Monthly Archives: October 2003

Indiana Jones

Earlier this week, the Indiana Jones trilogy was finally released on DVD. We've been watching these with the kids which has been interesting to say the least. Now they refer to it as being made in the “olden days” — I guess that counts for 1981 for these guys.

On the day it was released, the front page of the Mercury News had a picture and lead-in to their review of the DVD set which gave it 4 stars — “4 Disc Set a Must-Own”. I predict they're going to do quite well on this one.

Indiana Jones review lead-in on Mercury News, 2003-10-21

PhotoBlog from Palm Zire 71

Today while catching up on PalmInfocenter, I saw a new application called ForPhotos which takes pictures from your Zire 71 and posts them to a web site during synchronization.

You can create a free trial account on ForPhotos.net or sync to any compatible server. You could actually set up your own server to do this because they've provided a spec for the photo transfer XML-RPC interface. Very cool.

I tried it out with a couple of pictures from a Giants game last month and it worked quite well (Brian's Palm Photos). Their software takes the notes from the picture to form the caption once posted to the web, creating a pretty good PhotoBlog solution.

Tom’s Hardware

Tom's Hardware is a popular destination for new PC hardware reviews and information. They don't have an RSS feed, but they do have a e-mail newsletter which is nicely done. This and AnandTech are the two PC hardware sites that I regularly read. Unlike AnandTech however, Tom's Hardware doesn't have any way to view reviews on a single (printer-friendly) page. Not a huge problem but it makes you appreciate the sites that offer a way to print a long review for easier reading.

Some highlights from this week's newsletter include:

  • MO Storage Means Mo Safety reviews magneto-optical drives with the promise of longer-term storage compared to CD and DVD, albeit at fairly slow read/write performance. One drive that looks interesting is the Fujitsu DynaMO 640U2 Photo which is a portable 640 MB MO drive with a built-in PC Card reader. A good combination for backing up digital camera pictures directly to MO when you travel without your laptop.
  • Network Direct Attached Storage: Ximeta NetDisk — coincidentally I just saw this on sale at Fry's yesterday and wondered what it was. It's a portable hard drive with USB 2.0 as well as Ethernet connections. The review wasn't very positive; apparently it's not a true NAS type device, requires special software installed on each Windows system and only allows one PC at a time to have write permission. I'm not very familiar with NAS, but I imagine there are other solutions, including building one yourself.
  • Bungie Finally Brings Halo to the PC — ahh, now it's getting good! I just picked up this game but haven't played it yet. Overall they gave it a glowing review. Elsewhere I've read complaints that this is basically a port of the XBox version which is 2 years old.

Intuit Apologizes

Today Intuit published an Open Letter to TurboTax Users, apologizing for problems caused by their activation (anti-piracy) restrictions that limited TurboTax to run on only one PC.

In response to feedback from our customers, I want you to know that we're making an important change to TurboTax software and have removed activation technology.
The new TurboTax for Tax Year 2003 Software can be used fully on multiple computers.

I wrote about this back in February when I was starting my taxes. I only needed to load it on one PC, but still find this sort of thing extremely annoying.

When you think about their software business, all they need to do is to keep incrementally improving the software and they've got a captive customer base willing to pay $50 per year to do their taxes. (Obviously there are competitors like TaxCut but I bet people stick with what they're used to.) Now that it's October and people will start thinking about their taxes again, Intuit obviously doesn't want to lose customers.

Palm Fall 03 Products

Warning: This is a shameless plug for my employer.

Today Palm launched the new Fall product line consisting of three new products. Products are developed like clockwork (more or less) at Palm; each Spring and Fall brings a new set of products and the development projects behind them. The software for the “Fall 03” stuff was actually wrapped up in July for the most part, so we're busy at work on “Spring 04”.

As usual there is a fair amount of press coverage of the launch. Some of the online reviews I've read include these:

Update: Gizmodo has a good summarized list of online reviews.