Friday, April 29, 2005

Firefox: 50 million downloads (and counting)

Early this morning, the number of Firefox downloads surpassed the 50 million mark. This momentous occasion only took about 5 months as I believe that Firefox officially launched on November 9th of last year. The Mozilla folks are celebrating with a new website with the following info:

"They said browsers were dead. They said open source would never penetrate the mainstream. But you've never cared much for rules, have you? And now we're blazing a trail to 50 million downloads worldwide. As we turn open source into a household word and reassert the supremacy of simplicity, we are making waves—and starting fires."

Take a step back and think about what has happened in less than a year. This was a complete open source effort that took the world by storm. No paychecks, no egos of a corporate organization, none of that. Simply a vision to build the best consumer product possible and then give it away for free. Some other companies should take a cue from this effort....congratulations Firefox. Since November of last year, you've been my browser of choice....here's to many more downloads!


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Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Read & send encrypted Gmail

Through a free Firefox extension called "Gmail S/MIME", Richard Jones has created a method to send and read encrypted Gmail.



The approach is not perfect just yet, but very promising: "S/MIME support is integrated directly into Google's Gmail web interface. Reading and sending of encrypted mail is supported. Verification of signatures is not currently supported. There are some interoperability and performance issues which I plan to iron out in later releases."

Oh, and if the name "Richard Jones" sounds familiar, it's the same developer who created the Gmail based Linux filesystem, GmailFS!



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Podcasting 101

Regular readers know that I'm actively producing two different podcast shows: techADDICTION with James Kendrick and the Commute-Cast with the talented and lovely Barb. Creating a good show isn't exactly easy. It takes prep time to find a wide range of interesting topics and you need to do your research so you can speak to the subject. It also takes some decent recording equipment. I currently use a Plantronics DSP-400 headset & mic for techADDICTION and a first gen Dell DJ for the Commute-Cast. Add some quailty recording software, a few hours of post-production sound work, time for show notes (complete with links, of course) and that's it! Simple, right? ;)

It's actually not too bad and I thoroughly enjoy it; I hope you can hear the fun in my voice during the shows. What makes it easier is having the right tools. Today, CNET discusses some of the software recording tools that make it easy enough for anyone with a voice to give it a try. Take a peek at their review on podcast search engines and new recording application called Propaganda. I currently use the free, open source application called Audacity, but James and I were recently provided evaluation copies of Propaganda from MixMeister Technology. If you have any interest in podcasting, the CNET article will get you started. In the meantime, I'll, be firing up Propaganda to see if it will replace Audacity!



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IBM Tablet PC pics

Last week I posted about the rumored IBM Tablet PC. Looks like it's no longer a rumor. techADDICTION co-host, James Kendrick, posted some pics of the new ThinkPad X41 on his site today:

"You've got to love the FCC when you're craving information for rumored devices and these pics found on the FCC site depict an IBM Thinkpad X41 Tablet PC. No real surprises in these pics, the depicted Tablet looks just like a Thinkpad. Looks like it has Bluetooth and a dual antenna WiFi. Except, of course, for the swivel screen. :) "


Various sources are reporting that the X41 will set you back $1999, will have a built in fingerprint biometric scanner and will weigh less than 3 pounds!



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Friday, April 22, 2005

Did you get your weekly Commute-Cast?

In case you missed it at our "sister" site, this week's Commute-Cast with Kevin & Barb is a blast! We talk about about Martha Stewart & other ex-cons that make more $$$ than us. We also bring you some web browser tech, free operating systems and even discuss getting naked (DSL, that is) :) C'mon, you've got 30 minutes to spare during your commute, don't you?



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Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Opera 8.0 reviewed

I never thought of the web browser as a "killer app" that I would pay for. Its the application I use the most, but I've gotten spoiled by years of free Internet Explorer (ok, maybe not free, but part of the OS that I buy) and now Mozilla Firefox. So, why would I pay $39 for a web browser? Not sure that I would actually, so I'm going to read the Opera 8.0 review over at CNET:

"The Opera 8 Web browser has a lot going for it: a tabbed interface, tons of customizable skins, and some innovative navigation tools. And it should, because Opera 8 costs $39, although a free version is available if you're willing to tolerate banner ads. As a paid browser, Opera has always been on the cutting edge of browser innovation and was once considered the best alternative to Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 (IE 6) until Mozilla Firefox came along. Still, Opera 8 offers a few features found in neither IE nor Firefox. If you're an early adopter, you won't mind paying."

For the full review, click the post title. How about it: any Opera users out there that can convince me to shell out the $39?



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Monday, April 18, 2005

TabletPC from IBM (Lenovo) coming in May?

Talk about "buzz"! Tablet PC Buzz has a forum thread on the possibility of a new IBM Tablet PC. With the recent sale of IBM's hardware division to Lenovo, it's unsure if this would be branded as "IBM", but I believe that the ThinkPad name will stay in existence. Here's a rundown on the basics:

"the IBM is due out May 15. It is 12 inches but looks smaller..looks just like the thinkpad...had a 1.5 or 1.6 processor...it was about 3.5-4 lbs...it felt like the lightest one and was as thin as the motion slate....has a feature to partition off the image we would load and allow us to "reimage" little johnny's from his own laptop....it has 2 batteries in the battery attachment so it gives it 8 hours....it was very thin..."

The form factor info almost reminds of me of some other recent "buzz"; namely the talk about a mini-Tablet PC. Either way, it will be interesting to see if this develops! Click the post title for the full story over at Tablet PC Buzz.




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Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Microsoft patch day: 11 updates available

Today, the Microsoft Security Response Center plans to release 8 security patches, a new version of the Malicious Software (Spyware) Removal tool and 2 High Priority (non-security) updates to Windows. The Windows Automatic Update feature will pull these in the background if you have that service configured to do so.

In addition, there is a Microsoft Webcast on April 13th at 11am Pacific Time to discuss these updates. Addition information is expected at this link as the time approaches.

For full details of the patches, click the Read More link.


5 Microsoft Security Bulletins affecting Microsoft Windows. The greatest aggregate, maximum severity rating for these security updates is Critical. Some of these updates will require a restart. These updates will be detectable using the Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer (MBSA).

1 Microsoft Security Bulletin affecting Microsoft Office. The greatest aggregate, maximum severity rating for these security updates is Critical. These updates will not require a restart. These updates will be detectable using MBSA.

1 Microsoft Security Bulletin affecting MSN Messenger. The greatest aggregate, maximum severity rating for these security updates is Critical. These updates may require a restart. These updates will be detectable using the Enterprise Scanning Tool (EST).

1 Microsoft Security Bulletin affecting Microsoft Exchange. The greatest aggregate, maximum severity rating for these security updates is Critical. These updates will not require a restart. These updates will be detectable using MBSA.

In addition, Microsoft will release:
• An updated version of the Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool on Windows Update and the Download Center. Note that this tool will NOT be distributed using Software Update Services (SUS).
• 2 NON-SECURITY High-Priority Updates for Windows on the Windows Update site. These will be distributed to Software Update Services and are not required to install the security updates.


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Monday, April 11, 2005

techADDICTION show #5 available

Slight delay due to scheduling difficulties, but techADDICTION #5 is available from The Podcast Network. We discuss "a lot of Windows Mobile topics, play a few comments from the techADDICTION Skype line, talk about the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, lament a dead UPC, and offer up the first techADDICTION slap to a vendor."

I don't know about you, but I wouldn't want to miss the first techADDICTION slap! ;) Click the post title to view the show notes and hear the show!



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Commute-cast 04/06/2005 (we've moved!)

Don't forget, we've moved the Commute-Cast to it's own site last week. I know some of you missed last weeks show and it took me a few days to figure out why.....I'm betting that you were looking for it here! Barb thought a "redirect" was in order, so here it is! Click the post link for the 04/06/2005 show and be sure to update your RSS feeds!

While we're on the subject, what do folks think of two shows per week instead of jsut one! Let us know!


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Friday, April 08, 2005

Gmail notifier for SPOT Watches

SpotDev has recently posted a Java application that tells your SPOT watch how many new Gmail messages you have. The approach is rather clever as it utilizes the Calendar channel of a SPOT watch for strategic reasons:


"The obvious questions is, why Calendar. Well, there are only two options: Calendar and Messages. Since this type of information is better as "glancable" data, the Calendar makes a better choice. With messages, each message is saved, and you'd receive a new message each every ten minutes, or at least whenever a new message arrives. This is all well and good, but I wanted to be able to glance at my watch at any given time to see how many messages I have waiting. This way, I don't have to bother going to the computer if it's 0. With the Calendar app, old messages can be replaced. You only see the most recent information."


Every 10 minutes the application will check your Gmail account and forward that information to your SPOT Watch. The download is a 28Kb Zip file and utilizes a Gmail RSS feed. Thanks to SPOTStop for the tip!





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Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Enhanced WM Today Tasks for free!

I think it was Windows CE 2.11 that had more Today screen type functions than the recent versions of Windows Mobile. I know you "old timers" will correct me if I'm wrong, but do I recall the following functions:

Email actually showed the sender and a header on the "today" screen
Tasks actually showed by name!

Well, I can't help you today with the e-mail, but I can help with the Tasks thanks to TaskPlus v 1.4; a freeware 3rd party application! In the screen shot below, you can see the standard Tasks section. I have 3 tasks....big deal! Look below for TaskPlus and tell me what you see!



Here's a few of the features available:
Each line display one task with start date, subject and due date.
Completed tasks are not displayed.

Following actions are available from Today screen:
- tap in subject text area = display and edit task details information
- tap in due date area (right date) = complete task after confirmation
- tap icon TaskPlus = display create new task screen
- tap right part of title or min / max icon = close / open TaskPlus list

TaskPlus is a 103KB download available from the developers site and has plenty of customizable features. Ah...this brings back memories of my old Compaq Aero in 2000...sniff, sniff...


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Sunday, April 03, 2005

Dress sharp and get free XM radio

Do you have a favorite weekly ritual or tradition? I do. Mine is to take a short drive for a good cup of coffee and enjoy it over the Sunday paper advertisements. Today a few items jumped out at me as good deals but one is too good not to share. I can't be sure if this is nationwide or not, but JCPenney's has a fashionably good tech deal going on.

If you purchase $100 of Dockers Mens apparel, you receive a free Delphi XM Roady2 satellite radio receiver AND 3 months of XM service AND free activation. That's a deal worth $145 just for purchasing $100 or more of Dockers mens wear.



It doesn't hurt that I'm a Dockers fan as I love both their Mobile pant (for the extra pockets) and their Stain Defender pants; I routinely spill that morning coffee that I previously mentioned! :)

I've placed a link to the offer in the post title, hopefully it's available in your area.






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techADDICTION: Featured podcast of the month at Pocketcasting.com!

The techADDICTION show receives a great bit of recognition as April's "Featured Podcast of the Month" at Pocketcasting.com! What a fantastic honor after only 4 shows; James and I are sincerely appreciative that another major podcasting site has recognized our efforts in bringing the listeners a quality show. In fact, rather than use my words to see the recognition, here's some excerpts of what Pocketcasting has to say about techADDICTION:

"This is a must subscribe!"

"The other day I was catching up on some podcasts when I heard (my first) techADDICTION show. I was simply blown away by the content in which hosts James Kendrick (of jkOnTheRun) and Kevin Tofel (of KCT’s Digital World) talked about a several topics to include Pocket PC software, hardware and devices related to mobile technology."

"After hearing the show I quickly came to the conclusion…."If I have to single out one podcast that’s for the visitors of Pocketcasting.com it’s the techADDICTION show". They cover a great deal of mobile technology that will inspire you to utilize your device in way’s never imagined. James and Kevin have the perfect chemistry for this topic and “get it right” when they talk tech. The show’s are very informative and provide a great deal of information to the mobile community. "


Thanks to Pocketcasting.com for the kind words and for making us the Featured Podcast of the Month in April. If The Podcast Network doesn't yet have a podcast to catch your interest, don't worry, it soon will! ;) Until then, take a peek at Pocketcasting.com for their extensive directory that's filled with hundreds of podcasts on various topics.




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Saturday, April 02, 2005

Meet Microsoft's newest Tablet PC MVP = James Kendrick

Recognizing his frequent and valuable contributions the Tablet PC community, Microsoft bestowed their coveted MVP monniker on James Kendrick! I am totally unsurprised by this well deserved honor that James has earned; the only surprise I have is that it took this long for some folks to recognize the value he provides to the Tablet PC sphere and the mobile technology space as a whole. For those unfamiliar with the MVP program, here's a program summary from Microsoft:

"The Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Program recognizes and thanks outstanding members of technical communities for their community participation and willingness to help others. The program celebrates the most active community members from around the world who provide invaluable online and offline expertise that enriches the community experience and makes a difference in technical communities featuring Microsoft products."

I hope you will join me in congratulating James for this fantastic honor! Way to go James!!


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