Friday, October 31, 2003


Panther glitch erases some hard drives | CNET News.com  

Panther glitch erases some hard drives | CNET News.com: "Panther glitch erases some hard drives
Last modified: October 30, 2003, 4:23 PM PST
By Ina Fried
Staff Writer, CNET News.com

A problem is causing some of those who install the new version of Mac OS X to lose the data that's stored on their external hard drives.
Apple Computer said the glitch is limited to external hard drives that use a high-speed FireWire connection and a particular chipset Oxford Semiconductor manufactures. The company encouraged those who have a drive that uses the chip to disconnect their drives from Macs that are being upgraded to Mac OS X version 10.3, or Panther.
'Apple has identified an issue with external FireWire hard drives using the Oxford 922 bridge chipset with firmware version 1.02 that can result in the loss of data stored on the disk drive,' the company said in a statement provided to CNET News.com. 'Apple is working with Oxford Semiconductor and affected drive manufacturers to resolve this issue, which resides in the Oxford 922 chipset.'
An Oxford Semiconductor representative declined to comment. "

Oh NO!!! You don't mean to tell me that APPLE has produced buggy software, too???? ROFLMA! What will they put in their 'Switch' commercials? "You, too, can switch to Apple and have your hard drive wiped by an OS bug!"?

Product activation glitch hits Symantec | CNET News.com  

Product activation glitch hits Symantec | CNET News.com: "Product activation glitch hits Symantec
Last modified: October 30, 2003, 4:31 PM PST
By Robert Lemos
Staff Writer, CNET News.com

Some of the 1.2 million customers that have installed software maker Symantec's latest Norton PC security package have been unable to use the software because of new antipiracy technology, the company confirmed Thursday.
A few consumers have complained to Symantec that the U.S. and British versions of a package that includes Norton Antivirus 2004, Norton Internet Security 2004, Norton Antispam 2004 and Norton SystemWorks 2004 mistakenly asks for a product activation code every time a PC is rebooted. Eventually, the software informs the consumers that they have reached the activation limit and the software will cease to function. "

Well, I gues it was bound to happen. I think it's pretty near impossible for a company to test EVERY possible hardware config. Hopefully for those few(?) people, they'll get a handle on it soon.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003


Microsoft Professional Developers Conference  

Microsoft Professional Developers Conference

I won't try to outline individual sections. Here's the first-day report by eWeek...

The Long Last Gasp of Tube-Based TV  

The Long Last Gasp of Tube-Based TV: "The Long Last Gasp of Tube-Based TV

Published: October 29, 2003

UNKIRK, Md. - America's love affair with all things big has moved from supersize French fries and sport utility vehicles to large flat-panel, wide-screen, HDTV-compatible televisions, the kind that can hang on a wall. While comparatively few are bought today - because of their high cost - sales are expected to explode this decade as prices plunge.
Old-style sets are on their way out, a trend that is bound to be accelerated even further by Sony's decision to end production of traditional cathode ray tubes in Japan to focus exclusively on newer display technologies. [World Business, Section W.] "

I'm sure that this will further push along the beginning avalanche of convergnce. The TV set and the computer monitor, never that far apart technologically, will become one. I'm not sure there will be a loser in this, unless it's the people (like me) who can't really afford this major an upgrade. Major? Sure! The average household is likely to have at least two TV's and likely more like three or four, if there are kids involved. Then add in a couple of computer monitors. Now, imagine taking all of them and chucking them in the trash.

Ugly? You bet! Not likely to happen in MY house, where there are more like 5 TV's. There are tremendous benefits, I think. You have a definite better picture to gain and the cost benefit of not having the manufacturing cost differential between TV and monitor. Add in less heat generated than with the old CRT technology and less power consumed. If you multiply 6 CRT's per house times the estimated 100 MILLION homes involved and you start seeing some real consequences in power consumption, nationwide.

Convergence, though, is what it's all about. The choice it opens up when the computer can be used as a front end for a vastly wider entertainment experience. I think that the victims here (besides the old CRT technology and manufacturers) will be set-top boxes, game consoles, video rental outlets, and record stores. Hmm? The last two? Yes. Video of choice on demand will be the killer app. Add to that the current boom in music downloads and it starts to make RealNetworks' Rhapsody service look a little less loony. I'm sure that's what they're banking on. Game consoles will fade as people actually bring the PC out of the dark corners of the house into the living room. Then you'll see real multi-tasking, multi-USER PC's bloom. The PC will run the entertainment hub of the home while still allowing dad to get on with surfing or doing the bills (or the family web site). You may see remote systems throughout the house for access in other areas, but the main Heavy Iron will be in the living room with the family big-screen video. Home networking will be taken for granted, so that the entertainment can be accessed by family members no matter what room they're in.

Given all that, Microsoft's moves with Windows Longhorn and its Aero UI don't seem far-fetched, it seems like Microsoft, for one, realizes that this is all headed our way and they're trying very hard to get ready for it. The OS is going to be the home quarterback for all of that.

Let's hope that they can truly build security and the ultimate in spam (both e-mail and visual) protection into the thing or we may never forgive them. I predict that there will have to be some kind of resolution of the whole privacy/advertising issue before convergence takes over. Convergence won't leave us anywhere to hide from advertising and there had better be a way for people to control it or The People will take it out on the politicians. Congress be warned!

More later....

Type This On Your Toast  

Fingernail Sensors Could Replace Keyboards

By Charles Choi, UPI Science News

NEW YORK (UPI) -- Someday, a network of sensors, worn on the fingernails like press-on nails to detect finger motions, could replace the ubiquitous computer keyboard and mouse or maybe even help operate robots by precise remote control. Such interfaces would make typing unnecessary and could help people who suffer from repetitive strain injuries after spending long hours in front of computer screens, said researcher Stephen Mascaro, a mechanical engineer at North Dakota State University in Fargo.

"Because the sensors are so sensitive, you don't have to push down on surfaces very hard," Mascaro told United Press International. Repetitive strain injuries are one of the nation's most common and costly occupational health problems, costing businesses some $2.8 billion annually. The key to the technology is the subtle changes in blood-flow patterns under the fingernails whenever fingers move. "Depending on whether you push your finger straight down on a surface, or slide it back and forth, or bend it, you see all these different patterns," Mascaro explained, "and it's possible to tell them apart."

Each sensor contains light-emitting diodes that shine onto the nail. The more blood there is under it, the less light is reflected. Light detectors in the sensor read the blood patterns and relay them to computers that match them with corresponding finger motions. So, in principle, with fingernail sensors, an operator could interface with a computer by wiggling his or her fingers on a desk instead of typing on a keyboard. A buttonless keyboard could prove invaluable, Mascaro said, because computers are getting ever smaller, as are cellphones and other handheld devices. "Computers are going to keep getting smaller, but you can't shrink keyboards beyond a certain point," he said. "The best thing to do is to have the keyboard in essence built right into the person's own hand," and one could transform any surface into a keyboard with these sensors."

Yes, this sounds interesting, but I'm personally waiting for RFID stickers that would do the same thing at (I'm guessing) 2% (or less) of the cost of LED stick-on nails.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003


CRN : Daily Archives : Symantec Acquisition Roll Continues : 2:34 PM EST Mon., Oct. 27, 2003  

CRN : Daily Archives : Symantec Acquisition Roll Continues : 2:34 PM EST Mon., Oct. 27, 2003: "Symantec Acquisition Roll Continues

By Christina Torode, CRN

2:34 PM EST Mon., Oct. 27, 2003
Symantec Monday said it will acquire ON Technology in a cash deal worth $100 million.
The deal has been approved by Symantec's board of directors and is expected to close by March 2004, said a company spokeswoman.
The acquisition of ON Technology, a Waltham, Mass.-based vendor of network management systems software, marks Cupertino, Calif.-based Symantec's third purchase in the past two months.
ON Technology, which works with other infrastructure management companies such as Opsware, provides centralized and unattended management solutions including auto-discovery, OS and application deployment, and software patches and upgrades.
Last week Symantec acquired SSL VPN provider Safeweb, Emeryville, Calif., for $26 million in cash, and in September the vendor acquired Orem, Utah-based PowerQuest, which makes products that help large companies add, reconfigure and manage storage devices. "

Hmm. Must be the start of the Christmas buying season...

The Register  

The Register: "Joe Average User Is In Trouble
By Scott Granneman, SecurityFocus
Posted: 27/10/2003 at 10:26 GMT

Opinion One of the many hats I wear here in St. Louis is that of college instructor, writes SecurityFocus columnist Scott Granneman. I teach courses in technology at Washington University, recently ranked the ninth best overall college in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, and at St. Louis Community College at Florissant Valley, one of the better community colleges in the area. I teach smart people at both locations. One is composed of folks who can pay the high prices for an education at a nationally-ranked university, and the other has people who work during the day and want to improve their skills at a good public school while keeping their costs low.

In other words, I see a pretty good cross-section of the computer users in our area.

Oh sure, some of my students are what we'd call 'computer people,' who work professionally programming or administering various systems or developing Web sites. But those are few and far between. Most of my students are office workers, or writers, or homemakers. Almost all of them run Windows at home and at work, usually ME or XP. They all know how to 'use' their computers, which means that they can write papers, read email, use the Web, and even install software (as long as it's not packaged as a ZIP file: most of them have no idea what a ZIP file is or how to use it). In other words, your typical American computer user. "

I was going to ignore this story as a bit of fluff, but then I read the rest of it and realized that it can be used as a tutorial to those clueless users out there (and we all know who they are!). It's a low-tech-noise summary of the current security situation in computers and what the average user can do to make sure they're not part of the problem.

Monday, October 27, 2003


Libertarians Pursue New Goal: State of Their Own  

Libertarians Pursue New Goal: State of Their Own: "Libertarians Pursue New Goal: State of Their Own

Published: October 27, 2003

EENE, N.H. — A few things stand out about this unprepossessing city. It just broke its own Guinness Book world record for the most lighted jack-o'-lanterns with 28,952. It claims to have the world's widest Main Street.
And recently, Keene became the home of Justin Somma, a 26-year-old freelance copywriter from Suffern, N.Y., and a foot soldier in an upstart political movement. That movement, the Free State Project, aims to make all of New Hampshire a laboratory for libertarian politics by recruiting libertarian-leaning people from across the country to move to New Hampshire and throw their collective weight around. Leaders of the project figure 20,000 people would do the trick, and so far 4,960 have pledged to make the move."

Whether you agree or disagree with Libertarians, you have to tip your hat to people who are willing to act on their beliefs. Especially when it involves ripping up your roots and moving to New Hampshire. Nothing against the state, but for many of those moving there, the winters will be an eye-opener.

Sunday, October 26, 2003


The Register  

The Register: "Windows Longhorn build leak starts hype two years early
By John Lettice
Posted: 26/10/2003 at 15:53 GMT

Microsoft is due to release Windows Longhorn build 4051 to attendees of its Professional Developer Conference (PDC), which kicks off today, and immediately before this, build 4051 leaked. So did it jump or was it pushed?

Actually, that's not a question that's particularly worth pursuing directly. Microsoft builds leak regularly, Microsoft knows this, and Microsoft knows that the wider the distribution of the software, the faster it's going to spread all over the internet. So even if you reckon that leaking builds at this juncture in the development process are extremely helpful to Microsoft, it's entirely unnecessary to presume that anybody at Microsoft needs to throw a switch. All they have to do is sit back and let it happen. "

Very interesting article, John. I'll be watching to see what Monday brings...

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