Replace Microsoft’s Expired Remote Desktop for Mac with CoRD

April 1, 2008

I manage somewhere around a dozen servers running Windows 2003 Server, so I use the Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection feature constantly. However, I don’t use their Mac client — it’s buggy, it’s slow, and it’s limited. And as of yesterday, it’s expired.

Of course, there IS no newer copy available from Microsoft. The RDC does still sort of work, it just turns off even more features. But hey, that’s the good news — because if you’ve been suffering along with Microsoft’s RDC client on a Mac, you now have a perfect excuse to replace it with CoRD.
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Updated Microsoft Keyboard & Mouse Drivers 6.1 for OS X

March 5, 2007

In the process of mucking about with all of my HID (“human interface device”) drivers the other day, I managed to mess up my keyboard mapping (I use a Microsoft keyboard) so that occasionally it would get in the mode where the “Alt” key to the right of the spacebar was mapped as the Command key, and not the one on the left side.


(Yes, I know Mac keyboards should only have one of these keys, and it should be labeled with the little “Command Key” symbol. Unfortunately, I still have to use Windows with this keyboard occasionally, Microsoft makes better keyboards, and feel free to burn me in effigy as a heretic.)

So, I do a little digging around, and it turns out that Microsoft released version 6.1 of their “IntelliType” and “IntelliPoint” (read “keyboard” and “mouse” drivers, respectively) drivers on 11/30/2006.

Who knew?
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It was only a matter of time

February 3, 2007

Some folks have been telling us for years that Microsoft would eventually come out with an iPod killer.

I don’t think any of us expected it’d be Windows Vista, however…

Xbox 360 – Microsoft’s loss, your gain

November 23, 2005

Apparently if you’re a determined Microsoft hater, you can do your part to hurt the evil empire by buying an Xbox 360 (if you can find one *)

According to BusinessWeek, Microsoft is losing a heap on each unit. The old joke used to be “they’ll make it up in volume”, but of course there wasn’t much volume to be had today…

An up-close look at the components and other materials used in the high-end version of the Xbox 360, which contains a hard drive, found that the materials inside the unit cost Microsoft $470 before assembly. The console sells at retail for $399, meaning a loss of $71 per unit — and that is just the start.

Other items packaged with the console — including the power supply, cables, and controllers — add another $55 to Microsoft’s cost, pushing the loss per unit to $126. These estimates include assumptions that Microsoft is getting a discount on many components.

Of course, the bet as always is that they’ll make it up on game licensing, which is probably a pretty safe assumption.

* Want to know how to drive a 22 year old nuts? Throw him a credit card mid-afternoon on launch day, and tell him to run out and buy the latest greatest game machine 🙂

It would have been even more of a hoot if I hadn’t been footing the gasoline bill…

MCE Keyboard Review

September 2, 2005

Windows MCE KeyboardThey’re still a bit tough to find, but I finally got my hands on one of the new MCE Keyboards — for some reason, Best Buy seems to be about the only folks carrying them so far.

To digress a bit, the main reason why I’ve been quiet on the MCE front for the last month or so is that the drivers for the new keyboard that rolled out on Windows Update about six weeks ago essentially broke the hell out of my MCE system. When they installed, my other IR keyboard (a venerable AirBoard) ceased to function. This made it quite difficult to deal with a driver issue I had on the box, and with the combination of those problems, plus a lack of anything worth watching the last month or so, I just shut the damn thing off until I either had time to get it out of the cabinet and hang a real keyboard on it, or got one of the new MCE Keyboards.

Guess which came first?
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More MCE Keyboard Info

July 12, 2005

Windows MCE KeyboardMore info on the new MCE Keyboard, from Chris Lanier.

Additional highlights include “spill-resistant” keyboard (hey, that means it’s livingroom friendly!), a “key lock” feature to keep buttons from being inadvertantly pushed, TV Power and Volume Control, and a 30 foot range.

Available in September.

Chris links Microsoft’s consumer page, Google’s cache of an OEM info page, and a Flash demo.

No official word anywhere of it using the same remote receiver, but apparently a new update for the existing remote receiver includes support for the new keyboard, so I suspect that means it all works together.

I’m looking forward to this one.

Microsoft Remote Keyboard for MCE

July 12, 2005

Windows MCE KeyboardEngadget has a preview of a new Microsoft Remote Keyboard for Windows XP Media Center Edition.

Infrared, touchpoint mouse, backlit buttons and the requisite little green MCE button, for “under $100”.

If this will work with the same remote receiver as the MCE Remote, I can finally retire my trusty old “Airboard” and its receiver, and clean up my installation a bit.

HUSH M Mini-ITX Windows MCE Set-top

June 15, 2005

If you prefer your Media Center set-top boxes the way you like your partners — small, silent and drop-dead sexy — you may want to check out the new HUSH M MCE Mobile. (That’s not mobile as in you put it in a laptop bag, but mobile as in it uses a laptop CPU.)

Powered with a Pentium M (well okay, a Celeron M), the Mini-ITX based HUSH M is tiny, fanless, and wrapped in anodized aluminum, but still comes with all of the good stuff — TV & FM Encoder, DVD, 5.1 Audio, onboard Ethernet, built-in MCE remote receiver, and 160 gig of hard drive to store all of your content on. It also comes preloaded with MCE 2005 (of course), Microsoft Works, and PowerDVD 6.

Prices start at 1400 Euros…

HD PVRs – Rock and Hard Place

May 19, 2005

Thomas Hawk has some comments on my Dish 942 article.

Thomas writes:

These type of HDTV PVRs will be the competition for TiVo and Media Center going forward. It will be important that TiVo and Media Center are able to distinguish themselves in the HDTV PVR space in order to convince people that it is worth spending the money over what you can get for free (kinda free anyway) from your cable or satellite provider.

Absolutely — and there’s the rub.
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DIY Linux HDTV – Pack a Lunch

May 11, 2005

Extremetech has yet another good do-it-yourself article, this time on building a Linux HTPC, part 4 of their “Microsoft-Free Home” series.

I was secretly pleased to see that they didn’t find this an easy task — trying to get MythTV or KnoppMyth running exceeded my pain threshold a few months ago.

They’re nice enough to warn you about this early on –

Before you embark on trying to build a Linux-based Home Theater PC (HTPC), you have to ask yourself a question: “How much time do I have to dedicate to bringing up a Linux-based HTPC?” If the answer is “not much,” then a Linux-based HTPC is probably not something you should build. Assembling the hardware is pretty easy, and the physical assembly process takes a half-hour to 45 minutes. Installing the OS can be a very straightforward affair as well. But installing extra drivers as well as installing and configuring a PVR media application (and its required packages) are not trivial tasks, and the road ahead is laced with hidden potholes.

Basically, it comes down to “what’s your time worth?” — the same hardware plus a couple of hundred dollars worth of software can have you running you running SageTV, BeyondTV or MCE on Windows XP in an hour or two.

On the other hand, if you’re a rabid anti-Microsoft type (personally, I don’t care about running Windows on my TVs, as long as it isn’t on my desktop) and have ninja-like Linux skills or time to kill, then this may be the project for you.

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