« April 2007 | Main | June 2007 »

May 2007 Archives

May 4, 2007

Show #3

April 28th, 2007 -
Show number 3 was lots of fun. We talked about Copy Protection and why it helps no one. We also shared a bit about ourselves.

- Show Notes -

Main Topic:
Copy Protection – Otherwise known as Digital Rights Management (DRM), Copy Protection prevents consumers from using media they purchased in ways many people feel they should. It also fails to stop pirates from stealing the content, so really the media corporations are only hurting their customers.

Chris from Phoenix, AZ called us to add his thoughts on DRM and how he had to "work around" a problem when a CD he had purchased wouldn't import properly into iTunes.

Suzanna in Mesa is a musician who called in to give the perspective of copy protection from a content creator. Her music was pirated in Europe, and while she was upset that people were stealing her music she realized that there was no way to prevent it and used it to her advantage by referring to her music as being so good that people were willing to steal it.

Support Calls:
Mike in Gilbert, AZ called again. He had trouble visiting the website for AVG Antivirus that we mentioned last week. We provided the link again. As always, check these show notes for links, especially the long ones...

Mike also asked about a program called System Mechanic 7 that we do not have experience with, but another listener, Gary, called in to inform us that based on his experiences System Mechanic 6 is good, but 7 slows down your computer more than it's worth. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us, Gary! Pete chimed in to say that if you absolutely feel the need to use a registry cleaner he recommends Microsoft's free registry cleaner RegClean.

Gary had a question about his high speed internet connection via cable that appeared to be faster on his old computer compared to his new one. As far as he could tell, the only difference was that the new computer was running Windows XP Service Pack 2. We were stumped as to why this would cause any problems other than maybe firewall issues, but recommended trying to see if the firewall was the issue. Most likely the problem is with the cable company not properly handling the bandwidth of customers in Gary's neighborhood. Pete recommended dslreports.com as a tool for checking his actual speed and comparing it to other people in his area.

Chris from Phoenix, AZ had a question about data backups and whether optical media like CDs and DVDs have a high shelf life. We definitely recommend backing up your data, and CDs and DVDs are great for backing up data. Based on our personal experiences we have burned CDs that are over 10 years old and still working just fine. If the data is really important, though, there's nothing wrong with keeping multiple copies and making new backups periodically to ensure that a single hard drive crashing, a disc being unreadable, or a fire in your house will leave you without your important information.

News Stories:
Thunderbird version 2 released
School's failure to change clocks lands student 12-day stint in juvie
Googling For Grand Larceny
Macworld: News: Hacker breaks into Mac at security conference
Confirmed: QuickTime/Java flaw does affect Windows
Acer recalls 27,000 laptop batteries for overheating

Weekly Website: Windows Live Maps
Software Spotlight: Windows Desktop Search
Hardware Highlight: Nintendo DS

Direct MP3 Download
iTunes Subscription
RSS Feed

May 9, 2007

Show #4

May 5th, 2007 -
We discuss technical news topics, and take listener's questions. The main topic of this show was HDTV and focused on what makes a show High Definition and explains the terms you may come across when buying an HDTV. We also discussed the differences between HDTV and Digital Broadcasting. Pete stands up for Windows.

- Show Notes -

Main Topic:
High Definition Television – At the end of 2006 a little over a quarter of US households own HDTVs. It is predicted that by 2011 this percentage will increase to 70%. With everyone adopting this new technology, we wanted to clear up some of the terminology surrounding HDTV.

DTV Vs HDTV – Digitial television is a method of broadcasting a television signal. In the past, all TV broadcasts have been analog. The FCC has mandated that by February 17, 2009 all TV broadcasts must be digital. They are doing this to free up bandwidth for other uses. An added benefit is that by changing over to digital broadcasting the broadcasters have come up with a new standard called ATSC (the analog standard is referred to as NTSC) that allows for the support of widescreen and HDTV shows.

Resolution – High Definition Television is a higher resolution image. Resolution in television is normally referred to as the number of vertical lines that can be displayed. You may have heard the terms 720p, 480p, and 1080i before. These are all standard TV resolutions. The “p” and “i" are abbreviations for progressive and interlaced respectively. Interlaced means that for each frame displayed on the television only half of the lines are drawn. First the even lines are drawn and then the odd ones. Progressive means that all lines are presented at the same time. The minimum resolution of High Definition TV is 720p.

Support Calls:
Benny in Phoenix Arizona called looking for advice on buying his first home computer. Pete advised that he use free time on his work computer to read reviews online. Kevin chimed in to offer 5 to 9’s services to build a computer for him to save the time of research, and to end up with a higher quality computer than anything he could buy online. Benny also had questions about the differences between Macs and PCs concerning ease of use.

Ivy from Phoenix called about a slow computer. He tried a registry cleaner (we don’t recommend them…) and that didn’t help. Most likely he either has too many programs running in the background, or he may have a rootkit. The easiest and surest way to solve both problems is to backup and re-install Windows. We advised that he could try and uninstall programs to speed up the system, and run RootkitRevealer to see if he has a rootkit. If that doesn’t solve the problem, re-installing Windows is really the only course of action.

News Stories:
New spyware legislation a mixed bag
Crackdown on HD DVD Key Sparks Widespread Web Revolt
Dell to choose Ubuntu
Apple makes money on iTunes
'$100 Laptop' to Cost $175
Internet Radio Equality Act would overturn decision on webcasting fees

Pete’s Rant:
Pete defends Windows. He points out that Microsoft is the “big guy” and as a result everyone picks on them. Because they are big they get targeted by viruses and security exploits. He also reminds us that every time a new version of software is released there are going to be bugs, and Vista is no different.

Weekly Website: Del.icio.us
Software Spotlight: Inline Search for Internet Explorer 7
Hardware Highlight: Linksys WRT54GL

Music: Optimus Rhyme

Direct MP3 Download
iTunes Subscription
RSS Feed

May 15, 2007

Show #5

May 12th, 2007-
Show number 5 was a blast. I think we're really starting to get comfortable with this "being on the radio" thing and letting loose a bit. I hope we didn't scare anyone away, though. Our main topic today was HD DVD and Blu-ray. We discuss the differences and make some recommendations on whether you should buy either one. Pete and Kevin take jabs at each other again.

- Show Notes -

We share what’s been going on in the last week. Pete doesn’t watch TV, and Jeff’s been watching Heroes. Kevin shares a crazy story about movie quotes popping into his head.

Main Topic:
Last week we talked about HDTV and the technology behind high definition television shows, and in this show we discussed HD DVD and Blu-ray. I said last week that 720p was the lowest resolution that is technically considered High Definition. The maximum resolution of a DVD is 480p. So, while it will look better on an HDTV, it isn’t quite high definition. People want to watch high definition movies on their high definition TVs. The problem is that the higher resolution a video is the more space it needs. There isn’t enough room on a DVD for a motion picture length high definition movie. Two new, competing formats were created: HDDVD and Blu-ray. It’s Betamax Vs VHS all over again. Betamax was Sony’s version of the magnetic tape video cassette, and it would not play in a VHS player. As we all know, VHS won this battle and whoever bought a Betamax player had wasted their money. Well, Sony is involved this time, too. Their format is Blu-ray. In the show we discuss the similarities, differences, and costs of these two formats. We also go over the new copy protection on these discs, and conclude with recommendations.

Support Calls:
Jeff from Scottsdale calls about what to look for in a notebook computer. His options are pretty open: Dell, Lenovo, Toshiba, Apple, or Sony. Look for 2GB of RAM for running Vista. He also asked about hard drive encryption. He can use TrueCrypt, or buy Windows Vista Ultimate edition and use BitLocker.

Sandra from Phoenix called in looking for advice on a PDA to buy for medical school. She wants to store lots of information on her PDA. It’s hard to find a PDA these days that isn’t also a phone. Something like the Palm Treo would probably suit her best, and she can upgrade the memory fairly cheaply with an SD card from Newegg.com.

Joe in Gilbert wonders why people don’t do their own hardware projects any more. Kevin suggests that he may be interested in Make Magazine. There are still hardware projects, but more people are doing software projects these days. It’s easier and you don’t have to learn to solder…

News Stories:
World of Warcraft VISA Credit Card
DVRs are not all bad
Dell's Linux Problem
Jobs chided, answers questions at shareholder meeting
iPods able to crash pacemakers
A Foolproof Way To End Bank Account Phishing?

Weekly Website: Newegg.com
Software Spotlight: 7-Zip
Hardware Highlight: Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000 1TB Hard Drive

Direct MP3 Download
iTunes Subscription
RSS Feed

May 21, 2007

Show #6

May 19th, 2007-
More Tech Talk goodness found within. All news and listener's calls this week. Lots of stories, and full of pirate talk, Arrr!

- Show Notes -
Pete bought new computer parts to upgrade his home computer. He also bought his wife a new MacBook. Kevin complains about Cox changing what channels they are re-broadcasting the local high definition TV shows on. BREAKING NEWS: Starcraft 2.

Support Calls:
Chris from Phoenix has a problem where one of his computers on his network is unable to talk to the rest of the computers on the same network. We suggested that his problem is probably security software on the one computer (most likely Norton Internet Security) and that disabling or uninstalling that software should fix his problem. We received an e-mail from Chris the next day confirming that our suggestion resolved his issue.

After some difficulty connecting with Charlie in Phoenix he tells us of a problem he is having with a stretched image on his HDTV. He is tuning in a high definition channel so this shouldn’t be happening. We suggested that he play with the settings on his TV. Jeff pointed out that his HDTV has a setting that will make a 16:9 image appear stretched, and possibly this is what’s happening on Charlie’s TV.

Mike from Gilbert calls again, this time with concerns about the legality and his liability of watching streaming online TV shows from overseas. As the laws are currently written, Mike cannot be held liable for what he is doing. He also asked if there was any way to get this content onto his television. Kevin mentions that a media extender like the D-Link DSM-320 may do what he is looking for.

Dan in Maricopa calls to educate us on Al Gore’s political role in the creation of the internet. He also has a question about how easily someone can “accidentally” delete data from a hard drive if they’ve been court ordered not to. If this happens it probably wasn’t an accident, but it would be hard to prove as there is not much evidence. Even if you can prove that the person formatted the hard drive, you wouldn’t know if it was done before or after the court order.

News Stories:
EA Posts $25 Million Loss in Q4
Comcast working on simultaneous movie release service
Two Chevy Sequels go over 300 miles on real roads with hydrogen to spare
Yar! Why Web Pirates Can't Be Touched
Newest AACS circumvented
Music piracy crackdown nets college kids
160Mbps downloads move closer for US cable customers
MySpace to acquire Photobucket image-sharing site

Weekly Website: http://www.velociraptors.info/
Software Spotlight: Juice
Hardware Highlight: Dell Monitors

Direct MP3 Download
iTunes Subscription
RSS Feed

May 27, 2007

Show #7

May 26th, 2007-
Show Seven was another news-centric show. We discussed hot topics like the recent news about Microsoft's claims that Linux is infringing on their patents. We also take listener's calls as always, and there were some good questions this week. As before, Kevin and Pete argue some more...

- Show Notes -
Kevin and Jeff had mixed feelings about the Heroes finale. Bush gets the poop treatment from a bird. Kevin received a Burning Crusade trial disc in the mail, and was the victim of buying pirated software through Amazon. He got his money back, though.

Support Calls:
Zelph from Phoenix needs a power supply for a used LCD monitor he bought at a police auction (Samsung 770TFT). We recommended that the internet would probably be the only place he could find one of these.

Roman in Mesa called asking for recommendations on an Internet Service Provider (ISP). Currently, we think that Cox Cable provides the best internet connection in the Valley, but Roman doesn't get Cox service at his house. We suggested that he could use Qwest DSL, or Sprint EVDO for an internet connect wherever he can get a phone signal.

Al in Scottsdale is looking for a Windows Mobile PDA without a phone. His need is very similar to Sandra's from two weeks ago: a PDA in the medical profession. Palm still makes standalone PDAs but they don't run Windows Mobile. However, according to Palm, the TX can store your Microsoft Office documents.

News Stories:
Microsoft claims software like Linux violates its patents
Author of Linux Patent Study Says Ballmer Got It Wrong
Linus Torvalds on Microsoft patent threat: It works both ways
Study: Tide of spam continues unabated; people don't care as much
Michigan man arrested for using cafe's free WiFi from his car
Flexible, full-color OLED
Vista draining laptop batteries
Hey, HBO: a turd by any other name smells just as foul
T-Mobile's Wing Phone Beats Apple's iPhone To The Wi-Fi Punch

Weekly Website: Engadget.com
Software Spotlight: SlySoft
Hardware Highlight: iPod Nano

Direct MP3 Download
iTunes Subscription
RSS Feed