Portable Computing

I really have no right to talk about this subject, as I have never actually done it. I thought it might make for a good hypothetical post, though, especially since I don’t have any other good ideas right now. What can I say, it’s on my mind. That’s because of where I was when I wrote this. I’m thinking about portable computing right now because I keep everything on my hard drive. Well, stuff that isn’t email or associated with a Web service. Applications and stuff all live on my computer. When I go somewhere else, I can’t get at…

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Microsoft Word’s Grammar Checker

Just in case you haven’t noticed, I generally like to hold my writing up to high standards. Perfect spellingg, Ccapitalization, punctuation, etc. are all things I aspire to. (Ending sentences with prepositions is fine by me, though. 😉 From all those feeds I subscribe to in Google Reader, one of them brought me an amusing screenshot that shows Microsoft Word’s grammar checker mid-mistake. I shared that item and it showed up in my FriendFeed, where my mother (who just started using the site) saw and commented on it. Incidentally, I just started sharing things in Google Reader in addition to…

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Email Not Reliable on One Server

Classmates, you can go direct to the webmail reload script if you’re interested. 🙂 Oh noes, I’z opening the of ! I got the idea for this post from the frequent outages I experienced from my school’s mail server in the past month or so. There hasn’t been one in the last few days, which is good, but doesn’t guarantee against more downing. So anyway, coming back to the computer after a meal break to find the email page’s tab headed with “Problem Loading Page…” started to become routine. “School email server’s down again? Oh well, check again in the…

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Google App Engine Launches

Apparently, TechCrunch’s speculation that Google would be launching BigTable as a Web service was well-founded. Last night, BigTable — along with a bunch of other amenities — went live as part of Google App Engine, a service that could potentially compete with Amazon Web Services‘ EC2, S3, and SimpleDB offerings. What happened last night was a preview launch, open to the first 10,000 developers who signed up for the service. By 09:30 (UTC), all the open slots had been taken, relegating me to the waiting list. It’s perfectly fine, because I couldn’t even start to play around with the service…

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Why I Oppose Microsoft’s OOXML

It was recently announced that the ISO has approved a draft standard based on Microsoft’s OOXML format, which was developed for Microsoft Office 2007 as a smaller alternative to the original binary-format files used in previous versions of the suite. I am personally opposed to Microsoft’s format becoming a standard. That’s a simple fact. The reasoning is more complex, and has (I freely admit) been influenced over the last several months by articles I have read on the subject. A good deal of those articles were (and are) hosted at NoOOXML, which also hosts a petition against the standard. The…

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On Anecdotes and Other Stories

In my family (yes, I’m digressing from tech-talk again), I notice a very disturbing trend. The elder members, meaning those over the age of 55 or 60, tend to have incredible stories to tell that only come out when there is company around. When it’s just us, the spontaneity is just not there to generate the proper atmosphere for storytelling. That isn’t inherently a bad thing. If we were to tell stories to each other left and right, our supply of anecdotes would begin to run low pretty quickly. But think about the implications of having company around while you’re…

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Windows Update Reboot Prompts

No, I wasn’t recently annoyed by one of these, but I thought I’d mention them while I’m out of town and unable to keep up on the latest news. So every PC user has probably seen a restart prompt by now. Windows pops them up every ten minutes after installing updates, trying to get you to reboot the computer and apply the new code. What Windows doesn’t take into account is the fact that you might be in the middle of something that takes more than ten minutes. Granted, there are workarounds (like using the Group Policy Editor), but it’s…

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The Sharper Image Files for Bankruptcy Protection

Yipe! I knew The Sharper Image’s products were niche stuff, but I didn’t think sales were this bad. The company filed for bankruptcy protection (as reported by the New York Times) due to slipping sales, stiffer competition, and image problems with its line of Ionic Breeze air purifiers. They’ll also be closing approximately half of their stores, if I read the article correctly. I have a pretty good idea as to why they’re not doing very well. The problem with The Sharper Image is that their prices for things are a good chunk more than identical (but differently-branded) items elsewhere.…

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Interesting Thoughts: People Ratings

Brought to my attention by Google Blogoscoped, I think Reza Behforooz has an interesting idea in his post on Washington’s (the state, not the city in D.C.) recent legislation to have DUI drivers sport yellow license plates. I quote his thoughts and ideas: I love reputation based systems like eBay and wikipedia. It’s a good way to build trust and fight spam. I personally wish there was an easy way for people to have a publicly visible reputation that was influenced by anyone. Imagine a world where people could easily point their cell phone at you and give you a…

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GrandCentral Introduces Shared Forwarding Numbers

I don’t talk about it much, but I use GrandCentral as my phone number. It works great, since I don’t actually have a cell phone or landline of my own. Google gives me a number that will “never” change (it will if they discontinue the service…) and that rings all the phones I have access to… or none at all. One peeve I had, though, is that neither of my parents could sign up for the service (if they wanted to, that is) because our house phone is in my account. That’s just changed. Apparently, the announcement was made yesterday,…

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