Thursday, 14 June 2007

image Over the past several years I realize I am spending less often. Not sure I am spending less, heh, but at least not as many times in any given, oh, month or whatever. Last week I broke down after much consternation over a few months and picked up one of the Xbox 360 HD-DVD drives. I took it home and hooked it up and popped in the HD version of King Kong.

As many have written similarly in the past, the picture and sound are pretty incredible. But, since I have an older DLP projector (an InFocus X1), I am not getting the full fidelity of a HD image.

So, long story short, even on the X1 the quality is noticeably and substantially better than standard DVDs. But it's  not what it can be, so I find my self leaning toward a decision point: I need a new projector. I don't want a flat screen, I don't think. I have a 120-inch (or more) diagonal image on the wall now, and I like it that way. One room is there just for the theater-like experience. It's not my living room, in other words.

 There are a number of newer 1080p projectors out there now, as it turns out, and they don't cost a zillion bucks anymore. I have been researching newer models and have found a couple that look interesting. But I figured there might be some readers of this here site that would have some experience and input.

imageHere is what I have found so far - what do you think, and what am I missing?

Any ideas anyone?

UPDATE (July 28, 2007): Epson also has a real contender out that I am considering in their PowerLite Home Cinema 1080 model.

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Thursday, 14 June 2007 13:12:00 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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The FBI is contacting more than one million computer owners and operators whose computers have been victimized and taken over by fraudsters and other criminals who have installed "bots" which they then use to launch distributed criminal computer attacks and fraud scams.

“The majority of victims are not even aware that their computer has been compromised or their personal information exploited,” said FBI Assistant Director for the Cyber Division James Finch. “An attacker gains control by infecting the computer with a virus or other malicious code and the computer continues to operate normally. Citizens can protect themselves from botnets and the associated schemes by practicing strong computer security habits to reduce the risk that your computer will be compromised.”

So, if the FBI calls you might want to cooperate. But - exercise some common sense and a little caution: if you get a call or contact, be sure to confirm it's actually the FBI. The classic technique used by scammers is to take commonly used communication methods and closely mirror or duplicate them in order to make you think you're providing sensitive data to a legitimate business or agency, when in fact it's the bad guy in disguise. So verify, verify, verify.

The FBI press release is here. Snipped from the press release, an important warning about being wary of potential malicious information requests:

"The FBI will not contact you online and request your personal information so be wary of fraud schemes that request this type of information, especially via unsolicited emails. To report fraudulent activity or financial scams, contact the nearest FBI office or police department, and file a complaint online with the Internet Crime Complaint Center,"

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IT Security | Safe Computing | Tech
Thursday, 14 June 2007 08:43:02 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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RunAs Radio Show Number Ten is now online. While at Tech Ed US 2007 in Orlando last week, we sat down to chat with Isaac Roybal for the RunAs audio podcast, a Microsoft Product Manager on the Windows Server team working on the next version of Internet Information Services - IIS7.

Put simply, IIS7 includes a large number of significant improvements and enhancements for both developers and for the IT pros and hosting providers that have to implement, support, secure and maintain the servers. Tons of great information and interaction around IIS7 is available at the new community web site, IIS.NET. Many of the improvements and changes to IIS are listed on that site, as well. You can download Windows Server Beta 3 and go live with IIS7 now, and Microsoft has a program for doing so. If nothing else, you should be starting your lab work so you can plan, get familiar and see what the future of IIS holds.

RunAs Radio Show #10 | 6/13/2007 (41 minutes)
Isaac Roybal Shows Us IIS7

Isaac Roybal is a Product Manager on the Windows Server team who is deeply involved in Web Workload, especially IIS 7. Isaac digs into the details of the new management features in IIS 7, now available as part of Windows Server 2008 Beta 3. His responsibilities cover all things Web related with Windows Server and has been involved with IT for over ten years. Five of those years have been with Microsoft.

Links: RunAs Radio web site and RSS feed

We welcome your input and ideas for the show - Just email and let us know what's on your mind! We might even read your email on the air, and we are always interested to know what you would like to hear about as we book our guests.

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IT Security | RunAs Radio | Tech
Thursday, 14 June 2007 08:23:18 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Tuesday, 12 June 2007

I got a new Canon compact digital camera recently for taking snapshots (in places and at times when I don't want to carry my digital SLRs around). What better place to try out your new Canon camera than Cannon Beach on the Oregon coast? Overall the new camera does a nice, respectable job - especially for a compact model. Not too shabby. I'll do a more detailed review soon. My friend also bought one, a Kodak model, which cost half as much and took some truly terrific images. Click the images below to view larger sizes, blah blah.

For some reason I like birds flying over mountains and rocks and stuff. Some Jonathan Livingston Seagull psychological thing or something maybe, I dunno.

         Bird over Haystack Rock, Connon Beach Oregon 

Haystack is the big rock that looks like - well, duh. Next to it in the water are two other smaller (but still quite large) rocks, called the Needles. One of them is in this pic.

       Needle at Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach Oregon

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Photography | Random Stuff
Tuesday, 12 June 2007 22:31:18 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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IMG_0203From the What The Heck Were They Thinking Department:

I get a lot of "free" business magazines in my position at work. It's one of those inevitable and unavoidable facts of being in a job with "chief" and "executive" in the title. Some of them are actually useful. Many of them are not. A few have absolutely nothing to do with my job or areas of expertise. Those ones tend to get the virtual toilet flush, without so much as being reviewed.

Speaking of which, a new magazine arrived in my office mailbox today, and upon first glance the cover made me wonder, "Why in the world would someone actually name their magazine that?" Specifically, the acronym.

And for what it's worth, the magazine actually has some good stuff in it. But in an English speaking world, well...

I'd just go with the full name, myself.

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Humor | Random Stuff
Tuesday, 12 June 2007 21:58:20 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Monday, 11 June 2007

I just upgraded my Blackberry 8800's TeleNav GPS software to v5.1.0.29 (an update from the the preinstalled v4.7), which was just recently released by TeleNav. It was really darn good before and  it's even better now. Included in this release is the until-now-missing-on-the-at&t-network feature of real-time traffic routing updates (dubbed "TeleNav Traffic alerts"). This added capability uses available traffic congestion and hazard feeds to update your route to the quickest available in real-time. In addition, the new version includes improved business listings in the search options and the ability to click on addresses right in the calendar and address book contacts, launching the GPS service automatically. That's something I can easily be grateful for, what with all those hotel addresses embedded in my Outlooks calendar for my travel days.

The UI is also greatly improved. The menus are much shinier and there's now a signal strength meter in the GPS software, a small but welcome addition. Note that when you install and run the first time you'll need to allow the software to set up several hardware and network access permissions, and you'll need to provide your TeleNav account password (which you used the first time you set up) as well. It appears I lost all my favorites in the upgrade process, so just be aware that something like that might happen to you as well. My recent locations list was still up to date. I had to change my map view from overhead back to the 3D birds-eye view as well. None of these things were a big deal for me.

If you have the Blackberry 8800 from at&t and use the TeleNav service, it's a free update for you. Just browse to with your 8800 and download the new version. Note that the update requires a fairly long reboot after it's installed.

From the press release:

TeleNav Traffic alerts users through voice and on-screen prompts to traffic slowdowns and incidents along their programmed travel route. With just one click, customers can choose an alternative route or can remain on the original course. TeleNav Traffic calculates and provides an ongoing estimated time of arrival based on the customer’s current route and the latest traffic information. Subscribers can also view traffic information on a map and see details of surrounding traffic situations.

TeleNav Traffic is a feature of the latest version of TeleNav GPS Navigator™ and is offered as a free feature upgrade for TeleNav GPS Navigator subscribers. TeleNav GPS Navigator v5.1 also includes enhanced business listings, which identify more retailers and office parks. The TeleNav GPS Navigator now allows BlackBerry users to click addresses inside calendar invitations or contact lists for real-time navigation to that location.

Thanks to at&t and TeleNav for making this update happen. My $9.95 a month is going even further now. I have to say, always up to date maps, a small single device and turn-by turn instructions with Traffic is a pretty great deal. Even after say 24 months of using this service you would not have paid as much as you would to buy a GPS unit, and maps on a stand-along unit would be out of date before too long. I'm convinced.

Now I just need to find a way to record video and/or make screenshots from the Blackberry 8800 screen so I can illustrate this stuff...

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Mobile | Tech
Monday, 11 June 2007 12:02:47 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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