Friday, November 17, 2006

PS3 Line Watch

Tonight I went from store to store chatting with the folks in line for the new PS3.
It seems that the PS3, despite it's high price, is going to be giving Microsoft's Xbox 360 (released last year) a real run for the title of top console.

Every Future Shop in the area had 12 PS3s in stock (8 with 60GB drives, and 4 with 20GB drives) and every one of those stores had 14-15 people in line. The last few gambling their health on a damp and rainy night that someone else would leave their spot in line or that someone's credit card would be declined.

At each of the Future Shop stores I visited the staff had kindly put an XBOX 360 on a big screen HDTV in the window and handed 2 wireless controllers to the customers waiting in line so they could play through the night while waiting for the store to open and start selling PS3s.

At the Oshawa store a customer told me that the staff had offered to set up one of the PS3s but none of the folks in line wanted theirs to be the one that was unboxed and played with all night before they had a chance to even pay for it.

Titles that people were waiting for, surprisingly for PS3, were mainly 1st person shooter games, and of course, one lady said she was waiting for Tiger Woods golf. (there's always at least one golf gamer in any crowd)

More to my surprise was the fact that people were already beginning to line up for Nintendo's Wii which isn't going to be available till Sunday and each store is expected to average about 40 units (compared to the PS3's 12)

The least important feature, people told me, was the Blu-ray movie playing capability. One fellow said "Yeah, it's a nice add-on, but it'll be a long time before I have a TV like this (motioning to the big screen in the window) to play them on."

When asked if anyone was going to sell the PS3 on Ebay the reaction was mixed, but the consensus amongst this college aged crowd was if the price is right, hell ya! One guy mentioned that he'd seen one listed on ebay for $4000, and at that price he'd gladly sell his, come back and buy a Wii and an Xbox 360 and wait for the next round of PS3 sales.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Linux: Ubuntu 6.10 Released

Ubuntu 6.10 was released today.
The recommended download method is via BitTorrent.
The torrent files are here.

6.10, also known as "Edgy Eft" brings us the following new features:

  1. Tomboy, an easy-to-use and efficient note-taking tool

  2. F-Spot, a photo management tool that enables tagging, photo editing and automatic uploading to on-line web management sites such as Flickr

  3. GNOME 2.16

  4. Substantially faster startup and shutdown with eye-catching high-resolution graphics

  5. Firefox 2.0

  6. Evolution 2.8.0, Linux's answer to Outlook, now with vertical message panes.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

How to: moving songs on to/off of an iPod away from home

When iPod was first released Apple was criticized for making it only possible to load songs onto it while at the iPod's home computer and seemingly impossible to move songs off of it, especially if you have a Mac, as there seemed to be no way to even see the files.

Two things have changed that make the iPod now even easier to move songs off of than a regular hard disk emulating MP3 player.

#1 is that the iPod will now work on either type of system if it is formatted on a Windows machine by simply hooking it up to a windows machine with iTunes and saying yes to the prompt asking if you want to run iPod update and wipe all the songs from the iPod (not the exact wording of the prompts, but you get the idea).

#2 is YamiPod, a free-ware product that allows you to read the iPod database.
This is the thing that makes me say it is now easier than coping songs from a regular MP3 player. With access to the database you can sort your files by artist, song title, album title, genre, play list, etc. just like on the iPod's interface, so you don't have to go hunting too far to find that track you wanted to leave on your other computer.

What's more is that YamiPod comes in both Mac and Windows versions that are ready to run straight off the iPod's hard disk. There is a Linux version as well, but it requires a tiny bit more effort to get it running.

If you are a Mac user you are probably thinking "Why would I want to take this to my buddy's place and format it for Windows?" Well, first off you won't lose any functionality by doing that, newer iPods use the Windows Fat32 format by default, in fact I'm not even sure you can change it. With an iPod formatted for Mac you are SOL if you want to use it attached to your buddy's machine or your PC at work. With it Windows formatted you can use it anywhere, because everything reads FAT32. Since you already have all of your songs on your Mac desktop in iTunes anyway you aren't going to really lose anything by formatting, you just won't have them on the iPod until you plug it back in at home and re-associate it with your iTunes to sync it all back up.

So now that I've hopefully gotten you over your fears about Windows-izing your iPod, let's go through this step by step.

#1 make sure your iPod is formatted for windows (just plug it into a windows machine with iTunes if you are unsure

#2 download YamiPod. You might as well get all 3 versions, you never know where you'll want to access your songs and it hardly takes any disk space.

#3 copy YamiPod to the iPod hard disk (if you can't find the iPod hard disk, go into the iTunes settings and make sure it is enabled for disk access there.)

#4 there is no #4, you are ready to roll. now all you do is plug into a computer that isn't the iPod's home computer, click on the disk drive that appears when iPod is connected and launch YamiPod from there. No install, nothing.

Easy wasn't it?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Linux: Fedora Core 6 Released

Fedora Core 6 has been released.
The recommended download method is via BitTorrent.
The tracker is here

Fedora Core 6 brings the following new features to fedora users:

  1. GNOME 2.16 and KDE 3.5.4

  2. Totem has replaced Helix Player as the default media player

  3. Better printer drivers and setup tools

  4. Integrated smart card capabilities, for secure authentication out of the box

  5. 2.6.18 Linux kernel

  6. 7.1

Monday, October 23, 2006

Firefox 2.0

Just days after MS released the new IE, Firefox 2.0 is upon us.
The browser wars are officially back on.
Firefox 2.0 brings us:
  1. Improved Tabs: now have individual close buttons like IE7
  2. SVG vector graphics
  3. Spellcheck for text input boxes
  4. Phishing filter
  5. Improved Search bar with suggestions as you type
  6. Resume session after system crash

You can download Firefox 2.0 here.
If you don't have Firefox at all yet, do me a favor and get Google to give me a few cents by clicking the Firefox with Google Toolbar logo in the sidebar and installing that Firefox version 1.5 first before upgrading.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Internet Explorer 7

Microsoft released the official version of Internet Explorer 7 this past Wednesday after a year and a half of Beta testing.

IE7 brings the following much needed and/or highly desirable features to the table:

  1. Disabled Active X by default : helps reduce chances of a website inserting malicious code (ie viruses, pop-up ad software...) into your computer.

  2. Phishing Filter: Helps even the less computer saavy users avoid being scammed online.

  3. Pop-up blocker: obvious isn't it?

  4. Tabs: Just like on Firefox. Gives you a new way to organize webpages on your screen for easier web surfing of multiple pages at once.

  5. RSS Feeds: delivers news to your web browser in a more efficient manner.

  6. PNG transparency support: will help web designers create much more attractive and customizable sites by allowing variable levels of transparancy in graphics so that the backgrounds can be changed to different colours and show through the image.

  7. Better compatibility with W3C web standards: makes it easier for designers to build web pages that just work with every browser.

Internet Explorer 7 can be downloaded from Microsoft's site.

Why not?

They call me the techie, the computer wizard, the techno-pagan, the digital Druid, so why not start up a tech blog?

Sure, I know there are a lot of tech blogs out there already, but they tend to review the bleeding edge, and there seems to be a glut of tech blogs that review the practical, everyday tech, for both business and home.

I'll try to update this site periodically with tech stuff I come across that either is good from a business point of view or from an everyman home user point of view.

This is not going to be a gamer's tech blog that talks about overclocking and water cooling, for that there are already plenty of good well established sites with these sorts of articles and reviews.

I'm a Linux and Mac user at home, and I work in a Windows world, so I'll try to incorporate as much from each of these areas as I can.

Keep checking back here, and I guarantee sooner or later you will find something that interests you no matter what kind of computer user you are.