Tag Archives: sony

The Floppy Disk is Not Dead

It’s easy to spot a computer user of a certain age. Anybody who grew up using PCs in the ’80s or early ’90s will usually have one tell-tale-sign: an over-developed wrist reflex brought on from years of floppy disk swapping!

The news that Sony was finally ceasing production of 3.5” floppy disks has saddened a few nostalgic fans who’ve grown a warm affinity for these small pieces of plastic over the last three decades.
Apple was the first company to do away with floppy drives on their machines. As early as 1998, the iMac system shipped with no drive, a move which provided much abuse from the technology press. Macworld magazine called the decision unforgivable at the time:

…the most shocking part of the iMac isn’t what it offers, but what it lacks. The iMac has no floppy drive, which might be forgivable if there were a Zip drive or other removable-media option, but there isn’t.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. The years that followed proved Apple right, and it’s become increasingly rare to see any PCs or laptops shipping with floppy disk drives in the last decade.

Some news reports claimed that Sony was the final floppy manufacturer. This information is not exactly true though, companies such as Verbatim, Maxell and 3M are still making them. But who is using these low-capacity ’80s relics in the 21st century?

Quite a lot of people apparently! British magnetic media company Verbatim have told the BBC they still sell hundreds of thousands of them in the UK alone, with millions more shipping every year across Europe.

Many modern systems still provide firmware for booting from a floppy disk, and many users keep a USB drive and disk on standby in case of emergencies. Windows XP still requires a floppy to install many third-party RAID and SATA drives if the boot CD has not been slipstreamed to include the drivers.

The increased interest in “retro computing” in recent years could account for steady floppy sales. There are even high-street magazines dedicated to covering classic computers and consoles of the 1980s and 1990s, such as Retro Gamer. Old-school is big business at the moment.

Of course, there are pieces of technology that used floppy drives to store data, outside of the PC realm. Older music productions units are still in use across music studios around the world, samplers and keyboards often used floppy disks to store data, some scientific kit such as oscillators also still use them.

It may just be a lot of average non-tech enthusiasts who are still using older PCs on a daily basis, which still function just fine and they have no cause to upgrade.

Do you still have any uses for floppy disks? Have you bought a new batch of them recently?

Your Discs Will be Floppy No More

Do you remember back in 1981 when the floppy disc first made its appearance? At the time, it was a fairly large leap in technology and portability. While many of you young people may snort and scoff at that statement, I assure you it was true of the times more than twenty years ago. As of last year, Sony was still reportedly selling around 8.5 million of these little discs in Japan alone.

However, due to the changing times, Sony has announced they will stop making floppies. Sony wrapped up international sales of floppy discs last month. The company already stopped producing the drives last September. Sadly, it’s the end of an era for those of us who remember. It will be interesting to see how many old-school Geeks will have a fit over this turn of events. I do happen to know people who actually still USE their old beloved floppies.

Are you still a die-hard floppy disc user? Does your computer even HAVE a place to use them?

Even if you don’t have a floppy disc drive on your computer, you can still take advantage of the software discounts we have available for you.

What Type of Music Helps You be More Productive?

I am like many of you out there… I cannot work unless there is music playing in the background. My assistant Kat is the same way. If she’s at her computer (which is always!), there is music playing. She swears she cannot concentrate unless she has music pumping through her speakers or headphones. It apparently makes her more productive than if she has silence or a different type of noise in her immediate area. Thinking about it, I guess I’m the same way. I do my best writing when there is music to fit my mood at that moment playing.

That’s the key for me… my mood. I don’t listen to any one particular style of music all the time. I like a pretty wide variety of stuff. Some call me “eclectic” in my tastes, and that’s fine with me. I like what I like… and I don’t expect you to listen to it if you don’t. However, I do encourage you to always broaden your musical horizons by listening to something completely different than your normal playlist every once in awhile. Pandora is great for that!

What type of music are you addicted to? Do you work better when you are rocking out, or do you need complete quiet in order to concentrate?

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Do You Remember Your First Tweetup?

I not only remember my first Tweetup, I remember them all! Each one I attend or host gives me an opportunity to meet new people, reconnect with old friends, and make some all-important business contacts. There is always a lot of fun to be had, a lot of networking to do, and more laughter involved than should be allowed by law. However, some people are not as fortunate as I am.

Take my Community Manager Kat, for example. The poor woman has never attended a Tweetup before. Can you believe that? I decided that this simply wasn’t acceptable. She’ll be in Seattle for a week in February, to attend her second Microsoft MVP Summit. So, I decided to throw together a little Tweetup in her honor that Friday, February 19th! If you’re in the Seattle area, we’d love for you to join us.

Have you ever attended a Tweetup – or perhaps a Facemeet? What memories and connections do you still carry with you? What advice might you have for our Kat, as she embarks on her first-ever Twitter meetup? Let’s rally together as a community, and show her the time of her life.

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Sony Sweep Panorama Photo Contest

Not long ago, I Sony sent me their new DSC-WX1 to review. If you recall, I am very happy with this camera, and am having a great time using it. I even took it to Paris with me last week! This camera does something that I would have never thought I’d see: the Sweep Panorama function. Using this makes taking amazing panoramic shots a snap. Choose the option, click the shutter, and slowly move your camera in the direction of the arrow. The Sony DSC-WX1 will stitch the shots together into a perfect panoramic photo FOR you! There’s no software or guessing game involved!

As I mentioned back when I posted the review, this was sent to me in conjunction with a contest that Sony now has running. I am lucky to be a part of it, and had a great time coming up with my panoramic shots to enter! The Sweep Panorama contest isn’t just an ordinary contest, though. The prize doesn’t go to the actual winners. Instead, it goes to school children.

To choose a winner from among the entries, just visit the photos posted and vote for your favorite. On December 18th – only three days from now – the winner will be chosen by a simple majority of votes. The winner will then choose a school to have Sony donate ten of these cameras to in their honor. How cool is that? There will be some very happy kids in whatever school is on the receiving end of this great contest prize!

I cannot tell you which photos are mine. That would be cheating. All I will say is that you should go and cast your vote for whichever picture you like the best. No matter who wins this contest… the real winners will be the school and its kids.

Thanks again to Sony for sending me this great camera to use and review, and for sponsoring this awesome contest.

Sony DSC-WX1 Review

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Sony recently sent me their new DSC-WX1 to play with and review in conjunction with an upcoming Sweep Panorama photo contest. I can tell you that I’m excited about this camera. I’m by no means a professional photographer, but I do enjoy snapping shots whenever I can. This camera has some amazing settings options, as well as extremely clean and clear pictures. Even with all of the various modes and settings, it’s not one that is difficult to figure out and operate, unlike other cameras I’ve tried in the past. Even without a flash or tripod, this camera does an amazing job of capturing excellent quality shots indoors. Now that is impressive.

I have to tell you about the most amazing part of this camera prior to the other things. I am so stunned by the Sweep Panorama option. You know how you take a series of shots to make a panorama? Then you have to use software to stitch them together. Well, with the Sweep Panorama option on this camera, you don’t have to do all of that. Choose this option, click the shutter, and slowly move your camera in the direction of the arrow. The camera will stitch the shots together FOR you. That, to me, is worth double the money one of these babies cost!

The DSC-WX features a 10.2 megapixel “Exmor R” CMOS sensor to give you amazing performance in low light settings. The camera also features 10 frames per second burst shooting – which is handy as heck when you’re trying to capture action moments.

The 10.2 mega-pixel WX1 camera has a 2.7-inch LCD display. It’s barely over three quarters of an inch thick. This is an excellent choice for those of you photographers who want to carry a compact digital camera that packs a heck of a lot of power and performance.

The more I use it, the more I love this camera. Thanks to Sony for sending this to me to review. Keep your eyes here for details of the Sweep Panorama contest that will be coming soon.

[awsbullet:sony dsc-wx1]

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Walk Loud and Carry a Soft Stick

Okay, so maybe that’s not how the speech went when Vice-President Roosevelt delivered it. But I like to grab your attention! Saying a popular quote completely wrong is sure to accomplish that.

What does the real quote walk softly and carry a big stick mean to you? I’ve talked to others about this before, and the answers actually vary slightly. That’s one of the things I love about our community. Even when we agree on something, we still have differences in exactly what we’re thinking and saying. One of the best parts of my day is always reading what you guys are up to, what you’re thinking and feeling about things going on in the world. If you’re not making time to read the content others are pushing out, you are definitely missing out.

What Happens When Your Laptop’s Motherboard Goes Bad?

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There is this thing sitting inside your computer that is the one thing every other thing is connected to! It’s called a motherboard. I have no idea why there’s no fatherboard… but yeah. The motherboard is crucial. If it’s not working – good luck using your computer at all. Ian from the PCPitStop community is sad because his Sony Vaio died. His motherboard is now dead, and wonders where he can find an affordable replacement.

Virut won’t corrupt your motherboard – but it will usually lead to having to reformat your system. With that said, if your motherboard is hosed for any reason, you might want to run a few diagnostics if you can. It’s possible it could be a bad power supply, you know? Check everything you possibly can, to determine for sure that it’s a motherboard.

I feel your pain. I’ve heard some not-so-happy things about Sony support in the past. Unfortunately, if it is a motherboard problem – it’s going to cost you. My recommendation is to find a local Geek. Pay them in pizza and cola. They’ll take a look at the computer to assess the problem. Sometimes it’s something small that trips us up, and I certainly hope that’s what is going on with you!

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What Bluetooth Headset are You Using for Talking or Gaming?

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Generally, I don’t like wearing wireless headsets. They just aren’t usually comfortable, and people who wear them around in public tend to come across as pompous. However, Sony sent me a new one to try out, so I thought I’d give it a go. This is their PS3 Bluetooth Headset.

The Official Bluetooth Headset for the PlayStation 3 was designed and optimized specifically for gaming use. This headset offers the highest-quality voice available, thanks to the High-Quality (HQ) mode, which implements various advanced voice technologies and noise-canceling.

When docked to the charging stand, the headset doubles as a desktop microphone. View larger.
techniques to provide crystal-clear talk quality. And thanks to the dual-microphone design, you get high-bandwidth voice recording and playback. So next time you’re in the middle of a heated online gaming session, you won’t have to worry that your allies don’t understand.

What’s nice about this one is not only the fact that it works with the PS3, but you can also use it with other bluetooth devices, such as your phone or your desktop computer. It was specifically designed for online game-play and voice commands, but works well with any other device you hook it up to.

When you put it in the cradle, it turns into a speaker device. You can hear audio out of the headset when you dock it, so you don’t have to continue a conversation with the headset stuck to your ear. It charges via mini-USB, which is great. The buttons are nice and big, and easily accessible.

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Unboxing my Sony PSP-3000 and Quick Review

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I’ve been a PSP fan pretty much from the very beginning, but not because of the mobile gaming. I love it because it promised to be a full-on multimedia experience in your pocket… and delivered on that promise. Now, I have the new PSP-3000 in my hot little hands.

Heart-pounding game play and mobile entertainment now fit into smaller pockets. The latest PSP handheld system is 19% thinner and 33% lighter than the previous model, with twice the memory—now 64MB—for faster loading times. The PlayStation Portable Core Unit features an AC power cord, AC adapter and a smaller, more efficient battery pack that lasts up to six hours. Featuring 64MB of internal system memory and a dedicated PSP CPU running at up to 333MHz, the PSP has the horsepower you need for an unmatched gaming experience. The 4.3″ LCD screen sports a 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio, 480 x 272 pixel resolution, and 16.7 million colors for graphics that come alive on the screen.

One of the things I love about Sony is that they provide regular firmware updates for their gaming systems, including the PSP. When I received my PSP-2000, it was great. I loved it quite a lot, even though I didn’t use it as much as I thought it would. I ended up using my iPhone more than that. I enjoy watching video on my PSP when I travel though.

The first thing I noticed when I unboxed the new PSP-3000 was the fact that it is even lighter and thinner than my last one. It’s a noticeable difference! I had to compare between the two systems, of course.

The mic is now built into the new PSP-3000. The screen is different, and response time is a bit faster. There are some interlacing issues, but Sony hasn’t come forward to say there’s a problem. They consider it as a feature, due to the fact the response time has increased so much. I personally noticed the interlacing, yes, but it didn’t even bother me.

The colors are much crisper and cleaner with the PSP-3000. The “home” button has been replaced with one that looks more like the PlayStation logo. The buttons and keys all seem to flow better, and work much better than the old ones.

Overall, I have to hand it to Sony once again. They promised improvements… and they have definitely delivered.

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