Posts tagged “PC”

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • [from wstarosta] Disney Helps Reboot Commodore and Amiga Brands [Brand Channel] – [The Commodore 64 is getting a re-boot from Tron, the movie. The company is updating the old school computer with a 1.8Ghz processor, Blu-ray drive, and HDMI! ] When Tron: Legacy was released in December, the product tie-in that drew all the attention was for Ducati. It's a product placement the Italian motorcycle maker told us was unpaid, but highly valuable. Now, the release of Tron: Legacy on DVD introduces a whole new marketing tie-in. This time for… Commodore 64?! That's right — Disney is helping promote the relaunch of the Commodore and Amiga brands, with the relaunched computers going on sale the same day (April 5th) as the DVD went on sale.
  • [from steveportigal] How To Steal Like An Artist (And 9 Other Things Nobody Told Me) [Austin Kleon] – [While the frame of reference is being an artist, you could substitute a lot of other descriptors and it’d work just as well – designer, innovator, ethnographer, what-have-you. The riffs here manage to be wide-ranging and incredibly concise.] Your job is to collect ideas. The best way to collect ideas is to read. Read, read, read, read, read. Read the newspaper. Read the weather. Read the signs on the road. Read the faces of strangers. The more you read, the more you can choose to be influenced by. [Thanks @anneincal!]
  • [from steveportigal] Recreating the Legendary Commodore 64 [Commodore USA, LLC] – [Many of my favorite themes here: reviving dead brands, retro technology, enthusiast fans become producers instead of just consumers, and of course, boat-loads of irony] The new Commodore 64 is a modern functional PC as close to the original in design as humanly possible. It houses a modern mini-ITX PC motherboard featuring a Dual Core 525 Atom processor and the latest Nvidia Ion2 graphics chipset. It comes in the original taupe brown/beige color, with other colors to follow…[We were] founded by Barry Altman in April 2010, with the express purpose of reviving and re-establishing the famous Commodore computer brand. We are Commodore and AMIGA fanatics, just like many of you. We ask ourselves what could have been, and we are appalled by Apple revisionism. Commodore is back, and we’re determined to bring the much loved brand back to the mainstream and restore its prominence in the tech industry to that which it richly deserves. It ain’t over ’till we say so.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • This isn’t the page of a magazine, this is my desktop [Reddit] – (With link to screenshot of PC desktop at The tv plays youtube, the middle speaker controls volume while the one on the left and right open up Rhythmbox and VLC, the cabinets are notepads, the trashbin is clearly a widget, the clock and alarm clock actually work, the books also serve as launchers, the top bar with the date lets me know of future events. I created the desktop for fun, but don't really recommend it as screenlets seem to use a lot of RAM.
  • Bob and Beyond: A Microsoft Insider Remembers [Technologizer] – [Tandy Trower relates several – ultimately unsuccessful – attempts at Microsoft to ship a UI that leverages key research from Nass and Reeves about the social interactions people have with any technology. In his view, there is tremendous value if it's done right and it wasn't ever done right.] The Office team picked up Microsoft Agent for their next release, but opted not to use the characters I had created as they preferred their own unique ones. To avoid the past user-reported annoyances, they gave users more control over when the character would appear, but did little to reform its behavior when it was present. So, you still had the same cognitive disconnect between the character’s reaction to your actions in the application’s primary interface. The character just became a sugar coating for the Help interface, which, if it failed to come up with useful results, left the user unimpressed and thinking that the character was not very useful.
  • Japanese Food Companies Seek Growth Abroad [] – [What will this mean to collectors/fans of Foreign Groceries 🙂 ] Ichiro Nakamura, spokesman for Lotte in Japan, said that the 400 versions of Koala’s March cookies — some smile and some cry, some hold musical instruments and some play sports — are much more challenging to manufacture than people might think. “We have a special technology that puffs up the koala-shaped cookies so there is hollow space inside where soft chocolate can be injected later,” Mr. Nakamura said. “And unless you have the right technology, the cookies are going to break easily when packed into boxes.”

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • Amazon’s Kindle app for the PC – (Is it still an app if it runs on a computer?) While it seems to be tied to the launch of Windows 7 this week, it will also run on XP, etc. The Kindle experience starts to become platform independent. So what it is? A UI? An OS? An ecosystem? Or a store?
  • Advertising – The People Spoke. In Windows 7, Microsoft Says It Listened – Microsoft asks PC users for feedback. But after the debacle with Vista, they realized that the concept of consumers as an intrinsic part of the development process could be an effective selling point for Windows 7. And so was born a campaign carrying the theme “I’m a PC and Windows 7 was my idea.”
    “Our customers co-create the product with us,” said David Webster, GM for brand and marketing strategy “We’re using the customers’ voice to tell our story.”
    In one ad, these words are superimposed over a photograph of a woman: “I asked for it to use less memory. Now it uses less memory. I’m a tech goddess.”
    In another ad, these words appear over a photo of an older man: “I suggested they make it less complicated. Guess what? Now it’s less complicated. I so rule.”
    In commercials, Microsoft engineers say, “Bring it on; what do you got?” PC users fire back with pithy phrases like “Less clutter, just less clutter.” And the engineers reply: “Loud and clear. We’re all over it.”

Features vs. Innovation

Although the principal conceit of Apple’s latest Mac vs. PC ad is, as always, “PCs suck,” the ad does a nice job pointing to the difference between innovative thinking and the mere creation of features.


While the cupholder suit that appears at the ad’s end is presented as a joke, many companies do have an unfortunate habit of burdening their products with clunky, grafted-on features as they try to push their ideas into new territory.

Compare the cupholder suit to Apple’s breakaway MagSafe cord, which the ad references. While there’s some debate over how well the Magsafe cord actually does what it’s supposed to, it at least intends to address a real issue that computer manufacturers had previously ignored (people’s cords get tripped on, yanked out).

Discovering that aspect of the user experience – however Apple may have done this – and recognizing it as one worthy of design intervention is the real innovation here.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • PC Makers Abandoning a Sales Pitch Built on Complex Specs – Ludicrous article claiming that all of a sudden, computers will be sold based on what they can accomplish, with a focus on aesthetics and design, and with models aimed at specific customer segments. How is any of this at all new? Much of this has been going on – to varying degrees of success – for well over a decade. And there's no indication that these "new" efforts will be any more well executed than they have in the past.

Badly written survey invite

To: [steve]
Subject: Give Your Feedback to Sundance Channel

Dear Sundance Channel viewer,

We’d like to hear about your opinions and experiences! Sundance Channel is conducting an online survey to collect information about your opinions and attitudes regarding Sundance Channel and its various programs. You must be 21 or older to participate and due to video content within the survey, the link below can only be accessed using Internet Explorer, so we encourage you to use a PC. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience this may cause.

IE =/= PC, however. PC users can use other browsers (as in my case), and Mac users can run IE. But the survey doesn’t (as they say) work with Firefox. Ah well.

No user serviceable parts inside

I replaced the hard drive in my Dell laptop yesterday. I knew that most desktop PCs were pretty straightforward for opening up and swapping out components (although my recent foray into replacing a hard drive in my deskop was a bit of a challenge, requiring going to find some archived discussions from others who had the same model computer), but always assumed that laptops were sealed and ready-for-technicians only.

Dell actually includes step-by-step instructions on how to do it. I had to remove the keyboard, the palm rest panel, and then the drive itself. The instructions seemed to miss a step but I figured it out. It was fairly easy and it worked right the first time. Kind of a neat design thing; making it non-trivial but straightforward enough that a non-mechanical and timid (but desperate) type like myself could actually do it.

Now I wonder if I can replace the drive in my old Sony VAIO 505 laptop; and make a backup system for myself?

30 must-have PC skills

30 must-have PC skills

Here’s the top 10, just to make the point

1. Move and copy files
2. Navigate using keyboard shortcuts
3. Use shortcuts in Word
4. Install and remove new hardware
5. Send image files as attachments
6. Search your hard disk
7. Hard disk maintenance (including disk cleanup and defragmenter)
8. System restore and backup
9. Update software online
10. Create desktop shortcuts

How many can you do? To me, this list suggests how daunting a lot of this stuff is. I know several PC users that don’t understand file systems – where files are stored when you download them or save them. To ask them to attach something, say, by finding it somewhere on the vast structure of files and folders, yikes. They’ve managed to use apps without building that level of knowledge. So doing these tasks, I dunno, it’s pretty challenging without getting a sense of the underlying model of the system that these tasks all require.

I’d opt for things like “cleaning up the desktop” “knowing what the start menu is” “choosing a printer” – some real fundamental stuff that you can build on to get to these skills.

But anyway, the fact that the 30 things they picked are actually pretty hard just confirms my sense that computers are still too hard to understand/use.

Update: A reasonable-looking intro/tutorial on Windows XP can be found here.


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