Saturday, November 05, 2005

Google's been berry, berry good to them

From the Wall Street Journal.

Wide-Flying Moguls:
Google Duo's New Jet
Is a Boeing 767-200
Included Are Two Staterooms,
A Shower, Seats for 50;
It's 'Good for the World'

HEY! I have a great idea! Get google to sponsor geek meet 06 and they could pick us all up ;)

-- MissM

Friday, November 04, 2005

Samsung's Wonky New Laptop Designs - Gizmodo

It must be laptop day here at OnComputersTips! This is too kewl, the 19"LCD detaches from the computer, there's a cool picture at the link in the title. Hold the drool though, if you are in the US, its just been released in the UK, so far (she says optimistically).

I haven't heard of anybody with a samsung laptop, anybody have any experience with them? I know I LUV their TVs!


The ThinkPad is returning to retail - Engadget

I've always heard good things about IBM Thinkpads. Lenovo bought them from IBM, I believe, ande it was just announced that Office Depot is picking up the line, and they are going on sale on Sunday, at a SUBstantial discocunt, right around half price. Check it out, in case a laptop is on somebody's holiday list ;)


Movie downloads could cost Racine man up to $600,000

Courtesy of Dvorak's blog:" A Racine man who says he doesn't even like watching movies, let alone copying them off the Internet, is being sued by the film industry for copyright infringement after his 13-year-old grandson downloaded four movies on their home computer."

First a 13year old, now a 67 year old man, what a shame....

Magix Audio Cleaning Lab 10 Interview

On Friday, the hosts will be interviewing representatives from Magix Audio Cleaning Lab to discuss the release of their new product. If anyone has any questions, please email them to

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Sony to patch copy-protected CD | CNET

In an update to a story posted by several of us, Sony is working on an update to the rootkit technology.
To quote : "Sony BMG Music Entertainment and a technology partner are working with antivirus companies on a fix for a potential security problem in some copy-protected CDs."

We'll keep an eye on this for you, as it develops.


update: As I was typing the above, I'm listening to Steve Gibson and Leo Laporte's Security Now podcast, and they were actually talking about this rootkit installed by Sony BMG CDs. Gibson says that it hides files and a directory by beginning the filenames with $sys$, these files show up in rootkitrevealer . I've been concerned about BMG copy protection for several years, and as a result of this rootkit, I'm saying bye bye to BMG Music. Leo says that someone searched on and there are 24,000 CDs that may have this on it. Gibson said the gentleman at sysinternals was technically breaking the DMCA by looking into this. I consider this another example of how wrong the DMCA is. I also watch DVDs on the computer and, and I've always refused the interactual install, just for those same reasons. Leo says interactual just disables any dvd copying software you have.
The apparent easiest solution: Don't run as administrator! (Tip courtesy of Steve Gibson)
Go Listen and SUBSCRIBE! :)

Blogger /Blogspot notification

"Tuesday, November 01, 2005

We will be upgrading our network access this weekend which will require downtime for both Blogger and Blog*Spot. The outage will occur at noon (Pacific Time) on Saturday and last for 2 hours. Thanks for your patience during this maintenance window."

Just a head's up that there will be blogger problems, this weekend.

-- MissM

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Dell Slips Twice. Stock Off 9% Overnight.

Slip No. 1 -- the company is taking a $300 million charge this quarter to cover "the cost of servicing systems that included a vendor part that failed to perform to Dell's specifications." They have to replace lots of motherboards in enterprise Optiplex desktops. I don't yet have any information on whose part failed and why.

Slip No. 2 has been happening all year. This time the company fell down. Dell was overly aggressive on consumer pricing in the first half of 2005. Margins suffered, while units sold went through the roof. Recall that in the second quarter, WW PC unit sales were up 17%. Dell picked up a lot of that growth, but not profitably. The company said it would focus on more profitable, upscale consumer systems in Q3. Bad choice, as the company now has to write off inventory because sales are not at the level expected.

My first thought is that the execs at HP headquarters are going to burn the midnight oil with the accountants. HP's fiscal year ended last night, so the company can make adjustments with knowledge aforethought on Dell's health. Believe me, HP has hated being the weak sister to Dell the last couple of years. So watch HP's earnings announcement on November 17th.

Second, Intel's stock was also down today in sympathy. Dell sells only Intel processors, so Dell is a proxy for Intel.

Third, you can bet the Dell execs in Round Rock, Texas are asking what went wrong with their consumer strategy. One question that's bound to be asked -- again -- is whether AMD's repute for better performance in high-end machines and good value in low-end machines is finally hurting Dell in ways that can no longer be ignored or smoothed over with Intel marketing dollars.

Fourth, as I wrote in July, a 17% global PC unit growth is unsustainable long-term -- and Dell's stock story is all about sustainable growth with profits. Where's the sweet spot for the world's largest PC company? Dell's stock is down more than 17% on a five-year basis, meaning a lot of investors will now more loudly voice their dissatisfaction in the company's performance -- and strategy.


Well, got my training yesterday. Four hours worth. The server we were logged into crashed! LOL. I got my log ins. Right now it's email and repair requests. Also my 1st. experience with the "help" desk. That will be a post in and of itself when done. I'm waiting for a call back.

Scot's Newsletter | By Scot Finnie | November 2005

Scot's Newletter is excellent, this month's issue covers Windows Vista and IE7 thoroughly. He also has a lot of information about firefox 1.5 beta (which I reviewed, and had issues with), and suggests the final version will be released, in a couple weeks. One also has to appreciate any newsletter that includes linux command tips (this month's is hdparm). One thing I especially appreciate is Scot uses Eudora like I do, and he keeps me updated.
If you would like to subscribe, use the following link:Get Scot’s Newsletter

OffTopic: CAPTCHA aka word verification in comments and posts:I was at last night, and they had an option to have it read to you, which I thought was very cool, the first time, it missed some letters, so I had to listen a couple times, and they said it was case sensitive, and I didn't hear a case reference in the file, but I thought that was a nice workaround to visually impaired people and the word verification.

-- MissM

Sony CDs Rootkit Your Windows PC

This is a good article to skim if you are not a techy, and to bookmark if you are at all interested in self-maintenance of your Windows PC.

The horror show is this: Sony DRM(digital rights management)-protected music CDs will royally screw up your machine, slow it down permanently, take over control of your CD drive, and make life miserable for you -- all without a mention in the EULA and with no way for you to remove the software. For all this joy, you pay $18.99 to Sony. Have a good day.

Makes me recall the time Sony's online music service took over one of my machines. It was a bear to get rid of!

Bottom line from me is:
  • Do not allow your CD-ROM drive to Autorun when loaded. It's too easy for automatically-loaded bad software to mess up your machine. To disable Autorun (default is enabled!) in Windows XP: Start->My Computer->right click on CD (and/or DVD) drive->Autoplay tab->Take No Action.
  • Don't buy DRM-protected music that requires you to listen to it on your PC. Instead, download the tracks from an online store like iTunes, or copy the mp3 files on an Apple Mac, where the DRM software is not installed.
  • If you do not heed the above, and bring your DRM-protected CD to work, make sure you have your resume up to date. Your IT department may be exceedingly displeased when your personal entertainment screws up corporate property.

Sony, Rootkits and Digital Rights Management Gone Too Far

Mark Russinovitch has discovered that DRM on a Sony CD installs a rootkit. Anyone purchasing one of these CDs gets some nasty "bonus" material. Thank goodness there are people out there shedding light on these things. Knowing that a CD has DRM is one thing, but DRM that installs a rootkit is a huge breaking of consumer trust.

I guess that at least on "respectable" (not any more) content company not only thinks it owns your computer; it actually "owns" your computer.

Sony Rootkits your computer

Charlie Demerjian writes (rants?) in The Inquirer about Sony's DRM on music CDs. I'm not sure if calling the DRM a "rootkit" is appropriate. However, no matter how you brand it, it's invasive enough that removing it will kill your Windows installation.

Seems to me our choices in music are becoming more and more limited, at least as far as playing CDs on our computers goes. (They still work fine in dedicated CD players.) I, personally, have given up on CDs, though I love music. Seems as if every one I buy is unable to play on one or another device I own, because of the record company's fear that I'll steal something from them, thus cheating them out of money they can then cheat the artist out of.


Monday, October 31, 2005

Ruby on Rails

As we spoke a little about programming and programming languages on the show yesterday, I thought finding this article timely. I had even mentioned the Ruby scripting language.

Ruby on Rails (RoR) seems a successful attempt to provide a framework; a system, if you will, for generation and maintenance of web services and web site code. The philosophy of rigorous simplicity is interesting in it's own right. The article is an interesting read and can even give those who don't program a fairly decent idea of RoR's strengths and weaknesses.


Sunday, October 30, 2005

OnComputers Radio show Podcast 10-30-05

This is the On Computers Radio show podcast for 10-30-2005. If you prefer, you can download the same file here via ftp.