Yesterday, news that RIAA lawsuits had cut down file trading broke big headlines. But, I wonder. I’ve been experimenting with most major legal music stores—iTunes, MusicMatch, Napster, and Rhapsody—and wonder how much impact they have […]
Ten years ago this month, I bought my first home PC from a friend who built them for a living. Months earlier, I had read a story in what was then called Washington Journalism Review about the coming age of digital journalism. Few people had heard of the World Wide Web when the article published, but San Jose Mercury News and other publications had started appearing on America Online and CompuServe.
That first computer was a whooper for its day: 486 processor, 8MB of RAM, 120GB hard drive, and Windows 3.11. The builder included WordPerfect 6, which was so buggy, I picked up the competitive Word 6 upgrade from my local Staples. My current cell phone, which also runs a version of Windows, has more power, storage, and memory than that first PC.
Longhorn evangelist Robert Scoble has posted the roaringly insightful blog, “Why Do Bloggers Prefer Macs?” Apparently, Macs have big presence at blogging conventions. I’d like to add another reason: Microsoft doesn’t make blogging software. By […]
Microsoft has an image problem. Just ask anyone doing business with the company. Software developers, hardware manufacturers, and even some customers will secretly share they’re scared to death of Microsoft. Many reasons account for this fear. Some partners worry Microsoft will one day turn on them and gobble up their market. Others don’t want to rock the boat for fear of missing out on the coveted Windows logo for their products.
Some customers fear Microsoft’s bringing in Washington-based Business Software Alliance to do a software audit. Each piece of non-licensed software can cost a company $150,000. Even if every bit and byte is legal, the burden of proof is on the accused. Did you keep every receipt?
Apple CEO Steve Jobs didn’t come out with a Windows version of iTunes as I had hoped. But that’s something the company can add later on, after people really interested in music buy Macs and […]
Apple is expected to launch a new online music service on April 28, 2003, that will work with a new version of the company’s iTunes digital music software. Rumors are buzzing loader than a ruptured hornet’s nest about the service. Most people believe Apple will make the new service available for Macs only. But I can’t imagine Apple CEO Steve Jobs is that dumb. If he’s smart, he’ll release an iTunes version for Windows and make a bold move into the digital media market.
My daughter has really gotten into this old “My Little Pony” Hasbro CD-ROM game she’s been playing at a friend’s house. I vaguely remember seeing it on store shelves years ago, but just figured it wasn’t my daughter’s speed. After all, she favors things like Sonic the Hedgehog or The Sims. But apparently, she really likes this My Little Pony game. I would buy it if I could find it. Hasbro doesn’t sell the game online, and no stores anywhere in my area carry it. Sure, there are some cheap copies still available on eBay. Assuming they’re legit.
It’s funny how far the protagonists championing either PCs or Macs will go to push their cause. I moseyed into my local CompUSA on Jan. 19, 2003, where I found two ViewSonic representatives showing off Microsoft Windows Powered Smart Displays in the store’s Mac section. As I approached, one of the salesmen lithely snatched two shoppers eyeing an Apple iBook and pitched them on a Smart Display.
I returned later when the salesmen was alone and piped, “Say, you’re going to scare all the Mac customers away.” “That’s the idea,” he shot back. I must have made some kind of brilliant observation, because he gave my daughter a set of promo street style headphones for my troubles. So, now she can wear a Windows logo while plugged into an Apple iPod.
Nothing irritates a busy reporter more than blowing off a whole day because of a computer catastrophe. (Can you guess where this is going?) Worse, this situation rekindled a longstanding gripe with Hewlett-Packard.
First, the crisis. The hard drive on the HP Windows Media Center 883n I had been testing suffered some kind of partial failure on Oct. 19, 2002, forcing a mad scramble to recover what data I could from the crippled disk. I first fired up the 883n on Oct. 10—so that’s only nine days of use—with the intention of writing a review as early as Oct. 20. But given the drive failure, I had to start from scratch, since some peculiarities I noticed with the system apparently derived from the lame disk.
Mac enthusiasts say Apple is the mother of all invention. Maybe they’re right. Microsoft took six years to deliver the kind of operating system the company promised in 1995. Windows 95 didn’t live up to the hype until Windows XP. Apple managed the same feat in less than two years. Mac OS X 10.0, released in March 2001, lacked fundamental features such as CD burning and DVD playback. Successor 10.1, which debuted in September 2001, delivered better performance but couldn’t match some of XP’s best features. But Mac OS X 10.2, also known as Jaguar, beats Apple’s original promise of a robust, modern operating system and outclasses Windows XP’s handling of multiple programs running simultaneously. Still, many important changes are mere catch up to XP or even Apple’s older Mac OS 9.
Apple delivered my official Jaguar copy on Aug. 16, 2002, about a week before OS X 10.2’s official Aug. 24, 2002 release. Talk about efforts to woo the reviewer: Apple preloaded Jaguar on a PowerBook G4 800. But I already had been working with betas and final code obtained though “special sources”. Before Apple’s woo-the-reviewer package arrived, I had the “unofficial” official release running on three Macs: Dual 1GHz Power Mac G4, 700MHz flat-panel iMac and another PowerBook 800.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Most big companies must really believe this, because the majority have a corporate logo. Hell, logos have a long legacy, going back to families’ coats of arms. That picture has been a way of identifying an entity—whether a family or business—for a long time. But one major U.S. company doesn’t have a corporate logo, which might explain some rather strange behavior about branding.
I’m talking about Microsoft. This fact might explain some mighty strange behavior up there in Redmond.
I have never paid full price for a PC, and I’m not talking about bidding for junk on eBay. The best deals, both in price and reliability, come in refurbished, also known as “reconditioned”, PCs. These are models returned for some reason, occasionally for defect but mostly because the buyer changed his or her mind. Once returned, the seller can no longer sell the PC as new.
Most major PC makers sell refurbished computers online, including Dell, Gateway, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and Sony. Vermont-based Small Dog Electronics specializes in Apple refurbs, and PC Connection serves up a wide selection of reconditioned computers.