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Zoom is Past Three Strikes...

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 4:14 PM

Here’s more motivation to consider Microsoft Teams, Skype, Apple FaceTime, Facebook Messenger, etc., in lieu of Zoom. Days after the company was caught for a second time within a year using the same tactics as malware to install its software on computers, and days after it turned out it was leaking recorded calls online, it also admits to routing calls “accidentally” and insecurely through China. Facebook isn’t the epitome of privacy and security, but Facebook Messenger is end-to-end encrypted; Zoom is not.

Zack Whittaker for TechCrunch:

Hours after security researchers at Citizen Lab reported that some Zoom calls were routed through China, the video conferencing platform has offered an apology and a partial explanation.

To recap, Zoom has faced a barrage of headlines this week over its security policies and privacy practices, as hundreds of millions forced to work from home during the coronavirus pandemic still need to communicate with each other.

Zaurus Survives Fall

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 12:19 AM

I don't recommend this at home, but my poor little Zaurus went with my belt clip case on to hard pavement yesterday, and seems no worse for wear. I was chasing after some soda cans that fell off my cart at the Grocery store when the fateful “trip” took place. phew Nothing like dropping your 1-week old $350 PDA. cough


By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 12:22 AM

Well, after seeing one, I couldn't resist. I bought a Zaurus SL-5500 Personal Mobile Tool (a.k.a. a Linux PDA) last week. It is at least partially going to replace my trusty Palm Vx Connected Organizer. So far all I can say is - this thing is REALLY IMPRESSIVE!

Yes, it is very impressive. The color screen is bright, the functionality is great, and the keyboard is ingenius. The fact that it is based on Qt is another plus, providing a very polished environment with lots of KDE apps being ported.

The Yopy is rather intriguing too, but the Z seems to be the first Linux PDA with a chance at the mainstream market. Its smaller size and front light surely helps with that. It is more affordable then the iPaq which is another really great thing.

Infact I only paid $359 for mine from, but right now if you go to BestBuy you'll pay even less - just $319 during the current sale (I'm not sure how long that price will last, then it will return to $399). Anyway, at just 7 oz. it is extremely light, just a bit heftier then my Palm, and it's 206 MHz StrongARM processor with Linux offers so much functionality. If you want a PDA, don't stand here, go get a Zaurus right now!

BTW, to those of you still misled into thinking you should use Windows, the Zaurus comes with two Windows sync programs. In fact, in some type of horrible irony, it is easier to get this Linux based PDA running in Windows then in Linux. sigh

You're Gonna Want One

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 12:50 AM

I finally got part I of my Shuttle XPC review up. You can read all about the SB62G2 at This is a really amazing system — and it is part of an amazing lineup, including an Athlon64 supporting model that even has a built-in 6-type memory card reader.

OfB has awarded Shuttle our “Best of the Year” award for the SB62G2. It is an amazing little box and I highly recommend it if you're looking for a semi-DIY system that isn't just a plain old system. Very very nice. I figured with the cost of the barebones system included, a P4 2.6 GHz with HT, 512 megs of PC3200 ram, a combo drive and an 80 gig SATA hard disk comes out to less than $700 — that's quite a steal!

Xoom, Xoom, Xoom

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 6:37 AM

Verizon has loaned me a Motorola Xoom to review. So far, Honeycomb is a massive improvement over Samsung's tweaked Android 2.x that is used on the Galaxy Tab. As I work through testing, the big question will be this: does the Xoom offer anything compelling that is not offered on the iPad?

The jury is still out.

WWDC 2012

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 4:59 AM

MacRumors has a nice roundup of the best rumors going into Monday's Timnote:

Apple has already announced that it will be previewing iOS 6 and OS X Mountain Lion at the event, and with Apple also expected to introduce a number of new Macs and perhaps make some additional announcements, the schedule appears to be packed.

Given that Tim Cook has promised that Apple is going to “double down” on secrecy and yet it seems like there are more highly certain rumors this year than in the past, I'm going to wager that something big is lurking in the shadows as a “one more thing”-type of surprise. While launching an Apple TV app platform wouldn't fill that role, perhaps demonstrating the Apple TV as a full fledged gaming system with an innovative controller might do the trick…

Writing and Typing Speed Comparison

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 10:02 PM

This is a rather ingenious comparison of major methods of outputting text: pen-and-paper, normal QWERTY keyboard, and several different mobile input methods.

HT: John Gruber.

Wombat Pine Pro

An Unfamiliar Name Proves Intriguing

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 10:29 PM

Continuing the fall keyboard review season with the interesting Wombat Pine Pro:

Mechanical keyboard makers generally fall into two broad categories: established gaming peripheral companies and a series of upstarts, like Keychron and Epomaker, focused purely on mechanical boards. Wombat Keyboards is neither and, like the company, its Pine Pro keyboard feels like a unique entry into a market flooded with very similar offerings.

Windows Gets a New Logo

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 5:55 AM

Sam Moreau posted a piece on Microsoft's “Blogging Windows” blog to show a history of Windows logos and present a new one for Windows 8. The retrospective is enjoyable; the new logo, on the other hand… Well, at least for me, I'll say the jury is still out.

I think I'll actually miss the “Windows Flag.”

Windows 8 Browsers

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 6:03 AM

It seems that Microsoft had to create a special category of applications to permit third party web browsers in its new Metro user interface. The new interface, much like Apple's iOS used on iPhones and iPads, places significant restrictions on what applications can do. But, unlike iOS, these restrictions apply to the new preferred interface for Microsoft's desktop operating system. And, that makes things a whole lot more complicated than they are with a phone and tablet OS.

I'm still uncertain about Windows 8's fusion of a desktop and tablet OS. This new complication just seems like another demonstration of the roadblocks Microsoft faces in making the next Windows a viable operating system.

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