A lot of folks were understandably upset when Apple released five new applications for the iPod Touch that currently exist on the iPhone (Mail, Stocks, Notes, Weather, and Maps), and then proceeded to charge $20 for the package. Now, they're even more upset. Apparently, Apple's insistence on selling Touch owners the $20 upgrade is sending some of them into an unending loop of refusal and redirection.
LAS VEGAS--The good news is that Leica designed its $5,500 M8 rangefinder camera so its hardware components can be upgraded to ward off the obsolescence that afflicts digital cameras. The bad news is that an upgrade Leica announced this week at the Photo Marketing Association trade show costs 1,200 euros, or about $1,775.
The price includes shipping and replacement of the camera's glass LCD cover and shutter, said Brian Bell, national sales manager for Canada, in an interview here at the trade show.
The new shutter is quieter and has less tension in its spring, making … Read more
Blu-ray may be coasting to a format war victory over archrival HD DVD, but it's still got some mopping up to do in the meantime--namely, improving player compatibility with some of the more popular movies already available. Samsung has begun rolling out firmware upgrades for all of its players to address issues that have plagued some users when watching Blu-ray versions of such favorites as Ratatouille, Spider-Man 3, Live Free or Die Hard, Blade Runner, and Pirates of the Caribbean 3. According to Samsung, the updates will be available as follows: … Read more
It's called the Vista Service Pack 1 Release Candidate Refresh. It's supposed to be a bug-fixin', feature-enhancin' behemoth that makes Windows Vista leaner, meaner, taller, and sexier.
It'll do your dishes and take out your garbage, too.
Microsoft released this "Release Candidate Refresh" late last week--just one month after the initial release candidate made its debut. The company asserted that it wants additional information from testers, which indicates that even more bugs need to be fixed. But what does RC Refresh really do? Is it really that large? Most importantly, do you need it?
If you bought a budget-level notebook within the past year, chances are good it came with Windows Vista and 1GB of RAM--a poor combination to say the least. Vista needs at least 2GB to operate efficiently, especially on notebooks with integrated graphics processors (which borrow RAM from the rest of the system).
Newegg.com has a Transcend 2GB PC2 5300 notebook memory module for $26.99 (after a $10 mail-in rebate). Shipping will run you $4.99.
You'll need to make sure, of course, that your system can accommodate this kind of module (it's a pretty standard size … Read more
Most portable audio and video players come bundled with average, if not, crappy earphones. The sad part is that a lot of people don't seem bothered by the poor sound quality, or aren't even aware of it.
Altec Lansing claims its Upgrader series of headphones targets music listeners dissatisfied with the earbuds included with their players and are looking to "upgrade" to better sound quality. To cater to different preferences, the Upgrader series is split into three main categories: inEar, onEar, and overEar.
The inEar offerings (UHP306, UHP336, UHP101, and UHP301) feature the SnugFit design that … Read more
It shouldn't be like this. Technology and engineers' capabilities are advancing so fast right now that everything that is good about a current product can, in theory, easily be built into its successors. But sometimes this doesn't happen. Here are a few choice examples of upgrades that are downgrades, and why you're better off with the older tech:Vista
The obvious number one product for this list. Vista is the new shiny operating system Microsoft released to replace Windows XP. Except it hasn't, because it's a poor upgrade. It's slower, bigger, and buggier. Many people, not just those in the opportunistic Apple ads (and Apple has its own problems), would rather get a new computer with the old XP operating system.
Why it happened: Books will be written about Vista's failures, which, in fairness, probably have as much to do with Microsoft's need to support a vast universe of third-party hardware and software products as with flaws in Microsoft's marketing and software development strategy.Quicken
Intuit apparently believes that new users won't buy a personal accounting product if it's last year's model, and it also wants to upgrade its current users each year. So it "sunsets" older versions after three years: it turns off online access to bank updates and eliminates support. Sadly, some older versions of Quicken are faster and more stable than the new versions. But if you're a Quicken user, you can't stick with "classic" versions without giving up useful online features.
Why it continues to happen: Intuit has locked itself into a yearly upgrade cycle on a product that clearly takes more than a year to update.Linksys WRT54G
The old WRT54G wireless router was a reliable and economical product, but a few years ago Linksys released a version 5 of the product that they knew was buggier. Knowledgeable users were able to get the older version by shopping online for the special "WRT54GL" router, which was really the previous version. It cost a few extra bucks, but it was a far better value.
Why it happened: Cost cutting, pure and simple. I covered this in 2006.
Apple posted a support document over the weekend on its Web site addressing reports of interminable "blue screen" problems that caused some Mac users upgrading to Mac OS X Leopard no small degree of frustration.
Some attempts to upgrade to Leopard were stymied after the installation process was almost complete and users attempted to restart their machines. A long thread on Apple's discussion forums outlined the problems, in which their Macs would get hung up on the initial boot screen. That screen happens to be blue, inviting comparisons to the infamous Windows "blue screen of death" … Read more
Oracle owns the database world. And this may be precisely its biggest problem.
As the Wall Street Journal reports, customers aren't planning to snap up its newest version of its industry-leading database, 11g. The reason? Oracle is improving its database at a much slower pace, providing fewer reasons to upgrade:
[I]t typically takes at least several months for a company to fully shift to a new version of Oracle's database software -- the larger the company, the longer it takes -- and lately Oracle has made several small, incremental changes in new releases rather than a few large, important ones that would compel a company to switch quickly, customers say....… Read more