Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Motorola and its so-so line-up

Shown here is the latest phone model of Motorola, the ZN5. It has the latest doodads such as a Kodak-developed camera subsystem. But what should have been a winner has a chink in its capabilities: it is still limited to 2.5G or EDGE level. Whereas every phone maker has packaged a 3G system to their high-end and middle-end phones (Nokia seems to be advancing 3G even to low-end phones), Motorola stuck its units in 2.5G world. If the product manager of this unit is still with the firm, he/she should be laid off for forgetting this simple thing. Guys, if you want to capture market share, make sure all your units is at least 3G capable. Also, how about experimenting with at least 5 basic colors for variety? If Motorola would like to have a chance to recover from its downfall, they better improve their lineup by producing 3G phones only. 'Nuff said.

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Monday, May 05, 2008

Thanks, Asus!

I would like to thank Asus for producing the EEE PC. This one product causes a tsunami effect in the prices of notebook computers causing most to lower their prices. One of these computer is the notebook that I am using right now.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

ECS-D25 Notebook: The Story So Far.....

The notebook is an object of envy among my friends. I have optimized so that it is running fast. So fast that a friend who was using my notebook for editing a CAD file, was amazed with its speed! Methinks the components have a major factor here: ATI chipset/video, Intel mobile processor, large RAM. Let us see....

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Buying a notebook: Choosing what you need

Since I'm having a hard time using our firm's computers (too many viruses, very old computers, unoptimized performance), I bought a notebook using whatever savings me & the wife has. When I was shopping around at Gilmore, I checked out all the available models within my budget range (PhP 24,000 max). I am not particular with the manufacturer (remember, all notebook brands have their machines built by Taiwanese manufacturers who in turn are creating second-and third-tier brands. Also, at that price range, no Windows installation software is provided.

As I went around, my budget will only fit notebooks with either a Celeron and Core Solo processors. The former was designed to be very limited while the latter was a manufacturing flaw (only one core is working). I decided to go with Core Solo since it was certain advanced features (Intel SpeedStep technology and larger L2 cache).

I wanted to have a notebook with more than sufficient memory, DVD RW drive, and Wifi. A sales personnel pushed ECS Elitegroup D25. No use looking at ECS website since no information is provided there. My theory is that Intel sold processors with manufacturing flaws (like Core Solo) at bargain prices to Taiwanese manufacturers which in turn produced otherwise relatively cheap notebooks.

Going back to the notebook, the current form of ECS D25 being peddled to me has 512 MB DDR2 RAM running at 667 Mhz, 80GB hard drive, modem/WiFi and DVD RW drive. It costs about PhP 22,000. I added another 1GB of RAM for PhP 1,000 and bought the notebook. It came with additional Creative Technology freebies such as USB mouse, 2.0 speakers and webcam to sweeten the deal. I also bought a keyboard protector and network cable.

It was hard installing the OS since there were 2 CDs without any direct written instructions. But I nailed it after two days. So far, the notebook is running superbly fine. I run various large programs while watching at YouTube without any glitch. More on that later.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Motorola W230: Upgrading the Basic Phone – 1

In this article, we shall provide an initial review of Motorola's newest basic phone model, the W230. This is based on the available information from the Internet, specifically reviews from other sites and Motorola's own website. The second part of the review shall be posted later which is a hands-on review of the said unit.

A basic phone is a phone that is used for making calls and sending/receiving text messages at low price point. That's about it. Anything else is extra. Right now, cell phone makers are deluging the marketplace with an overwhelming choices. Nokia, the world's No. 1 cell phone manufacturer, has about 20-30 phone models that can be classified as basic phones. This Motorola offering sets itself differently by having the ability to become an MP3 player at a very low price (less than PhP 2,500 or about US$ 58 using an exchange rate of PhP 43:US$1). At that price point, this phone signals the death knell of standalone MP3 players.



Width = 45 mm x Length = 110.97 mm x Thickness = 14.7mm


80 g


Dual Band: GSM 900/1800, GSM 850/1900, GPRS Class 10


128 x 128; 65,536 colors; 1.6”

Built-in Memory

800 KB user downloadable memory

μ SD card slot

Internal, Up to 2GB capacity

Talk Time

568 minutes

Talk Time (Manufacturer Estimate)

568 minutes or 9.47 hours for calls

10 hours for MP3 playback

Standby Time (Manufacturer Estimate)

450 minutes or 7.5 hours

Included in the Package

Phone Unit, Battery, Earphones, Charger


Monday, May 14, 2007

Open Source Getting Snake Eyes With Microsoft

After getting a deal with Novell, Microsoft is now pushing itself to the Open Source Community through questionable legal tactics as shown by two News.com articles below. "Questionable" since their intent was to make money out of the Open Source Movement, litigate those who will not follow and creating fears to open source users. Hmm, typical Microsoft tactic of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD), learned from IBM and Intel. It seems that Microsoft would like the world to go back to Dark Ages again. Limiting the growth and development Open Source Movement is like building a 10-meter high dam to stop a 100-m high tsunami: no matter what Microsoft do, the Open Source Movement will continue to grow and strive. What is now in question is how serious is Microsoft in embracing the Open Source Movement. Methinks that Bill Gates and his cohorts (old Microsoft generation such as Steve Ballmer) should retire first and leave the company to a younger and more collaborative generation led by Ray Ozzie. Only then I will believe that Microsoft is truly serious with the Open Source Movement. By then, Microsoft might play straight and make its open-source partners see "snake eyes."


Hey, Microsoft Guys, I still remember how you use SCO as your dummy against Free/Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS). Have you forgetten what happen after SCO declared their intention to sue everybody? Does anybody still remembers SCO for that matter? Your FUD tactics will not only backfire against you, but would only solidify the FLOSS community against you. Do continue, it would make my job easier to convert other people to using FLOSS instead of your software products.

Microsoft agitates for open-source patent pacts

By Stephen Shankland

Story last modified Mon May 14 15:58:50 PDT 2007

Following some frosty responses to Microsoft's controversial patent deal with Novell last year, the software maker has begun a more aggressive attempt to convince open-source software companies to license its know-how.

In an interview with Fortune magazine published this week, Microsoft's top lawyer, Brad Smith, provided a stark tally of 235 Microsoft patents the company believes are violated by free and open-source software, though he stopped short of detailing any. Specifically, he alleged that the Linux kernel violates 42 Microsoft patents; its user interface and other design elements infringe 65; OpenOffice.org infringes 45; and other packages infringe another 83 Microsoft patents.

Microsoft could have several motives for rattling its patent saber: slowing down open-source rivals, raising fears of open-source legal risks among customers, and winning payment for technology the company believes it deserves from a group that's been generally been unwilling to pony up.

But according to Horacio Gutierrez, vice president of intellectual property and licensing at Microsoft, the company's move is designed to bring parties to the negotiating table that currently aren't there. "There is nothing specific about open-source software that warrants an exception of the intellectual property laws that apply to everyone else," Gutierrez said. He called the purported patent infringements "not accidental."

Microsoft is a major player in the existing legal and business establishment for handling intellectual property, which includes assets such as patents, trademarks and copyrights. That framework gives considerable power to incumbent companies with large patent portfolios and sufficient resources to pursue more.

"It's a game in which those who have a lot of resources to throw around have a lot of advantage," said Tom Carey, a partner in the Boston-based intellectual property law firm Bromberg & Sunstein.

As an example of what it would like to see, Microsoft points primarily to the Novell patent deal struck last November, in which Microsoft is selling coupons that permit use of Novell's Suse Linux Enterprise Server along with the assurance that Microsoft won't assert its patents against customers. It's unclear how high open-source patent protection is on most companies' priority list, but Microsoft has made a big deal out of the fact that Linux protections are included in two patent-swap deals this year made with Samsung and Fuji Xerox.

Raising the prospect of open-source patent risks might not be likely to make Red Hat, the top Linux seller, overcome its current unwillingness to pay Microsoft for patent rights. But it could pressure Red Hat and others indirectly, either through jittery customers or through big-business partners such as IBM. That's Microsoft's hope.

"We don't think that customers will want to continue on without a solution to the problem," Gutierrez said. Microsoft also pointed to the fact that AIG, Credit Suisse, HSBC, Nationwide, and Wal-Mart all have bought the Linux Suse Linux coupons from Microsoft.

But does open-source infringe?
The only problem with Microsoft's plan: so far its actions have only rallied the open-source troops, and not everyone believes the open-source gang egregiously violates the intellectual property regime.

"I don't think open-source is not playing by existing intellectual property rules," said Mark Radcliffe, an intellectual property attorney with DLA Piper. "Currently, open-source (participants) use copyright for everything they do. A lot of open-source companies have patents."

Radcliffe also derided Microsoft's reasoning that the purported open-source patent violations aren't accentual because the company thinks hundreds of cases exist. "It's an illusion or deceptive to say merely because there apparently potentially a lot of patents infringed, it's intentional. That's certainly not the legal standard," he said. "I would also be willing to bet, given the number of patent suits against Microsoft that they've lost, under their own theory, Microsoft itself is intentionally infringing."

The fact remains, though, that patents and open-source software can be anathema. Patents give exclusive, proprietary rights to those who hold them, but open-source software is built on a philosophy of free technology sharing. Many in the open-source realm deride software patents and have been lobbying to curtail their influence.

When Novell and Microsoft announced their patent deal, the Free Software Foundation was quick to say it would move to prohibit such arrangements in a future version of the General Public License (GPL), the most widely used open-source license. The most recent draft seeks to prohibit all future deals of that nature and potentially past ones, too.

The timing of Microsoft's pronouncement is telling, Radcliffe said, "particularly when you think that GPL version 3 is still in draft. I don't think that is a coincidence," he said.

Red Hat, which indemnifies its customers against legal risks and has promised to rewrite any software found to violate others' intellectual property, told its customers Monday they have nothing to fear. "The reality is that the community development approach of free and open-source code represents a healthy development paradigm, which, when viewed from the perspective of pending lawsuits related to intellectual property, is at least as safe as proprietary software," the company said in a statement.

Microsoft won't say how much farther out of the scabbard it will pull its saber if the current effort fails to bring forth more patent deals with open-source companies.

"I don't have the answer for that. I have the answer for those that want to be responsible," Guttierez said.

But Microsoft would prefer not to sue, according to Guttierez. "If we wanted to litigate we would have done that a long time ago. Litigation is not an effective way of going about solutions," he said, adding that the company released the tally of potentially infringing patents now only after three years of effort to come up with a "constructive" way of dealing with the situation.

Open-source allies are willing to call Microsoft's bluff.

"I can't see it as any more than a somewhat hollow anti-open-source charade," said Matt Asay, vice president of business development for open-source document management start-up Alfresco. "If they want to really get people buying into their patents, they've got to put forth some substance...They haven't shown what the patents are or what they cover."

Larry Augustin, a venture capitalist who grew wealthy off a Linux-related initial public offering, told Microsoft on his blog to "put up or shut up." "If Microsoft believes that free and open-source software violates any of their patents, let them put those patents forward now, in the light of day, where we can all evaluate them on their merits," Augustin said. "If not, then stop trying to bully customers into paying royalties to use open source."

Litigation is unlikely, said Brian Kelly, an intellectual property attorney with Manatt, Phelps & Phillips: "If the end game is a lawsuit, you probably lead with a lawsuit."

Of course, the SCO Group did lead with litigation in 2003 when it took on IBM with claims that Big Blue violated its contract by bringing proprietary Unix technology to open-source Linux. But Linux continues to spread widely despite that case--even with SCO suing actual customers.

At the same time, open-source allies are accumulating more legal heft by banding together and signing up some of the computing industry's largest companies. Oracle now sells its own version of Linux, and Sony, Red Hat, IBM, Novell and Philips formed the Open Invention Network in 2005 to try to amass a patent counterweight. Patent holders who join the organization or license its patents agree not to sue over patents in the "Linux environment."

Even if Microsoft doesn't sign any more patent pacts, just slowing down the competition could be counted as a victory. Illuminata analyst Jonathan Eunice, in a blog posting Monday, likened Microsoft's patent threat to Iraq's use of Scud missiles in Persian Gulf War of the '90s.

"The point wasn't to actually use the weapon, but rather to require opposing forces to plan and take countermeasures against the possibility of use," he said. "While they were so occupied, they were less effective doing other things."

CNET News.com staff writer Ina Fried contributed to this report.

Copyright ©1995-2007 CNET Networks, Inc. All rights reserved.

Report: Microsoft says open source violates 235 patents

By Stephen Shankland

Story last modified Mon May 14 06:16:01 PDT 2007

Microsoft claims that free and open-source software violates 235 of its patents, according to a magazine report published Sunday.

In an interview with Fortune, Microsoft top lawyer Brad Smith alleges that the Linux kernel violates 42 Microsoft patents, while its user interface and other design elements infringe on a further 65. OpenOffice.org is accused of infringing 45, along with 83 more in other free and open-source programs, according to Fortune.

It is not entirely clear how Microsoft might proceed in enforcing these patents, but the company has been encouraging large tech companies that depend on Linux to ink patent deals, starting with its controversial pact with Novell last November. Microsoft has also cited Linux protection playing a role in recent patent swap deals with Samsung and Fuji Xerox. Microsoft has also had discussions but not reached a deal with Red Hat, as noted in the Fortune article.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is also quoted in the article as saying Microsoft's open-source competitors need to "play by the same rules as the rest of the business."

"What's fair is fair," Ballmer told Fortune. "We live in a world where we honor, and support the honoring of, intellectual property."

The story notes that some big tech proponents of open source have been stockpiling intellectual property as part of the Open Invention Network, set up in 2005 by folks like Sony, Red Hat, IBM, NEC and Philips. The article surmises that if Microsoft were to go after open source, these companies' combined know-how might give it some patent weapons to go after Windows.

A Microsoft representative did not immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

Given how deeply entrenched open-source software has become in the computing industry, taking direct legal action against the open-source realm would be a complicated, hackle-raising undertaking for Microsoft. Customers use open-source software widely, and many major computing companies--IBM, Dell, Sun Microsystems, Hewlett-Packard, Motorola and Oracle, for example--support Linux work directly.

It's not the first time that open-source patent concerns have arisen. A 2004 study by a Open Source Risk Management, a company selling insurance against risks of using open-source software, concluded that Linux could violate at least 283 patents, 27 of them Microsoft patents.

Patents and the open-source movement get along awkwardly at best. Patent law gives proprietary, exclusive rights to patent holders, but open-source programming is built on the idea of free sharing. Newer open-source licenses sometimes address the issue by requiring contributors to open-source projects to grant users and developers of the software a perpetual, royalty-free license to any patents that relate to the contribution.

Different companies have dealt in different ways with the open-source patent conundrum. For example, HP has taken a pro-patent stance, while IBM, Nokia, Sun and others have granted some rights to use some of their patents in open-source software.

The Open Invention Network remains a relatively young effort, but it has attracted participation this year from proprietary software giant Oracle and from Linux support seller Canonical. A company may license the network's patents for free as long as they promise not to assert any patent claims against those involved in the "Linux environment."

The Free Software Foundation is working on a new draft of the General Public License, one element of which will ban partnerships such as the one struck by Novell and Microsoft.

Copyright ©1995-2007 CNET Networks, Inc. All rights reserved.

Monday, May 07, 2007

RIP Windows?

In 1995, Microsoft introduces a new operating called Windows 95. It also announce the end of life of DOS. Since then, computer users experienced new versions of Windows with the latest being Windows Vista. Will Vista be the last Windows or the start of its death march?

It took Bill Gates and company around three years after the release of Windows XP to get it out. It also performs major surgery, dropping several promised technologies from Windows Vista feature list. Even then, loud rumors have been circulating that Windows Vista is already flawed and that a Service Pack was ready while Vista was being packaged. And then it was released. Problems abound.

Heavy hardware requirements aside, Vista's security management is far too rigid that it is a problem just to install your standard XP programs such as Adobe Acrobat. Yet it still open to attacks. Aero Glass interface is such a power hog that several laptop computer manufacturers had it turn off upon purchase of their computers to be able to save power (http://news.com.com/Vista+draining+laptop+batteries%2C+patience/2100-1044_3-6181366.html?tag=item). Its power management is even more confusing than ever before.

So where do Microsoft should go from here?

There are three paths that it can thread. First, do an Apple reboot meaning create a clean, new operating system without any of the legacy codes. Though Microsoft is big, the source code of Windows is said to be in millions of lines that even several legions of programmers, it may take several years again to redo it. I think this should be done immediately since the bugs and hack openings of Windows is worsening. Computer users, including this author, are experiencing renewed attacks from malovalent programs such viruses, spywares, rootkits and trojans. It is already reaching an exasperating level already.

Second, they can just buy Novell Suse and use it as a base for its new "Windows". I must admit this a radical approach but the most logical one given the buggy nature of the current Windows. It is also cost-effective, easier and faster to implement. But legal issues may be encountered since Suse Linux is open source. Microsoft may produced a closed-source version from Novell Suse.

Third, Microsoft will still use current source code no matter what. That would mean Windows users will continue their sufferings. Some, if not all, Windows users may slowly experiment and eventually shift to Linux. This might be the likely situation.

Given the renewed drive against software piracy by their governments, users in third world countries will definitely give Linux and FLOSS a try. Hopefully, they will also shift.

Now, let us wait and see on what will Microsoft will do.