Monday, December 27, 2004

Less Spam?

AOL Reports Drop in Spam Messages.
Good advertising for AOL - join AOL, get less spam?

Friday, December 24, 2004

Top 10 List

Well, here's my top 10 list of Tech products for 2004, in no particular order. I'll limit this list to products I've actually used or own - how can I put the Palm Treo 650 on my top 10 list (as much as I'd like to) if I don't have one?):

Mozilla Firefox 1.0 browser

Fedora Core 3 Linux

BackupMan PalmOS Backup software

StumbleUpon downloadable toolbar - channel-surfing web-style.

Google Mail - Free 1 GB - say no more!

Windows Ultimate Boot CD and Bart Preinstalled Environment (BartPE)

Scite4AutoIt3 - freeware editor for AutoIT scripting language downloadable here

Xandros Desktop OS Version 2 OS Open Circulation Edition, a free version of their excellent Desktop linux

Microsoft Virtual PC 2004 - yes, I know it's a Microsoft product, but it's still pretty neat.

Motorola V600 quad-band GSM phone. Although it's not really a smartphone, it has excellent reception, and some really cool games.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Linux has fewer flaws

From ZDNet: Research finds Linux has fewer flaws.

The Linux operating system has many times fewer bugs than typical commercial software, according to an upcoming report. Read the complete story.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Fedora re-installed

Well, I re-installed Fedora Core Linux. This time I did a Custom install, and excluded Open Office which takes up a lot of space. After that the updates went through without a hitch.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Fedora Core gone

As I thought, Partition Magic would not let me resize the Linux ext2 partition. I took one look at the Linux command line tool for resizing partitions, GNU Parted, and decided that deleting the partition and reinstalling Fedora Core 3 Linux would be my best option. Then Partition Magic gave an error when I tried to delete the Linux partition Error 510: "The version of the file system is not supported". Great. The Partition Magic support site says:
"Norton PartitionMagic 8.0 and PartitionMagic 8.0 may not work with Linux Ext3 partitions when the dir_index file system attribute is enabled. Recent Linux releases from Red Hat and Fedora set the dir_index file system attribute by default. To prevent the error, disable the dir_index attribute, perform the partition modification, then re-enable the attribute.
To disable the dir_index attribute
1. Boot into Linux single-user mode."

Okay, now I first had to figure out how to "Boot into Linux single-user mode"
A quick web search picked up the answer "How To Boot Linux (Red Hat Fedora) Into Single User Mode Using Grub".

A few minutes later the linux partition was gone - I had to re-format it in Partition Magic before I could delete it, but it worked.

Now I need to reinstall Fedora Core 3 Linux.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

What would Windows do?

That's what I wonder: What would Windows do if I tried to run some major updates and I didn't have enough disk space? This is all in defense of Linux of course. The Fedora Core 3 Linux I installed on Saturday gave a lot of confusing error messages when I tried to apply 63 updates. It didn't take too long to figure out that it had run out of space. I wish it had warned me beforehand, like Windows (hopefully) would have done. I since its space on a partition that it ran out of, it can be fixed - my Linux knowledge isn't enough to quickly figure out how to move some Mount Points, which would solve the problem. Instead I'll first try to increase the size of the Linux partition using Partition Magic, but I suspect that Linux might object to that. If that doesn't work, its a case of increasing the size of the Linux partition from 3 GB to around 4GB (once again with Partition Magic), clearing it and reinstalling Fedora Core 3 Linux. Its time-consuming - but since its not my primary machine I can do it in the background.
For anyone who really likes multitasking, I would highly recommend running two (or more) Desktop computers with a KVM switch - I was able to check e-mail and update this Blog on my newer machine while installing Linux on the older one.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Fedora Core 3 Installed

Well, Fedora Core 3 is installed (and saying that there are 63 updates available). Let's just hope my Windows XP still boots!

Just call me...

A sucker for new technologies.

I'm just starting to install of (Redhat) Fedora Core 3 linux on my old PC...

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Almost bought a Mini Mouse

I almost bought a Mini Mouse, sight unseen. That would have been a big mistake. Have you ever seen any of those mini mice? (hey, obviously I'm not talking about Mickey's main squeeze here). Fortunately I decided to go to a real store and check them out. Some of the mini mice looked like they would be more at home on a keying. A good compromise seems to be a "Notebook mouse", which is about two-thirds the size of a normal desktop mouse. An optical mouse was a must have - maybe because it's the in thing - I've still got an old mechanical mouse at home, and it works fine. Being wireless as well was a nice-to-have, especially when I saw the prices - I don't expect to use my Notebook that much to justify a wireless mouse.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Back in the USA

Well, after 2 weeks of rushing around in sunny SA, it's back to sunny but chilly New York.
Apart from the temperatures, the prices of technology are a lot lower here. At a computer chain store - The Incredible Connection - I saw the PalmOne Zire 72 on Sale for R2500 (about US$ 440! - normal price in the US is about $299!) The Treo 600 costs over $1000, the average DVD movie costs between $30 and $40; and Windows XP Pro costs around $590. But apart from technology and cars, lots of other things are cheaper in South Africa...

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Us and Them?

Linux and Microsoft - from eWeek Enterprise Wars: Linux vs. Windows

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Less confused

My assumptions about the Intel Celeron M and Intel Celeron processors appear to be right, according to this article about the Compaq Presario 2210us at

Guide to Laptop Processors has even more information.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Processor confusion

While doing research for a new Notebook, I came across what can only described as processor (or CPU) confusion. I know about some of the differences between Intel and AMD Processors for Desktops, but this was confusion caused by Intel-only Processors:

Mobile Intel Celeron
Mobile Intel Pentium 4-M (or Mobile P4)
Intel Pentium M
Intel Celeron M

The Intel Celeron and Intel Celeron M confused me because of vastly different clockspeeds. A notebook with a 2.6GHz Intel Celeron chip costs about the same as one with a 1.4GHz Intel Celeron M chip while they have similar specifications (like Memory and Hard disk size) Only when I read this article on did it sort of make sense, with the performance of a 1.4 GHz Pentium M being roughly similar to a Mobile Intel Pentium 4 running at 2.4 GHz.

So I assume the same must apply for Intel Celeron M and Intel Celeron processors...

Monday, November 08, 2004

Refurbished PDAs cost more than New

I spotted this:
RefurbDepot.COM - PDA's
Palm OS v. 5.0, Built-in MP3 audio player, High resolution TFT color display, Swivel LCD design, Voice recorder function, Wireless expansion slot,

List Price: $699.00 (interesting - It was $399 to $450 max in May 2003!)
Our Price: $269.95
You Save: $429.05 (61.4%)
RefurbDepot.COM - PDA's

I really must have got a good deal when I bought my Sony Clie NX60 brand new for $299 in May 2003!

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

The winner is

The next Backup Utility I tried was the $20 BackupBuddyVFS Professional from Blue Nomad software. Now I have read a lot of good reviews about this software, but installing it crashed my handheld - Fatal Errors during install, and Fatal Errors while trying to run it. So much for that...

I finally decided on BackupMan. One of its features is that it creates the Backup as a single file, which helps me when I'm searching the Memory Stick for a particular file. The Restore feature works - I know - I've used it several times already.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Next Up: TealBackup

TealPoint Software has a good reputation, and I use two of their other software titles.

TealBackup has a host of features:
Backups though HotSync, manual backups (a feature?), incremental backups, dual-timer scheduled backups, optional encryption and compression, exclusion lists and inclusion lists.
With these features it costs around $17 .

When I tried it with the compression option it was incredibly slow on my Sony NX60. I tried to cancel the backup, but it just ignored me. Over ten minutes later the backup was still running, still on the same file, so I had to soft reset my handheld.

To give it a good test, I also tried it on my other handheld, a Tungsten E, without compression this time.

Like MSBackup, it backs up as individual files, I guess so you can manually restore individual files. The two different Backup Schedules seemed useful (one can be full, and the other incremental), but overall it was slow when populating file lists for inclusions or Exclusions.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Need a Backup

I've been having a number of hard-resets on my Sony handheld recently. Fortunately I haven't lost any important data, as I've been backing up my whole handheld every couple of days with the MSBackup software which came with the Clie, as well as copying files to the Memory Stick. So far I've been lucky, but sooner or later I'll forget to do a backup. Backups done with MSBackup have to be manually started, so a Backup Utility with scheduling capabilities would be ideal.

The first one I tried (or second, if you count FlyBackup, which really wasn't a contender), was BackupMan. This simple $10 software does scheduled backups, but lacks advanced options like selecting files to exclude, compression and encryption. Despite that, it works well.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Backup doesn't fly

While I was looking on FlyZip's website yesterday I came across FlyBackup.
Aha, backup utility with compression and encryption for $10. I really need a backup program which has scheduling capabilities, let me try it.
The first backup didn't complete, possibly because TealLock interrupted it, and a second backup ran for 2 minutes alternating between displaying either 17 minutes or 14 minutes to go. (It DOES compress though!)

Several minutes later, with 9 minutes to go the stupid program ran out of space on the card (there was only 6MB left on the SD Card). Why couldn't it have told me beforehand?
Maybe the simpler BackupMan will be better.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Fly "Zip"

The name sounded intriguing, so I'm trying FlyZip on my handheld. This little Palm Utility "Zips" programs in memory to save RAM. It can also "Zip" programs to a Memory Card & create a shortcut to run the "zipped" program, like PowerRun. I use Zip in quotes because the format is not compatible with programs like WinZip. For that you need a program like Resco Explorer or LightNzip.

FlyZip has some really cool animation, the first when it starts up and the second when it "Zips" or "Unzips" an application:

If I didn't already have JackFlash and Resco Explorer I would have serious considered buying this utility.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Treo 650 smartphone is here!

Well, officially anyway.

The differences between the Treo 650 and the Treo 600 are:

Bluetooth wireless technology.

320x320 pixel screen

Built-in MP3 player.

Removable battery.

Nonvolatile memory (Like the Tungsten T5).

Camera now captures video too.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Big download

Finally managed to download Knoppix Linux, which is a bootable Linux. I had tried a few months back, but given up. After the second FTP site said it would take 22 hours I almost gave up again. I decided to try Bit Torrent, which is a P2P download method (see Brian's BitTorrent FAQ and Guide) requiring Bit Torrent software on the local machine. I started the download and left it to run all night. It took just under 7 hours for the 700MB ISO Image, but it worked. One advantage of broadband is not having to worry about the line dropping, although I've downloaded a 700MB ISO Image in less than 20 minutes. I had actually downloaded 5 CD images of varying sizes in a couple of hours earlier the same day.

Oh, and Knoppix Linux - it looks cool!

Thursday, October 21, 2004

First Sony, now Sharp, this sucks! Technology: Sharp to stop selling PDA in U.S.

The Sharp Zaurus SL-5500 was on my shortlist of PDAs when I was hunting for a PDA last year. Although it's Linux based, it can run the Palm OS Emulator, and has a slide out keyboard.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Channel..I mean Web..surfing

I've discovered a new way to surf the Web.
StumbleUpon is a downloadable toolbar which works with most (Explorer, Netscape, Mozilla, Firefox) Browsers and on a number of Operating Systems. Basically, once you've downloaded and installed the toolbar, you choose topics which you are interested in (the more the better). Then you just click the "Stumble" button on your browser to begin channel surfing - give a "Thumbs Up" or "Thumbs Down" to the websites you like or dislike, and surf on. Really great fun.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Gimme space

What's happened to the extra space promised by Hotmail?
In June there were reports all around like this one in USA Today in June: Hotmail and Yahoo to offer more email storage space and another at CNET Hotmail to offer 250MB of free storage

Yahoo increased its space within days of the announcement. So did a number of other free web-based email providers like

So Microsoft, where's the increase in Hotmail space?


Yikes!, Another Internet Explorer Bug

[Secunia - Advisories - Microsoft Internet Explorer Disclosure of Sensitive XML Information]

Monday, October 04, 2004

What, no Tungsten T4?

The new Palm Tungsten T5 PDA is here. With 256MB of flash memory (215MB available, of which 160MB is an internal flash drive), 416MHz Intel XScale processor, stereo headphone jack, Bluetooth but no Wi-Fi, and NO slider!

Saturday, October 02, 2004

What's in a name

I was curious about the multiple name changes for "the browser now called Firefox".

First, it was Phoenix.
Then, it was Mozilla Firebird.
Now it's Mozilla Firefox

According to, the Mozilla Foundation had to change the name the first time because the name Phoenix was already trademarked. The second change has come in the wake of unhappy words from the Open Source Firebird relational database development project.

Mozilla's FAQ about the name Firefox

Friday, October 01, 2004

Found PrefBar

Well, I found a version of the Firefox extension "PrefBar" which works with Firefox 1.0 Preview version for download at

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Browser catches fire

I finally tried the Preview version of the Mozilla Firefox browser.
I was impressed right from the word go. The first time I ran Firefox it detected which plugins were installed and retrieved updates for the compatible ones. I was really sorry there isn't a compatible version of PreBar out yet. It also asked where it should import bookmarks and settings from (as both IE and Mozilla were still on the machine). The browser is slick and fast, even on my old 500 MHz machine running Windows 98.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Over Amplified

I decided to try after reading a favorable review of it in PC Magazine. Amplify is supposed to help you capture and share parts of web pages which interest you.

I should have realized that wasn't for me when I saw that one of the requirements is Internet Explorer. Without asking, it installed itself in the startup group - a big no-no. It also had some major clashes with the GoogleBar.

Current status of uninstalled.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Linux from my homeland

Here it is: Ubuntu Linux from South Africa. And a review on ExtremeTech.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Budget version of Windows

Russia gets budget version of Windows called Windows XP Starter Edition.

Bill and Steve are happy

Bill and Steve are happy at this news:
Reverse Migration: From Linux to Windows

Wednesday, September 22, 2004


With all my searching for a free text editor, I had never came across the SciTE editor. I guess that's good, because I may have been disappointed with SciTE as a mere text editor. I came across it packaged as an IDE in Scite4AutoIt3 with function lookups and other nice stuff for the freeware Windows scripting language AutoIt. Just to quickly plug AutoIt here - this is a powerful scripting language. I've used AutoIt scripts to configure Windows 98, 2000 and XP Test machines at work - automating repetitive tasks like setting Windows Explorer preferences or change the display settings. AutoIt is like DOS batch files on steroids.

Anyway, with the SciTE editor, which is based on Scintilla (yeah, I also was like "What?" at first), you have a really cool IDE for AutoIt. As well as keyword completion and syntax highlighting, there is also code folding, a feature I've only seen in Visual Studio .Net's IDE.

SciTE means Scintilla based Text Editor, according to SciTE for Windows Scripters.

And I thought Crimson Editor or JEdit were the ultimate in freeware text editors!

Saturday, September 18, 2004


One of the tools on the Windows Ultimate Boot CD site was AutoStreamer.

To "slipstream" is to apply a service pack to an Operating System installation CD, so when the OS is re-installed it already has the Service Pack. The process can be done "manually", but AutoStreamer automates the process.

I used AutoStreamer to slipstream Windows XP (SP1) to Windows XP Service Pack 2. The program required the original Windows XP CD (or the Windows XP CD copied to a directory on the hard-drive), and a full download of XP Service Pack 2. It didn't take long, as I already had Windows XP (SP1) in a directory on the hard-drive. Soon I had Windows XP with Service Pack 2 in ISO format ready for burning to a CD.

Give Windows the boot

Here's a good idea - a bootable Windows XP CD - Windows Ultimate Boot CD has tools and utilities for creating one.
They make use of Bart Preinstalled Environment, which I've mentioned before.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Mozilla fixes and Firefox

Mozilla Firefox version 1.0 is due to be released soon. A preview release is available here.

My favorite browser, the more full-featured Mozilla browser suite has had a number of security updates in version 1.7.3 - see this article from

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

History, gone

After mentioning Pricelessware in a previous post as my favorite place to find freeware, I see that they have gone and changed the site. Previous years "pricelessware" no longer have links for downloading - doggone!

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

2nd to last straw

This was my second to last straw from McAfee Internet Security suite:

The McAfee anti-virus service has had a few hiccups updating itself in the past week. Then I got this message:

I tried to re-install it from the original CD. This hung-up Windows XP so bad I couldn't reboot or shutdown. So I had to press and hold the power button down until the PC shutdown. When I got it up again, McAfee Internet Security was fine.

My update subscription runs out early next year, but if this McAfee product carries on like this I might be buying the Norton Security Suite before then.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Email account bigger have finally increased their free email account size from 6MB to 125MB. Although this is not as big as G(oogle) Mail's 1Gb, it is bigger than Yahoo's 100MB for free accounts.

Monday, September 06, 2004

New Moto Phone

I recently read about the upcoming Motorola A630 cellphone in Laptop Magazine .

This clamshell phone opens to reveal a QWERTY keypad, with a landscape mode screen.

Closed, with a standard phone keypad:

Opened to reveal the QWERTY keypad:

More in PhoneScoop


Just a quick link (depending on your connection speed of course) to my favorite Windows freeware site Pricelessware.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Hi-tech Stalker

Police arrested a man they said tracked his ex-girlfriend's whereabouts by attaching a global positioning system to her car.

See this Associated Press article.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Bite the bullet

Well, I finally bit the update bullet, and upgraded my home PC to Windows XP Service Pack 2.

For a while I got the new Windows Security Center:

But then McAfee overrode it with its own:

Oh, well...

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Longhorn gets shorter

The next version of Windows is now due sooner due to Microsoft's dropping of features like WinFS, according to eWeek

Spyware Could Bug Windows XP SP2

From My Way News - existing spyware on your computer could mess with the installation of Windows XP Service Pack 2. It won't fix what's already broken...

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Another McAfee mistake

McAfee Internet Security is so secure it won't allow itself to connect to the Internet to update itself:

This happens quite often...

Friday, August 20, 2004

One man's Spam... another companies advertising.

McAfee SpamKiller Update:

and Unwanted advertising:

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Windows XP SP2's Special Report on Windows XP Evolution

And from Microsoft, a list of programs which need to be "tweaked" to work with Windows XP Service Pack 2

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Installing Windows 98

Windows XP Service Pack 2 is out, and here I am installing Windows 98 again. I'm still keeping Windows XP Pro on my old Compaq Presario - in another partition. It's been a while since I did this, so I was a bit unprepared, and had to hunt around for Device Drivers. The Windows 98 install seems quite antiquated compared to that of Windows 2000 or XP.
Then I had to install all the security updates. What a drag...

Once Windows 98 is configured, I'm intending to try Windows 98 Lite - a program which slims down an existing Windows 98 installation.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Bart's Impressive PE

I'm quite impressed with BartPE (Bart Preinstalled Environment). Having a bootable Windows XP recovery CD is pretty neat.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Yahoo Bulk Mail increase

Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed that since Yahoo increased the email account storage space, there has been an increase in spam in their Bulk Mail folder?

Saturday, July 31, 2004

Just this week...

This last week or so I have been evaluating WinZip 9.0 (seriously, with a view to buying it). This is after I gave up on PKZip for Windows version 8.0 after it crashed on me twice, on two successive days. It appears that if a PKZip window is already open it won't reuse it, but open a new window. When a second or third window is opened, PKZip crashes when you try to close the window. (This was with large zip files). WinZip gave none of these problems.

Sometime ago I reviewed a whole bunch of mainly freeware compression utilities (last year!). Among them were 7-Zip and ZipGenius. Just recently I came upon a website which has reviews of free WinZip alternatives. I agree fully with the review of ZipGenius.

IMHO a lot of freeware compression utilities have unusual and sometimes unusable User Interfaces. Power Archiver's look and feel was an exact clone of WinZip, and now it's no longer freeware.

Another interesting website with info and links to Compression Utilities is,
which looks a lot like 's page in disguise.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Linux on Windows

Okay, no big deal I admit, but it was a snap to get Xandros Desktop OS Open Circulation Edition installed into MS Virtual PC 2004.

Here's a screenshot.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

A Bit different

Downloaded Xandros Desktop OS Open Circulation Edition using BitTorrent - my first experience using this unusual way of downloading.

After checking the MD5 sum of the Xandros BitTorrent download discovered that it was wrong, which means the file was somehow corrupted during download. I'd really be upset if I had a dial-up connection, as the file needs to be re-downloaded - all 500+ Mb..

Saturday, July 17, 2004


Now that Windows XP Professional is working (and continues to work I hope), I've installed Microsoft Virtual PC 2004. That was the whole reason I upgraded to XP Professional - it's a reauirement for MS Virtual PC 2004. I had read somewhere that it would work on Windows XP Home, but figured I'd do it properly.

Why? I hear someone ask. Well, I love fiddling about with new Operating Systems. It gets tiresome creating partitions and having to boot into the latest OS I'm experimenting with. MS's Virtual PC lets me run some of them right on top of Windows XP. Linux is of course not officially supported, but the original Virtual PC from Connectix ran Linux.

So far I've got Windows 98SE and MSDos 6 running - next up is Open BEOS...

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Tech support says 'phone Microsoft'

Since it was still during my eMachines warranty period, I first tried to email Tech Support (and got an ASP error message on their website) then I phoned them.

The wait wasn't long, but I was informed that since I had upgraded the Operating System, I needed to phone Microsoft technical support for Windows XP Professional. I did get it out of the Tech Support person that my desktop should run with Windows XP Professional.

After fiddling with USB Devices, and noticing that one of them did not have a driver, I got the 8-in-1 Media Reader and the USB ports working again.

Monday, July 12, 2004

That non-syncing feeling

My Sony NX60 handheld is not HotSyncing with Windows XP after Pro upgrade. The 8-in-1 Media Reader is not working either...

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Home to Professional

This Saturday afternoon I finally got down to upgrading my eMachines Desktop from Windows XP Home to Windows XP Professional. Here's some extracts from my Palm DayNotez Journal

4:10 PM
Started Windows XP Professional upgrade of Windows XP Home OS on eMachines T2865

4:23 PM
Win XP Pro Setup estimating another 39 minutes

4:28 PM
Win XP Pro Setup halted while I look for NVIDIA audio driver.
Fortunately the driver is in a folder on the C Drive

4:45 PM
Bleeping error ".. Program Entry point in ... MSDART.DLL" during upgrade setup - Error Message with an OK button - press OK and it just keeps coming back (that's the normal thing with looping error messages) - the last thing I want to see during an Operating System upgrade.
Used old machine to search the internet for the error. There were plenty of references to it. One with a solution to Click the OK button 80+ times - I tried it and of course it didn't work . The solution was to shutdown the machine & let it restart, then continue with the installation.

5:51 PM
Even though I only upgraded from Windows XP Home to Windows XP Professional, it appears that the XP versions are so different I have to redo all of the "Critical Updates". I guess some of them may be different. What a pain!

6:06 PM
After half an hour or more of downloading & installing the "Critical Updates", there is one more important one I almost missed - XP Service Pack 1. This one looks like it will take a long time...

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

V600 Update

Well, I've been almost too embarrassed to post this.

I'd blogged on June 12 that my Motorola V600 cellphone had gone silent. My wireless carrier tech support had suggested I return the phone to Amazon for a replacement. Amazon were very good about it, and I received a new replacement phone within a week.

Before returning the non-working Motorola V600 I decided to clear it by doing a Master Clear. Then I did something I really wish I had not - I checked the old phone to confirm that its RingTones still weren't working. To my astonishment and dismay they were now working! Now I had two Motorola V600 cellphones, and had to return one of them. I really could not return the older one with a clear conscience, since now there was nothing wrong with it.

To cut a long story short, I returned the new replacement cellphone...

Why the cellphone started working:
My only guess is this was because I took out the battery and left it out for a period of time, then put it back in and switched on the phone. This seems to do some sort of reset. Tech support had taken me through this step, but had not asked me to leave the battery out for long enough.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Microsoft follows Yahoo

Microsoft is going to increase Hotmail Storage from 2 megabytes to 250 megabytes according to this article on MyWay

I wondered how long it would take for them to decide this, and of course it's two and a half times Yahoo's new storage. Hopefully there are not as many glitches as Yahoo is having...

Friday, June 18, 2004

Smaller Nokias

eWeek reports Flip Phones Among Nokia's Five New Models

In my recent cellphone hunt, I ruled out the Nokia models because of their size - their new Flip Phones can only be smaller.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Yahoo Accounts up to 100Mb

My Way News: "Yahoo! Upgrades E-Mail Capacity to 100 MB"

But that doesn't explain why I'm struggling to login to my Yahoo account now. Maybe this does:
From a news article this morning "Big Sites Slowed by Attack on Akamai" on Editor and Publisher.

Saturday, June 12, 2004

Sounds of silence

Well, my Motorola V600 lasted a week (and what a week it was!).

Up until yesterday my V600 was working perfectly. Then I transferred a couple of MIDI and MP3 files to it. I noticed that some of the MIDI files did not play, no problem, I just deleted them. Then while I tried to play one MIDI or MP3 ringtone, I got a message - "File corrupt - delete?" - to which I said yes. I little later I realized that none of the ringtones, not even the built-in ones which came with the phone, were working. When you scroll through the list of ringtones and stop on one, it normally plays - none of them play. Not in the menu to choose Ring Detail, or from the MultiMedia/Sounds menu. I also made sure that all the volumes were set to the highest. Also, the startup and shutdown sounds work fine, and I'd assume they use the some speaker...

Another weird thing - if I set the phone to Ring & Vibrate, it doesn't even Vibrate, but if I set it to Vibrate, that works.

After a call to support, a Power off and wait, and a Master Reset of the phone, it's still the same. They suggested I return the phone.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Treo 600 sans camera

Yesterday I read about a camera-less version of the Treo 600, which costs the same as the Treo 600, and (according to eWeek) is not available to consumers. There is also an article about it on Phonescoop.

Saturday, June 05, 2004

Got the V600!

Well, I finally got the Motorola V600 (after a long enough wait), and activated it this morning. The reception is much better than my old V60 (shown on the right in the picture). Posted by Hello

Friday, June 04, 2004

Cellphone twilight zone

I'm a-waiting and a-waiting my new cellphone.
The waiting IS the hardest part.
That still didn't stop me looking at another interesting cellphone, the Nokia 6620 (Review on Phonescoop)
This is a weird, squat looking phone.
Some of Nokia's cellphones really look weird...

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Warning - too cheap!

When a version of a well-known brand software goes on sale for $10 or less after mail-in rebates, beware!
I bought version 8.0 of MusicMatch JukeBox Deluxe for $10 after mail-in rebates. What a bargain I thought! But I forgot the old axiom "You get what you pay for".

The install went great. The program even updated itself to version 8.2 without much of a problem. Then I looked for something in Windows Explorer, and my DVD writer drive letter was not showing. No problem, this is Windows, so when in doubt, reboot. The CDROM drive was showing, but the DVD drive still wasn't showing. I went into Control Panel and found the entry for the DVD drive. It was disabled, and I could not enable it. I uninstalled MusicMatch. It didn't undo the mess it had made. Fortunately I had created a System Restore Point before installing MusicMatch (One of the best features of Windows XP). After a System Restore the DVD writer was back and working
Then I contacted MusicMatch support, and did a search for MusicMatch problems on the Web.
There was a whole lot of info at gadget girl
Version 8 is regarded as the worst version of MusicMatch ever. It seems things steadily got worse starting with version 7. The only suggestion seems to be to download and use version 7.5

Sometimes software is just too cheap...

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Small Clie thoughts

There are numerous articles and responses to the "Sony to Halt Sales of Clie PDAs in U.S." news like My Way News, Brighthand and PDABuzz

After my initial surprise, I've come to similar conclusions to those in the PDABuzz article. PalmOne had indicated that it would be moving from handhelds to smartphones earlier this year. This is apparently due to saturation of the (U.S.) market for standalone PDAs. I must admit, the combination of a PDA and a phone into a smartphone makes sense, and the Treo 600 is close to being the ideal smartphone. I had wondered why Sony had not brought out a Palm OS based smartphone - all their Sony Ericsson smartphones are Symbian OS based. With smartphones being "the next big (or little) thing", Sony had to choose between creating a Palm OS based smartphone from scratch, or enhancing their current smartphones...

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Sony to exit key handheld arenas - News - ZDNet

Sony to exit key handheld arenas - News from ZDNet

Say what????
Oh no...

Anyone want to buy a used but well looked-after Clie NX60?

Monday, May 31, 2004

Reveal your sources

In my research for a new cellphone, I've found the following websites helpful:

(These are in no particular order)

HowardChui - some in-depth reviews, if you don't mind seeing his picture over and over again, holding up a cellphone to the camera. A related resource, HowardForums, has some interesting information too.

I don't use forums as a primary source of information, but mainly to confirm information.

PhoneScoop - an excellent source for news, information on phones and carriers, as well as upcoming cellphones. There is also a "Phone Finder" to find phones matching your specifications, and user forums.

The mother of all technology sites, CNET, has reviews and prices on the latest phones.

Wireless Advisor has how-to articles, for example "How to Choose a Wireless Phone Service", and other informative articles, as well as forums.

MobileBurn features reviews, rumors and forums.

Saturday, May 29, 2004

The V600 open and not turned on... Posted by Hello

The Motorola V600 open with the standard picture showing on the screen (do a web search and see what I mean) Posted by Hello

MY first choice for a new cellphone, the the Motorola V600. Closed, it has a two-line external LCD that shows the time, date, network strength, battery life, and caller ID.  Posted by Hello

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Microsoft says bye-bye Wi-Fi

I read yesterday that Microsoft is to stop selling it's hardware Wi-Fi solutions (Okay, I know it's old news, I was catching up reading some eWeek magazines).

Someone at thinks the XBox may be next

Monday, May 24, 2004

Wild unlocked goose chase

Spent a considerable amount of my spare time today looking at the Motorola V400 cell phone.
"Why the Motorola V400 when you've already decided that the Motorola V600 is the cell phone you want", you may ask.

Well, two reasons
1. The Motorola V400 is the less flashy sibling of the V600, and has all the features except Bluetooth and Video Playback
2. I could get an unlocked Motorola V400 for not much more than V600.

There is an excellent article in this month's MobilePC Magazine about GSM handsets being locked. Briefly, Cellular carriers put a lock on their GSM phones so that you cannot use a SIM card (which contains the number and carrier connection information) from another carrier in the phone. If a cell phone is unlocked, then you can put in any SIM card from any carrier. This also depends on the frequencies at which the carriers networks run - in the US it is usually 1900MHz or 800Mhz, in Europe and the rest of the world it is 900MHz or 1800Mhz. So theoretically, if you have an unlocked quad band (800/900/1800/1900MHz) GSM phone you should be able to use it anywhere in the world where there is cellular service.

Of course, my wild unlocked goose chase was that although I could get an unlocked Motorola V400 cell phone, in the NY area I can only use it on one other carrier, T-Mobile. (I'm deliberately excluding Cingular, which is acquiring AT&T Wireless.) Anyway, on my other T-Mobile cell phone my reception around where I live varies from not good to non-existent, so what's the point of getting an unlocked GSM phone? I already have an old Ericsson T28 World phone which is unlocked and which I use on overseas trips.

Footnote: Other than the above complaint about reception I'm satisfied, even impressed with T-Mobile, since there customer service is quite good. Also, if you have had a phone with them for a certain period of time, you can phone their Customer Service and ask for the phone to be "SIM unlocked". AT&T Wireless and Cingular need to learn that this is more likely to keep customers rather than drive them away.

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Down to one...

I really looked hard at the NEC 525, trying to find a reason to like it. The only one I found was that it's $100 less than the Motorola V600. Other than that the closer I looked the more I found not to like.

As for the Sony Ericsson T616, being able to get and keep a signal is the primary reason for having a cellphone, and I've heard that there are reception problems with it. Howard Chui reports "poor RF performance".

The Motorola V600 seems to be very close to the size and weight of my current phone, the Motorola V60, which the best phone I've ever owned. It's as small as a cell phone can get, but because of the clamshell design it is totally usable.

My second choice, the NEC 525 (HDM) Posted by Hello

Thursday, May 20, 2004

The Cons

I'd only mentioned the pros about my shortlist of camera cell phones.

Here's the Cons:

Motorola V600
- Expensive - not quite as much as the Treo 600, but still as much as my last PDA cost.

NEC 525
- Camera the same resolution as the Sony Ericsson T616, which costs $100 less
- Too big and/or bulky (size really does matter when it comes to a cell phone!)
- Intellisync for PC Sync - I've used this software and don't like it
- 2 Mb of Shared Memory - same as the Sony Ericsson T616
- NEC only has one other GSM phone on the US market...

Sony Ericsson T616
- Average RF (so I've heard)
- Need to buy a holster/case
- photos can only be moved off the phone using the cellular carrier's network

My third choice, the Sony Ericsson T616 Posted by Hello

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

The shortlist

My shortlist for camera cellphones:

Motorola V600
- Built-in VGA Camera with 4x digital zoom
- video playback; world phone; crisp 65,536-color display; USB connectivity (

NEC 525
- 100,000-pixel camera with 2x zoom
- Solid camera features; large, vibrant display; one-click access to key functions; world phone; strong call quality and battery life (

Sony Ericsson T616
- (basic) camera
- 65K color LCD
- relatively cheaper than the NEC 525 and Motorola V600

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Got a cellphone

The cellphone arrived today. Unfortunately it was the one I had ordered on Friday but later cancelled. I wasn't here to refuse delivery, so I had to phone my cellular carrier. They'll send labels for me to ship it back.

For a while I was tempted to revert to plan A (Free cellphone, buy unlocked PDA Phone etc), but partly out of stubbornness I don't won't to accept an order I've cancelled. Also, a phone with a camera seems more enticing...

Monday, May 17, 2004

Wrong assumption

A conversation between myself and my cellular carrier:

In an advert for <carrier name> in the New York Times, it was mentioned that "service requires a compatible GSM 850 device". But some of the phones in the upgrade section of your website (for example the Motorola MPx200) are only GSM 1800/1900MHz. Are 850 MHz phones required in the New York area?

Tech Support:
Only if you want to be able to read off the 850 MHz network... The phone will still be able to read off of 1900 MHz.

Is the 850 MHz network any better or any different than the 1900 Mhz network?

Tech Support:
Only when it comes to going through walls. 850 works better in buildings.

Aha! and rats....

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Thought it was a good idea at the time

My plan had a hole in it. A small technology matter. The plan was to upgrade to a free GSM phone from my cellular service provider. Then I would buy an unlocked Treo 180 or Treo 270. Then I would switch the SIM card to the Smart Phone (that being the correct term for a PDA/Phone combo, according to MobilePC magazine). Of course I would also use the free GSM phone occasionally.
Fortunately for me, the free phone I had chosen was suddenly out of stock.

Still trying to decide between the grayscale Treo 180 or color Treo 270, I happened to read a full page advert advertisement for my cellular carrier, who I won't name (to protect innocent people involved....) except to say that they are currently merging with or being acquired by another larger cellular carrier. Some of the fine print at the bottom of the page caught my eye "service requires a compatible GSM 850 device". GSM 850, according to, is more correctly referred to as 800(MHz) GSM. The Treo 180 and Treo 270 both 900/1900 MHz GSM "devices", so I assume they will not work on my carrier's network.
The only GSM 850 Palm OS Smart Phone I've seen is the $499 Treo 600.
This wasn't totally unexpected, but I'd been hoping that my service provider also used 1900 MHz GSM on their network.
After some thought, I canceled the order for the Motorola T721, intending to order my second choice. No surprise, the Sony Ericsson T616 is listed as "Out of Stock"....

Saturday, May 15, 2004

It's been back-ordered...

I placed the order for the Motorola T721 last night, and today they email me and say it's "out of stock and has been back-ordered".


Friday, May 14, 2004

Just choose one...

Well, I've narrowed it down to these two cellphones now:

Sony Ericsson T616 ($99 upgrade)
Motorola T721 (Free upgrade)

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Out of Stock!

Thought I'd found the right phone, a Nokia 6800.

The specs looked awesome:
Full QWERTY keyboard
PC synchronization with large assortment of PC tools;
Good java support (lots of applications are available)
Huge amount of memory available for games, graphics and ringtones
Built-in radio

Since I'm more likely to have a cellphone on me than a PDA, I could type on notes anywhere, on the go, and sync them to my PC.

Then I compared the size with my old Nokia 3360
Weight: 5.3 oz
Size: 4.5" x 2" x 1"

New Nokia 6800:
Weight: 4.4oz (125g)
Size: 4.7" x 2.2" x 0.8" (119mm x 55mm x 21mm)

Ooops, need to take a closer look at specs next time!

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

To begin: a combo?

A PDA/phone combo is very tempting. While there plenty of options out there, I would prefer one with the Palm OS. Apart from a Samsung model or two, and the Tungsten W (which is not very good as a phone), the only alternative I know of are the Treos.

Since the Treo 600 is just a tad too expensive (just a tad!), I looked around, and found that there are older and cheaper Treos available. One of them is only a PDA (the Treo 90).
The others don't a camera, which is not a factor - last year a keyboard won over a camera when I was choosing a new PDA.

So there is
Treo 270/300 - color screen
Treo 270: GSM world phone - but seems to be discontinued...
Treo 300: Sprint PCS - ah, Sprint - cellular service good, customer service sucks...

Treo 180:
Treo 180 - 16-bit grayscale screen
This one is very tempting, as I can get it for around $90 dollars, and unlock for my preferred cellular provider. But I'm not sure I really need another Palm PDA, considering I recently got the Tungsten E.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Looking for the right cellphone (again)

I've just started looking for another cellphone. Since I last bought one, cameras have become the rage.

There are just so many different combinations with these features to choose from:
A camera phone
Color display
PDA/phone combo

Without looking too hard, if I wasn't on a budget it would be the Treo 600. It has all of the above.
Currently the Treo 600 goes for $499 with a contract.

Another possibility is the Sony Ericsson T616.
It's got a camera and an amazing color screen.
It's also a lot smaller than the Treo...

Monday, May 03, 2004

Tungsten E Battery continued...

My brand new Palm Tungsten E replacement still has some quirks with the battery. After
HotSyncing (without recharging) the battery percentage increase improves. Then, when
I run the BatMon utility to check the charge, and press the Update button a few times,
the Battery percentage returns to what it should be. Weird.

Friday, April 30, 2004

Free Palm database software!

I find free software hard to resist, so I tried Freeware DB 1.0.4
with VFS and MobileDB plugins. It caused a Fatal Reset (soft reset) within minutes.

Well, it's free!

And I might even try it again sometime!

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Gooooooooooogle Mail

Giving Google's new Gmail service a spin...

Friday, April 16, 2004

New Tungsten E

Received a brand new replacement Palm Tungsten E today. The battery hadn't even been charged yet.
It may take a while to trust the battery on this handheld again

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Low Battery again...

Turned on Palm Tungsten E this morning before leaving for work and got "Battery Low" warning.
The battery level was at around 10%. This is no good, as I fully charged it last night.
Returned the handheld to be fixed/swapped.

Saturday, April 10, 2004

Woody and apt-get

This weekend I installed "Woody" twice. The first time I did not read the important information at Distrowatch (here and here).
If I had, I would have read about the secret method of installing Debian with an up-to-date 2.4 kernel (see mini glossary below). So the first time I ended up installing Debian Linux with the old 2.2.? kernel. I also managed to miss the step which installs lilo (the Linux loader), so I was not able to boot into Debian anyway.

The second installation went much better. I made sure installed the 2.4 kernel and LILO to the Linux partition. Once I'd booted up into Debian I used apt-get to download and install a couple of packages.

Then came the setting up of X-Windows(see mini glossary below). The last time I tried Debiam Linux (the "Potato" version) I gave up at this point after trying a few times. This time I was able to look up the X86Free Setup options on the internet on a second machine. The X-Windows setup went without a hitch, and I was soon running KDE.

Mini Glossary
As an aside, for Linux newbies:
kernel - something like the DOS, but supercharged.
X-Windows - think of numerous versions of "Windows" which can be run on top of "DOS". User friendly (and non-free) versions of Linux like Xandros, Lindows and Mandrake configure X-Windows automatically during setup.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Low Battery

Turned on my work Palm Tungsten E this morning and got a critical "Battery Low" warning.
The battery level was at around 7% (after being at 88% last night). I couldn't back
anything up to the SD Card, because the Palm OS had disabled access to the Card to
preserve Battery power. Since the charger cable was at work, this was a problem.
Fortunately I didn't lose any data.

What caused this sudden drop in Battery power? It's possible that a button was being
pressed in the generic case overnight.

I’ve also noticed that from within ZLauncher the battery level is flaky, 88% one
minute, 95% the next. The battery life is definitely not as good as the Sony NX60.
On the Palm support site is says "If the battery drains to the point where your handheld does not operate, it stores your data safely for about five days". That's good to know.

Saturday, April 03, 2004

Here we go again

As I couldn't (quickly and easily) find much help on reconfiguring the "Sarge" version of Debian Linux, I erased it, and have begun installing the current stable version 3.0 (or "Woody")...

Status update

Windows XP up and running.
Debian - not yet booting. I have to get hold of some documentation on how to make Debian bootable again (without restoring it). Then go through the whole process of getting a copy of the boot image. Oh well, such is computing...

Monday, March 29, 2004

Debian, where art thou?

After spending over an hour trying to save the Debian boot image to a floppy disk so I could Multiboot, I ran out of time.
I needed access to some programs on the Windows XP partition.
I got Windows XP to boot again using the Windows XP Recovery console - which is one of those things which you need to find out how to use beforeyou need to use it.
Now Debian no longer boots up.

Saturday, March 27, 2004

Impressed, so far

Now I'm impressed. Debian GNU Linux configured the X-Windows Server properly, and I was able to log into Gnome Desktop without a problem. Here I should note that I'm using the testing version of Debian, called Sarge, which has a newer installer than the stable version. Now I just need to get Windows XP to multi-boot with Debian....

And now for the mind-bend

Got the crazy idea to install Debian GNU/Linux over a perfect good Xandros Linux partition on my old machine. The Xandros Linux is at version 1.0, and I would need to fork out about $30 to upgrade to version 2.0 Standard. Since I don't use Linux that much, I though I'd give the free (yes, really free) Debian Linux a try.
Let's see now, I downloaded the network install about 3 hours ago, and the install has been running since then. It's got to the "Setting up Packages" part. When and if it boots, I'll see if the X-Windows actually works without my having to delve into virtually incomprehensible configuration files. Okay, okay, I know Windows XP has totally spoiled me, but then it's not free...

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

More McAfee

I'm still using the McAfee Internet Security Suite, despite the problems. Basically
it was either that or Norton Antivirus 2004 with it's Activation (and activation
problems), or a crossgrade to McAfee. There was also a PC Magazine article
which gave McAfee Internet Security 2004 a better rating than Norton Internet Security 2004,
specifically for detecting Spyware. I was looking for an Anti-virus, and with the current paranoia
about spyware, (and a good price), decided on McAfee.

I'd tried an earlier version of Norton Internet Security, and it worked fine,
although after a few weeks I had to turn off Ad blocking to speed up my machine, and
eventually the firewall mysteriously stopped my PocketPC from syncing. After that I
uninstalled it.

I don't use the pop-up ad blocker in McAfee. My browser of choice is Mozilla, which
has its own pop-up ad blocker. For the rare times when I use Internet Explorer, I
have the free Google toolbar installed, and it's pop-up ad blocker works really
well. As for blocking webpage ads, that is also built into Mozilla.

Saturday, March 06, 2004

Thoughts on the Palm Tungsten E

I've been using this handheld for a month now, and I like it.
It's light (weight-wise and pocketbook-wise) and has plenty of features for the
Favorite feature - the whopping 29Mb of free RAM. This is something that is so important to a software hoarder like me - I literally have CDs full of freeware and shareware apps, some of which I've never installed due to space limitations on my personal handheld (a Sony NX60 which only has 11Mb of available space out of 16Mb) Currently I have just over 1 Mb free on the Sony NX60, and about 11Mb free on the Tungsten E. I would even choose RAM over extra features like a camera.
Thing I miss most compared to the Sony NX60 - the keyboard, especially when entering
a lot of data.
The Tungsten E also comes with loads of useful software, like Documents To Go Professional Edition and Handmark MobileDB, amongst many others. One thing it could do with though, is a File Manager (although the freeware program FileZ is good).
Must have software (for me anyway): Teal Script.

Conclusion: Move over Zire 71, the Tungsten E is the winner in this price division.

Monday, February 23, 2004


And once more McAfee @#$%#$% reboots my PC...

Dem Firewall Blues...

Installed McAfee Personal Firewall over an hour ago, and many reboots later (to install updates), started to use my PC. Then kablam! the first time I tried to access a shared network drive, my PC gets rebooted.
Aren't I glad no unsaved documents were open...

Saturday, February 14, 2004

Memory Hungry

I'm thinking of buying JackFlash for my Sony NX60. This amazing piece of software costs about $20 and will give extra 4800Kb of space (ROM memory for application usage) on the NX60. It does this by making the "Read-Only memory" of the handheld writable.
The new version of Docs To Go really slow loading documents with some of its programs (notably the 718Kb size WordView+) on the Memory Stick. I realized this because on the Tungsten E which has a much slower processor than the Sony NX60, but oodles more memory, the same version of Docs To Go loads documents really fast.

Friday, February 06, 2004

A new Palm

Got a new Handheld computer today, a Palm Tungsten E from and for work!
It's quite a slick looking unit, and light too. The best thing is that it has 32Mb of RAM, with over 28Mb available. That's a whole lot more available memory than my personal PDA, a Sony NX60, which has 16Mb of RAM, but only 11Mb available
The Tungsten E comes with a load of software, and it is pretty good value for money. If I was in the market for a handheld right now, and did not want one with a camera, I'd take a good look at this one.
There are only two drawbacks, one of them which is more of a personal preference, and the other which could be a problem with Palm accessories.
Graffiti 2: I'm so used to Graffiti 1, I really have a problem with Graffiti 2
No Universal Connector: I guess this is to keep the price low, and it makes it easy for moving between desktop computers, like a travel charger.

See pictures of these handhelds here

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Network shares not working

Suddenly today my network shares at home stopped working. After some investigation I found the culprit. I disabled one of the firewalls and the shares started working again.

Monday, January 26, 2004

Ahhh speed!

Yep, that's the one main advantage of a new PC. Windoze starts up faster.
Unfortunately, the old machine, still connected, is just sooooo sloooowwww...

Saturday, January 24, 2004


Installed firewalls on both PCs - freeware Kerio Personal Firewall on my new machine and Sygate Personal Firewall on the old one. I had been relying on a hardware firewall, but felt that I need more "protection".
So far, Kerio seems more polished, but has "rules" which may be a little intimidating to newbies.
Sygate is a bit easier to use.

Monday, January 12, 2004

Word password tool not for security

The Microsoft Word password tool is not meant for security! The full story here at ZDNet

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

BackUp Maker Review

I just tried the program BackUp Maker version 3.1 standard.

This backup program is free for personal use, and the interface is available in three languages - English, French and German. Using the Wizard interface, you can create a ZIP file backup of a number of files, and optionally write them to a CD or DVD. The program can be configured in a number of ways.

My one complaint was that I could not save a backup set of files, for repeating the same backup later. The interface was slightly confusing, for example: what is a "Backup Protocol"?