Vista Beta Data Dying
Vista beta testers had a pretty good thing going. They got the software for
free in return for living with a bug or two.
happy days are ending in a little more than a month. If these users don't
move to the final rev of Vista by May 31, the beta will stop working and all
their data will simply vanish. Ouch!
Longhorn Beta 3 Makes Public Debut
Longhorn is one step closer to shipping with the release
of a third beta that's available to the public at large.
Users can put the new PowerShell command line through its paces, as well as
new security features.
Perhaps the biggest new idea is that of server roles. Similar to today's Windows
Small Business Server and Storage Server, Longhorn will come out in special
role- or application-specific versions, including streaming media, Active Directory
Lightweight Directory and print server editions.
Microsoft says all of Longhorn's features are done -- now it comes down to
making sure they all work!
An EPIC Battle Against Google
The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) believes that Google and DoubleClick
already know too much about us, and the combination will be a disaster for personal
privacy. The group is filing
suit with the Federal Trade Commission to stop the merger.
EPIC members worry that the two companies can blend Web surfing histories and
search histories, and find out just what kind of creeps many of us are.
Do you worry about Web privacy, and should we have to opt in to such intrusions?
Let me know at [email protected].
Sun Still Back on Track
I've always liked Sun Microsystems. It's feisty, clever and always doing new
things (kinda like our friends up in Redmond).
Unlike Microsoft, Sun hasn't been consistently profitable and doesn't have
any monopolies it can leverage. But Sun can be proud of one thing: It
rang up a decent profit -- some $67 million -- this past quarter.
That wasn't nearly enough for Wall Street, which wanted a little more ching.
Sun's stock fell sharply right after the profits were announced.
Doug's Mailbag: BlackBerry How-Tos, More
Yesterday, I shared my frustration
about my BlackBerry 7130, whose cramped keyboard and one-key-for-two-letters
philosophy both conspire to distort what I type. You read about my plight; now
here are your words of advice:
BlackBerry 7130, where one key represents two letters. I had one of those
for about a year -- got pretty good at typing with it, too. There is a predictive
text function on it. You just have to hit the right key once, and not worry
that you are typing nonsense initially. The BlackBerry did a good job of figuring
out the correct words. Uncommon words, or your own abbreviations -- well,
the thing would learn those as you corrected the "guesses" the BlackBerry
initially made. There is even a dictionary-type applet you can access that
would show what you added to the predictive text.
I had a Sony cell phone about eight years ago in Europe that did this.
It worked awesome, and had only 10 keys to work with at the time. In comparison,
I have a Treo 700w now -- and I'm pretty sure I typed better on the old BlackBerry.
I got myself a smart phone/PDA last year after researching as many of
the options as I could. I've been a Cingular customer since the late '90s,
and I got myself an 8125 with a slide-out keyboard. The beautiful thing about
the 8125 is that I don't have to thumb the keys; I can actually finger-type
on it. I've answered several e-mails using its keyboard, as well as entering
search terms into Google Mobile. I wouldn't want to write a novel on the 8125,
but it's very serviceable for quick responses to e-mail messages. Admittedly,
it's a little less handy because you have to slide the display out past the
hidden keyboard, but that's a small price to pay for having a real keyboard.
Both my counterpart and I are using the 7130 BlackBerry. Occasionally,
it can be wrong (if I type "No" I get "Bo," or "Ha"
turns into "Ga"), but it works pretty well. It took some time getting
used to it, and I found that the best way to do it was to type the entire
word (not looking at it as it put the letters in) and let it finish the word
before trying to correct it. Also, as you continue to use it, the software
will create a list of your common words. And it does a good job of using your
contacts and your addresses in your address book for auto-completion, as well.
We have been using BlackBerrys, almost entirely the 7100 series, here
at AmSurg for over three years now. I understand your frustration. However,
as a trainer, I advise my students to give themselves two to four weeks to
feel comfortable with the unit and the way it works. And this can vary with
the individual's age, I've noticed.
There are two modes to use for typing; sounds like you were using the
SmartType mode. This is the more efficient mode, though it doesn't seem so
at first. There is also the multi-tap mode where, like other cell phones,
you hit the key twice for the second letter. Did you know to cradle the phone
with fingers of both hands and use your thumbs to do the typing? With just
a little practice, you will soon be flying.
Recently, I saw a co-worker sitting at his desk and typing away on his
BlackBerry. He said he can type faster on it than on a regular keyboard. Oh
yes, and he's 6-foot-9, so he doesn't have little hands, either. Yes, I'm
a CrackBerry -- even signed up for the CrackBerry e-mail address when CrackBerry.com
Just a quick note about your difficulty with the 7130: I have a Pearl,
which uses the same technology (SureType). With the Pearl, it uses predictive
text, but if you are typing something irregular, like your e-mail address,
you use the trackball ("Pearl") to toggle through letter combination
options. Additionally, most of the folks I e-mail are contacts, so I rarely
type out an e-mail address. I'll admit, typing e-mail addresses and the like
can be challenging, but the predictive text is amazingly accurate for normal
words, and I can type out an e-mail message in no time at all. It also learns
what letter combinations you often use, so it gets even more accurate with
time. While the keyboard can be a drawback for some, the payoff is that you
get a really compact device. The Pearl has a very small footprint, and can
easily fit in a pocket (a Treo takes a pretty big pocket).
As much as it may sound like it, I'm not a BlackBerry fan boy. I went
with the Pearl because we still use Exchange 2000, so I don't have the ability
to directly push to a Windows Mobile device yet, and I didn't want to use
a desktop redirector. That being said, I've been very happy with my choice.
Hopefully with the virtual BlackBerry on WM6, eventually we'll get the best
of both worlds.
You've probably gotten a lot of e-mails about this by now, but BlackBerry
does make a BlackBerry
Connect client for the Windows Mobile devices.
I had an 8700c for a few months, and hated the keyboard on it. Back in
December, the company allowed me to try out a Cingular 8525 (aka HTC TyTn,
Hermes and a lot of other names) and wow, I'd never go back to BlackBerry.
The keyboard is so much easier to use, and I love the larger screen. The best
part is, with the Windows Mobile platform, I can use just about any Pocket
PC program on it. There are some Windows Mobile quirks after you've gotten
used to all of the shortcuts on the BlackBerry OS, but once you get over those,
it's a much more customizable device.
Speaking of Microsoft's plan to equip
Windows Mobile 6 with some BlackBerry features, Bruce brings up an interesting
Will Microsoft innovation for BlackBerry bring along the usual crop of
features that foist viruses on the unwary? Viruses are an invention of Microsoft's
innovation features for Windows that violate ring security model.
Tired of all the complications your BlackBerry brings? Here's one reader's
I don't have a BlackBerry. I don't need one and, quite frankly, I don't
want one. Talking with others who have and use them, these units are great
for receiving e-mail but difficult for sending. Here is the simplest solution,
people: Use your computer. I'm sure you remember how to use it. Problem solved.
But for you legions of BlackBerry die-hards, this might be just the thing for
I just read your story, "CrackBerry Software Can't Be Stopped."
I always keep a lookout for any headline that has "CrackBerry" in
it (these days, that happens more often that you might think!).
I'm one of the founders of CrackBerry.com,
which we like to think of as the '#1 Site for BlackBerry Users & Abusers.'
Check us out when you get a chance.
And now, for something completely different. Michael got the runaround from
HP -- have you experienced something similar? Let us know at [email protected]:
Today, I had to restore an HP Pavilion dv4000 PC (specifically, a dv4155cl)
and needed to download drivers from the HP Web site -- usually an uneventful,
normal process. However, the site listed all the drivers I needed except for
the video driver. I searched the site for a driver for the Intel Graphics
Media Accelerator 900 series and I found nothing. This took about half-an-hour.
Not necessarily being aware of any unusual modifications that may have
been made to the driver to satisfy the HP-specific hardware, I initiated an
online chat session with "Silvester."' He (she?) eventually directed
me to an FTP location where I could then download the driver to my desktop.
Something is wrong with this picture. Why would the video drivers not
be provided at the HP site's download location? After all, these things are
pretty generic. Is there an issue with ownership? Why do I need to check in
with HP for video drivers? Fortunately I had a second machine to initiate
the Web contact and the download. Windows XP does not install network drivers
for this machine when it's rebuilt from scratch. Doing some random sampling,
I found that the same issue applied to some other HP models.
Has anyone else seen this, or am I only imagining it?
I'm an IT professional who supports many, many different types of machines.
I can't possibly imagine even the above-average user trying to figure out
how to reconfigure his machine after a catastrophic failure (read: hard-drive
The recovery/driver disk is not shipped with this particular machine
and, therefore, is not immediately available. I can order it and wait for
a couple of weeks. This is customer-friendly? I found it to be a severe pain
in a lower extremity to waste as much time as I did(about an hour) when what
I wanted to do shouldn't have taken more than a few minutes. This is time
I will have to bill my customer.
If this is the direction that HP wishes to take its customer support,
then I will find a different supplier. I don't need to spend hours trying
to find basic support items for what a supplier, in this case HP, feels is
"legacy" equipment. I believe that there are a few other suppliers
available who, at least at present, provide much better support. I will also
recommend to my customers that they may not want to follow an HP path when
their supplier throws rocks at them and digs potholes in their path. Not everybody
wants to buy new equipment when their video driver is not available from their
Anyhow, now that this is off my chest, I think I'll find some adult liquid
refreshment and drown my sorrows. After all, it is after 5:00.
Let us know what you think! Leave a comment below, or send an e-mail to [email protected].
Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.