Friday, July 27, 2007

Microsoft releases Windows Home Server to manufacturing - Engadget

Microsoft is hoping to fill an ever-increasing need in home networks or even small businesses by providing a whole new system called Microsoft Home Server. Microsoft Home Server, which will be available in the coming months through providers such as HP and others, will provide your home network with a central location for data storage and sharing. Windows Home Server also provides you remote access to your home network PC's and data. Look at your favorite PC retailer in the coming weeks for the Windows Home Server to meet your home storage needs.

Link to Microsoft releases Windows Home Server to manufacturing - Engadget

Featured Windows Download: Install missing codecs with CodecInstaller - Lifehacker

If you have ever downloaded a song or a video file from the Internet and just couldn't play it back on your Windows computer it may be because you didn't have the proper codecs installed. A codec is a piece of software that can enable your media player the media clip in whatever format it may have arrived in without trying to convert it to another format. You can use CodecInstaller (freeware) to install any missing codecs onto your computer to prevent that unplayable media problem from happening again.

Link to Featured Windows Download: Install missing codecs with CodecInstaller - Lifehacker

BetaNews | Google Acquires Postini for $625 Million

For those of us using Google services such as Gmail and particularly Google Apps for Domains (both are free) we may see enhancements coming soon to certain Google services thanks to Google's acquisition of Postini. Postini provides corporate antispam, email archiving, and other "enterprise" services. It is not clear yet what Google plans to do with their latest acquisition, but the typical pattern usually includes Google incorporating the best features and releasing them for free and then charging for expanded features. As Google continues to look for ways to "organize the world's information," let's hope they also uphold their mantra to "do no evil."

Link to BetaNews | Google Acquires Postini for $625 Million

BetaNews | BBC Launches Free Online TV in UK

The media industry takes another step into the online entertainment space as BBC announces their new online TV application called iPlayer. Available for Windows XP computers located in the United Kingdom, users can download shows available in the BBC catalog and watch them on their own time. The content is of course protected by digital rights management preventing the files from being copied. In addition each downloaded show expires after thirty days. While this represents another move to online television (IPTV), the availability and usability of the media is rather limited.

Link to BetaNews | BBC Launches Free Online TV in UK
Link to Engadget | BBC launches iPlayer online video service

BetaNews | Congress Expresses Concern Over Digital TV Switch

If you are a part of the 19% of Americans still receiving your TV signal from your rabbit-ears antenna via over the air broadcast you may want to know that coming February 2009 Congress has decided to pull the plug on analog TV broadcasting. In the meantime Americans need to make the switch to cable, satellite, fiber, or over the air digital high-definition broadcast requiring an HDTV compatible antenna. You can most likely benefit from this free broadcast HDTV right now if you have a digital tuner in your TV combined with the HDTV antenna. Have an HDTV is almost exclusively necessary to have a digital tuner. To summarize if you want to keep watching TV for free after February 2009 you'll need to make sure you have an HDTV television set along with an HDTV antenna. Both HDTV's and antennas are available from low-end to high-end at various retailers such as WalMart, Best Buy, Circuit City, and more.

Link to BetaNews | Congress Expresses Concern Over Digital TV Switch

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Joost: What is all the hype?

Here is my response to CyberNet's excellent post on Joost's recent announcement.

I think what Joost represents as a technology and a philosophy shift in the media market is what the world needs to help shake things up and add some competition to the big media conglomerates. Just in the last year there has been so many announcements about IPTV in various forms that have caused the industry to reevaluate what consumers want. As Apple launched into the iTunes Movie and TV stores and products like Joost and Amazon Unbox were announced we saw ABC, NBC, and others start making their shows available through web portals. This is a step in the right direction which I think Joost represents. I think Joost gets all the hype not because of their content or their sometimes unstable application, but because they are riding the waves of their former successes of Skype and Kazaa. Those guys seem to know what they are doing not only in technology but seeing and meeting the need of what the world wants.

What is Joost?
Joost is an interactive, on-demand, Internet- connected, television application that runs on Windows and Mac that allows you to watch tv and movies for free on your computer.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

OpenDNS - Free, Fast, Secure DNS with Phishing Protection and Adult Site Blocking

Switching to broadband (high-speed) Internet access such as DSL or Cable Internet brings a whole new level of Internet experience. Unfortunately with all that wonder also comes additional security issues. OpenDNS steps in to help home users, small business owners, and even larger organizations increase their Internet efficiency and security by providing DNS service that can filter out phishing domains, typographical errors, and even adult-oriented websites (optional).

DNS, or Domain Name System, tells your computer where to go when you tell it to go to a specific website such as DNS is provided by all ISP's, but not all ISP's optimize their DNS service to include additional features and protections like OpenDNS. Setting up OpenDNS is a one time setup and is provided free to all users. The settings should be applied to your home router so that all the computers on your home network automatically benefit from OpenDNS. Filtering out adult-oriented websites with OpenDNS will require you to setup an account (free).

Link to OpenDNS - sync files, sync folders, transfer files, share files, web download, access files anywhere

A growing need among those who often use multiple computers in different locations is to have access to the documents you need wherever you are. In the old days we had floppies, zip drives, cd-rw's, and even flash drives, but physical media often was damaged lost or mis-labeled leading to data loss. Microsoft has a new service in beta called allowing users to synchronize files and folders across multiple computers both Mac and PC. Now you can access your files from your home PC from your Office PC and vice versa.

link to - sync files, sync folders, transfer files, share files, web download, access files anywhere

Microsoft to extend warranty against red rings of death to 3 years

Microsoft is extending the hardware warranty of Xbox 360 consoles to those experiencing the red rings of death, signifying the consoles transformation into an expensive brick. If you or someone you know has had issues with their Xbox 360 have them contact Microsoft to get it straightened out before the extended warranty ends.

Link to Ars Technica | Microsoft to extend warranty against red rings of death to 3 years

Sunday, July 15, 2007

BetaNews | Microsoft Patches 7 Critical Vulnerabilities

Patch Tuesday came and went July 11th this week as Microsoft released ten new updates, seven of which are deemed critical. Be sure to install any available updates to your Windows systems.

Windows XP and Windows Vista should be configured to update and install updates automatically on a daily basis. Check the Security Center in the Control Panel to ensure Windows Updates are scheduled to be installed. The default option for Windows XP and Windows Vista is Daily at 3:00 AM to download and install any updates. If your computer is on at 3:00 AM it will check for any new updates, download and install those updates, and restart the computer if necessary. If your computer is not on at 3:00 AM the computer should check for updates the next time it is powered on. You can manually check for in Windows XP by going to in Internet Explorer. Windows Vista handles Windows Update through the Control Panel. Click on Check for Updates in the Windows Update section of the Control Panel.

Link to BetaNews | Microsoft Patches 7 Critical Vulnerabilities
Link to Microsoft's Official Security Bulletin for July 2007

ViaTalk Free Connect

If you need to make a short ten-minute distance phone call let ViaTalk foot the bill. Just type in your number and the number you want to call and click Place Call. ViaTalk will call your phone and proceed to connect you with the desired number. ViaTalk offers VoIP telephony solutions for home and businesses ranging from $15/month and up.

Other Similar Services:
  • GizmoCall also provides this same service but requires a plug-in to be installed on your computer.
  • You can also use Google's Click-to-Call feature in their Maps service to call any business for free.

Link to ViaTalk Free Connect

Apple revises 10.4.10 to fix audio issues, releases separate update

Early July brought Mac users the 10.4.10 system update which has since been revised to fix an audio issue experienced by some Intel Mac users. If you have not already installed the update or the update to the update run Software Update from the Apple menu to download any updates.

Link to Apple revises 10.4.10 to fix audio issues, releases separate update

Verizon's Entire EV-DO Network Leaps to Rev. A - Engadget

On the same day Apple brought forth the revolutionary iPhone, Verizon announced the complete upgrade of their EV-DO cellular data network to EV-DO Revision A increasing speeds to near DSL broadband speeds. EV-DO allows cell phones or cellular modem cards to access the Internet from anywhere there is a cellular signal. Only phones and cellular modems that are already equipped with the Revision A technology can take advantage of the speed boost offered by Verizon on June 29th.

Link to Verizon's entire EV-DO network leaps to Rev. A - Engadget

Friday, July 13, 2007

iPhone Review Roundup

While it may be possible that someone has not heard the buzz surrounding Apple's release of the iPhone on June 29th here is a round up of iPhone reviews to help you determine if your $600 is worth the revolutionary new mobile phone.

Activating your iPhone will require an update to iTunes 7.3 or higher.
Online video tutorials have been provided by Apple to get you acclimated to the revolutionary multi-touch interfaced mobile phone.

BetaNews | Windows Live Mobile Search 2.0 Out

Microsoft has updated their Windows Live Mobile Search available to Windows Mobile phones, Java-enabled phones, and Blackberry phones (beta). Windows Live Mobile Search provides your mobile phone with local maps, driving directions, live traffic data, movie showtimes, and GPS integration. Phones not directly supported by the installable software (read iPhone) may access the same content at

Here's a list of other Windows Live software worth noting:
  • Windows Live Writer - for writing blog posts offline with many popular blogging providers
  • Windows Live Mail - a newer, better desktop mail application to replace Outlook Express with Hotmail integration
  • Windows Live Family Safety - parental controls for your Windows computers to help protect children's access to the Internet
  • Microsoft Office Live - get your business on the web with email, website, and customer resource management hosted by Microsoft

Link to BetaNews | Windows Live Mobile Search 2.0 Out

BetaNews | Microsoft Finalizes Malware Portal

Microsoft has released a web portal for end users of their security products, such as Windows Live One Care, Windows Defender, and Forefront Client Security, to research and understand the latest security threats that could affect their computers.

Link to BetaNews | Microsoft Finalizes Malware Portal

BetaNews | New Windows Server, Visual Studio, SQL Server to Launch in February

A year after Windows Vista release Microsoft will announce the availability of their new line of server products targeted towards businesses and IT professionals on February 27, 2008. Included in the launch will be Windows Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008, and SQL Server 2008.

Link to BetaNews | New Windows Server, Visual Studio, SQL Server to Launch in February

BetaNews | TiVo Offers Direct Movie Downloads

TiVo has announced the available to download movies on demand from the Amazon Unbox online video store. Movies and TV shows can be both purchased and rented with prices ranging from $0.99 weekend rentals to $14.99 for movie purchases.

Link to BetaNews | TiVo Offers Direct Movie Downloads

Office 2004 gets 11.3.6 security and Entourage update

While the Intel Mac users continue to wait for Microsoft to release the universal Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac, Microsoft continues to patch security and performance issues with Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac. Mac users should run Microsoft Update in their Applications folder to install the update.

Link to More Details on the 11.3.6 Update

Link to Office 2004 gets 11.3.6 security and Entourage update

iTunes Store Offers Discount Albums

Apple announces the "Next Big Thing" by offering variable pricing for albums in their iTunes Music Store. Head over to the iTunes Music Store to find out who might be the next big thing in music at a discount price.

Link to iTunes Store Offers Discount Albums

BetaNews | Apple Patches Eight QuickTime Flaws

Apple has released some updates to its QuickTime media player to address some security flaws. Both Windows and Mac users are affected by these vulnerabilities. Other updates to iTunes and QuickTime have been made available to add support for the iPhone and full screen video for free in QuickTime.

Mac users use Software Update in the Apple system menu.
Windows users click Start, All Programs, Apple Software Update.

Link to BetaNews | Apple Patches Eight QuickTime Flaws
Link to Ars Technica | Apple Updates iTunes and Quicktime; free full screen