Having a Latte

Well Its Saturday afternoon and I am sitting in Starbucks wit a client discussing Web Design and the Internet

Strong arming bloggers

What is it with big companies trying to squash bloggers lately? First it was Apple going after a 19 year old blogger concerning a scoop on Apple’s new iPod shuffle and mini Mac before they announced at Mac World. Now it seems Microsoft wants to get some bad PR by going after a couple of sites blogging about the future of their mobile technologies. It is a shame that since these bloggers are not large publications, companies like Apple and Microsoft can have their way with them. Since most of them couldn’t afford to protect themselves in court against them they usually back down due to threats from these companies. The fact is that these companies are not under any NDAs (Non Disclosure Agreements) so why go after them. Go after the people who leaked the information rather than these individuals only reporting on the information that has been given them. If the people reporting the information were CNN or the New York Times, would the companies even attempt to sue them let alone strong arm them? If you ant to read some more info on these instances follow the links below.

Microsoft Boggers Recieve Legal Threats Think Secret Gets Legal Defense

Computer? Whats a computer?

I was taught by my parents to show kindness and help your neighbors. After my current interactions with my neighbor, I might have to re-think that idealistic concept. My car has custom license plates with the word ‘PC-Doc’ imprinted on it. Well my neighbor saw this and knocked on my door one night. They asked if I fixed computers and I told them that I was a Network Engineer but asked “what was the problem they were having?” After hearing her reply I said I would drop by since it sounded like a spyware / virus problem. I loaded Adaware, Spybot and AVG Anti-Virus onto a USB thumbdrive and went over. Once I got there the machine was infested with viruses and spyware. The file / registry key count was in the thousands. I spent an hour and cleaned the system out for them. They then asked how much they owed me for the service and I did the neighborly thing and told them not to worry about it. I also told them to do themselves a favor and purchase Symantec AntiVirus and a Linksys DSL/Cable router since their cable modem was directly attached to the workstation. Well they didn’t listen to me about the router and I have since had to pay them two more visits. They have now turned into the bane of my existence. Looking back at things now I should have charged them my regular rate of $150 an hour and they would have thought twice about asking me again for help. Since I was kind and helped them, I am now their personal computer guru (pulls hair out of head just thinking about it). Take a tip from your uncle Doc, avoid helping out friends and neighbors with computer problems unless you truly want to have the little personal time you have for yourself stripped away.

Battlestar GaWacktica

Some how I missed this the first time it came around. A client of mine told me about Battlestar Galactica being redone. My first thought was that they picked it up from where they left off, when they got to earth. He then informed me that they redid the story from the beginning and that Edward James Olmos was playing Adama. I would have no problem with anyone redoing the show. However they completely destroyed the show within the first 15 minutes.
These are my major issues with the show:
1. Starbuch is a girl
2. Apollo hates Adama
3. Cylones look human
4. Battlestar Galactica can jump (Hyperdrive)
5. Baltar is now a scientist
6. They only have a handful vipers
7. The casting of all the characters is just horrid.
The list does not end there it just keeps on rolling. Why mess around with a classic that was well done in the first place. This is a real slap in the face for any true Sci-Fi fan.

The Mac mini

Sounds like something on the McDonald’s Kids menu, but this mini belongs to Apple. I have a love hate relationship with Apple. I have owned many Macs over the years and I have sold them all on eBay.  I love Apple’s OS X interface however it always comes down to issues with me. The two issues being cost of ownership and the miniscule amount of software available compared to a PC. Well it might be time for me to plunk down some money on a new Mac. Apple introduced a new headless inexpensive Mac they call the “Mac mini”. The base model is priced just below $500 the specs aren’t much to talk about, but at least you’re not out a lot for something to play around with. To find out more about Apple’s new offering, just follow the link.

More Information…

All systems go!

Sorry about the outage for the past 24 hours, I had to apply some critical patches to the software I run here. I haven’t had much sleep over the past week due to client projects and my knee keeping me up. So yesterday I left the city early and wanted to go home and get some sleep. When I got home I had an urgent message from VBulletin letting me know of a critical update, so I decided to do the necessary patching before I went to la..la.. land. Go figure why is it that when you least need something to blow up on you, it happens. During the updates everything blew up and I ran into dependency issues with libraries. Needless to say at 4am I threw in the towel since I needed to be at a client in Rockland at noon. When I got back I went back to work and after a couple of hours I have it back up and running. The dumb thing I did with wanting to rush to bed was not doing a database dumb. The backups I had were a couple of weeks back, so I wanted to get everything back with the directories on the system rather than killing the machine and restoring from backups. Needless to say the DOC was able to recover everything. So to vent my frustration I am going to be in a CounterStrike: Source marathon. Woe is the individual on the opposing team that runs into me tonight, because I am going to be taking out my frustration on him and give him a serious beat down.

Media Center 2005 & Orb

Over the weekend I built a Microsoft Media Center 2005 system. I have been a serious DirecTivo user for the past couple of years. I have hacked them made them network accessible to offload recorded shows. I have also added larger hard drives so I can record over 200hrs on one box. The DirecTivo also lets you record two channels simultaneously. The only problem I had was the lack of being able to offload recorded shows to DVD. Stand alone Tivos have been able to do this for over a year. With the recent announcement that DirecTV is going to start selling there own PVR, it looks as if the DirecTivos are close to end of life. So I decided to build my own MCE system with a terabyte of storage and give cable a try. So I have two tuners built into it, which are attached to two cable set top boxes. So now I have the same functionality as my DirecTivo with a slicker interface and a DVD burner. So far I am very happy with it and it was worth the investment. In the near future I will write an article on the construction and installation of the software. I took a lot of great pictures during the construction of the system. Also I just started using a service offered by Orb that allows me to stream live TV, recorded TV, photos and MP3s to any network device (laptop, PDA, smartphone) from my MCE system any where in the world. It was very simple to setup and the quality was pretty decent. Hardwarezone.com has an article on an announcement made at CES regarding Orb and Netgear partnering. Check back soon for more of my impressions of Microsoft’s upgrade to its Media Center and the article I am writing.

Bad Tech in Hollywood

I can’t remember the last movie that was largely based on technology that got any terminology or its proper use correct. They hire technical advisors to make sure that what they are portraying is correct. What they really need is someone to make sure the technical advisors actually know something. I just watched the first 24 minutes of 24 which will air on Sunday. Don’t worry I am not going to give anything away. If you’re a geek or at least know some terminology you will be bent over laughing within the first 10-15 minutes. It’s like someone picked up a Linksys router manual jumbled some keywords around and made a portion of the script from it. If anyone from Hollywood reads this, I’m available to be a technical advisor. At least you might get something right for a change. Don’t get me wrong, I love the show. I’d just wish they would take the time to make some things that are supposed to be intelligent actually intelligent.