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Heading into a new year

This column originally ran in ComputorEdge on January 12, 2007
(Issue 2502, Windows Vista: Now or Never)

Before we get too far into 2007 (and as I write this, it's a few days before Christmas 2006), it might be good to take a quick look at some neat things going on online, as well as bring a few stories from the past year up to date.

Video to the world

San Diego musician/songwriter Scott Wilson may not be on MTV – but that doesn't mean he doesn't have a following for his new music video.

With a savvy head for online marketing, Wilson has used links from his MySpace and Yahoo pages, plus his own Web site at MetalLogic Music to get 14,000 views of his music video "Coffeehouse 101."

It's a pretty fun folk/rock song, with the appeal of having more than 50 local musicians sing along and make cameos in the video.

I can't claim to know every San Diego musician, but I did recognize folks like Gregory Page, "Doctor" Dave Sawyer, Chuck Schiele of The Grams, Carlos Olmeda, Sven-Erik Seaholm and the Wild Truth, Sirens Lure and Marcia Claire, among others.

What makes this different is that the video is both very well produced, and yet made locally - but still able to find a global audience.

Yahoo video

It was also my first time using Yahoo's new video hosting site.

It's set up like the rest of Yahoo, and is organized more like a search engine than a hosting service. When searching the default is to search all the Web - so that you get videos from YouTube and, as well as the rest of the Web. The search capability works only okay – it won't bring up every related video from YouTube that a YouTube search would find, but for an all-in-one search it works pretty well.

What I have found is that the video quality of the clips hosted on is far superior to those hosted on YouTube, which tends to be pretty lame. There aren't as many, but what are there download quickly and look pretty good.

IE 7

Internet Explorer 7 seems to be up to version 7.0.5 something – I have the auto update feature turned on, so it's constantly changing – and is still having some stability problems, at least in Windows XP.

I've noticed that if I have more than one browsing tab open, when I go to close IE, it crashes hard. If I close all the tabs but the last one first, and then shut down IE, no problems.

Still, in terms of functionality and overall stability, it's head and shoulders above Microsoft's previous stabs at a Web browser. In fact, it's almost as good as Firefox or Netscape ...

iTunes for Windows

Still having stability problems for Windows, iTunes seems to be getting better – if ever so slowly. The dominant online music service ought to work with the dominant PC operating system, no? At least if the dominant online music service wants to stay dominant.

Whether it was some weird conflict with device drivers or simple instability, iTunes would freeze whenever I went to rip a CD from my DVD drives. And whether it was buying a new DVD burner (with its new drivers) or the latest iTunes version (, I can now rip away to my heart's content.

Previously, I'd rip my CDs (in MP3 format) in Windows Media Player, then import them into iTunes – iTunes having, for me, a far more intuitive interface for creating playlists and burning CDs (and backup DVDs).

If this newfound stability holds in iTunes for Windows (and so far so good) Apple could tighten its grip on the digital music arena.

MySpace issues

Every time the folks at MySpace "upgrade," it seems like something else stops working in Firefox and/or Netscape. With IE steadily losing market share to other, more reliable and secure browsers, you'd think MySpace would spend a little time making sure their coding is really HTML-compliant and not IE-specific.

Currently, I can't stay logged in in Netscape – every time I want to check my MySpace mail or view comments or a blog, I have to log in again. And sometimes, after logging back in, I get taken back to the home page instead of what I was trying to do.

We shouldn't have to choose between a browser we like and using MySpace.