Friday, March 17, 2006

March 06 Early Tech Update: "Because CSUN Can't Come Soon Enough!" Edition

Well we stand at the shadow of CSUN 2006. Check out the bottom of the post to see what we learned already. I will be Blogging from CSUN, if I am not out on the town in the City of Angels, with more next week. I also will be posting the tons of press releases I have here at work in a post later on today.

And please note the new dedicated Vista Awareness portion of the update. We will have this on a regular basis from this point on so be Vista Aware.. be very aware!

Steve’s Word Of The Month:
Definition: This practice is employed when you wish to say one thing but do something else. For example your teenage daughter calls from her best friend’s house and says she is staying over and doing homework. In actuality the Caller ID has been “spoofed” and your daughter called from the phone of the college Frat House where a raging Spring Break kegger is in full swing.

Some companies on the web offer the ability to use their services to show whatever you want on the Caller ID. Generally these services charge you by the call and work 90% of the time.

~ Lightning Round:

* The new Access World is up and it has an overview of the announcements at ATIA 06.

* Top Tech Tid Bits: Dean has a lot of good stuff in this issue from March 9th.

* AOL: More like SOL if you’re a dial up customer. AOL’s new ads are driven by their need to lose the dial up subscriber. I guess they don’ know that a whole lot of Texans don’t have two Dixie cups and a string let alone broadband. Read more here:

* Talking Thermostat: Everyone’s Blog has a link to this new device from Kelvin. So peer pressure makes me list it here:

* Humanware: A new CEO has been chosen to lead the company. Learn more from the official press release:

* Windows Update: Depending when you last updated you might see either

A. 5 Critical Updates from February
B. 2 Recommended Windows XP updates from February
C. 1 Critical Update from March
D. 3 Windows XP Recommended updates from March

All updates hover between 415k and 1.7 MB. Your mileage, as usual, will vary. And if you haven’t already expect a Windows Genuine Advantage update when you go to install any Windows components. It updated it’s self last month but you might not find out about it until this month. Surprise!

* McAffe: Last Friday the company released an automatic update that killed MS Excel and other programs. The company quickly recalled the update and issued a new patch Excel killing free.

* Blue Ray Blues: This High Def DVD thing is getting nuts. Now Japan has stated that analog output is gone by 2010. And if you just spent a ton of money on that new Plasma.. well read the below link and weep.

* Apple: Not only did they not issue some revolutionary new product last month at this overhypped press thingy last month but it was a platform to announce more Mac Minis. G4TV got it right last year “Apple.. reinventing the wheel even if it doesn’t need it”. And oh yeah your not safe from hackers if you run Mac OSX.

!! Vista Bewareness

Welcome to the new section that is all Vista. The new Microsoft OS will be all you see, eat or breathe once MS’s PR department gets threw with you but who says we have to wait. Below is new info on Win V, Win Vis or Longhorn.. an OS by any other name.

* Release Date: August 24th has been a historical day in the past for Microsoft. Our own spies have told us that August was either the month where the OS went gold or even the day OEMs like Dell start loading it on to new systems. Here’s a neat article to see what else happened on August 24th with Windows.

* Six Pack: MS will officially support 6 versions of Vista. You, however, may only encounter only 4.. if your lucky.

* Vista Marketing: Did you know that MS set aside 2 billion dollars to create, promote and ship the original Xbox? Well that’s nothing compared to the green Bill is going to spend on getting you interested in Vista.

* Short Term Memory: Many have said for years that Windows is a bloated memory hog. And those people are right. But 480 MB for Vista it’s self? Not a surprise but there is a lot of debug code to be pulled out of the final build. Get another take on it here:

* Feb Build Review: Paul at the Windows Super Site has once again broken down Vista in the first of his two part review of the Feb CPM release.

* Vista Hardware and Upgrade Advisor: The old Windows XP Advisor is back and on steroids for Vista. Rumor is that it sticks it’s tongue out at you if you have an AMD chip though.

* Office 12: Word is on the street that Office 2007 will ship same day as Vista. That makes perfect and sadly good marketing sense. I say sadly because there’s nothing like two learning curves at one time. Learn more about Office here:

~ CSUN 2006

Here’s what we know so far…

Freedom Scientific-

JAWS 7.1 Features

Pac Mate 4.0 Features
* The ability to open two FSEdit word processor documents at one time and work between them
* Many new FSCalc enhancements that make this math and scientific calculator even more versatile
* A new option that lets you set a secondary braille language when reading foreign language documents
* Full access to Resco Audio Recorder to record and edit right on the PAC Mate
* Help system changes that make it easy for even a beginner to get started with PAC Mate

Magic 10 beta will be on the floor along with a possible Open Book upgrade. An Opal will be given away so I assume it’s about to ship. Topaz will also be in full mode at one of at least three FS booths.

The company will market this new Easy Braille unit. It’s USB powered and feels a little different than your average bear.

Supernova 7 will use Acapella the same way Pocket HAL does now. Pocket HAL will see an upgrade to work on Windows 2005 Mobile devices. And the big news? Supernova 7 will have a new properties sheet for OCR.

Ai Squared-
Zoom Text will have another free patch released in mid April. A .1 upgrade is on the horizon but right now there is no word if it’s going to be the path to Vista for ZT users. They will have a multi function keyboard on hand with pre programmed ZT keys at CSUN. If all goes well the prototype will go into production this April for an unspecified price. There is also a rumor floating around that they will announce or show a new line of CCTVs behind closed doors. We will see..

GW Micro-
Window Eyes 5.5 will be running on the floor under the latest build of Vista. 5.5 Beta is said to work even better. But get ready because 6.0 is just around the corner. Also they will have some new Braille Sense features on hand for the show. The big news is the inclusion of a CCTV to their portfolio as the Sense View will make it’s first public appearance at the show.

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