Saturday, January 05, 2008

Death of DRM Could Weaken iTunes, Boost iPod

Here's a story you've probably already heard, but the ramifications for the iTunes store may be interesting as are the possible reasons the music industry is doing this.

I've used the Amazon MP3 downloads and they are quick, easy and show up in iTunes automagically. The are also DRM free so you never have to worry about losing them as long as you keep backups against disaster. There is no reason that I can tell not to use Amazon's DRM free MP3s. The are 256 kbps so are pretty high quality and ususally much less expensive than buying the physical CD. You also get nearly instant gratification.

Be aware that the DRM free downloads are probably watermarked and can probably be traced back to you if you share one with a million of your closest friends. But putting them on the several computers on your home or sharing them on your LAN (check your settings to make sure you aren't sharing with the Internet) should be no problem.

I've done some comparisons and in most cases Amazon costs less than iTunes, however sometimes iTunes includes bonus tracks or materials for the same price. Check it out both places before you purchase and weigh the pros and cons if you are using an iPod. If you use several different players DRM free is the way to go besides buying the CD and ripping it yourself.

Friday, January 04, 2008

500-fold increase in space communications leads SETI@home to call for help

The story is at NetworkWorld's site. You can also read official press release.

Lots of our community did Seti@Home for a long time, but lost interest when the official client started keeping count of work done in a way that made direct competition to do more than the other guy harder to guage. I, personally, have kept it up, on at least a couple machines.

I would like you to reconsider lending your spare computing cycles to the project. I think it is important scientific work and hope you will, as well.


Microsoft Security Bulletin Advance Notification for January 2008

Patch Tuesday is coming! Patch Tuesday is coming!

That said; there appear to be only two patches of significance this month. Details at the link above.

The critical patch applies to all operating systems Windows since W2K. The important one just to those before Vista. Nice to see Vista doesn't require at least some of the patches.


Antitrust Lawsuit Charges Apple With Monopolizing Online Music

I'm not sure what to make of this, except that maybe some of the lawyers involved have too much time on their hands. Enjoy,


Thursday, January 03, 2008

Information about certain file formats that are blocked after you install Office 2003 Service Pack 3

Should you be considering installing Office 2003, Service Pack 3 (SP3), you should know that a number of previously accessible file formats will be blocked by default. This Knowledge Base article (#938810) tells you which ones and how to unblock them, should you need to. I'm posting this here because I'm betting that a number of you will need this knowledge for yourselves or others whose computers you work on.


The Sears "Community" Installation of ComScore

It's good old Ben Edelman again. A researcher from Computer Associates, Benjamin Googins, discovered this and covered it thoroughly. Edelman's researches confirm everything Googins said and offers an informed opinion as to the legality and so the morality of the Sears site's behavior. As SHC, the company that controls Sears seems also to control what is left of KMart, I think it safe to consider their site compromised, as well.


iCali | My Top 10 Gadget List for 2007

I thought this was a great list, and everything is on my wish list ;)
I'd put the drobo (though its expensive) and the evolve wireless speakers as #1 and #2.
A video version of this list can be found at GeekBrief.TV Cali's daily vidcast.
As an added plus (like you really need one :P ) there's a link to hulu invites at the link below.


iCali |My Top 10 Gadget List for 2007
4BAY Drobo Fully Automated Sata Robotic Storage Array USB 2.0 (This is an Amazon associate link, but I plan on sharing any revenue with the bloggers here.)
EVOLVE WIRELESS Speaker system FOR IPOD,MP3 Player (same disclaimer as above)

US-CERT warns of flaw in latest RealPlayer

As if we needed more reasons not to install RealPlayer!

At least this hasn't shown up in the wild. Yet. To their credit Real is checking it out. Hopefully, a patch will come soon.

Monday, December 31, 2007

The art of software murder

It's a rant against software bloat, and a particularly good one. I suppose we've all read enough of those, but I post this one because it mentions, indeed centers upon, Paint Shop Pro, of which Gail is an enthusiastic user. She was worried when Jasc sold out to Corel. I reassured her. Now it seems that I was wrong.

The comments on other applications are equally dark.


Sunday, December 30, 2007

OnComputers Radio show Podcast 12-30-07

This is the On Computers Radio show podcast for 12-30-07. You can listen live every Sunday from 10AM to 1PM Pacific thats 1PM to 4PM Eastern. Join us for the live show and chat. If you prefer, you can download the same MP3 file here via ftp.

Links from the Gregg Zone!

1) I was reading an article titled Heathrow Airport to get first Personal Transport System next year. This of course got my Google juices going. It was necessary to look into this subject a little deeper. I am posting two links the first on the Heathrow story, and the second to a link site on personal transit in general, enough information to satisfy your curiosity if you are interested in learning more about what will most likely develop into our future.

2) I was looking through my books the other day, thinking I would like to start a novel to read off an on, but could not find anything interesting. And so, I thought I would look around for something new. I found an author I was not familiar with, although maybe well known to a lot of you out there. Vernor Vinge referred as “The Online Prophet” how could, that! Not grab me. Evidently, in his Sci-Fi novel “True Names” he predicted the internet in 1981. I am going to look around for it on Ebay; here is a link about the author.

3) This is an interesting site for the DYI guy, or gal out there who likes to try building things, especially the off the wall type projects. I like this one quite a bit, because I am a tinkerer at heart. You can build; a solid wood clock, a welder from an old microwave, Tesla turbine from old CD’s (something to do with those AOL’s), a marshmallow gun, well you get the idea. Check it out at

4) I was talking to someone the other day who did not know what the Hubble deep field was, that surprised me so I thought I would put up a very good link for anyone else out there who might not be familiar with the subject. Check out the video it puts things into perspective.

5) This is a link sent to me by Riley a few days ago, thanks for the trip down memory lane. Wow does this site transport me back in time to an era that defined a very large part of my life. The sounds of Viet Nam songs, and radio broadcast that were recorded there, and sent back to the states. It is funny how sounds, can trigger memories of days gone by. Give it a listen even if you were not around then, it was the best of times and the worst of times for a lot of us. Thanks again Riley I enjoyed the site a lot.

Divine Disorder on the Desktop

It's an article in Technology Review about "revitalizing the tired old desktop metaphor". Now, while it probably could use a good revitalization, I'm not about to pronounce the desktop as we know it dead.

I've been reading a lot of this sort of thing of late and I find it interesting. I hope you will, too. Please either follow the link in the article to "Bumptop" or use this one.

I also found a sort of history of interactive desktops and/or Graphic user interfaces (GUIs) here that I think you might find both interesting and thought provoking.