Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Gizbuzz has moved!

I'm posting this again just in case there are any noobs subscribed to the Atom feed who have not migrated to the address for Gizbuzz, the best technology blog on the web! So you can access the new blog at http://gizbuzz.co.uk , or just click here for the latest technology news.

[visit Gizbuzz.co.uk]

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Apple Fined $100,000

Apple Computer was today issued a fine of $100,000 USD by the state of Washington for not registering with the state.

read more | digg story

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

To Levent Besik

I have actually just moved my blog, to gizbuzz.co.uk, and will post about the issue there. Alternatively, you can contact me at ----------------------

In the mean time, you can download copies of the two files attached to the latest error report sent to Microsoft on crash here. The file names are original.

The crash appears to be random, but it always occurs within 1-2 minutes of opening, even when all addons have been disabled.

I hope this helps, but feel free to contact me if you need any more information. I would like to be able to use IE7, so am quite happy to help!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Gizbuzz has moved!

Gizbuzz has moved to Gizbuzz.co.uk. Same blog, just a different address!

If you are reading this via the atom feed, please subscribe to the feed at http://feeds.feedburner/gizbuzz, as this has been transfered automatically to the new site. We're now using Wordpress, which I think both looks better and has more functionality. If you link to Gizbuzz, don't forget to change over to the new URL.

Happy reading!

Friday, May 19, 2006

PS3 to cost £425

Yet again, the UK is the victim of silly price markups. For no particular reason, Sony have decided that an appropriate price for the Playstation 3 will be £425. That's equivalent to $800, when the console will cost only $600 in the US and 600 EUR for the 60GB version.

Sony Computer Entertainment UK's managing director, Ray Maguire, said in an interview with Eurogamer TV:

"If you think a Blu-Ray player by itself might be £600-700, and we're coming in at just £425 - it's a bargain.

"But you think about the price, think about the price of just a Blu-Ray player. It will be cheaper than a Blu-Ray player just by itself. So fundamentally we're going to be great value just from that point of view without even looking at the games side."

However, he did seem to acknowledge that £425 is 'definitely not a mass market price'. It doesn't appear that it's a price that will work in any market, in my opinion, with the fact that the Xbox 360 is significantly cheaper, even with the HD-DVD drive, and offers comparable features, and probably better integration with Windows as well as the much-lauded Xbox Live. It looks like this price is certainly the end of the PS3 in the UK, and quite possibly the end of Blu-ray on this side of the pond as well.

[via Eurogamer]

Get ready for Vista

Microsoft have launched a 'Get ready for Vista' site, along with details of the minimum requirements to run the next-gen operating system, and a downloadable tool to help you identify whether you fulfil the requirements.

The requirements are split into two sections. The 'Vista Capable computers' which have a spec of at least:

  • A modern processor (at least 800MHz1).
  • 512 MB of system memory.
  • A graphics processor that is DirectX 9 capable.
Then there's the 'Vista Premium Ready Computers', which will also do things like run Aero. They need at least:

  • 1 GHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor1.
  • 1 GB of system memory.
  • A graphics processor that runs Windows Aero2.
  • 128 MB of graphics memory.
  • 40 GB of hard drive capacity with 15 GB free space.
  • DVD-ROM Drive3.
  • Audio output capability.
  • Internet access capability.
Full details available here. I'm pleasantly surprised by the specs, as I thought that they would be significantly higher, particularly the processor speed requirement for the 'Premium' end of things. It would appear that my laptop (Dell Latitude D410) will run the basic end, and my desktop (Dimension 5100) will run the premium features.

The downloadable tool means that the masses, who probably don't know what's inside that big beige box, can work out whether they can run Vista. It allows you to select which features you would like in your Vista upgrade, then tells you whether your computer can handle them, and also which edition of Vista you will need. This is a very good move on Microsoft's part, as it enables them to avoid some of the confusion which would otherwise have been felt by many consumers, inhibiting the numbers of people upgrading. Also sensibly, it is possible to print out the extra hardware you need to buy to run Vista, so that even if you don't understand it, you can take it to someone who can.

You can download the 'Windows Vista Upgrade Adviser (beta)' here.

Symantec vs Microsoft; Creative vs Apple

It seems all hell is breaking loose between some of the heavyweights in the technology industry. Firstly, Symantec vs Microsoft.

Symantec are one of the leaders in security products for Windows, with Norton AntiVirus to their name. Their argument against Microsoft is about Symantec's Volume Manager software (acquired from Symantec's purchase of software firm Veritas). Back in 1996, Veritas made an agreement with Microsoft to license this software to help move chunks of data around in Windows.

Symantec claim that Microsoft have violated their intellectual property rights. They probably aren't too happy about Microsoft's new anti-spyware (bundled with Vista) and anti-virus (not bundled) services which will be launched. It's still a bit unclear exactly how Symantec's rights have been violated in this case, but I'm sure we will find out when this case continues.

The second fight is Creative vs Apple. Creative recently sued Apple for violation of its patent to do with music sorting, by including this in the iPod.

Now Apple have struck back claiming that Creative's player violates 4 of Apple's patents.

Happy families.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

'The Free Antivirus Strategy'

I was emailed a link to this article by its author, suggesting that readers of Gizbuzz might be interested in it.

I have read the article, and certainly agree with the advice he gives. I'm sure that many of you have been through the situation described and come out the other side, but the article does have some good tips on how to beat malware. And how could I not link to an article which advises its readers to install Firefox and avoid Internet Explorer! (On a sidenote, I still can't get IE7 to run reliably).

The Free Antivirus Strategy - Photobird.com

Ofcom rethink iTrip legality

BBC are reporting that the UK telecommunications regulator Ofcom are rethinking their current ban on the iTrip iPod accessory.

The iTrip devices streams music from your iPod over normal FM radio, so you can tune any standard radio into your frequency and listen to your collection on better speakers.

Well, that's the theory anyway. In the UK at the moment, it's illegal to use this gadget, because it broadcasts over radio frequency. You need a license to do this, and also apparently it can interfere with emergency response radio systems.

Nevertheless, people do use this device in the UK (even though it's not sold here), and it would help boost sales if it was legal.

It's currently perfectly legal to use iTrips and similar devices in the US, so people are asking what makes the UK more likely to cause interference.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Visual Task Tips for Windows XP

For those of you who enjoy making your Windows XP systems look as much like Vista as possible, there's a great free (for personal use) program for XP called Visual Task Tips.

Like Vista will, it displays a small preview image of a window when you hover your mouse over the taskbar.

[Thanks to UNEASYsilence and Windows Vista Weblog for this story]

Urge goes live but UK not invited

Headline says it all really. Urge, which looks like a great service, has gone live this morning, along with the release of WMP11, but is not accepting UK users. Urge is MTV and Microsoft's combined attempt to beat iTunes, currently the dominant online music distribution service by a very long way. Obviously this is because they couldn't be bothered to license the music for the rest of the world, even though it is largely the same record companies. What would have been a far more sensible approach would be to have licensed the music for the whole world.

Also annoying, and amateur, is the fact that it didn't tell me when I tried to download Urge that it wasn't going to work, or even when I installed it, or even once I had installed it. At this point, instead of an error message, it just didn't work. I had to dig it out of the FAQ to find out that I couldn't use it.

So I'm afraid there won't be any review. I will review it when/if it comes out in the UK, because I am very interested in using it. I currently pay £15/month to Napster, and they have a very weak program as well as an increasingly small library (its not that they're losing songs from the library, they're just not getting any new ones really). So Urge would probably have had at least one other customer had they decided to launch in the UK.

What the separate launch probably means is that the prices will be higher, yet again, in the UK when compared to the US. I suspect that we will be paying not $15 (£8-9) when/if the service comes out in the UK, but £15.

PS. I loved Valleywag's response to hearing that MTV was aiming at people without iPods:

MTV plans to kill iTunes. The plan: "We will concentrate on people who don't have iPods." So, like, music for uncool people? [Financial Times]
Spose that makes me uncool then.