Saturday, February 03, 2007

Shrinkwrap Licenses: An Epidemic Of Lawsuits Waiting To Happen

Cory Doctorow takes a look at the shrink wrap license. Sometimes it is just plain funny, but other times it is just plain sad.

The worst offenders are people who sell you movies and music. They're closely seconded by people who sell you software, or provide services over the Internet. There's supposed to be a trade-off to this -- you're getting a discount in exchange for signing onto an abusive agreement. But just try and find the software -- discounted or full-price -- that doesn't come with one of these 'agreements.'

And of course he has an especially kind word for the Vista EULA!

Friday, February 02, 2007

AlaskaJoe and his Vista adventure!

Well after the show Sunday I started to reinstall Vista. I was hoping to install it on a SATA drive in the computer. (it has 2 SATA drives and an IDE.)
I tried to do a repair install booting from the DVD, That didn't go past the DVD Key. Next I booted to the version of Vista I had working. (I know all of the talk about you can't dual boot XP and Vista. (I have them on their own drive and at POST I hit Esc and go to the boot loader and pick the HD I want to boot XP or Vista :)
Now I have both of my 19" LCD monitors, my USB thumb drives work. I am a happy camper :) I also got Office Enterprise 2007 installed. I didn't have any prolems installing my two network printers. (One is a Laser connected to my server 2003's print server, and the other is a network all-in-one HP and it connects via IP.) I can NOT scan from my all-in-one, HP has drivers listed, then when you go to their page it says they don’t have Vista drivers and are working on it.

Now to install the rest of my apps like, Gaim, FireFox. NeoTrace
I was able to run the Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor., it said everything on my computer would run, in Device manager under Other devices I still have 2 Unknown devices, my RAID controller and my web cam all are not working. The problem is how do I find the right drivers when it says Unknown device?

A friend just told me about how to fo a clean install of Vista from the UpGrade DVD. (See the BLOG from 01-30-07.) It’s so easy I can’t believe it. I was going to start my third try at a (clean) install of Vista today, however this box is running good now and I’m to lazy to start over. I will do the clean install the next time.

I NEVER do UpGrades to an OS, that always brings the garbage along from the old OS, I was disappointed Microsoft made Vista so you had to have XP installed before you could UpGrade. You used to be able to just insert your Win98SE CD when it looks to see if you had a previous version of Windows.

To be continued!

We have commented on NVidia's problems making video drivers for Microsoft Vista only to note it happening. I am pretty understanding on this count because I think I understand the difficulties of accomodating DirectX, especially version 10, and the crushing DRM for high-def content Vista requires. Still, there is no doubt they are late and are not making anything like satisfactory progress. The "Vista compatibility" they tout is less than full.

Now, some users have decided to take real issue with NVidia and at the link above they are collecting evidence for consideration in beginning a class-action lawsuit against NVidia in the US. I post this only for your consideration because I know some of our listeners are angry at the situation.


Free Operating System For Blind: Adriane Knoppix

We have known that Linux and applications that run on it could accomodate a visually impaired person well. Now, Klaus Knopper, the head of the Knoppix Linux distribution project and his wife, Adriane, who is visually impaired, are about to release a Live CD of a distribution meant for the blind. It's a cool idea and about time, too.


BSOD Through the Ages

Just a quick set of screen shots at that will bring back memories and a couple that will get you chuckling for sure.


Thursday, February 01, 2007

BBspot - Windows Vista Upgrade Decision Flowchart

Just in case you haven't upgraded to Vista yet (you haven't yet??? I'm shocked, I tell you. Shocked!), I found a really handy upgrade decision flowchart that is available as a pdf or jpg file at the link below, but just to give you a peek at the jpg, I've included it here.

With the launch of Windows Vista, many people are wondering if they should upgrade their computers to the new operating system. Here at BBspot we're dedicated to offering sound technical advice to businesses and home users, so we've created the Windows Vista Upgrade Decision Flowchart. Use this chart to help you decide if an upgrade is right for you.

BBspot - Windows Vista Upgrade Decision Flowchart
[h/t TechMeme]

And a step by step guide to using an upgrade version of Vista to do a clean install. Read that?? Step by step!


Workaround Discovered For "Clean Install" With Vista Upgrade DVDs

"Workaround Discovered For 'Clean Install' With Vista Upgrade DVDs"
I am working on my BLOG about installing (or I should say UpGrading ) to Vista and a friend IM me and asked if I have seen that there is a work a round to the UpGrade DVD.
Well I will add that to my BLOG and start over AGAIN tomorrow for the 3rd time to Install Vista on my computer. For those of you that don't know what I have waiting for Vista: Processor AMD Athlon(tm) 64 X2 Dual Core Processor 4400+, 2200 Mhz, 2 Core(s), 2 Logical Processor(s) Total Physical Memory 3,070.94 MB Motherboard ASUS A8N-SLi Deluxe 2 SATA drives and an IDE for a total of 976GB of storage.
To be continued! :)

Free Linux Driver Development!

Here's the deal; you fork over the information along with an email contact for one of your engineers who can answer questions and the Linux kernel folks will write an open source Linux driver for your device. It's an effort to discourage proprietary "binary only" drivers without compromising too many of the corporate "secrets" these companies are trying to protect. The code will be completely open, but the little secrets and tidbits learned along the way can be kept out of public sight.

Seeing as the over 1500 Linux kernel developers are top-notch engineers, the companies get to save money and still get the highest quality drivers in their name for their products. What's not to like, right?

Some companies will reject it out of hand. NVidia comes to mind, here. But surely some will take advantage of this and we who use Linux will benefit in a big way.


Wednesday, January 31, 2007

First boot up of Microsoft® Windows Vista™ from HP/Compaq

Vista Initial Boot Experience from HP/Compaq
All HP desktop PCs and notebooks sold with the Microsoft Windows Vista operating system
Situation: Two issues have been identified with the customers initial boot of Vista:
1) The length of time required for initial boot of Vista.
(Affects notebooks only)
2) The occasional appearance of blank, black or blue screens, during which the system doesn’t appear to be working (although it is continuing to boot). The primary concern is that some customers might interrupt the boot process when experiencing blank screens, then contact the retailer, HP or Microsoft.
(Affects both notebooks and desktop PCs)
Subsequent boots will consume the standard amount of time.

Solution: Every HP notebook shipped during the last week of December includes a message to the customer concerning these two issues on a “Read this first” card. The card is placed on the keyboard and will be seen prior to initial boot. It is printed in bold text:

Every HP desktop PC shipped includes a message to the customer concerning these two issues on the Quick Set-up Poster. The poster is the first item seen when the box is opened, and the message is printed clearly and prominently in bold red text as shown right.

“Please be patient while the computer starts for the first time. It may take up to 30 minutes, and you may see blank screens. Do not turn off your computer during this process.”

This is from a 7 page PDF I received from HP as a tech. If anyone needs the complete document please email me and ask. I can't posted it here because Blogger treats a PDF the same as a PodCast.


Monday, January 29, 2007

Blog Comment Apology

I'm sorry dear readers. Much to my dismay I just discovered that blog comments going back to June were not being moderated. This seems to be due to the fact that the e-mail address we had set up to notify administrators of new comments to be moderated was sending the notices into a black-hole. I certainly wasn't getting them. I had wondered why people had stopped leaving comments. So to fix this problem, as of this morning, I'm having comments for moderation being sent to me.

I also apologize for losing some legitimate comments. I accidentally pushed the wrong button, and once deleted, a comment is gone. This is unlikely to happen now that I will be seeing comments on a daily basis.

If you have given up on commenting here because your comments weren't being posted, please give it another try. I usually check my e-mail more than once a day so your comments will be posted in a more timely manner that they have been these past 7 months. I wish we could skip the moderation completely, but more than half the comments in our queue were clearly comment spam, so that is not a option. We are also still using captchas because that helps cut down on the volume of automated comment spam.

I do not moderate comments based on contrasting opinions, but rather based on whether the comment is spam, crude, inflammatory (as in personal attack), or lewd. We try to maintain a certain level of decorum. Sadly, I have to take or leave a comment in it's entirety so if you do, for example, use some of George Carlin's famous 7 words, your comment will be rejected. But I want to stress that differing opinions are welcome.

Some comment spam is a little tricky, especially when I don't have the original post in front of me, so if I do let a comment spam slip through, please feel free to let me know.

Thanks for your understanding and for accepting my sincere apologies.

Vista - Microsoft's Ultimate Disadvantage

Would you pay $170 extra to get Windows Vista Ultimate instead of Windows Vista Premium on that new desktop or laptop? That's if it is even offered. Only time will, tell but if this article is a harbinger of things to come, Ultimate will ultimately be a very minor player in the Windows Vista panoply.

No More Clean Installs Using Upgrade Discs With Windows Vista

Alaska Joe found this out the hard way with the Vista CD from his action pack.

Which would you do? Go through the hassle and possible failure of the upgrade install, or buy a full version? Either way Microsoft is making out like a bandit.

First the numerous and confusing Vista versions and now this! I feel like MS is at war with its honest customers, because of course real pirates will find ways around all of this. This keeping the honest people honest business is getting tiresome. Just what is activation and WGA for anyway?

FFII opposes Fasttrack adoption of Microsoft OOXML format as ISO standard

I guess this is ISO standard week, as there are several other stories I'm following on the subject, as well, and may have to post.

The Microsoft OOXML format really can't be a standard and the reasons are all laid out in this press release. Redmond is trying to sneak it in through the back door. Hopefully, cooler and more discerning heads will prevail. This is an important action because there are still undisclosed legal liabilities attached to OOXML that might well prevent an independant implementation completely, or cripple one. Either way results in Microsoft being able to preserve their customer lock-in to formats and approval as an international standard would make this legal.


PDF to become an open, ISO standard

PDF and Adobe, its maker, are victims of their own success. Really.

The Portable Document Format (that is what PDF means) has been free for use for ages and anyone was allowed to write software using it, as long as they adhered to the standard set by Adobe. For a long time, only niche products did this and Adobe continued to make a bundle from sales of their own software which generated and manipulated PDFs.

Then Open Office included a simplified, one button feature to save a document as a .PDF, and all of a sudden, everyone was doing it. Everyone being Microsoft, principally, who put it into Office 2007 betas. Adobe protested, but MS was playing exactly by the rules Adobe had set and Adobe ended up looking cheap and mean. So, they have done what they probably ought to have done a long time ago; released the specification to become a standard. PDF is a de-facto standard, anyway, more widely used than anyone would have imagined until the last couple years, when it really took off.

The smart bet will be that the ISO will approve .PDF as a standard relatively quickly. Adobe has had all the footwork done and the specification laid out in great and usable detail for years, so the process will be smooth. We all benefit, though Adobe will see real competition for their Acrobat software, which is extremely large (bloated) expensive and hard to use.

They might even be forced to cut the price.


OnComputers Radio show Podcast 01-28-07

This is the On Computers Radio show podcast for 01-28-07. You can listen live every Sunday from 10AM to 1PM Pacific thats 1PM to 4PM Eastern. If you prefer, you can download the same MP3 file here via ftp.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Links from the Gregg Zone!

1) If you liked last weeks Sky Car you should love this one, “The Space Elevator”. First envisioned by Arthur C. Clark in his Sci-Fi novel “The Foundations of Paradise”, that’s the guy who suggested a network of synchronistic orbital satellites to form a communication network in 1945, before I was born, at the time they said that was impossible.

Well it seems thanks to the development of nano tubes we may see the space elevator before the Sky Car. NASA is working on development now offering X-Prizes for technological ideas, and prototypes. They say it can be built in ten years from the start date. One of the things I found most interesting was that the orbital speed of the platform is sufficient to send craft to the Moon; and Mars without any engine for propulsion, only needing power for guidance and life support.

Here is the link to PBS’s Nova site with video aired on Jan. 9, 2007 of the X-Prize competition, an explanation of how the elevator works, and some great links for further information, I would suggest reading the Q&A, and checking out the nano tube link in the links section.

2) When I discovered this site I felt like a kid walking past a candy store finding a $100.00 bill lying on the side walk, it was that kind of a rush for me. It’s a large site over 40 gigs so it takes some time to load, but your patience will be rewarded. I am a fan of science fiction, old radio shows, and Art Bell, and this site has it all, there must be over two thousand mp3 downloads here. there is a link at the very top of the page for a screen reader or text version I think it is a little easier to navigate that version. There might be some kind of legal issue involved as the subscriber oriented Coast site archives the last ninety days, and it seems everything here is at least that old. If you are looking for a more recent show, read on about cjob.

Here is a partial listing of what is there: Art Bell well over a thousand shows, Zero Hour, Bradbury 13, Buck Rogers, Dream Land, Hogland at Joshua Tree, Tales from the Morgue, Bad Apples, Magicians Nephew, Horse and His Boy, Prince Caspian, Voyage of the Dawn Threader, Cinnamon Bear, Destination Venus, Doctor Who, Douglas Adams, Flash Gorden, Journey Into Space, Mindwebs, Mysterious Theater, Space Force One, Space Patrol, Star Trek, Star Wars, Twilight Zone, UFO Interviews, and there is a lot of misc. also.

As far as Art Bell shows go, the easiest way to find a particular show is by using the guest list at the coast to coast site, once you find the name of the guest, there will be a listing of the dates they were on the radio, then, you can search the gmms site for that date. The gmms site has many listings for shows, some are repeated more than once, some have the commercials edited out some not, so you might want to play around with different donators.

There is also a link for “cjob” on the right side of the gmms page this will give you recent coast to coast shows, I have not used it yet so I’m not sure how it works. It seems you need to know the date of the show, and while they don’t have a detailed listing of show guests here that info will be available at the coast site. Zach in Chat just e-mailed me saying cjob will play one hour at a time, just use the drop down arrows enter the date and hour, and you are good to go, he says it works great.

Here is another link to a different site with the same type of material, a little different and not as extensive but useful, . The site is Sangi’s Secret Archive. Being smaller it loads faster, so if you don’t have broad band you might try this first. They also include some information on some of downloads, such as good, poor, edited for commercials, that sort of thing. Always on the alert for more sites, if you have something to pass on please let me know.

A late add on, I just found this it is a site for coast to coast listeners, has links and times for every radio station on the net, comes in handy when the local radio station has trouble, you want to listen to a rebroadcast at a station that repeats, or you are out of range and experiencing fade out.,com_weblinks/catid,96/Itemid,4/

3) This is a site that is a little above my pay grade, my computer expertise is rather limited a very well known fact to those who are always helping me out of my current predicament (stop chuckling Joe). Any way I do use Google a lot, when I found this it got me to read it, I’m still not sure weather it bothers me or not, if you think I should be concerned, worried, or take some action about it I would like to hear from you. Any way I thought some of you might be interested so take a look and see what you think