217 Articles


14 years Ago

Windows Vista Build 5342

Published by marco on

Microsoft recently released another build of Windows Vista to members of their developers network. A flurry of screenshots ensued. The system appearance, if not its feature set, is starting to stabilize and shows signs of having had input from graphic designers for this go-round. Windows Vista Screenshots (Only4Gurus) provides the latest batch in what they show to be a long line of screenshots from the various Blackcomb/Longhorn/Vista incarnations from over the years.

Initial Impression

The basic... [More]

Hasta La Vista, Baby

Published by marco on

 Following close on the heels of their delay announcement last week, Microsoft finally dropped all pretenses and cancelled the next version of Windows entirely in a press release early this morning.

Vista was plagued throughout its many-monikered existence by delays, feature withdrawals and a heavy amount of FUD[1]. Windows Vista slips…out of sight (The Register) has a full history of the troubled software:

“Harking back to the days of the XP beta “Whistler”, which was regarded as a code cleanup and facelift... [More]”

Synchronizing iTunes Libraries

Published by marco on

This is a synopsis of the instructions I found at New PC & moving itunes library, which didn’t strike me as concise or to-the-point enough for the less-savvy user.

Target Audience

This guide is for people who do not let iTunes organize their music for them.[1] It further assumes that you’ve already copied your music files (mp3, m4a, ogg, etc.) to the new computer. This guide will show you how to make iTunes on the new computer use the ratings, play count and other information from the old... [More]

15 years Ago

John Dvorak: A Cautionary Tale

Published by marco on

Simply put? John Dvorak is a troll. He is a click-through slut who will write anything to get people to visit his site. Since he doesn’t seem to get sued for libel and he garners ratings, PCMag hasn’t fired him yet for constantly making predictions that fail to come true. His latest opus is called Will Apple Adopt Windows? (do not click, see below), in which he predicts that Apple will abandon their OS X in favor of licensing Windows for their hardware. Here’s a good example of his... [More]

Irish Case Mod

Published by marco on

The Whisky PC is a PC inside a whisky bottle. It’s about the size of a Mac Mini and looks pretty cool.

It’s apparently not so easy to do, as the guy (I’m assuming) who made the case had to get it professionally done:

“I tried to cut and drill couple of similar bottles at home but I realized that my tools are not good enough for it, then finaly a professional glass grinder man prepared the whisky bottle for me. He made two holes: one at the back of the bottle for CPU cooling and one at left... [More]”

“Top of the Line” Workstation Redefined

Published by marco on

 PowerPC G5 (Side View)The new quad processor solution from Apple for their G5 line is an amazing machine. It would certainly be good enough for any other company to trumpet as their flagship product. Not Apple. If you enter their online shop and start to configure a system, you’ll notice that there is a curious option under “Graphic Cards”.

“Quadro FX 4500 / 512MB SDRAM [+ CHF2400.00]*”

*I was shopping in the store in Switzerland … that’s about $1875.


Google will tell you that this is not a typo — the... [More]

Technology Reporting

Published by marco on

Tech reporting is spiraling ever downward: information generally starts out in the form of a carefully vetted press release and is copied verbatim to one of the big “news” sites (CNet, I’m looking at you), where it’s adorned with banner ads and clever user comments. From there, other sites copy chunks of these “articles” and paste them on their own pages with their own ads and their own clever users. As an example, there is this short article called Microsoft Takes Aim At Google (Slashdot). It is quoted... [More]

How to buy an LCD

Published by marco on

 Apple LCD (not reviewed)Budget LCD Roundup April 2005 (Firing Squad) is a perfect guide for people looking to buy an LCD. Let me rephrase that to anyone looking for a computer, because CRTs barely even exist anymore. In fact,

“For those of you who still have a CRT monitor on your desk right now, know that it will likely be the last CRT you will ever own. … Your vintage high-end CRT is better than many CRTs being produced today.*”

*That’s me. I’ve got two vintage 19" Viewsonics, both 5 years old.

Pixel Speed

So, LCD it is, then.... [More]

Mac OS X Tiger − a Promising Future

Published by marco on

 Now that Mac OS X Tiger has been out for about a month, the next wave of more in-depth reviews are coming out. These provide a more hands-on critique than the initial wave of sycophantic “reviews” that were mostly created by copy/pasting Apple’s press releases. Some of the latest reviews sing Tiger’s praises, offering workarounds for weaknesses and others are harsher critiques that take Apple to task for breaking their own UI guidelines.

Mac OS X 10.4 − more bling than bang? by Andrew Orlowski (The Register) mentions right off... [More]

16 years Ago

Browsing the web faster

Published by marco on

Browser Speed Tests offers an in-depth speed comparison of dozens of popular browsers (in different versions and platforms) in several categories:

  • Startup time
  • Table rendering
  • CSS rendering
  • JavaScript
  • Graphics (downloading and displaying multiple graphics)
  • History (traversing back and forth)

The results are hardly surprising for those that have tried and used different browsers: Opera wins in amost every category. On Windows, it’s almost twice as fast as any other browser in most of the... [More]

Standing out by Blending in − Development on OS X

Published by marco on

OS X is a demanding environment for budding applications. There are a lot of customs, rules, standards and recommendations to follow in order to integrate properly with the rest of OS. Since the OS that Apple delivers is so strongly integrated in its look and feel (you can’t change the Aqua theme without third party software), applications that do whatever they like feel somehow “wrong” and get uninstalled.

 Delicious Library (Ars Technica) reviews the product of the same name (their attention to graphic... [More]

Wikipedia Comes of Age

Published by marco on

 They say you’re nobody until somebody hates you; it proves that you’ve gotten noticed and are having an effect, if nothing else.

Wikipedia is an online, extremely complete and cross-linked encyclopedia built using the Wiki online collaberation software and available in several languages. The English Wikipedia has 450,000 articles, while the German Wikipedia has a respectable 188,000 articles. What’s more, it’s created completely by its users and visitors, constantly evolving and growing with... [More]

Bill Gates Talks About DRM

Published by marco on

Anyone who can remember the anti-trust case brought by the U.S. Justice Department against Microsoft (and I know that, since nothing really came of it, we can forget that it ever happened or that Microsoft was actually convicted of anti-trust and illegally obtaining and abusing their monopoly) will recognize the Bill Gates we see in a pair of interviews he gave recently.

Gates taking a seat in your den ( is a longer one (four pages), in which he shows off his unique interviewing style in which a... [More]

OS X Tiger approaches

Published by marco on

The MacWorld Expo has come and gone. Steve Jobs has demoed OS X Tiger once again and there are neat animations of some of the cooler features coming this year (second quarter 2005) to a Mac near you. I thought three of these were particularly interesting.


The OS X Dashboard (click ‘Play here now’ in the desktop picture shown near the top of the page) “is home to a new kind of application called widgets”. There are a ton of these widgets, for checking weather, converting units,... [More]


Published by marco on

Scraping and ad-stripping Google’s results is an explanation/manifesto explaining why they offer open-source code for scraping the Google search results pages.

“If done in the public interest and not for profit, it’s legal. What’s more, Google can’t block you if they can’t find you.”

Their basic point is that Google has built a $50 Billion market cap simply by trawling the Internet for content you’ve created, attaching ads to it and serving it all up in super-context-sensitive search results.... [More]

Define “stupid” on the web

Published by marco on

I once had a conversation in an Opera forum with another user about document standards, validating web sites and browser support/detection. His opening salvo was as follows:

Coding to make your site break for 8% of your visitors is definitely stupid, whether you do it because of ignorance or evil is irrelevant. Sites that require MSIE pretty much never validate, and obviously you can’t even start thinking of incompatibilities between IE6 and IE5 before you have checked that your code is valid.... [More]”

You’ve got XP

Published by marco on

It sounds like a venereal disease when you say it like that.

Whereas your health is not endangered by Windows XP (yet!), the latest numbers from security services around the world are out and they agree that:

“[20 minutes is] how long your average unprotected PC running Windows XP will last once it’s connected to the Internet … before it’s compromised and effectively 0\/\/n3d.”

Infected in 20 minutes (The Register) takes you through the by-now familiar drill of security problems with Microsoft’s flagship... [More]

Extensions and Plugins

Published by marco on

PC Magazine Reviews Firefox, Opera (Slashdot) is a discussion about Firefox, for the most part. Several times during the discussion, people praise the Extension Manager in Firefox.

It’s not enough.

To really take off, this Extension Manager is an excellent base. However, if you visit the site and see the jungle of plugins that await you, you’re a fool if you think “most” people are willing to wade through it to configure their browser. Programmers and geeks love it. “Most” people will not.

Here’s the... [More]

Spam Gourmet

Published by marco on

 Here is an intriguing solution to spam. An infinite supply of email addresses; useful for when you must submit a usable email address (e.g. where a mail is sent to verify registration).

All mail sent to addresses you give out from spamgourmet is routed through that site and filtered through rules before going to your real address. For example, if your user name is ‘dude’, then you can sign up for a dodgy website with:

This will allow 5 messages sent to this... [More]

Microsoft vs.

Published by marco on

Stupid Microsoft Tricks by Robert Cringely (PBS) talks about recent happenings in yet another lawsuit for anti-competitive practices that Microsoft is involved in; in this case, they are accused of flat-out stealing another company’s technology after prolonged (2 years) discussions with that company about licensing.

When asked to provide all emails from that period, the record at Microsoft came up blank for 35 weeks.

“The reason for this mass erasure, it was explained, is that Burst technology was unimpressive and not... [More]”

When being bad is good business

Published by marco on

Microsoft has been just plain bad in the world of business for a long time. They break rules, abuse monopolies and starve or absorb entire industries right and left. They’ve got strangleholds in dozens of tech markets and leverage them all to acquire even more. They get caught all over the world − you relatively often read of Microsoft in court or paying fines − but they continue to do business exactly the same way.

Why is that?

The answer is relatively obvious, but Timing is Everything by Robert Cringely... [More]

17 years Ago

Another IE-breakthrough

Published by marco on

Please be advised of a new Microsoft Knowledge Base article entitled: Steps that you can take to help…. In it, you’ll find the recommendation that you should “…not click any hyperlinks that you do not trust. Type them in the Address bar yourself.”

So now, you have to type all URLs by hand because Microsoft can’t fix their browser. Isn’t it time to consider Opera or Firefox?

A read on Slashdot put this latest development into persepective:

“To go back to an often used analogy, if Microsoft... [More]”

18 years Ago

Foveon Digital Camera Technology

Published by marco on

 I’m still waiting on my next digital camera. Foveon is the technology I want, I just don’t know of any cameras that use it (or that are in my price range).

The diagram to the left shows the technology behind this successor to the standard CCD:

“The layers are positioned to take advantage of the fact that silicon absorbs different wavelengths of light to different depths, so one layer records red, another layer records green and the other layer records blue. This means that for every pixel... [More]”

Opera sabatoged by MSN (again)

Published by marco on

Why doesn’t MSN work with Opera? is a systematic investigation of the behavior of the MSN website when approached by different web clients. Recently, Opera Software discovered that on the home page for the MSN web-site, “…it looks like Opera7 has a serious flaw so that many lines are partially hidden [and] the page shows less content than users of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (MSIE) see.”

MSN in Opera 7They concluded that the MSN web-site is sending back a different style sheet to only Opera browsers.... [More]

Don’t Trust Me.

Published by marco on

Slashdot reports in Another Critical Microsoft Hole that IE, once again, has a problem with granting ActiveX controls too many rights. This latest security flaw in Windows NT/2000 (not present in XP) is a really good as the best solution Microsoft can recommend is to “…to make sure you have no trusted publishers, including Microsoft.” (Security Bulletin MS02-065). That means you have to remove all the trusted publishers from your list, because the control at issue is actually signed and... [More]

First Look at Palladium

Published by marco on

The August 15, 2002 Cryptogram by Bruce Schneier at Counterpane Internet Security explains what is known about “Palladium”, the code-name for Microsoft’s trusted computing intiative. It’s abbreviated as Pd, like an element. Isn’t that cute. This is a natural outgrowth of Hollywood’s (in the form of the MPAA and the RIAA) jihad against its customer base and our acceptance of the blame. It aims to use hardware to prevent people from doing anything that Hollywood doesn’t want them to with... [More]

Gates’ Plans for India

Published by marco on

Am I looking for conspiracies where they don’t exist when I read The Importance Of Being In India in Business World India and this article, Bill Gates pledges $100 million to fight AIDS in India on on the same day and wonder whether the two are connected? I mean, Gates himself said that “…[h]e worried that India’s enormous progress in information technology − the country has the only Microsoft software development centre outside the United States − would be thwarted by AIDS.” At this... [More]

Linux Gains Ground Abroad

Published by marco on

The Washington Post reports in Europe’s Microsoft Alternative that a region of Spain, “a western region of Spain called Extremadura, a mostly rural expanse of olive trees and tiny towns with 1.1 million inhabitants”, is planning “to convert all the area’s computer systems, in government offices, businesses and homes, from the Windows operating system to Linux”. This is a trend that started in Asia, with first China, then India, declaring that they would be standardizing on Linux or other... [More]

Overclocking Madness (almost 4GHz)

Published by marco on

Overclocked Pentium Chip3.998GHz! Now that’s an overclocked chip. This was spotted at Slashdot in an article called P4 2.80GHz Overclocked to 3.917GHz. In their English language abstract, they mention that they actually got it to run at 3.998GHz after all. Yeah, those numbers are correct. These crazy Finnish guys place the entire chip assembly into a bath of liquid nitrogen inside a styrofoam cup (see picture). In a couple of pictures, you can see the Fluke thermometer registering -193°C! The whole site’s in Finnish,... [More]

Mac OS 10.2 Jaguar

Published by marco on

QuartzExtreme LogoArs Technica has a rundown on the latest Apple/Mac conference, MacWorld New York, in MWNY Keynote: Time to line the RDF with asbestos?, which announced a lot of new products, both hardware and software. Most of the hardware changes are incremental updates, with the IMac upgrading to a 17" wide screen, which is very cool. The IPod now has “[u]p to 20 GB of storage, official support for calendar and contacts, and Windows support via MusicMatch.”

The most interesting updates are on the software... [More]