Archive for August, 2007

Can you save the planet by switching to a “black? Google?

Wednesday, August 29th, 2007

Over on ZDNet I've posted the result of some tests I carried out to try to find out whether switching to a “black” Google really can help save the planet.

Over the past few weeks I’ve come across dozens of websites promoting the idea that switching over to using a version of Google that had a black background as opposed to a white one would save me money/electricity/the planet* (delete as appropriate). 

The alternative search site most often linked to is one called Blackle, a website that offers visitors the ability to use Google via an interface consisting of a black background and grey font.  I’ve had dozens of emails from people suggesting that I switch to this search site, dozens from people wanting my opinion on it and dozens more from people wanting to know if switching to it can help them save the planet.

I decided to find out for myself what the energy savings, if any, are likely to be and if switching all my searches to Blackle really would help me save the planet.

I also examine the difference in power consumption between a CRT monitor (the ones that look like old TVs) and the more modern LCD panels.

If you want to save some electricity (and some cash) then the best advice that I can offer is that you ditch your old CRTs and switch to LCD panels. 

Two “patches” to the Vista network slowdown

Tuesday, August 28th, 2007

So far, I've found two possible "temporary fixes" to the Vista network slowdown issue that I've been talking about lately.

The first was proposed by my ZDNet blogging colleague George Ou, and that is to switch over to gigabit network gear that supports jumbo frames.  It means spending some money, but not a lot.

Second, you can remove MMCSS from the Vista audio equation.  To do this you'll have to do a bit of registry editing.

Friendly Warning:  If you trash your system messing with your registry, well, you'll probably be too busy rebuilding your system to complain at me!  Seriously, take care ... If you don't know what you are doing here, I suggest leaving things alone - chances are this issue isn't affecting you.

Fire up Registry Editor and navigate your way down to:


Once there find STRING called DependOnService.  Right-click on this entry and choose Modify ... and then from the Value data remove MMCSS.  Click OK, close the Registry Editor and reboot your PC.  Next, go into Services (the quickest way to get to this is to type services into the Start Search box and click on the entry that appears) and then find the Multimedia Class Scheduler service.  Once found, right-click on it and Properties and change the Startup type from Automatic to Disabled.  Click OK and then reboot.

Automatically end hung applications

Saturday, August 25th, 2007

Excellent Windows XP tip on gHacks:

Open your registry and navigate to the key

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop

and change the value from the key ‘AutoEndTask’ to 1. If you want to set a time to wait until the kill process is executed you need to change the value of the key ‘WaitToKillAppTimeout’ to a value in milliseconds which means 1000 would be 1 second.

Microsoft responds to Vista network performance issue

Saturday, August 25th, 2007

I've had a response from Microsoft regarding the Vista network performance issue I talked about earlier this week.

This pretty much says it all:

"Please note that some of what we are seeing is expected behavior, and some of it is not."

Is it legal to unlock an iPhone?

Friday, August 24th, 2007

I've had this question in one form or another a few times now, and I'll let Engadget answer it:

Question: Is it illegal to unlock my iPhone?



Well, no, but...

I knew it.

Read on ...