A Kiwi tech elsewhere

Apple iPhone 3G - more models to come

By Peter Smith, in , posted: 10-Jun-2008 15:33

The Apple Developers conference is just that, a developers conference. So when I read that Apple would be announcing a 3G iphone at that conference, I was a little surprised, as this wouldn't be the normal platform for announcing a new device.

Sure enough, Apple announced this morning a 3G iphone device with GPS, at a very low price. I am a little surprised at the device. It is aimed at exactly the same market as the existing iPhone.

Given that they had to announce the capabilities of the next iteration of the iPhone so that developers would know the limitations of the device and the API they would be programming to, this conference did what was expected.

However, this isn't a good enough device to fight off their two main competitors in the Enterprise market which they are targeting, RIM and Google. The hard keyboard of both the Blackberry and Android devices is a killer feature. I believe that Apple have another device up their sleeve, to be announced. This device will have a smaller screen, the same internal hardware but will have a hard keyboard so that it can compete in the same market as Google and RIM. Apple would be keeping this device under wraps as long as possible, they only did what they had to do this morning.

Comments welcome.



The WGA team and I can rest easy - It is uncool to run pirated Windows Vista again.

By Peter Smith, in , posted: 23-Feb-2008 20:45

I am a keen and fully legal Windows Vista user, and I liked the measures that Microsoft had taken to protect Windows Vista from piracy. I'm a software guy by trade, I know it takes a huge amount of effort to write good software, and so it pleases me when I choose to spend money on a good product and that product is well protected from piracy by the masses.

I've been a keen reader of the Windows Genuine Advantage Team blog for a long while now, and while it is not frequently updated, when it is there is usually a good story to tell. It is usually about the latest exploit that can be used to pirate Vista or XP and how the team dissect the exploits and work out ways to detect and close the holes.

A real hitch in the story came up last year, when for the first time I saw a post on the WGA about a particular attack that had been discovered, and the team very politically didn't say they could stop it, which was a first. The attack, known as the OEM BIOS exploit, tricked Vista into thinking it was running on an OEM system that didn't require activation. The reason that the attack wasn't easily stopped was because Microsoft intended it to work this way, and some variants of this attack actually reflashed the BIOS rather than relying entirely on a software solution.

I was a little disappointed because all of a sudden people were pirating something I had paid good money for. I didn't mind so much with XP because every man and his dog was running pirated versions of that, but with Vista, I though the worm had turned so to speak.

I was even more disappointed when a few months later it appeared Microsoft were giving up and in fact were going to allow pirated systems to keep on working, rather than disabling major functionality  in detected flawed systems. The reason was that most users didn't know their systems were non genuine, and blamed Microsoft when they stopped working, rather than their supplier.

So this morning I was very happy to read the latest post on the WGA blog where Microsoft are going to annoy pirates again, this time in a more subtle fashion. Not only is a WGA rollout going to happen very soon which disables the OEM BIOS exploit, Microsoft are going to get more proactive about making you notice that.

If you are running a detected non genuine system, every hour Vista is going to remove your desktop wallpaper and turn your desktop black. It will then display an 'Activate Windows Now' balloon. Why is this going to work? Because those guys who like to think they're cool and pirate windows like to have sexy looking systems all the time, with the latest wallpapers from deviantArt etc.. Nothing is going to be worse than having your system go black every hour, especially when you are demoing your cool system to mates. I really like the psychology behind this one.

Windows looking uncool :

Windows Vista looking uncool


If it was me, I would have turned the desktop bright orange, but well done Microsoft for finding the right solution here.

The Windows Genuine Advantage blog can be found at http://blogs.msdn.com/wga/default.aspx



Geek movies in Vogue (again).

By Peter Smith, in , posted: 26-Jan-2008 23:22

What with movies like the excellent 'Stardust' and the 'I haven't seen it yet' 'Golden Compass' hanging about at the moment, movies aimed at the not so mainstream audience are a bit in favour.

Check out the trailer for '5-25-77' at http://www.5-25-77.com .

Fun Facts
- 25/5/1977 is the release date of 'Star Wars'
- Remember that kid who was the lead of that cool TV show 'Freaks and Geeks' some years ago now? He's all grown up and is the lead of this movie now.
- This is produced by the same guys who produced Star Wars and American Graffiti
- Apparently this movie doesn't have a release date yet.

I had to post this just cause of my Sci Fi obsession. Anything that mentions Space 1999 earns kudos. Even more points for the Paul Simon soundtrack.



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Peter Smith
Melbourne
Australia