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Archive for August, 2007

Where is the US?

August 28th, 2007 No comments

I can’t recall on how many occasions I was asked “Where is Hungary”? But I always forgive them, because where I’m from is a tiny country in Europe that had 5 borders before Yugoslavia fell apart. Now it has 7.

American education at its best:

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Putting the wine to test

August 28th, 2007 No comments

Fire in Greece

This is not an image anyone’s used to seeing in Europe – or anywhere else. At least 63 people died in the fire that’s swiping through Greece.

Among others we learned one thing: you can put fire out with wine. At least that’s what a 63 year old villager did. When he ran out of water, he put his home-made wine to test. And it saved his and other’s lives.

Read the full NY Times article.

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Tivo vs. Cable Provider PVR

August 27th, 2007 No comments

In 2005 I got a Tivo, and I immediately fell in love with it. Tivo lets you record television programming and store it on a built-in hard drive. It was easy to set up, and fun I may add. I could find shows that I wanted to record in a snap, and I could even schedule recordings from work over the Internet. Then came High Definition TV, and since I found a cheap floor sample, we had to drag it home. Drag, indeed, because we had to take it out of the box and remove the back seat from our car to fit it in. With the new TV came the swap of the cable box to HD, which came with PVR. The old Tivo box didn’t have HDMI connector, and through regular coax (or video cable) the picture didn’t look good at all. Therefore we decided to say goodbye to our beloved Tivo, and in came the Cablevision Scientific Atlanta PVR. At first we were excited, because you could watch a channel while you are recording another one. Tivo couldn’t do that. But then came the painful way of programming, the programming errors, the forgotten shows, the expandability question and a whole lot more problems. the SA PVR definitely cannot be programmed over the Net either.

Then at some point last year Tivo came out with a new box that is HD, however, we couldn’t buy it at a hefty $700 price (who can?). But now there’s a new little brother: Tivo HD. I am counting the days when we can say goodbye to sluggish SA PVR, and can get my hands on a Tivo HD. Now, the only thing that bothers me is that when we last time had a subscription, the price was $12.99, now it’s $16.99 (or you can sign up for more years and pay upfront to get a discount). The Cablevision PVR costs $10/month and you don’t have to buy the device

Among other things (user interface, easy programming, over the Internet programming), one pointer for a Tivo is the fact that if you can’t pay your cable bill and your cable provider cuts your service, with the SA PVR you lose ALL your recordings, even if you had an additional drive attached, because it fills the SA PVR’s HD first then expands to the external drive.

There is a feature comparison chart on Zdnet. It’s not recent but it should give you some idea.

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Going Mobile

August 27th, 2007 1 comment

As I configure two new Blackberry devices for my coworkers, a New York Times article announces Nokia’s next step in the mobile market: reviving the N-Gage, as a “multiplayer gaming service that will work on its popular line of smartphones”.

The mobile platform is undoubtedly the hottest development platform out there. It is like the Internet at the turn of the Century. Everyone’s going mobile. With the availability of mobile banking, mobile email, calendar, instant messaging, printing from mobile devices, video conferencing, less and less people are inclined to walk around with bulky notebooks. You can check your email while listening to podcasts on your way to work.

What else would you like? Oh, maybe some games that are not the traditional arcade or Mario or checkers but still look good on a 4×3 screen. I was told, however, that mobile gaming is not lucrative, because development cost far outweigh the profit. I am curious to see what Nokia will offer.

I’m also curious what devices people use nowadays. I’ll put up a poll to get some answers.

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Google Offers Additional Storage

August 12th, 2007 No comments

Google has started to offer extra storage space for Gmail and Picasa. The basic 2.8 GB for Gmail and 1GB for Picasa storage will remain the same, however, you can purchase additional storage space (you need to log into your account to see this).

The options:

  • 6 GB ($20.00 per year)
  • 25 GB ($75.00 per year)
  • 100 GB ($250.00 per year)
  • 250 GB ($500.00 per year)
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Tracking People

August 12th, 2007 No comments

Minority Report‘ is one of my favorite films, not necessary because of Tom Cruise’s superb acting skills, but because it envisions the future in a scary yet possible way.

It was obvious it wasn’t far-fetched and I knew I will be still around to see in my life when people are actually tracked, recognized and possibly marketed to based on their identity by some device built into their body.

China is just moving one step closer to that by trying to make people carry so called “residency cards” that will include a variety of information about a person including “work history, educational background, religion, ethnicity, police record, medical insurance status and landlord’s phone number.” The New York Times.

I am aware this will help solve crime tremendeously. It also quite possibly violates human rights. There are more and more cameras in places like Britain and coming to Lower Manhattan, too, but face recognition software has yet to be perfected and does not provide proof for law enforcement yet. But it’s a matter of time.

Another interesting fact is that China Public Security Technology, the company that will supply the cards is incorporated in and funded by the US. That just means that it’s right here and ready whenever they decide they should use it on US citizens.

Some of my friends and I have talked about cell phone tracking awhile ago. Turns out in China’s law enforcement is already using it.

Read the full article online.

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iPhone vs. Nokia E61

August 11th, 2007 4 comments

At first I thought since half the world is writing about the iPhone, I will not fall into that sensation-chasing category. I am an Apple aficionado, I even worked for Apple some years ago. Yet, when it came down to decide whether I am getting an iPhone or a Nokia E61i, I chose the latter. I have to be honest: I was tempted. Any Apple product withstands time and even years latter bring you good memories besides their current purpose in your possession. I knew that Apple had to have come out with a unique concept. It had to be original, a breeze to use and functional. But when I picked one up at a Cingular store to play with, and I couldn’t hear my friend on the phone, I decided that I’m better off with the Nokia. At that point I was a frustrated owner of a Nokia E62, which had Cingular firmware on it. A source from Nokia, stated that this was the last business device they produced that was issued with Cingular’s firmware, because it was a flop. All the new devices are going to be unlocked (can freely be used with any GSM network). The downside is the price. But the advantages are priceless.

As to the iPhone, I was sure Apple will make it a wonderful device eventually. Also, I am pretty convinced Apple will have software updates through iTunes, just like for the iPod, which will fix glitches and install new software. It’s just a matter of time. The only thing is: I needed features that were not available in the iPhone and could not be enabled/installed.

So, here’s a quick rundown as to why I decided to go with the Nokia E61.

  1. I like the Nokia UI (user interface); it simply works. My first cell phone was a Nokia, and I’ve loved every model I had since.
  2. WIFI.
  3. User-configurable buttons. You can make several buttons do what you want.
  4. A myriad of Series 60 applications, some of them are free, some of them you have to pay for.
  5. Opera Mobile browser.
  6. Full Qwerty keyboard.
  7. Navigation software (currently using Nokia Maps) with external Bluetooth GPS unit.
  8. Podcasts. You can subscribe to podcasts and download them wherever you have WIFI. It’s breeze.
  9. IM, Skype and GoogleTalk through Fring.
  10. Price: $430 total in NY’s ChinaTown.
  11. 3G network, which unfortunately is the European and Japanese standard (The US does not conform – see Miles vs. Kms.).
  12. Mail for Exchange (over-the-air syncing of email, calendar events and contacts with my my work mail server, aka Zimbra).

I highly recommend the E61i to anyone, whether for business use or personal. It’s the best Nokia I ever used.

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Users

August 11th, 2007 No comments

I read a post called: “I’m sick of users” about a week ago on Charlene Li’s blog. An excerpt was featured on BBC’s “From the Blogosphere”, which generated them 8000 hits. The article is worth reading.

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An Excellent Way To Promote An Idea

August 4th, 2007 No comments

I just think this is funny, smart and an excellent way to promote something:

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Viruses, malware, malicious PDFs – How To Protect Our Computers

August 3rd, 2007 No comments

Destroying computers has become more of a past time for an undocumented amount of students and “hackers’. [The term hacker actually didn’t even refer to the meaning it’s associated with nowadays. See the term hack. ] Now, in my years of consulting, I have never come across a PC (again, Macs are a different breed) that did not need malware or virus removal. Every day there are new viruses popping up. But there are companies out there that counter them the moment they pop their heads up. Here are some suggestions for Windows users:

  • Keep your Windows up-to-date.
  • Make sure you have the latest version(s) of Internet browsers. Suggested browsers:
  • Make sure you have pop-up blockers in your browsers.
  • Watch what you are downloading.
  • Get AdAware and run it once a week, at least.
  • Get Spybot (run it once a week)
  • Get AVG, TrendMicro (Consumer Reports best score) or Sophos Anti-Virus. This one you should buy.

Try to stay away from Symantec and McAfee, because they consume your computer’s resources.

New threats in cyberworld:

  • Virus built into a seemingly unharmful PDF file, which people receive as an attachment.
  • Virus through your media player.
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