Snow in Redmond, free Xbox Live, Facebook blogs, homework tips and more of what I've read
Light Snow: 30°F, Feels Like 25°F (actually, it feels colder).
On a warmer note, thanks to the tireless and well-read Paul Schottland for establishing my blog on Facebook (via blognetworks for your FB users).
I was happy to note that Xbox Live Silver Members Offered Free Online Play through the "Friendship is Free" program. Earnest Cavalli wrote (December 04, 2008) that "The program, scheduled to run until the end of December, allows those gamers with free Xbox Live Silver accounts to enjoy online play in a handful of Xbox 360 games including the phenomenal Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix."
"Thinking of buying that certain someone special an Atari 2600 for Christmas? Or a TurboGrafx-16? How about you support a great cause while you do so? "The last time I was back home in Connecticut, my parents and I pulled out a whole mess of doubles out of the ol' Game|Life Archives, and we're selling them on eBay and donating 100% of the proceeds to Child's Play. Every dime you spend on these classic pieces of history will go straight to children's hospitals around the world. What better reason to get into a bidding war with someone over this old Atari 2600."
Currently at $157.50, you have until just after 2:30PM (Pacific Standard Time) Sunday (Dec-14) to bid on this perfect gift for the gamer who has everything except an Atari 2600, and see all the funds to go a good cause.
A few more bits from the archive and then it’s off to dig out my snow shovel and show the boys how to use it for fun and profit.
Rob Pegoraro wrote about Tiny PCs, Full-Size Problems in the Washington Post on December 4, 2008 (Page D01) and asked “How little laptop is enough? And how few dollars will it cost you? The ultralight laptop has traditionally been a luxury item. But over the past couple of years, sanity has returned to this end of the computing universe: You can pay less for less of a laptop.”
I offered my own view on netbooks in my post Netbooks, Live Cashback and rebates: helping the economy one gadget at a time. The 2133 just arrived, and ‘though I’ve been busy testing with different PCs at home, I’m eager to get this unit configured.
gapingvoid: "cartoons drawn on the back of business cards": studio update: desertmanhattan "For the last couple of months, I've been talking about a return to large-format paintings. Originally I was planning 6-by-6-foot canvases; I decided instead to opt for 4'x8'. "I finally have my studio set up, as pictured above. It's an outdoor studio, with cement floor, tin roof, and as shown here, canvas walls to keep the rain and dust out."
Weighing Devices for Your Netflix Delivered via Web | Nick Wingfield | Personal Technology | AllThingsD from December 3, 2008 by Nick Wingfield.
“Netflix was a pioneer in the business of movie rentals — getting consumers to rent DVDs online and mailing them out in cheery red envelopes. Recently, it has put a lot of effort into a service that delivers movies digitally over the Internet to subscribers, preparing for a day when getting movies on a physical disc will become outmoded. People today use the Netflix service on their computers, but Netflix (NFLX) has cut a series of deals with hardware partners to make the service available on TV sets through an array of devices.”
Adobe Announces Crash CS4 Professional (John Paczkowski) -- AllThingsD reports it's "no wonder Adobe won’t have an exhibition booth at Macworld Conference & Expo 2009–the company’s sacking employees who might have otherwise staffed it…."
"Citing the standard litany of economic tribulations, Adobe (ADBE) Wednesday reduced its fourth-quarter outlook and said it will cut 600 jobs around the world–about eight percent of its workforce. The company now expects revenue of $912 million to $915 million. In better times, that revenue target range had been $925 million to $955 million. "The global economic crisis significantly impacted our revenue during the fourth quarter,” said CEO Shantanu Narayen. “We have taken action to reduce our operating costs and fine-tune the focus of our resources on key strategic priorities."
Former Yahoo Tech Star Qi Lu Likely to Be Named Microsoft’s Digital Head by Next Week | Kara Swisher of AllThingsD speculated accurately that "Former Yahoo tech star Qi Lu (pictured here) is poised to take on the big job of being Microsoft’s top digital executive, according to several sources inside and outside the company. "The appointment could be announced by Microsoft as early as next Monday. "A variety of details is still being ironed out, though, including whether the well-regarded techie Lu will be “paired” with another executive at Microsoft (MSFT) with more general business experience."
Newegg.com has the Intel BOXD975XBX2KR LGA 775 Intel 975X ATX Intel Motherboard "CrossFire: it's not just for classic Corvette engines anymore. The Intel BOXD975XBX2KR brings ATi’s CrossFire technology to your gaming system. This versatile motherboard supports processors from a Pentium 4 with HT Technology to the supremely powerful Core 2 Quad-core processors. Four 240 pin DDR2 DIMM sockets handle up to 8GB of DDR2-800 memory. Four back-panel USB 2.0 ports, a FireWire port and a gigabit LAN port ensure maximum connectivity. The Sigmatel 9274D 8-channel audio has 5 analog connections and 2 SPDIF (1 coax and 1 optical) outputs. Legacy controllers for floppy drive, serial, parallel and PS/2 keyboard and mouse are provided. There is an ATA-100 drive header and 8 SATA drive interfaces."
Also of interest (for a future HTPC rig at home, much to my wife's chagrin): the new EVGA 113-YW-E115-TR LGA 775 NVIDIA GeForce 9300 HDMI ATX Intel Motherboard
"As you probably know, the BBC and a bunch of publications pounced over a "new" Tech Support Note recommending the use of anti-virus software, accusing Apple of "quietly" changing their tune about the Mac being virus-proof. We discovered this was false. Then Apple removed the notes, saying they were obsolete because Mac OS X is designed with built-in protection. Certainly, Mac OS X's architecture and their out-of-the-box security policies make their OS safer than Windows. Or does it? Despite the technical arguments, do you think Mac OS X needs anti-virus software?"
"Mac OS X, mythically immune to common computer plagues, has actually always welcomed antivirus software. Or, uh, maybe not. Confused? No worries—here's how OS X and Windows differ on resisting viruses and other nasties. It's not a matter of opinion: OS X is less susceptible to catching a cold than Windows. So is Linux, for that matter. There are two major reasons (and Steve Jobs' pee actually isn't one of them). First, Windows is on 89.6 percent of the world's personal computers, while OS X is on just 8.9 percent of them. Second, the Unix architecture that OS X and Linux are based on is inherently more secure than Windows, particularly pre-Vista versions."
Cardio with Obama (and his Zune) - The Clog Blog, Philadelphia City paper -- "It wouldn't be long before I could ask the man myself, as he walked majestically across the gym floor in his track pants and sweat shirt. I did a double take, and soon after that, looked around the gym to see if anyone else knew he was here. Nobody seemed to notice. But he hopped on the machine next to me and broke a mean sweat while reading a copy of USA Today and listening to his Zune." See also Zunegate (The Clog, Philadelphia City Paper), and the theory that Obama's Zune was giveaway from Todd Bishop on TechFlash…
"OK, this is making a whole lot more sense now. Possibly solving the mystery that has perplexed the technology world, Microsoft blogger Steve Clayton points out that the company made special-edition Zunes for the Democratic National Convention. "Of course! That explains it. Now we know how Barack Obama ended up with a Microsoft music player as his digital companion on that treadmill next to Philadelphia City Paper writer Neal Santos this week. I mean, what else could it possibly be? Surely Obama didn't buy the thing!"
Of interest: the WVC54GCA Linksys Wireless Camera which can (according to the description) send "live audio and video to a web browser anywhere in the world! Sends high-quality live audio and video to your network wirelessly – viewable from most web browsers, anywhere in the world Built-in video stream encoder and stand-alone web server – no PC necessary Security Mode automatically sends email alerts with video clips upon motion detection Supports MPEG-4 and MJPEG video at up to 640x480, and up to four simultaneous remote users."
Announcing the Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 Service Pack 2 Customer Preview Program (CPP) - Windows Vista Team Blog, posted by: Mike Nash 04:23 PM Tuesday Dec 02, 2008.
"Hi, Mike Nash here. In late October I announced the Beta of Service Pack 2 for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 - beginning with a small group of Technology Adoption Program customers. This week we're opening up the beta to a broader audience. Starting today, MSDN and TechNet subscribers will have access to the Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 Service Pack 2 Beta to begin testing. "Beginning Thursday Dec. 4th, we will be making the Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 Service Pack 2 Beta available to everyone through a Customer Preview Program (CPP). The CPP will launch on TechNet and be available to anyone interested in trying out this service pack. The CPP is intended for technology enthusiasts, developers, and IT Pros who would like to test Service Pack 2 in their environments and with their applications prior to final release."
In a post by Dharmesh M. Mehta, Director of Windows, we learned more about The new face of Windows Live on the web - Windows Live -- Dec 2, 2008:
"As Brian announced a few weeks ago, Windows Live is in the midst of releasing a new wave of updates for the web, for your PC, and for mobile devices. "Today we’ve started releasing the first set of updates to our web services, and these will continue to roll out globally over the next 24 hours – including a new version of Windows Live Home, Spaces, Events, and SkyDrive, as well as completely new web services such as Windows Live Groups, Photos, and Profile. "The easiest way to really get to know these services is simply to sign in and start using the new Windows Live web services. Get started on the new home page at http://home.live.com/. There’s a ton there – and as we mentioned a few weeks ago, there’s even more to come. Let us know what you’re enjoying with the new updates, and as always, keep sending us your feedback so we can continue to improve Windows Live." -
It will be interesting to see what Mr. Tweet ("Your Personal Networking Assistant!") drums up for me. "Mr. Tweet looks through your extended network to help you build effective relationships on Twitter. Examples: •Which are my followers I should be following in return? •Who are the influential people I should be following? Follow Mr. Tweet (Yes, that is all you need to do)"
Business Technology : Reviving F---ed Company -- December 1, 2008, 4:10 pm, by Andrew LaVallee "Now that we can officially say we’re in a recession, it makes sense that there’s a resurgence of sites devoted to floundering companies. "We have to bleep out some names, but they include LayoffBlog.com, Screwdd F—-edStartups, It Died, Timely Demise and web2.0f—edcompany.com (which BizTech wrote about in October), in addition to TechCrunch’s longer-running deadpool." Also see It Died, a "compendium of what services and companies are no longer available for our Internet pleasure and use."
The 10 Best Deal-Tracking Sites will keep you from making an impulse buy, assures PC Magazine, which implores readers to "visit these top sites for the best holiday deals and steals on the Web."
eBay Store - Buy's Internet Superstore: Computers, Electronics, Digital Cameras – From Dealcatcher, "I thought I'd tell everyone about the good deal I got using Live.com and Paypal. Buy.com's site on eBay is offering 30% cashback on just about everything in their inventory when purchased via PayPal." The cashback is now down to 8% on eBay purchases, which is still quite respectable.
In Saluting a shout-out for justice (Seattle Times Newspaper), Danny Westneat, Seattle Times staff columnist writes (November 30, 2008) "Richard Sanders is being called an impetuous crank who ought to be punished for his boorish behavior. Maybe so. It won't change this: He is definitely onto something."
Unethical Practices by Ex-General and NBC News – Center for Citizen Media -- Nov 30th, 2008 by Dan Gillmor. "The New York Times’ David Barstow has an astonishing piece in today’s paper, “One Man’s Military-Industrial-Media Complex,” about former “drug czar” and retired general Barry McCaffrey, one of many retired military people working as supposedly independent analysts for various news organizations but who are anything but independent. "Bottom line: McCaffrey is venal, greedy and unethical. But as a news organization, NBC is downright corrupt.
Microsoft Pri0 | Sunday Times report has Microsoft discussing deal to buy Yahoo search for way too much (Seattle Times Newspaper Blog) November 29, 2008 9:04 PM, Posted by Benjamin J. Romano. "Sunday Times report has Microsoft discussing deal to buy Yahoo search for way too much A report in The Sunday Times (of London) late today outlines a complex potential deal between Microsoft, a pair of digital media heavyweights and Yahoo, but several elements in the story don't add up and already one of the principals has denied knowledge of such a deal. "SOFTWARE giant Microsoft is in talks to acquire Yahoo's online search business for $20 billion (13 billion pounds)," reads the opening paragraph of the story, dated Sunday."
And for parents, see 10 homework tips for parents (The Detroit News), originally published Saturday, November 29, 2008, By Susan R. Pollack "Easy ways parents can help their children with homework by being role models and mentors. "Despite their best intentions, parents might over-schedule family activities and under schedule for homework."