Andy Pennell's Blog

See me blather about software development, Gadgets, Technology, Fatherhood, plus anything else that gets me going.

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  • Blog Post: HD-DVD News from CES

    I watched the Bill Gates keynote at CES tonight (via the web, I'm not in Vegas or anything) and it included a demo and hot news about HD-DVD, the next generation hi-def DVD format. The hot news was that HD-DVD drives will be available as an add-on for the Xbox 360 - very cool. The demo was exciting...
  • Blog Post: Microsoft Product Names: How They Are Chosen I Wonder?

    There is a great interview on PVRBlog with the creator of the TiVo name and mascot. It describes the process by which the names were whittled down and decided on. Although I have no clue how this process actually works at Microsoft, here is how I think it might for one of our products: Tech Dude:...
  • Blog Post: My Vonage Story

    A few months ago we switched at home to Vonage VOIP, and we’re loving it. Even without dumping our phone line, we’re still saving money, over $250 a year before we even make a call! Why We Switched Our local phone service and DSL is provided by Verizon, and long distance was provided by AT&T....
  • Blog Post: Where is the Windows BMP Format defined?

    You'd think this would be simple: on MSDN surely. Even Google has trouble finding any microsoft.com site that defines the bmp file format. Here's how I found it (eventually): I started with a printed version of the GFF book , which is ancient, but pretty good. It talks about the ugly history of BMP...
  • Blog Post: Why do Searches timeout and not support Back?

    Bit of a rant, sorry. I'm going to pick on Amazon, but others do this too: why does a Search timeout in a web browser? Here is the scenario: do a Search on Amazon. See something interesting in the result list, click on it. Read the info, decide its not the right thing, hit Back to get back to the...
  • Blog Post: Halo 2: Will it impact Microsoft Productivity?

    The "Official Xbox Magazine" says in the October issue that 8,000 Microsoft employees are participating in the Halo 2 beta, 14% of the entire company. That's an amazing number! What does this mean for general Microsoft productivity right after November 9 when Halo 2 ships? Well I think there will be...
  • Blog Post: Rant: Sony Memory Sticks: what are they thinking?

    Sometimes Sony do good things: they co-invented the DVD, created the Walkman, and gave us Trinitron CRT tubes, all great stuff. However sometimes they just do something nuts, like Mini-Disc, or something really nuts, like Memory Stick. I can only guess that they invented Memory Stick because they...
  • Blog Post: Confessions of a Technical Masochist

    At coffee today with my team I was ranting about Memory Sticks . It was pointed out to me that every piece of technology I buy gives me huge amounts of grief, and Steve described me as a Technology Masochist . A pretty good description on reflection... Not quite every piece of technology gives me...
  • Blog Post: Why don't cordless phones have a global phone book?

    I want to get a new 4-handset cordless phone, ideally 5.8GHz, but as far as I can tell, none of them have a global phone book. They all store the phone books in the handsets, and most give you a way of copying between handsets, but none just store it in the base-station for all handsets to use. ...
  • Blog Post: Wireless Networking Troubles (aka I want those three days back)

    This is the story of a wireless networking problem I had at home, what it was, the clues I missed, and how I eventually solved it. The Setup My main router is an MN-700 , and its wireless is somewhat secure via WEP. I do broadcast my SSID as it makes debugging issues easier (well that is the theory...
  • Blog Post: Windows XP Bluetooth Support : A Rant

    As promised, I thought I'd rant a bit about the Bluetooth (BT) support in Windows. In the beginning there was Windows XP and it had its BT support cut before release, as the standard was very new, and I think that was the right decision at the time. Then there was XP SP1 which added the provision...
  • Blog Post: Everything isnt always Windows Fault

    Everyone loves to blame Windows for, well, just about everything that goes wrong with their PC. Although I have seven PCs in my office and six in my home, I actually have few problems with Windows and seldom blame my Microsoft co-workers for my PC troubles. Just this week however I had two problems that...
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