The Slacker Portable Player is not your average MP3 player. Rather than just providing the space for you to transfer your digital music (and sometimes video) collection, this device offers an integrated music-listening experience courtesy of the Slacker Web Player. Although the service itself is provided for free, the Portable Player is not a cheap device in the scheme of things, running well above the average price for most music players (the 2GB, 4GB, and 8GB models run $199.99, $249.99, and $299.99, respectively). But this player offers something the others don't: freedom from being tethered to … Read more
The situation is familiar to countless Windows users: They're in a groove at work, firing off e-mails, crafting documentation, and even blogging on their personal site during breaktime, when suddenly, something takes over 99 percent of the CPU, slowing it to a virtual standstill. A quick look at the invaluable Process Explorer (or the standard Windows Task Manager) indicates that a process called svchost.exe is using all that CPU. What's more, there's one main CPU offender. Multiple versions of svchost.exe are running in the background and hogging CPU cycles. What is it? Is it spyware? Hackers? Terrorists?
Although there are historical cases of malware using svchost.exe, because of its common presence, it's most likely just Windows being Windows. Svchost.exe is a generic process name for Windows services that run from Microsoft DLLs (dynamically linked libraries). Each of those instances of svchost.exe in the process lists actually represents a group of services that each process is managing. With Process Explorer, it's easy to see which services each process manages, and stop them one by one to see which is the CPU culprit.
In the spring of 2007, a major problem arose with a Windows update that caused svchost.exe to use 100 percent of CPU because of an issue with Automatic Updates. To correct that bug, be sure that Windows is fully patched with the most recent updates.
The first thing to do is to determine which of the active svchost.exe processes is causing the slowdown. Fire up Process Explorer, and click on the CPU column header to sort the list of processes by processor usage. A list of processes, sorted from most processor intensive to least intensive, is displayed. When the computer stalls, switch over to Process Explorer and see which running process is causing the crunch.… Read more
We're creeping up on a year since I first got a hold of the Slacker Portable Player at SXSW in Austin. I'm pleased to see that the fledgling company has not lost track of its vision, and is indeed making good on all the hype. That's right, folks: we've finally got our hands on a real, honest-to-goodness, working Slacker Portable Player. It's about darn time, too. Actually, it's in the knick of time, because the units have also just gone on sale to the public, and I want to make sure you all get … Read more
Microsoft has wrapped up development of two major products, Windows Server 2008 and the Service Pack 1 update to Windows Vista, CEO Steve Ballmer told financial analysts Monday.
"Both products have released to manufacturing today, which is good news," Ballmer said.
Ballmer highlighted a few big corporate deployments of Vista, including at Continental Airlines, which is in the process of upgrading 10,000 systems.
"We think we are turning the corner in terms of enterprise deployment, and Service Pack 1 will be a huge boon," Ballmer said.
Microsoft will begin distributing Vista SP1 via Windows Update … Read more
Just about everyone else on the Internet has written on the potential acquisition of Yahoo by Microsoft for $44.6 billion, but I thought that I would weigh in on what I think this might mean for search and Web services.
According to ComScore's search share numbers for December 2007, Google has 58.4 percent of the market share, with Yahoo and Microsoft trailing at 22.9 percent and 9.8 percent, respectively. If Microsoft and Yahoo combine forces and change nothing, that will put them at 32.7 percent to Google's 58.4 percent. While those numbers … Read more
Updated at 1:50 p.m. PST with comments from Dell.
More changes are afoot at Dell. The Texas PC maker plans to shut down a Canadian call center and lay off almost 900 workers.
The Edmonton, Alberta, center in Canada will close during the second quarter to consolidate customer service operations. Most of the nearly 900 employees will receive pink slips, while some will be reassigned elsewhere in the company. In addition, Dell has decided not to open a second Canadian customer service center planned for Ottawa. In all, the company has 25 call centers worldwide.
The cuts "… Read more
Stephen Wildstrom over at Businessweek has news for Microsoft Vista hangers-on: it's not worth the wait.Expectations for Vista SP1 may be unreasonably high because Windows XP had such a successful overhaul in a 2003 upgrade called XP Service Pack 2. In contrast, Vista SP1 is mostly a bundle of bug fixes and performance upgrades, many of which had been released previously. There's a lot of improvement under the hood in the form of better stability, security, and compatibility, but very little of it is in a form users will notice.… Read more
EnterpriseDB has ported its Oracle-compatible PostgreSQL database to a new platform: Amazon.com's hosted compute cloud.
The company on Tuesday started taking invitations for a beta program for EnterpriseDB Cloud Edition that will launch in March. The final product should be available this summer, according to EnterpriseDB Chief Technology Officer Bob Zurek, who spearheaded the initiative.
Amazon already offers a hosted database, called SimpleDB, but Zurek said that its database is designed for transactions and industrial-strength applications.
The service works with clustering software from Elastra, which means that servers and storage are quickly brought online to meet changes in … Read more
Editors' note, 11:00 a.m. PST: This blog has been condensed from an earlier version.
A group calling itself Anonymous is continuing its war against the Church of Scientology with a new video posted Monday. In its latest video message, the group seeks to dispel the notion it is a group of super hackers and, as though to prove it, includes a call for real-world protests outside Scientology centers worldwide on February 10. Friday night, the Church of Scientology issued a statement about the online attacks.
The latest two-minute video from the group continues to use a computer-generated voice, … Read more
We get so used to doing things a certain way, we sometimes miss new techniques that could save us time and trouble. My latest "d'oh!" moment was when I realized, after spending a couple of hours moving files from my office PC to an FTP server so I could sync them with my new laptop, that there's a better and faster way that doesn't cost a nickel: remote access.
A couple of years ago I edited a review of a half dozen remote-access services that link to a PC from any other Internet-connected machine. At … Read more