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Comment Free Vinyl? (Score 1) 108

It'd be nice for record stories[sic] to give away tons of 7" vinyl promos.

Yep, there's no better way to attract new customers than by giving away a product that no mainstream customer actually cares about. There's a significant portion that wouldn't even stop by for free CDs.


Submission + - Bill O'Reilly: science cannot explain the tides ( 1

tverbeek writes: David Silverman of the American Atheists was a guest on The O'Reilly Factor to talk about the billboards the AAG has put up recently, including one declaring the Christian Nativity story a myth. O'Reilly, playing to his home-field advantage, figured he could show up his guest by citing a daily miracle that proved the legitimacy of religion, a mystery beyond the ability of science to grasp: "The tide comes in and it goes out, Mr. Silverman," he lectured. "It always comes in, and always goes out. You can't explain that."

Submission + - New initiative will let you 'own' your movies (

jfruhlinger writes: For years, Slashdotters and others have demanded the right to own the movies and music they by — meaning that they can watch/listen to it on any device, anywhere, as long as they've paid for it. UltraViolet, a new entertainment industry initiative, may at it's heart be DRM, but it does get you closer to that goal: you tell a central "rights locker" what you own, and you can watch it on 12 different devices, and stream on any TV or computer that works with UltraViolet. One potential hurtle: Apple and Disney (where Steve Jobs serves on the board) aren't participating.

Comment 30 PPT files, 3 versions, 3 OSs, and an emulator (Score 1) 498

I recently "recovered" around 30 PowerPoint files that I put together about 17 years ago. None were critically important; just some crude stop motion movies, homework, and other horrible "paintings", but they're a neat part of my childhood.

At they time, I had put them together using PowerPoint 2.0 (maybe 1.0, but I doubt it) and modern versions have long dropped support for those files. As I researched, I found that a straightforward conversion was impossible. There were specific conversion components for some versions (I think there was a v2 plugin for v3) and support for older formats seemed to be quickly dropped. By investigating installed files and old software reviews, I learned that v3 or v4 would do fine with the v2 files that I had and '98 or 2001 would upgrade the converted files to the "modern" binary format, it didn't look like 98 could read v1 or v2 files. Any of the more recent versions could upgrade those to the new XML format.

So I assembled my tools; I actually already had access to archived installation images for 2001, had installed 2008, and amazingly still had floppies for v4 and even found a *nix box with a floppy drive. I've previously played around with SheepShaver, but running the old Microsoft products proved to be difficult. I don't remember the exact issues, but installation or execution failed consistently when trying to run version 2001. A thread on the SheepShaver forums indicated that running under Ubuntu might be successful, but I didn't have any luck. I did find success running SheepShaver under Windows, and of course running 2008 under Mac OS X 10.6 was just fine.

In the end, my conversion chain looked like this:
10.6 > SheepShaver > MacOS 9.0.4 > PowerPoint v4 - v2 files to v4
Windows 7 > SheepShaver > MacOS 9.0.4 > PowerPoint 2001 - v4 files to modern binary data
10.6 > PowerPoint 2008 - binary files to XML

The only degredation I've noticed is that one file seems to either be using a font I don't have or perhaps the spacing or size was lost as the text doesn't quite line up correctly.

I suppose I should also take a pass through my other files and upgrade any Microsoft data to more modern formats, though nothing goes back as far as these did. Or just print them out to PDF. It's not like I need to actually edit any of these.

What strikes me most is how transient version support was even for Microsoft's own formats. I'd think at the least that Microsoft could keep a basic conversion product going for modern OSs and all the old formats. Not that I actually expect this from them.

Submission + - Time Machines for Dummies By: Stephen Hawking

psyph3r writes: has published an interesting article written by Stephen Hawking on the practicality of time travel. He covers wormholes and approaching the speed of light as methods of time travel. He also covers current evidence that the passage of time is not constant, but varies based on conditions such as gravity (GPS satellite time loss) or velocity (LHC time dilation) He then expands on this proof into possible and impossible ways for humanity to travel through time. Long article, but a recommended read.

Comment Re:Zune + HD + twitter? (Score 1) 155

"HD" refers to "HD Radio".
No kidding, remember that poorly promoted, FM interfering, not actually any higher quality, radio standard that requires new equipment to use while offering minimal extra benefit to the user? That's what the HD refers to regarding the Zune.
Well, it may also refer to the ability to output 720p content to an external device when used with an appropriate adapter, but the Zune screen itself is 480 x 272.
"272p" is not HD in my book.

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