2009
02.13

Want a Mac? Want something that won’t break the bak? Got a deal for you…

http://www.apple.com/macbook/white

Basically you’re looking at an aluminum MacBook…without the aluminum…with FireWire.

Yes, FireWire. Apple seems to have listened to the plaintive cries of Mac tech-heads everywhere. For the people who don’t need the aluminum housing, the new white MacBook has pretty much all the features of the aluminum model, albeit at a price point $300 lower than the metal model.

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2009
02.12

So lately SkyBeam has bought out most of the wireless internet providers in the area (WisperTel and Mesa Networks, to name a few). This is important because SkyBeam now serves the Golden area. So if you’re willing to pay the $100 setup fee, you may have an alternative to Comcast if you want relatively high speed uploads and an alternative to Qwest if you want service a bit cheaper. The speeds and prices are also a bit better than Comcast’s Economy tier…

$34.95 – 1.5 Mbps downloads, 512 kbps uploads
$44.95 – 5 Mbps downloads, 2 Mbps uploads

The above prices include $5 for equipment rental.

One caveat: the service may or may not be good. Reviews have been mixed. Additionally, speeds aren’t quite guaranteed. When I asked about service, I was quoted 3-5 Mbps for downloads, 1.5-2 Mbps for uploads. Then again, the system may work well enough. At least there’s another option, rpovided you have line of sight to a WisperTel…uh…SkyBeam tower.

2009
02.12

If you’re in Golden you know that internet options are rather limited. There’s SkyBeam (more on them in another post) who might cover you with their wireless system, but that assumes line-of-sight and reviews are mixed. Otherwise you’re left with Comcast (cable) and Qwest (DSL). The prices, if you just want internet? Rather atrocious:

Qwest (multiply download speeds by 85% to get the actual amount; uploads are around 700 kbit/s…below are advertised speeds)
$39.99 – 1.5 Mbit/s down, 896k up
$46.99 – 5-7 Mbit/s down, 896k up (at my place I can only get 5 Mbps)

Comcast (with PowerBoost, see here for how that works)
$54.95 – 6 Mbit/s down, 1 Mbit/s up
$64.95 – 8 Mbit/s down, 2 Mbit/s up

Nothing below $40 per month as far as anyone can tell…

…until you call in to Comcast and ask for their Economy tier. Which is $34.95 with no other services, and delivers a megabit per second down, and 384 kilobits per second up. No PowerBoost Worse performance speed-wise than Qwest’s 1.5 Mbit tier, but also cheaper. But not much cheaper…

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2009
02.12
NOTE: This is another bunch of tips passed on to me via Jeff Neet…

Windows 7 beta 1 includes some handy new shortcut key combinations that allow you to navigate and manage the Windows workspace more efficiently. Here are 10 new Windows 7 shortcuts that will help you speed up your workflow (“Win” means the Windows Key):
Win+Home: Clear all but the active window
Win+Space: All windows become transparent so you can see through to the desktop
Win+Up arrow: Maximize the active window
Win+Down arrow: Minimize the active window or restore the window if it’s maximized
Win+Left/Right arrows: Dock the active window to each side of the monitor

Win+Shift+Left/Right arrows: If you’ve got dual monitors, this will move the active window to the adjacent monitor

Win+T: Shift focus to and scroll through items on the taskbar
Win+P: Adjust presentation settings for your display
Win+(+/-): Zoom in/out
Shift+Click a taskbar item: Open a new instance of that particular application
Tips provided by Stephen Rose, the Senior Community Manager for theĀ TechNet Springboard Series. Stephen supports Windows Client IT Pros (for Windows Vista and Windows 7) worldwide. He is an MCSE, MCT, and two time MVP in Setup and Deployment.
2009
02.08

Wanted to share or transfer files to other people, but oculdn’t find your trusty flash drive? Or were said files pretty sall anyway, but generally not a good idea to e-mail?

Enter drop.io. Put in the URL you want your “drop” to be placed at (drop.io/something), select the files you want to upload, then hit the big red “drop it” button. No signup needed, and each drop can be up to 100MB in size for free. For-pay services are somewhat less attractive; $10 gets you one drop-GB-year and things go up from there. When you consider the fact that drop.io is running off of Amazon’s S3 and EC2 services, you’re looking at a steep premium for sharing convenience, but the extra space and dead-simple UI may be worth it to someone.P Plus, if you want to game the system, drop.io doesnt charge for data transfer, so theoretically if you upload a 1GB file and it’s downloaded five times, you’re goming out ahead versus going direct to Amazon.

The bottom line: drop.io is dead easy and dang useful. I personally use the service once or twice a week, and that service was how my C++ Programming Concepts team shared files last semester. Text message notifications let us know when files were uploaded, and no email trail to get tangled in. Gotta love Web 2.0, whether its innovations are technical, user-focused or both. Seems like drop.io is in the third category.

2009
02.06

Looks like Comcast is bringing their DOCSIS 3.0 technology to the Denver area (which includes Golden) “soon”. This is a good thing; current 6/1 and 8/2 tier customers will get automatic and free upgrades to 12/2 and 16/2 speeds (upload/download in Mbps) respectively when the new tech rolls out. If you’re willing to pay $10 more per month than the current 8/2 tier, you’ll be able to get DOCSIS 3 service where the modem spreads download traffic over three cable channels instead of one, for a total of 22 Mbps down, 5 Mbps up. Finally, for $140 or so, you’ll be able to get 50 Mbps down, 10 Mbps up. Another perk: due to the DOCSIS 3 upgrade, we’ll also get DOCSIS 2…current Denver customers are slumming it on the 10-Mbps-upstream-per-channel DOCSIS 1.1. The endgame: 3x the upload capacity per node, for 2-4x faster uploads while on PowerBoost, and the ability for tiers with more than 2 Mbps of upload built in to exist.

The flip side of the coin: caps and “protocol agnostic” throttling. All residential tiers will get a 250GB usage cap per month (even the $140 one), with anyone above that running the risk of being cut off service-wise for a year ont their second violation. Yes, 250GB is a lot, however it’s reachable by such things as online backup and HD video streaming by multiple people. The secourse: get a business class connection, which won’t be too expensive for a 12/2 tier, which I’ll in all likelihood be switching to when the new speeds hit.

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2009
02.06

Liked my virtualization article? Then you might also like this…as long as VMWare has a prebuilt virtual machine to fit your desire, unless you want to shll out a few bucks for VMWare’s other products to make the VM in the first place.