The Failure of the Open Field

It’s great that Apple has created a new platform with the iPhone and the App Store. But it’s also a ripping indictment of the personal computer industry—and cellphone industry—thus far. And not to be too nice to Apple: The beautiful stuff we’re seeing with the iPhone is mainly about pastime—not about productivity (or creativity.) Here’s …

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XP and the User’s Loss of Nerve

Poor old Microsoft. They’ve had to extend the life of XP by offering it as an option to customers buying new hardware for another six months at least. They realise that people aren’t going to buy a Vista machine unless XP—what’s wonderfully called “downgrade media”–comes with it: “As more customers make the move to Windows …

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A Beginner’s Guide to Saving an Old Computer

(This is the text of my weekly Loose Wire Service column, written mostly for newcomers to personal technology, and syndicated to newspapers like The Jakarta Post. Editors interested in carrying the service please feel free to email me.) What should you do with an old laptop that is so slow you have time to down …

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Blog Off(line)

I know I’m old-fashioned, but I still like to edit my blogs from a client, not from the webpage itself. It’s probably something to do with the temperamental connections I get in this neck of the woods, but I’m always convinced my ramblings are going to disappear into the ether unless they’re somehow being saved …

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Blog Off(line)

I know I’m old-fashioned, but I still like to edit my blogs from a client, not from the webpage itself. It’s probably something to do with the temperamental connections I get in this neck of the woods, but I’m always convinced my ramblings are going to disappear into the ether unless they’re somehow being saved …

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Getting Your Treo in Sync via USB

Here’s another one of those public service announcements for a very specific problem. Skip it if you haven’t had problems not being able to synchronize your Treo with a PC. In some cases an error message will appear “USB device not recognized” or somesuch. Here’s what worked for my Treo 650, after lots of messing …

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The Strange, Short Life and Death of ‘My Private Folder’

Microsoft has introduced a new application for Windows XP users, and even more quickly, killed it off. The app was free, but what was the company thinking? A piece by Mark Hachman and Natali T. Del Conte at PCMag on Friday says that “If you’ve heard of Microsoft Private Folder 1.0, forget it. As of …

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Windows. How Much Pain Can You Take?

If you’re still happy with your Windows 98, Windows 98 Second Edition, and Windows Millennium Edition then you’re on your own. Microsoft won’t help you out after July 11, 2006, when it ends public and technical support. This doesn’t just mean not having someone to talk to on the phone. It means no more security …

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Starting A Computer That Won’t Start

If you have problems starting Windows XP because of a blue screen telling you (I forget the exact wording) that you need to run CHKDSK /f and disable all antivirus and disk management programs, here’s a possible solution. The problem is that while you’d love to run CHKDSK /f — which runs a check on …

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