Friday, September 25, 2009

books about Windows Vista

As we prepare for Windows 7 to go on sale to the public, I thought about those who might not be able to use it. (And, don't forget, Microsoft will not be resolving some vulnerabilities in Windows XP.) After considering the hardware and software I use, I will be keeping Windows XP on a computer because I am not ready to abandon my Palm TX and LifeDrive units.

For those who are willing to move from Windows XP to Vista, I recommend you own at least one "handbook" about it.


"Windows Vista: The Missing Manual" (authored by David Pogue) is one of two books that I have. It has information about some features I've never used. Such as Windows SideShow...

" that delivers information from your PC to a secondary display on two kinds of devices: those that are integrated into a computer, such as a small color display in a laptop lid; and those that are separate from a computer, such as a remote control or mobile phone. With this additional display you can view important information whether your laptop is on, off, or in sleep mode..."

I was looking forward to using it, but was never offered a computer that supported it.


The "Missing Manual" also reminded me of the existence of Windows Meeting Space, a service that...

"...enables the organizer to invite attendees and send them the password to use for the session. Others can join it, share files, or see the same view of a program or desktop and collaborate in real time.

"Even if you don't have a network, Windows Meeting Space will create an ad hoc (PC-to-PC) network as long as you're using a laptop with a network card...This ad hoc feature is perfect for collaboration when participants do not have access to a network infrastructure—for example, in a coffee shop without wireless access, or with customers who lack corporate network access...

" can quickly start a meeting that facilitates multi-party file sharing. When participants add a file to the handouts area, everyone gets a copy. If one group member makes a change to a file and saves it in the session, those changes are replicated immediately for all session members...

"While in a session, you can communicate with other users by passing notes. Notes are simply a one way text messages participants can send to each other. Unlike chats, notes do not have a history associated with them. Users can send text notes or ink notes."

Neat...but I never used it.


Once during a Tech Tuesday segment during the morning news program on KOLD, Andy displayed a copy of "Windows Vista Annoyances" (authored by David A. Karp). As I skimmed through my copy I noticed that "defrag (drive) -w" will perform a full defragmentation of a drive. Having been spoiled by graphical user interfaces, I had forgotten the power of issuing commands with "switches" at the command prompt.

That's why it's good to have these available: so you can review, and refer to them when needed.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

new version of AIM available

You can now download AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) version 7...

Now, there is a "dock" feature which will allow AIM to be next to all windows at all times.

It looks like Bebo will be the service partner for profile information of AIM users.

The "Lifestream" service will all you to "Get updates from all your social networks and let your friends see your updates too...Set up Lifestream SMS Alerts and receive updates from your AIM Buddies wherever they are online...Activating allows AIM Lifestream to send text messages to your phone and you'll never miss what your Buddies are doing!" Some of the supported services are: Delicious, Digg, Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, and YouTube.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

TV commercials too loud?...

{Updated 2009 September 19}

One of the things I have always hated is that television commercials can be louder than the program I was watching. If it happens during a show I want to watch (all of), I'll mute the entire commercial break or switch to a different channel until the break is over. If it's just a show that I have on, I might not return to the channel after I have left it...

I've never understood how many television receivers were made without audio leveling functionality as a standard feature, or a button on the remote control to allow for quick and easy lowering of the volume for when these horrible practices of presentation were on.

The Toshiba 46XV545U 46" REGZA 1080p LCD HDTV (J&R Item # TOS 46XV545U) has StableSound...and a mute/half-mute function! It's listed as a "Clearance Item" with "Limited Availability" for $1, there's no telling how long this will be around.

Kmart has a 26-inch LCD TV with HDMI unit (135000TOS-26HL67, Model# TOS-26HL67), with StableSound, for $712.49

And the least expensive TV I was able to find with StableSound is a Toshiba 15DLV77 15" LCD TV with Built-In DVD Player (Model: 2009304) for $229.00

We can put a man on the moon and watch it on television, and watch Michael Jackson "moonwalk" across the TV screen, but ads like "We Love the Subs" for Quiznos need a leash.


...and a press release:


And, I recently received a message from SRS Labs:

"Right now you can find it in various models, most notably Samsung and Vizio TVs. It can also be found in Vizio soundbars."

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be a game tester for Sony Playstation

The show will be on the PlayStation Network, and it will be called "The Tester". The job will be in San Diego, California in the Sony Computer Entertainment's Quality Assurance department.

You must be at least 21 years old, and legally eligible to work in...and a current resident of...the United States of America. There's an online form that needs to be completed at

In addition, you need to upload a video (MP4 or MOV, under 100 MB max, under 5 minutes long, and at least 640 x 480) and a picture (JPEG/JPG, and under 5 MB).

If you become a contestant, let us know!

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

TCP/IP not secure in Windows 2000 and XP

As usual, when it comes to computing, we go forward and not backward...

Over the past week I have disposed of many electronic devices because...they are old. They worked, but no longer in "supported" scenarios: with current operating systems, with current connections (parallel printer/serial ports), etcetera.

I am not surprised, and expect this attitude...until I remember that netbooks are being released with Windows XP as the operating system! And I had been seriously considering getting one...

For other computers, in regards to their hardware and software, it's time to evaluate whether Windows Vista (or 7) will be compatible. (As well as some version of Linux...)

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Sunday, September 6, 2009

ARRL conducts emergency communications exercises

Before there was Prodigy, CompuServe, America Online...and the internet...there has been amateur radio.

(I ask that you indulge me as I reminisce.) To paraphrase the Henry Hill character from the movie Goodfellas, "As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a ham..." I never was able to have the money, time, and help. There was a time where I owned and operated at least eight Citizen Band (CB) radios, though. I remember my call sign that was issued by the Federal Communications Commission, and I might still be able to "tweak" a system. I miss my D-104...

This year, the main American Radio Relay League Simulated Emergency Test weekend is October 3-4. It is a nationwide exercise in emergency communications. I encourage all to consider amateur radio as a hobby (if not for yourself, for a younger person): computer equipment reliability, internet service, commercial power service, and telephone service are beyond your control.

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Saturday, September 5, 2009

software incompatible with Snow Leopard

Apple has posted information about software that is incompatible with Mac OS X version 10.6 Snow Lepopard.

Snow Leopard will prevent some software from opening. And during the installation of Snow Leopard, software could be disabled and moved to a folder for storage (it will be located at the root level of the hard drive, named Incompatible Software).

Software that may not work with Snow Leopard include:
Parallels Desktop, version 2.5 and earlier
McAfee VirusScan (version 8.6)
Norton Antivirus (version 11.0)
AT&T Laptop Connect Card

As we have previously suggested, before you make a major change to the configuration of a computer sure you are prepared for the "worst case scenario".

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Friday, September 4, 2009

review: iPod Touch

For a week, I was able to use an iPod Touch...


(As of 2009 September 4) There are three versions: 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB flash drive models. I used an 8 GB unit.

The displays are 3.5-inch (diagonal) widescreens. There is a built-in speaker, and the supported audio formats are:
Apple Lossless
and WAV.

To set the tone of my review, and to give a quick summary of my experience: first and foremost, even though it has other functionality, it is an iPod.


I appreciated Contacts, Calendars, Notes, and the Calculator applications that were included.

{Per page 11 of the User Guide}  Contacts will synchronize with the Address Book, and Google Contacts on a Mac.  With Windows, it will synch with: Yahoo! Address Book, Google Contacts, Windows Address Book (Outlook Express), Windows Vista Contacts, or Microsoft Outlook 2003 or 2007.  I was using Windows and found, via iTunes, I could configure:  Yahoo Address Book, Windows Address Book, Google Contacts, and Outlook.The Calendars application works with iCal on a Mac, and Microsoft Outlook 2003 or 2007 when using Windows.

{Per page 103 of the User Guide}  Notes with sync with Mac OS X Mail, and Microsoft Outlook.

I wish iTunes had the functionality to edit Notes, Calendar, and Palm Desktop.

There is a Voice Memos application...but no microphone on the iPod Touch to take advantage of it. On Apple's website I found "Apple Earphones with Remote and Mic" for $29. (If you have an external microphone, consider using Skype for iPhone:  Skype-to-Skype calls are free.)

There is a standard 3.5mm TRS connector (tip, ring, sleeve) for earphones.  And the iPod Touch can connect to Bluetooth headphones (Andy has used that feature).

I'm disappointed that I cannot send and receive files, pictures, and more via Bluetooth.


I was able to watch SOME streaming YouTube content (from CBS News, Current, and others).

And, I learned that the multitasking capability of the iPod my! I was watching a video that was being streamed, and when I changed to a different application (like Notes) the video was terminated. I was able to use only one function at a time.


I had hoped to be able to connect the iPod Touch to a Windows computer, that did not have iTunes installed, and be able to access the iPod as a drive for storage: if using a Windows operating system with the iPod Touch, to access the iPod Touch, iTunes must be installed.


Some (free) applications I installed and used were:
and Facebook.

Y! Music has content supplied by CBS RADIO. The Yahoo! Messenger application will allow you to sign-on "invisible"...but the only other two options (for all contacts) are "busy" and "available". And, there is a Yahoo! application for accessing some of their other services...

You can participate in a discussion in our forum about applications for the iPod Touch and iPhone.


Before I returned the unit, I was able to erase all of its content and settings.  It must be connected to a power source because it could take more than four hours to complete the procedure (which probably pertains to the 32 GB models: the 8 GB model I used only needed about an hour).

There is an option to reset your preferences and settings where contacts, calendars, and media (audio and videos) aren't deleted.


Overall...I LOVE THIS FREAKIN' THING! I think it's one of the greatest devices ever invented. ("Huh...look at birthday is a few days away...")

I DO need/want an external keyboard: my fingers are large, and I make a lot of mistakes when using the touchscreen. And, I want a stylus.

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