Replacement technology for CableCard

One of the best chances for third party equipment to open the cable channels was the CableCard. However, implementation of third party devices that support CableCards, and the support from cable companies, were less than enthusiastic. I had very little success in using my TiVo series 3 with a JetBroadband cable card.

Now the FCC issued a Notice Of Inquiry seeking input on a new technology to open up cable channels to other devices, breaking the settop box monopoly. Engadget has a nice summary, with the non-surprising camps: Sony, TiVo and the Consumer Electronics Association make up one side, the NCTA (National Cable & Telecommunications Association) and the MPAA make up the other side. We won’t give away which side is in favor and which side is against.

But is this really the future of watching television in our homes? Since the NOI is the first step in a long process, we won’t see anything for years out of the FCC. By that time, the group of people watching TV in different forms (i.e. not through a settop box) will have grown even further. So any legislation coming out of this FCC process may be applicable or affecting only a small group of people who use old standards – similar to requiring the broadcaster to switch to digital broadcasting. Meanwhile, the rest of us will be watching Hulu, Google TV and Boxee Boxes, and ignoring whatever “new” technology the cable company tries to sell us…

Digg v.4 preview

I just got my invite to join in the alpha preview of Digg version 4.

The new Digg is a huge improvement over the old version, in that you can now concentrate on what your friends digg, instead of what everybody in the world diggs. This is reflected in the new home page, which focuses much more on the social aspect of Digg.

The center of the page is taken up by the stories being dugg by your friends. The right side bar is showing the top stories as dugg by your friends. And your friends can also be people you have interest in or whose opinion you respect (think of for example the old Screen Savers cast – Leo LaPorte, Patrick Norton, Martin Sargent, and oh yes, Kevin Rose…).

It looks great, and hopefully I’m not breaking any non-disclosure agreements by posting about it. If you want to sign up for the new Digg, head over to new.digg.com and put your name on the list.

Windows XP loses the domain controller?

I ran into an interesting problem last week with some Virtual Machines. I’ve set up 3 different machines, each running Windows XP with a different version of Progress (10.0, 10.1, and 10.2), to test how our application works under the various Progress versions and to develop with some of the latest tools (I love the Eclipse interface! 🙂 ). However, for some reason last week all the virtual machines, plus the virgin Windows XP install, decided to show me the following error message:

Windows cannot connect to the domain, either because the domain controller is down or otherwise unavailable, or because your computer account was not found.

Since I was rolling out a change to a web service running under 10.1 at the time, I was not a happy camper. It took me the better part of a day to try and come up with a solution. Unfortunately, none surfaced, even after some helpful hints from our systems engineer (“Did you reboot?” – “Yes.” – “Must be a Windows patch.” – “I have had no new patches in the last week and half.” etc.). The weekend came and went, and today I was back at the same problem. Ruling out anything general (like the domain controller actually being down – we could log in to everything except the VMs), I started scouring the Internets. And lo and behold, back in 2006 someone else had the same problem. With a regular XP machine. In a Windows domain. Wow!

In a nutshell, it comes down to the fact that the domain controller is confused about your machine and SID, and won’t trust you. Removing the machine from the domain, and adding it back in, solves the problem somehow.

Thank you, My Digital Life!