August 05, 2006
Opera jumps straight to version 90!
In a surprise move Opera have decided to skip versions 10 to 89 and release version 90 today. When I started Opera this evening there was already a point release and I was asked to upgrade to version 90.1. Browsers have come a long way, its just a shame error checking hasn't. Still a great browser though.
Posted by The Technician at 10:06 PM
June 08, 2006
Windows Vista Public Beta now available
It is a big 3.13GB DVD ISO download but Microsoft are using Akamai's download manager to help every one get it.
February 08, 2006
Opera 9 Preview 2 released
Opera has been my favourite browser since it release version 8 and made it free. It is at version 8.5 at the moment and version 9 is expected in March, but labs.opera.com have released a preview of the new browser and it looks brilliant.
Looks are the same, but the new features are going to make this browser a must have. Opera were the first to integrate tabbed browsing but Firefox really made it popular, but with the new version 9 Opera gives us a much needed feature, one I have wanted for a while. It is the ability to switch through the open tabs with a keyboard shortcut, much the same way you can switch between open windows with ALT+TAB. The short cut is CTRL+TAB and lists the open windows in the center of the screen allowing you to easily select the tab you want.
Pressing CTRL+TAB displays open tabs in the center of the screen.
A closer view of my open tabs.
The other nice feature is the thumbnail’s that now appear when you place your mouse over a tab so you can ‘preview’ the contents of that page. I think this could be very useful for people like me who like to open lots of tabs. The thumbnails were a little slow to appear which could just be caused by my slowish computer, but I am sure the final release will perform better as they normally always do.
Place your mouse over a tab for the thumbnail to display.
A closer view of the thumbnail.
Other new features of Opera 9 are ‘widgets’ which are much like Konfabulator or Dashboard widgets. Reviewers have not been enthusiastic about the widgets, but I am sure they will develop further and be of use. Opera 9 is also the first browser to support the downloading and seeding of BitTorrents, which even though most people will use a standalone client is a nice inclusion as lots of IPTV show distribute their content via BitTorrent and using it within the browser will make it easier for others.
So far I am very happy about the features in the preview of Opera 9 and have had no stability issues or problems, which is something I can not say for the recent IE 7 Preview which freezes constantly.
December 28, 2005
Second day with OSX on my P4
I have spent most of this morning using OSX and trying to 'understand' it. So far, I have determined that Skype just isn't going to work and I am guessing it is because I am using the OSX Intel Developer release. I have had successes though. I installed MSN Messenger and Windows Media Player fine, but it is funny that I am using Apple's OS but some of the first programs I need to install are Windows applications.
Messenger has a really nice GUI, even better than the Windows Messenger Live BETA I am running on XP. And Windows Media Player for Mac played my OSX video perfectly, another it did crash once as I tried to resize the window. While making that video I had terrible trouble getting a good quality image with a small file size when I tried to export it to DIVX or Quicktime so that was my reason to export it in WMV but I am happy that Mac users could view it, but I am not sure if Linux users can. (Video exporting and a common file format is a topic for another day.)
Proof of my install
I got the Firefox install sorted out.
Windows Media Player and MSN Messenger
One big failure I had with OSX was trying to install OpenOffice. The installer would run and seemed to almost complete but it would just get stuck on installing a script file, so I had to cancel the installation. I managed to work out the keyboard combination (thanks Google) so that I could capture screen shots and took a few, however, I could not work out how to resize the images in iPhoto, so I will have to resize them and post the screenshots when I am back on Windows.
Looked like the install would work, but stalled soon after.
Trying out Nvu which I heard about from StepOnePro.com another IPTV show.
My final thought of today is could/would I move to OSX permanently or at least make it my second OS. At the moment Fedora Core is my second OS as I have a spare AMD based PC to use it on, if I want to use OSX I have to remove the XP hard drive from my P4 and insert the Mac one. The PC is a slim line desktop PC so has no space for both drives. One possible possibility is that I install OSX under VirtualPC, but I fear it would become too sluggish to be useable. My one big tie to stick with Windows is Outlook but if I could setup Exchange correctly I could have my Outlook via Outlook Web Access and then I could be completely platform independent. So would I make the switch?? If I had the money for a dedicated OSX PC or a genuine Apple PC then I would probably switch, but for now I think my time is better spent learning Fedora Core as I already have a separate PC for that.
(This post was initially posted using OSX and Safari, but images resized, posted and article spell checked on XP)
December 27, 2005
OSX running on Intel
A while ago I posted about a tutorial on i-hacked.com about how to installed Mac OSX on Intel hardware, well just to test and evaluate the Apple OSX Operating System, I followed the instructions, obtained a copy of the OSX for Intel DVD and installed it perfectly on my Intel based P4. This was one of the ultimate W?BIC! things to do. It has been very interesting getting used to this new OS which coming from a completely Windows background seems totally different to me.
Here is a short video of my experiment and my initial thoughts. OSX On Intel Video (27mb)
November 25, 2005
Learning OSX - handy videos
In my quest to get OSX running on Intel I have been researching about OSX so once it is all ready and installed I can actually use the OS. Luckily a link was posted on digg.com of a site with free videos giving you an orientation of OSX. They also have a page with Windows videos. Mac OS X 10.4 Orientation - Atomic Learning, Inc.
October 03, 2005
Disk-based Backup Solution with Data Protection Manager
I have mentioned Microsoft Data Protection Manager before when it was in Beta and now it is a full Microsoft Server software application. Unfortunately I do not have the hardware requirements at home to test the application and have not had the opportunity at work to try it.
From the information I have read on the Microsoft site I believe it would be of great benifit in our opperation as due to our 'student users' work is often deleted before an overnight backup, and DPM can back up data to the central DPM server every hour during the day. DPM also allows for faster recoveries saving us and the user a lot of time. We have a 'spare' test server at work so I am hoping to implement it into our network infront of our current tape backup server and see how much easier and more reliable it is.
August 26, 2005
Google joins VoIP and IM market
|Google have been releasing a lot of applications recently and the most exciting one is their new Instant Messaging and Voice over IP application. It uses the Open Source Jabber service and you can interact with its users from other clients like GAIM. The Google Talk application is very clean and simple to use like most Google services, and it ties into your Gmail account nicely and notifies you of any new emails. I have yet to test the voice quality of the service, so if you want to help me test it download the program and add 'BinarySignal' to your buddy list.|
July 21, 2005
Shared Computer Toolkit for Windows XP
Microsoft have released a Beta of Microsoft Shared Computer Toolkit for Windows XP which allows users to essentially lock down a shared computer so that setting and programs can not be altered. It allows you to apply Active Directory style Group Policies and Mandatory Profiles so workstations are secure. It has an easy to use User Interface (UI) and is primarily aimed at home users with troublesome children or small schools who do not have centralised security.
There is a great video over at Channel9.MSDN.com which explains it all. Remember it is a Beta so ensure you back up your data before you install it.
July 19, 2005
RIS : Remote Installation Service
Last night I finally got Remote Installation Service to work on my network. I have read about it a lot and knew it was possible, but yesterday my brain was firing on all cylinders and I worked out the DHCP kink which was probably stopping it before. It was a very exciting time seeing my slim line Dell PC network boot and start the install. I still have to experiment with installing all the needed applications, like Office, and then creating a full image.
June 05, 2005
Learn Firefox inside and out
By now most informed people should be using the web browser 'Firefox'. It is much more secure than IE and less susceptible to trojan and spyware attacks. With Firefox’s continued popularity lots of sites with help, tips and tricks have been setup. One of the most comprehensive and easiest to follow is here - Firefox Help, Tips and Tricks
May 15, 2005
I am not sure if this is a real Dell commerical or just a funny spoof of the Thunderbirds style puppets. What ever it is for it is funny to watch. DELL : Tech Force
May 03, 2005
Recover Deleted Files and Lost Data
The feeling of despair when you delete a much needed file or a hard drive becomes unreadable can be avoided, by first always having a recent backup and by using recovery utilities. PCWorld.com - Free Hard Disk Utilities: Recover Deleted Files and Lost Data review 4 different free applications for retrieving lost data. When I have some spare time I am going to try out these utilities on a problem hard drive I have and see if I can recover any of the data on it.
April 25, 2005
With USB drives becoming more popular for transporting files and documents they are also becoming popular to transport programs. When you are not working at your own computer you can use your favourite programs that are installed on your USB drive. Portable versions of Firefox and Thunderbird are already available and this site 'The Portable Freeware Collection' has a good list of other portable software.
April 18, 2005
Data Protection Manager beta available
Microsoft is building its server market with additional add-on server programs and recently Microsoft released a public beta for it’s Data Protection Manager for Windows Server 2003. DPM is designed to streamline disk based backup and allow for faster recovery of data and most importantly allow users to recover their own documents. Companies are moving away from unreliable tape backup and moving to disk based data centre backups and one company LiveVault have a very funny site promoting disk based backup.
April 11, 2005
Learn with a Virtual PC
The best way to learn about computers is by experimenting with live systems but unless you have a spare computer it is not always possible to take your main computer off line and install another operating system like Windows 2003 Server and play around with Active Directory. With Microsoft Virtual PC you do not need an extra computer as with the software you can install another operating system and run it within your current OS. I am not sure what the cost of the software is but
Microsoft offers a full 45-Day Trail Edition that you can download.
I am lucky enough to have a number of computers to experiement with but if you are restricted to one computer I recommend downloading the trial and learning. I will install the trial myself and will attempt to make a ‘How to’ about using Microsoft Virtual PC to help new users.
April 08, 2005
The GateKeeper Test
'Think you know all there is to know about IT security? Put yourself to the ultimate test.' From May 2nd Microsoft is running a security competition where you can win a Tablet PC and also claim the title of ‘The European Gatekeeper Champion of 2005’.
I have already signed up and you can to from the Gatekeeper Test website. The site has test questions and revision information so you can prepare for the test. Even if you don’t enter learning more about computer security is a good thing.
April 07, 2005
Free backup software
You never think about backup software until it is to later. You either learn by your mistake or learn from someone else’s. Backup software is not just for big businesses and even as a home user you should have a backup plan. From hearing of another users hard disk failure and loss of data, I found Karen's Replicator a free backup solution that allows you to select files and folders to be backed up and scheduled. The files are backed up without any form of custom compression so if needed you can search your backup and just recover the files needed. I will setup a backup schedule before it is to late and I recommend you do the same.
April 05, 2005
More on Batch files
I previously posted about Microsoft's information site about Scripting and Batch files, but I have now found another site with easier and simpler information to understand. Batch File Help
March 21, 2005
Access your PC from a Browser
jkOnTheRun.com discovered a get Freeware program that allows you to access your office or home computer from any other computer with just Internet Explorer and a little ActiveX install. MyWebEx PC: Remote Access and Remote Control to your PC, Remote Desktop Computing Solution
I am trying it out on my home server and it seems to be working quiet well, although you do have to use IE and not Firefox. The big test will be tomorrow when I try connecting through our tough proxy server at work.
There is also another free program from Logmein.com, which appears to offer the same services but I have not checked it out fully yet.
March 19, 2005
WinXP and WiFi explained
March 15, 2005
Learn how to script Microsoft Windows
Scripts are powerful and can be used to perform lots of tasks. We use lots of scripts at work, some to map printers others to delete unwanted files. Microsoft provide a number of tools to automate creating them and also has a great tutorial site. Microsoft - Learn to Script
March 05, 2005
How Firefox Works
I strongly recommend to anyone I speak to that they should switch to the Firefox browser. But exactly how does it work? Find out here. Howstuffworks "How Firefox Works"
February 26, 2005
How to: Repair Windows XP
Since I destoryed my computer yesterday and then was able to repair the installation with the Windows XP CD I thought it would be helpful to others to post information about how you can do it. Techspot.com have a forum post with screenshots that show you just what to do. How to: Repair Windows XP/2000 if you are unable to boot into Windows. - TechSpot OpenBoards
February 25, 2005
Look like Longhorn OS
Microsoft Longhorn is far from a release date but with this application you can skin WinXP and Win2K3 to look like Longhorn. Techconnect Magazine - Longhorn Transformation Pack 9.0
UPDATE - WARNING! WARNING!
Do not try this XP modification on your working box. I just tried it and now the computer does not boot and gives a \system32\ntoskrnl.exe error. I am also having trouble restoring the installation too. It pays to be careful of what your install. I have learnt my lesson today.
February 24, 2005
Windows XP 64-Bit Edition RC 2
For those lucky enough to have a AMD64 CPU it appears Release Candidate 2 is now available for download from the Microsoft site. I wish I could afford a AMD64 chip. Windows XP Professional x64 Edition
Automatically install WinXP
If you build computers or install Windows XP a lot there is an easier way to get it done other than you clicking next and entering in all the information. With this thorough guide you can create your own 'unattended XP CD'. MSFN's Unattended XP CD - Introduction
February 23, 2005
Setting up Windows XP MCE 2005
I found this comprehensive guide to setting up Windows XP Media Center Edition via DigitalMediaThoughts.com. It is a 16 page PDF file that contains screenshots of everything you need to do and prepares you well. Installing software is sometimes more than just clicking ‘next’.
RetroSight - Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 Setup Instructions
February 22, 2005
Make your own video security system
This 'How to' from Engadget.com shows you how you can make a home video security system with any simple webcam and some inexpensive software. As my home server is on all the time I may well install a webcam on it and have it monitor my home 24/7. HOW-TO: Turn your laptop into a home security system.
January 18, 2005
Erasing a Hard Disk
I was recently asked by someone how they could completely erase their hard disk. From the G4TechTV newsletter I found this application which appears to do the job very well http://dban.sourceforge.net/.
I have not tried it yet, but when back at work I will try it out on an old machine we have.