Sunday, December 31, 2006

Free Ferrari's (laptop ;)) and computers from Microsoft (M$) to bloggers, Wants them back now.

But all those bloggers, don't worry about returning them. From what I read, you do not have to return or give away until you finish reviewing Vista. You may finish reviewing it in a few months, (installed Vista is pretty hefty and review might be depending on your ability, a narrowly focused journalist, a fanboy or a real tech geek) any way by the time you finish this, new set of patches will come your way. If you think you are done by this time, you are wrong, service pack one will be released, which will crash your Ferrari and if your had your air bag (Apple notebook) you can then return the thrashed Ferrari to M$.
I am not sour about not getting a computer from M$, I never applied, but I did review Vista, submitted bug reports, and decided not to use it other than for work. And I have a note book that has 160GB raid 1! How many did get that security?

But the issue is did M$ try to buy some good will by sending these computers to Bloggers? what ever the reason they did, M$ is getting enough negative backlash that it is almost laughable, if you are not a M$ fanboy or simply M$.
The best that came out of this Ferrari M$ saga is that EFF is getting some money to fight monopoly's like M$. Long live EFF.

EFF is getting Microsoft money
(Scroll down to bottom to see EFF Letter.
Person who gave this to EFF
What other blogger planing to do with their Ferrari's

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Apple Computer's iPod is the king of consumer electronics

According to released its "Best Of 2006 List" which includes the bestselling, most positively reviewed, most wished-for and favorite gift products as determined by customers in 2006.
Apple iPod came on the lists for the third year. Zune, I did not look for. I have listed below, lists where iPod made the lists.
Apple also made the most popular items, there were 4 Apple computers in top ten today including number one and two spots.

Follow the links below for complete information.

Most Popular Gift Products
# Books: The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream by Barack Obama
# Music: Duets: An American Classic by Tony Bennett
# DVD: Pirates of the Caribbean - Dead Man's Chest (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)
# Electronics: Apple 30 GB iPod with Video Playback

Most Wished-For Products

# Books: Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt
# Music: Taking The Long Way by Dixie Chicks
# DVD: Pirates of the Caribbean - Dead Man's Chest (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)
# Electronics: Apple 30 GB iPod with Video Playback Black (5th Generation)

Bestselling Products
# Books: Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap ... and Others Don't by Jim Collins
# Music: Taking The Long Way by Dixie Chicks
# DVD: Pirates of the Caribbean - Dead Man's Chest (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)
# Software: World of Warcraft
# Electronics: Apple iPods (various)

Amazons best of the best for 2006
Amazons most popular items today

Monday, December 25, 2006

Vista is at your door step but potentially serious flaws are already inside says experts.

Most ridicules statement I read from M$ in a while came out due these experts findings. And when New York Times get in to reporting Vista flaws, wall street might read too. Although I have been writing about Vista for while. I still say go get your happy feet, from penguins. It means Linux if you did not know. Anyway back to the news. The statement is;
“While I know this is a vulnerability that impacts Windows Vista, I still have every confidence that Windows Vista is our most secure platform to date.” said Mike Reavey, operations manager of the Microsoft Security Response Center.
I do not know where to turn with these stupid statements. I thought I could not write but it seems these managers even can't talk. It is like saying "Oh don't worry, buy this car, we have some troubles with the engine but this is the fastest car we ever built! see it even got tires."
I think when M$ means by security, is securing itself. WGA, OGA and Vista EULA is in place and I guess they are working, as far as M$ is concerned. From what I read not the users.
You can read more at the New York Times and my scribbles below.

Vista flaws detected.
Geemodo: Get your Vista Activated In China or M$ moved to China
Geemodo: WGA, OGA, Vista EULA and Happy Feet

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Ta da! play with your Gizmos have a super Holyday season

I hope Santa will come your way and Your holiday will be filled with laughter and Joy. If you pass by an unfortunate person, please try to make him/her smile. Don't forget that all the Kids are the same!

Best Regards!

Tags: , ,

Friday, December 22, 2006

Sony pays up for rootkit saga, but it is a pittance

Today California / Texas and 39 other states have settled with Sony BMG for including a rootkit with their music CDs. I wrote a lot about this last year, one of the articles;
Geemodo: Sony DRM ROOTKIT, Suncomm, EFF new removal tool, yet the consumer problems don't go away.
The website created to pay the settlement says Sony did not collect any personal information, they only collected CD ID, Track ID and IP ADDRESS! If IP address is not personal information, or that it leads to your personal information, I don't know what it is. I think lawyers should get all the court records on this case. If SONY can say IP Address is not personal information, when MPAA and RIAA comes calling with IP address to point to you in the court, bring out the amo. Courts will not be able to accept the evidence both the ways for music industry. I think I will post on Groklaw about this piece.
Every user whose computer was damaged with the rootkit, will receive upto $175.00 for all the troubles user went through.Most likely it is $7.50! and some songs. Looks like they getting off for a song. I do not know how the court access the damage value for each user but Sony BMG must have really good lawyers.
Some news reports say that you need to have documented report in order get the settlement payment. The documented evidence seems to be using SONY tools to remove the rootkit! HAHA, it did not completely remove the rootkit or it left some information behind, if I recall the saga right.
Anyway you need to visit the special website created to make your claim. Follow the links provided below. To make it difficult as possible the site is a mess. So follow the links as described and may be you will be able to recover your damages.

Notice to class members with a list of CDs.
Go here to file a claim

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Wii get channel updates

Many a Wii started flashing blue yesterday to announce the newly released updates. If your Wii was connected to the internet you could have downloaded the new weather channel and internet channel.
Weather channel goes live to provide current and future weather information. Provided by Weather news, forecasts can be accessed using a text list of cities or by using the Wii Remote to zoom in on a 3-D interactive globe.

Internet Channel, Opera Software announced that a trial version of its Web browser for Wii will be available on December 22, 2006 free of charge from the Wii Shop Channel.

The final version of the Opera browser will be available at the end of March 2007, and will be free for all Wii owners to download through the end of June. After June 2007, the browser will be available for download in the Wii Shop Channel for 500 Wii Points.

Wii home

Monday, December 18, 2006

Google NASA collaboration details anounced, Google will fly you to the Moon and Mars

Google and NASA will work together to to bring wealth of information, weather on Earth, Space travel available on the Internet, NASA said Monday.

Weather visualization and forecasting and tracking that occurs abroad the international space station are part of the projects that are under discussion. The NASA administrator, Michael Griffin, said the agreement with Google would "soon allow every American to experience a virtual flight over the surface of the moon or through the canyons of Mars."
So my guess is some sort of simulator similar to Google Earth, which might be called Google Moon and Google Mars traveler. What ever it is called I think they will be hits. Until now I thought that the was the place for me to explore Mars. But now I am looking forward to see what NASA will cook up with Google.

The Associated Press article regarding the agreement;
"MOFFETT FIELD, Calif.— Google Inc. and NASA Ames Research Center said Monday that they have finalized an agreement to deliver more of the space agency's imagery and information through the Internet's leading search engine.

The collaboration marks another step in a partnership announced 15 months ago when Google unveiled plans to build a 1 million-square-foot campus at the NASA center, located a few miles south of the company's Mountain View headquarters.

Under the arrangement, Ames will feed Google with its weather forecasting information, three-dimensional maps of the moon and Mars, and real-time tracking of the International Space Station and space shuttle flights so the pictures and data are available to anyone with an Internet connection.

"This agreement between NASA and Google will soon allow every American to experience a virtual flight over the surface of the moon or through the canyons of Mars," NASA Administrator Michael Griffin said in a statement.

Google already draws upon some of NASA's imagery to provide Web surfers with interactive tours of Mars as part of a 9-month-old service.

Ames and Google also have vowed to work together to solve complex computing problems, including large-scale data management.

"Partnering with NASA made perfect sense for Google, as it has a wealth of technical expertise and data that will be of great use to Google as we look to tackle many computing issues on behalf of our users," Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt said in a statement."

Explore Mars Now
Google current Mars site
Mars Image Library

Blu-Ray for your PC or Notebook

May be so far you have been thinking of Blu-Ray as one of the best High Definition (HD) video player. But Blu-Ray is capable of much more than that. ZDNet has an article by Marty Gordon Vice President, Philips Hollywood office, about PC manufacturers adding Blu-Ray to their products or in the process of doing so. The list includes Pioneer, Sony, Samsung, BenQ, Panasonic and Philips and DELL being one of the first to add Blu-Ray to product line.
I think a 50GB or so writable media will be a great benefit to many a people including me. I have 240GB drive capacity on my dual hard drive notebook. But only 120GB is at my disposal. Why? because I have raided my drives for protection. I do most of my work on my notebook and any given time there could be 1-5 active projects and 1-10 projects on hold and 1-5 completed projects ready to be archived to devices on the home network or at work. These runs to about 50GB due to the nature of my work. A Blu-Ray disk will take all these data and keep it safe and at hand.
This particular notebook could be booted in to 6 different OS's, Windows, Linux, BSD, and Solaris x86. If I could make a bootable Blu-Ray disk, there will be no worries about failing hard drives. All my OS's allow me to load it in to the memory, ( I have 2GB of memory) except windows. But I have an live boot CD that is concocted using windows and open source technologies.
Yes I like what Blu-Ray is doing to video, I just got a 1080P Sony Barvia. But I am looking forward to see how Blu-Ray and HDDVD perform on this baby. But I like to have a Blu-ray for my computer first!.

Blu-Ray Buzz on ZDnet

Sunday, December 17, 2006

MPAA continue to show it's stupidity and make us laugh

MPAA and RIAA has been laughable in many occasions for their pathetic lawsuits and attempts to curb piracy. Tech Reads helped me to get my latest laugh at their expense.
I thought they were incapable of doing something right, because with their money and other resources, could have come out with solutions like iTunes a years ago, when they started wagging sticks at likes of MP3.COM. They failed then and according to their ad campaign looks like they fail now.
Thanks RIAA, the only music I listen now is via the radio.
Tech News high lights;
"Notice the obvious grammar error in their quote? Conclusive proof the MPAA is a gang of morons? I think so.

Pirated movies are cheaper than the ones we sell:

Even if you are hoping to get your favorite movie titles at a discount, new or used, the extremely low prices offered on some Web sites might indicate pirated product.

Pirated copies, unlike ours contain no DRM and are region free:

In addition, if anywhere on the package it reads that the disc is an “All-Region,” “0-Region,” or “No Region” product, it’s highly likely that the DVD is pirated.

Is pirating your movies starting to sound better and better? Would you like to learn more? Excellent, the MPAA kindly gives you a list of applications you can use to download free movies. As a courtesy they’ve also said that these programs can be used to download that $600 Adobe product you’ve always wanted, or that South Park episode you missed.

A peer-to-peer service is a network that enables computers to connect directly to each other in order to distribute and copy files. Software programs utilize these networks to search for and trade every kind of file. Examples of P2P services include eDonkey, KazaA, Limewire and DirectConnect.

Careful kids, because as well all know downloading music is FAR more damaging and worse than stealing a used pair of shoes.

It is no different from stealing another person’s shoes or stereo, except sometimes it can be a lot more damaging.

I’m convinced, are you?"

Read more of juicy stuff and comments at given link.

Tech News "MPAA is helping their users.."

Thursday, December 14, 2006

2007 International CES® in Vegas January 8-11

The world’s largest consumer technology tradeshow, 2007 International CES® will be held from January 8-11 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Multitude of companies will be exhibiting at the show and These companies represent more than 30 consumer technology categories, including electronic accessories, broadband, digital imaging, electronic gaming, high-performance audio, home theater, mobile electronics, robotics, VoIP and wireless communications.
The organizers inform that The 2007 International CES promises to be the largest and most successful in the show's 40-year history, with 2,700 exhibitors debuting the latest innovations in consumer technology to an expected 140,000 industry buyers, distributors, engineers, installers, financial analysts, top-level executives, media and industry professionals.

One of the exhibitors, Fijutsu Computer Products of America plans to introduce many technologies that goes beyond consumer electronics. "Fujitsu has supported CES for many years and it has become an important venue to help us introduce new products and meet with business leaders from around the world," said Joel Hagberg, vice president, marketing and business development, Fujitsu Computer Products of America Inc. "This year we are excited to showcase leading-edge technology that will promote biometric security, high-performance storage, 10Gb Ethernet switching, Internet acceleration and high-security data disposal. An important part of the consumer electronics industry involves securing, moving, storing and eliminating data and we are excited to discuss how our technology can serve this market."

The 2007 International CES will host more than 20 market-specific TechZones. Half of these TechZones will be housed at Innovations Plus at the Sands Expo and Convention Center/Venetian which also is home to the award-winning Innovations Showcase. These TechZones will highlight the latest innovations, technologies and trends in consumer electronics including Blu-ray, Bluetooth, IPTV, consumer VoIP, connected home entertainment and gaming.

For more news on CES before, during and after the show, including keynote speeches, individual conference sessions and TechZones, visit, the interactive source for CES information.

The news Source, CEA via Business wire
2007 International CES®

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Why M$ Live is dead and other views

After reading Ravenii's post; VOIP IP Telephony: M$ drops Live and adds VOIP to Communication server 2007 and wondering why Microsoft is dropping "LIVE" from products, I set out to look for reasons.
I did not have to go far, the attention blog directed me to New York Times article.
One paragraph from the interview was enough for me and I came back to The attention.

"“I don’t know if Live is the right name,” he said, saying he had not decided what to do about it. But before he gets around to deciding whether to change the brand, he wants to make Microsoft’s search engine itself more appealing to consumers.", This is from Steve Berkowitz who runs microsofts online services unit.

The Attention has put together some of the revelations by M$ online head honcho into understandable sections. I am sure you will understand some of the M$'s problems and hope M$ listen to it's own people. Looks like live is dead.
The best of The Attention got me laughing.
"However, Berkowitz does hit upon the key challenge for Microsoft at the end of the interview.

“You don’t win in the first 90 percent; it just gets you in the game,” [Berkowitz] said. “What matters to people is emotional attachment. And I think that’s the last 10 percent.”"

Only emotion I got about M$ was when crappy windows crash on me when I for get about WGA. So you know what it is.

My own WGA feelingsGeemodo: WGA, OGA, Vista EULA and Happy Feet

The Attention's Losing customer
New York Times Article

Google Toolbar 3.0 beta, for Firefox is ready

All the features that recent IE Google Toolbar had is now ready for Firefox. The Google Toolbar 3.0 Beta, lets you access your bookmarks from any computer, add custom buttons to your Toolbar, and share web pages via Blogger, Gmail, and SMS.
In addition to the above, just for Firefox users. When you surf the web, you may want to read *.DOC and *.xls right in your browser. Most of the time, you had to download those files and view them with a separate application. Now with the aid of Google Docs & Spreadsheets, you will be able to read those files right in Firefox.
So if you are trying to get away from proprietary formats and yet be able to communicate with rest of the world that equates computers to M$, this tool bar may ease some of your tasks.

Google Blog, Toolbar upgrade for Firefox
Google Toolbar 3.0 Beta
Google Docs & Spreadsheets

Beta from Blogger beta will be removed soon!

Blogger buzz reports that;
"Just before the weekend we added the final piece to the transition from old Blogger to the new Blogger in beta: members of team blogs can now switch to the new Blogger. This is the last step before we take the new Blogger out of beta."
I have blogs in both older blogger and new beta. I have not moved from older to new yet. There are differences even if you change them right now. Blogger has a special help file explaining the differences.
I think I will hold to what I have for the moment. But I think new blogger will have a swell time soon new Blogger!

Blogger help article explaining the old blogs in new blogger
Blogger Buzz article

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Dashnote is getting better, yes they tweaked!

If you recall my previous article about Dashnote and fleck a while ago;
Geemodo: Is Fleck flaking? No Dashnote needs tweaking! I said Dashnote needs tweaking. Looks like Ranjit and the group has done some work.
Among the improvements are the followings;
Public Topics: Registered Users can create their own Topics (customized bookmarks) and enable others to contribute and view notes.
Notes Management: Users can manage their notes and snapshots and do not have to register to use this functionality.
Annotation Viewer: The UI for viewing notes has been substantially streamlined.

Also a new demo where you could see different attributes of dashnotes. The idea is very good as I said before but the bones are getting in and begining to show the shape to come.
I wish all the luck for the group!

Dashnote site
Dashnote Soft release 2 Post
Dashnot demo

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Dual Mode portable PC / Game machine / VOIP phone

Always resourceful Aving site reports of, M*free', its new wireless IP-based hybrid portable device equipped with dual OS, dubbed 'HDPC (Hybrid Dual Portable Computer)'. As the name 'HDPC' signifies, its built-in module offers various functions of multiple devices such as digital camera/web camera, MP3P, portable storage, and USB connectivity presented by MIU at 'Seoul International Invention Fair 2006'

HDPC at Aving

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Snapstream releases Beyond TV 4.5 with DVD burning plugin

I have mentioned before about Snapstrem and Beyond TV before in my blog and I am truely happy with the application.
The Beyond TV 4.5 is a free update for registered users and comes with a bunch of enhansements and bug fixes.Notable fixes are the library issue with more than 100 recordings and the community contributed and improved WebAdmin.
Another notable addition is the optional plugin for DVD Burning. You can burn saved TV shows to DVD for later viewing or to free up your hard drive.
If you do not have Beyond TV yet, Snapstream has made it easier for you to join, A package with Beyond TV 4.5 and Hauppauge PVR-150MCE for sale at 99.99 which is usually sold for 139.99. Right now shipping is free!
The PVR-150MCE's on-board hardware MPEG-2 encoder does all the work so your PC continues to run at full speed while you record your favorite shows. Also includes an FM radio tuner (supported in Beyond TV 4).

Follow the links and find a way to build a PC-DVR, for about $100.00 without any subscription fees.

Beyond-TV Release
Beyond-TV Bundle

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Drupal, Venture Skills, let you get Dugg like Digg while Pligg getting older

I ran in to a article by venture skills site, a site I visit for tech info on various subjects.
I have been interested in site like Digg, just because of; it's popularity, neatness, value and you can add what ever you want here. There are many a solutions to create a Digg site since many followers has come up with clever ideas. Pligg comes to my mind but there are many more.
By the way Pligg is having its Birthday soon Dec 17, and site promises gift galore on that day. So paying a visit might pay off.
But VS article is the first I notices targeting Drupal, a product that I have been playing, installing and maintaining for a few years.
VS takes you through simple steps of installing Drupal, and adding modules to complete the required task to get dugged.
At the end of instructions, you will have a simple Digg like site but VS promises a second article that will add more modules and interface mods.
So if you want to get digged, dugged, follow the links.

Venture Skills Drupal digg article
Pligg digg like

Monday, December 04, 2006

Free Geek using land fills to fill the digital divide

First of all what is Free Geek;
"FREE GEEK is a 501(c)(3) not for profit community organization that recycles used technology to provide computers, education, internet access and job skills training to those in need in exchange for community service."
Free Geek was founded in February 2000 to recycle computer technology and provide low and no-cost computing to individuals and not-for-profit and social change organizations in the community and throughout the world. Since its formation, Free Geek has recycled over 360 tons of electronic scrap and refurbished over 3,000 computer systems that are now in use by individuals and organizations in the community.

Free Geek does most of this work with volunteers (at any given time, about 200 are active). The volunteers disassemble the donated equipment and test the components, which are either recycled as electronic scrap or recycled into refurbished systems. These refurbished computers are then loaded with Open Source Software, such as GNU/Linux, Open Office, and other Free Software.

One way to say Hasta La Vista.

"People who have never even turned on a computer can come here, and in a few hours, they feel a lot better about their relationship with technology," Sano says. "Maybe it's just that they take a computer apart and learn that it's mostly made of air."
Free Geek's approach has made it a cherished hub of Portland's non-profit and social-services community. Besides providing systems to individual volunteers, the organization outfits other nonprofits and provides them with tech support. Free Geek's cooperative structure -- it governs itself through regular, democratic meetings open to all volunteers -- and relentless focus on getting computers and training to those most in need also win lots of plaudits.

"Not all of our volunteers are low-income, but many are," says Shawn Furst, Free Geek's volunteer coordinator. "By getting them computers and skills, we're helping them take a big step up in the job world. If they go through our entire computer-building program -- where they're actually doing every step of the process -- all of a sudden they're up about seven steps."

"There are other places where you can learn the same things you can learn at Free Geek," chimes in Kermit Jensen, a corporate high-tech veteran who's become an indefatigable Free Geek volunteer in retirement. "But they would charge you up to $1500 a week."

Half a decade after it started in a Portland living room, Free Geek can now back up its mission with some impressive statistics. It processes about 100 donated systems a day, and builds between 20 and 30 computers a week. All those systems go out the door -- either free to volunteers, or for as little as $25 at the organization's jumbled shop. Free Geek's in-house server, a Rube Goldberg-like contraption assembled over the years from donated equipment, has an estimated worth of over $200,000.

Free Geek
News Source

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Get your Vista Activated In China or M$ moved to China

Josh's Window weblog reports that, even though the Business Edition of Vista was just released, a rogue Key Management Service (KMS) has already surfaced on the net, deep within China. Once activated your illegal copy of Windows Vista will be good for 180 days before it needs to talk to the KMS server again.
Key Management Service is aimed to protect Windows Vista and Longhorn Server from piracy through Volume Activation 2.0 scheme. According to Microsoft,

Key Management Service
Your organization can host the Key Management Service (KMS) internally to automatically activate computers running Windows Vista. To use the KMS, you must have a minimum of 25 computers running Windows Vista that are connected together. Computers that have been activated through KMS will be required to reactivate by connecting to your organization's network at least every six months.

Currently the KMS software runs on a local computer running Windows Vista or the Microsoft Windows Server Code Name "Longhorn" operating system. In the future, it will run on the Microsoft Windows Server 2003 operating system.

Looks like the Chinese outfit is running this service on the internet, which Microsoft does not allow.
Anyway the server or the domain was not available today. Even if it did, do not go there with your Vista copy, they are the same domain that released, Ginwui malware. So you might get more than activation. In any case if you were interested in Vista, you may have got the Beta or pre release version and you can run it till June or July 2007 and will receive all updates etc.
The question is how many other holes are there in Vista and Vista protection Scheme?

The pirate site is not listed because I do not support piracy. I do not like M$ practices, but like software I write, and the rights I have, M$ has it's own rights.
If you don't like M$ go get your happy feet

Josh's Window weblog
Geemodo: WGA, OGA, Vista EULA and Happy Feet

Friday, December 01, 2006

Get your copy if free Vista today!

MIA, (Microsoft is Awesome) [what?*&!}
Is giving away some copies of Vista. I do not know how true it is and then again it could be true. It is your judgment and I am just a messenger. So don't spent your time here go to the link below!, and be ready to write a haiku, I did!!

Microsoft Is Awesome: Microsoft Truely Is Awesome

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Internet Archive Secures Exemption To The DCMA

Although not all of us are excempted, at least libraries, archives, research and scholarship to flourish without the current dark clouds of litigation. That is a small slap on this stupid law.
From the IA press release;
Thanks to the hard work of two great law school students of Peter Jaszi of American University, Jieun Kim and Doug Agopsowicz, the Internet Archive and other libraries may continue to preserve software and video game titles without fear of going to jail. This is a happy moment, but on the other hand this exception is so limited it leaves the overall draconian nature of the DMCA in effect. A total of more than $50,000 of pro-bono lawyer time has been spent to just affect this exemption and its continuation. We hope that Congress, and other governments, will pass more balanced copyright laws to allow at least libraries, archives, research and scholarship to flourish without the current dark clouds of litigation.

More formally, Internet Archive has successfully advocated for an exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”). The DMCA prohibits circumvention of technological measures employed by or on behalf of copyright owners to protect their works (“access controls”). Specifically, 17 U.S.C. §1201(a)(1)(A) provides, in part, that “No person shall circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title.” In order to ensure that the public will have continued ability to engage in noninfringing uses of copyrighted works, such as fair use, subparagraph (B) limits this prohibition. It provides that the prohibition against circumvention “shall not apply to persons who are users of a copyrighted work which is in a particular class of works, if such persons are, or are likely to be in the succeeding three-year period, adversely affected by virtue of such prohibition in their ability to make noninfringing uses of that particular class of works under this title” as determined in a rulemaking proceeding.

On November 27, 2006, the Librarian of Congress, on the recommendation of the Register of Copyrights, announced six classes of works which will not be subject to the prohibition against circumventing access controls (the DMCA) through October 27, 2009. One of these six classes includes:

“computer programs and video games distributed in formats that have become obsolete and that require the original media or hardware as a condition of access, when circumvention is accomplished for the purpose of preservation or archival reproduction of published digital works by a library or archive. A format shall be considered obsolete if the machine or system necessary to render perceptible a work stored in that format is no longer manufactured or is no longer reasonably available in the commercial marketplace.”

Internet Archive Announcement

VOIP IP Telephony: Silver needle in the Skype

Skype analysis done by Blackhat Europe. Links and more info at VOIP IP Telephony

VOIP IP Telephony: Silver needle in the Skype

Vista in full view, Pro is out today

After many delays and as many tests, Vista comes out of hiding! Hiding in the middle of a football field.
Beginning Thursday, businesses that buy Windows licenses in bulk have first crack at the new operating system, called Vista. Consumers can get Vista on home PCs beginning Jan. 30.
The new Windows is the product of a cast of literally millions: more than 2 million consumers and businesses who tested it and offered their advice; tens of thousands of hardware and software partners who have helped mold the visually gripping operating system; and thousands of Microsoft employees who have sweated out the details.

But even with all the touted improvements, analysts expect Vista to only gradually emerge, especially in big organizations where upgrading can be a costly, complicated affair. Gartner Dataquest predicts that it will be 2010 before Vista outnumbers the previous operating system, Windows XP, on business computers.

Today's planned razzle-dazzle announcement in New York marks the availability of Vista, along with 2007 Microsoft Office system and Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, for business customers. To underscore the event's magnitude, CEO Steve Ballmer will be master of ceremonies. May be some one will give him a comb as a present, this holidays, for what he is trying to do to Linux, self admitted rival in the market place.
Why can't we all get along? that is because Redmond is not LA and M$ wants all for itself I guess.

News source
M$ guide to Vista

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

VOIP IP Telephony: Connect two FreePBX's together

Ravenii tlls how to connect two FreePBX's together
VOIP IP Telephony: Connect two FreePBX's together

Zune Ranks #2 but like 60 miles behind in a 100 mile race

After writing ti last article I did some more research. Yes Zune is ranked number two behind Apple's iPOD. The iPod remains No. 1 with 63 percent of unit sales and 72.5 percent of the dollar share. So what is the Zune share? it is nine percent of unit sales and 13 percent of the total dollar share during its first week on store shelves.

So it is like;
for unit sales and
for Dollar value. The above graphs (if you are to call them graphs! are not accurate) shows them. I do not know what future holds, looks like apple is going full steam in this field and the question is will Zune hold the steam and do some catching up. Just because Apple had the in the market advantage, don't complain about it. Do the due diligences to bring a product to market. Me too some times works.
Anyway, I do not use MP3 players, because I stopped buying music long long time ago, in protest to RIAA. The only music I listen is on the radio when I am in the car. Those classic music I have at home do wonders, when I need them.
What I want to say is that If I wanted a MP3 player, I would get an iPOD, not a Zune. I have a Creative 1GB player just to record my meetings!
Good luck Zune.

SFGate article

Tags: , , ,

Zune keeps on dropping in Munster report!

On Nov 16th Zune had the 7th spot on Amazon list of best selling MP3 players. But according to this PC Magazine article, It dropped to 13 on the list only five days after launch, on Nov. 20.
Do you believe in lucky numbers and Bad Omens?
"The buzz that Microsoft was able to generate for the Zune's launch clearly helped the player in its first week, but much of the publicity took the form of Zune/iPod comparisons," Munster wrote. He added that these comparisons show that Zune "failed to match up in the eyes of most reviewers" to the iPod, a fact that negatively affected sales of the device.

Deutsche Bank analyst Chris Whitmore wrote Monday that the iPod continues to be a strong seller going into the busy holiday shopping season, and the 30G-byte video iPods-- with which Zune competes-- "appear to be immune to the Zune." He said both the 30G-byte video iPods and the new 4G-byte iPods nanos currently are popular with consumers.

A note about Apple's performance from financial firm UBS IT hardware analyst Ben Reitzes also said that Zune does not appear to be any threat to iPod at this time.
You can read more at yahoo news article, listed below.

Microsoft's Zune Player Not Challenging iPod Sales

Tags: , , ,

M$ creeps into MA Technology Advisory Group, one that is ANTI -ODF at that.

The Standards blog article made me sigh, After all the work went in to Massachusetts standardization in common document format, ODF, now the Governor elect has appointed an out of state, M$ Regional Director for Public Affairs, Brian Burke, to the technology Advisory group. What do you think he will advise on? Yes I am surprised but the author of the article, Andy Updegrove, has a better view of this whole affair. So instead of my rantings, I think you should read the article to get a better picture and who the other members are.
I will steal on line from him ;)

"Good fences not only make good neighbors, but good political sense as well. Deval Patrick should ask Burke to stay outside of one that should be built around ODF."

Also tied to this article is one from CIO Mag,
A Win for Microsoft in Massachusetts?
The battle to convert Massachusetts government to an open source format, and phase out MS Office, cost the state’s CIO his job and scared other government CIOs.

Standards Blog article, "MA Governor-Elect Names MS Anti-ODF Lobbyist to Technology Advisory Group"
CIO Mag Article.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

XandroOS 4.0 out Before Vista

XandrOS running MS Office APPlications.

Linux vendor Xandros Inc. today unveiled its latest Xandros Desktop Professional Version 4 of its enterprise Linux operating system, which debuts two days before Microsoft Corp. launches the enterprise version of Windows Vista.

Xandros Desktop Professional 4, which retails for $99.99 and is available in a boxed version or as a download, includes Bluetooth wireless support, desktop search, ISV support and advanced 3D desktop graphics effects. The new OS maintains what Xandros said is seamless compatibility with Windows, Linux and Unix networks, including Windows domain authentication -- plus support for logon scripts, group policy profiles and Microsoft Exchange.

Xandros CEO Andreas Typaldos said in a statement that Linux continues "to make inroads in the enterprise as Windows replacements," meaning companies must figure out how to manage disparate systems in mixed Windows and Linux networks. "Today, most companies utilize a silo-based approach by managing Windows and various Linux versions separately, each with their own administrators and tool sets."

Some features;
Create, open and edit MS Office files with Run important Windows applications including MS Office.
Xandros reinforces the already secure Linux platform with the Xandros Security Suite. The included firewall, anti-virus, file-system protector and Xandros Networks update alert ensures that your Xandros Desktop has the best and most current protection.
Authenticate to Windows PDC and Active Directory Domains. Connect to wired and wireless networks. Use PPTP VPN to connect remotely to the office. Broadband wireless connectivity with 3G, GSM and UMTS support.

So if you are worried about Vista's WGA, OGA, Vista EULA here is one way to have Happy Feet.

Geemodo: WGA, OGA, Vista EULA and Happy Feet

Source of the article

XandrOS Site

Monday, November 27, 2006

Microsoft Takes Advisory role, tries to teach Apple about Security

Ah Yes there is a tree in my eye, but let me takeout that dust spec out of your eyes before I attend to mine, because I know all about dust specs.
I got my Monday morning laugh after seeing the article, "Microsoft offers Apple security advice";
"As crazy as it sounds, a member of Microsoft's security team has blasted Apple for failing to coordinate its security efforts and to issue proper security advice."

Well the article is interesting as so far timeliness not the essence of M$. Also I don't think any out side security experts developed patches, security patches for Mac OS X. But I am certain that they did for Microsoft. So who is this Joker? According to his article, blog post, he has only been doing this years, I guess the guy need to add only few more years, from the state of Microsoft's timeliness and security patches.
Or may be he is just pushing Apple to do it, so that the methods of better security management could be emulated on windows platform!
Anyway, I guess his his next advise might be to Linus, explaining how to manage Linux security.
Hello Mr. Toulouse, go watch happy feet! You might learn something.

Security Focus "Microsoft Offers Apple Security advice"
A link to buggy buggy, sorry bloggy bloggy blog by Toulouse.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Oracle > Ms SQL, in flows by and independent study by one of Microsoft's best clients.

Today I was at computerworld site when I noticed the article, "Study: Oracle database software has more flaws than SQL Server" by Jaikumar Vijayan.
I went through the "STUDY" as I knew about the flaws in Oracle and the slow response by Oracle. I took it for granted that it is an independent study as I knew some of the issues with Oracle. As I earn some of my living with Oracle and MS Sql, I am interested in any Oracle or MS SQL problems or issues.
From the article;
"Between December 2000 and November 2006, external researchers discovered 233 vulnerabilities in Oracle's products compared to 59 in Microsoft's SQL Server technology, according to NGSS. The study looked at vulnerabilities that were reported and fixed in SQL Server 7, 2000 and 2005 and Oracle's database versions 8, 9, and 10g."

Looks like it is now a numbers game. 233 versus 59. Anyway I am yet to find the list so I do not know the details. So I wonder if those includes, on both sides, problems like SQL Slammer worm, which brought down Internet a while ago. I hope not.
Anyway just because of the interest in the article, I checked out who Next Generation Security Software (NGSS) is. Yes they turn out to be what they say they are, state–of–the–art security consultancy and a little bit more. Their one of the most prominent clients are Microsoft. That said, they do list Microsoft security issues on the site as well as other programs. Oh, I did read the study. Well the report seems to be in the right direction. How about graph of publicly known damages done due to those vulnerabilities? Guess who will come on the top!
Jaikumar, I would not rate this as a "STUDY" and certainly not a independent Study, when the report is written by a consultant to one of the parties in question. May be a report by Microsoft's security guardians, which they (NGSS) seem to be doing right.

Note; I am not a Microsoft Fan nor Oracle, they are applications I work with. But I prefer Oracle on Linux ;).
I really like what these guys do!
Jaikumar's article on Computer world
NGSS clients

WGA, OGA, Vista EULA and Happy Feet

Follow the Happy Feet, (Photo copy right of Happy Feet Movie)
M$ do something other than Balming FUD, they are coming.

With all the hoopla about WGA, that made a quite a stir, new stuff is on the way to stir up M$ scene. These includes OGA? (whats is this?) Vista EULA and WGA that is well hidden and protected should give much for Web loggers and tech writers to write about.
Sorry they already do. This morning I came across 3 such postings that made me think hard about an article that I am planing to write.
First, What is OGA? Office Genuine Advantage, just like WGA, office 2007 will carry the same disabling capabilities of Vista, rendering any documents created with office 2007. But M$ does not say that out right, just that it has that right to do so. Read about that right later.
ZDNets All about Microsoft states, "Buried in a Knowledge Base article that Microsoft published to the Web on November 14 are details of Microsoft’s plans to combat Office 2007 piracy via new Office Genuine Advantage lockdowns."
"But now Microsoft’s intentions are clear: Just as it is doing with Vista, Microsoft plans to incorporate what basically amounts to a “kill switch” into Office 2007. Office 2007 users who can’t or won’t pass activation muster within a set time period will be moved into “reduced-functionality mode,” according to Microsoft’s Knowledge Base article."
Read more at the link given below.
The other article I would like to bring to your attention is the one from Security Focus. I did not go there looking for vista, I was just checking security stuff when I noticed the article "Vista's EULA Product Activation Worries" by Mark Rasch. It was a really a good writing that I gulped all four pages in one go.The article is full of information and too long to summarize here. But I will add the last paragraph here;
"And what if Microsoft is wrong, and they disable your software erroneously? Well, you can keep buying and activating their software until you are successful. And that means more fees to Redmond. Or, following the movie “Happy Feet,” you can decide to find software with a little penguin on it."

ZDNets All about Microsoft article Yes, there is an Office 2007 'kill switch'
Security Focus Vista EULA

Why Ballmer's claim on Linux differs from SCO' claim

I am sure you may have gone through countless articles about M$ versus Linux, and M$ Novell deal, if you are interested in the subject. I have!. Google news has 2850 articles, if you search on "Novell Microsoft". And if you do a Google blog search on the same subject you get closer to 36000 results.
So how do you find the best articles, stay closer to the core. I visit Groklaw site daily to see the legal matters on it and the still continuing SCO saga. Then I browse sites like ZDNets Mary Jo's blog. What I learn today is that we cannot ask ballmer to lift up his holiday apron and show the code.The explanation come Mary Jo's post. Here is the most important part from one of her posts;
""Microsoft doesn't have to show infringing code. It has to demonstrate that some implementation "reads" on its patent. That implementation could be in grapefruit, tiddly-winks, or a final executable program.

"The 'show-me the code' thing worked with IBM SCO because SCO claims that IBM is infringing on its copyrights. "

So I think ballmer is on a well planned course on his game. Remember Lindows? I think they settled that case to keep copyright on a common word like "windows". May be ballmer and gates lived in huts without windows, prior to 1980's or 1990s, but many a people had windows, a long long long time ago.

That is why ballmer will not come forward with his patents, because some of them might get invalidated, or they are in violation some other patents. Or some patents might be containing such things as prior art. Prior art at Microsoft? Don't laugh, everything is original at M$.

There is another article that gives a yet another view on Eweek, "Is Microsoft Violating Some Patents Covering Open Source?"

Mary Jo's article (read her prior article on the same subject too)
Is Microsoft Violating Some Patents Covering Open Source?

PC games Versus Console games.

Although I have latest PC hardware, Dual Core CPU's, SLI Dual graphic cards, 4GB memory , Sata Hard drives, 22" wide LCD displays, I never play games on my PC. But I do have friends who spend countless hours on PC's playing Half life or counter strike.
When I want to play games, I reach for a console, PS2, Game cube, XBOX 360.(I don't have the latest consoles!, I am not the type who stand on th lines to get anything.) There is something different in playing games over the console and 42" latest Plasma TVs. I get immersed in the game, get tired and get back to work on my PC ;).
The only PC game I bought was the Microsoft Flight simulator, but I don't see my self playing it.
So when I saw the article by Playfuls, "Analysis: Did Consoles Kill the PC as a Gaming Platform?" my answer is yes! If all the people feel like I do, then it is certainly dead. But since it is not dead yet, I think there are more people still play games on PC's. But as these console wars, continue, more consoles in the market, I think there will be lesser and lesser PC games.
Go read the Playfuls article, it is a good analysis on the subject.

Analysis: Did Consoles Kill the PC as a Gaming Platform?

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Get your mobility and freedom back without wheels

Yes, it ’s a walking bike. It walks on four feet and seems to have a good balance. I am not sure if it can climb stairs! But on the road it is slower than a bicycle. But I guess you will have to spend a lot on shoes for this true Moped.

Four legged bicycle

Friday, November 24, 2006

XBOX 360 gets a rare birthday present

Playfuls news reports about XBOX 360's birthday. Yes M$ has lost millions on this game gear war, it is growing, the loses!, and these Brit gamers are helping a bit.
According to the article,
"a gang of die-hard fans (of Sony's most likely) from England, who hijacked a couple of transports estimated at £1,000,000 worth of Xbox 360 consoles. That's almost $2,000,000!"
Well at least M$ is winning in one direction, loses. And when these reach a certain number, say a few billions, M$ might drop and run.
Article ends with a note;
"The Staffordshire police made an appeal to the public, asking them to report if anyone offers them a shiny new console in suspicious circumstances, "such as in a pub, at a car boot sale or off the back of a lorry"."

Yeah, good luck

Playfuls Post

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanks Giving day!

I thank all of you on this thanks giving day!
Be good on black Friday! Get all the gizmo's, you want.

Kangaroos write laws, Dingos approve them making all Australians criminals.

Weseepeople, has an article about proposed Australian copyright laws that are rushed through the parliment.
One could get quite sick and angry about the consequences of these laws. I am.
Read more at following link;
weseepeople: Proposed Copyright laws turn all Australian to Criminals

Microsoft takes over Firefox.

While M$ and Novell agree to disagree, M$ has quietly acquired Firefox! From the MSfirefox site, the statement;
"Do more by doing less.

Open multiple copies of Microsoft websites in one window with tabbed browsing. See thumbnail images of all Microsoft sites in a single view. Organize multiple tabs of sites into a single tab group of everything Microsoft and save it as a favorite. Opening 30 of your favorite Microsoft sites has never been easier."

Is complimented by the press release;

" REDMOND, Wash. – October. 24, 2006 – Microsoft Corporation (Nasdaq: MSFT) today announced the completion of its acquisition of the Mozilla Firefox Web Browser. The transaction was finalized on Saturday, October 23, 2006. As a result of the acquisition, Microsoft share prices jumped 5.7%. Mozilla Corporation's share prices remained at zero.

The combination of Microsoft's power and might along with Firefox's extensive fan database will create one of the world’s largest, most innovative and diversified browsers ever. The acquisition brings together two of the industry’s strongest contenders and is the most ubiquitous incorporation of technologies for creating, managing and delivering compelling spyware and viral experiences across multiple operating systems, devices and media (Subject to Microsoft Compatibility).
This week the Microsoft will begin executing the planned integration of the core innovations of both Internet Explorer and the newly acquired Firefox to ensure a smooth transition; then to bring immediate value for users, customers, partners and investors.
Management of the combined software products includes executives and board members from both organizations. FirefoxLuva69 has being fired as chief executive officer and has replaced by Steve Ballmer. The new Microsoft Firefox subsidiary has elected Mr. Bill Gates to stand as President, Co-Chairman and Vice President."
So I will not say no more, please visit the MSFirefox site to find out more.


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Novell and Microsoft agree to disagree?!

The recent agreement between software giants are bringing out disagreements. The webspace is awash with the information and I get my daily dose from Pamela at Groklaw has been an ardent supporter of the Open Source since SCO began it's fud (Fear Uncertinity and Doubt) and that long I have been a member of her Weblog, forum.
Through Groklaw, I landed on this news item, "Novell disputes claim by Microsoft on patents" on Seattlepi.

In a twist that underscored the unlikely nature of their alliance, Novell Chief Executive Ron Hovsepian publicly distanced his company Monday from Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer's statement last week that the open-source Linux operating system contains patented Microsoft technology.

"Importantly, our agreement with Microsoft is in no way an acknowledgment that Linux infringes upon any Microsoft intellectual property," Hovsepian wrote in a letter to the open-source community, posted on Novell's Web site. He added, "When we entered the patent-cooperation agreement with Microsoft, Novell did not agree or admit that Linux or any other Novell offering violates Microsoft patents.""



Friday, November 17, 2006

Is Fleck flaking? No Dashnote needs tweaking!

My previous post I wrote about Fleck;

Geemodo: Fleck is alive and you can leave flecks on any webpage

Which due to too many hits, began to run out of connections yesterday, I got such notices myself, thats is why I went to look at Dashnote.

But again I noticed a comment on Pete's blog by Ranjit telling us about Dashnote. I did go to the site and registered my self. It seems a decent enough product but my feeling is it needs improvement. Fleck furthers itself by providing slick interface compared to the Dashnote. Also Dashnote and Ranjit, You do need to make noise in cases like these! Now you are just another fleck. Just follow Microsoft, release what you got and fix whatever makes biggest noise.

I am in the process of (mainly procrastinating) cooking up some ideas in the same line and may be catch you guys later to embed dashnote into my idea, I don't have money to pay Fleck!

Here is the snippet by Ranjit on Pete's Article.

"As it happens, we’ve built something like this at DashNote. We’re a bit coy about making a lot of noise about this since rough edges remain (which will be cleared up in a few days), but it may be worth taking a look. Some key differentiators:

1. You can annotate specific content on the page (text, images, or image regions for things such as photo-tagging)
2. We preserve the notes and the original page (annotations and context)
3. Positional data is also maintained though there are some issues when comments are placed in IE and viewed in Firefox and vice-versa.


Fleck blog about running out of connections!

Fleck is alive and you can leave flecks on any webpage

Mashable' Pete has published about the much awaited information about the Amsterdam based I also visited Fleck and it's blog. There seems to be some controversy about Pete's timing of the publishing the article. Here is a peevee about that, "And we urged them not to publish their articles before Techrunch posted their article. Apparently Pete couldn’t control himself any longer and I had a misunderstanding (see comments) and he published his post moments ago. This is unfortunate and I regret it happened.".
But I am happy that Pete did that because I am flecking away now. I will add this to one of my sites, once I get hang of it.
From Pete's mouth itself ;
"One of the advantages is that Fleck doesn’t necessarily require you to install a browser extension to start adding annotations to web pages - you can start adding notes by entering a URL on the site itself, or just drag and drop a bookmarklet into your browser. Once you start Flecking, you can add notes and bullet points to a page, save it to Fleck, blog it or share it via email. You don’t even need to create an account: Fleck seems to save these notes right in your browser. If you do create an account, however, you can log in on multiple computers. And if you don’t mind downloading another extension, there’s currently one available for Firefox users, with an IE extension in the works. This basic service is free, but they plan to charge $2.99/month for a Pro account. There’s no word yet on what that might include."

Pete's article

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Chase and find your friends with Helio GPS Phone

Helio today unveiled a new phone it's first GPS phone,which allows users to track their location or locate their friends via a hand set produced by samsung and google maps.

The Drift as the phone is called is availabe from today from Helio and it's partners.

The Buddy Beacon service would allow a Helio subscriber to locate a friend who also subscribes to the service. Functionality like this is already available in South Korea, where Helio part owner SK Telecom operates.

"We're staying true to our mission of bringing advanced wireless technologies from Korea to the U.S. so Helio members can experience an entirely new wireless world," said Wonhee Sull, President & COO of Helio.

The "Drift" phone, which retails for $225 USD, will feature a 2.12-inch display, Bluetooth, 2.0-megapixel camera, and multimedia support. Additionally, the phone has 128MB of internal memory with the capability to expand through external MicroSD cards.

The Google Maps service would also include live traffic conditions and support for aerial imagery, much like the desktop version of the application.


helio drift

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Microsoft's best find of the year, Gmail is a Virus

As many have reported but I just finished reading a complete article on the ZDNET's Googling Google blog, Microsoft's virus scanning software Windows Live OneCare detects Gmail as a virus. None of the other virus scanning software does this and one left to wonder if Microsoft is trying to push it's own Live mail ahead of Gmail.
But when I reached the end of the Garett Roger's article, it seems M$ onecare made a tiny mistake;

"I would like to confirm that this was a false positive and let you know that we pushed a fixed signature to Windows Live OneCare users today.

We will investigate how this false positive happened and take steps to minimize the risks of additional incidents." — Ziv Mador, response coordinator in the Microsoft Antimalware team.

Googling Google

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Firefox 2.0 better at Phishing than IE7!

Washington post's Brian Krebs, I have referred to his articles here before, reports and writes about phishing (blocking) capabilities of two prominent browsers. From his article;
"The newly released Mozilla Firefox 2.0 and Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 Web browsers both include new technology to help flag and block phishing sites -- those authentic-looking Web sites set up by scammers to trick users into entering personal financial information.

So how do the browsers stack up against one another in a no-holds-barred, anti-phishing slug fest? One third-party test that pitted the browsers against two week's worth of phishing sites concluded that Firefox's phish net may have fewer holes than IE's."

Well I am not surprised and it is always pleasure to read Brian's articles. Head over there to get the scoop.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

DCMA at work again, this time with landmark

San Francisco-based Landmark Education, known for its Landmark Forum motivational workshops, is trying to suppress an investigative television news piece critical of its methods. Landmark contends that the documentary infringes its copyright in the Forum course, while citing to copyright registration of the Forum leader's manual. Using the alleged copyright violation as a pretext, Landmark subpoenaed three websites hosting the video -- the Internet Archive, Google Video, and YouTube -- seeking the identities of the anonymous uploaders. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) allows a content owner to issue a subpoena for the identity of an alleged infringer without first filing an actual lawsuit.

"This is a classic example of using a bogus copyright claim to squelch free speech," said EFF Staff Attorney Corynne McSherry. "To the extent that the documentary uses any Landmark material, that use is clearly non-infringing. Landmark is simply trying to use the streamlined DMCA subpoena process to obtain the identities of its critics."

Well DCMA is good for you and your fellow citizens, specially if they are big coporations. Read the rest of the article and motions at EFF, Deep Links site.


Self help group bullies net critics

For EFF's objection to the Internet Archive subpoena:

For more on Landmark's subpoena campaign:

you also can contact;

Corynne McSherry
Staff Attorney
Electronic Frontier Foundation

Kurt Opsahl
Staff Attorney
Electronic Frontier Foundation

Google Docs & Spreadsheets gets 4/5 from PC MAG

Google Docs & Spreadsheets, which I use everyday now, got reviewed by Edward Mendelson
and it is worthwhile reading. It not just because I don't Like the bloated M$ apps, in any case it is Open Office for me for my day to day work on my desktop. The review on PC magazine gives you a picture of what you could do with Google Docs & Spreadsheets.
It describes very well some of the functions that I use very well;
"Though Google Docs doesn't try to match Microsoft Word's overpowering feature set, it does let you create fully formatted documents complete with pictures, tables, and hyperlinks. You can also upload documents as Word, RTF, HTML, OpenOffice, and plain text files and download documents in Word, RTF, HTML, OpenOffice, and PDF formats. The program has more power than you see on the menu. For example, if you upload a Word file with footnotes or endnotes, Writely displays the notes correctly, lets you edit their content, and exports them correctly—although you can't create new notes within Writely unless you make tricky manual edits to the underlying HTML.

You can invite other people to read or edit your document by entering their e-mail addresses on a form, and a toolbar notifies you if someone else is editing a document at the same time as you are. Revisions are synchronized every few seconds. If someone else deletes a sentence while you're adding words to it, a pop-up lets you preserve the words you were adding, but if you want to get back the sentence that your colleague deleted, you'll have to click on a Revisions tab and extract the sentence from the earlier versions that Writely stores automatically. A convenient button lets you compare two earlier versions, with the differences highlighted by color-coding. "

Official Google Docs & Spreadsheets Blog: A real treat
PCMAG article
PCMAG Google Docs & Spreadsheets slidshow

M$'s Allchin back tracks on Vista Virus Statement

"I meant Vista is the Virus" no I am just kidding. Anyway Allchin is no spin doctor, he cant spin his butt out of ****, if he had to.
But according to an article published on the official vista blog,
To counter the endless news stories, his official Vista blog carries a clarifying statement about what he actually said. To paraphrase, he explained that his son was able to use Vista without AV protection because it was locked down with parental controls, meaning no instant messaging, email or other common vectors of attack, and this coupled with Vista improved security model meant that it was possible to run without AV in this kind of heavily locked down situation.
What a load of bull Allchin, Put your sons computer on the net and see what happens. Anyway the final result is that Vista needs Virus protection and a firewall. Probably not M$ solution, they tend to hide what you don't know.
" In fact, later in the call, I explicitly made this point again, because I had realized I wasn’t as clear as I should have been."
It is alright Allchin, M$ never have been!

VOIP IP Telephony: Get your CIT310, a phone with Yahoo inside

Noticed this dual mode VOIP/POTS yahoo phone by Linksys.
VOIP IP Telephony: Get your CIT310, a phone with Yahoo inside

ZUNE is in the stores now, pre release! and install error

Someone already got hold of ZUNE here in bay area. FLX-Tech writer got himself a Zune and posted about it. From his article;
"By coincidence i got my hands early on an Microsoft Zune, bought as a regular customer at BestBuy in Union City Landing shopping centre.
They dont seem to care that the release day is next tuesday. They werent displayed in the store itself but i asked a salesmen if i could pre order a Zune. Then he told me they were already in and he could sell one to me. And so he did:"
He/She also has Photos to prove it and I stole the best Photo.

FLX-Tech article

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Open Source passes anti-trust test

Even Brown from reports on the Judges opinion on Wallace v. IBM., No. 06-2454 case at The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit . Judge Easterbrook declares, "[t]he GPL and open-source have nothing to fear from the antitrust laws." The case is called Wallace v. IBM., No. 06-2454. [Download a copy of the opinion.]
"Although antitrust law serves the interests of consumers rather than producers, the Supreme Court has permitted producers to initiate predatory-pricing litigation," Judge Easterbrook wrote in the November 9 decision. "This does not assist Wallace, however, because his legal theory is faulty substantively."
Read more at Internetcases

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

All you want to know about any MAC, from 1983-2006

Mactracker provides detailed information on every Apple Macintosh computer ever made, including items such as processor speed, memory, optical drives, graphic cards, supported Mac OS versions, and expansion options. Also included is information on Apple mice, keyboards, displays, printers, scanners, digital cameras, iPod, AirPort Base Stations, Newton, and Mac OS versions.
Make a note of it...
Each of the info windows has a Notes tab that allows you to add your own comments as well as links to Internet addresses, files, and folders that relate to the selected model.

Smart Categories + Smarter Searching
Mactracker 4 gives you the ability create your own categories by selecting a specification item such as processor type, date introduced or your color label. In addition, a new search engine searches the entire database (including your comments) in one stroke and allows you to sort the results by model category, date, or specification in a Spotlight-inspired view.
Best of all you run it from your computer, be it a Mac with MACOSX, windows Machine, iPOD or Mac OS 8-9.22. Just download and run it.
I think it is a very well done project and if you are interested in MACs, a must have.


Mactracker is freeware. If you would like to support future development, please consider a donation

Microsoft pays millions (300-400) to Novell in their latest deal and Novell answers community questions.

I still cannot understand what drove Novell to sign pacts with M$. Not many understand it either as both sides are very close mouthed about the deal. This worries me if another FUD session like SCO in the making. M$ had a large hand in the SCO saga and I don't believe that M$ is kissing the hand of Linux.
Trust me I am a paying Linux customer of Novell, It was decided due to corporate policies while Suse was still owned by Suse. But the contracts got carried over. And we remained a loyal customer. I was also a Redhad customer too, Server and workstations. But I switched those to CentOS and I am very happy with the results.
Now I have to worry about Suse too. But before jumping or leaping I need to find out more about the nature of Novell/M$ pact. I am sure it will be dissected as soon as the people have enough information.
For now I visit Groklaw to keep updated. Also I have a few Mono projects under my belt and have to think about them too.
Today I found some answers on the Novell site on an article titled "Novell Answers Questions from the Community"
Here are the questions and Novells answers;

Q1. How is this agreement compatible with Novell's obligations under Section 7 of the GPL?

Our agreement with Microsoft is focused on our customers, and does not include a patent license or covenant not to sue from Microsoft to Novell (or, for that matter, from Novell to Microsoft). Novell's customers receive a covenant not to sue directly from Microsoft. We have not agreed with Microsoft to any condition that would contradict the conditions of the GPL and we are in full compliance.

Novell's end user customers receive a covenant not to sue directly from Microsoft for their use of Novell products and services, but these activities are outside the scope of the GPL.

Q2. Why did Novell make this deal with Microsoft? Was Microsoft threatening a lawsuit?

Novell started discussions with Microsoft in order to solve problems for our customers by improving Linux/Windows interoperability in areas like virtualization, heterogeneous server management, and office document compatibility. By securing a commitment from Microsoft to support the use of Linux and open source software, we have allayed any potential concerns for our customers and removed a barrier to enterprise-wide Linux adoption.

There was no threatened litigation.

Q3. Is this agreement an admission that Linux products from Novell infringe Microsoft patents?


Patent concerns did not drive our entry into this agreement. Novell makes no admission that its Linux and open source offerings infringe on any other parties' patents. Our position has not changed as a result of this agreement.

Q4. With this agreement, will Novell include Microsoft patented code in its contributions to the open source community?

No. Novell will not change its development practices as a result of this agreement. It has always been our policy in all development, open source and proprietary, to stay away from code that infringes another's patents, and we will continue to develop software using these standard practices. If any of our code is found to infringe someone else's patents, we will try to find prior technology to invalidate the patents, rework the code to design around the infringement, or as a last resort remove the functionality.

Novell is committed to protecting, preserving and promoting freedom for free and open source software.

Q5. Novell's November 2 press release states that, "Novell will also make running royalty payments based on a percentage of its revenues from open source products." Are these payments for a patent license to Novell?

No. Novell has no license or covenant not to sue from Microsoft under this agreement. The payments are for Microsoft's covenant directly to Novell's customers. By the same token, Microsoft's customers receive the same covenant from Novell in return for payment from Microsoft to Novell.

Q6. Will Novell's involvement with the Open Invention Network (OIN) change due to this agreement with Microsoft?

No. The Open Invention Network is an independent organization formed to protect many commonly distributed open source and free software packages, including Linux, from legal attacks, no matter where an attack comes from. OIN provides coverage to the entire Linux industry by providing a form of retaliatory protection for Linux distributors and users that might be targeted in patent litigation.

Novell is a founding member of the OIN and remains strongly committed to its mission. We have contributed valuable resources to OIN and will continue to participate in OIN in the future. Novell remains firmly in support of the goal of creating an environment of open innovation in the Linux world, without worry about the threat of patent lawsuits.

The value of OIN's patents as a deterrent remains critical to the entire Linux industry, including Novell, and is not affected by our agreement with Microsoft.

Q7. What does your investment in Office Open XML mean to your commitment to the Open Document Format?

Open Document Format ("ODF") is the default file format of, and Novell is firmly committed to advancing ODF as a file format and a standard. We devote the bulk of our development efforts to ODF.

We also understand the need for Linux desktop systems to provide compatibility with Microsoft Office file formats. By supporting Office Open XML in, and by contributing to efforts to translate between ODF and Office Open XML, we will achieve better interoperability between Linux and Windows desktop systems. This will allow more businesses to choose Linux desktops freely.

Read Novell's statement on file formats for office applications.

Q8. What does this mean for Mono and its inclusion in non-SUSE distributions? Does Mono infringe Microsoft patents?

We maintain that Mono does not infringe any Microsoft patents. This agreement does not impact the rights and abilities of other distributions to bundle and ship Mono.

Novell is the leading contributor to Mono and we remain committed to the Mono project. Mono is a community project with many constituents and collaborators from companies, universities, governments and individuals.

The Mono project has a set of rules it uses to handle patents that might read on its implementation. The general policy is to work around, remove, or find prior technology on any patents that might read on any implementations in Mono. We continue to support this policy.

Mono Project