The Week in Review: 2006-01-07: Zune

That’s it for now but something tells me that, with the Consumer Electronics Show* going on this week, we’ll be posting more Zune news soon.

*I highly recommend checking out Gizmodo for up-to-date complete coverage/live-blogging of CES happenings.

What Would Happen if Microsoft Packaged an iPod

Only a true geek can appreciate something this beautiful.

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Open Source Project GnuCash Released for Windows

OSAlt.com provided word today that the popular personal and small business accounting software application, GnuCash, is being released to the Windows platform having only previously been available for the Linux and Mac platforms.  They are stressing that this latest version for Windows is still very much preliminary and users will most likely encounter various bugs until a stable version is released at a later date.  The binaries are currently available for download at SourceForge: https://sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?group_id=192&package_id=5582.

Search Your RSS Feeds

Sick of not being able to search your the RSS feeds in your online/offline reader application?  Download Squad (by way of Google Operating System) points out one very easy alternative to waiting day and night for search functionality to automagically appear in your favorite reader app: create a Google Co-Op personalized search engine by uploading your OPML file of subscribed feeds.

It’s simple!  Just use your favorite RSS reader application to export an OPML list of your subscriptions.  Then, create a personalized search engine at Google Co-Op.  Once you’ve completed the setup, go into your search engine control panel and upload the OPML file that you downloaded in that first step.

What Happened to Google Pack?

We just noticed that Google Pack seems to have lost quite alot of weight as of late.  (It’s fun to rhyme.)  The only pieces of software showing up in the Pack are Google Desktop, Picasa and Skype.  Three items.  ‘Tis all.  There doesn’t seem to be any remnants of AdAware, Norton A/V, Firefox, Google Earth, Adobe Reader, and all the others.

If you’ll recall, Google introduced the “simple, essential, customizable” software pack, consisting of extremely popular software titles in all areas of computing (anti-virus, photo-editing, voice-over-IP, etc.,) nearly one year ago to the day…at the 2006 Consumer Electronics Show.  Could this be a sign of a major change in store for the 2007 CES show beginning on January 8th?

The Most Annoying Aspect of Windows Vista

To be perfectly honest, the new User Account Control feature in Windows Vista is probably going to save more people from harm than it will annoy but, for those of us who have spent years navigating through that wonderful series of tubes we call the Internets, this “feature” will be the first thing you disable on all future installations of the OS.

Here is Microsoft’s overview of UAC for those of you who might be unfamiliar with the technology:

“The main goal of User Account Control is to reduce the exposure and attack surface of the operating system by requiring that all users run in standard user mode. This limitation minimizes the ability for users to make changes that could destabilize their computers or inadvertently expose the network to viruses through undetected malware that has infected their computer.

With User Account Control, IT administrators can run most applications, components and processes with a limited privilege, but have “elevation potential” for specific administrative tasks and application functions.

Conversely, when users encountera system task that requires administrator privileges, such as attempting to install an application, Windows Vista will notify the user and require administrator authorization. This type of prompting helps ensure that users do not accidentally make modifications to their desktops. It also helps eliminate the ability for malware to invoke administrator privileges without a user’s knowledge.”

See that part in bold?  That’s where the problem comes in.  I had to to a re-install Vista on my laptop yesterday and I’ve probably had at least 30 “notifications” since the installation.  Not only do I get notifications when trying to install an application (something I can definitely understand) but I get notifications when sending a file from an external hard drive to my local Recycle Bin.  That’s just plain annoying.  Another instance is when I want to create a new folder in the Program Files directory.  I get a notification asking me to “confirm this action.”  Once I click continue, my screen tints and I get ANOTHER notification asking me to authorize the task.  Two notifications for creating one folder.  Not cool.  However, let’s say I decided instead to scratch that idea.  I’m going to want to delete that folder but, hey, guess what…I have to go through the same two notification windows just to get rid of the folder whose creation I just authorized 5 SECONDS AGO.  Again…uncool.

So, planning on installing Vista anytime soon?  If you’re any kind of geek at all, here’s the first thing you’re going to want to do after installing the OS:

Control Panel > User Accounts and Family Safety > User Accounts > Turn User Account Control On or Off

Digg Updates Layout

Digg just completed a major revision of their site layout which takes full advantage of the entire width of your screen.  Very well done, I must say.  Check it out: digg.com.

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