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Will technology ever catch up?

Archive for January, 2007

Vista: Please don’t buy it online

Posted by cascadehush on January 22, 2007

Microsoft to offer Windows Vista online – Yahoo! News:

The download program, being announced late Wednesday by the Redmond, Wash.-based software maker, will also include the Office 2007 line of software when both are released for consumers Jan. 30. At least initially, the huge downloads will be available in North America only.

Not just Vista but Office available for download.

Actually this is not as surprising as it seems. For the last 5 years or so, Microsoft has been moving the emphasis away from Boxes and Disks and towards Keys and Activation as the primary factor in software license ownership. Microsoft have a tried and tested anti-piracy system which involves tying software to hardware to prevent a single copy of their software being installed on multiple machines.

Of course this will be a nightmare for local PC Technicians, who have a hard enough time keeping track of who has a legitimate license for what. At the moment we can trust that a PC with an OEM windows license sticker probably has a legitimate license, but how are we to be sure when someone simply tells us that they bought their copy online.

Add to that the tech support nightmare of failed or partial downloads and lost keys.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Opinion, Software, Vista | Leave a Comment »

links for 2007-01-22

Posted by cascadehush on January 22, 2007

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Hardware: Intel Builds 80-Core Chip

Posted by cascadehush on January 22, 2007

Intel Builds 80-Core Chip That Uses Less Power Than A Quad-Core – News by InformationWeek:

Researchers have built the prototype to study how best to make that many cores communicate with each other. They’re also studying new designs for cores and new architectural techniques

This is the crux of the matter. How do you get a bunch of cores talking to each other when the number of possible communications paths increases somewhat exponentially to the number of cores. This creates a diminishing return, with each additional core providing less of a performance benefit than the previous one. And how does one design operating systems and software to take advantage of them.

I simply don’t think that the software will be there in the timeframe that Intel are projecting for their hardware releases.

The Superscalar architecture of the Prescott Pentium 4 CPUs was somewhat a failure because software was simply not built the way Intel had hoped. Likewise I suspect that Intel is going to have to stop creating more and more cores per chip, because the operating systems will not exist that can manage them.

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Web: Google Trends – iphone

Posted by cascadehush on January 21, 2007

Google Trends: iphone
As of this writing, most people searching for the word iPhone on Google are from Greece. Or at least that’s what the graph looks like. I’m not sure what statistical methodology is used, it it’s some kind of pro-rata, per population thing… But that’s not the point.

Does Greece have terrible mobile phones?

Does no-one in Greece know how to get to the Apple site?

Has the Greek press given Apple particularly high-profile coverage but lacking in detail?

Are the Greek simply tech-savvy riders of the bleeding edge?

Or are there a lot of retired mobsters sitting on their yachts in the Adriatic with nothing better to do than search google for new ways to spend their ill-gotten gains?

Who knows.

I just thought it was a bit weird.

(Should there be any Greeks reading this, i’d appreciate any local insight you might have.)

Posted in Hardware, iPod, Opinion, Rant | Leave a Comment »

links for 2007-01-19

Posted by cascadehush on January 19, 2007

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Gadgets: Why The iPhone Will Make Apple A Player In Business IT

Posted by cascadehush on January 19, 2007

Why The iPhone Won’t Make Apple A Player In Business IT – News by InformationWeek:

Whether IT departments embrace the iPhone or not, some employees will walk in the door with them.

And that’s the key point, and it alone negates the title premise of the article.

One of the key reasons Windows slammed OS/2 was that people were using it at home, on their own computers, and were going to work and complaining about the clunky DOS or Unix based systems they were forced to use at work. Windows was gaining market share in the home whilst IBM was trying to introduce OS/2 to businesses. In the end Windows won because people knew about it, recognised it and could use it. All this acted to move businesses to Windows despite the fact that OS/2 was technically superior.

Now I’m not saying businesses will be knocking down Apple’s door any time soon to kit out their staff with iPhones. But if Apple play their cards right, eventually pressure will build and employees could start demanding something a lot better than the dreadful phones they are currently being forced to live with. And unlike the OS/2 vs Windows competition, the iPhone will be both technically superior and have the features real people want, and that will be hard to beat.

The only thing standing in the iPhone’s way is the cost. I suspect that we’ll see the iPhone become part of many employees salary package.

Posted in iPod, Opinion | Leave a Comment »

links for 2007-01-18

Posted by cascadehush on January 18, 2007

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Publishing: 15 tips to choose a good text type

Posted by cascadehush on January 18, 2007

Typies: 15 tips to choose a good text type:

Unfortunately, whilst it seems clear that the writer knows the subject quite well, their English is quite hard to understand in some places. I still think it’s a resource worth pointing to. If you get bogged down in a paragraph, just skip to the next one.

Posted in Internet, Media | Leave a Comment »

Web: Paypal Authentication Gets a Security Boost

Posted by cascadehush on January 18, 2007

Paypal Authentication Gets a Security Boost – [Geeks are Sexy] technology news:

The PayPal security key will cost $5 for common users and will be free for business users. There will be no recurring charges after that; the extra layer of protection is completely free. It will first be available in February 2007 to people in the US, Australia and Germany.

A lot of banks are starting to issue these now. I must say I’ve never felt safe using PayPal but I think this could change my mind.

Posted in Internet, Security | Leave a Comment »

OSX: Screenshots of Office 2008 for Mac

Posted by cascadehush on January 18, 2007

Screenshots of Office 2008 for Mac – The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW):

Check out the gallery for a look at some cool new features in Office 2008.

Well, I must say this looks horrible.

I’ve seen screenshots of the PC version, and whilst I doubt I’ll like the new version, I can at least see why they are doing what they are doing.

But based on these Mac screenshots, it looks like Office 2008 will be a total mess.

What I find most appalling is that they have retained the formatting palette – an awful abomination of user interface design which one can never find a comfortable home for, which just sucks screen real-estate whilst forcing you to continually re-locate it in order to see what you are trying to work on.

One can only hope for the death of the modern word-processor which thinks it’s a desktop publisher and diminishes productivity by focusing on flair and form over content and structure.

Meanwhile Microsoft are trying to kill more trees by herding spreadsheet users into a paradigm of creating spreadsheets specifically designed for printing. Yes I know this began in Office 2004, but it does look like they have pushed things even more in this frightening direction. If ever there was a document that should live in electronic form, surely it is the spreadsheet.

Office 2004 never looked so good.

Posted in Opinion, OSX, Software | Leave a Comment »