What started off as a show of political defiance, with thousands of file-sharing downloader’s joining forces and planning to field 140 candidates in the September Swedish elections, has spread to the US. The trigger in Sweden was the May 31st police raid on a community of a million BitTorrent users called The Pirate Bay. The [URL="http://www2.piratpartiet.se/the_pirate_party"]Piratpartiet [/URL](pirate Party), which actually formed in January, was quick to organize protests amongst the Xbox Generation. Indeed, some 1000 did just that in Gothenburg and Stockholm on June 3rd, and the resulting publicity in Sweden has seen Pirate Party membership swell to in excess …

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On May 23rd I predicted that Microsoft would start the Windows Vista Customer Preview Program (CPP) within a few weeks, and I have been proven right. Microsoft today announced public availability of Vista Beta 2, the same build (5384) as was made available to developers at WinHEC. If you don't mind waiting for the 3.5Gb 32-bit download (4.4Gb for the 64-bit version) you might even be able to have a play yourself. Of course, this depends on a number of factors; not least whether your computer is highly specified enough to run it, and the (non) availability of suitable drivers …

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Reports of the death of PDF support within Office 2007 and Vista are not only presumptuous but wrong. Despite the high profile publicity given to a spat between Adobe and Microsoft over the ‘Save as PDF’ function seen in the [URL="http://www.microsoft.com/office/preview/beta/getthebeta.mspx?showIntro=n"]Office 2007 Beta[/URL], there is no doubting that users will be able to do just that in the release version. What they won’t be able to do is do so out of the box. Instead, a totally free and downloadable plug-in will be made available by Microsoft. Apparently there have been discussions ongoing between [URL="http://www.adobe.com"]Adobe [/URL]and [URL="http://www.microsoft.com"]Microsoft [/URL]for the best …

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Although Vista isn’t expected to go on sale until next year, Microsoft has thoughtfully announced the minimum requirements for the new OS so you’ll have plenty of time to save for the necessary upgrades. Just to muddy the waters and confuse the public, Microsoft seems to be adopting an Xbox 360 approach to Vista PC marketing compliance. So just as the games console was made available in a gimp version minus bells and whistles, which the cynic might argue was purely to reap the profit from selling all the upgrades to actually get an Xbox 360 that was worth having, …

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Lately, it appears that computer certifications are becoming one of the most important credentials that employers are looking for. It seems that while employers are looking for this key asset, corporations are starting to put out more certifications for people to get. Microsoft and Red Hat both have a 3 tier system for their certifications, MCP and RHCT, MCSA and RHCE, MCSE and RHCA, respectively for their own fields. Cisco also has a 3 tier track for Networking Professionals, CCNA, CCNP, and CCIE. Even Dell has a tiered course for IT Enthusiast that want to become certified in their equipment. …

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Microsoft's new Visita OS -- expected to ship mid-2006 -- was recently reviewed by the Gartner group. The original document is available at Gartners' website for $95... unfortunately, I'll have to reference comments from others concerning it, instead of comments directly from it. The Windows Vista beta was released in July, and as beta software, it should not be judged for functionality or performance. Analyst Michael Silver said in his report that "users may not find them [Vista's features] compelling enough to upgrade." He continued to say that that Vista would offer "incremental, evolutionary improvements" over Windows XP and 2000. …

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Earlier this week, Apple announced a new Australian iTunes Music store. This means that Australian Windows and Mac people can download and enjoy music on their computers and iPods just like those of us in the states. According to internet sources, Apple typically pays AU $.99 per song, and sells the song for AU$1.69 -- an understandable markup. Unfortunately, I do not have details concerning Apple's fees here in the US to compare. I think this is a great idea to expand the iTunes market further overseas. It makes a lot of sense to me to distribute the songs (intellectual …

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Operating System software is an entity that lives and breaths on it's own. It requires little tweaks and enhancements here and there to make it better, and to fix problems. Such is the case with Apple's Tiger OS X, 10.4, and the release to 10.4.3 Let's look at some of the highlights of the update. Available by web or via Apple's Software Update, the software is available in 2 formats: a Delta Update that will work with 10.4.2 --> 10.4.3 or a Combo Update that will 10.4.0 and all inbetween --> 10.4.3 Apple's website details all of the updates -- …

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Apple has had a busy month -- a new iPod, new iTunes, new iMac G5, and now, 3 new ultra-cool Powerbooks! Available in the standard 12, 15, and 17" models, these new laptops have new features and performance levels not seen before in Apple's line, and after taking a look at them, I want one for Christmas! Let's start with the basics available across all of the models: -- built in 54 Mbps Airport Extreme: 802.11g -- built in Bluetooth 2.0 -- built in 56K V.92 modem -- full-sized keyboard. 15 & 17" midels feature ambient lighting -- built in …

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Last week, Apple released a new iMac and a new iPod. I forgot to tell you about the third component released: iTunes 6. Apple has expanded the iTunes functionality to now include Music Videos and TV shows available for downloading. This new functionality supports the new iPod described last week. iTunes also supports purchasing a gift certificate for someone else to download the goods... I did not know that! Remember when MTV played music videos instead of their current line of programming? I remember watching "Beat It" and some of Madonna's work, along with Weird Al and Van Halen. The …

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There will doubtless be a lot of disappointed gamers, but it seems the Nvidia 6800 Ultra and the ATi Radeon X850XT are the 'end of the road' for AGP gamers. Those who have been waiting for updated and improved cards to arrive have been waiting in vain, it appears. Although Nvidia announced a while back now that it will not be producing an AGP version of its 7800 series cards, there have been quite a few AGP gamers waiting for the arrival of ATi's R520 series cards. ATi, it was rumoured, had provided for the new cards to be available …

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Most people have had experience of, or currently use Microsoft Office, either at work or home, but I would think most people would find it hard to spot the differences between Office 2000, XP, and 2003. Apart from updated aesthetics on the latter, not much has changed through the generations, certainly not enough to warrant continuous upgrades. So what will the next Microsoft Office, codenamed Office “12

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Microsoft messed up Update Rollup 1, that caused compatability problems with several vendor applications such as Citrix, Sophos, and some parts of Microsoft Office. Programs were unable to access floppy disks, or even crashed more often, or simply didn't work. Microsoft earlier remarked that only a handful of applications failed after Update Rollout 1 was installed, but was later forced to acknowledge more incompatabilities Microsoft has patched the Update Rollout 1, now at version 2, and has posted the repair on their websites. Microsoft has removed Windows 2000 from active mainstream support on June 30.

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Things don’t get easier, do they? Windows ‘prophet’ Paul Thurrot suggests that there are going to be no less than seven different versions of Windows Vista! Vista will be offered in ‘Home’ and ‘Business’ varieties, with three ‘Home’ versions and four ‘Business’ versions: [b][i]Windows Vista Home[/i][/b] [b]Starter Edition.[/b] This will be a cut down version, 32-bit only, and will be made abailable to emerging markets only. [b]Home Basic Edition[/b] Roughly equivalent to Windows XP Home, this version will be aimed at single PC households. [b]Home Premium Edition[/b] Adds Media Centre features to the basic Home version, as well as numerous …

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Apple Computer, announced on Wednesday a new cell phone that serves as an iTunes player. The phone, available only through Cingular Wireless holds about 100 songs that are downloaded from a Windows PC or Macintosh, and the songs are managed just like an iPod. According to the FAQ, the phone will play MP3 files, along with AAC format podcasts. Users are given an option to answer an incoming phone call, or continue listening to your music. The FAQ also says that 512 MB flash cards will hold around 100 songs, the 128 MB flash card will store 25 average songs, …

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A little discussed feature of the upcoming Windows Vista is called 'Freeze Dry', and it's sure to be a blessing for all of us who leave our PCs running rather than shutting everything down when we move away from the keyboard. Have you ever come back only to find that an update has rebooted the system and you've lost the data you were working on? Have you ever clicked 'Yes' to a restart request only to realise you hadn't saved our data? There's no need to worry about that frustrating circumstance any more. Built on a core of software technology …

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My friend Darren from Google just informed me a couple of minutes ago that Google Notifier is out in beta ... for the mac! You can check it out at: [url]http://toolbar.google.com/gmail-helper/index?promo=gdl-en[/url] Now comes the time when I thank Darren for considering the fact that I'm a mac girl and messaging me the minute he got the official word :) While the official Google Talk app is Windows only, the non-voip features are available via third party clients. Now this comes the time when I give yet another shoutout to Sean from gaim.

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Several days back I had a look at some of the forward looking aspects of the upcoming [url= http://www.daniweb.com/blogs/entry270.html]Windows Vista[/url] and made mention of Digital Rights Management. The protection of encoded media content is a consideration which will increasingly have implications for hardware as well as for software, and it seems that we will need to look beyond the components in the PC case when planning future upgrades. Up until now, it has been common for people to retain their favoured PC monitors far longer than they do other parts of their PC systems. Purchasing a high quality monitor is …

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Ladies and Gentlemen, stop the presses! Well, in today's world, I should change that... Stop uploading the websites! This is BIG News. Ever since Apple came out with the Macintosh (1984), they have only shipped with one-button mice. Even mice prepared for the Apple IIe / IIc / IIgs had one mouse button. The reason was clear enough -- the OS was designed to be simple and effective to use. It would just take one button. With the development of USB, PC-based mice would work with Macintosh, and Apple built right-button functionality into OS 9 and OS X. WOW. Check …

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Redmond, Washington based [url=http://ww.vista.com]Vista, Inc[/url] – a custom software developer and e-commerce solutions provider, said in a recent news article it is considering all options against Windows creator Microsoft Incorporated. [url=http://www.microsoft.com]Microsoft[/url], which is also based in Redmond, said it does not feel it has violated any copyrights. “The name Vista is commonly used by a variety of companies in a variety of industries,

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John C. Dvorak has a vision and I suspect it may be myopic. Over at Ziff-Davis’s PCMag, the renowned John C. Dvorak has witnessed Windows Vista’s arrival as an almighty dull thud, and sees recent events as a potential portent of the demise of the mighty Microsoft. [url]http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1895,1840480,00.asp[/url] Windows Vista is a hollow shell of what it should have been he considers, and the omission of the previously discussed Windows File system the empty space in that shell. With Apple’s move to the x86 platform future versions of its OS may reign supreme, according to John’s prediction, and become dominant …

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I came across this article at Appleinsider.com. [url]http://www.appleinsider.com/article.php?id=1143[/url] Lawsuits like that really make me unhappy. Honestly people! Every music store in the world organizes music by genre, artist, title, etc! And have done it for DECADES! How greedy and self-absorbed can people get? Suits like that make me ask myself if software should even be patentable.

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The End.