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Psst! Hey buddy, can I interest you in a HD-DVD player? February 22, 2008

Posted by Matsu in Microsoft, News, Technology.
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Earlier this week Toshiba announced they are discontinuing HD-DVD. Which is their way to acknowledge that the Blu-ray standard won the high definition media wars.

HD-DVD Ad

Well, I just received e-mail from one vendor who is trying to unload their warehouse of HD-DVD players. I can’t help but wonder why CompUSA is going out of business.

As soon as the HD-DVD standard was pronounced dead the HD-DVD players became obsolete and almost worthless. I say almost  because you can still play standard (old) DVD’s in it, but other than that its only good for a boat anchor. And, if you don’t own a boat, it’s not even useful for that!

On a related note, I feel a little sorry for Microsoft since they bet on HD-DVD becoming the high definition media standard and included it as an optional add-on for their Xbox 360. That decision makes their high-end product appear out of date.

Compound Quote or Compounded Misquote? February 17, 2008

Posted by Matsu in News and politics, Random, Web.
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For all of the misinformation found on the Internet I can’t help but appreciate the ease at which I can either verify or dismiss a quote by doing a quick search using the web. (Notice I did not use Google as either a verb or a noun – see previous post for explanation.)

Albert Einstein

My latest search for the truth was about a quote I heard on TV. Yup, TV’s not aways the best source of truth, but that’s where this tale begins.

I heard a TV reporter talking about the importance of personal savings and he made the statement that Albert Einstein said compound interest was one of the greatest human inventions. When I heard it I immediately wondered if there was any truth to that quote. So, I turned to one of my favorite protectors of truth and debunkers of myth, Snopes.com. According to this snopes.com article, there is no record of Einstein ever making a statement about compound interest.

Further research on the Internet turned up this website that thoroughly dissects the quote attributed to Einstein and details reasons that it is totally unlikely  that he said anything about compound interest.

One of the strongest arguments that Einstein never said anything about compound interest was the term first appeared in print about 30 years after his death. So, if Einstein had said it, he would have been the founder/creator of that phrase. Such a unique statement would have been documented in his own writings or by reporters of the day.

It turns out that according to this blogger, even the Albert Einstein Institute says that Einstein never said anything about compound interest. It also seems that there are as many versions of this quote as there are people misquoting Einstein.

Of course, whether or not Einstein said that compound interest was the best human invention the truth is that it can be the friend to an investor and the bane of a borrower (just ask someone who has a mortgage and looked at the total cost they will pay by the end of the mortgage). For proof of the power of compound interest, check out this Wikipedia page that explains the Rule of 72.

Apple Bento: The new personal database for Macs February 10, 2008

Posted by Matsu in Apple, Information Technology, Japan, Mac, Microsoft, Software, Technology, Windows/Microsoft.
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Japanese bentoYup, Apple is finally shipping a database for the rest of us. Yesterday they released a new product called Bento by FileMaker.

As you may know, FileMaker is an Apple company that provides database software designed for small to medium sized businesses. Now, they are selling a new $50 database product for individuals who want to track collections of things or just plan a party.

This product fills a whole in Microsoft’s offering as Office for Mac doesn’t include database software. Now, Mac users have a database program that will fill that need. I wonder how well it integrates with Microsoft Word or Excel.

By the way, did you know that “bento” means “lunch box” in Japanese? It does.

I haven’t installed the demo yet, but I will do it this week and let you know what I what I find out about integration with Microsoft’s office software.

I.T. Quote of the Week February 7, 2008

Posted by Matsu in Humor, Information Technology, Random, Software, Technology, Web.
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One of my co-workers sent around a link to an article about Google Apps new “team edition” and that Ars Technica article said this about how I.T. managers might view it:

gold doubloons

“IT administrators tend to fervently dislike the sudden appearance of unapproved applications, even if said software package promises world peace, actually delivers all those free iPods, and periodically spits gold doubloons out of the CD-ROM drive.”

That is funny! I hate it when one of my computers spits gold doubloons out of the CD drive slot.

Praying for my colleagues at Union University February 6, 2008

Posted by Matsu in Friends, News, Photography, Random, Web.
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Union University Campus

Last night several tornadoes hit in and around Jackson, Tennessee, USA. One of those tornadoes ripped right through the campus of Union University. It is estimated that 40% of the residential housing (dorms) are beyond salvage and can’t be used any longer.

About six years ago I stayed in one of those dorms (pictured above) while attending a CCCU technology conference hosted by Union University. The amount of damage to buildings, cars, and personal property is staggering.

Union University fireman cuts beam

As an I.T. professional I immediately began to think of what their I.T. staff would be doing and wondered what they might need in order to get things online. Their e-mail and web servers were not online (or at least not responding to my attempts at reaching them).

I was able to reach the local newspaper’s website which provided some information, including the emergency (temporary) website set up on a public blog server. That site then linked me to the flickr photo log showing the extent of the damage.

Union University Tornado Damage

By the end of the day my fellow I.T. Director at Union University sent an e-mail to the professional list I’m on and confirmed that their I.T. infrastructure was mostly intact. Their greatest I.T. problem was getting power in a city where the utilities were ripped out and may be out of service for many days. They were able to get a generator to help get critical servers online and planned to get a much bigger server to help get the campus some power for additional services.

At least now their main website (www.uu.edu) and e-mail servers are back online.

Union University debris

For now, they do not need any I.T. people or additional network or computer equipment. So, I and my colleagues across America remain in “standby mode” and stay where we are — feeling somewhat helpless. Well, not totally helpless because we can pray for them and all of the students, faculty, and staff at Union University.

To our colleagues at Union University, please know that you are in our prayers today and we will continue to pray for you in the days ahead.

Microsoft Releases Open Source Exchange Server February 3, 2008

Posted by Matsu in Information Technology, Microsoft, Open Source, Software, Technology, Windows/Microsoft.
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Zimbra logoNow, that’s a headline that you are unlikely to read any time soon. Though, if Microsoft is successful in their $44 billion bid to purchase Yahoo then something will have to change if Microsoft isn’t going to make that headline a reality. Why? Because last year Yahoo bought Zimbra for $350 million and now owns and supports Zimbra, the open source Exchange-server-compatible e-mail system

If Zimbra is truly an open source product and if it is in direct competition with Microsoft and their Exchange server product, then will Microsoft kill Zimbra as soon as the Yahoo acquisition becomes final? Can they kill it? Will they provide an open source alternative to their commercial product? Will they support and improve Zimbra as an alternative to their flagship e-mail server product? What do you think?

“Zimbra” and the Zimbra logo are trademarks of Zimbra, Inc.