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Free enhancement to NTBackup


NTBackup is a free backup application that comes with Windows 2000 Pro and Windows XP Pro (and also runs on XP Home..) that is great for simple stuff. There are a few limitations to it though - you can't do multiple, concurrent backup jobs, you can't set it to delete old backups if the destination drive is getting full, and other bits. One step towards making NTBackup more useful is a free tool called Enhanced Windows Backup that works as a replacement GUI to fix some of the limitations. And did I mention it was free? Well worth giving a try.

Irish government considering license fees for Internet usage


According to a report in RTE News, Ireland's government is considering expanding their current mandatory TV license to also cover:

anything that is made visually available to the consumer, including developments such as Internet-based television stations and video blogging

according to "Technology expert Ronan Coy". Should this be enacted as quotd (which tends to be how things play out) it would mean that licenses would be required for any computer with Internet access. So much for watching The Show with Ze Frank for free.

The part I find at fault is that the original purpose of the TV license was to funnel money into the country's national TV and radio statios, i.e. to pay for the costs of running these services and development of future services. If they believe they should be receiving funds for internet broadcasting then they should set up a micropayments system to cover *their* costs. If someone is viewing or listening to broadcasts other than the state's national services then the state has no incurred expenses therefore has no right to demand fees. Lets make this clear, this is a license fee for Internet usage, and depending on how they word it, potentially for *any* digital media playback.

Reasons why Microsoft's OpenXML standard is junk


Here's a wonderful explanation of why Microsoft's "open" OpenXML "standard" is a wolf in sheep's clothing:

In short, the specification is littered with little tidbits which say that to properly display a file you must understand details of how 12 year old software (Word 95) worked, or reverse engineer it. So here's a wonderful schematic on how to build a new house, but the kitchen won't fit unless you know how to arrange atoms at the quantum level, meagre saws won't work. And that, folks, is why I don't use Microsoft software and stopped buying their junk several years ago.

Update: Just to better explain why this is a problem, there is no guarantee that Microsoft is using its own specifications in its own software, namely Office 2007. In fact current reports state that they are doing their old tricks of using a mix of the current specifications with chunks of the older (undocumented) formats thrown in for good measure. Given this you'll have a slim chance of being able to use their published specifications and generate the same output that their own software creates. That is why people should use software that supports the internationally recognized OpenDocument format in either KDE's KOffice,, StarOffice or the other programs that support it.


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