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October 30, 2006

City-Wide Wi-fi Networks

According to an article posted on CNet News http://news.com.com/Taking+Wi-Fi+power+to+the+people/2100-7351_3-6130059.html there has been an increased effort by many cities in the United States to create Wi-Fi networks that span the entire city and would be accessible by anyone with a laptop that is equipped with a wireless adapter. Some estimates say that cities will spend nearly $1 Billion to create the system, thought most cities will spend around $15 million each to build and maintain their networks.

I think this would be great and beneficial for everyone. It would allow people to work and play on their computers anywhere in the city and allow people more flexibility and freedom concerning when and where they work. Of course, there are going to be people who will try to abuse and/or damage the connections or to hack into computers. While it will fact cost money to create and maintain the networks, it will probably be a lot cheaper to maintain that land connections in the long run. Wi-fi is also easily accessible to many more people and is better able to handle high-traffic volumes. Mostly, the network would work by integrating and sharing all of the available Wi-Fi networks available in the city. La Fonera, for example, has about 112,000 different networks connected to its major connection.

Access to the Network, however, would not be free. People who are not subscribed to the networks –which include EarthLink, FON, La Fonera, and Google, typically have to pay $1 to $2 for a 24-hour access period.

Posted by grturner at 12:40 PM | Comments (0)

Google Searching

In recent years, Google has risen as the most popular search engine on the web. Generally, the results it gives are great for finding information on a broad topic. However, finding more specific information can be a bit tricky.

I find one of the best ways of narrowing down the information is to try searching for various combinations of words related to your topic. I try to use three or four words, in order to keep the search results reasonably focused. However, since Google looks for occurances of the entered words on websites, it may overlook sites that have the information you're looking for but not your specific words. To get around this, searching with Google multiple times, but using synonyms can help find what you're looking for. Also, if you are looking for a specific word pairing, putting those words in quotations will only return sites that have those words in that specific order.

Additionally, Google will often return tens of thousands of sites for a search. However, as you progress down their list, the quality of the sites tends to drop off sharply. Assuming you used a relatively specific set of words for your search, it is likely that only the first dozen or so sites will be relevant to what you're looking for. Sites that show up in the first ten results multiple times when you change the words are very likely to be useful.

Google offers two functions for search results: cached and similar pages. I found similar pages to be less effective than performing multiple searchs using synonyms, since you don't get to control which words in your search are most important. The "cached" function is great if you are looking for a very specific bit of information on huge sites with tons of stuff on them. It will highlight each word you searched for on the website, making finding what you're looking for quick and efficient.

The internet has a ton of information out there and finding exactly what you want can be a bit tricky. Using these tricks will improve both the speed with which you can find information and the quality of that information.

Posted by ptbrock at 12:30 PM | Comments (0)

October 25, 2006

MIcrosoft's new Anti-Spyware program

On October 24, Microsoft released its new anti-spyware software, Windows defender. This program is currently compatible with Windows XP and will be compatible with Vista, Windows new Operating system which is expected to be released in the upcoming months. The release of defender, of course, competes directly with McAfee and Symantec security systems. McAfee and Symantec are already feuding with Microsoft over the availability of the technology Microsoft is using for its security software that will be included in the Vista Operating System. Since Microsoft and Windows are run on virtually all PC’s, adding a security component to the OS would eliminate and take away the majority of the market McAfee and Symantec currently enjoys. In my opinion, however, this will be good for consumers. They will not have to pay for the new Vista OS and go out and buy security software. This of course assumes that Microsoft will not gouge customers for charging a lot of extra money for the added security software. Also, since the security software being produced by Microsoft is in its infancy, it could be argued that it is exceptionally vulnerable to attacks by hackers, phishers, and thieves. Also, the prestige of Microsoft could entice more hackers to try to penetrate the system simply for bragging rights.

Microsoft also released a new program that allows businesses to electronically renew the licenses on their computers, which would save some companies a lot of money by simplifying the maintenance of the system while reducing administrative tasks associated with the system and making them easier.

The articles used for this blog can be found at http://news.com.com/Microsofts+free+anti-spyware+hits+market/2100-1029_3-6128978.html?tag=nefd.top and http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/10/19/microsoft_promises_more_info/

Posted by grturner at 12:10 PM | Comments (0)

October 16, 2006

Windows Vista

Microsoft is gearing towards its new operating system called Windows Vista which will be marketed primarily to business enterprises. However, there are currently some disagreements on whether Vista's security enhancement will make it a better operating system or otherwise. (http://www.infoworld.com/article/06/05/15/78189_20NNmsvista_1.html)
Firstly, a more secure system will definitely create a safer computing environment as malicious programs will not easily spread around. Secondly, users will become more security-conscious.
However, the frequent pop-ups may irritate ordinary users and even de-sensitize them from the real threats since they are constantly exposed to warnings every now and then.
Lastly, Vista will enable users to gain full control of their computers through the User Account Control. Users other than the administrator are not allowed to install programs without the latter's privilege.
This, however, in my opinion, may not create a carefree computing experience especially in the business enterprise since many it limits the capability of other users to install local hardwares such as printers, and so on.

Posted by myratp at 11:01 AM

October 08, 2006

Microsoft Zune

Microsoft is preparing to release their new mp3 player, called the "Zune", early in November. Just a quick glance will tell you that this is Microsoft's attempt to take down the iPod. It shares a lot in common with the iPod, such as size, price, and memory. Even the layout of the device itself is quite similar. It seems to me that, functionally, the Zune is more or less equivelent to an iPod. It has very few functional benifits, but the real difference (and what I think is what Microsoft expect to win over users) is the customizability of the Zune. If you do a comparison (http://zuneinfo.com/zune-and-ipod-comparison/), the only real gains in performance are landscape video (which would be pointless on an iPod's more-or-less square screen) and the fm tuner, while you lose a lot of options for file formatting and compatibility with Mac computers. Beyond that, the distinguishing factors are more aimed towards customizing the users experience, such as various colors for the device and customizable background. In my opinion, the Zune lacks enough distinguishing features to steal away notable market share from iPod, especially with the amount of user loyalty that iPod has developed over the years. Microsoft will need to develop some real defining characteristic for their player before it will have a chance to be a real contender.

Posted by ptbrock at 05:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 02, 2006


This is the welcome entry for the term project for Group 96 in Section 4. The people in this Group are Gregory Turner, Myra Pranata,
and Peter Brock.

Posted by grturner at 07:22 PM | Comments (0)