For IT professionals and computer support people, holiday travel means a flurry of ad hoc support requests. You will, of course, say yes when Mom or your brother-in-law asks for some help with a PC problem. So why not accept the inevitable and show up prepared for the job? Here's a list of the hardware and software tools I bring home for the holidays.
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Almost a year to the day after releasing Windows Vista to manufacturing, Microsoft has finally released a document outlining some of the technical details behind Vista's product activation. Most of the information merely confirms what Windows experts already knew, but one detail is surprising: For the first time, Microsoft has confirmed that it limits the number of times a system can be reactivated over the Internet. I've got the details.
When Hewlett Packard called last month and asked whether I wanted some hands-on time with their new MediaSmart home server, I jumped at the chance. My biggest question was simple: Why should I buy this hardware when I can build my own server, presumably for less? After spending the last two weeks comparing the MediaSmart Server to one I built, I see the difference. If you're looking for world-class backup, along with easy remote access and digital media sharing capabilities, this machine should be on your short list.
When people complain about the redesigned user interface in Windows Vista, the poster child for the “it’s too complicated” crowd is the Network and Sharing Center. The most common complaint? It takes too many clicks to access proerties for a network connection. Here's how to set up an efficient alternative interface.
Windows Vista was released to manufacturing a year ago next week, and landed on retail shelves exactly nine months ago today. At the time, Vista head honcho Jim Allchin predicted that the number of security patches required for this version of Windows would go way down compared to its predecessor. So, was he right?
After reading through hundreds of comments to last week's digital media ethics poll, I've come to the realization that my readers are much more rational and reasonable than the entertainment industry. Overall, I see plenty of common sense in those responses. When it comes to sharing digital music, for example, a large number of you think it's perfectly OK and even good for the industry. Not surprisingly, that stand is at odds with the RIAA.
The voting in my digital media ethics poll is now closed, and your votes have made one conclusion crystal clear. The overwhelming majority of you believe that if you buy a music CD, you're buying the rights to play back that performance any way you want, on any media, at any bit rate, as long as it's for your personal use. According to the RIAA, you don't have a right to do any of that stuff.
The response to the digital media ethics poll I posted earlier this week has been overwhelming. Based on these results, thne RIAA and its allies are clearly losing the battle of ideas. Here's a summary of the voting so far, along with links so you can add your opinion.
Help me wrestle with some ethical questions related to digital media. We can all agree that it's easy to make perfect copies of digital media, and that there's no such thing as an unbreakable copy protection scheme. But the fact that you can do something doesn't necessarily mean you should. Does it?
Sometimes you find fascinating little tidbits of Microsoft news buried in obscure places, tossed in as throwaway remarks. Today’s case in point comes from a post at an obscure Microsoft blog, which inadvertently answers the question of why UAC fixes won't be included in Vista SP1 and raises a few more questions as well.