Posts Tagged 'support'

Do You Still Have LAN Parties?

It may seem passe or even Internet 1.0 but are LAN parties out of date? When is the last time you attended or even hosted a LAN party? Remember back in the day epic Quake death matches? Warcraft II battles on the college network? Or even good old Starcraft (damn those zerg!). The recent news that Blizzard does not plan on supporting LAN play for the upcoming Starcraft 2 release has hardcore fans up in arms. Perhaps old school multiplayer strategy games have caught up to with the times. Free LAN play is not a money maker (as Blizzard has discovered) the real money is in monthly subscription models like the World of Warcraft. Citing reasons such as piracy and touting the upgraded Battlenet infrastructure players will be forced online if they want multiplayer contests.

Officially LAN parties (for Starcraft 2) will be over but I’m sure some hacker will find a work around. So I guess in the meantime (while we wait for the actual release) we’ll just have to rant about the lack of LAN support and shake our fists angrily. I’m sure the thousands of net-cafe’s are furiously working on a solution as we speak.

Fix my computer or else!

What did we ever do before the Internet? Many of us now depend solely on a broadband connection for our livelihoods. And then one day you turn on the computer and nothing, zip, nada … no Internet. Panic sets in, you check the cables, reboot, turn things off and on, but to no avail. Then you make the dreaded call to your ISP and prepare for the 1 hour wait to talk to a real person. As you can imagine it IS a frustrating experience.

“Carol Sinclair, a Halifax actress and playwright, found herself in that position, and now, what started as a routine telephone standoff with an Internet provider, leaves her facing criminal charges.” (link)

Holding a repairman hostage? Well the facts are still to be decided in court but I’m sure many of us have felt the urge when a clueless technician arrives and fails to fix the problem. Most of us would have taken our computers to the nearest computer store to get checked out (it’s not ALWAYS the ISP’s fault). Perhaps she got a virus, who knows but clearly the situation got out of control. Technology can do that to you. Frustrate you and leave you feeling helpless with no hope of a resolution. Next time you encounter such a problem, don’t make a knee jerk reaction. Take a deep breath, think it through, and then consult your local nerd/geek/tech friend.

11 yr old becomes network manager, pwns you

When Victory Baptist School, a small private school in Millbrook, Ala., was struggling to keep its computer network together last year, an 11-year-old student named Jon Penn stepped in as network manager.

Penn did it to help his mother, Paula, the school librarian who had computer support added to her workload a week before the school year started when the existing IT systems overseer suddenly departed. For Jon — who says his favorite reading material is computer trade magazines — it’s been the experience of a lifetime, even getting to select and install a gateway security appliance largely by himself.

“This is kind of a small school, and I’m known as the computer whiz,” the sixth grader says (For more offbeat networking stories, read our Wider Net archives.)

“We spent $2,158,” says young Penn, describing how he picked out the McAfee Secure Internet Gateway Appliance after evaluating it in a 30-day trial. He also looked at the Barracuda box — a tad more costly — and tried the Untangle open source product, which he said didn’t meet the school’s needs as well.

His school needed a gateway to protect against attacks, filter viruses and spam, and block inappropriate sites. Keeping costs down is important since the school is operating on a shoestring budget to keep its 60 aging computers, a donation from years ago, working for the roughly 200 students permitted to use them, along with the teachers.

The first thing Jon found as he leapt into the role of network manager was that he had to map out the network to find out what was on it. He bought some tools for this at CompUSA and realized there was an ungodly amount of computer viruses and spam, so he pressed the school to invest in filtering and antivirus protection. (link)

Apple makes lawsuit go away with money

Apple has quietly settled a lawsuit over its advertising practices in connection to the displays used on the MacBook and MacBook Pro. As usual, the terms were not disclosed, but the circumstances make it appear that Apple wasn’t the only party trying to make the lawsuit go away.

The plaintiffs, Fred Greaves and Dave Gatley, originally brought the suit against Apple in May of 2007, alleging that Apple’s displays were “grainy” and “sparkly,” and that some customers had observed banding (when the display shows you bands of different shades when it is supposed to display a smooth gradient). Their proof, aside from their own observations, were pages of printed discussion threads from Apple’s support forums. The lawsuit alleged that customers who complained about the displays were allegedly told that they were being too picky or that they were imagining the problems. (link)

AOL to end support for … something called “Netscape”

Netscape’s long and storied history as a web browser will come to an end on March 1, as AOL has officially set a date for the browser’s demise. AOL originally put Netscape on death row at the end of 2007, when it announced that it would be ending support for the venerable application.

Even though users can still download Netscape 9, AOL will no longer provide any support at all for the browser. That includes security patches and bug fixes, too. AOL recommends fans of Netscape turn to Firefox, and if they’re especially nostalgic for the Netscape look and feel, install the Netscape theme and extensions for the popular open-source browser.

I can’t help but feel a small pang at the passing of Netscape. My first experience surfing the ‘Net came courtesy of Mosaic in mid-1994, and I was a dedicated Netscape user for much of the remainder of the 1990s. At one time, Netscape was the web browser and it wasn’t until the ascendancy of Internet Explorer later in the decade that Netscape fell out of favor with most surfers. (link)

iTunes video rentrals not for every iPod …

A number of iPod owners have discovered that their recently purchased iPods won’t work with Apple’s new iTunes video rentals, even though the iPods have video playback capabilities.

As of Tuesday, the issue had been raised multiple times in Apple’s support forums. So far the company’s only response has been to confirm that movie rentals work only with the iPhone, iPod touch, iPod classic and the third-generation iPod nano. Earlier iPods, including fifth-generation iPods sold before the September 2007 release of the sixth-generation iPod classic, are incompatible with rented videos.

“This is false advertising,” says Raymond Blanchard, a disgruntled iPod owner. “I demand an upgrade or fix.” (link)

Your next IT specialist, without the IT skills

Whatever you do, please don’t call Stephanie Lee a geek. Sure, she’s majoring in information technology and marketing at Marquette University in Milwaukee, where she’s a senior.But she doesn’t write code, she isn’t gadget-crazed or Internet-obsessed, and she positively isn’t interested in a career as a programmer or tech support jockey.

What Lee is interested in is strategy. During a high school summer internship, she was charged with finding a way for a manufacturing company to more efficiently track packages overseas. Lee combed the Web for research. She chatted up employees to understand the process and the pain points. She even came up with an ROI strategy that convinced upper management to adopt her technology choice to fix their problem.

(story)


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