Entries in the Category "Tech"
Why the Japanese Hate the iPhone
What's wrong with the iPhone, from a Japanese perspective? Almost everything: the high monthly data plans that go with it, its paucity of features, the low-quality camera, the unfashionable design and the fact that it's not Japanese.
Still have that .edu mailing address, buy Office!
Microsoft re-introduced its "Ultimate Steal" program, offering students (but in reality, anyone with a .edu address) its Office Ultimate 2007 package for $59.95, which goes for $680 on retail shelves.
For alumni, a good reason to still keep that .edu mailing address.
Under Terms and Conditions:
"Individual must be a student at a U.S. educational institution and must be actively enrolled in at least 0.5 course credit and be able to provide proof of enrollment upon request. Microsoft or an appointed vendor may contact you to verify that you are a current student. If documentation is not provided indicating that you are a current student, you will be liable to reimburse Microsoft for the difference between what you paid and the estimated retail price of the software."
A risk to take? Apparently, Microsoft have done similar offerings in the past. Is it enforceable? Would they contact every .edu address? It's $679.95 / $539.95 for standard retail / upgrade, which is seriously overpriced. Quite a bargain for a student, but for regular customers, how can they justify such a high price?
Also, what happens if you did buy the software and want to get a refund? Their "Ultimate Steal" policy states no refunds will be given.
For you iPhone 3G buy addicts
As such, the next iPhone 3G goes on sale this Friday at Apple at AT&T stores. Just be aware of the new buy rules:
1)Buyers will be 'pre-qualified' via a series of questions.
2)Customers with corporate/business plans will have to go to AT&T to purchase their phones, only phone for personal use can be purchased at the store.
3)You will be required to present valid US government ID to purchase the phone
4)You will be required to provide your social security number to a store employee in order to do a credit check.
5)You will be required to pick a plan and pay the activation fee at time of purchase.
6)Phones will be activated in the store.
The World's 10 Most Wired Countries
To rank high on the list — one of 12 included in the WEF's annual Global Competitiveness Report — countries need to have tech-friendly government policies as well as high tech usage.
In the ranking, the WEF focuses on information and communication technologies (ICT), such as cellular connectivity and broadband Internet, noting that "ICT has evolved into the 'general-purpose technology' of our time … responsible for a large part of productivity increases."
Rankings are based on a combination of hard data from organizations like the International Telecommunications Union and responses to the WEF's Executive Opinion Survey on topics such as business adoption of technology and laws relating to ICT. About 11,000 business executives in 131 countries participate in the survey.
6) Hong Kong
7) South Korea
9) United States
Say Goodbye to Netscape
AOL will cease supporting the Netscape Navigator, currently on version 9, on February 1, 2008.
At its height, Netscape controlled over 90% of the browser market in the 1990's. Today, it currently has 0.6% market share, compared to IE's 77.35% and Firefox's 16.01%.
U.S. loses GPS dominance
Reuters reported that Russia has successfully launched a rocket on Tuesday carrying the last three satellites to complete a navigation system to rival America's GPS.
The military-run GLONASS mapping system works over most of Russia and is expected to cover the globe by the end of 2009, once all its 24 navigational satellites are operating.
In addition, the European Union and European Space Agency are building their Galileo positioning system. This 3.4 billion euro project of 30 satellites is scheduled to be operational by 2013. Galileo will provide more precise measurements than GPS or GLONASS. China, Israel, Ukraine, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, and South Korea have also joined on this project.
India is also taking part in the project and will establish a regional augmentation system based on the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS).
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Both GLONASS and Galileo represent independent moves by those countries to wean themselves off the US GPS system.
It is probably true that the U.S. Department of Defense still maintains a Selective Deniability (SD) ability within the network which may still be used to effectively jam civilian GPS units in a war zone or global alert while still allowing full functionality for military units.
Of course we know the implications of Russia having their own satellite system.
Sure, I want to wait several hours for an Apple store to open
I am calling out the nitwits who waited in line for several hours just to get into a brand new Apple store in NYC's West 14th Street in the Meatpacking District.
Even CNET.com's authors did not find anything shocking about this latest store. The trademark glass staircase extends for three stories rather than the usual two. I guess that must be sufficient reason to start waiting at 1AM (yep, the store's grand opening was scheduled at 6PM). It's not even the largest Apple store. That recognition goes to the one on North Michigan Avenue in Chicago, but wait, Apple says that this NYC store is the only one with 3 stories, and is the second largest. Hmm, I guess tallest sounds better than largest.
But really, waiting in line for a grand opening? There's no big grand product release. No new gadget exceeding the iPod Touch or iPhone. Maybe a chance to boast to your fellow techies that you were the Xth person to enter the store on that day. Let's see how many times your girl roll her eyes when she hears that one, oh wait, you may not have a girlfriend...snap!
Perhaps waiting for 4-5 hours for that free t-shirt or limited-edition poster was enough incentive. Or maybe that possible surprise of a free Mac, MacBook Pro, or an iPod Touch was too tempting.
Maybe throw in a Panasonic plasma screen would be enough for me. Or what if you got Steve Jobs to open up the doors? The store is the only one with three stories, come on here. Where is he?!?!?!
Go ahead, and wait. You're just gonna get a few seconds of fame, then it's off waiting for iPhone 2007, 2008, and so on. The next time I visit the store, the wait time for me will be practically zero. =) I look forward to that.
Another Patent Troll: Klausner Technologies
It seems they are popping up everywhere. Klausner Technologies has filed a patent lawsuit against Apple, Inc. on the iPhone alleging that the company has infringed on their patents covering visual voicemail. The patent trolling company estimates that Apple owes them about $360 million in damages and future royalties.
The lawsuits asserts that Apple's iPhone Visual Voicemail feature violates Klausner Technologies' U.S. Patents 5,572,576 and 5,283,818. These patents have already been licensed to various other companies that provide visual voicemail, including Time Warner’s AOL for its AOL Voicemail services, Vonage Holdings for its Vonage Voicemail Plus services as well as others, under the Klausner Patents. Of course, note that Klausner sued both Time Warner and Vonage before settling.
The iPhone violates Klausner’s intellectual property rights by allowing users to selectively retrieve voice messages via the iPhone’s inbox display.
Why is Klausner a patent troll? Because it owns U.S. and international patents covering visual voicemail products and services which allow users to selectively retrieve individual voice messages via their cell phones and PCs. It does not offer any actual products and/or services. All they get is royalties for having a patent.
BTW, they also sued AT&T because they are offering wireless service for the iPhone. Plus eBay Inc.'s Skype unit, Comcast Corp., and Cablevision Systems Corp. For these companies, Klausner alleges that they are violating its patents covering VoIP. (link)
And yes, Klausner filed their lawsuit in the friendly courts of Eastern District of Texas. Another blackmailer on the warpath.
Patent Troll: Z4 Technologies
It would seem that Z4 Technologies has filed a patent covering the concept of using a two-level password process in order to activate newly installed software.
If you look up Z4 Technologies, they do not offer ANY actual services or products that utilize their patents. Therefore, we need to classify this company as a patent trolling company whose sole purpose is to file lawsuit against companies that later use their ideas.
Thus, this so-called company filed a lawsuit against Microsoft and Autodesk for using their "password" patent and a federal jury awarded them $158 million plus attorney fees. Of course, please note that patent trolling companies usually file their lawsuits in Marshall, Texas, where the courts are quite "friendly" to these companies. Unfortunately, Microsoft and Autodesk's appeals were denied by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
So essentially, for any other software company that wants to implement some sort of two password process to registering or activating the product, you have to pay royalty fees to Z4 Technologies.
Thus, should something like a two password process of DRM be patentable?
Aren't patents supposed to encourage and promote technological advancement, not curtail them?
Are companies like Z4 Technologies only interested in financial gain at the expense of other companies doing all the work for them?
This is another sign of why the patent and intellectual property system must be completely reformed.
If Z4 Technologies tries to sue you, just go and implement a three-password process...oh wait Z5 Technologies just patent that one.
Getting Gouged by Geeks
The consumerist.com blog talks about computer repair companies that do not completely know everything that there is to know about computers.
CBC Toronto did a hidden camera investigation where they set up a desktop having a faulty memory module. Three of 10 computer repair companies correctly diagnosed the problem. The other seven said it was the motherboard, the processor, the video card, or even the hard drive. The hard drive argument included paying $2,000 to recover the user's data from a recovery firm.
While some of us can go on the internet and find the possible cause of our hardware or software problem, what about the people who are technically inept? Would you really trust your computer in the hands of the Geek Squad?
Do some research, get a second opinion, and hopefully you won't get ripped off.
Jammie Thomas fined $222,000 for illegal file-sharing
A federal jury in Duluth, Minnesota Thursday ordered a Minneapolis woman to pay $220,000 to six music companies for illegally downloading and sharing copyrighted music over a peer-to-peer network.
The 12 person jury said Jammie Thomas must pay $9,250 for each of the 24 songs that were the focus of the case. In their complaint, the six music companies that sued her had claimed that Thomas had illegally shared a total of 1,702 songs over the Kazaa file sharing network, but they chose to focus on a representative list of 24 songs.
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Does this verdict really make any difference? I am sure it is a shock to everyone, but it was not really a big surprise. I felt that Thomas offer some alternative theories doubting the RIAA's allegations she shared illegal songs but did not go into exact detail.
Sure, a victory for the RIAA, but quite a lot of folks are sympathetic to the woman because of her financial situation. In fact, you could probably find worse users sharing several more times than what she had alleged to have done.
Will this stop illegal downloading? No. Today's users are smarter. They are most likely to use bit torrent or other secured file systems to download record albums and songs. They are more likely to offer select access to shared files rather than public access. Of course, how can you prevent a person carrying a 500GB portable hard drive to his or her friend's house and letting that person download everything? How can you stop a person copying a record album onto a blank CD and giving it out to his or her friends?
Even besides file-sharing networks such as Kazaa or Napster, you still got mIRC networks offering DDE downloads, or you can go through the usenet newsgroups and download songs from attachments.
Read the fine print on Verizon on termination service
In Verizon's contract agreement regarding termination:
An early termination fee will apply if you choose to end your service before becoming a month-to-month customer, or if we terminate it early for good cause.
Just imagine if Verizon cancels your contract just before it ends, citing "good cause." That's $175 lost.
It had to happen: Apple sued over iPhone price discrimination
I wonder if anyone was taking bets on who would file a legal lawsuit against Apple for their price cut on the iPhone.
Dongmei Li of Queens, New York City is accusing Apple of "price discrimination, underselling, discrimination in rebates, deceptive actions, and other wrongdoings."
Apparently, Li purchased a 4GB model of the iPhone and is upset that she can no longer resell her purchase for the same profit that someone who bought one after the price drop. She's also upset that her phone has already been discontinued.
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It would seem that losing money over this is a big problem for you. Then why buy the iPhone in the first place? You bought it because you believe the hype and you want to be one of the very first customers to buy it off the shelves on opening day. Now you are angry that Apple does a price cut on the phone.
Yep, you could have saved yourself about $200 if you waited a few months. But it was your own individual choice to buy it on the first day. Do not blame Apple, blame yourself.
Same goes when the XBox came out, then the XBox 360, the PS3, and so on and so forth.
Verizon's FiOS still lags behind
You hear it on the radio, you see it on the TV set. Verizon is busy touting their FiOS Internet Service promising speeds from 5 Mbps to 30 Mbps. They are asking you to pay from either $39.99 for the fast package or $179.95 for the fastest package.
If you want tv or phone service too, it's extra.
$179.95 for 30 Mbps?!?!? Answer: It's a ripoff. Optimum Online is also offering 30 Mbps but it would only cost you about $40 to $45 per month.
Still not upset? How about consumerist.com's mention that residents in Hong Kong can get a whopping 100 Mbps fiber-optic connection for only $48.50 per month? Or how about 200 Mbps for $88.20?
Yeah, we are pretty pathetic. Oh, have you took a look at the chart by World Politics Review on average broadband speed by country? We are stuck around 5-6 Mbps. Japan has more than 60 Mbps, Korea has about 45 Mbps.
Yeah, Hong Kong is such a small territory. Korea and Japan are smaller. But they all have advanced infrastructure in place. It kinds makes the U.S. a bit backward. It seems humorous when you have folks saying we got an advanced technological country.
Are we really comparing apples and oranges here? Or is it the fact that our telecommunication and cable providers are just unwilling to expand at such a rate? They are probably intent on letting U.S. consumers advance piecemeal compared to other countries.
But really, how can Verizon stand by and offer 30 Mbps for almost $180 dollars???
Comcast... their max is 10 Mbps and they are charging about $40-50 per month. They also offer Powerboost giving a burst of download speeds up to 20 Mbps. It's funny because in their ads, they compare their own internet high-speed service against Verizon's DSL service, and not FiOS.
Any one got some crazy stories to tell?
Whiners complain about iPhone price cut
Some early adopters of the iPhone are complaining about the price cut, from $599 to $399 for the 8-gigabyte model. While there are those who believe that paying for a premium price came with the territory, other said they felt burned. Some say the price reduction came too soon.
Stop it! Everytime a new gadget comes out, the price is high and eventually it will come down. As such, I think the window between introduction and the first price-cut is getting narrower. Already, Apple is releasing another next-generation iPod (called iTouch) which comes with Wi-Fi.
So yes, you can boast you got the first iPod or iPhone, or Chocolate in the neighborhood, but such things will soon be in the past.
Nokia next to offer iPhone look-alike
Not a surprise. Do you really think Apple has a lock down on the interface design? A good many phones out there were heading in the same direction.
Plus you should always check the European and Asian sites of the respective phone manufacturers and see what gadgets are coming out for those regions. Usually, it would take months before they appear in the US.
Videohybrid is a video site with social features like video requests, voting and commenting. The site also has a ranking system for "hunters" who go and find video requests. Videohybrid hosts a lot of illegal content including full-length movies and TV shows, so it will be interesting to see how they handle the inevitable legal issues. Users can find a large array of video content including full-length movies, like The Bourne Ultimatum, because Videohybrid pulls videos from other video sites and allows users to upload illegal video content.
How long before the site gets taken down?
Two high school students from San Jose, CA started the site. Any guess if the server is hosted outside of the US?
They even had the nerve of putting in a script where if you visit the site with an IE browser, you get directed to page with a link to download FireFox.
Looks like Bourne Ultimatum is the most popular movie followed by Hairspray and Ratatouille.
Is Microsoft buying out Sweden's vote in ISO?
As reported by stupid.domain.name, Microsoft stuffed one of the meetings of the WG17 of SIS/ITS with its partners and got a majority vote to push the OODF/OOXML question.
IBM and other representatives left the meeting believing it was a farce. The vote was 25 for, 6 against, and 3 abstained.
Has Sweden been bribed? Let's see when the official OOXML vote comes up.
engadget reports iPhone unlock success
Yes, it is true, and bad news for AT&T and Apple, the iPhone can be used with your competitors!
Happy Friday: Web Crash 2007
Happy Friday! Enjoy!
iPhone on the University's WiFi network? Duke - False Alarm
Apple has been exonerated. Duke University said its wireless network was having problems and that the iPhones were not responsible for the outage. "A particular set of conditions made the Duke wireless network experience some minor and temporary disruptions in service," Duke spokeswoman Tracy Futhey said in a written statement posted on the university's web site. Cisco provided a fix for the network issue.
Of course, now a security firm called Independent Security Evaluators (ISE) has announced it has made a successful hack of the iPhone by using its internet connection. Apple is looking into it.
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Technology officials at Duke University have reported that Apple's iPhones may be jamming parts of their wireless network. Such a problem is currently being worked on by both Duke, Apple, and Cisco Systems.
Bill Cannon, Duke technology spokesman, said an analysis of traffic found that iPhones flooded parts of the campus wireless network with access requests, freezing parts of the system for 10 minutes at a time.
Cannon alleges that one iPhone could have the ability to cause such a problem, and a recent check found 100 to 150 of them registered on the Duke network. Network admins stated that the problem occurred nine times in the past week.
It would seem that the iPhone would use AT&T's EDGE network or an available Wi-Fi access point (AP). If such an AP is not available, it would switch to EDGE, but it would continue to check for a Wi-Fi signal.
Ashok Agrawala, computer sci prof at University of Maryland said the phone could be struggling to regain a connection with a wireless access point, possibly when a wireless hotspot hands off to another. It is possible that the network parameters may not be set correctly for Apple's latest product.
No reports of other networks being affected have been announced. At University of Maryland, technology officials have reported no problems. The same goes with nearby North Carolina State University.
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Just curious if anyone tried to get an iPhone registered on Case's network. Any problems?
Check out the iPhone fine print, one thing that is not hyped by Apple
Telecom Analyst Bruce Kushnick inspect the iPhone's Terms of Service and find some surprising relevations.
Doug Ross @ Journal explains some of them with more detail.
The first ten:
1) iPhone Requires a 2-Year Contract with AT&T.
2) Expensive: Requires $2,280, Over $1,730 in Wireless Costs.
3) Double Billing. You and the Caller Both Get Charged for the Same Call.
4) All Use of the Networks Are Always Rounded Up to the Nearest Kilobyte or Minute.
5) Customers Are Billed for “Network Errors” and “Network Overhead".
6) Billed Even Though the Call Doesn't Go Through.
7) Bogus Fees Added to the Bill: Regulatory Cost Recovery Charge
8) $175.00 Termination Fee.
9) International Messages Are Charged Additional Fees as Are Files Over 300Kbps.
10) Over Your Quota: Get Gouged: 40¢ Per Minute and 69¢ Roaming Offnet.
Click on the links to see the rest.
Table Card Readers at Restaurants
While on a work visit to Boston, I dined at the popular Legal Sea Foods restaurant on State Street. After finishing my delicious seafood choices, the waitress brought out a table credit card reader. She explained that they were testing this out to see if it makes it easier instead of taking your card to the register, swipe it, then come back with the receipt that needs to be signed.
Instead, you just need to swipe your credit/debit card through the reader, choose the tip amount 12%/15%/20%, then it prints out the receipt, and you sign it.
Pretty convenient. While I was living abroad in London for two years, the UK and most of Europe used table card readers and they are quite popular. They have not really yet caught on the United States.
Now, the only slight complaint is that the waiter/waitress is waiting while you swipe the card and enter the information, I get a bit antsy when deciding the tip. You can do a percentage or a select amount, and it might feel awkward if you are giving a small tip for bad or not so good service. There were some occasions where the person would face away, other times he or she would look straight ahead, and you just hope they won't look at what you are putting in.
Besides that, it is pretty quick. Overall, I do not have a problem with it. Perhaps it could be a courtesy issue when diners "ask for the check" when they are completely done. After finishing up lunch or dinner, the cleaners would take away the dishes, then you get asked about dessert or coffee, then usually you converse with your guests for a while letting your food settle down until you call for the bill. In some restaurants, the waiter would bring the reader after dessert/coffee or after you ask for the bill.
But definitely a productivity boost. We use our debit/credit cards at consoles at fast-food joints, gas stations, and grocery stores, why not at restaurants?
It is definitely time to catch up.
Apple iPhone v Nokia N95
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Honestly, the Apple iPhone is not really the latest must-have gadget. I can find lots of mobile phones that are selling in Asia and Europe that can outdo Apple's product. Yes, iPhone just stands out, but c'mon, it's like an over-sized Blackberry.
Possible Scam: iphoneunlocking.com
So if you are one of the few customers that bought an iPhone, you might have heard of iphoneunlocking.com, which "claims" that they can unlock the phone so it can be used on other mobile networks instead of being limited to AT&T (Cingular).
But it's a scam. Right now, they are gathering e-mail addresses so you would get the "notice" when they find a way to unlock the iPhone. There are also reports of the site asking for your iPhone's IMEI number. Do not give this out.
With the IMEI information, they can clone them to other iPhones and use them to free-call for short periods of time. Such an attempt will get your IMEI blacklisted and bricked.
Yes, your mobile phone can be unlocked so it can be used on various providers but there is no official word on the iPhone as of yet.
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Here is the Registrant Info of this domain from godaddy.
115 East 57th Street
New York City, New York 10022
Registered through: GoDaddy.com, Inc. (http://www.godaddy.com) Domain Name: IPHONEUNLOCKING.COM
Created on: 18-Feb-06
Expires on: 18-Feb-08
Last Updated on: 27-Jun-07
115 East 57th Street
New York City, New York 10022
2125316253 Fax --
115 East 57th Street
New York City, New York 10022
2125316253 Fax --
Domain servers in listed order:
Idiot tries to steal iPhone, but takes reporter's mic
Clearly, an idiot. First, you got people so close by, you got no clean path to run away. Plus you need glasses or better contacts to steal an iPhone.
I wonder how he would be feeling 2 years from now
So a fellow customer gets one of the first iPhones. I wonder how he would feel after spending $500 on a 4-gig or perhaps $600 for an 8-gig version, then being stuck on the AT&T 2-year plan where the minimum cost is $60 per month.
Then he realises it does not contain all the goodies and AT&T's EDGE network is pretty much slower than 3G, and he won't experience any improvements for at least 2 years.
Maybe you should not buy an iPhone
I am still sticking with my European Chocolate phone.
What the Apple iPhone does not have
What the iPhone Doesn't Have
• Songs as Ringtones
• Any flash support
• Instant Messaging
• Picture messages (MMS)
• Video recording
• Voice recognition or voice dialing
• Wireless Bluetooth Stereo Streaming (A2DP)
• One-size-fits-all headset jack (May have to buy an adapter for certain headphones)
Stuff we already knew it didn't have
• 3G (EV-DO/HSDPA)
• A real keyboard
• Removable battery
• Expandable Storage
• Direct iTunes Music Store Access (Over Wi-Fi or EDGE)
The builders of the Internet, but not the fastest
When people talk about having a 1 megabit or 2 megabit connection, we consider it to be a really fast connection. Speed matters because we need a fast connection to download a multi-megabyte application, music, or media file that can be saved to a CDROM or DVD.
Today, the median U.S. download speed is about 1.97 megabits per second. It sounds cool to most of us, but if you compare worldwide, it is quite the opposite. The fastest internet connection is located in Japan where customers are enjoying about 61 megabits per second! In South Korea, it is about 45 megabits. France has 17 megabits. Our northern neighbor, Canada, has a median of 7 megabits.
We know that having a good quality broadband is essential to draw businesses and jobs. Speed gives us better Internet applications, such as photo sharing and video streaming.
Yet our bureaucrats at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have failed to update their definition of "high speed." According to the current revision, it is about 200 kilobits per second. That benchmark was adopted over 12 years ago. In April, the FCC opened a proceeding to redefine the meaning of "broadband Internet Service." We should get a report in the fall. Spokeswoman Tamara Lipper says "we're asking the question if the definition should be changed."
Holy crap! Was that a rhetorical question? 200 kilobits. That's like a slow modem. 3 megabits is fast, but if our Asian counterparts are enjoying at least 40 megabits of bandwidth, then we should set our sights on that as a target.
Regardless, we are definitely way behind in high-speed Internet access and we need to catch up quick.
By the way, if you compare state vs state in terms of median download speeds, in New Jersey, we are ranked 3rd in the country with a median of 3.680 megabits per second.
In Ohio, it's only 1.359 megabits per second, 40th in the country.
LG KE970 Shine around the corner
The LG KE970 Shine is LG's latest spinoff of the Chocolate. With the unique metallic exterior, this phone literally shines. Use the sleek jog-dial interface to quickly choose the option you need on the phone, and the 2.0 megapixel camera and Bluetooth give you all the connectivity you need.
It has not officially arrived in the U.S. It premiered in South Korea, and in the UK last month. It can operate in the 1900 Mhz zone so it can work in the U.S. Getting it unlocked is expensive, but who knows what changes need to be done in order to sell it for Verizon or Cingular. Call it a "downgrade." The Verizon LG Chocolate is no match for the European version, and the US version of the Shine might be a bit duller when it arrives.
Various sources suggest that "The Shine" will arrive later this year. The most likely vendor to sell this new line will be Verizon (given their good relationship with LG) despite their "inferior" UI code.
Vista Minimum Requirements Unrealistic
Betanews reports that the minimum requirements for the Windows Vista: 800 Mhz processor, 512 MB RAM, 35 GB hard drive is not enough.
Consumers should go for at least 3 GHZ single-core CPU or 2 GHZ dual-core CPU. Notebooks (laptops) should be at least 1.5 GHZ.
Memory should start at 2 GB and up.