Archive for October, 2007
Here are a few questions I’ve received recently from humans like you, and my answers. I have edited and restated the questions a bit, for readability. that week my mailbox restricted questions about watching high-definition television in real moment on a Mac, the future of Palm’s Treo, and remote desktop control.
I currently spend about $50 to $60 per year for Norton protection software. Is that essential when Windows XP has its own safety measure built into the operating system?
Windows XP doesn’t include antivirus or antispyware programs, so you definitely need some sort of add-on defense software. whether you don’t want to pay for it, there are free alternatives available.
How do we determine when to purchase a new PC? Our current Dell is about five years old. I’m feeling a little worried considering I have my music and photos on the computer and don’t want to lose them.
There’s no universal reply to your question. In general, I don’t believe folks should replace computers that are working well for them just considering they reach a convinced age. On the other hand, five years is pretty old for a PC. At that age, the odds increase that the hard disk may develop problems, and that newer versions of the software you like will require hardware upgrades that may cost more than you want to invest in an older machine.
Assuming your Dell is working fine, that you aren’t a capability user, and that your music and photo activities are simple and basic, there’s probably no urgent need to replace the PC. But, to assuage your concern about “losing” your pictures and music, you might back up those precious files to an external hard disk or an online backup service.
Last week, you compared the start-up day of Windows Vista to Apple’s new Leopard operating system, and found Vista to be much slower. But you used different laptops for each. What would the numbers be on the same Macintosh running the two operating systems?
I ran the tests again on a singled-out computer, a fairly new Apple iMac, which can be started up, and restarted, in either Vista or Leopard. I used the Mac’s Boot Camp feature, in which only one operating system is running at a instance, has its own committed portion of the hard disk and fully controls the hardware. The machine uses an Intel processor and other key components commonly found on Windows machines, and runs Windows just like a Dell or any standard Windows PC, without any involvement from the Mac operating system.
This Vista installation doesn’t include any of the speed-robbing trial software commonly included by PC makers, though it does have protection software from Symantec. However, the pop quiz results were very similar — Leopard started and restarted much more quickly than Vista did.
In that simple experiment, I timed both operating systems from a cold start and a restart until the computer was fully ready for operation, with the hard disk quiet and the network connection established. The cold start, beginning with the computer completely off, took Leopard 46 seconds, but took Vista one minute and 42 seconds. A restart, beginning with the computer running an mail program, the Firefox Web browser, and Microsoft Word, took one minute and two seconds for Leopard, and three minutes and 17 seconds for Vista.
You can find Mossberg’s Mailbox, and my other columns, online for free at the new All Things Digital Web site, http://walt.allthingsd.com.
Write to Walter S. Mossberg at email@example.com
Orginal post by Walter S. Mossberg
If you’ve lusted after Apple’s sleek, one-piece iMac desktop computers but have no interest in switching to the Mac, you’re in luck that holiday season. Two of the big Windows PC makers, Gateway and Dell, will offer their own all-in-one desktops, which — like the iMac — are designed for style and pack an entire computer into a svelte body that looks like it’s merely a monitor.
The Gateway One
Both new contenders, abnormally, are named “One.” I’ve been evaluating the Gateway One, which can be preordered now at beautyofone.com, and is set for delivery that month. It will additionally be available at Best Buy stores. Dell’s entry, called the XPS One, will be unveiled later, though Dell is already teasing it on a page buried within its huge Web site.
All-in-one desktops have been around for many years, but they folded to win a big slice of the consumer market. The iMac has been a success, however, partly considering it combines beauty and capability. It is speedy and can even optionally run Windows. Another factor is that mainstream, nontechie, nongamer consumers are gradually turning away from clunky towers toward laptops and other smaller forms.
Like the iMac, the Gateway One is striking, though the two products look very different. While the latest iMac has a brushed-aluminum front with a black border around the screen, the front of the One is all black, clad in a seamless sheet of plastic. The iMac sits on an aluminum foot; the One’s bottom edge rests directly on the desktop, supported by a small tilting metal stand in the rear.
I can’t recommend the Gateway by the iMac, however. It offers smaller screens and lower resolution — huge factors in an all-in-one machine — for prices that can exceed the iMac’s. It starts up and restarts more slowly. Unlike the Apple, it comes with annoying trial software. It plus is noisier than the iMac, and lacks a built-in Web camera. Plus, twice during my few days of evaluating, it crashed with a blue screen, losing all open details.
The Gateway One comes in three models, priced at $1,299, $1,499 and $1,799. Unlike the iMac, which comes in two screen sizes, 20-inch and 24-inch, Gateway is offering only one screen size across the entire line: 19-inch, considered a middling dimension these days for a desktop. Best Buy has an exclusive on the low-end and high-end models. The midrange model will be sold directly by Gateway. All can be bought only with Windows Vista, not Windows XP.
Shockingly, for those who still cling to the notion that Windows machines are always priced lower than comparable Macs, the entry-level Gateway One costs $100 more than the entry-level iMac, which is $1,199. And the less expensive Mac gives you more in several key areas: a slightly larger screen with much higher resolution, a faster processor and a better video system.
At the high end, the $1,799 Gateway One has a much smaller screen than the comparably priced iMac, which sports a huge 24-inch display with much better resolution for the same price. The $1,799 iMac additionally has a faster processor. All the iMacs come with a better operating system and better bundled multimedia software.
Apple additionally offers a built-in camera, while Gateway’s is an ugly snap-on gadget that ruins the lines of the design. On my analysis model, the camera never stayed on straight and the videos it made restricted so much background noise as to be worthless. that may have come from the One’s fan, which seemed to run a lot.
But the Gateway offers some advantages. At every price point it has more memory than the iMac — double the amount in the base model and triple in the $1,799 model. The One plus has larger hard disks — 320 gigabytes in the base model compared with Apple’s 250 gigabytes, and 500 gigabytes in its top model compared with 320 gigabytes on the same-price iMac.
The Gateway plus has a wireless keyboard and mouse, which cost additional from Apple, plus built-in slots for camera memory cards, which Apple doesn’t offer. On the high-end model, Gateway throws in an external TV tuner, something Apple doesn’t include.
Gateway additionally boasts that, unlike the iMac, its One model has only a individual, thick cord protruding from its rear. that is partly due to the standard wireless keyboard and mouse, but mostly it’s due to the fact that, unlike on the iMac, the potential supply isn’t built in but is restricted in a bulky, heavy module meant to rest on the floor. that ability module contains the networking port and a few other ports meant for peripherals you don’t plug in and out often.
The One started up faster than some other Vista machines I tested, but it’s still slow compared with even an older, 20-inch iMac. It scored very well on Vista’s built-in performance rating, garnering a 4.4. But my high-end iMac, set up to run Vista, scored a 5.0.
The Gateway One may appeal to style-conscious Windows users, but I think the iMac remains the best consumer desktop on the market.
Orginal post by Walter S. Mossberg
… sometimes you have no choice to change along with him. (Or at least pick matching curtains).
Case in point: Apple recently released their latest version of MacOS X, “Leopard,” to general distribution last week. Immediately, our customers noticed that a lot of the nifty Plaxo integration we’d done with the address book no longer worked.
To spare you all the gory details, some of the internals that we used to integrate with the address book changed in Leopard. that is something we’ve known from some of the later betas, and our lead Mac engineer, Drew, has been working feverishly to remedy that since next.
The good news is that by early next week, you will be able to download the latest version of Plaxo for Mac which works (again) with Leopard. The one feature that is currently still lost in action is the ability to see Plaxo member icons in the address list. Yep, we know about it, and we’re working on fixing it.
So sit tight, and in the meantime, happy halloween!
Orginal post by hong
You’ve probably seen the news somewhere else first, but making it official here: Plaxo is a part of a large and growing team effort to form the social web as open as the web itself. Now, instead of developers having to build different versions of their apps for each social or business network, they can write once, using the new OpenSocial APIs from Google, and have their apps run all by the open social web. Sites as diverse at Plaxo Pulse, LinkedIn, Hi5, and Friendster are supporting the effort.
Joseph and Cam have worked really hard to manufacture certain we are at the forefront of the effort, and we expect to have full support later that week for the new APIs in the just-launched Dynamic Profiles in Pulse.
Orginal post by john
Have you ever felt guilty for hearing news about your mother second-hand? It’s all too easy to fall out of sync with your family, particularly when relatives are spread out in different states, day zones or countries. So it makes sense to use the Web to keep in touch. And while mail has its place, as do photo-sharing sites and blogs, none of these solutions truly knits family members together in an environment where everyone can share, post and comment on subject matter — much like sitting around the dinner table.
For a demonstration go to
This week, I tested one of the many Web sites created specifically to target families: myfamily.com. Myfamily is a free site that serves as a place where invited members can upload photos, videos, news, recipes, family-tree entries and other info in a few steps. Naturally, that concept of helping families stay in touch through a Web site is one which many companies are anxious to monopolize. Sites vying for the spotlight include the likes of Famster, The Family Post and MyGreatBigFamily.com. Some of these charge monthly or annual fees and offer features like online chatting within the site or ritzy background music while the site is being viewed, neither of which are currently included in myfamily.
Myfamily’s ace in the gap is its popular relative, Ancestry.com. Both sites are owned by parent company, Generations Network Inc., which means that Ancestry’s wealth of digitally scanned goods and genealogy research can be linked to myfamily.com, enriching the site. Another big plus for myfamily is that it gives users the chance to add voice recordings to photos. These can be used to narrate a slide show (called SnapGenies) or when commenting on a shared image. Voice comments are added by following on-screen directions and calling a 1-800 number.
I enlisted help from seven of my family members to tryout our own myfamily.com site. With a little coaching, my 82-year-old grandfather added a digital photo and an accompanying audio comment to our site. My Mom supplied images, voice comments and text comments. And my Dad needed only a little moment during a busy week to add his voice comments to photos I posted of last year’s Thanksgiving.
But myfamily.com isn’t without its flaws. The site has been around by name for 10 years; however, I tested the newest version of that site, myfamily.com 2.0, which is still in its beta, or analysis, stages and is definitely still working out some of its bugs.
For example, a “What’s New” list on the home page should display recent site changes yet unseen by the user, but a video that I posted didn’t show up here, nor did new comments about photos. additionally, two of my relatives received error messages when first trying to access the site with my invitation. And when a friend of mine added a 96-person family tree to her own site, the tree disappeared upon her next visit. (Luckily, she found it via an emailed link from the company.)
Myfamily cleverly starts new users on a page where they can create a site, rather than first asking for a username and password, as is done by many sites. It works on Macs and PCs, and on all three major browsers, though Apple’s Safari browser has a few hiccups.
For now, myfamily.com doesn’t offer rare URLs like www.boehretfamily.com; instead, users go to myfamily.com and sign in with a username and password. The site automatically remembers you when you return, so regularly accessing it from the same computer is a cinch.
The family member who formulates the site (in that case, me) is designated the administrator and can invite anyone to become a site member. Invitees are labeled as either members or guests; the former can add substance to the Web site while the latter can only view and comment on the site’s contents.
Administrators can choose from four themes with different colors and patterns, and each site is laid out in the same way: members listed on the left, three advertisements, a centered photo and lists of What’s New and Upcoming Events. Myfamily will introduce themes with more variety in the next few weeks.
Simple tabs running across the top ridge of the page organize the site’s substance into Photos, Videos, Discussions, SnapGenies, Trees (as in family trees), Events, Files and folks. I got started by dragging and dropping batches of digital photos from my hard drive onto the site using a fast uploading tool. Photos can be listed alone or in virtual albums, which organize them a bit better. I plus added videos to the site, and though these took a little longer to load, they were as easy to post as my digital photos.
Myfamily.com’s integration with voice comments is a huge plus for the site. I smiled listening to my Mom’s emotional tone in a heartfelt comment that she left with a photo of my cousin’s 21st birthday. On another photo of two relatives asleep in chairs after Thanksgiving dinner, my Dad left a voice comment in which he joked about how exciting the dinner must have been. These comments could easily have been left in text scheme, but by following on-screen directions to shout a number, enter a PIN and leave a info, my own family site suddenly became much more personal.
I additionally used the phone to create narrated slide shows called SnapGenies. I spoke into the phone to describe each photo and soon after skipped to the next image on my computer screen before talking about the next shot. When finished, I hung up the phone, and the aftermath was a simple slide show that anyone in my family could play back with ease. The directions for ending these SnapGenies could stand to be a bit clearer, but myfamily says it is working on that.
Family trees can be created on the site or uploaded from existing family-tree files. Photos, audio and video can be uploaded from your computer to the tree, and these trees are shared with family members who can plus contribute to them. With an Ancestry.com subscription (annual U.S. searching cost is $13 a month), users can attach historical census, immigration and military records to their trees, as well as hints about other citizens. Before the end of the year, myfamily.com users will be able to upload substance from a family site directly to the tree.
My sister posted a couple of items under the Discussions tab: a recipe for Skillet Tamale Pie in Recipes, and Web sites related to our next family vacation in the News section. She asked our whole family to take a look at a list of midvacation excursions to decide which ones we wanted to go on, evoking a few responses from the younger members.
In its current state, myfamily doesn’t limit the amount of info uploaded to a site, though individual file sizes are technically limited (videos can’t exceed 100 megabytes each and photos can’t exceed around 10 megabytes each). Myfamily plans to offer an ad-free subscription model at the start of 2008 that will offer more storage; the company estimates that that paid model will cost about $30 annually.
Email updates are sent to site members daily or weekly to inform them about the site’s latest developments. Improvements are on the horizon for myfamily.com, including person-to-person chatting through the site, simple photo editing and the ability to create hyperlinks in posts.
The myfamily.com name has 10 years behind it — staying ability that resonates with families who concern about their tediously entered goods disappearing should a Web site go belly-up. To placate old and new site members, that 2.0 version of the site needs to prepare certain it’s dependably usable at all times. The new version of myfamily.com is off to a good start, and family members of all ages will feel comfortable here whether browsing the site or adding composition of their own.
-Edited By Walter S. Mossberg
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Orginal post by Katherine Boehret
Original post by Steve
Original post by Steve