Computer Aces

Dear Microsoft,

You don’t know me though I have been one of your earliest and most avid users, from MS-BASIC on the original Radio Shack TRS-80s to being one of the original Surface Pro users (I have bought two Surface Pros and two Surface Pro 2s). In fact, it was the TRS-80 and MS-BASIC that got me into the computer industry, but that’s a story of its own and too long for this letter.

The “Perfect Tablet” – Samsung Series 7 Slate

Over a year ago I published an article about the Gateway C140XL Tablet PC, and how it was almost the perfect laptop / tablet for me. It was also the last Microsoft Windows-based PC that I used personally, having since switched to using an Apple MacBook Pro and an iPad to go along with my iPhone. I made a complete switch to OS X and iOS and only used Windows for work and work-related documents. Nevertheless, I kept looking for the perfect tablet, be it Windows, OS X, Linux, or Android.

Seagate GoFlex Satellite + Hack Seagate Satellite

For years I have been looking for portable, battery-powered external hard drive. I do a lot of consulting and always keep backups of my work, so I keep a portable external hard drive with me. I also have an extensive music library that I want to have readily available to access from my laptop and portable devices, but I hate constantly moving music files to my “iDevices” just to keep the selection fresh, and all too often, I’ll want to hear some songs in my collection that I didn’t think to move.

Wait, I could do all of that on iCloud (or any other cloud service), right? Sure, if I want to wait for files to upload / download, and I want to pay for all the bandwidth to move the data – I’m usually on the road or at a client site when I want to move data and I don’t jailbreak my devices anymore – it’s just too much of a hassle for limited benefit and extra instability.

Microsoft Excel – A Developer’s View

I have this love/hate relationship with Excel, especially Excel 2007. I haven’t played with Excel 2010 yet, so this may extend to it as well.

I won’t go into a lot of history here, but I had Visicalc a gazillion years ago, then Lotus 1-2-3 (the text version). In fact in Enron’s early days, I automated some of the curve calculations one of the VPs had built in a version of 1-2-3 running on a Sun workstation using Lotus’ macro language they had extended from the original Visicalc. 

Gateway Tablet PC C140XL – A Review AFTER two years

Gateway Model: C140XL with Fingerprint reader
Part No: 2905964R
Model (on PC): TA7

I purchased this Tablet PC in January 2008, and of all the laptops I have ever had, I have to say that this has been the closest to my ideal Portable Do-It-All Information Management Device of all the laptops / notebooks / PDAs I have ever owned, and I have owned a LOT.

The Origin of the Buddy List

Did you ever wonder who actually invented the “buddy list” that has become so ubiquitous on computers worldwide? I guess it was a couple of years ago while chatting with a “buddy” who I have known online since 1987 that it hit me: I invented the “buddy list”!The documentation for AOTools tells the story about how I got the idea.Quick note: The documentation shown here is for the last version of AOTools that I released in 1992 to work with AOL v.2. I created the first AOTools for AOL v.1 with all the same features. The first version worked on Windows 3.0, and I initially developed it using a beta version of Visual Basic. I was an early beta tester for several Microsoft projects.