Archive for the ‘Computers and Internet’ Category

imageYahoo’s logo has finally been revealed. But how did they come up with it, you ask? Well, watch the video below to find out the lines and swoops and music that inspired their creation. Still, a conversation with a creative director would have been better, but I’m happy nonetheless.

Picked up the Evo 3D, read the reviews, all great except for battery life. True, battery life is nowhere near on par with the iPhone, something HTC really needs to work on. That being said, I didn’t want to require charging my phone after 5 hours, as a few reviews appeared to allude. Unfortunately, this appears to be due to the device shipping with a bunch of settings enabled that, well, shouldn’t be. So, here’s what you do:

  • Turn off GPS
  • Turn off WiFi
  • Turn off 4G

Really, how often do you use those? Sure, when you’re at home or the office, WiFi is fine. But GPS? Seriously? Unless you need directions to everywhere you go, or you need apps to have pinpoint accuracy of your location, you don’t need those services running.

And 4G, regardless of carrier, is a joke. Yeah, it’s fast, but it really does kill your battery. Maybe in a year or two we’ll have the chipsets that are power efficient enough to enable keeping it on all the time. Right now? No, it’s just like laptops with NiCad batteries. Remember that? If you do, you’ll commiserate. If you don’t, be happy you have Lithium Ion in your devices these days. 3G is perfectly fine for almost anything you’ll do on your phone. Hey, it’s still faster than a lowball DSL connection. Cool, eh?

With the above settings, my Evo 3D runs fine for a whole day, even with average app usage. “Average” for me is a round or two of Angry Birds, a few Foursquare checkins, checking my email a number of times, taking a photo or two, and keeping Skype & Facebook running in the background.

I hope this helps you!

Aww, Sony, say it isn’t so! MALWARE was the reason? Come on. The people who get p0wned via virtualization malware will likely get p0wned in many other ways as well. So why spend all that time disabling something consumers need to get what they want? For shame.

Now, this should serve as a warning to those buying Windows 7 notebooks, hoping to use the Virtual Windows XP feature. A few things you should know:

  • You must have a version of Windows 7 that supports XP Mode. This would include Professional and Ultimate.
  • You must have a PC with virtualization capabilities. Certain Intel processors have this capability, and all dual-core and greater 64-bit AMD processors already do.
  • You will not need a separate Windows XP license key for XP Mode, at least as far as I can tell based on using the Beta and RC versions of the feature.

ZDNet – Hardware 2.0 – Adrian Kingsley-Hughes – August 11th, 2009

Sony kills virtualization on Vaio notebooks

If you are one of those people who spent close to $2,000 on a shiny Sony Vaio notebook, you should know that your ability to run XP Mode in Windows 7 has been deliberately disabled – by Sony.

While the Intel Core 2 Duo mobile processor that Sony uses inside the Vaio supports VT virtualization, Sony decided that because of the risk of malware, combined with little interest from customers, to disable this feature in the BIOS. To make matters worse, there’s no way for the average user to re-enable VT!

According to Sony senior manager for product marketing Xavier Lauwaert, VT hadn’t been enabled because they had received “very little if any requests until recently” and that engineers were “very concerned that enabling VT would expose our systems to malicious code that could go very deep in the Operating System structure of the PC and completely disable the latter”.

What made matters worse for Sony is that this issue exploded in the comment sections of a blog post on the Windows Team blog site in which Sony was talking up Windows 7.

According to Lauwaert, Sony will “will enable VT on select models” but it seems that Z-series Vaio owners will miss out.

I’ve stopped recommending Sony PCs several years ago. The company seems to focused on consumer electronics and music to product a decent professional-grade computer. This disabling of VT support just reinforces my lack of faith in the company.

Bought a Z-series Vaio and desperately need VT enabled? There is an unofficial patch available. I’ve not tried this, there are warranties and it could cause all sorts of mayhem, but if you¹re stuck, it’s worth a try!

Adrian Kingsley-HughesAdrian is a technology journalist and author who has devoted over a decade to helping users get the most from technology. He also runs a popular blog called The PC Doctor.

What Sony *should* have done was disable it, but make the option to enable it available in the BIOS.

W00t! After waiting for about 11 days for it to be approved, my first iPhone/iPod app is now available!

Buzzword Baby can be found in the Entertainment category. Here’s a direct link to it in the iTunes App Store.


Here’s the description:

Want to impress your boss? How about using those big shot CEO executive buzzwords, like “didactic activity scenarios” and “cloud-based mobility infrastructure”? Maybe your company needs some wireless fifth generation hardware contingency scenarios?

Well, Buzzword Baby may get you that promotion after all.

Tap “Create Buzz” and Buzzword Baby will give you limitless buzzwords that make sense to executives and marketing personnel. You’ll be laughing – all the way to the bank! Good luck on your next promotion!

Warning: Your personal advancement opportunities may differ.

I actually used this in a client meeting and they said “yeah, I get that WYSIWYG stuff.”

The baby photo is our intern, Doug. He was pretty surprised when he saw his photo in the app. Of course I got permission before I released, and I’m hoping it makes him “famous” 🙂

There’s also a Windows Mobile version, of course 🙂 Ping me if you want it.

Please let me know what you think!



So I’ve written my new iPhone app and I need a my bank account, routing number, and bank SWIFT number to get paid by Apple. So, how to get the SWIFT number, you ask?

Go to

Enter your bank’s BIC code, if you have it, or you can do a keyword search and find it. All done!

Note: Your bank may not actually have a SWIFT number. Mine sure didn’t. Time to go open a bank account somewhere else – gotta make some green! 🙂



A bit off topic, but… I just noticed you can boldface and underline text in your Facebook chat conversations.

To boldface text, simply wrap it in asterisks, like so:

I am *boldfacing* text

To underline text, simply wrap it in underscore marks, like so:

I am _underlining_ text

You can even combine styles, like boldfaced underlining, by putting

I am *_boldface underlining_* text

Example of text formatting in Facebook chat

The formatting does not appear to work in status updates. Oh well.




Clubhouse Tags: facebook, tip


Well, I was shopping for a Jawbone 2 and found this deal:




Ok, started having this problem yesterday after Windows Update did its job. Now my mouse won’t work, and the IdeaCom HID Touch Screen is what’s disabling it. I don’t have a tablet PC, so why Vista installed this, I’m not entirely sure. Ugh. Vista won’t give me the option to disable the driver, either. Why it disables the touchpad, I have no idea. Boy, that’s annoying!

So, to get my TouchPad back "permanently", I did the following:

  1. Go to Start menu, select Computer, and use the "menu" key on to select Manage. The Menu key is usually to the right of the space bar, and looks like a menu with a mouse pointer.
  2. I used my arrow keys to select Device Manager and Tabbed over to Devices.
  3. I selected Human Interface Devices, and there was the IdeaCom driver. I used the Menu key on it and selected Uninstall Driver. Make sure you check the delete driver checkbox when prompted!
  4. I restarted my computer as Vista commanded.
  5. After restarting, Vista reinstalled my Dell Touchpad driver. Again, I had to restart.
  6. Vista came back up and all was happy again in Auriville.

Note: I have Vista 64-bit, Service Pack 1. Amount of memory and hard drive space doesn’t matter.

Ok, I’m sitting down for an awesome California Club sandwich at Sidecafe in Bally’s. I hope it’s as good as last time…

I hit the Intel and Microsoft booths this morning, and here’s what I have to report:


  • ClearWire was showcasing their In-Car WiMax service with a decked-out Smart car. Big touchscreen with Internet access, streaming audio and video, and a custom shell, all running Windows XP. Of course, ClearWire doesn’t offer any customization – that was all done by a show in town. The guy giving me all the details had heard of and read my book, Geek My Ride. So did practically every other guy in the Mobile area. How cool is that?
    • The WiMax service has three tiers – 2, 4, and 6 MBit burst rates. 2 MB starts at $30/month and is available in Portland and Baltimore. More cities are coming. More info at Cool domain.
    • The bummer about the PC was no gesture control. So there was a clunky interface for moving around the screen. Too bad.

Hah - Intel Fo Rizzle Smart Car Wrapping Smart Car PC in Smart Car

  • Uleader Design had a super blatant ripoff of the MacBook for their laptop design. Boo.

MacBook Design Ripoff

  • Dynamically Linked Displays concept. Ok, this was cool. The laptops / devices / whatever broadcast their available services to other nearby devices on the wireless network. The service on display was, well, display sharing, so you could access the display of another device and move windows around between the displays, as though they were connected to your machine. Of course, you’re limited by bandwidth, and this is only a technology preview, so the devices weren’t aware of "where" they were in relation to the other devices, but whatever – it was still a great idea.

Intel Dynamic Displays Concept


  • Showed off lots of Windows Mobile devices, none running any new version of Mobile, so bummer. But cool phones of note:
    • HTC Touch HD. When I asked I was told "That version of the Touch HD isn’t coming to the U.S." and was then winked at.
    • T-Mobile’s Shadow II was on display. A bit thick.

T-Mobile Shadow II Touch HD

Correction from Yesterday:

  • The language Microsoft was showing was Kodu, not Bodu.

Addition from Ballmer’s Keynote:

  • Sorry, forgot to mention the new XBox Live Primetime service. Basically, at pre-set times of the day, you can login to XBox Live and participate in huge community events. They showed a Quiz Show like game that was pretty cool, and you can play against your friends, your community, the World, whatever. Great idea.

Ok, I saw a few cool things at CES Unveiled today…

  • nVidia and Mitsubishi were showing a 3D-capable television, using shutter-based 3D lenses, connected to a computer with a special version of nVidia’s driver. Basically, the driver takes the depth information provided in DirectX games and makes basically any 3D game, well, 3D. They showed this last year, but they didn’t say much about how it worked. No info yet on pricing, but still cool to see, even if there’s hardly a home market for it.
  • Eton showed a crank radio for emergency situations. Yeah, nothing new, except this radio also sported a USB port for charging a cell phone. Not bad, especially if your battery dies when you need to prevent doing the same…
  • I got to see Lenovo’s 2-screen laptop… It’s a 17" display with a slide-out 10.6" display with the same resolution as the primary. Neat. Expensive – $3500 – and as big as you think it is. Come to think of it, I should have asked about battery life.
  • On an non-CES-related topic, Apple announced a Macbook Pro at MacWorld that has a built-in, non-replaceable battery, that sports up to 8 hours of battery life. But, umm, if you need more juice, you’re screwed. Oh, and why wouldn’t I just buy a PC with 12+ hours of battery life and a replaceable battery, like the ones from HP, Lenovo, and Dell. Well, I guess that 17" is nice.
  • And then there was Duck Hunter from Inter Active Toy. No play on words here – it really is a gun that shoots off a remote control duck that flies around the room. You have to shoot the duck down within 30 seconds or you "lose." Should be at Best Buy and Circuit City (RIP?) by the Spring. You can download photos from this link. (note, I haven’t checked what’s in the ZIP file they linked, so use at your own risk)
  • Meade Instruments showed off their ETX-LS auto-configuring telescope. Yes, it’s a telescope that does everything for you. With its built-in CCD imager, it looks at a photo of the night sky and auto-calibrates itself. No star references needed. Sweet.

Duck Hunter from Inter Active Toy

More news coming as I tour the show floor…