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Archive for March, 2005


Macintosh Hacker Attacks Are on the Rise -Symantec

Apparently hackers are starting to take ai interest in the minority interest platfor.

Maybe it’s because they noticed Macs run a version of Unix?

Check out this story from Reuters

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New PDA comments


I got a new PDA this week

A Toshiba E830

Since we cannot officially get this machine in my mother coutry or here in America, I thought it might be useful for some to read my impressions of this machine after a full week of use. So here’s some thoughts, randomly dropped in as bullet points.

  • The screen is wonderful!
  • MS Reader works fine in VGA mode (SE_VGA) and the amazingly tiny text is clear as could be, easy to read. I am nearly 40 and don’t need reading glasses …
  • Some dialoges don’t like VGA
  • When I first tried to use Transcriber in VGA (first I tried to use it at all in fact) it wanted to get me to read some help. It came up on a huge dialogue that I could not move to find the text. I used Wisebar Advanced to kill the process.
  • Transcriber ROCKS in VGA mode. Suddenly it can read my spidery writing
  • Seem to get lots of “MS Reader can no longer find this file” errors. Not sure if this means my SD card is dodgy, or if there is something inherent with this machine.
  • Need to try a different card to store my books on.
  • Virtual Pool Mobile does not support VGA
  • I was able to install (virtually) ALL of the software I had on my old E755 simply by hooking up the 830 and going to Add/Remove Programs in ActiveSync. This is a great ‘feature’ of AS … not sure if it is meant to do this or not, but I love it.
  • Pocket Artist is way better in VGA mode.
  • The various Outlook programs do not like VGA … the dialoges don’t scale.
  • Did I mention how great the sceen is?
  • Screen is bright even at lowest setting. I’d love to be able to set it dimmer for reading in bed. Suggestions anyone?
  • I was even able to install ArcSoft Photobase that came on my E755 support disc.
  • Graphic performance seems poor compared to E755 – probably coz I am running in VGA mode?
  • Flash files play great using the Macromedia Standalone Player, but if set to run full screen, what they do is play full screen, with a 240×360 movie in the middle of the screen. Right-click and select “Show All” then it fills the screen nicely.
  • Performace slower than E755 when played as “Show All” but the same if left at default 100%.
  • Advanced Explorer takes its time to catalogue each folder – a lot slower than E755 – VGA setting makes this a much more usable program though.
  • Pocket Streets seems to support VGA!!
  • Wi-Fi works flawlessly and connects in about half the time E755 did.
  • Web browsing is SOOOO much better, but default QVGA settig has HUGE scroll bars, even though the browser window seems to run VGA. SE_VGA fixes this.
  • I seem to get more crashes in Internet Explorer than ever … machine? SE_VGA? Dodgy OS?
  • Built-in IPphone software (Gphone) is great for peer-to-peer as a local walkie-talkie. Wife and I can communicate in house and garden.
  • Have tried to register with Gphine but their registrstion page is goosed – the buttons you have to press to register are disabled!!!
  • Battery life not too good – could be bright screen + SE_VGA setting …
  • I want a Mugen extended battery.
  • Wisebar Advanced works really well! But I still have not found a decent VGA theme.
  • Ulti-Planner seems to work really well in VGA – especially the calendar view.
  • What’s with the teeny 2002 keyboard that pops up in VGA mode. Can that be fixed?
  • The speaker is a lot louder than E755 – not that that would be hard!!!
  • The Toshiba voice recorder software looks cool. Not tried it yet.
  • Windows Media Player is disappointing in VGA, the old tiny video problem Need to try Beta Player.
  • RealPlayer dialogues don’t support VGA but movies seem to fill screen as expected.
  • Calculator looks funny in VGA (it stretches to fit, without scaling buttons) but seems to work.
  • My favourite card game suite Pocket Solitaire works fine – just rescales to fill screen – unlike Microsoft’s version … which seems to have some nice new card decks.

OK that’s it for now.

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Dazzletech announces JavaScript in Authorware book

At last a book that should help users trying to use JavaScript in Authorware

This week, Dazzletech announced the completion of their JavaScript in Authorware book, entitled JavaScript For Macromedia® Authorware®. The published a link to the Table of Contents of the book, and you can pre-order the book here.

You should read the full thread that followed the announcement of the book on the Aware List.

The discussion included pros and cons of JavaScript in Authorware, and extended into more general discussion of the features and evolution of Authorware.

And for once there was no blood 🙂

By the way – JavaScript is a great addition to Authorware, finally adding OOP code to the long-in-the-tooth development tool. My personal opinion is that this iteration of JavaScript inside Authorware 7 is too much a bolt-on with too little integration (you cannot really embed JS expressions or variables in display icons or in response properties for instance). Macromedia has idicated that they intend to extend the features and functionality of JavaScript in future versions of Authorware so I am looking forward to something special in the future.

For now, for me, JavaScript is not important in Authorware, but I know that many ‘code head’ sorts are using it extensively and with glee. If/when it becomes easier to employ JavaScript in Authorware (like when the Help files reflect JavaScript syntax too …) then I am sure I will happily drop the old AW Script for JavaScript and all the OOP goodness it brings.

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No Laptop? How do you cope?

Occasionally I mention my PDA obsession. This week it saved my sanity.

With no working laptop to let me surf the web, check eMail and genarally amuse myself, I was forced to resort to my PocketPC PDA to fill in the blanks.

Fortunately mine has Wi-Fi so I can use our home wireless LAN to connect to the internet to surf and to check email. I also have a cool little Belkin foldaway keyboard that I can use if I have a lot to type, otherwise the in-built entry methods work fine.

Surfing the web on a 240×320 screen should be a terrible thing, but with the aid of PocketIE Plus from Reensoft it becomes bareable. PIE adds full-screen mode, a clever reflow mode and the ability to open multiple IE windows, as well as the ability to map your hardware buttons to things like toggle full screen, page back, page forward etc.

Pretty soon I’ll have a VGA PDA (Toshiba E830 480×640 screen) and I am looking forward to seeing how that performs on the internet. Soon the only thing I will need my laptop for will be work 🙂

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Sick Laptop


Sick Laptop

After over 3 years of abuse, the power socket on my Dell Inspiron 8100 broke

It is a great machine, still fast and easily capable of running all the software that I use day-to-day for work. So I needed to find a quick and cheap way to fix it.

Off to eBay I went to see what I could do.

I was amazed to see that I could find a similar machine to mine for about $600. Of course it would be 3 years or so old too, so no telling what wear and tear it had suffered, although I doubt your average laptop gets the same 8 – 16 hours use 7 days a week that mine has been through for 3.5 years.

Or I could pick up a mother board for about $300. That would be fine, but most of the mother boards seem to have been pulled from dismantled laptops, so the same wear and tear issues remained, plus I would have had to contend with things like could I upgrade that 800MHz processor with my 1.2 GHz one? Would I be able to dismantle and rebuild my machine without breaking anything?

I also had a look about to see if someone local could fix the socket. I figured I could get someone to solder it or whatever, but I could not find anyone who wanted to touch it without threatening me with a long sucking inhale first …

Then I saw the solution! A second-hand Advanced Port Replicator (APR). I found several companies selling these through eBay, and a few promising to swap any faulty devices. $81 secured me the APR, including postage. 2 (working) days later here it is and it works fine.

The downside is that my laptop footprint has now grown by about 25%, but the good news is I can stretch it’s useful working life out for another year or two. Dell’s reputation for support has suffered over the last couple of years since it started to outsource to India, and USA support certainly seems less than what I was used to in the UK, although they are still OK if a little slow to reach a resolution.

There is nothing wrong with the machines they build though, so I’ll be on their web site regularly, building that Dream Machine until the momemt is right – either I can afford the $3000 or so that gets the top of the line machine or this laptop finally pops its little clogs.

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