TechnoGeek
Technology is moving at a pace, so here are the latest on all things techno.
- Daniel
The Latest
October 2003
November 2003
Software


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Mozilla Firebird
Thursday, October 30, 2003
Messenger Service Turned Off? >>NetLink (5:00 PM)
One thing that people hardly ever use in Windows is the Messenger Service, yet it is another port for spam to slip through, only more annoying (it opens in a standard Windows dialog box). Microsoft are planning to turn this off in Service Pack 2. Please note, the Messenger service is not related to MSN Messenger or Windows Messenger.
Microsoft Researches the Future >>NetLink (4:51 PM)
Microsoft showed off what we might see in the future. One of the most interesting is the second to last paragraph, "Magic Paper." From handwritten drawings it can show you objects interactions and mathematical formulas (handy for physics!). That would also make doodles more interesting in boring classes too, huh!

Wednesday, October 29, 2003
Changes (6:16 PM)
You may have noticed a lot of changes around here. This is to make the site look nicer than before, seeming now I can have images and stuff. The site is split into two sections at the moment, this and my software pages. Stay tuned for further updates!

Tuesday, October 28, 2003
Moved Over (6:43 PM)
This blog has moved over from the old site to my brand-spanking new site, enjoy!
The Next Windows >>NetLink (6:29 PM)
Microsoft had given developers a sneak peak into the wonderful world of Windows Longhorn. This article contains extensive info on Longhorns' greatest and newest features.

Sunday, October 26, 2003
Winamp 5 beta >>NetLink (1:17 PM)
MP3 enthusiates are awaiting the latest version of Winamp 5. It features everything both Winamp 2 and Winamp 3 had (hence, 2 + 3 = 5). The beta was released the same day iTunes was. Download it at this site (Remember, it is beta software and may contain bugs!)
Watch out, the Storm is growing >>NetLink (10:49 AM)
Warnings have been released about the electro-magnetic storm that is heading our way that it could knock out satellites, mobile phone networks and power grids today. They also say another storm is on its way next week.
Spam degrades Internet experience >>NetLink (10:47 AM)
A study suggests that Spam flinging around the net is reducing users e-mail use "in a big way." The estimate of spam is 30 billion everyday.

If you don't know what Spam is, Spam is the unsolicited e-mail that you get from people you don't know or didn't ask for, usually advertising penis enlargement pills and sex sites. They say that some 7% of users have actually bought something from the spam.

But one thing you can do about spam is just delete it. Other solutions are to buy spam blockers and stuff. The latest versions of Netscape, Mozilla and Mozilla Thunderbird all contain spam blockers (and it works very well) as well as Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 (if you want to pay over NZ$300 for just spam blocking).

Saturday, October 25, 2003
Solar Flare Could Disrupt Technology >>NetLink (10:10 AM)
Yesterday a space storm started heading from the sun in the direction of earth. They say it is a moderate to strong storm, and is already starting to affect power grids, satellites and airline communications. They also say that it would have an affect with wireless technologies.

Friday, October 24, 2003
New version of MSBlast? >>NetLink (10:58 PM)
Fears of a new version of MSBlast, the worm that caused havoc last month over the internet, is brewing. This time, to exploit the Messenger Service (NOTE: The Messenger Service is NOT the same as Windows/MSN Messenger).

While, a simple fix would be to download the patch, for Home users who don't really need it you can disable it via the Control Panel (Start > Control Panel > [Performance and Maintenance] > Administrative Tools > Services).

Wednesday, October 22, 2003
Massachusetts chooses sides >>NetLink (4:58 PM)
The US state of Massachusetts has chosen sides - against Microsoft. They have directed there chief IT officer to develop and "open standards, open source" plan.

Massachusetts would join the European Commission in going open source, with the guidelines being published today. As well as France, China and Germany (Munich having recently migrated over to Linux).

Oh, and Microsoft gets worried.
iTunes for Windows: 1 million songs in 3.5 days >>NetLink (4:49 PM)
Apple touts having over 1 million songs downloaded after the product for Windows 2000 and XP was available for three and a half days. Now, when is it coming to New Zealand?
In other Office 2003 News... >>NetLink (4:47 PM)
Microsoft Software Architecht Bill Gates has described previous versions of Office as, "clunky" and "too hard to find e-mails". And then goes on how great Office 2003 is. It even discontinues Office 97, which is fair enough anyway (its old).

One fact though is that Office is 1/3 of Microsofts revenue. So then they charge users as if they need the money. Microsoft needs to take a look at its pricing scheme (Office 2003 for Students & Teachers costs about NZ$299, well I'll just go with OpenOffice and have $300 less to worry about paying back on my coming Student Loan). Sure it works for business, but what about consumers?
People woo over Office System 2003 >>NetLink (4:34 PM)
Microsoft have released a new version of there Office "System" as they are calling it. Beta testers say that the most notable change is Outlook, with a new three panel view and spam filters (hmmm, I have those for free in Mozilla Thunderbird funnily enough).

Other changes are what is going on under the hood with powerful XML stuff going on.

But looking at screen shots, the interface is, well, ugly. Just looking at it makes it feel out-of-place. I wish Microsoft would make up there mind about the interface - I like the MSN Messenger/Windows Media Player interface, suttle colours that don't distract you.

However, I'm sticking to OpenOffice.org. For one, its 100% free, supports Microsoft Office and works a gem.

More links: OpenOffice.org || Microsoft

Tuesday, October 21, 2003
Flowing water makes electricity >>NetLink (4:30 PM)
A new technique has been created to generate electricity from flowing water. This could power anything from cellphones to the powergrid. This would also be a very clean (up there with Solar and Wind power) source of power.

Monday, October 20, 2003
B i n k . n u >>NetLink (5:58 PM)
"If you use Firebird or Mozilla on the Microsoft Careers Site Search facility then any term including likely hits such as CLR and Longhorn return nothing other than the Search page again. The result seems to be that only Internet Explorer users can search for jobs at Microsoft."

Well, if you are using a third-party browser, why are looking for a job at Microsoft in the first place anyway?
Blog change (4:46 PM)
This blog has now changed to just listing the latest Technical news, such as that I have been posting mostly over the past week or so.

Saturday, October 18, 2003
I want this! >>NetLink (10:10 PM)
Broadband, the way of the future. And now they have just broken the internet speed record. They sent the equivalent of a DVD movie in just 7 seconds!

"The total amount of data sent over the 7000 kilometre link was 1.1 terabytes. The average transfer rate was 5.44 gigabits per second (Gbps), smashing the previous record of 2.38 Gbps, set in February 2003."
Microsoft Exec Rips ITunes >>NetLink (5:24 PM)
A Microsoft executive gives his thoughts on Apples iTunes service for Windows.

Here is one thing:
""Additionally, users of ITunes are limited to music from Apple's Music Store ... this is a drawback for Windows users, who expect choice in music services, choice in devices, and choice in music from a wide variety of music services to burn to a CD or put on a portable device."
My thoughts on this quote is, well, a lot of Windows users also enjoy a choice in Operating System, Web browser, Media Player, Instant Messenger client etc etc...

Thursday, October 16, 2003
New version of Mozilla Firebird >>NetLink (5:10 PM)
Version 0.7 of Mozilla Firebird - one of the best web browsers available today - has been released. New since version 0.6 is the ability to control downloads (such as where they get downloaded, what the default action should be etc. etc.) and more advanced options. Also, it adds automatic scrolling if you haven't already got an extension for that already. Of course though, with the number of extensions that you can put in Mozilla Firebird, it can be everything you want it to be. For example to aid in the creation of this Blog, if I come up to a website I just right-click the page and select BlogThis (via the BlogThis extension). Very handy, as well as the many other extensions available (over 100). Download it now!

Monday, October 13, 2003
Monkeys Control Robotic Arm With Brain Implants >>NetLink (5:59 PM)
"Scientists in North Carolina have built a brain implant that lets monkeys control a robotic arm with their thoughts, marking the first time that mental intentions have been harnessed to move a mechanical object."

Sunday, October 12, 2003
Kazaa, anyone? >>NetLink (12:55 PM)
Kazaa, popular, mainly illegal, file sharing. Well with the proposed plan that P2P networks are willing to get into (including Kazaa), you could soon be happily owning legal songs, at a proposed price of 25c a song (nice).

But, the RIAA doesn't like it, which doesn't surprise me. But it does mean that all file-sharing networks need to co-operate, and who knows, they might.
Search for space life gets closer >>NetLink (12:50 PM)
NASA plan to release some space-telscope known as the Terrestrial Planet Finder about 2013. However, there are already some questions as to wheter 37 Gem has some life around it.
Microsft wants to be Google >>NetLink (12:46 PM)
You search the web, and you most likely go to... Google? Googling has become a way of web life since it has been around, and Microsoft wants to change that.

But, I don't think that is going to happen. Sure Microsoft want to be greedy and be on everything but they can't. If Microsoft ever do however, I'm sticking to Google, as would thousands of other netizens I s'pose.
Sony Plans Smaller PS2 Chip, Cell Manufacturing >>NetLink (12:41 PM)
On another Playstation note, Sony begin making economized PS2 chips. This could mean cheaper PS2s. This would be good with how the competition has heated up between Microsoft and Sony with the price wars.
Cell Production in late 2005 >>NetLink (12:39 PM)
"With a second half 2005 production date, it's highly unlikely that PS3 development kits will be ready until 2006, thus the probable ship date for PS3 is more likely to be in 2006. SCEA shipped the PS and PS2 in 1995 and 2000, respectively, each five years apart. Many industry pundits believe Microsoft and Nintendo plan to ship their new systems in fall 2005."

And of course, the Playstation will always beat Microsoft and Nintendos tries.

If you don't know what the Cell is, it is a "super-computer on a chip" and can be connected with multiple Cells to increase the overall power. It has been said to be over 100 times more powerful than the 2.4GHz Intel Pentium 4 processors. It has been predicted to be in the PS3, but it appears Sony is pushing it to be in everything, including cellphones.
Laser powered plane takes off >>NetLink (12:34 PM)
"Using lasers, or other energy beams, to power planes, missiles or even to launch satellites has been discussed for many decades. But it has not been until recently that the first tests were attempted."
Athletes bare all >>NetLink (11:30 AM)
Some female Dutch athletes are baring all on a website to help them fund for their athletics after a cut in subsidies had left them with nothing. 250 photos for just 80 eurocents a minute? The site had 2 million hits in one day alone.
Arnolds run in office gets him a movie >>NetLink (11:26 AM)
Yes it is true. A two-hour movie for all you actor-turn-governor lovers. Oh, and there will be a book too, that promises to be bigger than Harry Potter "if just half the women Arnold groped buy this book" heh, whatever.

Saturday, October 11, 2003
TechTV Drama >>NetLink (4:38 PM)
One of my net friends sent this one to me. It is a crack-up, but also pretty sad due to the fact that he, umm, well, you watch it.
Suit threats over Princeton CD paper dropped >>NetLink (4:13 PM)
An innocent student almost gets sued for finding a flaw in a companies CD-copy protection technology? Thats because that student has now probably made that company work towards *real* anti-copying technologies. Sheesh.

Friday, October 10, 2003
Visual Styles Are Cool >>NetLink (5:48 PM)
If you have Windows XP, and you know how to patch your uxtheme.dll file (or you can get Style XP which is easier), then this visual style is an absolute must! It is the best original visual style I have seen since, urm, I dunno. Velvet Waves man, comes in a couple of colours too!
Site: Mess.be >>NetLink (5:27 PM)
Don't Mess with Me, Mess with MSN Messenger! This site is full of all kinds of stuff for MSN Messenger, including version 6! Visit now for Personal Pictures and Emoticons, and even some Launch Site games.
Try Mandrake >>NetLink (5:23 PM)
Mandrake-Linux, its nice, but personally I'm waiting when Linux goes really mainstream really (or the time when I don't have to use Windows at the same time). Either way, Mandrake 9.2 is close to coming out and should be an interesting Linux edition. If you do use Mandrake and apart of the Mandrake Club you can download it now if you like!
Napster Strikes Back >>NetLink (5:20 PM)
Napster, an interesting service way back when -- err -- File Sharing started? Boy, its coming back baby, but not in illegal form. Legit songs (US99c per track) are up for grabs here and Roxio (its owner) is probably banking on the fact that over 97% of netizens know about it. Ahh, well if its gonna beat Apple's iTunes, so be it! See also: Napster.com
The PSX!! >>NetLink (5:04 PM)
"For those of you unfamiliar with the PSX, it's essentially a souped up version of the PlayStation 2, a multimedia PC-alike without any of that nasty Windows nonsense."

The PSX looks like a mega-video recorder or something, but is a beaut. It has heaps of great stuff in it, so I can't wait until it does come to New Zealand (if it ever does).

Personally, I'm an anti-Microsoft kinda person. The only stuff I use that is Microsofts at the moment is MSN Messenger, and Windows. Hmmm, why do people use XBox?

Thursday, October 09, 2003
Telecom NZ CEO: No Compelling Reason To Adopt W-CDMA >>NetLink (7:29 PM)
Well, I'm glad I'm still with Vodafone. Telecoms' network is in fewer countries than the network that Vodafone is going to adopt over the next 18-months.

Now all Vodafone needs to do is to give us $10 unlimited txts and I'll be very happy!
Nokia N-Gage >>NetLink (4:05 PM)
Well, I have a GameBoy Advanced SP, somehow I don't see the N-Gage taking over. Read this article to see what I mean. The annoyances would annoy anyone, despite the fact that it has more features.

But, one thing to look out for next year is the Playstation Pocket. It looks pretty good.
New CD antipiracy software disabled by Shift key >>NetLink (3:59 PM)
Imagine that? And you know what else, they knew it when they made it too.
Sleeping Recovers Memories >>NetLink (3:55 PM)
This might help out with my studying! If you forget where something is, then maybe a quick nap would sort things out.
Do you share files? >>NetLink (3:53 PM)
A paper that has been publically released says how some innocent users can get caught up in the P2P mess.
Russian Roulette Trick Fake? >>NetLink (11:59 AM)
A couple of days ago some illusionist decided to play a little game of Russian Roulette on live TV in Brittian. He has of course lived, but now people are calling it a hoax. The illusionist is "delighted" that people think that.
Eolas shakes up web browsers >>NetLink (10:53 AM)
About a month ago, Eolas filed a lawsuit against Microsoft for making things easier for us internet users... but Eolas claims that they made a patent for how plug-ins launch. So, expect Internet Explorer 6 SP1b soon, which will have pop-up questions through-out thanks to the fact that many sites now use plug-ins. Thing is that it will not only be Microsoft affected, but all web browsers (including Firebird :(. Eolas today however wants to stop the distribution of Internet Explorer. I think Eolas is a company gone mad, and would mean content developers would have to change there websites.

Visit this site for information on the changes in Internet Explorer 6 SP1b.
Wow, Arnold Schwarzenegger becomes Governor >>NetLink (10:32 AM)
Well it was probably inevitable, but the actor has been voted in to be the Governor of California. Probably old news to you, but I just heard :P

Wednesday, October 08, 2003
Men get their own Kindergarten in Germany >>NetLink (2:58 PM)
German women fed up with their partners' grumbling on weekend shopping trips can now dump them at a special kindergarten for men offering beer and entertainment...

Tuesday, October 07, 2003
Arnie's having "so much fun" >>NetLink (3:02 PM)
Surrounded by a wall of security comparable to that shielding U.S. presidents, Arnold Schwarzenegger, the action star turned California gubernatorial aspirant, professes to be "having so much fun" but refuses to discuss sexual misconduct charges or his falling poll numbers...

Monday, October 06, 2003
Microsoft awaits getting sued for security flaws >>NetLink (3:04 PM)
...The first came last week, filed in State Superior Court in Los Angeles, asserting that Microsoft engaged in unfair business practices and violated California consumer protection laws by selling software riddled with security flaws. The suit seeks class-action status. More such suits are anticipated...

Saturday, October 04, 2003
Thanks David J. Bradley! >>NetLink (3:05 PM)
Every time a software program locks up and you want to start over, every time you need to change your password or log on or off your computer, you can thank David J. Bradley.

Bradley is the man who gave the world "control-alt-delete."

"It was not a memorable event," said Bradley, a longtime IBM employee, speaking of that day in 1980 or '81 when he discovered control-alt-delete...