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Comment: Re:Marriages Made in Haste.. Oft Leave a Bad Taste (Score 2, Informative) 264

by marklar1 (#30918980) Attached to: GM Is Selling Saab To Spyker Cars

BRAVO Kimvette:

hit the nail on the head!

SAAB had an amazing history of pioneering technologies and unique Sweedish design esthetics (which really is unique, and is more than IKEA).

They got buried in GM (who actually did a decent job rebranding Cadillac in the market), but never knew how to position SAAB in the market.

Wish this was finalized a few years ago prior to the 9-5 redesign (though it looks nice).

Here's praying that as they go forward and aren't required to pull from the GM parts bins we should see some real changes.

Someone in SAAB: PLEASE look back to the 900 prior to 94 and bring back the whale tale long slant hatchback...put that on top of the amazing best-in-class X-drive and you've really got something....like the Mini, not for everyone, but some unique bodies don't need to change for change's sake.

Comment: Re:Related question (Score 1) 395

by marklar1 (#30810270) Attached to: Truth Or Dare — What Is the Best US Cell Company?

You can call customer service and have the "minute remaining" reminder removed. Very simple.

I suspect, just as they've added the Samsung Finesse that other phones will be coming, so I went with a very simple phone to test out the service...and have been thrilled with network availability, quality of voice, and most of all PRICE.

I couldn't be happier with my test phone. Went with a simple LG 220C: solid, quick and easy UI, so tiny it disapears in a pocket, excellent bluetooth range, speakerphone, and weighs under 3 oz..

$45 unlimited phone, sms and "mobile web" which works well for access to webmail services like gmail, hotmail and yahoo...though the lack of qwerty keyboad on mine vs yours would be a real disadvantage for heavy users of webmail & texting...also, I’m OK with the “1x” data rate for “mobile web”...but the Samsung Finesse does have access to “high speed EVDO data” and one could guess as more phones become available they too will have this capability.

Some have reported problems with ST's C.S., I've had no problems with language or courtesy on two different calls. It has been suggested that if you have a problem w/ ST C.S. then call Net10 / or TracFone's reps...this is well documented - check Howard forums and some blogs/reviews.

Ohhhh...no deposits, no suprises, no contract.

I was only too happy to leave AT&T / Cingular after 12 years and being trampled by Cingular’s acquisition of AT&T and dismantling network features for us older “blue” customers trying to force upgrades...

NASA

NASA To Cryogenically Freeze Satellite Mirrors 47

Posted by Soulskill
from the ain't-it-cool dept.
coondoggie writes "NASA said it will soon move some of the larger (46 lb) mirror segments of its future James Webb Space Telescope into a cryogenic test facility that will freeze the mirrors to -414 degrees Fahrenheit (~25 K). Specifically, NASA will freeze six of the 18 Webb telescope mirror segments at the X-ray and Cryogenic Facility, or XRCF, at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, in a test to ensure the critical mirrors can withstand the extreme space environments. All 18 segments will eventually be tested at the site. The test chamber takes approximately five days to cool a mirror segment to cryogenic temperatures."

Comment: Re:DRM? (Score 4, Insightful) 720

by marklar1 (#29101133) Attached to: XP Users Are Willing To Give Windows 7 a Chance

The RC Release Candidate is downloadable for another 2 days (until the 20th, I believe)...so just try it.

The DRM seems like it always has...if you own the media, or it is DRM free, then you shouldn't have a problem. The amount of annoying dialogs for permissions is wayyy less than Vista. It is smooth, fast, better laid, and I've not had a single crash or let down over the last few weeks of trying it out. The layout is much cleaner, OS X users will immediately "get" the dock (whether you like it or not is another issue)...

My main curiousity was the Media Center (got a deal on a PC from a friend that is dedicated to that purpose, leaving me to do my "work" on an old PowerMac) and it is amazingly good vs. Vista's complete F%^%*!? dissapointment.
I was adamant that MS owed Vista MC users some love, and felt shafted to need an OS to finally get a WMC that works, but this is soooo much better all the way around...and @ the pre-ordered $49 goes a long, long way to fixing the hurt.

The RC will work well into 2010, so freakin' load it up and see for yourself...what do you have to loose...?

For the record, my main machines have been macs since 84, occasional Win and Nix experiences. I'm overdue for a new desktop, hate Apple's choice of iMac with fixed graphics and screen, or a $2000 Pro Mac sucks... This could really be the jump ship point for me to be a reverse switcher...

Comment: Re:Not to worry about Reader! (Score 1) 58

by marklar1 (#28900977) Attached to: Adobe Security Updates For Flash and Shockwave

Ohhh, I'd worry...Adobe is so completely F'n incompetent it is scary.

On Mac OS X they've not been able to write update their programs to handle case-sensitive file systems--which have been an OS option since 03--and have caused many a user problems.

They're so f'n oblivious to end users that they don't list non-case-sensitive file systems as a requirement for reader (though they do for the Creative Suite and Reader...?).

The program is so poorly coded, that even though it does install on a case-sensitive file systems (whithout offering a waring to the end user to download or install the software), its problems aren't just working with other third party files, it can't even refer to subroutines within it's own code appropriately as they aren't consistent within their own code...so you can't, for instance open up the Preferences dialog box... there are numerous other interface and coding issues...

Microsoft

+ - Class Action Suit Vista Home Prem & Ult WMC us

Submitted by marklar1
marklar1 (670468) writes "I am investigating initiating a class action lawsuit for customers having purchased Vista Home Premium and Ultimate editions prior to the introduction of the TVPack July 2008 release.

I would appreciate advice on choosing a lawyer suitable to this task; finding other affected class members; and lastly, any technical comments or ideas concerning the general nature and validity of the complaint as follows.

Windows Vista clearly promised functionality as part of the Windows Media Center to customers purchasing the Vista Home Premium and Vista Ultimate editions. The functionality remains incomplete for all users who purchased prior to the introduction of the WMC TVPack mid-2008. Microsoft is, and has been aware of the problems which date back as far as WMC 2005. Their solution to early adopters is that they either (a) buy another copy of Vista that includes the TVPack, (b) buy Windows 7, or (c) download the TVPack from torrents or third party sites in forms that are open to contamination, and apply them to the OS rendering your system ineligible for further support.

Vista was advertised to contain, from the very start, software to transform a computer with a TV Tuner card into a DVR, known as Windows Media Center (WMC). The software was not separate from the operating system, but advertised as included with specific price point SKUs of the operating system, specifically, this functionality was in Vista Home Premium and Ultimate editions.

Part and parcel to having a usable DVR is having a working EPG (Electronic Programming Guide). Further, the EPG was promised to be included with purchase of the operating system at no additional cost in the marketing materials, obviously an advantage vs subscriptions required to run competitive programs.

The EPG that is available to all users of Vista Home Premium and Vista Ultimate users--whether through OEM or DIY channel acquisition--prior to the TVPack version of WMC is flawed in serious, fundamental ways. First, it doesn't show channel program information for subchannels other than the first, ie 4.1, but not 4.3, 4.4, etc.. Micorosoft subcontracts with Zap2It for this programming information. Even though anyone can browse Zap2It's site and see that they have the correct information for all subchannels, Microsoft hasn't been able to fix their EPG to display that to the customers who shelled out for this feature. Secondly, the guide suffers from regular loss of program data for channels that were added to the guide manually every couple days, requiring setting up the channel guide again, not just re-downloading the latest guide.

Other issues exist, but these are the most obvious, and fundamentally crippling flaws. The TVPack version of WMC was released in 2008, this taken from one of Microsoft's WMC team leader's postings at The Green Button:

"On July 16th, 2008, Microsoft released an update to the version of Windows Media Center included with Windows Vista Home Premium and Windows Vista Ultimate to our OEM partners — this update is referred to as the "Windows® Media Center TV Pack". In order to ensure that users get the best experience possible, this update will only be available from OEMs, as they are best positioned to provide the testing and hardware configurations for a great customer experience. This is due to the fact that in some geographies there are specific technical and hardware requirements for the Windows Media Center TV Pack that are best handled by the OEMs. We are working closely with our OEM partners as they finalize their decisions on Windows Media Center TV Pack products. "
(http://thegreenbutton.com/forums/1/282555/ShowThread.aspx)

Take Away: Even though this is a 100% software-related issue, and even if you might be running on Windows Compatible Certified hardware, we are abdicating our responsibility to fix the outstanding issues by 1) renaming the product to WMC TVPack, and 2) feigning distribution by making it available to OEM partners with vague plans to address our existing committments to prior customers.

Since the TVPack was released to OEM only channels--where it was distributed with new machines, but not made available to earlier OEM customers, there has been in the community the seemingly obvious expectation that the fixes (as much as the features) would finally be made available through software updates or service packs to the early adopters (both OEM and DIY HTPC builders).

This was perhaps related to the rumored instability and problems that the TVPack's installation onto existing systems instroduced--which doesn't speak highly to the relationship of the OS and the application, and MS and third party apps that an installer couldn't successfully distribute this application.

Well, now that Vista SP2 has been released, the ATSC transition has come and gone, and numerous updates to the TVPack have been released without relief for the orphaned class of early adopting customers, it has become more than apparent that MS has no intention of honoring the promises of functionality in their software. They've finally, though indirectly through their now wholly-owned "The Green Button" web site made it clear that they have no intention of making things right for the orphaned class of Windows Home Premium and Ultimate users that bought prior to the TVPacks introduction.

To be clear about what was promised to Vista Home Premium and Ultimate users. from the horses mouth:

1) http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/winfamily/mediacenter/extenderfaq.mspx

"Q: Can I access and use the Program Guide with Windows Media Center to watch TV or select TV shows that I want to record through my Media Center Extender?
A: Yes. You will have all of the Windows Media Center functionality that you have on your PC through your Media Center Extender, including all of the TV options--as long as your PC has a TV tuner card."

2) 2) http://www.microsoft.com/ireland/windows/products/windowsvista/features/experiences/tvandmovies/discover.mspx

"Find the ideal show for you

Rather than changing the channel to find a good show, you can get an instant list of what's on now and what will be on in the hours or days ahead. While you're watching TV, just press the Guide button on the Windows Media Center remote control to display the on-screen Electronic Program Guide. The show you're watching will remain in the background as you browse for shows or for information such as program times and plot summaries.

The free Electronic Program Guide is a fast way to find and record TV shows and movies."

3) http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/newsroom/windows/factsheets/WindowsVistaFS.mspx

" additional DTV/HDTV tuner support is available in the U.S. and South Korea with compatible hardware. To enjoy all the benefits of Windows Media Center, Internet access is recommended; for some features, such as the Microsoft Electronic Programming Guide, it is required."

4) http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-media-center/pc-as-dvr-on-windows-vista.aspx
" DVR guide

        Spend less time searching for shows and more time enjoying them. The free DVR guide makes it easy to find the shows you want and to schedule TV shows and movies up to two weeks in advance. Search for programs by title, keyword, or genre.""

Comment: Re:It is reasonable (Score 1) 223

by marklar1 (#28328655) Attached to: DTV Transition Mostly Smooth, Windows Media Center Problems

True, Apple doesn't include one, nor do they support it, but EyeTV is excellent, and MythTV is now available on Macs.

But, to suggest that there are more MacMinis being run as media centers is probably way way off.

To say "Mini too has the same tuning issues until Apple updates the channels." is just plain retarded.

Comment: Re:Definitely not a feature (Score 2, Informative) 223

by marklar1 (#28328587) Attached to: DTV Transition Mostly Smooth, Windows Media Center Problems

This isn't a troll post:

I am one of MANY users affected by Microsoft's choice to release the "WMC TVPack" that fixes many of WMC's problems...but the release was ONLY SENT to OEM vendors of hardware. The OEMs ONLY included the TVPACK in new sales, leaving all Vista Premium and Ultimate users who bought or DIY built a Media Center prior to the TVPack release up a creek.

Now, MS has release yet another update to the TVPack, but there is no sane way for the above affected users to take advantage of this.

Alternatives include: going to unsupported/unsecure sites or torrents to download the TVPack, or doing arcane editing of registry & system files to try and do workarounds.

Should one download the TVPack from the non-MS sites and risk the possibility that they're corrupted, your path is:
- do a complete OS reinstall
- add TVPACK
- do all software updates
- oh, BTW, kiss your existing library of non-copy-protected off-air recordings good bye in the process.

While not the first Windows machine I've ever used, it is the first I've ever owned and I just want to thank Mr Softy for giving me the high hard one!

Comment: Re:Yay (Score 1) 429

by marklar1 (#28198549) Attached to: GM's Hummer Brand To Be Sold To a Chinese Company

You were on the right track, but your point of reference is way off. Try something like this calculator which adjusts $$ for inflation:

http://www.westegg.com/inflation/

What cost $2800 in 1955 would cost $21457.27 in 2007.

Also, if you were to buy exactly the same products in 2007 and 1955,
they would cost you $2800 and $377.12 respectively.

Or look for a CPI (consumer price index) calculator, like:

http://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/cpicalc.pl

which believes according to it's data that
$
in
has the same buying power as
$22,278.81
in 2009

So, corvettes have risen in price dramatically faster than the general "basket of goods" tracked by the CPI.

Comment: Re:marijuana legalization issue was Painful to Wat (Score 1) 709

by marklar1 (#28198335) Attached to: Open Government Brainstorm Defies Wisdom of Crowds

Not all checks are based on breath/air analysis. Saliva based checks are available that screen for drugs, such as this: http://www.angelscope.co.uk/oral_drug_tests.htm

If pot were to be legalized, the technology would develop quickly as the $$ would flow into the market to increase tests (eye/pupil dilation tests, saliva, urine, etc..) to meet the needs.

And, even if a person can pass a field sobriety test, or the saliva test, they may still be charged with traffic violations, even if they can't be given a DUI. But illegal drugs in any quantity would be grounds for DUI in my understanding.

Also, wasn't it shown that severe sleep deprivation to have an effect on driving ability the same as having several drinks? How do you test for/punish that?

http://oem.bmj.com/cgi/content/abstract/57/10/649?andorexacttitleabs=and&HITS=10&sortspec=relevance&hits=10&andorexacttitle=and&maxtoshow=&andorexactfulltext=and&FIRSTINDEX=0&fulltext=blood+alcohol+level+.05+sleep+deprivation&resourcetype=HWCIT%2CHWELTR&searchid=1&RESULTFORMAT=1

Comment: Re:If you're whining and Apple don't respond (Score 1) 660

by marklar1 (#26821569) Attached to: Psystar Wins a Round Against Apple

you sure as hell didn't buy just any generic / third party video card. There are almost none on the market, and they specifically have Apple's hand in the pot - For years and years (been using macs since 84) graphics cards have been a very very sore spot.

Manufacturers have indicated an interest, but been largely unable to tie together the whole package:

You NEVER see XFX, BFG, Saphire, etc. making ATI or NVIDIA cards...there are very very few designs available from very few retailers, and have ONLY been manufactured directly by ATI or Nvidia... why? Apple would rather you buy another machine than have you upgrade...

There was a very active community dedicated to flashing PC cards with Apple ROMs, and most of the core of this crowd are in the OSX86 project.

Comment: shenanigans (Score 1) 461

by marklar1 (#25424817) Attached to: A Brief History of Features Apple Has Killed

Apple killed the FireWire on the MacBooks to keep a definitive edge to the Pro line. Now that there's finally a decent graphics built into the consumer line, and the cosmetics, trackpad and keyboard (backlit) are on the consumer macbook this really sets the dividing line.

Apple has a long history of segmenting their products for marketing reasons (like all companies) and disabling features that may even be built in for mass production economies of scale to segment the market.

Two of the best examples of their douchebaggyness come in QuickTime: Unless you buy the $30 Pro version, you can't save content that others have made freely available on the net, and, until recently, you couldn't view the content in "full screen" without Pro. Blatantly disabling simple must have features to jack off users who've already bought their hardware, their OS, their iLife...and how the hell do you buy an iLife package which is built on the QT frameworks and they don't through those functions in???

I've been using macs since the very first, but am more than ever ready to do OSX86 with a Linux dual boot and try life weaning myself off them as I look to upgrade from my still smooth running PPC machines.

And, BTW, FW for me is important, I've got several externals that are FW based, am not pro by any means...but real world performance on my machines is night and day...better speed than usb 2, and lower cpu usage...no brainer.

And, as I've shopped PC cases and motherboards, the FW is much much more widely available then I thought as I look outside my mac only hardware world to the future. Bad news.

Software

OpenOffice.org 3.0 Is Officially Here 284

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the who-needs-office-anyway dept.
SNate writes "After a grinding three-year development cycle, the OpenOffice.org team has finally squeezed out a new release. New features include support for the controversial Microsoft OOXML file format, multi-page views in Writer, and PDF import via an extension. Linux Format has an overview of the new release, asking the question: is it really worth the 3.0 label?"

Suburbia is where the developer bulldozes out the trees, then names the streets after them. -- Bill Vaughn

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