Monday, October 8, 2007
The next time you think about viewing a video on YouTube, think again. According to a news story that aired this morning on NPR, hackers are delivering spam, stealing data and introducing computer viruses via online media players.
The story quotes a technical spokesman from IBM Internet Security Systems, a new division recently acquired by IBM, which has shipped systems with PC-Doctor software since 1997. Here is a link to find out more about IBM ISS and its security information.
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
I tried. I really did. I wanted it to work out between us. But it didnÃ¢Â?Â?t.
After one quarter of damnable blue screens, unexplainable freezes and uncountable reboots, I abandoned Windows Vista and upgraded to Windows XP.
ThatÃ¢Â?Â?s right: ItÃ¢Â?Â?s an upgrade.
Why? XP works and Vista did not. ItÃ¢Â?Â?s that simple.
I donÃ¢Â?Â?t care that Vista works fine for some.
I donÃ¢Â?Â?t care that Vista has a few cool features that I would like to use. Cool features donÃ¢Â?Â?t mean a whit when the OS frequently flakes.
I do care about productivity. And I care that IÃ¢Â?Â?ve lost many, many hours because of Vista.
ItÃ¢Â?Â?s been two weeks with XP, and guess what? Not a single reboot or freeze or blue screen. WouldnÃ¢Â?Â?t you call that an upgrade?
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Kudos to IBM for its decision to offer its Symphony suite for free. ItÃ¢Â?Â?s a nifty integrated office productivity package thatÃ¢Â?Â?s been around for many years but could never compete against the Microsoft Office juggernaut.Now that itÃ¢Â?Â?s free, it will be interesting to see what kind of market reception it gets and what RedmondÃ¢Â?Â?s response will be Ã¢Â?Â? particularly since it has a respectable corporate ancestry (remember Lotus Development Corp.?) and comes to market from a company with a three-letter name synonymous with business computing. For me, thatÃ¢Â?Â?s quite a bit more compelling than free offerings like StarOffice (too flaky) and Google applications (too different).
HereÃ¢Â?Â?s the link for more information on IBMÃ¢Â?Â?s announcement:
Thursday, September 6, 2007
News of Apple's 33% price cut on iPhones caused quite the stir at PC-Doctor yesterday. At least one person dashed to the local Apple store to pick up a discontinued 4GB for $299.
Meanwhile, poor me seethed over a $200 price cut on the 8GB. I bought mine on Aug. 19. Yesterday was Sept. 5. That's 17 days after the purchase. The Apple policy only covers 14 days. If only.
Not one to let stupid stuff stand:
1) I wrote Jobs. OK, that's total vanity, but it feels good. And based
on past experience, he sometimes responds. My rant ended with a simple
request: Be good to your customers.
2) I called my credit card company and put a hold on the purchase.
Reason stated: Overpayment. Perhaps another meaningless gesture, but maybe enough credit card execs can question Apple's wisdom.
3) I called the local Apple store and parried briefly with the store clerk who wisely turned me over to John the store manager. That's when I heard something that ranks among the dumber statements made in customer service history: "You know, sir, that technology prices drop over time. "No kidding", I responded, but in my 30 years in the tech industry, rarely have I seen a cut this big, this soon, on such an expensive product without having a program in place to protect customers - ESPECIALLY from a blue chip name like Apple.
I don't know if it was the logic or the volume, but John the store manager did the right thing in the end: He offered me a $200 store credit for use at the Apple store or at Apple.com.
Now, if only Apple does the right thing like John the Store Manager without forcing other customers to ask. Thank you, John.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
My experience with Microsoft Vista reminds me of a comment that I heard (and captured) by David Pogue, the tech columnist for the New York Times. In an on-camera interview with 60 Minutes about the growth in the PC service market, David said:
Ã¢Â?Â?Part of the problem [with PCs] is that there are so many cooks Ã¢Â?Â¦ Microsoft made the operating system, some company in Taiwan made the equipment, youÃ¢Â?Â?re running software from a company in California, and now you're installing the driver for a digital camera from a fourth company. You know, what are the odds that all of these are going to work flawlessly together for all 400 million people who have PCs? Zip."
This week, my system did some wacky things that have even boggled our very experienced IT guy.
First, I updated a video driver (see results in the jpg). Never in my 30 years have I ever seen a screen flip upside down. Pretty crazy stuff.
Next, I tried to install a new optical mouse (the old one had an annoying stutter step when you tried to move it too finely). It asked me if I wanted to find the driver, which is weird because it is a NEW MICROSOFT BASIC OPTICAL MOUSE!!! Then, IÃ¢Â?Â?d get an annoying message that it couldnÃ¢Â?Â?t install the required software.
These two odd things would likely be highly entertaining if it wasnÃ¢Â?Â?t for the time IÃ¢Â?Â?ve had to waste (and that of our IT expert) with these issues and others Ã¢Â?Â? another blue screen, continued application hangs (though less frequent) and a reboot on average of every second or third day. I have found that there seems to be a correlation of problems when I use my Sprint card, but nothing that I can duplicate to discover the final solution.
A pool has started now in the office: How long before Doug chucks
Vista and asks for a downgrade (upgrade?) to Windows XP. YouÃ¢Â?Â?re all invited to play. The only prize is bragging rights.
Friday, August 17, 2007
I ran across the article on the BBC site and found it interesting. Bottom line, Google scientists were surprised to learn that the effects of high activity levels and high temperatures are not always as bad as traditionally thought.
Here, too, is a link to the published the technical paper.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
It's been one week since my new PC arrived, replete with Windows Vista. If my experience is any indication, it's still not ready for prime time.
Here's the score:
Reboots = 8
Blue screen = 1
Application freezes = too numerous to count
I have no weird applications installed. It was set up by our IT guy (and I'll stand behind him all day long). The hardware is good.
Some of the folks in the lab are calling it the Windows ME of the 21st century. I think that sounds pretty harsh . to Windows ME.
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