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Vista and DRM

Friday, February 24, 2006 by Island Dog | Discussion: Personal Computing

I have been reading some articles on the DRM that Vista will supposedly include.  I would like everyones opinoins on these.

"Microsoft is taking some heat over a digital-rights management (DRM) feature it's folding into its upcoming Vista (formerly Longhorn) operating system.

The feature, called Output Content Protection Management, encompasses several DRM-related schemes. The one that's raised hackles in several articles and blogs is a DRM-related check that's performed when playing back video on Vista-equipped PCs. According to Microsoft's description, the feature "makes sure that the PC's video outputs have the required protection or that they are turned off if such protection is not available."

In plain English, this means that Vista machines won't be able to play next-generation, high-definition DVDs in their full, high-resolution glory unless they're equipped with monitors that support a new DRM scheme called High-Bandwidth Digital Copy Protection, or HDCP. "

Techweb article -



Anyone want to help me kill my computer?

Monday, January 16, 2006 by lifehappens | Discussion: Personal Computing

I dont' really want to kill my computer but I am having EXTREMELY irritating problems with it. I don't know where the problem lies and I need help.

I have Vonage and get phone service without interuption, so I know the modem and router are working fine. But somewhere between the router and the computer it all goes to heck. The computer says I have a LAN connection, but I can't access the internet. The only think that works is turning everything off and include unplugging the modem and router.

I've tried everythingk I know to figure out the problem. Sometimes i get a warning that no IP connection can be established and than other times I see a warning about a gateway. i am very frustrated. HELP!

And for bonus credit, I could use advice on whether I really need to upgrade. I run Adobe Photoshop CS2 and I'm locking up the computer constantly. I've tried to not mulittask too much, but I'm still running very slow. I have 1gig of ddrsdram and a 200 gb hd I have an AMD Athlon 64 3400+ (Emachines T6520) Do I really need a new graphics card and more Ram? I know I have 2 512 sticks so I'd have to buy 1 gig sticks and lose out on the money I paid for the 512s.......right?

I confess, I'm an idiot when it comes to the magic workings of computers....I know they work, I'm just not big on knowing how. But if you could explain it to me or give me an affordable recomendation.....I'd really be grateful.

PowerUser.TV scoop: Microsoft confirms Aero glass for Vista

Windows Vista user interface finalized

Tuesday, January 10, 2006 by Draginol | Discussion: Personal Computing

Back in 2001 Microsoft's early betas of Windows XP contained a user interface dubbed "Watercolor". But only months before the operating system shipped Microsoft completely replaced it with an entirely different look and feel called "Luna" which became known as "Windows XP Style".

That move has created speculation that current Windows Vista look and feel, called Aero glass, would be replaced by a different look and feel later in the beta process.

However, this week's PowerUser.TV podcast has an interview with Microsoft developers who have confirmed that there will be no major change to the look and feel of Windows Vista from what is being shown in build 5270. In other words, Aero-Glass is it.

CES: The show in pictures..

The sights, the sounds, the noise!

Friday, January 6, 2006 by Frogboy | Discussion: Personal Computing

It's been quite a show. CES is a computer nerd's dream. Every kind of gadget and gizmo you could imagine is there.

Outside the show there was a Microsoft tent that looked pretty cool.  Windows Vista is EVERYWHERE and looking fine.

Another look from outside.

1080p TVs were everywhere.

Several members from the Windows community there.,, OSNN, Bink, Longhorn blogs, and more.

Chris Pirillo and Jen from Microsoft.  Sure, I stole Chris's chair but my feet were sore.

Las Vegas!

Pretty lights..

CES: Brad's Day 2 adventures

And hangovers

Friday, January 6, 2006 by Frogboy | Discussion: Personal Computing

I walked the show floor quite a bit on day 2 and everywhere you looked it was HD-DVD vs. Blu Ray. Microsoft meanwhile seems to have a real winner with their MCE (Media Center Edition) that they're preparing for Windows Vista.

For me, the big thing is being able to record HD content from various sources and save it to a hard drive or stream to other places in the house. The UI is very slick and if you have an XBOX 360 then all the better.

My travels did lead to some sight seeing after the show. Jed Rose (one of the masterminds behind bringing in various Windows communities to the show) set up a number of really impressive gatherings for the various net community leaders who were there.

Steve and Marcel from Neowin were there. Nate from Betanews was around. Robert from Longhorn blogs was also there and of course Chris Pirillo who has dyed his hair red!

Kristin Hatcher from PowerUser.TV was also there. We decided we may need to get headphone based microphones for the podcast at the Microsoft booth so that we can all hear each other talk.
After the Microsoft community party we looked for somewhere to eat. Everything had huge lines.  But the bars didn't.  I learned something -- Margaritas are not a substitute for food.  I also discovered that Las Vegas has some sort of issue with the world trying to spin from out from under people.

Now, if I can just recover from the world trying to spin. Oye.

CES: Gates owns Balmer on Xbox


Wednesday, January 4, 2006 by Frogboy | Discussion: Personal Computing has a funny article about tonight's Keynote where Gatesand Balmer played each other in boxing on the Xbox 360.

Bill Gates CES keynote summary

The future is gadgety!

Wednesday, January 4, 2006 by Frogboy | Discussion: Personal Computing

Tonight Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates presented the keynote address here at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. is there in the press room blogging live from the event right now!

Windows Vista as well as gives a vision on how personal computing technology will go in the future.

During his demo, Mr. Gates was able to integrate his information and data seamlessly across a cell phone, tablet PC, and his desktop PC that was connected to a 40 inch monitor that divided the display into 3 work areas.

During the upcoming announcements, Microsoft showed up the new Windows Media Player which is a lot cleaner than previous versions.  The next Windows Vista explorer provides a host of useful features for modifying data such as being able to crop and do basic editing on images without having to load a graphics editing package.

Internet Explorer 7 was shown off with its Firefox-like tabs but with some very interesting twists.

Much of the push on Windows Vista so far has highlighted a cleaner, faster, more polished look combined with a heavily revamped plumbing underneath.  GDI and the myriad of vulnerable networking APIs are gone and replaced with a new architecture.

Those who were worried that Vista was just Windows XP with a new look have nothing to fear, it's a very definite change for better.

Keep an eye on the coverage in the Articles tab here on

CES Day 1 report

Consumer Electronics Show!

Wednesday, January 4, 2006 by Frogboy | Discussion: Personal Computing

Survived the trip to Las Vegas. I hate traveling. And being cramped in a seat for 4 hours is no fun.  To small too tight fitting to be comfortable with. Which brings me to a related issue - young overweight females should not wear tight fitting shirts that don't cover their bodies completely. It's yucky, gross, and just wrong.

As soon as we got to the hotel, ran into Steve and Marcel (Neowin admins) along with other friends from the community.  Went to the Vista lab with them and the others to get the latest goodies on Windows Vista.  A lot of it is under NDA but Microsoft certainly has an ambitious vision going on.

It's ironic but Microsoft has a mockup of IE7 that is clean and simple -- what people really want.  They use the mockup to display screenshots of web pages.  I wish they'd replace IE7's UI with that.

My cell phone died yesterday which really really stinks.  And the hotel I'm in has no internet access unbelievably.  Normally I'd just hook in my SprintPCS Samsung A800 multimedia phone to the laptop and voila.  But without that cell phone, I'm somewhat crippled.

I will try to find a way to get a better phone or some internet solution. After all I'm at CES.

Blast from the past: Stardock Magazine 1997

OS/2 is the future, man!

Friday, December 23, 2005 by Frogboy | Discussion: Personal Computing

Stardock Magazine is nearing its 10th year anniversary.  In the old days, Stardock Magazine was done as a regular magazine.  The ones from 1996 were done with Page Maker 5 (Which I can't convert with Adobe InDesign).  So here's one from early 1996 as a PDF.  Some of the graphics and fonts are wrong (i.e. the layout errors and such weren't in the actual paper version) but it gives you an idea of what kinds of things Stardock was up to way back then.

Does Copying Music = Stealing?

My $.02

Thursday, December 15, 2005 by Arquonzo | Discussion: Personal Computing

Talk radio commentator Dennis Prager states often that downloading music is the same as stealing, and I'll grant that on the surface it does seem like it. Particularly to the artists who generated the original soundwaves. But consider the following:

I have a neighbor. He just went to the store and bought a brand new widget. It's a really cool widget, and it's manufacturer has the appropriate patent.

My neighbor invites me over admire his new widget. I bring my tape measure, my calipers, my camera, my scale, and my laptop for taking notes.

I reverse engineer the widget, and build one for myself in my shop, with my own material. I like my cool new widget, especially since I didn't have to pay for it.

Now I get even more clever. I build a machine that has the ability to copy widgets. Whatever widget you have, you pop it in, and a copy is made. I never sell the copies I make (that would be a violation of the patent), but I do borrow alot of my friends widgets to make myself a personal copy.

Having perfected my widget copying machine, I get a patent, and begin to sell widget copiers. They're a hit, and the manufacturer of the original widgets sees a decline in sales, and blames me!

At what point in this fairy tale have I committed theft? If it is illegal to make copies for personal use, how exact does the copy have to be? In a world where nearly everything is available commercially, will it become illegal to make anything yourself if you got the idea from someone else?

Perhaps the real trouble is that the revenue generating paradigm for Musical Artists is antiquated. Maybe instead of trying to collect money from people listening to synthetic reproductions of their music, they should find another way to generate income from their work. More concerts, for example. Maybe the days of unbelievably wealthy music studios are over, and musicians are facing the inevitability of technological progress. Physical manufacturers may also one day face this scenario, like in the story above!