Archive for February, 2006|Monthly archive page

Windows Vista Product Lineup

In OS on 28 February, 2006 at 4:31 am

Microsoft has finally make it official.

“the Microsoft® Windows Vista product lineup will bring clarity to customers’ digital world by helping them easily accomplish everyday tasks, instantly find what they want, enjoy the latest in entertainment, improve the safety of their personal information, stay connected at home or on the go, and help ensure PCs are up-to-date, more secure and running smoothly.

There are a total of 6 versions, 2 for businesses, 3 for home users and 1 for emerging markets.  Windows Vista Business and Windows Vista Enterprise are for businesses.  Windows Vista Home Basic, Windows Vista Home Premium and Windows Vista Ultimate are for home users.  Windows Vista Starter is for emerging markets.

Windows Vista Enterprise is only available for business customers participating in Microsoft’s Software Assurance program and it will contain certain features that is only available in this version.  Windows Vista Starter is only for emerging markets, giving these markets a basic and low-cost OS.  The rest of the versions will be available for retail and on new PC.

Windows Vista Home Basic and Windows Vista Starter will not contain the new user interface Windows Aero.  The Home Basic only comes with the classic look and feel of Windows and the Starter will be a much simpler OS which only available in 32 bit.  The rest of the versions will let users experience the new Windows Aero, including the now so famous Aero Glass.

Windows Vista Home Premium and Windows Vista Ultimate will also get the new Vista Media Center capabilities.  Windows Vista Business and Windows Vista Enterprise on the other hand will get the all new tablet PC capabilities.

The interesting thing to me is that if Home Basic does not contain the Windows Aero, what is the price point that it is going to launch?  If this package is of the same price as the current Windows XP, then Microsoft is really trying to collect a premium for their latest Windows Aero.  I hope this is not the case.

Windows Vista Feb CTP and WinFX Feb CTP

In OS on 23 February, 2006 at 2:36 pm

So they are officially released.  Although, currently only Beta Testers can get their hands on Windows Vista Feb CTP, but it will be out soon for the MSDN subscribers.  In this feature complete build, Windows Sidebar finally make a debut and user can now try out the new rss feed gadget that lies on top of the sidebar.For WinFX Feb CTP, it is now publicly available.  There will be some changes as compared to the Jan CTP that will break any application that was build base on Jan CTP.Since the Windows Vista Feb CTP came out on 22nd Feb, the popular rumour “starter” is wrong again.

HD Ready?

In Electronic on 23 February, 2006 at 5:00 am

I don’t think so.  After so many years of bombardment by marketing terms, “XXXXX Ready” should alert you that something fishy is going on.  Recently, I went around looking at the HDTV products that are currently available on the market.  I have also blog about some Plasma Vs LCD.  TV manufacturers are using the “Ready” trick again, specifically “HD Ready”.

They are not wrong when they said that certain technology are “Ready” in their products, but to us consumers, we need to know what do they mean by “Ready”.  “Ready” does not necessary means that the product already has that technology.  It can means that you need to add certain component to get that technology, or that it can simply interface with that technology.  In this case “HD Ready” really just means that the TV can accept any HD input.

So what is HD input?  Let’s start with SD.  SD is Standard Definition and is the current format of normal TV.  It means that the video display has roughly about 480 viewable lines.  HD on the other hand is High Definition and consist of at least 720 viewable lines.

Coming back to “HD Ready”.  Certain cheaper TV Panel although it claims “HD Ready”, you can’t really enjoy HD quality when the format becomes vastly available.  This is because this type of panel can only display 852 x 480 pixels.  Which means that at most it can display 480 lines horizontally.  Which means that this panel is actually a SD panel.  So although it can accept HD input, it will use some technique to decrease the 720 or more lines to only 480 lines.  This is of course not true HD quality.

Some people will say, “Well, I can’t see the difference.”  This is true, unless the shop you go to has HD broadcast set top, you can’t really see the difference between SD and HD.  DVD is actually a SD input source and normal broadcast is also of a SD quality.  So when both SD and HD panels are displaying SD video, how can you see the difference?

So the next time when you go shopping for a new TV and want it to be able to last another 5-10 years, you need to check the specification and see what resolution does the panel support.  If it states that the panel can support 1366 x 768 or 1024 x 768, then you can rest assured that this panel can display HD quality video.

2007 Microsoft Office System

In Software on 17 February, 2006 at 9:55 am

It is official, Office “12” will now be officially known as 2007 Microsoft Office System which will release by end of 2006.  Packaging and pricing info is also out.

The Home and Student edition seems interesting, which replace the Office 2003 Student and Teacher edition.  I am just wondering, what is OneNote 2007?

Twinkle Twinkle little star

In Personal on 17 February, 2006 at 9:47 am

This star is not little, in fact it is the biggest diamond in the whole universe, completely outclass the biggest diamond on earth, the 530-carat Star of Africa.  But, of course you can’t wear it.

Windows Defender for Windows XP

In Software on 15 February, 2006 at 2:15 pm

Formerly known as Microsoft Antispyware.  Windows Defender is a free software that will help your fight against spyware.  So if you are interested you can get the Beta 2 here.

The Legend

In Car on 14 February, 2006 at 5:39 am

It was the end of 1950s, a tractor maker went to Modena to tell Enzo Ferrari that the clutch on his car was unsatisfactory.  Enzo Ferrari was not someone who can take criticism, after talking with this tractor maker, he dismiss him saying “What does a tractor maker know about super cars?”.  This tractor maker felt insulted.  He took his car back home and fixed the problem himself using his own tractor clutch.  He then took a long hard look at the car’s engine and vowed that he will build himself a super car that will meet or beat Ferrari at his own game.

In 1964, 13 Lamborghini 350 GT were built and Ferruccio Lamborghini, the tractor maker, change the history of automobile forever.

Freedom does not exist

In Personal on 13 February, 2006 at 6:30 am

Or I should say total freedom does not exist and should not exist.  With freedom comes responsibilities, which will then create a limited freedom.  We exist in a world where there are lots and lots of different people and with modern technology, interaction between these different different kind of people has become much more easier.  Thus total freedom that disregard the feelings of others does not exist and should not be allowed to exist.  If it exist, it will lead to destruction of human society and in the end a compromise will be reach whereby a limited freedom come into play.

Freedom should exist in a sandbox guarded by our rules and sensitivity to others.   If I can just go into your property and disfigure one of your tree, that is not freedom, that will lead to total chaos.  If I can just create a story about someone’s reputation and state it as fact, that is not freedom, that is total disregard of the meaning of freedom.  Freedom in itself comes responsibilities.

Chinese New Year is over

In Personal on 13 February, 2006 at 5:54 am

Yesterday was the end of a 15 days celebration of Chinese New Year.  Of course in modern day Singapore, we celebrate only the first few days.  But the last day of traditional Chinese New Year celebration is still followed by a lot of people.  In Hokkien, Chap-Ghor Meh means the 15th night of Chinese New Year.  And on this night most families reunite to have a banquet and celebrate the end of Chinese New Year.  This night is also considered as a Chinese Valentine day, so some lovers will be out celebrating after the dinner.

For me, yesterday coincide with my Grandmother’s birthday celebration (or more specifically my wife’s grandmother).  We had a buffet dinner at my Grandma’s house.  A lot of relatives were there and it was quite a celebration.  When the celebration ends, one of my relative said “See you all next year” and it hit me.

It is kind of sad that only a few of our relatives get together and mingle around throughout the year.  We only get to see most other relatives during big event like Chinese New Year and the birthday celebration of our Grandma.  The kind of big family spirit can only now be found in our textbook.  But will I go out and meetup with my other relatives?  I don’t think so.

Plasma vs LCD – again

In Electronic on 9 February, 2006 at 6:08 am

Which is good?

Plasma will give a better black, since it can off its pixel totally which will make it as black.   LCD on the other hand use filter to change color and thus will only give shades of gray and not true black.  However, with today’s technology, LCD’s “black” is not as obvious to the naked eyes.

LCD will give a sharper image.  Thus when you walk into a room with both plasma and LCD of the same size, you will first be attracted to the LCD panel as it look nicer.  But after staying in the room for sometime, you will feel that the plasma panel is nicer to watch.

Plasma has a burn-in effect, meaning if you watch a channel with a channel logo on the top right corner and watch only that channel.  After sometimes the color at that top right corner will be similar to the logo even when you watch other channel without any logo.  There will be a dim logo as if it has been printed on the screen.  But this is very rare.  LCD doesn’t suffer from this effect.

Plasma has a life span of 30,000 hours, but if you do the maths, watching TV 10 hours a day, 7 days a week, your plasma will still last you 8 years.  And if you drop it down to 5 hours a day, which is more of a norm, then it will last you 16 years.  LCD on the other hand doesn’t neccessary has a standard life span, but the light bulb will burn out after sometimes and it can be changed.  But the cost of changing the light bulb is normally quite expensive.

Plasma is cheaper now as compared with the price of an LCD of the same size.  This is because plasma as a technology is more mature than LCD, at least in terms of bigger screen TV panel.

Both are good technology, so in the end it is just your budget and your eyes that will decide which panel you will ultimately go for.  Just remember don’t let the sales person decide for you, you are the one using it and not him/her.