Thursday, December 21, 2006

WSJ on Microsoft Vista Requirements

Memory: Microsoft suggests 512 megabytes of memory, or RAM, for stripped-down Vista, and it will probably recommend one gigabyte of memory for full Vista. But based on experience with the company's guidelines, I strongly suggest doubling those amounts. Even on a cheap machine, I'd get one gigabyte of memory, and if you want to run Vista with all its features, I suggest two gigabytes.

Video: Stripped-down Vista can run on any graphics hardware that can support what's called SVGA, or a resolution of 800 by 600. The hardware should also support a Microsoft technology called DirectX 9. This includes many integrated graphics systems, which do away with a separate video card in favor of graphics chips bolted to the mother board.

Full Vista will be best with a separate, or "discrete," graphics card that has at least 128 megabytes of dedicated video memory. These cards also need support for DirectX 9. In addition, however, they must also support Microsoft software called "WDDM" and "Pixel Shader 2." If your eyes are rolling right now, don't fret. Microsoft officials say nearly all discrete graphics cards on the market today meet these specs, as will the latest integrated graphics systems, such as Intel chip sets labeled 945 or higher.

Processor: For stripped-down Vista, a processor running at 800 megahertz or faster should be sufficient, according to Microsoft. For full Vista, the speed rises to one gigahertz. I'd edge higher if your budget allows, but you don't need the fastest processor.

Hard disk: Disk storage is already copious enough for Vista, and buying large amounts is cheap. For stripped-down Vista, I'd go for at least 60 gigabytes of hard-disk space. For full Vista, I'd boost that to 160 gigabytes, to accommodate lots of music and video.
--Mossberg, 13 Apr 06

Meebo Icons

If you have a picture that you’ve created that’s 96×96 pixels, and you would like it to potentially be one of the default buddy icons in meebo, send it to

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Hong Kong Automated Passenger Clearance

Since 16 December 2004, the Immigration Department has introduced the automated passenger clearance system (e-channels) to members of the public. Currently, Hong Kong permanent residents (except those under the age of 11) or Hong Kong residents holding Document of Identity for Visa Purposes (DI) can use their smart identity cards to perform self-service immigration clearance. Since 12 September 2006, e-Channel service has been extended to people who have the right to land or are on unconditional stay in Hong Kong, and non-permanent residents who have been issued with a notification label. Meanwhile, please note that Hong Kong residents must bring along with them their valid travel documents when travelling.

To enter the e-channel is simple. People just have to insert their smart identity cards with the side bearing the arrow and chip into the card reader. The system will take a while to perform mutual authentication with the smart identity card key. People can enter the e-channel when the gate doors open. After entering the e-channel, people just need to place their thumbs flat on the centre of scanners. After fingerprint verification they can leave the e-channel.