Showing posts from September, 2007

DRM? Exactly

Interesting to see ex-Microsofter Johansson ditching a DRM-heavy Microsoft app in favour of a non-Windows DRM-free solution for playing back multimedia . Especially interesting since I'd been struggling to get anywhere with Microsoft Office 2007's stupid approach to first 'activation' of its own trial version and then unfriendly handling of legacy Office 2003 files. After my teacher wife and I had torn our hair out in frustration, I simply installed the free OpenOffice 2.3 and peace was restored, with files being opened and saved properly - and we also knew where to find most of the functions rather than playing the new Office 2007 guessing game.

Crazy, crazy music purchasing

And so yet another music service is to close ( Virgin Digital ), with customers being locked out of re-downloading music they've already paid for. Why do consumers put up with this? Just say no to DRM. Buy CDs and then keep them on your shelf, ripping them in iTunes or Media Player when you want to any portable device and carry on doing so for free until the end of time....


Well, that just about sums up the summer we've had (or rather haven't) in the UK. Looking down at my shorts next to the bed, I realised that I'd only worn them twice in the whole season. Surely, surely, this has to be the coolest and wettest summer since records began? Steve Litchfield (sent from a mobile device)

Online office - now we're cooking!

Great to see Google release the third component of their free online Office Suite - try it here . In my test, it opened a large test Powerpoint presentation perfectly: With Google also giving away StarOffice, and with OpenOffice itself, all free, who on earth wants to pay Microsoft hundreds of dollars/pounds any longer for their bloated Office suite?

Telling it like it is

Russ Beattie is a man I've always liked for telling it like it is. In other words, telling the absolute truth and not minding if it offends some mega-corporation. In this case, saying what an absolute crock the Microsoft Zune is . Yes, it's competent, but it doesn't sparkle, it doesn't attract, it doesn't glow, unlike the stellar and constantly evolving opposition from Apple (and now the likes of Nokia). Just scrap the Zune, Microsoft, and admit you were wrong again. While you're on his blog, here's a great tip about reading web pages with silly colour schemes (you know, pink on dark pink, etc)...

Hooray! IBM bolsters free OpenOffice

Heartening news to hear that the one OpenOffice-dismmissing IBM has signed up to help develop OpenOffice . I've always been a fan of OO and have hated the way Microsoft make it so expensive for ordinary folk to do basic word processing and spreadsheets and with horrendous activation schemes. And now OO looks set to go from strength to strength.

Create an account? You must be joking!

I've lost count of the number of commercial sites I've visited, upon which I want to purchase something simple, something small - and, when I get to fill in my credit card details, they also want me to create an account on their system, complete with user name, password, full address (again) and so on. Look, I just want to buy something, OK, I won't be coming back, don't take it personally, it's just that you've only got the one thing I want. So WHY DO I HAVE TO CREATE AN ACCOUNT? And have to remember (/write-down and keep safe) one MORE username and password. Usually, I just turn back at this point and go to another site, if possible, which doesn't have the same system. What sparked this off? I wanted to use a particular piece of royalty-free ambient music in my video podcast , so I clicked through the relevant site to the 'Ask us for a quote' section. All I wanted was a price, like "$10" or "$100". Instead I was presented with a

Animated effects

Thr first, the absolute first thing I do when receiving a new Windows PC is to pop into Control panel and turn all the blasted effects, animations and curved-cornered windows off. The end result is something quite a bit faster, as the processor hasn't got to keep recalculating all the visual eye candy. But Windows XP has got nothing on its successor Vista, or even the new OS inside the Apple iMac. DOES EVERY SINGLE ACTION HAVE TO BE ACCOMPANIED BY RIPPLES, SWOOSHES AND TV-LIKE FADES? I think not. Is it just me? Can't information on a computer screen just appear and not have to be faed in or faded out? Maybe I really am getting old. This is computing for toddlers.