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Tag: Windows

Android Pros and Cons

Posted by tomwiles at 3:50 PM on September 25, 2010

I’ve been using Android for a while now and feel I’ve been using it long enough to make some meaningful observations.

I like Android. It’s quick. It’s powerful. It has some astounding voice recognition capability built right in that even the iPhone can’t touch. For example, hold down the search button and when the voice search box pops up say “navigate to” and then speak either a street address, the name of a business or a business category, and watch what happens. The results are something right out of science fiction and nothing short of amazing. Try THAT with your iPhone.

In other areas, Android seems to fall rather flat. While it’s possible to create, name and populate folders, the process seems clunky and rather counter-intuitive.

How about allowing me as an end-user to rename application icons to something useful? Many apps have names that don’t bear any relationship or give any hint as to what their functionality is as an app. If I could just rename the text under the app icons it would help me out as an end user quite a bit. Either give me a direct icon name that describes functionality succinctly, or give me the ability to rename an icon myself just like I can in Windows or OS/X.

Another area that falls somewhat flat is how to discover great apps. There are a ton of apps, but it’s often difficult to find the best ones. I’m willing to spend money on apps, however I want the best bang for my buck. How can I be assured if I buy an app I’m buying the best possible one?

GNC-2010-09-21 #612 Go Ivi Go!

Posted by geeknews at 12:44 AM on September 21, 2010

We knew this was coming, Ivi is in a battle for their survival. I am going to do my best to do a interview with their CEO this week to have available on the The Morning Tech Show. I am at a turning point with the Podcast Awards, info in todays show, plus how your host is operating with a scratched eyeball all that and more in the show.

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Show Links:
Mark Cuban on Shark Tank.
Point your phone at Planes.
No Digging in the Sand.
Mexican Journalist give up.
Google Docs Editing on Android and iPad shortly.
Why the change at GNC. Stats are Like a Bikini.
The YouTube Copyright Detection System.
Must See Blogworld Session.
Want a Stargate?
Skype blocking Competitors?
4chan and DDOS.
Windows Phone 7 goes Global.
Pirated Shows on your iPad?
Scribd Bait and Switch.
O2 Bait and Switch.
Verizon LTE Info Page.
Streaming Netflix to Canada.
ABC New Interactive Sniffer App.
Vidabox
New Microphone for Flip Recorders.
Fair Set Top Box Comparison?
Live TV to Apple TV?
Ivi in fight for survival.
Will Sat Based Stars go Internet Only?
Crazy Bill Introduced in Congress.
Nice try AT&T.
Adobe Air for Android Pending.
Correction NewsWeek in Business?

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Is Google Cursed?

Posted by tomwiles at 2:37 PM on September 2, 2010

Back in the very early part of the 1990’s, the tech world villain of choice was IBM, and the underdog was Microsoft. As the 1990’s progressed, IBM began to move into the background and Microsoft took over the role as tech villain.

Windows 3.0 was the version that really started making waves in a big way. It was buggy and unreliable, but it offered a glimpse of the potential personal computers presented. Windows 3.0 made it possible to pick from a wide variety of standardized computer hardware parts and put them together and have a working personal computer that could do rudimentary multitasking. Windows succeeded because it worked on an open hardware platform. That same open platform forever cemented The Windows’ Curse.

In 2010 the new tech villain is Google. Smartphones are the new computers of choice. Google Android is the new Windows 3.0 morphing into 3.1, 3.11, and Windows 95.

My fear is that Google Android is doomed to repeat the muddled path of Windows.

Here is why.

My HTC Evo was recently updated to Android 2.2 “Froyo.” All well and good. However, the Android apps I have installed are constantly being updated. Fine – I can see how that would happen. However, I’m noticing that some of them no longer work. Incompatibilities are creeping in. The latest victim of Android upgrade fail is the latest Android version of the Foursquare app, which causes my phone to spontaneously reboot a few seconds after I open the app.

The Windows Curse is in very real danger of becoming The Android Curse.

The open platform is both a blessing and a blight. Open platforms are great so long as they are small. Once they become the majority market leader, their very openness makes them vulnerable to of errors of confusion as well as a giant security target.

It’s probably time for some company to start producing antivirus and antispyware software for Android phones. And it may also be time for some of us to start fleeing for the higher ground of walled garden dictatorships.

Microsoft Opens Source Code to Russian Government

Posted by Alan at 6:43 PM on July 20, 2010

I am not really sure how I feel about this one.  It’s a rather strange story.  Here’s a snippet of what Computer Weekly recently posted:

“Microsoft has signed an agreement with Russia to share the source code of multiple products, according to US reports.

The agreement expands co-operation with Russia under Microsoft’s Government Security Program set up to help governments build more secure IT infrastructures.

According to Microsoft, more than 60 governments are eligible for the Government Security Program in which the UK, China and NATO are active members.”

From reports, they handed over source code for Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2, Microsoft Office 2010, Microsoft SQL Server, Windows XP, Windows 2000 and Windows Server 2000, and, of course, Windows 7.  I can’t take credit for noticing this, but when pointed out, I found it amusing that they didn’t ask for access to Windows Vista.  Even the Russians had no interest in Vista.

Now correct me if I am wrong, but I noticed China listed here, and I can’t help but remember that China recently hacked Google and various other US tech companies via a hole in Internet Explorer 6.

The US also recently traded a group of Russian spies back to their homeland in exchange for the release of a few captured US spies.  It all sounded very cold war-esque except for the technology slant to the story.  Which, again, can bring us back to wondering if holes in any of this software allowed some of this to happen.

Curious to see what security experts were thinking I did a quick web search and came across this from Cambridge University’s Richard Clayton:

“If a government has the source code it can find different sorts of security vulnerabilities and perhaps exploit them, [but] it’s unclear whether access to the source code makes people better or worse off,” said Clayton.A number of different factors made the situation complicated, said Clayton. Access to the code could allow close analysis, which would enable the discovery of holes such as buffer overflow flaws, but equally it is possible to run a fuzzing program which throws random data at parts of an operating system or software to find different vulnerabilities.”

And this one from ZDnet:

“Despite the security benefits, having access to a source code can also carry security implications.

“Having a number of different governments with access to Microsoft code meant it was possible that a government could find holes in the code and use it to exploit another nation-state’s systems,” a senior security source with links to the U.K. government told news source ZDNet.”

So, Microsoft makes it sound benign, security experts make it sound less so.  There’s seems to be nothing from the US government, but I have to assume they allowed this to happen.  And, I also have to assume that they vetted this and found no reason to put a halt to it.  Hence I guess I won’t worry…yet.

Could Android Suffer The Fate Of Windows?

Posted by tomwiles at 7:21 PM on June 22, 2010

Windows AndroidThe beauty of Google Android is that it operates on a wide variety of devices that appeal to differing market segments, yet those devices can utilize the Android Market Place and run general apps written for Android. This is similar to what happened with Windows on personal computers. It’s an analogy worthy of exploration, however there are a few noteworthy differences that are actually rather revealing.

Android is nimble, stable and solid, unlike many attributes of the various versions of Windows. Over the years, something went horribly wrong with Windows. Is it possible that Android could eventually suffer the same fate?

Perhaps one difference is that phone manufacturers have a direct incentive to make certain that each Android phone model has a solid implementation. After all, phones simply have to work. Computer manufacturers, on the other hand, have often had a tendency to churn out new computer models without always fully vetting the hardware/Windows OS combination. Google seems to have taken the approach with Android of providing a basic, bare bones phone OS, whereas over the years Microsoft has taken the kitchen sink approach with Windows.

Another difference in the Android/Windows/open hardware analogy rests in the fact that Android is an embedded OS. Hardware manufacturers are forced to make it work. The better it works, the more phones they can sell. If a particular phone model is buggy, word spreads quickly and the model is a bust.

If a particular computer model has problems, its manufacturer often points the finger of blame at Microsoft, and Microsoft typically points back to the manufacturer, leaving the troubled consumer with a spinning head.

The consumer is also partly to blame. If you think about it, we tend not to look at particular computer models running Windows in the same way we look at particular phone models. We tend to look at boxes running Windows as just that – a box of hardware based on price.

GNC-2010-06-14 #584 Live in the North East

Posted by geeknews at 7:42 PM on June 14, 2010

Really enjoying Rochester really pretty here. Had a heck of a time getting here as the storms on Saturday delayed my arrival.. I have a full week but looking forward to meeting up with Ohana on Friday for dinner.

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Twitter Outages.
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GNC-2010-06-01 #580 Being Tested

Posted by geeknews at 1:23 AM on June 1, 2010

I think the podcasting Gods are testing me clarification within the show.. Hope everyone had a enjoyable holiday weekend and made it safely back to work. The warm summer months are upon us and I will be running some promotions to keep you folks dialed in while out and about so make sure you stay subscribed and up to date on the show…

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Stolen HTC WildFire!
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BP Loosing the Battle!
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Apple TV to be Re-Vitalized?
UK Three Strikes in Flux.
iPhone hacked in 30 seconds!
Digital Storage re-visited.
Skype 2.0 for iPhone.
No More Common Sense.
2 Million iPads!
The Science of Acupuncture.
No Microsoft Windows at Google.
Pay Raises for Apple Factory Workers?
Get your Google Juice Back.
Dumber and Dumber!
New GPS Sat Launched.
Hotel Key is your Phone.
Ford Parking Assist
My Lincoln Touch.
Music for Deaf People.
TPN Weekly!
Venting Online.
SnapFinger to Expand.
ASUS EEE Tablet
Amazing Twitter Stats!
The Pirate Bay Takedown + 4 Yrs
To Extradite or Not Extradite?
Film Industry by the Numbers.
Wild crash.
Oceanic Airlines History :)

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GNC-2010-05-25 #578 Does Apple Care about Security?

Posted by geeknews at 1:12 AM on May 25, 2010

Ok back in the saddle here in Hawaii looking forward to spending a couple of weeks at home. Special Insider coming out in a few days hope you will become an insider. Lot’s happening on the home front and it is a very exciting time to be a new media creator. Tune in today.

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IRS Changes that are Insane!
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Website Monitoring.
Twitter brings the Hammer down.
Adobe Reader for Android.
Apple Developers Worldwide Conference.
Everything is $49.95.
Facebook Policy is Hypocritical.
Facebook Adware.
NASA Telescope hits Jackpot.
Safari still Carpet Bombing Apple Users.
Atlantis Undocks from ISS.
Irleand ISP initiates 3-Strikes.
Will PST become Open?
isoHunt under court order?
Watch what you Tweet.
Seven Atom Transistor.
Atlantis Pics at ISS.
Phoenix Lander Destroyed.
BluRay Storage x 1000 Capacity!
No iPad at Yankee Stadium.
Donate time to moon exploration.
HP Excuse on why Ink is so Expensive!
Mark Twain Personal Autobiography to be Released.
Student Sues School for Privacy Invasion.
China says Photocopiers are Evil?
Anti-Pirates sue Anti-Pirates!
Shuttle Launch Checklist.
AT&T Class Action lawsuit.
Phone Video Conferencing come to iPhone?
iPhone 3g sales!
Democrats to help FCC Agenda.
Elgatot TV + iPad = Cool but Hokey.
NASA hits hole in one.
Android Speed Test with Flash.
Soluto solves Windows issues!
Skygrid Video.

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HP Mini 110 Netbook – Mini Review

Posted by fogview at 5:29 PM on December 31, 2009

HP Mini 110 NetbookNetbooks seems to be one of the biggest “old” technologies for 2009. I say old technology because it doesn’t seem to really offer anything that hasn’t been offered before, except in a smaller size. Under-powered machines have been around since PCs came on the scene back in 1981 (and before).

With that said, I been using one for a couple weeks and find I really enjoy it. So what’s changed? I think it comes down to having the right product at the right time. The right time being the ability to take advantage of the Internet with built-in wi-fi and internet browser.

I think another reason for the popularity of netbooks is that they are not trying to position themselves as your main machine. They are really intended as a secondary machine that you would use around the house or office or to take when you travel.

I’ve been using the HP Mini 110 netbook with Windows 7 Starter edition. I’ve been using Windows 7 on my other machines and decided if I was to get a netbook, it should have Windows 7 and not XP that is offered on some machines. (The HP Mini 110 does come with XP and you can add Windows 7 for about $30 extra).

Here are the main features of my Mini 110:

  • 1.6 GHz Intel Atom N270 Processor
  • 1 GB DRAM
  • 10.1″ WVGA display
  • 160 GB Hard Drive
  • Wi-Fi and RJ-45 Ethernet
  • Webcam with built-in mic
  • 5-in-1 Digital Media Reader
  • 3 USB Ports
  • External VGA Port

I have both Mac and Windows machines (desktops and notebooks) that I use on a daily basis so why do I need “another” computer? There is something wonderful when you get a new computer. It’s so fresh and new and fast. (Fast is not something I would associate with my netbook, but its not that slow). The key is managing its use and the programs I don’t put on it. From my experience machines slow down from “program bloat” — installing too many programs on a machine. These programs take up disk space, desktop space (icon shortcuts), and each one wants to hack away at your registry. All the things that cause the machine to slow down over time. I know there are things you can do to clean up your system, but it’s never the same as a new machine (or reformatted hard drive).

I plan to take a “less is better” attitude to what goes on my netbook. I use it for Internet browsing, Skype and general note taking. I have installed a few utility programs that I can use to remotely manage my client’s websites but I don’t plan to burden it with Photoshop (Elements), Word, or anything else that will bring it to its knees.

So far I’ve enjoyed the experience. From time to time I check in on a number of live video sites, TWIT and Geek News Central, and find the netbook is perfect for that. I can open a session and take the netbook with me as I go to different parts of the house and not miss a beat. If I keep it in the kitchen, it’s there if I need to do a quick Google search and doesn’t take up much counter space. (I don’t need a memory, I have Google :) )

After a few weeks, here are my pros and cons of the netbook:

Pros:
- Lots of built-in features: 3 USB ports, VGA port, SD card reader, RJ-45 jack, wi-fi, web cam.
- Long battery life: about 6 hours
- Nice keyboard
- Small size

Cons:
- Speaker sounds tinny. (I use a small portable speaker system when I need better sound.)
- Display is only  1024 x 576 pixels. The 1024 width is fine but the 576 height is a little short for some programs that assume a taller display. I have some programs that don’t resize and I can’t access buttons at the bottom of the screen.

I don’t think the netbook is for everyone and I wouldn’t recommend it as your only computer, but I think it does have it place.  So far this netbook will stay a part of my toolkit and I’ll keep you informed as I use it more.

Happy New Years to all!

73′s
Tom

Attention: Malware On Your Computer?

Posted by fogview at 11:55 PM on December 20, 2009

“Security center has detected malware on your computer.” Have you ever seen that message pop up on your computer? Have you ever seen it happen over Skype? Well, I’ve received that message three times in the last month as a Skype message. It tells me that my Windows software is infected and I need to install a patch. It even gave me a website (link) to go to to help me install the patch.

Skype Malware Message

I may have fallen for the trick but I don’t know how a Windows patch would fix my iMac running OSX. I don’t run Bootcamp, or Windows in a virtual machine, nor does my iMac know what an .EXE or ActiveX file is. I’m sure if I clicked on this link and installed the patch on my Windows machine, my machine WOULD have been infected with malware! (For now Mac machines may be safer from malware infections but it’s wise to still be careful.)

I’ve written before about being safe on the Internet and not going to sites you don’t know or clicking on links in emails, but this is the first I heard of a message over Skype. If you look at the message box (on my iMac), it doesn’t even say it’s from Skype and the window title says. “Software Updates.”

What concerns me is that many people may fall for this trick. I know most readers of GNC and listener’s to Todd’s podcast are tech savvy enough that they wouldn’t fall for something like this, but what about mom (or dad) or your grand parents who get a web cam for Christmas and install Skype so they can talk to the grand kids? Would they click on this link and install the “patch” if this message box appeared?

Google is trying to find sites that install spyware and root-kit software on your computer, but you can’t depend on this for every “bad” website. Recently there was a SQL-injection virus that infected a large number of websites. The virus takes advantage of PCs running Windows that have not been patched with the latest updates. You don’t have to click on any links to get infected — just visit a site taken over by this malware software. It does this by linking to the site 318x dot com (please don’t go to this site). If you search for 318x dot com using google, the first search listing says “This site may harm your computer.” That because this site has been around for a while and has given enough time for Google’s security bots to find the site and determine that it’s up to no good. Here is the link for the Google Safe Browsing page for the 318X site: http://google.com/safebrowsing/diagnostic?site=318x.com/

Now back to my Skype message. I mentioned that this is the third time I’ve received this message in the past month. Each time I did a Whois search of the linked website and found that the website was created within one day of when I received the message. The website mentioned in the most recent warning message was created the same day I received the message. This tells me that the author of this warning message is changing the website URL to keep it from being flagged by Google and the security monitoring sites. If you do a Google search for this site it comes up clean. Oh, did I mention that the owner of this site (and the previous two sites) is from Prague, Czech Republic (outside US laws)?

As you visit relatives and friends over the holidays make sure everyone knows about safe surfing on the Internet. Don’t click on links in emails (or Skype message boxes) and make sure to keep your computer’s OS patched and up to date.

Happy Holidays.

73′s, Tom