Saturday, April 30, 2005

TigerDirect Sues Apple Over New OS

I rarely revisit things we've already posted here, but there is some new information on this lawsuit. According to this eWeek article the reason TigerDirect is suing Apple over Tiger OS X is:

"TigerDirect's main contention is that Apple has flooded the Internet with the word "tiger" as it relates to computers, which has knocked the retailer from the top of search results on Google, Yahoo and MSN."

So that got me very, very curious. I realize that my methods are not scientific, but here is today's Google on "tiger". (warning large graphic of search results)

Here is today's Google on "tiger computer". (warning large graphic of search results)

And here is today's Google on "tiger apple computer". (warning large graphic of search results)

Only when we add "apple" to the search do the results not return a high ranked link to TigerDirect. Note that even then, the Tiger Direct ad appears second in the right hand column.

Like I said, this is unscientific. I wonder what TigerDirect will try to claim and what the court will say about it. If it gets that far.

UPDATE: 5-1-05 I had heard that Tiger Direct sold Apple. The only Apple product they sell is the iPod line and limited accessories -- they don't even have a full featured iPod store.


I was listening to my XM Satellite Radio the other day when I heard a segment by Dave Graveline. He was talking about a nifty little program called "Convert" that was even being used by NASA.

So I checked my computer and found that this Convert was the same program I had been using for years. Yes, it does conversions. I use it whenever I need to convert something -- especially US to metric and vice versa. I thought you'd like to know about it, too.

Firefox passes 50 million download mark

I saw this news yesterday, but didn't have a good story to link to. Here it is today for the few of you who don't already know.

So what does this number mean? It does mean the people are downloading Firefox. It does not mean that Firefox is on 50 million computers. For example, here at the Grass Valley OC blogging bureau, I have 2 computers and have downloaded it from a link (not through the upgrade mechanism which they don't count as a download) about 5 times. The number is still significant because for whatever reason, each time Firefox is downloaded, we can make a presumption that someone wants it. Also, some of the extra downloads are cancelled out the other way when one copy is installed on multiple computers.

How many folks are actually using Firefox as their primary browser and how does it relate to the 50 million number? I don't know. No matter what, it still is the "little browser that could". It is the browser I use for everything except a few online services, like Windows Update and PC Pitstop. It is my daily workhorse.

Gates Pushes Auto Industry on Technology - Yahoo! News

The highlight of this article is the following quote:
Eventually, Gates said, there could be a car that wouldn't let itself crash.

As much as it would be a good idea for a car to not crash, what happens when the OS running the car does? - Windows Tips: Windows' Hidden Image Viewer - Windows Tips: Windows' Hidden Image Viewer

Try it you might like it! :)


Friday, April 29, 2005

Ads That Know What You Want

The technology doesn't seem that world shattering. We've been seeing this for years. Perhaps the analysis behind the tracking cookie technology is what is changing. Or perhap it is the fact that it is on the legislative radar? I just got an e-mail from one of my Senators about this issue. I don't know if it is the same bill outlined here, but yes, this definitely is on the congressional radar.

Catch the new wave in wireless networking: 802.11n - CNET reviews

Catch the new wave in wireless networking: 802.11n - CNET reviews: "The 802.11n standard is still being ironed out, and the IEEE, or Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, doesn't expect to ratify this developing specification until 2006. "

Will you be changing your wireless network to the new 802.11n?


Killer Downloads: Make Internet Explorer work for you - CNET reviews

Killer Downloads: Make Internet Explorer work for you - CNET reviews: "If you use a Windows PC, you probably surf the Web with Internet Explorer. I don't think Internet Explorer is too bad; it's a solid browser that will get you around the Web quite nicely. Firefox is also a fantastic browser, as is Safari for the Mac, but today I'm going to focus on Internet Explorer alternatives that were made using the standard Internet Explorer as a starting point. I should point out that, while the standard IE does the job, as people who read my column will certainly come to realize, standard apps rarely satisfy me. "


� Enterprise-class wireless LAN security in a $60 box? | George Ou |

� Enterprise-class wireless LAN security in a $60 box? | George Ou | ZDNet.comPlenty of products promise wireless-security-in-a-box operation, but they're all in the $500 to $2000 range and they use bulky VPN-based security. TinyPEAP is the first to bring enterprise- grade wireless LAN security to the commodity masses in a tiny and simple-to-use form factor.
Is your wireless network secure?


� Political Identity | Between the Lines |

� Political Identity | Between the Lines | ZDNet.comOn the heels of the 2004 election, candidates want e-mail addresses of likely voters with particular persuasions in their district. who has those addresses right now? Amazon has a lot of them. What's more, they could even provide a profile of you based on books you read. And there's nothing to prevent Amazon from selling or giving information to the Government for whatever reason. Does this trouble you?

Remember to buy your Right Wing or was that Left Wing books from Amazon.


California bill would ban tracking chips in IDs

As your California bureau chief, it gives me great delight to let you know our fine state assembly is tackling this issue. I bet that cattle tracking company who tried to leverage their RFID technology into our schools never expected it to backfire in such a huge way.

Apple Sued Over "Tiger" Name for New OS X Version

It's debut day for Apple's latest rendition of their OS X, which they call "Tiger". So, what would a major product release be without a lawsuit?

Tiger Direct has sued Apple, seeking an injunction against Apple's use of the name "Tiger", which they say they have trademarked. It's a last minute ploy and I'll wager that's by intent; an attempt to do as much damage to the launch as possible. Perhaps I'm being too harsh, but it's not like we haven't known of this name for a long time. TD had plenty of time to approach Apple about it before launch date.


Thursday, April 28, 2005

Security Watch: Why you should ditch Norton AntiVirus - CNET reviews

Security Watch: Why you should ditch Norton AntiVirus - CNET reviews: "Norton has been coasting on old code for several years, simply dressing it up with an occasional new feature here and there." Anti-Virus that works!


Beware How You Google

Beware How You Google Be very careful when you enter Google's URL on your web browser. Miss just one letter and you'll end up on a rapaciously nasty site that could install viruses and spyware on your system. Our story has details on which variant of "Google" causes the onslaught of malware, and what the site does when you get there. It's bad. Block in your routers immediately! DON'T GO THERE TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS!

Insecurities over Indian outsourcing | Tech News on ZDNet

Insecurities over Indian outsourcing | Tech News on ZDNetArrest of former call center workers in India for account theft reignites controversy over the safety of shipping sensitive data overseas.

Tech support, my name is Swanana but you can call me Jim! :)


Spamhaus hits out at ISPs, praises Microsoft | Tech News on ZDNet

Spamhaus hits out at ISPs, praises Microsoft | Tech News on ZDNetISPs put more firewalls around customer support than around customers, says Spamhaus CTO.

Sometimes Spamhaus is a PITA and blocks good emails.


'Highly critical' flaw reported for Netscape software | Tech News on ZDNet

'Highly critical' flaw reported for Netscape software | Tech News on ZDNetSecurity specialist Secunia says some versions of the browser are vulnerable and that the solution is to "use another product."

Is Netscape still alive? Go to FireFox instead.


Grids get down to business | Tech News on ZDNet

Grids get down to business | Tech News on ZDNetTwo efforts aim to expand the use of grid computing beyond academia and into the business realm.

Is this the way Seti@Home runs?


Apple adds more power to G5 line | Tech News on ZDNet

Apple adds more power to G5 line | Tech News on ZDNetComputer maker refreshes Power Mac series of desktops, adding more graphics power and memory.

It's alive!


Scheme preys on people who mistype '' | Tech News on ZDNet

Scheme preys on people who mistype '' | Tech News on ZDNetBe careful entering the search giant's URL into your browser, or you could end up with a mess of Trojans installed on your PC.

I have heard this is a nasty one, it can hose a system before you can stop it.


New law cracks down on P2P pirates | Tech News on ZDNet

New law cracks down on P2P pirates | Tech News on ZDNet One copy of an unreleased software program, song or film in a shared folder equals prison time, thanks to a new federal law.

How many do you have? I don't have any :)


Microsoft XML guru sees power for the people | Tech News on ZDNet

Microsoft XML guru sees power for the people | Tech News on ZDNetJean Paoli predicts that an explosion in XML docs will create big market for work flow, analytical tools.


Novell hires top Samba programmer from HP | Tech News on ZDNet

Novell hires top Samba programmer from HP | Tech News on ZDNet: "Samba is used to emulate Microsoft file-sharing technology, letting a server running Linux or Unix take the place of a Windows machine."

What does Novell have coming?


Can Longhorn improve laptops? | Tech News on ZDNet

Can Longhorn improve laptops? | Tech News on ZDNet: "Portable computers are too bulky, too slow and too quick to run out of juice, "

you use your cell phone more than your laptop like most people do?


� Is IBM close to avenging OS/2�s death? | Between the Lines |

� Is IBM close to avenging OS/2�s death? | Between the Lines | "It�s been almost 15 years since Microsoft jilted IBM�s OS/2 at the altar"


Longhorn will run on some older PCs too | Tech News on ZDNet

Longhorn will run on some older PCs too | Tech News on ZDNet
Can your PC run Longhorn?
You won't have to buy a new PC to run Microsoft's next version of Windows but you could miss out on many of the bells and whistles.


Hacker deletes own hard drive

Don't you just love "stupid criminal" stories?

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Feds Rethinking RFID Passport

Well, here you go. 2,400 comments (added to some really, really bad press IMHO) and the State Department is rethinking their stand on unencrypted RFID in passports.

Podcasting Killed the Radio Star

Considering that we've made the bigtime in the podcasting world, here's an article about a creative way to try to save a failing radio station. It may or may not succeed, but it is interesting.

Microsoft's Metro Takes On Adobe's PostScript

Microsoft will be releasing a printer language and drivers to compete with Adobe's PostScript as part of Longhorn. The code name is "Metro". Previously, there had been a lot of confusion about what Metro really meant. Many, including myself, thought it was a part of Microsoft's collaboration packages. Turns out it's something else entirely.

MS is touting this as an open specification, available without payment of royalties. FOSS advocates in my circle are waiting to look at the licensing, fearing it will somehow exclude free software.

Any virtues of the new system are as yet not clear, but what is apparent is that MS is making a bold and comprehensive addition to document processing that may or may not eclipse PostScript. It could be a PDF killer or just another way to get things done. If they do it right, they could make documents more efficient. Conversion of a document to PDF sometimes doubles the file size, so there is room for improvement.


EU at end of tether with Microsoft

The Inquirer is reporting that the European Union is losing patience with Microsoft in regards to their anti-competitive behavior and the remedies for same. As the penalty for not coming to terms is a fine of 5% of daily revenues, there is a lot at stake here.

It had been my impression that while MS was reluctant, they had been complying to enough of a degree that only negotiation was needed to smooth the way for a final resolution. I guess I was wrong.

Watching this one is confusing in the extreme. What is clear is that MS stands to lose a lot if it isn't resolved soon.


Longhorn Loses Yet Another Feature

The headline at VNunet says "Longhorn Security Gets It's Teeth Kicked Out" which seems a bit over the top to me. However, it is another major feature being left out to try to get the new OS out the door.

One has to wonder if there is going to be any reason to upgrade to Longhorn from XP other than the eye candy of the desktop and desktop search. The list of dropped features is very long and the list of new or improved features gets a bit shorter every month.


Windows Longhorn 5048 Screenshots

FlexBeta has screenshots of the latest Longhorn build, #5048. They're interesting, to be sure, but I was surprised at how familiar they look; not that far from XP.


French court rules against copy protection - Tech News & Reviews -

Score another one for the consumer, in France. I would assume that the ramifications of this decision will be felt worldwide.


Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Biggest Bell to hand 911 access to VoIP operators | CNET

Well, this is a start in the right direction. The telcos are realizing that customers will use VoIP, and therefore should have direct access to 911 services. Hopefully, the test will be successful and this will spread to other areas.

The Real Deal: Get the content you pay for online - CNET reviews

The Real Deal: Get the content you pay for online - CNET reviews: "For $15 per month or $80 for the season, you can watch streaming video of 97 percent of the games played."

Another reason to have Broadband.

Sorry Jack and Gail. :)


Microsoft to add 'black box' to Windows | Tech News on ZDNet

Microsoft to add 'black box' to Windows | Tech News on ZDNet: "In a move that could rankle privacy advocates, Microsoft said Monday that it is adding the PC equivalent of a flight data recorder to the next version of Windows, in an effort to better understand and prevent computer crashes. "

"Ground control to Major Tong"..... or is it "Can you hear me now?"


What CPU is right for you? Look for yourself. | George Ou |

� What CPU is right for you? Look for yourself. | George Ou | "In the ongoing debate on who has the best CPU in the x86 market, Tomshardware released this awesome comprehensive CPU comparison database."

I always check Tom's Hardware when I'm looking to build a new system.

What do you do?


McAfee: Vulnerabilities still worst threat | Tech News on ZDNet

McAfee: Vulnerabilities still worst threat | Tech News on ZDNet: "Unpatched computers continue to represent the IT world's biggest security problem"

it (the report) found that at least 50 percent of computers connected to the Internet remain improperly protected by product updates or patches.

Is your system secure?

We made it to!!

"New Podcast - On Computers Tips...snip....
# Posted by Adam Curry on 4/25/05; 10:11:41 PM - Comment [0] -- Trackback [0] "

Monday, April 25, 2005

Windows XP Professional x64 edition review - Windows - CNET Reviews

Windows XP Professional x64 edition review - Windows - CNET Reviews: "Only software developers and high-end workstation users will see real benefits from Windows XP Professional x64 Edition; everyone else should stick with 32-bit Windows XP instead"

It looks like the people that went out and got an Athlon64 waiting for 64Bit XP will be waiting longer.

Joe - High-tech solution to highway congestion - Apr 25, 2005

So far, the best traffic solution, listen to people who are already sitting in it. Anyone care to try it?

Graphics patent suit fires back at Microsoft

Speaking of Microsoft, here's a story from last week that addresses the JPEG patent issue that Jack and I talked about on the show yesterday. I had missed the fact that Forgent is suing MS over this. I'm betting on Microsoft to win. I'm fact I'm rooting for them to win.

Their highly paid legal staff had a little time to decide whether to pay the outrageous royalty or license fee, or to refuse and fight. I have a feeling that MS would not be fighting unless their legal eagles thought they had a good chance. In this case. I see MS as the good guy with the deep pockets fending off a company whose claim is shaky (there appears to be a good case for prior art) and who has based a business model on something that they bought and forced fit in order to mooch off of others. But you say others have paid so that must mean that Forgent's claim is legitimate? Think again, it may have been more cost effective for them to pay than to fight, no matter how specious the claim. It may have been the best way for those who paid to protect their bottom line irregardless of the validity of the patent. Microsoft's pockets are about as deep as pockets go, so perhaps it was more advantageous for them to stand firm.

I see Forgent as very SCO-like in many ways. I see both as parasites trying to make a living off of the sweat of others on shaky claims on things created to be free and open. Things that they bought and then "discovered" (SCO didn't even really discover -- they went fishing) and are using as a club on the community. They have created zero, zip, nada. Both threaten the greater good. Both are being opposed by industry giants who have not always been squeeky clean themselves.

Like I said, I hope Microsoft wins.


Show-and-tell for Microsoft

There's a lot going on at WinHEC today. Instead of reinventing the wheel here, I'm just linking to the special coverage. The good news includes the launch of 64-bit Windows. Congrats to MS on that for sure! It is a noteworthy milestone.


As Jack reported last week, the Opera 8 browser has been released.

Perhaps you had heard that Opera's CEO made a bold pledge to swim from Norway to the USA if Opera reached 1,000,000 downloads in four days. Web users being dedicated souls, made it happen and now Jon Tetzchner is being true to his word. Okay, he's in the water at least. No one wants to see him get hurt. He may not get out of Oslo fjord, but it looks like we will be treated to a little self-effacing Web humor starting with a route map showing a stop for "Mum's Chocolate" in Iceland and pictures of Jon in the water with Norwegian and US flags.

Of course, we wish Jon and Opera 8 well.

Skeletons on your hard drive

We've discussed this issue of wiping data from hard drives on the show. I hope you find this as interesting and useful as I did.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

OC Podcast

This is the On Computers podcast for 04-24-2005. If you prefer, you can download the same file here via ftp.

Mainsleaze? You Decide

I recently booked a motel room via Best Western's web site. Since they are a large, well known company and I wanted my reservation confirmation, I gave them one of my "non-junk" e-mail addresses. Imagine my surprise when shortly after my lovely stay at one of their motels I received this email (personally identifiable links removed):

Best Western is committed to making our brand your first choice for every hotel stay. Your honest opinion helps us discover how we can best meet your travel needs at anyone of our more than 4,000 independently owned and operated hotels around the world.

Please take a moment to complete this brief questionnaire about your recent visit to a Best Western hotel. If you are a Gold Crown Club International member, you will receive 50 GCCI bonus points upon completion of the survey. If you're not a GCCI member, you'll be given a link to join once you complete the survey and to receive your 50 GCCI bonus points. GCCI members earn points towards exciting vacation getaways, retail and restaurant gift certificates, and airline miles. Thank you.

Click here to take the survey.

Click here if you would not like to receive promotions and marketing materials from Best Western, its affiliates, and subsidiaries.

Click here if you would not like to receive promotions and marketing materials from Best Western's third party business partners.

To view Best Western's privacy policy, click here

Customer Care
Best Western Survey
P.O. BOX 7079
Boca Raton, FL 33431-9959

In fairness, this e-mail appears to be CAN-SPAM compliant. Also, I did not take the time to read the long-winded privacy policy, clearly meant to protect them and not the consumer, before I gave them my e-mail address.

Here is the sleazoid part, buried in a mountain of fine print:

BWI may send marketing information about BWI, BWI Properties or the GCCI program as well as marketing information about offers or information about third party products and services to GCCI Customers and Travelers based upon the Personal Information BWI has collected for such GCCI Customers and Travelers.

So I missed that. After all, I was trying to accomplish a task. However, I do not expect mainstream companies to turn over my e-mail address to third parties on an "opt-out" basis. I can accept that in establishing a business realtionship, I may recieve e-mail from that company unless I opt-out, though I much prefer, and truly believe that reputable companies use opt-in.

So many companies are doing it the right way these days. I'm very saddened that my wonderful stay at one of their properties was marred by this sleazoid move. I as a customer should morally, if not leagally, have a resonable expectation that my e-mail address will not be given to just anyone a company feels like. It is not a way to garner customer trust or confidence.

So technically Best Western, may not be "mainsleaze", the term used to describe corporate spammers, but the line was cut very fine. If I, as a customer see their actions as sleazoid, the damage to their reputation is done. Beyond that, if I as a small business person can respect my customer's e-mail privacy, why can't a large corporation do the same? It is so sad to have one's trust in a company broken. Oh, and no, I certainly did not answer their survey; and yes, I spent some of my precious time opting out.

iPodder v 2.0

I'm not sure when the update was released, but iPodder, my favorite podcast receiver is now at v. 2.0. I've been using the new version for about a week. I think it's a nice improvement, and it looks prettier, too. Don't forget, it's available for Windows, Linux and OS X (10.3 or higher), so there is no excuse for not listening to our podcast!