Saturday, September 17, 2005

Dell Quietly Drops Itanium Support

Dell, which never had its heart in Itanium, is dropping out of the game. The company will not develop or buy the chipset technology necessary to support the next Itanium version, code-name Montecito. This leaves HP and a handful of Japanese companies holding the proverbial Itanium bag. Intel, which is in a real back-alley brawl with AMD for X86/X64 server market share, is at the point where they aren't pushing Itanium down the market chain anymore.

Dell's sweet spot is 2- and 4-way Xeon servers, which the company pumps out like hotcakes. With the impending delivery of Intel of dual-core Xeon chips in the next six months, Dell can easily introduce an 8-core system -- plenty of horsepower for most enterprise applications today.

With a year or two of experience under its belt in scale-out architecture in cooperation with partners Oracle and SAP, Dell's answer to an empty Itanium cupboard is "we can support thousands of SAP users on our scale-out 4-way Poweredge 6850 servers. What's your real need?" A Dell Itanium rack has fallen in the forest. Nobody heard and nobody cares.

LonghornBlogs : Exclusive: BillG Goes To College

Originally from infoworld's blog : "Microsoft's instant classic video of Bill Gates and actor Jon Heder spoofing the cult movie Napoleon Dynamite brought down the house at the Professional Developer Conference. Here is a bootleg version made available by IFILM."

This is TOOOO funny!! Screen shots from a clip shown at PDC this week. Currently hosted, in QT, Windows Media and Real player formats here on Ifilms.


Hacking's a snap in Legoland

I found this in the small links at It's not the sort of story I usually follow.

Evidently, the managers at Lego are more adaptable and sensitive to customer demands and needs than we're used to hearing about in these days of crappy customer service. I thought this story was just fun and worth reading just for the enjoyment value.


Microsoft's Vista looks to get tablets on write track

Microsoft is intent on melding some of Tablet Edition's features into Vista proper, at least in the more advanced versions. This article is a 2 page teaser. That's the only word for it. If they actually do all that the article discusses (and there is no reason to doubt they will) Vista will be usable in several new ways that cannot help but enhance productivity and make the user experience more pleasant.

Being somewhat narrow minded, I concentrated on the impact of the changes in handwriting recognition and their effect on Tablet Edition users. I expect these changes alone to make the Tablet PC much more attractive and usable.

I'm rather lucky. My handwriting is usually handled relatively well by recognition systems I've come across, but there are two letters which I have had to "train" the system to recognize. Previously, Tablet Edition wasn't quite amenable to this. Now, it will be. And as far as I can see, that is the last real impediment to my using a Tablet PC. From what I can see now, a tablet might be better for me than a notebook, once Vista makes it's debut. This same attractiveness is going to be apparent to many others and it might well be the thing that catapults tablets from the very limited niche they now occupy to a position resembling mainstream acceptance.


Friday, September 16, 2005

Pretend this was the first poll

Because I got feedback, I thought I'd add what should have been the first poll.
Like I said, this is a learning process, and you all get to watch :)
Are we having fun yet?

Are you gonna upgrade TO Windows Vista?
I will wait a few months before upgrading
I will wait at least 6 months before upgrading


Free polls from

P.S. This is cool, but I haven't figured out how to get rid of the huge white space at the top.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

This is a poll to test a new option, we may offer :)

Which flavor of Vista do you plan on getting?
Home Basic
Home Premium
Small Business


Free polls from

Thanks for voting, hope this works


Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Win.2K update rollup to be reissued

To update or not to update... aye, that is the question. So far, I've had no problems with the original update rollup on the numerous W2K systems that I maintain, but apparently some have. It is a bit discouraging to realize (months after the original issue date) that problems exist but I guess it's almost become a way of life with O.S. updates. Truly, Microsoft has their hands full trying to keep up with security patches/bug fixes (and overall, do a pretty good job). I'm sure they try really hard to stay ahead of the game as much as possible (and I give them credit for that) nonetheless, as an end-user and tech support person, darn it... it can be frustrating!

A new configurable home page from MS. Its very similar to google's personalized page. When I click on a url though, it doesn't seem to open a new page, but it does work well in firefox YAY! :)
One advantage over google, in my opinion, is that you don't have to be signed in, so it must be cookie controlled. There's even a place to import your own RSS opml file, which is cool, but I still have privacy concerns. So, I haven't tried that yet. Not like my rss feeds are a secret, but ....



This is an aggregator that uses software to link and populate the tech posts made. Its an interesting thing, it just went live, yesterday, apparently. I put it on my google personalized page. I believe its updated every 5 minutes or so. It will be interesting to see how it pans out. I'm impressed so far, and if Scoble blogs about it, it must be da bomb. :) w0w he reads 1389 RSS feeds, I thought 140 was a lot lol


Tuesday, September 13, 2005

RealBasic 2005 for Mac, Windows and Linux

Remember BASIC? It used to be that nearly everyone who took up any programming started with one or another variation of BASIC. It definitely had it's limitations, especially early, less powerful PCs. But if you wanted to program, you could learn the essentials of BASIC and almost immediately be in real control of what your computer did for you.

BASIC is mostly passe', nowadays. However, there is a truly modern and usable version called RealBASIC. It contains a wonderful IDE (Integrated Development Environment) that takes most of the boring stuff out of the programmer's hands and does it in the background, allowing both the beginner and the advanced programmer to concentrate on her or his coding. The link above is to a 3 page review of RealBASIC in The Register.

This variant of BASIC encompasses modern programming concepts such object oriented programming and runs on Windows, Macs and Linux and will allow cross-compilation for all the platforms supported, no matter which one you write the code on. There are free demos for download and if you decide to spring for the whole package, it is affordable. If you have interest in programming, I think this is one you ought to check out.

Many programmers have said that RealBASIC is more truly a "write once, run anywhere" language than Java is because there is absolutely no tweaking needed to run the code on another supported platform, as sometimes happens with the other languages. I'm downloading the demo now.



Just to let everyone know, the new server has been provisioned. The next
two weeks will be spent migrating to the new server. Due to this, there
may be times when certain services are unavailable. If I can give
advanced notice of this, I will, but I may not.

After we update the DNS records, you may find that the server in
unaccessible. Please note that this will only be for a time period of up
to 48 hours as DNS changes get migrated throughout the internet.

For future updates, please also check the On Computers Blog at If you have any questions, please
feel free to email me at

Thanks for your understanding.

TC2K - anti-telemarketer tool

Hmmm, this looks really interesting. I'm all for ANY tool that fights telemarketers (a spammer by any other name...) Gosh, I could rant and rave all day about how our lives are negatively affected by spammers and telemarketers but I don't want to waste any further blog space on them; they don't deserve it.

Firefox 1.5 Beta 1 is out!

I normally don't do CLWEA, but I trust mozilla, so I downloaded firefox 1.5 Beta 1.
First impressions:
LUV: the font control (though I have to tweak it still), RSS/XML icon in the address bar.
ISSUES: Extensions so far, several don't have updates, yet, and don't work with the new version. FoxyTunes icon went back to the default bottom right of the window, and when I tried to drag it to the menu bar, the icon disappearred.... the official google bar didn't have an update, the firefox google bar worked fine... additional thoughts as the day continues....
Sage works well. FoxyTunes and Sage are the 2 extensions, I use the most. The new default theme includes history and bookmark buttons. I always installed Qute(?) theme. Time to restart to see what happens next....


UPDATE: There are no scroll bars, and I had to jump through hoops to get foxytunes to work. Perhaps because of one of those hoops, the wonderful RSS/XML icon is funky looking now, more of a grey button, not an orange thing (?). I had to revert to the "non google" toolbar, the official google toolbar won't work with this (detected as 1.4, will be fixed soon, no doubt).
Oh yeah! The Options window worked, before the above hoops, but now, all I see is the tab titles, and the OK, Cancel and Help buttons on the bottom. Its a transparent window! I have issues with the opacity ;) because I cannot see the options, settings, or ANYthing. I briefly considered going back to 1.6, but I'll give it a few more chances, and keep y'all updated, as the fox turns.... :)
UPDATE2: Further impressions on Firefox Beta 1: I've rebooted the computer, and Options is still a see through window, which makes it difficult to tweak the fonts, but ctrl + mouse scroll wheel makes it larger, and thus readable. One new thing I've noticed is the improved error messages. A screen capture of my hosts file at work blocking ads, is to the right. I find the notification a tad bit irritating, a blank/empty window is my preference. But if the site doesn't show up, there is a try again button, which seems to make it more user friendly for those who don't get refresh or right click.

Final UPDATE: Its beta, there are some bugs. Half of my bookmarks were lost, though the beta doesn't get credit for that, I believe it was related to my hard drive failing during the show. My Options window is still see through. See example:
As you can see here, what would normally be the tabs in the options window.
are the get out of the option window buttons. This looks right as I type it, but I'm not sure how WYSIWYG this is :)

Bottom Line: If you haven't installed it yet, wait. I'll let you know when its ready for prime time. This IS beta, and I expect everything to be fixed very quickly. Your mileage may vary, as the standard disclaimer goes.

Monday, September 12, 2005

NAND memory to replace hard drives

The link above will take you to an article at The Inquirer. More of a teaser than an article, really. I've been thinking the same way for a long time now, and I find it gratifying that Samsung is now thinking the same way.

For years, I have advocated flash memory as a key technology for portable computing. There would be no need for a hard drive, if we did things correctly. And battery life would increase dramatically because storage would only use power when reading or writing and even at those times, much less than any hard drive consumes.

Flash memory is slow, but so are laptop and tablet hard drives. And flash is getting faster. Read and write times are dropping, as is power consumption. It's only a matter of time, I think.


Sunday, September 11, 2005

OnComputers Radio show Podcast 09-11-05

This is the On Computers Radio show podcast for 09-11-2005. If you prefer, you can download the same file here via ftp. If you find the FTP link doesn't work because of the server problems, please right click on the podcast link above and save as. We will be moving to the new server in the next few weeks.

Windows Vista product editions revealed

If you thought you were confused by XP Pro and XP Home try 7 Vista editions. Of course, I'll be wanting Ultimate, but will my hardware be up to the task? Probably not, so I'll probably be going with a version aimed at business and forego the high-end multimedia stuff.

Bottom line, we still don't know the prices.