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$10 To Answer This Question

I’m completely unable to find an answer (though this Russian forum might have something), so I’ll give ten bucks via PayPal (or whatever) to the first person to give me a working answer to this question:

How do I force an ATI X1550 card to output YPrPb signals on VGA under Windows Vista?

Even if it’s a stupid answer, if it works, I’ll pay you. It’s probably a registry key, or maybe there’s software, or maybe the Russians know something. If I have to buy the ATI HDTV dongle, and you can confirm that for me, I’ll give you five bucks.

Thanks for the assistance.

November 30th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | General | one comment

Is Windows XP SP3 A Huge Mistake?

Microsoft is in the process of testing Service Pack 3 for Windows XP, in preparation for a wide release, and all indications are that it is a significant performance improvement for XP. In fact, the performance of XP under SP3 is so good, that some are saying it makes Windows Vista look like a chump.

It’s already a fact that Windows XP, with a six-year old architecture and tons of patches to stabilize and protect it, is Windows Vista’s number one competitor. XP is relatively stable, carries lower requirements, is compatible with almost everything and is usually already installed on most computers (except brand new ones). The challenge for Microsoft isn’t so much to prove Vista is better than Apple’s Mac OS, but that it is better than XP.

Microsoft until now has been challenging the image of XP in the marketplace, but when SP3 releases, it’ll actually be competing with itself. XP SP3 is an improvement to an already popular operating system, one that puts a direct shot across Vista’s bow, and actually sets up the team that developed SP3 as competition for Windows Vista.

Microsoft’s not stupid. It knows that it is in some ways shooting its own Vista in the foot with SP3, making Vista’s adoption harder against an improved XP point release. It would have been dishonest to its customers to cripple XP SP3 just to help Vista, and you can see how much Microsoft has improved in that it isn’t doing so. An “evil” company certainly would have.

Microsoft is likely counting on two things. Most probably, it will not significantly market SP3 like it did for Service Pack 2 three years ago. Current users will get the improvement, but Microsoft won’t encourage people to buy XP now that it has been improved. Microsoft wants you to get a better XP, but if you don’t have it, they still want you picking up Vista, which is also getting an improved Service Pack 1 release.

Besides that, Microsoft is probably hoping the good will from SP3 will encourage you to keep using Windows. Microsoft is seriously improving an older product at a significant cost to itself, showing commitment to improving its users experience at any cost. Microsoft will remind you that Vista will receive the same commitment, and that Apple charges money for point releases every two years.

Will it work? SP3 is going to cost Microsoft and Vista in the short run, but in the long run it could be a huge help for the company. At the least, if you’re buying XP, you’re still not buying Apple, right?

Photo by doobybrain under CC license

November 30th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | XP, Vista, Apple, Windows, General | 5 comments

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MSN Video Surges Into Second Place

MSN Video is now the second most popular video brand on the internet, following a 25.3% traffic surge in October. MSN jumped to 35 million users, giving it 9% market share, good enough for #2 in an area heavily dominated by Google’s YouTube. Yahoo is half a percentage point behind Google. If Microsoft can sustain big gains for a few more months, they could pull away to become the indisputed top at the “Best of the Rest”.

November 30th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Soapbox, MSN | no comments

iPhone To Get PowerPoint Sync With Mac Office 2008

Microsoft’s Mac Business Unit has announced that Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac OS will allow iPhone and iPod users to sync with PowerPoint. You will be able to run PowerPoint slideshows on your iPhone, iPod Touch, iPod Classic and fatty iPod Nano (any iPod with picture support) if you have a Mac with PowerPoint 2008 and iPhoto (2006 or better).

PowerPoint will connect with iPhoto and export your presentation as a series of high resolution photos. Those photos will be saved on your hard drive and synced to your iPhone as photos normally are. Then, you can whip out your iPhone at any time and show slides from your PowerPoint presentation, or you can even plug the iPhone/iPod into a TV or projector to run a version of the presentation, minus the usual animations and transitions.

This via Mary Jo, who mentions that the Exchange sync iPhone users were promised four months has still not arrived, with no word on when or if it is ever coming.

November 30th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Apple, Office, Applications | no comments

The “Computer Randomly Plays Classical Music”, according to Microsoft Support

In what has to be first place for “Weirdest Tech Support Article Ever” we have Microsoft Help and Support Knowledge Base article 261186: Computer Randomly Plays Classical Music. Apparently, certain Award/Unicore BIOSes from 1997 on and detection circuits, which would alert you that the processor fan was failing the power supply voltages had drifted out of tolerance by playing classical music.

What would they play?

Beethoven’s Fur Elise:

And the Sherman Brothers / Disney’s It’s a Small, Small World:

That’s a pretty funny error message, and shows some good humor by the engineers. Plus, it creates a lot of incentive for the user to get the PC fixed, since who wouldn’t go crazy and take their PC to be repaired if it played “It’s a Small World After All” over and over and over and over and….

November 30th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Humor | 2 comments