Saturday, July 31, 2004

Microsoft to reinvent desktop UI in Longhorn

Microsoft Corp. is working away on the next-generation of Windows, code-named Longhorn, due in 2006. According to developers, the new operating system will reshape the Windows graphics architecture, from 2D to 3D, with the Windows Graphics Foundation.

The new architecture was given a sneak peek at Microsoft's Meltdown conference, which is all about building games on Windows. Originally started as a compatibility test-fest for hardware makers and software developers, the event has matured into a Windows game developer convention. Highlights from this year's gathering, held July 27th and 28th in Seattle, included presentations about the company's XNA development tools and how to get the most out of Direct3D and DirectSound.

Well it seems that Microsoft has done it again. They are reworking the desktop graphics on their next major Operating System - Windows codenamed Longhorn. This could only mean one thing for those waiting for it - more wait. Sure it will only be released around 2006/07 period but Windows XP is starting to look plain and I don't want to install any third party skinning application to improve the look. I am also running Linux on my other partition but it is not my main OS. And don't even start on MacOS. The hardware is too pricey and I can't build my own Mac. Steve Jobs won't let me.

Source: eWeek

Download for free: Pride and Prejudice

eReader is offering Jane Austen's classic novel Pride and Prejudice for free download. The offer is only valid for today and expires at midnight US time (which will be then replaced by another free e-book).

This is an amazing read and I urge you to download the book and read it on your Palm, PocketPC or PC. And then go down to your local video store and rent the 300 minute movie.

An interesting tidbit information for your local pub quiz. Colin Firth who stared in the 1994 movie as the aristocrat Fitzwilliam Darcy and then plays as the sort of aristocrat Mark Darcy in the 2001 hit Bridget Jones's Diary. Both characters are similar in their deep rooted personalities.

Today I rebuilt my iPAQ

Today I rebuilt my Hewlett-Packard iPAQ h4150 Pocket PC PDA. What can I do? ActiveSync quit on me (typical crapware). I don't know what happened. One day it was working fine syncing all my database with Outlook 2003 and the next I did not.

Uninstalled and reinstalled ActiveSync - did not work. Finally after looking up Microsoft's Knowledge base and found that nothing can help me I decided to do the hard reset. So I spent three hours of my time reloading all the applications I had on my iPAQ. I kinda glad I did - I managed to clear up 700k of junks left over by demo programs that were not uninstalled properly.

The problem is - if HP ever ever ever release a Windows Mobile 2003 SE for Pocket PC ROM update on my iPAQ I would need to rebuild again. This is my third rebuild since acquiring this model in April and it is not something you would like to do every now and then. For PalmOS veterans - a rebuild on a Pocket PC is much different than a rebuild on a PalmOS device (PalmOne, Sony Clie etc). It requires the device to be connected through ActiveStink and a manual one by one installation process (like on the desktop). Shit isn't it? Imagine if your desktop got formatted and you needed to go through every CD to reinstall every piece of software - that is how it feels like.

One thing I did find out is when I hard reseted the PDA - there were still left over database file name left on the iPAQ. Not good HP! Security wise it should have been better.

Friday, July 30, 2004

What is this man...

I had nothing to do so I switched on Astro and what do you know - The Mummy was showing on TV3. Hmm...I guess since there is nothing else on except some cheesy chinese soap on WLT, I would just watch it for the tenth time. Man - how many scenes were cut out!? The scene where Rachel created the mess in the library, the boat fight scene was cut - hell even the scene where they bought the camels. After the camel race scene was cut I decided to just switch it off. Why did TV3 paid money for to buy the rights of a crippled movie - unless they are getting it cheap. I did see some improvements in the way they chopped of scenes though. The movie still flowed as smoothly except that its much faster now. I think I will bring home the original DVD for me parents to watch.

There is nothing on TV except repeats of Sex and the City (HBO) which I have already watched the final season (forced to by someone) in the UK. Want to know what happened? Like I care or remembered. I wish we have BBC World but I doubt they would bother showing The Office repeats or one of those current BBC comedy like Two Pints Of Lager, Dead Ringer or Coupling.

Bring David Brent to mainstream Malaysian TV!

Are Real and Apple playing fair?

This is an interesting blog on the BBC News Technology site by Bill Thompson concerning Real's attempt to 'hack' iTunes's DRM.

An interesting read I have to admit. Even his previous
blog entry on the iPod is recommended although ironic. It is very clear that Bill is not happy with mp3 being the so called future of digital music format. And I agree with him since mp3 has existed since 1988. I even remember back in 1998 when I was downloading all the new Metallica mp3 crap from Napster (you all remember that event didn't you?). That was six years ago. Since then Windows Media Audio has improved (current version 9), OggVorbis emerged, mp3pro and AAC is put forward as the replacement for mp3. Suddenly the iPod became a hit and its all about mp3 and no longer about the future.

Back to Bill's blog. His final shot was spot on! Ditch Real's crappo of a software (spyware infested) as well as dumping away the iPod! Get a real digital music player.

BBC News

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Storm over iPod 'hacker tactics'

Apple has reacted angrily over RealNetwork's claim that it has found a way for music bought over its stores to be played on iPods and has accused Real's of adopting the tactics and ethics of a hacker.

Hmm... I don't know what you make of this - but it sounds like just another normal Apple rant. Remember this was the company that claimed to have the
World's fastest computer which was later rebutted. They are not exactly ethical either.

Whatever it is Apple has the World's most popular digital music player. And they are forcing users who own the iPod to shop on iTunes - a product of their own. Sounds familiar - well because this is the kind of practice that is made famous by Microsoft. Microsoft got a slap on the wrist for forcing Internet Explorer (and now Windows Media Player) on Windows users (which they have a monopoly on the OS market) and now Apple is essentially doing the same thing! Tut tut!

Apple's new iPod remains as uninteresting as ever. Why bother with an iPod - just get the excellent 
Rio Karma 20 or i-River's H140 (which supports mp3, WMA & OggVorbis) for less money and buy yourself a white coloured Sony MDR-EX71SL fontopia which you can use. iPodders would ask you where you get your latest Mac headphone - you can show them your shiny better digital music player. That is what I did!

And get the CD! Why bother paying for a compressed 128kbps mp3 (ancient format) file when you can physically own the CD, own the artwork as well as being able to rip the tracks of to virtually any digital music file format?

BBC News

Jackito fingertouch PDA

Well, this seems to be the first purposed built PDA with fingertips (instead of stylus) in mind. It comes with a variety of options and add-ons and customers can customised the PDA design and features. The only problem it seems is that it comes with its own operating system. This is not unusual as non of the major PDA OS'es out there - PalmOS, Symbian OS and Windows CE were designed for large thumb input. Third party softwares would be scarce due to that fact and would be the dealbreaker in many PDA consumer's mind.

Apart from that, the design looks very well built and though it is not cheap - this PDA would be useful in the vertical market where the user would favour ease of use rather than the complexity that all the other major players bring. For one thing, the lack of stylus would be useful as people are prone to losing them.

Here are some specs:

  • 1 Mitsubishi CPU (M30803)
  • 1 Texas Instruments CPU (MSP 430)
  • Sparten FPGA w/ 5 Automata
  • Reversible wired Logic
  • Direct hardware execution
  • Multi processing mode
  • up to 128Mb RAM, 64Mb NAND Flash ROM
  • 4.5" LCD display, 240x320 resolution, landscape & portrait supported
  • Choice of three different LCDs: Black & White, Colour and Bistable (white paper - sounds like eInk to me)
  • 150g
  • 138x78x16mm
  • Power jack, stereo jack, RS232 serial connector, SPI, 2 SD/MMC card slots, 2 internal bus
  • Requires one AA battery
  • Battery life ranges from 10 hours to  months depending on screen model
  • Choice of colour

Source: PDABuyersGuide

How Tolkien triumphed over the critics

I have been a fan of The Lord of the Rings ever sinced I picked up the Hobbit back in 1998. I believed it was a few months before they began the shooting of the movie. Anyway, this article by the BBC showed what critics thought about the book 50 years ago. Most of them are positive although some has dismissed the book as a "juvenile trash".
To me the question is whether after Peter Jackson completes the remake of
King Kong would he attempt the film The Hobbit - as well as The Silmarillion?
BBC News

Patent spending: How the net is being trade marked

This article by Mark Ward for the BBC highlights the problem concerning software patents. You would not think much about it but large firms frequently apply for broad patents which they can later use to sue small firms who infringe the patent.
For those who are against such patents, I urge you to visit the
Electronic Frontier Foundation Patent Busting Project. The project involves a campaign to root out the most broad patents or inventions that has prior art. This usually only concern the US patent office although Europe isn't safe yet. Earlier this year, France and Germany attempted to block reforms to the EC patent law from evolving adopting US style procedures - so its safe for now. Groklaw is a good place to read about patent laws although the blog site concerns mostly about the ongoing SCO Vs IBM case. Go IBM!
Some of those patented includes:
  • One-click online shopping
  • Online shopping carts
  • The hyperlink
  • Video streaming
  • Internationalising domain names
  • Pop-up windows
  • Targeted banner adverts
  • Paying with a credit card online
  • Framed browsing
  • Affiliate linking

Shocking isn't?

Source: BBC News

Nintendo DS redesigned

Nintendo has redesigned their up and coming new portable game console - the Nintendo DS. Instead of the original toy looking DS, the new design is cool and looks like the original GameBoy Advance. Its even better looking than Sony's PSP. The DS is due for release at the end of 2004.

Nintendo DS
Posted by Hello


Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Music Review: Deepest Blue - Late September

I bought this at Woolworths June this year. It was an impulse purchase. I liked a track I heard on the radio and was planning to return it as I was not really expecting anything good. I mean they were frequently shown on TV pop productions.

Fool I was. Late September is a masterpiece. The music are very deep (think Savage Garden) complete with some dance beats, chillout hints and superb singing. The album is very laid back and never once gave a bad track. Some of the tracks are memorably haunting.

Overall a superb effort. This is one of the few albums I would recommend you to part you hard earned money with.

1. Be Still My Heart
2. Can’t Believe
3. Is It A Sin
4. Give It Away
5. Turn Out Right
6. Shooting Star
7. Late September
8. Deepest Blue
9. Say Goodbye
10. Spread A Little Love

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Office 2003 SP1 released

Microsoft just posted Service Pack One for their Windows Office 2003 product. The update includes some previous bug fixes that has been released. It also includes performances and feature enchancements. I might download it later since I am so reliant on Outlook.

If you are not using Office 2003, don't sweat - you can download a free alternative at The source code is available here for you to tinker with if you so wish.

Skype 1.0 released

Skype 1.0 for Windows has just been released today!

For those who don't know, Skype is a P2P
VoIP application. In English it means you can make free phone calls to other users over your broadband connection. You can also text chat with your mates if you prefer or if you are stuck with dial-up or GPRS.

Perhaps the most significant advantage of this app is Skype has a feature that enables users to call mobile phones or landlines around the World at local rates. Its called
SkypeOut and was launched a few weeks ago. You can check out the rates here. Skype also deliver better quality when compared to MSN Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger and ICQ.

Skype is being developed by the people who created KaZaA. I could contain disgusting spywares but last I checked - it did not. Plus, they are making some money out of it through SkypeOut - so I do hope that it stays that way.

Pocket Skype on PocketPC
Posted by Hello

1.0 for Windows features significant improvements over previous versions (beta) of Skype. So make sure you try it out. It also features file sharing. If you have a WiFi'ed PocketPC PDA, you can download the PocketPC version of Skype
here. Linux users can get their version here. Both versions contains SkypeOut functionality. Mac users are out of luck - as usual.

Hi, I am on the plane!

Travellers could soon be allowed to use mobile phones on planes. This article from the BBC highlights the differences in policy between diffirent airlines regarding mobile phones and other gadget usage and the dangers of such activity.
If mobile phones are banned on planes, what's this man playing at? And why do some airlines prohibit Gameboys, but others don't? As the great summer get-away begins, travellers are no doubt confused. But change could be on the way.
I have to admit I have mixed feelings about this. Sometimes I am just bored on one of my 13 hour flight and wish I could just chat with someone. I do however understand why there are concerns - imagine trying to get a sleep when your neighbour gets a call from a friend asking them "Where are you?" or "When will you arrive?". I am glad that I have a HP iPAQ h4150 PDA (with an extra large battery) so I can read e-books, watch a movie, listening to Deepest Blue as well as playing Soccer Addict. I just wish Malaysia Airlines would quickly roll-out WiFi on planes so I can use Skype to text chat with someone.

BBC News

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Something to read over the summer

I have been doing some a little reading over the summer and it has been wonderful. One of them is The Sex Lives of Cannibals - Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific by J. Maarten Troost. It is a real witty and funny book and concerns the story of a traveller who ends up on a not so dream holiday. Here is a short review from

At the age of twenty-six, Maarten Troost—who had been pushing the snooze button on the alarm clock of life by racking up useless graduate degrees and muddling through a series of temp jobs—decided to pack up his flip-flops and move to Tarawa, a remote South Pacific island in the Republic of Kiribati. He was restless and lacked direction, and the idea of dropping everything and moving to the ends of the earth was irresistibly romantic. He should have known better.

The Sex Lives of Cannibals tells the hilarious story of what happens when Troost discovers that Tarawa is not the island paradise he dreamed of. Falling into one amusing misadventure after another, Troost struggles through relentless, stifling heat, a variety of deadly bacteria, polluted seas, toxic fish—all in a country where the only music to be heard for miles around is "La Macarena."

The book is downloadable in peanutpress e-book format from and costs US$8.51.

eReader is a popular book format due to the sheer number of downloadble new books as well as ingenius DRM policy. You can read your books on a number of platforms including PalmOS, PocketPC, PC and Mac. The e-book reader is free although there is a Pro version for US$9.95 (normal price US$19.95). eReader was formally known as PalmReader (which was owned by Palm, Inc.), which was itself formally known as PeanutPress.

You can also download a free e-book everyday during the duration of eReader's summer sale.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Browser issues?

So far I have successfully tested this blogsite using Firefox v0.92 (Win) and IE 6.0 (Win). If there are any problems viewing this site using other browsers please leave a message on the forum, skype me or leave a message on the chatterbox.


Saturday, July 10, 2004


Hi, my name is Jon Choo and this is my first blog. You can call me Jon.

Interesting that I have been using computers since I was 10 (1991) and was on the net by 15 (1996), but never posted a blog before. Feel really old already. Even stuff like IRC and ICQ feels like ancient history. But blogging is easier than ever so here goes.

I would probably just use this site to post anything that seems to be of interest to me. It would be mainly be computer and mobile technology as well as anything that I feel people would be interested in.