed a class-action lawsuit against computer manufacturer Dell, alleging the company regularly uses bait-and-switch techniques, and promises favorable financing terms that it doesn't deliver.
Source: SiliconValley.com

$1,300 for a laptop and a printer? That sounds like Apple not Dell. $599 for a laptop and $89 for a printer (just a word of warning people, never buy Dell printers) should not equal $1,300, even if you finance it. Thats even worse then Apple's finance options (another word of advice, if you use Apple financing, never only pay the minimum. I have had friends that do that, they payed out the nose.)

Another person bought two computers but received "lesser-quality computer systems at the price at which Dell agreed to sell the higher-quality systems."

I feel sorry for these people. There is nothing worse then problems before you get the computer. I thought Dell was a reputable dealer.

February 12, 2005

A Look At Windows XP Reduced Media Edition

What do you get when you strip Windows Media Player from Windows XP? Windows XP Reduced Media Edition. After EU courts ordered Microsoft to remove Windows Media Player from their Windows Operating System, Microsoft fired back by branding the “new” OS with what they believe it now is: a Reduced version of Windows XP.
Source: Flexbeta

Windows without WMP? What is next, Windows without IE?

February 10, 2005

Microsoft Will Buy Anti-Virus Program Maker Sybari

The purchase, Microsoft's second in three months, underscores the company's urgency to release its own anti-virus products to protect its Windows and Internet programs. Virus attacks rose more than sixfold from 2000 to 2003, and some Microsoft customers are considering competing software such as Linux. The company wants its own security products to challenge Symantec Corp. and McAfee Inc.
Source Bloomber.com

If people have already figured out how to disable AntiSpyware...

So when will we see Microsoft AntiVirus, and will it be free? Will it protect Outlook? Will its technology be built in to Outlook?

Trojan attacks Microsoft's AntiSpyware

Virus writers have created a malicious program that can disable Microsoft's new anti-spyware application, security experts warned on Wednesday.
Source: ZDNet

I guess it really is a good idea to stick with Spybot Search & Destroy!

Would this compromise happened if AntiSpyware was still by GIANT and not Microsoft?

February 5, 2005

Why Does Windows Still Suck?

Here is your brand new car, sir. Drive it off the lot. Yay yay new car. Suddenly, new car shuts off. New car barely starts again and then only goes about 6 miles per hour and it belches smoke and every warning light on the dashboard is blinking on and off and the tires are screaming and the heater is blasting your feet and something smells like burned hair. You hobble back to the dealer, who only says, gosh, sorry, we thought you knew -- that's they way they all run. Enjoy!

Would you not be, like, that is the goddamn last time I buy a Ford?

Source: SF Gate

He has a point, but a lot of people in the PC (and I mean personal computer) world are a glutton for punishment. But that is their fault, not mine. I'll use my Mac, and you can go deal with adware and malware and viruses and Windows Update and...

January 15, 2005

Windows Longhorn to make graphics card important

MAJORITY OF USERS don't care about a graphics card because this majority uses only 2D operations, or should I say they need it just to draw and show picture on displays...

Believe it or not, your Windows performance will depend on the quality of graphics card you have. A faster card might draw something faster than a slower mainstream or entry level card, meaning that even some Office software might perform better if you have a faster 3D card.

Source: The Inquirer

Read it and weep fellas. All you Windows users who have laughed at us Mac users with our slow screen redraw in OS X, just you wait until Longhorn.

This mainly happened to OS X when Apple introduced Quartz Extreme. (Screen redraw has always been a problem in OS X, Quartz Extreme fixed that in 10.2.x) Any Mac that did not have 32 MB of GPU was left in the dark, so to speak. Quartz Extreme offloads the compositing of the GUI to the GPU, and frees up the CPU from those mundane calculations. I was miffed when my 500 Mhz PowerBook could not handle Quartz Extreme, it only has a 16 MB GPU.

This same thing is going to happen with Longhorn hits shelves in 2006, or whenever it is released. Your low end or mid-ranged GPU's are not gonna cut the mustard. And the GPU you have in your year old PC surely is not gonna be the best for this new Windows Graphic Foundation calculations.

Interestingly enough Apple is doing the same thing again with Tiger, with the introduction of Core Image.

For computers without a programmable GPU, Core Image dynamically optimizes for the CPU, automatically tuning for Velocity Engine and multiple processors as appropriate.
I wonder if anyone will pitch a fit when their GPU cannot take advantage of Core Image. I assume the cut off mark of a "programmable GPU" will not be as bad as the cut off mark for Quartz Extreme.

Thanks to Rob Griffiths for sending me the Inquirer link.

November 9, 2004

Free Prescott ready Soyo motherboard (after rebate)

Ooooh. I don't really care, but some one might. Click.

November 8, 2004

Exploit code makes IE flaw more dangerous

The threat posed by a critical flaw in Internet Explorer has been ratcheted up by the release of a program designed to exploit the vulnerability, security researchers warned on Thursday.

Security information provider Secunia raised the buffer overflow flaw to its highest rating in a new advisory. The vulnerability, which was made public on Tuesday, could be used to make Internet Explorer trigger a malicious program when the Microsoft browser loads a specially formatted Web page. The flaw does not affect Windows XP Service Pack 2, Secunia said.

Source: C|Net News.com

Does this sound like a broken record yet? Attention PC Users: Install Firefox! Set your default browser to Firefox! Do not launch Internet Explorer! Go home happy!

September 16, 2004

Sun-Microsoft deal raises Open Office questions

Microsoft Corp. on Wednesday said that it is looking for ways to work more closely with developers of the Open Office open source project, while at the same time, apparently reserving the right to sue them, according to a legal agreement between Microsoft and Open Office's major sponsor, Sun Microsystems Inc., made public this week.

The agreement in question was signed in April of this year as part of Sun and Microsoft's landmark multibillion dollar settlement. It was released as part of Sun's annual U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings Monday...

Source: MacCentral

September 7, 2004

A Faster, Better Behaved Windows XP

If you've been hunting around for stuff on Windows XP lately, you've surely noticed that there are about 500,000,000 web pages with material on the subject. maybe 500,000,000 and 1... but that might be stretching it.  Why then am I adding to that number?  I'm not in this just for the cheap thrill of building a new web page; I have a suspicion (now confirmed by some emails I've gotten) that the effort will turn into something worth the while of someone other than the author.  Then too, I like to gab about computers, Windows in particular, and I don't get to do a lot of it in real life.  So here is where I will talk about Windows XP and imagine that someone is listening.  And you are (you're here after all, right?:)), so thanks for dropping in... Source: Gord Braun

July 13, 2004

Microsoft XP SP2 and WUS delays confirmed

WROUGHT IRON SPECIALIST Microsoft has announced that its Windows Update Services release will now be delayed until early next year and its much awaited SP2 upgrade will stay in purdah until August. Windows Update Services (WUS) was supposed to ship at the end of Autumn with its beta supposed to arrive sometime about now. Apparently the final beta will not appear until later in the year. SP2 which was supposed to be out in June now has a release date for August. Spinsters at Vole apologised for the delay and regretted the inconvience caused... Source: The Inquirer And you people wonder why I finally gave up on Windows and sold my PC. August huh? What happened to Q1 2004? Which will come out first, SP2 or OS X Tiger?

Internet Explorer Multiple Vulnerabilities

4 new holes were found in IE today, allowing malicious people to bypass security restrictions and potentially compromise a vulnerable system. How fun. It never stops does it? What if Apple released Safari on Windows? Would it make a dent in the Internet Explorer stronghold? No, but it would make the few Windows geeks who know what Safari is happy. I think it is the greatest feeling when I turn someone on to Mozilla or Firefox, and they find out for the first time how much better those browsers are compared to IE. Source: Secunia

July 11, 2004

The Experiment has failed

I sold my Alienware PC today. The new owner, one of my digital art professors, will make good use of it in her multimedia studio.

I would have got a lot less for my PC if I would have sold it on eBay. I got $1500 for the PC and I threw in the monitor as well. I won't need it anymore anyways (more on that later).

So even thought the original purpose of this site has been hazy at best lately, I still had a PC. Now not only do I not have a PC but this site no longer has to do with my life with my PC. Luckily for this site, it has branched out in other directions, and the site has not had much to do with my PC in the past few months.

The slogan is going to have to be modified. Maybe it should be something like "A Mac User back in the Mac world" or "A Mac user who tried to function in a Windows world but came back to the Mac because of frustration." That last one might be a little long.

I got my PC in January 2003, see Every story has a beginning, I started using Windows for web and media work for the first time. Not the first time I have used Windows by far, but it was the first time I had used one for an extended period of time for critical work. Well this journey has ended.

I had problems out of the box, the audio card would not work correctly and the two ethernet ports were conflicting (the one was not turned off in the BIOS like it should have been). Alienware tech support had me switch out every PCI card and put it into a different slot. This miraculously fixed the audio problem. Let me tell you, that was a pain in the ass. They don't make PC cases as nice as Apple cases, that was not fun. And it was not the last time that tech support had me do that.

The transition to doing work in Windows was not very difficult, and I just dealt with the annoyances because I wanted to give Windows a try for at least a year. You can check out the early Windows Commentary archives to see the worst annoyances I encountered.

In October 2003 my PC's HD died. For this I had to send my PC to Alienware. I got my PC back in December, and it still did not boot up. They scratched the case, how nice of them. After tearing the PC apart again and not only reseating the PCI cards, but reseating the HD and other drives, it finally was in working order again. The Promise RAID card never was the problem (I took the time to check box RAID cards and they both worked just fine).

I had a lot of hardware issues with my PC that I have never had to deal with in my long history of using many Macs. I didn't expect all the manual work I had to do on my PC. But I have been told that is the norm. Forget that.

I defended my PC and decided not to sell it in the past, I made excuses for the idiosyncrasies of Windows because I wanted to give it an entire year. Well I made it 5 months longer then that one year period I had set for myself. I stopped using my PC for critical work over 6 months ago though. I went back to doing critical work on my slower PowerBook, and getting the work done - minus the frustrations.

For those of you say you can work faster in Windows or faster on the Mac are full of dookie. I can work just as fast in WIndows as I can in Mac OS X. The only problem is the use of the Control key as the main modifier key on Windows, and the placement of that key on Windows. TradeKeys fixes this problem though. Once I had Control on my PC where Command on my Mac is everything was good again. Now that I have experienced Windows for over a year, I will not put up with people whining to me about how hard or how much easier it is to use then the Mac OS. I had no problems. The final straw was however Windows just being Windows. I just had it up to my eyeballs. I give up.

I gave Windows a try. I really wanted to see how it would go. This was an experiment. And experiment to see if I could work faster on a much faster machine that cost less then a Mac. The answer to that is a NO!

I just bought a Dual 2.5 Ghz G5 and payed less for it then I payed for my Alienware PC. If I would have bought a G4 in January 2003 I would have actually payed more then what I spent on my G5 or my Alienware. So Apple's pricing is getting much better IMO.

In response to Dave M's comments:

I have absolutely no idea why people have such a negative bias about Alienware. Their system is no different, or more expensive then a Dell, Gatway, whatever.

I priced a DIY, then I priced a Dell, Alienware, and a couple other vendors. I simply refuse to buy anything Dell. I have heard bad things. I am very happy with the Alienware tech support, which I have said in the past on this site. They back their hardware. Despite Indian tech support, I have no problem with them at all.

In the end Dell and Alienware were costing the exact same thing give or take $100. To prove my point I just priced out a Dell and an Alienware with the exact same specs. The Dell cost $2,346 and the Alienware cost $2,488.00. Aesthetically speaking the Alienware case is a lot nicer. And given that I refuse to buy anything Dell, I will take difference and give Alienware $142 (if I were in the market for my second PC).

And PLEASE! It is not the hardware I am judging. I am judging Windows, Microsoft Windows. I don't really care what name is on the hardware.

If you want to say I am "dissing" anything, I am dissing the fact that you cannot use an Operating System to get reliable critical work done when that Operating System has so many holes, and their are so many morons out their that think it fun to take advantage of those holes. It is not my fault that that portrait happens to be a painting of Microsoft Windows.

As for pricing, Apple's hardware will always be more expensive. It has improved. It will always be more expensive because it is not made by everyone and their mother. In some cases this means Apple hardware is of higher quality.

Sorry to hear about your G4 problems. Shareware programs on Mac OS seem to really mess things up. This is sometimes because the shareware community has to hack or reverse engineer things. OS X has made it a little nicer, but its still bad if you go hog wild with shareware on the Mac.

I will say this with an asterisk. Mac people should stick with Macs and Windows people should stick with Windows. The asterisk is for those people who are not afraid of trying things out on the other side of the fence. I am not sad that I bought a PC. I am very glad I did. I have gained so much knowledge from my Windows experience that will help me out in my current and future work.

July 6, 2004

Microsoft's win on keyboard patents reversed

Microsoft Corp. faces a trial over patent infringement charges related to its ergonomic keyboards after a federal appeals court on Tuesday reversed a lower court's decision that invalidated the patents. TypeRight Keyboard Corp. sued Microsoft in July 1998, claiming that Microsoft's ergonomic keyboards violated its patents. The Microsoft Natural keyboards feature V-shaped designs with keys in separate clusters for the left and right hands and have a large wrist rest. Source: MacCentral If its not the EU its something else, isn't it?

July 5, 2004

Renewed calls for alternative browsers

NEW YORK (AP) -- It's been a bad week for many users of Microsoft Corp.'s nearly ubiquitous Internet Explorer browser. A pair of virus attacks exploiting its vulnerabilities had led security experts to recommend that Web surfers consider such alternatives as Mozilla and Opera. Source: CNN A bad week? How about a bad year! Just download Mozilla or Firefox. People won't though, they just cannot ween their self off of their need to use Internet Explorer. I see this in OS X as well. IE is dead on the Mac, not being developed any more. Internet Explorer "is" the internet, just like AOL "is" the internet to so many people. It does not matter that Safari and Firefox are more secure and way faster then Internet Explorer. How do we fix this problem?

July 1, 2004

Apple's Rendezvous comes to Windows, Linux, Java

Since Mac OS X v10.2's release, Apple has promoted a zero-configuration networking technology it calls Rendezvous. Now Apple is further promoting the standard more with the release of Rendezvous technology for Java clients, POSIX platforms including Linux, Solaris and FreeBSD, and a "technology preview" for Windows. Developers for those platforms interested in finding out more can do so on Apple's Developer Web site... Most of the software available for download from Apple's developer Web site is primarily intended for developers who can then incorporate the source code into their projects to make them Rendezvous-aware, but the Windows preview release also provides a Microsoft Internet Explorer plug-in and printer setup wizard for end users. Source: MacCentral It is true that this is not the first zero-configuration solution for Java or even Windows, but we all know how Apple can popularize a technology. Can anyone say Firewire? I could name others, but Firewire seems to jump to the top. It will be see if Microsoft does anything with Rendezvous.

May 26, 2004

Microsoft Web Site Hacked

By Vitaliy Earlier today Microsofts website got defaced by OutLaw Group, Microsoft already took down the defaced page but you can still see it in Googles cache. I am surprised that this was not (yet) posted on all the news websites, so let me share it with you. Source: Urban Whore Vitaliy sent this to me, so sure I'll post it! Great web site name, by the way.

April 16, 2004

Clear index.dat files manually in Windows XP

So you think you know to to cover your history when browsing using Windows? This is a killer tip about the index.dat file. I sure didn't know this, killer tip! From TechTV: Even if you regularly clear your Internet History, Temp files, and cookies to keep ordinary snoops at bay, you're overlooking a very important detail: index.dat files. These hidden files contain information about your IE surfing history and your Outlook activity. On tonight's 'Savers, I'll tell you a simple way to uncover and clear 'em out manually. Microsoft claims index.dat files cache webpages you visit to help speed up the loading time in Internet Explorer. A lot of folks disagree, and there are a few conspiracy theories floating around about what index.dat files are really for. I'm not really worried because I know an easy way to get rid of them.

April 14, 2004

Microsoft warns of a score of security holes

Microsoft released on Tuesday fixes that cover at least 20 Windows flaws, several of which could make versions of the operating system vulnerable to new worms or viruses. At least six of the flaws could make the OS susceptible to programs similar to the MSBlast worm and its variants, which have infected more than 8 million computers since last August. Another flaw affects a common file used by Internet Explorer, Outlook and Outlook Express and opens the way for the type of virus that executes when PC users click a specially crafted Web link. Source: C|Net News.com Isn't it wonderful living in the Windows world?

April 5, 2004

Stupid Windows Adware

This is something that I have (thankfully) never seen myself. A client of mine called me up asking why a specific word was linked on his entire site. That work was "real estate." I did not make it a link, and it was not a link on my PC or my Mac. I went to the site, and sure enough that word was not underlined. Clicking this link took my client to a ad sponsored page, obviously to do with real estate. Some adware had actually linked that keyword. Amazing, I did not know they could do that. But it is Internet Exploder and I am not surprised with what adware can do anymore. I told my client to download Spybot Search & Destroy and run it weekly. My guess is Spybot took care of it. Folks, this is yet another reason I do not use my PC for production.

February 26, 2004

Microsoft deactivates ActiveX

If a single technology could represent Microsoft's past preference for features over security, that technology would likely be ActiveX. ...But while many Web sites use ActiveX components or controls for that purpose, more malicious sites could use ActiveX to run code on a visitor's computer. For years, security experts have complained that Microsoft's introduction of ActiveX merely served to give online attackers another way to breach the security of computer systems. ...So Chairman Bill Gates has now relegated what had been Microsoft's "Java killer" to the role of a pop-up ad--an annoyance for security-minded people. The company announced that the coming Windows XP Service Pack 2, which is focused on security, will allow consumers to block both pop-up ads and ActiveX scripting. After applying Service Pack 2, Internet Explorer users can permit or block pop-up ads, or request that they be polled every time an ad would appear. The mechanism for stopping ActiveX is identical. ...Perhaps Microsoft's decision to finally allow its customer to turn off a vulnerable feature may mean that the software giant's security initiative is truly a break with the past. Source: C|Net News.com Wouldn't that be a welcome change from the Redmond Behemoth? I am all for choice in Windows. I also for better security in Windows. But then those are two of the main reasons I use a Mac. From a web programmers perspective, I hate ActiveX. I am so happy to see it die. Mostly, I hate how it likes to hijack QuickTime content. When I was developing QuickTime intensive web sites for CTLT I always had to add extra safeguards that my content did not get co-opted by ActiveX. Thanks to my Dad for the link.

February 11, 2004

EEye: More Microsoft bugs on the way

EEye says it ain't over yet. After revealing yesterday's seven-month-old XP flaw yesterday, the security firm says there are seven more serious flaws that Microsoft has yet to patch, three of them critical. Source: ZD Net I am so glad the world runs on Windows! Well, I am truly glad that the Mac does not have a bigger market share then it does.

February 10, 2004

Microsoft Sits on Security Flaw for Six Months

from the you've-already-been-hacked dept. pmf writes "Yet another critical vulnerability affecting Windows 2000/XP/2003 has been just announced by eEye. It is worthy to note, that it took Microsoft over 6 months to fix it. The bug affects ASN.1 library and is remotely exploitable through authentication subsystems (Kerberos, NTLMv2) and applications that make use of SSL certificates." The AP has an overview. Source: Slashdot Does this surprise anyone?

February 5, 2004

iChat AV, AIM updates add Mac to PC video conferencing

Apple Computer Inc. and America Online Inc. on Thursday announced a new level of compatibility between the companies' instant messaging applications, iChat AV and AIM 5.5 for the PC. With updates released today PC and Mac users will enjoy the benefit of video conferencing between the two platforms. One industry analyst said today that Apple stands to benefit greatly from the relations as it moves out of its niche market. "With the introduction of iChat AV in Mac OS X Panther and the iSight camera, Apple revolutionized the way people communicate with each other over the Internet," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing, in a statement. "Now iChat AV users can video conference with their AOL buddies around the world who use PCs." Source: MacCentral Interesting to note is that if a PC user wants to buy an iSight, they would have to use another mic, even though the iSight has a mic. That is apparently a Mac thing. I am really glad to hear this, now the other 95% of the IM world can video chat. Of course now they need to go buy a video camera. Question: Does this mean that if my PC friends update to AIM 5.5 that they and I can voice chat iChat <-> AIM?

February 3, 2004

"phishing" M$ IE Flaw Finally fixed!

I say FINALLY with Bold CAPS. I think it was (re)discovered on December 9. It is February 3 people. I have a great Idea for Windows users: download Mozilla now!
Microsoft Corp., which is bracing for an attack against its Web site by computers infected with the Mydoom virus, issued a patch for what it called a critical flaw in its Web browser software. Microsoft posted on its Web site a fix for its Internet Explorer Web browser that prevents malicious software coders from making any Web site address look like that of another, a tactic scammers have used to trick individuals into disclosing personal banking information. Microsoft first became aware of the flaws in December, through postings on a security Web site, said Microsoft security program manager Mike Reavey. Microsoft said it was responding to increased demand from customers for a way to prevent faked Web sites, known as "URL spoofing." Software coders have in recent weeks sent out e-mail messages directing consumers to fake Web sites whose addresses appear to be those of Citigroup and banks. The scam, known as "phishing," gulls users into entering their bank account data into a form, which the scammers then mine for information. "They've been aware of some of these problems long before November and December," said Russ Cooper, a security researcher at TruSecure Corporation of Herndon, Virginia. Cooper said the problems that were fixed were being exploited by scammers as long as two years ago.
Source: The Salt Lake Tribune This "phishing" flaw really takes the cake. I know M$ takes a while to get patches out (why is beyond me), but this is a serious problem. A lot of people, unfortunately, get swindled into typing in their personal information into these bogus sites. It is almost as if they don't care at all. Do they?

February 2, 2004

How to avoid the phishing bug

Technology analyst Bill Thompson is getting used to e-mails which alert him to problems with his online accounts - and he knows to ignore them. Source: BBC News My question is: Why don't more people realize that this crap is all bogus?

(Still) No relief from Microsoft phishing bug

The bug, publicly detailed on December 9th by "Zap the Dingbat," is an easily exploited flaw in the way Internet Explorer displays URLs in the address bar: it turns out the browser is incapable of displaying the special character "%01," or anything following it, in a Web address. Source: SecurityFocus

January 27, 2004

EC draft ruling finds Microsoft guilty

Microsoft Corp.'s chances of settling its European antitrust case are fading, as competition officials at the European Commission circulated a draft ruling to colleagues that finds the company guilty of abusing the monopoly power of its Windows operating system, people close to the Commission said Tuesday. The draft ruling says that the failure to grant rivals access to Windows computer code, which runs on over 95 percent of the world's personal computers, is an abuse of Microsoft's dominant position, and it proposes ordering the company to reveal the code to rivals, said one person on condition of anonymity. The Commission is the European Union's (EU's) executive body. Source: MacCentral

January 20, 2004

Microsoft vs. MikeRoweSoft

Various news organizations are reporting that in August 2003 A 17-year old 'part time software developer' named Mike Rowe registered the domain mikerowesoft.com and printed stationary. Three months later, Microsoft sent him a letter requesting that he relinquish the domain for a $10 'settlement' fee. He responded and said he worked hard on his website and would take $10,000. Microsoft returned the volley with a 25 page package explaining how Microsoft's customers could be confused between the two sites. Source: Blogcritics & makeyougohmm.com

December 15, 2003

Setting up my PC, Part #1

Now that I have my PC back, I get to install everything to get back to normal use. Round one looks like this: Mozilla 1.5, Sophos, Sophos IDE files, WinRAR, Spybot Search & Destroy, Ad Aware, Folder Icon XP, Virtual Desktop Manager, Tweak UI, Logitech iTouch, Logitech MouseWare, Trillian, FileZilla, HoverSnap, burnatonce, w.bloggar, BrowserSizer and iTunes. I am going to have to purchase TradeKeys, because I am so used to swapping the Control key. Then there are those annoying things to disable in Windows: Disable the Trash's delete confirmation dialog, disabled the Personalized Start Menu, how annoying! I find most of the annoying fixes for Windows in the wonderful book Windows XP Annoyances or the site Annoyances.org.

December 12, 2003

My PC Works, Finally!

It works! It works! I installed the new Promise RAID card, and that didn't change anything. I re-seated the power and ribbon cable on the HD, and it finally worked! So I don't think it was the RAID card after all. As soon as it booted, Windows crashed, imagine that! So I booted into Safe Mode, and looking into msconfig's Startup and Services tab, the system had both EZ Coaster Creator and Nero installed. This is apparently Alienware's (new) OEM package. I don't understand why they would install both, as they like to play havoc with each other. I uninstalled Roxio and turned off the Startup items and Services that were not needed. That fixed it. Now I just have no audio. Well I take that back, I had noise, not audio. This happened in January when I got this thing. I had to move PCI slots then. This time the tech had me uninstall, and reinstall the Audigy software. I have heard from many people that the Audigy 2 does not like to play nice with XP. Now the audio works. All set, after another 2 hr. tech support call. This time I talked to someone with a sense of humor though, so that helped. I'll tell you after I put the RAID card in and it didn't work I was about to send the damn thing back. NEW SOFTWARE I have an updated OEM software package, which I gotta say, is really nice, with only one covet. For watching DVDs I now have PowerDVD 5, before I had PowerDVD 4. This time I have ArcSoft ShowBiz, aparently a movie creation piece of software. Sonic MyDVD also is installed, version 4, The one covet is Nero 6. As Jim said early, its not that great. Its pretty ugly, and bad, actually. I have an OEM Nero 5 CD I think I will be installing. There is a "Expert Mode" in Nero 6, its just the SAME INTERFACE with a couple more buttons! It looks like an Apple product that went a little far on the entire Aqua thing. Please people! Oh well, what are you gonna do? I never thought I would say, but I am happy to see that Windows logo when I hit the power button on my PC. I can now play Max Payne 2, finally. I also bought Office 2003, it cost me $10 after all (the university has a deal with the devil) so I will have to install that, after all Office XP is so passe. The first thing to do is Windows Update though, and install the 15+ Critical Updates, plus the rest of the not-so-critical updates. Next will be installing all the software I need. First on this list is burnatonce, which is such a great burning app that isn't all goooooi'd up like Nero 6 is. I am really disappointed in Nero 6. Nero 5 had such a great UI, and they ruined it.

December 7, 2003

Got My PC Back

I got my PC back this week, but of course, it still does not work. After a 2 full hour phone call to Alienware Tech. Support, they are sending me a new Promise RAID Controller. The hard drive is not being recognized. The motherboard works though. They fixed that problem. It boots up but stalls on the boot sequence screen. No amount of changing the boot order in the BIOS helps either. Moving the Promise PCI card had no effect, changing the ribbon to the other port on the Promise card had no effect. After 2 hrs. I suggested we plug the HD into the motherboard. I just love dealing with technical support. Especially the ones in India. Don't get me started on that. There is a reason Dell pulled their India Call Center, ya know (But did they really do it?). My CD-RW is plugged into the top port, and DVD-RW is plugged into the second port on the motherboard. They did not use ribbon cables that have two ports on them. So I would have to unplug the DVD-RW to plug in the HD. But this is after 2 hrs. of messing with this damn PC and I was fed up, I did not feel with pulling this PC apart any more, and about to the point of telling this Tech. that this system was being shipped back and they would fix it. And in the nicest way I could, I told him how blooming frustrated I was at this point. He said he understood, especially after just getting it back from the depot. Working with a PC box is nothing like working on a Mac box. The engineers at Apple really think about the design of the entire box. It is a pain in the ass working on this Alienware compared to all the Apple boxes I have torn apart. Oh, and on the left side of the case, there are 3 scratches! I know they were not there when I sent it in! And with the metallic paint on these cases, it is really easy to see scratches. I was so pissed off about the RAID controller/hard drive/whatever problem that I totally forgot about the scratches.
alien_scratcjes.jpg
How in the world could this machine leave the Alienware depot. and the HD NOT work? It has a check sheet that states when it was put through a diagnostic test, which gasp! includes starting the computer. If I ever do buy a PC again, I will never buy from Alienware. That I will buy from Alienware because I know they support their computers. I am just really upset about this PC at the moment. I have heard so much good about them. There are a lot of prominent reviewers that like them, but my experience has been anything but good. The thing just dies after 10 months of use? When I get the thing back from that problem, it still does not work? Sometimes I cannot understand the Tech. Support, or for that matter why he is, or is not, asking me to try to get my system working again. Ya know, I now see why so many people switch to using a Mac, and I could never think of using my PC as a production machine. I am so glad I have a PowerBook to use. I just hope that this RAID Controller is the problem, and it works with the new one! As a disclaimer, I want to say that I find that the Indian techs. I have dealt with from companies such as Adobe, Macromedia, Quark, and Alienware are very smart and very willing to help fix the problem(s) at hand. I just wish I could talk to someone that is of Caucasian White, American descent and preferably from within this country. A lot of times thick accents are not the best thing to have when calling for help, especially when one might be a bit agitated at the reason he or she would have to call for help.

December 3, 2003

My PC is on its way home

I just today got shipment confirmation that I will get my PC on the 4th. They tell me the motherboard was defective. Interesting, 10 months and the mobo goes dead? Dad thinks that virus, oh whats its name, might have killed the mobo. I did all the M$ updates though. Who knows. All Alienware tells me is "defective." I cannot wait to get my PC back up and running. I have Max Payne 2 to play, after all!

Slow uptake seen for Office 2003

Only about 35 percent of large businesses plan to move up to the latest version of Microsoft's Office software next year, according to a new survey of chief information officers. The Merrill Lynch survey polled CIOs at 75 U.S. companies and 25 European ones on a number of issues, including whether they were "likely to upgrade to Office 2003 in the next year." A total of 65 percent said "no," a result Merrill Lynch attributed to complex new server-based functions--including capabilities based on Extensible Markup Language (XML)--included in the new version of the productivity software. "Without a new killer app in Office, the upgrade cycle looks to be gradual until new XML-based technologies take hold in the broader market," according to the report.
Source: C|NET Cost? Mmmmm. I was able to take an in-depth look at Office 2003 Professional over the long Thanksgiving weekend. I took down a ton of notes and plan to publish my opinions of the new suite. When that will get done, remains to be seen. I like the new Outlook, although the new UI is very different and takes some getting used to. Thankfully you can buy Outlook 2003 separate. Is it worth $75? That is up to you. I don't think people are gobbling this up because it does not include enough killer new features. What more are you going to do to make Word, Excel or PowerPoint better? The new Student Edition is a nice price point, but a lot of colleges have deals with M$ for their software. For example I can get a lot of M$ software, including Windows XP and Office 2003 for $10 at BGSU. It is even Bursarable! Did they make Access easier to use? I took a critical look at Access 2003 because I like to have my facts strait about using FileMaker Pro vs. Access. I prefer FileMaker Pro, btw.

November 10, 2003

My Dead PC's Hard Drive

In our earlier episode we found out that my PC is dead. It took me a while since I have been so busy lately, but I finally got the data I needed off the HD of my PC. As I stated earlier Alienware will not backup data for you, even for a fee. I would have paid for it too, as it is a convenience. After all, the stuff I need is in my My Documents folder. I first though of going to Best Buy or some similar place to get my files resurrected. Then I thought, why not attach it to the IDE chain of the G4 at work. Then my dad had a much better, and less painful option. Put the IDE drive in a FireWire enclosure. This worked very well, as we have a number of full sized Firewire drives at work. Opening the OWC drive case and taking the existing drive out was pretty easy. Getting the drive closed again was a little more work. In little time I had all my important data that was on my PC's HD. Now it is time to send it in to Alienware, which I will be doing this week.

October 22, 2003

My PC is Dead

:sad: ... :mad: I just used my PC yesterday to burn a bunch of PDF's to disc for a friend of mine. Well today it is frozen at the screen saver. Moving the mouse and keyboard does nothing. So I restart it. That was the last thing I saw on my PC. That little Windows XP logo screen saver. Because now I get no video at all, the monitor light stays amber. It appears that the HD spins up though. I was on the phone with Alienware tech. support for at least an hour. The tech. had me take the video, sound and all ram chips out, and reseat them. Wow that was so fun! They sure pack stuff in there. Not much room to work inside these things at all (in comparison to the G3, G4, and now G5 cases/boards I have worked on). I reseated everything and still nothing. No video, just sounds like it normally does when I turn on my PC. The next step is to try with only one RAM chip. That did not do anything. Next I took ALL the RAM chips out. Now the mobo should beep telling me there is no RAM on the board. The mobo didn't do that. I was put on hold for a few seconds, and the tech. said they will have to service the machine. So I now have a FedEx postage paid label to print out. So it will not cost me anything to ship it. That's good. Fine. All I gotta say is I am glad that I moved all my essential files over to my Mac a month or so ago. I have one problem with Alienware though. They will not, not even for a fee, back up data on the HD (Alienware, like other vendors, just format the drive and reinstall the OS). And since my system will not boot up in the first place, I am going to have to take the HD out and put it in another computer. One of Panther's new features is that it will read NTFS formatted drives (it will read, not write). So I am going to have to take my PC to work with me and plug in my IDE drive into on of the Macs at work to salvage my data. I cannot remember what exactly I have on the drive that I absolutely need, but I know I have work files on the drive, and those are important. I just cannot believe that Alienware does not offer this service. I know when I sent my first TiBook into Apple I had the option to pay them to transfer the files. I know Best Buy will also perform the service. I am more then happy with Alienware tech. support, I just don't get why they will not transfer files. So we will see what is wrong with my PC. I am told it take 7 to 10 day to service a computer, then 3 days shipping, so I should have my PC back in 2 weeks. First I need to get the data off the drive though. How fun this is. I am really glad I am not doing work on my PC anymore. I just bought Max Payne 2 and did not get a chance to install it yet. Oh well. At least I am lucky enough to have 2 computers!

October 17, 2003

New iPod and iTunes Software

We all knew that the iTMS for Windows was coming. We did not know what great new features were coming for it though. We also did not know about the new version of the iPod software (2.1).

This new iPod software fixes the one thing that annoys me the most. The backlight can now have a custom timer, set to 2, 5, 10, 20 seconds, and always on. Not only that but now when you touch any of the buttons or scroll wheel, the backlight turns on. My number one gripe about my iPod has been addressed.

Being able to sync On-The-Go playlists back to my computer is also a nice addition. The new Music Quiz game is really a joke though, I have 22 GB of MP3 and AAC files on my iPod. So it is a little hard to guess what the song is when I have that much of a selection. The iPod software update looks like this:

* Better default contrast setting
* Added Voice Memos application (Belkin Voice Recorder)
* Added digital photo storage functionality (Belkin Media Reader)
* Enhanced On-The-Go playlist functionality
* Improved playback performance
* Added Music Quiz game
* Improved backlight functionality
* Improved battery meter

What a great amount of updates to the iPod software, very unexpected.

The two new Belkin accessories sure look nice. The $99 Media Reader seems a little pricey, but it does include even the memory stick in its list of supported media. The Voice Recorder is a great idea, but I won't be getting one as my Tungsten T2 does that. Still, a great addition to what is starting to look like a "slash" gadget from Apple.

The partnerships announced today come at a great time, right before Napster 2.0 launches. AOL will promote the iTMS, Apple will promote AOL Music, Pepsi to give away 100 million free iTMS songs, and Audible.com is now part of the iTMS. I questioned if iTMS for Windows was too late, and the announcements today may have been a little late in my mind, but Apple brought out a lot of new features in what could really be called iTMS 2.0.

Here is a list of the announcements in reverse chronological order.

Apple calls it the "second generation" store while most competing online music stores do not have the features of the "first generation" iTMS. The new store doubles the music library to 400,000 tracks by the end of the month, added 200 independent labels, added audio book support thanks to a multi-year exclusive deal with Audible.com, 5,000 books available with free previews, gift certificates, an allowance feature (very nice). That is a lot of new features, and this is 6 months after the iTMS launched!

If you have an Audible.com account (like I do) you might think the iTMS prices are a little high at first glance. After checking the prices through the iTMS and just going to Audible.com, the iTMS prices are most always $1 to $2 less then at Audible.com. I however have a subscription where I get one book and one periodical per month for $15. You can get two books for $20 if you wish. If you like audio books, you would be wiser to use a subscription to Audible.com then using iTMS. But this is only if you are an avid audio book listener. The free previews of the books are a nice bonus.

I am so glad I no longer have to use WinAmp as my Windows jukebox. iTunes for Windows is wonderful. In no time I was listening to songs from my Mac's iTunes playlists thanks to the new cross platform sharing. The only problem I had with this is my PC did not recognize the audio book (.m4b) I bought from the iTMS, it did recognize the music (.m4p) I have bought from the iTMS, this I do not understand :(

I know a lot of Windows users who have been waiting for this day - not because of the iTMS, but because they know how nice iTunes is to use as a jukebox.

Also posted at BlogCritics.
Ôøº

September 25, 2003

Not Selling My PC

Yea who saw this one coming :-P. I have decided to keep my PC, for a couple reasons, but the main one is because I need to PC to test my web work. I have moved my mail over to my Mac, I am using Mac OS X Mail. It does not do the best job at taming SPAM, even with the Junk Mail Filter system that was new in 10.2. I do not think I will find anything to compare to POPFile. I would say that OS X Mail is about 75% accurate where POPFile was 98% accurate. I no longer do any of my work on my PC either. I moved all my documents over to my Mac. I don't even back up the data on my PC anymore. Right now I have my TiBook sitting next to my 21" Monitor, I should have done this a long time ago. My Sony 21" Monitor has two inputs so I bought an extra VGA cable, and connected it to my TiBook. Having two monitors again is so nice. I have gotten very used to dual monitors at work. Its great that the TiBook ships with a VGA to DVI converter! Buying one of those from Dr. Bott would not be cheap! Since my keyboard and mouse is wireless, I just keep my PC mouse sitting next to the monitor, and switch to the PC (switch on the bezel of the monitor) to check my work. Its like having a KVM, but not. This setup really works well. And I would not think of selling my PC. Having both a Mac and a PC is nice, that was one of the original reasons I even entertained the notion of buying a PC. And I am still very glad I did. Besides, Knights of the Old Republic comes out for PC the middle of November. I am much more productive since switching back to using my Mac for all my work.

September 12, 2003

A Letter to Ahead Regarding Nero 6

Letter by James Kimble a.k.a. Techisattva (Jim also reviewed the Tungsten T Scuba Sleeve Case)
Hello, I\'m writing in order to register a complaint with regard to your recently introduced Nero 6 Ultra Edition product. I am currently an owner of Nero 5 and use it regularly in my work for the creation of everything from simple file archives to hybrid cds to VCDs and DVD presentations, and was happy to see that you were releasing a new version of your software with even more features, tools, and hardware support. I downloaded your demo to test it out and, I must say, I was very disappointed. It seems that, much like Roxio, your company has moved away from developing a suite of professional tools, to building eye-candy laden toys for the digitally challenged. One of the reasons I preferred and recommended your software was the ability to choose either the simple wizard-driven creation mode or the full-featured development mode. After looking around, clicking on just about every part of the interface that looked to hold promise, I found that rather than being the next generation of your product, I was stuck with a Windows FP (Fisher-Price) interface with no way to turn it off. I\'ve spoken with several friends and contacts who use your product and, while some are less sure as to what they are going to be using in place of Nero, none are pleased with your latest product. For my part, I respectfully hope that you will give your customers the option to turn this sort of screen garbage off and return to a more professional-grade interface. If not, and I haven\'t simply missed an area of your new found facination with bevel, emboss, drop-shadow, and gaussian blur - but if this is the sort of product you are going to be putting out, I\'m afraid you\'ve lost a customer. Thank you for your time and consideration. Tathata, Techisattva
I really like the Nero 5 interface. I like Nero more then Toast. It is a very good application because it has a very good interface. It is all to often that new versions of software seem to have eye candy bells and whistles and not useful bells and whistles. The developer puts a pretty face on something to make it "more user friendly" and succeeds in not only alienating the current user base, but also makes it more difficult to get the job done, a job that was easier completed in the previous version of the software. Sometimes this manifests itself in only parts of software. But Nero 6 seems to be an exception. I was thinking of upgrading, the Toast 6 upgrade was well worth it after all (drafting a review right now). I had not yet downloaded the demo until I got this email from Jim. I just had to see if for myself. No thank you. Its almost enough to make the want to use EZ Coaster Creator (HA HA, just kidding). Just a boot note: There are no screen shots of Nero 6 on the Ahead site.

August 28, 2003

Fed up with Windows

I have had it! I am fed up with Windows. I am fed up with my PC. I am getting tired of the maintenance. So why did I get a PC in the first place? I thought I would be much more productive with a much faster computer. Well I was wrong. If Apple would have announced the G5 in January when I ordered my PC, I would have gladly waited until it shipped. In my opinion Apple dropped the ball on announcing the new G5 architecture. I suppose getting my new 1 Ghz TiBook has helped in changing my mind about my PC. I now get more work done on my TiBook then on my PC. I just get work done, I don't have to fiddle with anything to then finally get work done (such is the life of using Windows). I don't hate using Windows. My PC is screaming fast and I can do everything I need. Its just a pain. It is the proactive nature of working with Windows. The most annoying is the proactive maintenance needed to thwart the viruses in Windows land. So I have decided I am going to sell my PC. I just get more work done on my Mac. So if you are interested in my PC then give me an email, ken[at]meancode[dot]com.

August 21, 2003

Sobig.f Worm Part 2

I am happy to say that my PC did not and has not gotten the sobig.f worm! I thought it would, as I had gotten a number of the emails on my PC. But Sophos did its job. I ran the sophos.f disinfectant utility just to make sure and my HD is clean. This worrying about viruses is for the birds. Why do morons sit at home and concoct such nasty applications? It takes the fun out of using a PC. Maybe thats why I am just so down about my PC lately. Anyone want to buy my Alienware rig?

August 19, 2003

No Way! Another email Worm?

This morning I opened my BGNet email to around 40 emails from other BGNet users and it was not hard to tell that a new virus has spread on campus. This happens all to often. I remember when the Arts & Sciences list was infected with a similar virus. Yet another reason I enjoy using a Mac. How fun. Below is the email I received this morning from the University IT department (I added the link).
Currently the e-mail virus Sobig.f is infecting the BGSU campus. Please do not open any unexpected attachments and especially any with the Subject of: * Re: Thank you! * Re: Details * Re: Re: My details * Re: Approved * Re: Your application * Re: Wicked screensaver * Re: That movie or an Attachment of: * your_document.pif * document_all.pif * thank_you.pif * your_details.pif * details.pif * document_9446.pif * application.pif * wicked_scr.scr * movie0045.pif A solution is being created - please contact the Technology Support Center (TSC), 2-0999 if you have been infected or for further details. Cindy E. Fuller
I am so glad the University informs us of these things. Before this email was sent i had already gone to sophos.com and read about the virus. No one said the university was fast at these types of things but at least they sent out a warning email. I have so far gotten no less ten 80 emails from other infected university email addresses. I am sure that number will double in a couple of hours.

MB Blaster Worm and the "Fix" Worm

I think it is so great that we now have "good" worms to patch "bad" worms. That just cracks me up. Well thankfully I did not contract either of these viruses. This is the entire reason I bought a screaming fast PC, so I could worry if my anti virus software could handle the job. Wonderful. If Apple had announced the G5 tower 6 months prior I probably would not have bought a PC in the first place. But then this site wouldn't be half as much fun, and I would not have been able to come to the conclusion myself of what a pain the upkeep of a Windows based computer is. I am getting so tired of updating virus definitions. Unfortunately a number of my friends got the MS Blaster worm and I was able to tell them how to get rid of it. I knew how to do this because I had at the time already disinfected one persons laptop. Its fun fixing a friend's PC of a virus when said friend bashes you for being a Mac User :-P. Another friend was able to disinfect his own computer once I showed him the instructions off of Sophos's Web Site. Of course wouldn't it just be easier to keep your computer up to date, run a firewall, and a good anti virus package? Ohh, but that's too much work. Macs don't get viruses. But server logs sure fill up with requests FROM viruses. It is not hard to tell when a big virus has it out for Windows like January's SQL Slammer virus or this month's MS Blaster. It is a pain in the butt when you are dealing with apache log files on a regular basis. If anything it has made be brush up on my Perl and Reg Ex a lot. I do not care how much faster my PC is compared to my laptop or the computers I use at work. The fact that Windows is held hostage to viruses all the friggin time makes any kind of speed advantage seem like a moot point. Why on earth should I have to proactively defend my computer? Why should I have to worry about being infected by the latest Windows worm? Not having to deal with this ONE thing makes the Mac a much smoother user experience. People hate Windows and Bill Gates. That is apparent enough in this latest MS Blaster worm (I just want to say LOVE YOU SAN!! billy gates why do you make this possible ? Stop making money and fix your software!! ) I do not have to convince any one of that. So why does the Mac OS have a virtually clean slate when it comes to virus attacks? I know some people who hate the Mac OS as much as others hate Windows. So I am not convinced myself that people don't write viruses for the Mac OS because the don't hate it. I am willing to bet there are more people that hate the Mac OS then hate Windows and/or Bill Gates. So why is it? Is it because the holes and exploits in Windows are that much easier to get to? Is it because the notion of infecting less then 5% of the user base is not rewarding enough? I think it is a combination of the two. The Mac OS market share is not very large so the percent of infected people hardly seems worth the effort. It has also been a known fact that Windows holes run deeper and are left unfixed for far longer time periods then those found in the Mac OS. I just updated my virus definitions for the day and ran a sweep on my hard drive on my PC, and Sophos tells me there are no viruses. What a wonderful feeling. Sometimes I am so glad I bought a PC.

August 1, 2003

HP Technical Support

I bought an HP Deskjet 6127 with my current computer purchase. I am guessing that this printer rocks. I do not know yet. That is unfortunate. I cannot get the software installed on my Windows XP box (and I have not had time to try on my Mac yet). I called HP technical support and after being forwarded to a 4th person, named Philip, I recieved some very good support. I am very impressed. I have never had a problem with an HP product, thus have never had to call them. Even though we did not resolve the problem over the phone, Philip was very helpful. Once more, he called me back the next day to tell me he had found a tech doc that explains how to fix the problem I was having. He emailed it to me right away. (I will link it up later). Needless to say I have not had time to look into the problem further. I have had a lot on my plate lately. I just ordered a Linksys router which will put the printer's IP on the same network address range (the problem I was having). The other reason for getting a router is I am getting cable internet. UPDATE: I can print from OS X. It is no problem that my Mac has an IP of 207. and my printer's IP is 169. This is the issue with Windows. This printer is AWSOME! It prints wonderfully. It is so nice having an ethernet printer! It just will not work on Windows just yet. The HP tech doc tells how to rout the IP of the printer to the same network address range of the my PC. I don't think this will be an issue once I start using DHCP in my home LAN so it is not worth trying this fix, at least not right now. This is not only a PC only problem. I cannot configure, use the HP tools, in OS X. I can print from OS X, but I cannot configure the printer. I do not understand why I cannot print from my PC even if my printer IP is on a different address range. And I don't understand how I can print from OS X but cannot configure the printer. Oh well. This will probably resolve itself, or one would hope, once I install this Linksys router.

July 27, 2003

BuyMusic.com Get Screwed

buy_screwed.gif This is great. Somebody, Adam Lasnik made a parody of their logo. "BuyMusic.com Get Screwed." So as others have done I am also going to warn people as well. If you are a PC only person just wait till Apple comes out with iTunes 4 and the Music Store for Windows. For one iTunes for Windows will be like no other jukebox software on Windows, and the experience buying digital will not be the pure shit experience that BuyMusic.com is.

June 16, 2003

Duplicate a File

This might seem small, but if you are doing a lot with files in Explorer (or the Finder) it is big. It is big to me. As you may have guessed by now I am a big advocate of user interface and usability. I would have never noticed the absence of a Duplicate command in the contextual menu of Explorer had it not be for the fact that I use Duplicate a lot in the Finder. Say that I want to duplicate a file in the Mac OS - you either hit Command + D or right click and select Duplicate. In Windows I have to right click and select Copy, then select Paste. Is there a keyboard shortcut in Windows to duplicate a file?

April 6, 2003

CNN NewsPass

UPDATED - 04/07/03 Well hells bells now everything is just fine. That is odd, minor details. Back to watching the videos from the war in Iraq. This service is well woth th $5 a month (or $40 for a year subscriton).
I signed up for the $5 a month CNN NewsPass last month, the 27th to be exact. I have been quite happy with it. I can watch video from CNN, CNN SI, and CNN Money. Today though I am having some issues with the service. Some rather irritating issues. I have only had to sign on once and that was on the 27th. I am going to assume they use a cookie for the web browser and/or the media player (the default being RealOne). It is interesting to note that the CNN RealOne NewsPass is available in Raal Media, Windows Media, AND QuickTime, but I will get to that in a moment. In RealOne player I had to login today, fine, no problem. Once I do and watch ONE video it seems that my session is up. Because if I want to watch another CNN video I am prompted to login again. EVERY SINCE TIME I want to watch another video in RealOne player. Im sorry but I have better things to waste my time doing then signing on 20+ times to watch the new videos today. In RealOne player if you go to the CNN video preferences window and choose Windows Media or QuickTime (my favorite, but that is another article all together) you can Quit the RealOne player (then close the RealOne MessageCenter cuz that pops up when you quit RealOne). The next time you click a video link in the web browser instead of launching RealOne player you get a popup window in your browser. It is my experience that using Windows Media takes forever and a day to load anything, and there is no loading screen of any kind. CNN is running a QuickTime Streaming Server (QTSS) - I can tell because I have a lot of experience running QTSS myself - and the QuickTimes load the fastest and play the best. Windows Media video and audio quality is good. Its a lot better than Rea Media. I just do not understand the long long wait to load the file. I cannot watch with Windows Media or QuickTime right now. It pops up that popup to play the media, then imidiatly loads another page asking me to login. So I do (this is not in RealOne player). The web page tells me I have logged in. So I close this popup and click a link for video. I get the same thing, asking me to login again which I do and it tells me I am logged in sucessfuly. This RealOne player and browser behavior happens the same exact way on Mac OS X and in Windows XP. I dont get it. I emailed CNN we'll see if I get any kind of response. So much for watching the latest video at CNN.com. It is interesting to note that CNN does not use QTSS for the actual live video events on the site. Such as the live view of Baghdad or the live briefings they broadcast. This baffles me since they do offer QuickTime content for all their non live video. I have had the opertunity to work with all 3 servers, QTSS, RM's Server and WM's Server both unicast and multicast. WM is just a bitch to admin IMO. the RM Server is not that bad, it is better than WM. I have had the most experience with QTSS and I prefer it. For the University (BGSU Digital Vidoe & Audio Initiative) I have setup or helped setup live streaming radio stations, (one of which originally was streamed in RM and the quality and dropout was horrid) as well as many other live and non live events. The model for pricing that apple uses is also nice - they dont charge. Both WM and RM files cost money per stream. so QTSS is a much cheaper solution. And for those that will bitch that the cost of Apple hardware is an issue, there is such a thing as Darwin Streaming Server that can be run on an x86 box.

April 1, 2003

Switching Keyboards

I gotta say this switching between a Mac and a PC is getting my typing fingers all messed up. Some things I don't think I will ever get used to for example is the "Delete" key. It is not used at all in the Mac world. The "Backspace" key is used to "delete" all that needs to be deleted on a Mac. I find some Windows programs have it setup so that it is possibile to delete with both the Delete and the Backspace keys. Some Windows programs use them as a forwards delete and a backwards delete. This is an odd type of delete for a Mac User. And I think it is a shame that forward delete is not a usual thing on the Mac. It is available, but it is just a forign key that is never used. It is such a useful little thing really. I also find Windows programs that just will not delete something with the Backspace key. I use the Backspace key only because this is the standard way of deleting everything on the Mac. It is just one thing I will have to train myself to do on the PC, use the Delete key, not the Backspace key! Talking about the Bacspace key, its twice the size it is on the Mac keyboard (and about 1/3 the size larger than the one on my PowerBook) which screws me up if I want to use the + or = sign. This messes me up even more because I go back and forth between my PC, my Mac PowerBook and the Mac Desktops at work. its really driving me bonkers! why can't they ALL just be standard? I'd be perfectly fine with the longer Backspace key, if only it was this way on ALL of the keyboards! standards people, they are your friends (well unless you are M$ of course :-D) All this key miss typing would not be a problem to me a year or more ago. I have just recently come across the art of the touch typist (yay!) and now that I can finally compose entire paragraphs without looking at the keys it makes my keyboard switching even more of a nightmare. I usually don't go by those little nubs on the F and J keys, but I guess I should start to get into the habit of doing so. because I just start typing for an entire sentence and a half and I find I am only one key off or something, that's just when I sit back and laugh.

March 21, 2003

Most often used apps

New in XP is this most often used apps section of the Start Menu. This would be a great feature if it worked as advertized. In the Start Menu Properties it states "The Start menu contains shortcuts to the programs you use most often." Nope. Sorry, but that is not the case. RealOne Player is listed. The last time I used that was sometime in February. I just today opened the Macromedia Extention Manager to install an extention for Dreamweaver. I hardly ever open this up. Yet it is listed in the Start Menu now. So that leads me to believe this is really a list of recent applications, Not a most often used applications list. there is a difference between those two although I do not think the Start Menu takes that into account. HomeSite is in the list, I do use that a lot, but not as much as I use Dreamweaver, which I use all but daily. Dreamweaver is not in the list at all. I cannot make sense of the "most often used" list in the XP Start Menu at all. In Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X there is a Recent Applications folder in the Apple Menu, and it does list the most recently opened applications. I guess what I am griping about is that would be a great thing to have in the Start Menu. And if not then a true most often used applications list. Either one is fine by me but please pick one! Because I am sure beyond a shadow of a doubt I use Dreamweaver and Photoshop a heck of a lot more than Notepad. So I switched back to the "Classic" Start Menu, and I like it better I think. It will grow on me. Hell, Windows XP has grown on me so anything is possible.

February 24, 2003

Was the transition easy?

Well its great to see so many new faces reading and posting comments to my blog. thanks for checking it out and please tell your friends about it. i'm writing this as much for therapy as for the knowledge of others. I am really enjoying the blog thing. a general question I have been getting is "was the transition easy?" well here we go: the transition for Aqua to Luna, or OS X's to XP's UI is pretty simple for me. i'm not a spring chick when it comes to working on a windows box. I have been breaking Windows (ha ha, now you know were the name came from - but I can usually fix what I broke) for years. For the longest time we had a Windows NT file server for our mostly Mac college newspaper. for 2 years or so I administered NT 3.5 to 4.0 on that box. we also used it as a print server. and man that NT Server had to be babied a lot. we now have an OS X Server running as the file and print server. we have gotten rid of the PCs (which were used in advertising, now they use iMacs). So I am not new to Windows, I am however new to using it on a day to day basis to get my own critical work done. I have also used Windows to great extent the years I worked at the Center for Teaching, Learning & Technology training faculty and staff how to use computers and various software. There are plenty of OS X derived skins available for Windows, and most of them suck. I have tried them, and I think it is just wrong to do that to a Windows box. it is just plain confusing. you start to want Windows to work like OS X, and that's just not gonna happen no matter how hard we all try. lets see here lemme think (brain starting to hurt) of some UI things I like and don't like about Windows

Continue reading "Was the transition easy?" »

February 23, 2003

XP Error Reporting

This is really annoying to me. Whenever Windows apps crash you get a "would you like to send an error report to M$" dialog. more times than not the application has crashed because I killed it in Task Manager (knock on wood) and I know why it crashed - I did it. this is how I fixed this. # go to the advanced tab of the System Control Panel # click the Error Reporting button at the bottom # there are a lot of configs you can choose, I just turned it off completely, leaving "but notify me when critical errors occur" checked. i must add that this is a very nice feature of XP to be able to get application spacific on error reporting.

February 21, 2003

So it has been a month...

It has been a full month with my new PC. Well I do not need my 30 day money back guarantee from Alienware. I love this computer. it was money well spent, and i am very glad i spent it on a PC. it is soo fast. in the past month I have been able to test my computer over many different software applications and it just screams - although it should right? There are some pissed of Mac users calling me a traitor, or a switcher. how about a switch hitter? I am ambidexterities after all :p well i could care less what others think. maybe it is because i am used to using multiple operating systems, or maybe its because im a geek, but this PC is as easy to use for work and play (well better for play :) than my TiBook G4. some interface differences aside I have had no workflow problems in XP. A few thoughts after 1 month: * i only had minor problems "out of the box" * managing fonts is not a problem. i have been able to convert all the fonts i cannot find PC versions for with no problems at all. * learning about Rainbow Folders was a big help. I have my folders colored the way i am used to working now. * I have always been very pleased with the speed of web browsing on Windows, and its even faster in Phoenix than in Internet Exploder. * I very much like Dreamweaver MX on Windows XP compared to the Mac OS version. * I have yet to (knock on wood) had anything stump me so much that it prohibited me from getting work done. * I also have some good friends who answer my obscure Windows questions :p Thanks for that! * I have had no problems at all transfering files back and forth between my TiBook and my PC

February 17, 2003

Windows versions of M$ Software

In Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X, it seems if i have many browser windows open or a few browser windows open and then try to view a flash page, i get an out of memory error (in IE 5). the G4 at work has 512 MB RAM in it, and i have given IE PLENTY of RAM (i work in OS 9 at work because of FileMaker Pro, more on this when i post about FileMaker Pro) it might be 5 or 6 or 7 windows, and then i try to go somewhere else and i get an out of memory error. it doesnt matter if its OS 9 or OS X, happens no more or no less in either 9 or X. i do not get this problem in IE for Windows. i have TRYED to get this problem to show up in IE for Windows. i have loaded different flash sites, sites that have embedded QuickTime movies, embedded Java applets (after i actually installed Java, thankyouverymuch M$) still the pages load and play just fine. i can sorta blame memory management on OS 9 but not on OS X. so it is the Mac version of IE to blame. as with Mac Mozilla, Netscape, Chimera, Safari, OmniWeb (did i miss any?) dont seem to have this "not enough memory" problem. the Mac products are good, but they are not as great as the Windows versions. and i am seeing this in a totally different perspective now that i am using Windows every day, and using the Windows versions of the Mac apps i have been using for years and years. and it really is a difference. the Windows versions of M$ products are better. and why shouldn't they be right? after all Windows is made by M$ as well. its just i am now seeing how MUCH more of a difference there is between the Mac and Windows versions of M$ software. it kinda blows the entire "well the MacBU is catching up to the Windows versions" matra that all the reviews spout about. well no, not really, not when you actually use the Windows version of IE, or Office, or Outlook for a while. but everything is relative. and i am just realizing how much nicer M$ software is running on Windows than on the Mac OS.

February 16, 2003

Zip files are folders

This is such a great "feature" of XP that it treats .zip files as folder. what if I want to use a real compression app like WinZip or WinRAR or god forbid Stuffit Expander. i do think it is great that XP has built in support for .zip files, but...then whenever you search the hard drive, it searches all your zip files. what if you have a lot of large zip files? this takes a LONG time. and I know THIS machine can do a search much snappier than it is. well I found the answer to disabling this "feature" at the NTFS board, I was pointed to this site which I have been to before. I also found the same hint at TweakXP which I have found to be another cool site for squashing annoyances. now my searches are really fast, they way they should be. here is the gist of the hack:

make XP leave zip files well alone by going to the RUN command and typing
   regsvr32 /u zipfldr.dll

If you change your mind later, you can put things back as they were by typing
   regsvr32 zipfldr.dll

February 13, 2003

Multiple Document Interface (MDI)

What the heck are you talkin' about Ken? that would be Multiple Document Interface, or the way most applications in the Windows world operate. first some background, full text can be found on Apple's Developer Site.

From the beginning, the Apple user interface guidelines stressed the importance of using metaphors to everyday physical objects as a way of helping users understand unfamiliar software applications. As a result, most applications display each document in a separate window, which users find familiar because it mirrors their experience with paper documents. The emphasis is on the document, and the underlying software is largely invisible. The application itself does not have a window, and its presence is visible to the user only in the documents menus and menu items.

In contrast, Microsoft developed the Multiple-Document Interface (MDI) as the user interface for software applications that can manipulate multiple documents simultaneously. In this interface, the application has its own window, and its open documents may or may not be visible inside the client area of the application's window.

basically Windows apps have an encompassing parent window around all of the applications windows. Mac OS does not do this at all. an application window displays all the menu items for the entire application, and the application seems transparent, because it IS the document(s) you are working on. This MDI is one of the larges things that throws people off about Windows or Mac OS (depending on which camp you came from).

I however transcend normality, so this MDI business isn't that of a big deal to me. there is one thing I miss about Mac OS apps, being able to move information between a number of open applications. in Windows I cannot do this because of the big gray parent application window. this posses irritation at times. so I just curse a bit and figure out a different way of moving data from one app to another.

but in general, I do like the Windows MDI. it is why I like the Dreamweaver UI so much more on Windows. because of MDI Dreamweaver (and virtually all others Windows software) is how it is. you do not see through to the desktop, which allows every bit of the monitor be filled with all the various windows, pallets etc, etc, for the app. I also enjoy the MDI in Photoshop as well. i have an uncluttered natural background in which to work on my images.

as with other Windows nuances, I have learned to live, and like the MDI document model. just like the rest of Windows, its not so painful once you learn its more positive aspects.

Standard keyboard shortcuts??

It is VERY rare that a Mac OS application does not have 100% standard keyboard shortcuts. an irritating thing I find in the world of Windows is command (control) + Q is not in a lot of apps, not even in M$ apps. wtf, over? I mean, when I want to quit (or Exit, as Windows calls it) an application, I hit command+Q - its that simple. I don't use the mouse for such tasks. i'm a keyboard shortcut lovin' geek. and NOT all Windows apps adhere to the ALT+F4. most do but some just close window by window until there is only one left, THEN it will quit. and frankly the keystroke ALT+F4 is a bit akward compaired to the relatively natural command/control+Q. yea, this is something I will just have to get used to. or I might install some macro software like QuicKeys and make a universal control+Q. although I have not been motivated myself to do that yet.

and yes i am just bitching about control+Q, the rest work fine, ,i just expected control+Q to work like it does on the Mac.

February 1, 2003

The Learning Curve

i have had my PC for a little over a week now, and have not run into any major snafus. i even managed to tinker with the Registry a little bit ;) i now see why Apple has been getting a lot of good press with their Switch campaign - they are bringing to light a lot of frustrations users have with Windows. and showing off the Apple ease of use.

Continue reading "The Learning Curve" »

January 29, 2003

Windows XP GUI

I plan to update this as i find new GUI elements in Windows XP that i like and do not like

the document buttons on the task bar - i like the fact that if you click them it toggles between showing and hiding the document. this might have been a feature of previos versions of Windows, but this is the first version i have really put to use

groups of documents on the task bar - very cool new feature in XP, no more 10 zillion tiny icons when i have a ton of Word documents open. very nice. it even tells ya how many are open in the group. the right click menu for the group is also got the commands you would want.

save and save as dialoge boxes - if you want to overwrite a file, all you have to do is click its name, and the file name changes. then you just confirm that you want to overwrite the existing file. this is something that i was hoping Mac OS X would include. on the Mac OS you have to type the name of the file, then confirm that you want to overwrite it. a mouse click is a lot better then retyping_a_really_friggin_long_hard_to_spell_file_name.doc. this is one of my favorite UI features of Windows.

January 28, 2003

It was broke when i got it :(

i originally wrote this on 1/21.

Well boy o boy am i exited. have not been this exited about a new tech toy since i got my TiBook 2 years ago. Alienware sure has good packaging. i had it delivered to the university (were i work) and could not wait till i got home so i unpacked it at work.

Continue reading "It was broke when i got it :(" »

Every story has a beginning...

"Are you sure about this? trusting our fate to an operating system we hardly know" he he, ok im done with the star wars humor. i wrote this before i got my pc. i got it on 1/21.

i have and will get roasted for getting a pc by my mac loving friends and family. but in all honesty i think it is rather ignorant to not work with both operating systems.

i have never had a pc and i cannot wait. my current work hourse is an original Titanium PowerBook G4.

so i have been thinking of getting a pc for some time now. i spent about 2 months researching prices and brands. in the end i chose Alienware for both their cool factor (something that is very much lost in the Windows world) and for their prices. so i got an "Area 51" system. here are the specs:

- PentiumÔø‡ 4 Processor 3.06GHz 533MHz FSB w/512KB Cache w/HT
- 1GB RDRAM PC-1066
- Promise Ultra100TX2 IDE Controller
- 120GB Western Digital UltraATA 7200RPM 8MB Cache
- Pioneer DVD-RW A05
- Lite On 48x12x48x CD-RW
- HerculesÔø‡ 3D Prophet 9700 Pro 128MB AGP Dual Monitor
- Sound BlasterÔø‡ Audigy 2
- Iomega Internal 250MB Zip Drive - IDE
- MicrosoftÔø‡ WindowsÔø‡ XP Professional
- Aliencare Toll-Free 3-Year 24/7 ONSITE Warranty

i got 2 promotions too, free shipping and a the CD-RW was free as well. at first i was not gonna get the DVD-RW but then i said what the hell. i got a heck of a deal, this rig would cost 5k from any other vendor, as much as a maxed out G4. and thats one reason i got a pc (the price), as i did not want to put 6k into a G4 and a monitor.

i looked at every good monitor manufacturer i could find. i ended up getting a Sony FD Trinitron 21" CRT, its a G520P and good lord is a purrdy. its 20" viewable and text is very readable at 1600x1200.




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