Saturday, December 13, 2008

Local Mom & Pop Shop – Brainwave Computers

Thought I’d give a shout-out to a local shop in the Delmarva (Eastern Shore Maryland, VA, DE region), not only does this shop feature really low prices and custom built machines, they also feature built to order Laptop computers from Acer. I bought a red & black PC tower for nearly $700 almost a year ago, and so far, only needed to get replacement parts once or twice.

They feature built to order PC’s that take a few days to build, and feature a nice one year warranty for free maintenance and repair. There have been quality reports in the past from various customers, but I never noticed any personally, and all the hardware that was purchased from them are at the same quality level as Dell, or HP.

Seriously worth a look if you need to get your geek fix while on your way to visit Ocean City or whatever. :)

BrainWave Computer Services

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Windows 7 Build 6956 Review

When you think Microsoft Windows, do you think Windows XP, or Windows Vista? Keeping with the unbiased approach that I talked about in my prior blog post, it’s hard to not think about the disappointment that some Microsoft employees felt with the reception of Microsoft’s latest OS. Windows Vista was hit with a lot of driver and software incompatibility, by lagging hardware companies. nVidia was one of them, as well as Creative. They have since learned from their mistakes and now Windows Vista drivers are top notch and comparable to Windows XP’s drivers at Service Pack 1. So where are we now? We’re a good couple of years into the life span of Windows Vista, with Windows XP still in the forefront, due to the simple fact that many companies will not upgrade to Vista and wait it out until Windows 7, which is what this article is in fact about, the next generation OS from Microsoft.

Windows 7 – The UI

This review will not completely cover all of the features of Windows 7, simply because the OS is in pre-beta, and will not be feature or even possibly UI complete. This is a review of the latest build released, which is currently build 6956.winmain.081122-1150, the build released at WinHEC China 2008. The most noticeable thing in the included screenshots, the taskbar, what happened to it, you might ask. Microsoft wanted to streamline the Windows user interface by creating what’s called the SuperBar. Designed for ease of use and accessibility, the Windows SuperBar features larger icons, raising the size of the taskbar up a bit, and no text in the taskbar by default, they are also grouped together automatically by default. Icons that are not launched, will appear, but not have a selection or active button graphic over-top of them, replacing the Quick Launch by infusing it into the Superbar. When you mouse over the active, and launched superbar buttons, a Window Preview will appear, grouping the active Windows, minimized or not, into the preview. The most impressive thing about this feature is Aero Peek. Mouse over the Window in the preview, and it will focus or show that Window on your desktop, again, minimized or not. If you have a group of Windows on your desktop already, it will clear out all other Windows with a visually pleasing Glass effect, meaning you’ll only see your window you mouse over, and not the others.

This is an effort on Microsoft’s part, to again, streamline the user interface and allow better accessibility. Right clicking some buttons will reveal a new menu, with icons such as Explorer featuring a “Frequent” section of the menu. The menu also gives you the option to “Pin” the application to the taskbar, for faster access. Again as covered earlier in this paragraph, closed applications will just appear as icons in the superbar. You can also move a window towards the right hand side of the screen and a clear glass like preview window will appear, showing you what it will look like when you snap your window to the side of the screen.

Microsoft took note to the complaints of users that remnants of older OS’s appear in various places, breaking the consistency of the desktop. This in mind, Microsoft went through Windows 7 and gave everything a facelift. From MSPaint, to Calculator, from the Appearance section, to even the base icons. Everything has been revamped, and so far, it really helps with enhancing the desktop experience with Windows 7. Unsure at this point of isolated, hardly used icons have gotten the face lift yet or not, but through reviewing the latest build, I could not find any. The start button and start menu also received a face lift, as well. Some icons have expansion menus when appearing on the left hand side of the start menu; you’ll easily spot this with a small icon near the middle of the start menu, facing the right. Click this little arrow and the left hand side of the start menu will expand to cover the entire start menu, and feature recently opened documents as well as additional options. In one of the screenshots, you’ll see how the “Getting Started” option will have this feature, and how it will expand onto the rest of the start menu with more options such as, “Learn about Windows 7”, “Personalize Windows”, “Transfer your files”, and so on.

Other UI enhancements, such as the movement of various customization features in Windows 7, to display options, received the face lift as well. Moving Display to the Desktop’s right click menu, and calling it Screen Resolution, with the addition of the Gadgets option, which I will get to later in the review. Choosing Personalization will give you a neatly organized customization section, broken down into several parts. The main section showing Themes, which you can pick from a selection of already included themes, or create and customize your own themes. The options are not as complete as changing desktop elements such as the Window border or start button, but are more expansive than Windows Vista’s customization features. Below the themes box, you have Desktop Background, Window color, Sounds, and Screen Saver. After tweaking your theme, you can then save your theme and use it later; saved themes will appear in the Themes box above those options.

Screen Resolution right click option is pretty straight forward, showing a picture of your screen, with the usual monitor recognition number. It also shows Display, Resolution, and Orientation, with drop down menus next to each. You can also mess with Advanced Settings. Clicking advanced will give you advanced display settings similar to the one found in Vista. The sidebar is also gone, replaced, by desktop gadgets. Microsoft listened to individual complaints about the sidebar in Vista, and got rid of it, allowing you to freely move your gadgets about the desktop. As far as I could see in the latest build of Windows 7, it featured the same gadgets as in Vista, and will likely change when RTM approaches.

Microsoft also got rid of some of the “bloat”, by removing previously built in applications, and moving them to the Windows Live “Wave 3” suite. These applications include Windows Movie Maker, Windows Mail, and a few others, breaking with a tradition that has lasted more than 15 years. Surely this will be a welcome change, as it cuts down on the size of the OS, and allows you to install them as you please. The Windows Live “Wave 3” suite is due to be released fairly soon. Explorer has also been changed a bit, featuring a more streamlined favorites bar, and the exclusion of the Folders navigation bar. The change also includes the Library bar, as well as Homegroup, and Network. Not 100% sure on what the Homegroup is, but it could very well be a home oriented answer to Workgroups, whether Microsoft will rework Workgroups is at this point, unknown.

This review just barely scratches the surface of what can be found in this build, as more reviews will be written as publicly available builds will become available. The direction of Windows 7 is promising, as it seems they finally get what the user wants, ease of access, with a fresh user-interface. It amazes me how much they listened to the chatter of their user base and followed through, offering fixes to frustrations such as the break in Maximization, and the black out of Aero Glass when maximized. I’m really unsure of when this will be available, the general consensus is “sometime in 2009”, with a beta approaching very, very soon. I’d rather not write main details, without significant proof, then post what I “think” will be the release date of Microsoft’s next-gen OS.

Screenshots - Flickr

Review for Windows 7 6956 Coming

100% unbiased.. ;) I'm writing it up right now, and will post it when it's complete, to bring a more professional touch to it.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

“Open File Location” Right Click Item in XP

Ever wanted to right click a shortcut and go directly to that shortcut’s originating folder? Well if you’re running Windows Vista, you can do that by default, but for the rest of us on XP, we can’t, until now. Thanks to a simple script that was written by Ramesh Srinivasan of The Winhelponline Blog, you can, and it’s really easy to get installed too.

First thing you’ll want to do, is download the script.

Download the “Open File Location” script – Mediafire

Next, you’ll want to hold down your Winkey and press R, this will bring up your run window, type in %systemroot%.

Once C:/Windows is open, move the script over to your Windows directory and double click, then, just press OK to install. Now, right click a shortcut and verify that you have “Open File Location”.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Microsoft Direct-X Web Install Not Working

Unsure if I’m the only one effected by this, but through two OS changes, the darn DirectX web update will not work for me, so just incase I’m not the only one who experiences this..

 

Direct-X Redist. November 08 – Filehippo Mirror

 

Happy Gaming. :D

Monday, October 13, 2008

Stuck at the Uni

Well, now that I have some time to burn, I realize that I’ve been neglecting a lot of things. For instance, my blog, and all the web things that I have to do, that’s gaming for you, it’ll suck you in and make you neglect a lot of the important things.

Oh well, I’ll begin updating this thing more often so that this blog will get more content, and not necessarily tech related content, but just content in general. Not going to spill out my entire day, but random content, maybe even a little political content to shake things up a bit. ;)

For instance, are you for Obama or McCain, and who do you feel will win the election based on their credentials, charisma and so on. Leave a comment about it and feel free to voice your opinion. :)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Adapting to Windows Vista’s Growing Pains

The amount of time between Windows XP and Windows Vista was HUGE, and never before has a Windows client OS felt the pains of such a long release cycle as Windows XP to Windows Vista. You may also find that a lot of your hardware that ran Windows XP, might not run Windows Vista as well. There are a few tweaks and steps to try and ease the pains felt when upgrading to Vista on hardware that was built for Windows XP.

RAM

Probably the most important issue here, is the ram, 512MB was pushing it for XP, 1GB is comfortable for most people. However due to Windows Vista’s new features, like Super Fetch, 1GB might not be enough. Upgrading to 2GB is probably the best solution, and for the best bang for your buck, upgrade in sets of twos, for instance, 2GB to 4GB to 6GB, will ensure that your PC take advantage of what’s called Dual Channel Ram. Please take note that due to architecture limitations, you will not be able to upgrade past 3GB of ram on PC Hardware that isn’t 32-bit, fortunately, most modern processors support 64-bit operating systems.

Windows Search

This feature is in place to make searching for files faster and easier, however if you do not want to take advantage of this feature, it can be disabled for a minor performance boost. You can do this by holding down your Windows key on your keyboard, pressing R while holding that Windows key down and typing in. services.msc, navigate down the menu until you find Windows Search, and double click it. You’ll be presented with a window called “Windows Search Properties”. Look for Startup Type, and change that menu next to it to Disabled. Then, if you look lower, you’ll notice that Service Status is set to Started, click stop and then apply.

Windows Super-Fetch

Here is where things get a bit more complicated, disabling this requires you to dip into the Windows Registry. If you’re uncomfortable doing this, then you best not attempt this, but if you do exactly what is instructed here, you run little risk of messing up your Windows Vista installation.

Hold down your Windows key on your keyboard again and hit R to bring up the Run dialog. Next, type in regedit, and hit enter. You’ll be presented with a window called Registry Editor, with a navigation tree on the left, and the main window on the right.

Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, SYSTEM, CurrentControlSet, Control, Session Manager, Memory Management, PrefetchParameters.

You’ll notice on the right hand side a set of keys labeled, BaseTime, BootId, EnableBootTrace, Enable Prefetcher, EnableSuperFetch, VideoInitTime. Do not touch anything but EnableSuperFetch, and set it to any of the values below.

0 to disable Superfetch
1 to enable prefetching when program is launched
2 to enable boot prefetching
3 to enable prefectching of everything

After you disable SuperFetch, you will need to go to Windows Services, as stated above, bring up the Run dialog and type services.msc, and navigate down until you see SuperFetch, double click it, set Startup type to Disabled, and set Service Status to Stopped.

What SuperFetch does is it uses part of your ram to cache frequently opened programs to allow faster startup. Problem is, if you do not have that much ram, it cuts performance down, and if your a gamer, the more ram you have available to your system to run your games, the better.

Start Menu Lag

Follow this link for the solution.

Windows Defender

This scans at random times and gives little to no notification when it scans your system. Unfortunately it takes up quite a bit of system resources when it does this. To stop Windows Defender from running automatic scans, go to Control Panel and in the upper right hand corner, in the search bar, type in Windows Defender. This will then show Windows Defender in the main window, click it to bring up the Windows Defender application.

In the Windows Defender window, you’ll see a top set of icons labeled, Home, Scan, History, Tools and the blue question mark. Click on Tools, then in the Settings sub-section, click on Options. You’ll see Automatic Scanning as the first section in Options. Untick “Automatically scan my computer (recommended)”. Now the reason I’m targeting this is because most of the readers here have their own malware and anti-virus solutions, and Defender has one of the worst detection rates of any of the programs out there.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Update

Removal of all links to AeroXP, as they’re jerk-off of a Editor wronged me.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Vista Start Menu Lag Fix

Are you tired of having your Windows Vista start menu lag up whenever you try to navigate it? Did you know that a simple untick of a setting will completely resolve the problem?


Right click the start orb, and choose Properties, make sure your in the Start Menu tab.

With the top "Start Menu" option enabled, click the Customize... tab next to it.

Next, scroll down the list until you see the option "Highlight newly installed programs" and untick it, then click OK, and ok again to close the Taskbar and Start Menu Properties window, and there you go, your start menu should be as speedy as when you first installed Vista. :)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Outlook 2007 + Gmail Update

Google has now posted detailed guides on how to configure Outlook 2007 to work with Gmail.

Link

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Fixing Broken Vista Icons ~ Windows Vista

Sometimes you might find yourself browsing around Vista Explorer and suddenly running into a broken icon, you'll know it when you see it, it's the icon that no longer shows your regular applications image, but instead, an UGLY Windows 95/98 style icon in it's place. There is an easy way to fix this, and it boils down to deleting a system file, but don't worry, it'll get replaced by Vista as soon as it's deleted, and fix your ugly 95/98 icon problem.

First open up your start menu and type CMD inside the search box to locate Command Prompt. Right click it and choose Run As Administrator, and keep it open, you'll need it later on.

Next, bring up Task Manager, right click the taskbar and it'll be on that menu.

Locate Explorer in the process' list and choose it, then click End Process, you'll notice everything will disappear, save for the windows you have open at the moment.

Next you'll need to navigate back to command prompt and since you'll be starting out at your Windows\system32 folder. Simply type "cd .." twice so that the command prompt says C:\>.

Next type in "cd Users\Username\AppData\Local" (Username is the name of the Windows account your currently using.)

Now the file we need to delete is hiding itself, we'll have to show it by inputing another command.

Type in "attrib -h IconCache.db" to allow command prompt to view the file.

Next we'll need to delete the IconCache.db file, simply type in "del IconCache.db" and hit enter.

Now, close Command Prompt, and CRTL+ALT+DEL and choose Task Manager.

Go to File, Run, and type in Explorer.

Hopefully with this fix you'll notice that your icons are back to normal. :)

Sunday, June 29, 2008

My name is John, and I'm addicted to XP

I've been a Windows user since Windows 3.0, and for a while my OS of choice was Windows 98, even over Windows 2000. A lot has happened since those days, and I find myself using Windows XP, over Linux, over Vista and so on. Why? Because it's dependable, fast and I'm an old fashioned computer user. Sure the eyecandy is nice, but what good is eye candy when you can't be the power user you always wanted to be?


It's true that I change OS as often as my shorts, but I'm a semi-indecisive individual, torn between better functionality, gaming, performance, and eye candy. It's a vicious cycle, and I wish I could just stick to a single OS, or find that happy medium. Here is how it basically always turns out..

Windows XP - Starting from here, it's all good for a few months, but then I get sick and tired of the same old thing, the drag of using a seven year old OS is heavy, despite it's rock solidness. So I install Windows Vista or Ubuntu.

Windows Vista - Vista runs great, if I disable half a dozen "features". Gaming performance is atrocious, but the OS itself is pretty, sort of like the inbred cousin of Apple's OS X. "Glass is purdy." Once I finally get over the hype of the eyecandy and actually try to game, I find myself working around the OS, instead of with it.

Ubuntu - Geek, Geek and more Geek, I use it to try and get a handle for the OS, I get to a certain point of configuration, and I get disgusted with it when I need to spend 15 minutes searching for a solution I could solve in just two minutes on XP and Vista.

Back to XP, rinse and add nauseam.

I'd love to give OS X a shot, and I'd probably find out that I can have my happy medium on that, especially since it allows dual booting of Windows XP via Boot Camp. Alas though, money is an issue. I am tempting to look at the iPod Touch, but I'm waiting until after June for when Apple charges their customers/bitches to add a highly controlled third party platform, of which I'll probably jailbreak the HELL out of it and enjoy my little grey area hobby, emulation. :3

Oh well, hopefully Windows <Insert Name Here> will quench my inexhaustible thirst for performance and reliability. :/ 

Thursday, June 26, 2008

DropBox Invite Giveaway

Got into this nice little beta during Evenflow's brief open giveaway, and since I've been getting a recent influx of new readers, I thought I'd celebrate by handing out invites. I have eight invites in all, and they will probably go quickly. First eight emails will received an invite and I'll continue to host future invites when I get more to hand out.

Dropbox - Visit this website for more info

Giveaway Email - Email this. Remember, first come first served

Monday, June 23, 2008

Windows XP Windows Update Quickie Fix

As I posted in an earlier blog post, there was a way to fix the Windows Update error that comes from Windows XP's Windows Update every now and then, but it dealt with registering a bunch of files manually using the RUN command, well to make things easier for those of you out there, I created a little file that will automatically do it for you. There are a few tiny requirements that you'll need to have before running this.

Firstly, this is ONLY for Windows XP (Home/Professional), doing this on Vista MIGHT break your Update, I'm unsure though, and I'm working on testing to see if this works on Windows Vista as well, but since the update system is so drastically different, I doubt it will.

Secondly, incase you don't have administrator privileges, this might not work, although I highly doubt anyone who would be looking for this fix wouldn't already be running as an admin on Windows XP.

Download - Windows XP .bat file

The .bat file contains the following code.

"REGSVR32 WUAUENG.DLL
REGSVR32 WUAUENG1.DLL
REGSVR32 ATL.DLL
REGSVR32 WUCLTUI.DLL
REGSVR32 WUPS.DLL
REGSVR32 WUPS2.DLL
REGSVR32 WUWEB.DLL"


Extract to the desktop and double click it. :)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

On Second Thought...

I've decided to keep the blog right here, and not move it anywhere. Reason being, people read it, and apparently find it on the internet just fine, which is what I wanted. I want to find those hard to get to fixes, post those fixes and have those fixes get to people who need them the most, basically, I'm just here to help, and I can do that more with my own independent blog. :)

 

What I want to try to do is post a fix every one or two weeks, it'll take me time to locate them, and test to see if it works, read up on it and then post it here for people to read. So keep looking at this blog for updates.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Finally

Finally the hush-hush of the new blog website is over, I've been added to the dozen or more bloggers on a website that has increased the reader base from 60 or so, to thousands, I'm excited about it, and I want to bring the readers from here over to the new blog. You can expect the same content that has always been over here, the fixes, reviews and general rants that the regulars here have come accustomed to. :)


Rant-Space@AeroXP

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

I'm so calling this.. :P

I bet you it'll be an Barack Obama - Hillary Clinton campaign in 2008, good luck beating THAT McCain. :P

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Windows Update 0x80004002 and 0x8024400D Fix

As with the latest trend that seems to plague Microsoft, they seem to keep breaking their own things. Windows XP SP3 is no exclusion to this, from massive reboot errors, to the less subtle breaking of Windows Update. Also, apparently, SP3 breaks Windows Live Installer's ability to install their products as well.. all with the incredibly detailed error message. "Windows Update failed because there is a problem on your computer" .. and that's it. Well, here is a fix.


Press Start, then Run.

Type in REGSVR32 WUAPI.DLL and hit enter, you'll get a little popup saying DllRegisterServer in WUAPI.DLL succeeded.

Repeat that step for these below..

REGSVR32 WUAUENG.DLL
REGSVR32 WUAUENG1.DLL
REGSVR32 ATL.DLL
REGSVR32 WUCLTUI.DLL
REGSVR32 WUPS.DLL
REGSVR32 WUPS2.DLL
REGSVR32 WUWEB.DLL


Then try Windows Update again.. it should work.

Next step is to drop this awful company like a rock and buy a mac, that's what my plans are at the moment.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Preparing For a Phased Transition

I've had this blog for a while, and even though I'm not willing to give it up just yet, I'm preparing to move to another blog. There I will continue to post simultaneous posts between the two for the next month, and then slowly transition completely over to the new blog network that I'm joining. I cannot say at this point where it is, as it's still in development,  and the best time I can give you is "Soon". Soon afterwards I will then try and devote my time to ANOTHER website that's up and coming, and will try and juggle my time between the three <Site A>, <Site B>, and Blogger. Content won't change, if anything I'll be striving for more frequent updates, as I know that there are regular readers of this blog, most of which streaming in from Google and the various other forums that I go to.

Here is a hint at the name of the new blog. Rant Space @ <Can't Say For Now>, sorry for all the secrecy, I'm usually as open with information as I possibly can be, but I simply cannot as both websites are hush hush now until their release. :)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Windows 7 So Far

I admit, I do like Windows more than OS X, even though for the past several months I've been trying to get OS X (Hackintosh) to run on this machine, only to find out the chipset isn't compatible. Honestly, I get excited when I hear about Windows 7 coming out, what the MS guys say about it, that it's shaping up to be a pretty decent OS.

Basically, it'll run on a modified, optimized Vista kernel, it will not be a completely new kernel, but it will build on the foundation of Windows Vista, and for those who have been burned by the bug-tastic OS, don't worry, it apparently is leaps and bounds faster and more stable than Vista, even in it's Alpha phase. The recently showcased multi-touch support for Windows 7, which will allow a similar to Microsoft Touch. (That pricey, kind of bulky, semi-useless, massive computer/living room furniture, with a screen on it that has touch features.)

Aside from that, it hasn't come far, and it's release date? Late 2009, with a possible beta any time now. (Hopefully) The main issue I see so far is the user interface, and I'll post some screen shots of the OS below this article. I'm going to be somewhat of an optimist here, I WANT Windows 7 to succeed, mainly because this is Microsoft's almost close to last attempt to get it right, I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt when they say that the OS has seen improvements. I haven't had access to Windows 7 so far, although a lot of my tech savvy friends have, and talk nothing but praise about it.(Think of this as a shout-out, youknowwho)


Anyway, now for the UI screenshots that got sneaked out when Ballmer was showcasing maps.



Enjoy

Fix For Core 2 100% Usage

It is now recommended to disable automatic scanner, rather than disable Windows Defender completely, you can get the instructions on how to disable automatic scanning in this post.


Ever wonder why in the world your Vista desktop has suddenly lagged to hell and back, ever wonder what that random SVChost.exe that uses nearly 60MB of ram and 50% (100% of Core 2) is? Wonder no longer, It's only Windows Defender trying to protect you with possibly the worst Spyware protection database in existance! Well no longer, because I'm going to tell whoever reads this article how to disable Windows Defender so it doesn't turn your sleek $1200 computer into an E-Mail machine!

First, press WinKey+R, to bring up the run dialoge, next type in services.msc, and approve Windows Nag (UAC). Next navigate to Windows Defender on the list, if it hasn't already been killed by killing that particular SVChost.exe, then proceed to double click Windows Defender.

Under that nice shiny Windows Defender Properties (Local Computer), and next to the box labeled Startup Type: Choose Disabled. Next, click stop, and then Ok. You'll automatically notice the little defender pop up with basically "OMG DEFENDER IS NOT RUNNING!", ignore it, and download AVG Free Edition 8.0 from FileHippo.com or something.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

D6 Windows 7 Announcement


Originally on AeroXP, I'll just post the info here due to the inexperienced mods.

Info From Engadget's awesome D6 event coverage.

First screenshot

6:16PM PT - The joint's filling up! Clearly no one's on stage yet, though, so don't go too far.

Second Screenshot

6:27 - Announcer welcomes Les Hinton, CEO of Dow Jones. Applauding Walt and Kara, discussing the "change in ownership," talking News Corp. Errr.

Third Screenshot

6:30 - Welcoming out Walt and Kara... aaand here they are.

6:31 - Mossberg: "It's been a turbulent year for a lot of these companies." Swisher: "It's been a big news year." Indeed it has.

Fourth Screenshot

6:36 - They want to have a Bill + Steve redux, except this time the Steve is Ballmer, not Jobs. Playing the Gates retirement video from CES.

6:43 - Stiiiiiiiill playing the video. It's still pretty good though, and they added a few new clips here and there.

6:46 - All done! Mossberg: Ladies and gentlemen, Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer!

Fifth Screenshot

6:47 - Taking it back to the beginning, what kind of classmate/roommate was Bill in college? "He was a pretty shy guy... quiet, kind of shy, but a certain kind of spark. Especially later in the day, early in the morning. Bill was usually going to bed by the time I was waking up."


6:50 - Ballmer talking about how Gates came and went Harvard. Gates: "You can leave and come back!" Say, is that a hint about Bills retirement? Ballmer's talking up his time spent at Procter and Gamble. Mossberg: Was it about then that you tried to hire Steve? Gates: "Not yet..." they were still way early on in the company.

6:53 - Mossberg: Did you wait to finish business school? Ballmer: "This is classic. Gates calls, 'Hey, what are you doing? Oh, god, too bad you don't have a twin brother or something...' he didn't just come out and say anything. 'Too bad, too bad -- and he hung up!' That was the sales call!"

6:54 - Gates on the early days: "We had so many customers, so many choices about what we could do next."

6:54 - Gates on the early days: "We had so many customers, so many choices about what we could do next. We've always managed the company very conservatively." Talking anecdotally about how early-Microsoft wanted to have enough in the bank to pay its employees for a year if their customers stopped paying. "I had this very conservative view of our financial limits."

6:57 - Ballmer: "I wondered, why did I leave Stanford business school for this?" Eventually Bill gave him the real pitch: "We can put a computer on everyone's desk." Gates: "I needed Steve. I needed the skills he had, I needed a partner." Ballmer: "Bill said, 'Prove we can hire one good guy, and we'll hire 2-18'... and that became our management approach!" Ballmer says Microsoft hedges all its bets, takes all its risks technologically -- "Why take financial risks?"

7:03 - Mossberg: There's this perception that [Bill's] the technology guy, and [Steve's] the sales guy. Is that right? Bill: They've been jointly involved in a lot of crossover stuff, "Steve and I have done all this stuff together." Ballmer: Discussing working on the Windows 1.0 as a project manager. (Remember that infomercial?) "I'm not an engineer!"

7:04 - Swisher: Would you call yourself a businessman? Gates: "Sure. Sales minus costs equals profits. Is there more?" Big laughter. Mossberg: Did it bug you that Bill blew up and became extremely famous? Ballmer: "No. ... It was always clear Bill was the senior partner and I was the junior partner... it's never bothered me at all."

7:08 - Swisher: Do you still get veto on company decisions? Gates: "No." Says he's become the junior partner when he swapped roles with Ballmer. Mossberg asking about Bill's participation these days and going forward. "It's a very different role" he's taking on. Ozzie and Mundie have stepped up, and he's looking to Steve to help pick and choose his future projects.

Sixth Screenshot

7:12 - Ballmer: "I want to know what [Bill] thinks." Swisher wants to talk Yahoo! Ballmer gives the quick rundown of events to date. "We are not rebidding for the company -- we reserve the right to do so, but it's not on the docket." Swisher: What are you interested in, in Yahoo? Ha, they're wheeling out a whiteboard for Ballmer to diagram his explanation. Swisher: "This is like crack for him." Ballmer discussing ads, bidders, search, and the scale of it all. "To accelerate scale, it made sense for us to look at Yahoo!'s business."

7:17 - Ballmer says they're still in talks with Yahoo! about a "partnership." Swisher mentions that Ballmer's model of competing with Google is reminiscent of a monopoly. Ballmer gives the who, me? look. Gates: "Guys like us avoid monopolies because we compete!" Naturally, the lot of that exchange was all very tongue-in-cheek.

7:20 - Ballmer: "You need scale, you need business and technology innovation. Large and small... this is a funny marketplace in which to say you're cheaper [than the competition]." Swisher: What's the key element" Ballmer: "The most important thing is that we have a good team and that we're patient." And money -- investment. Ballmer's getting super intense. Mossberg: "You're getting a little scary there." Ballmer: "WELL, YOU GOT THE REAL ME!" Dude, this is Steve, what do you want?

7:24 - Mossberg wants to talk Vista. "Is Vista a failure? Is it a mistake?" Ballmer: "It's not a failure, it's not a mistake. Are there things we'll modify and improve going forward? Sure." Gates is mum, smiling off into the distance. Bet he can't wait to wash his hands of this stuff.

7:26 - Ballmer: "Let me ask Bill..." is Vista up to your expectations compared to '95 and 3.0? Gates: "There's no product that we've ever shipped that was 100% of what I wanted. That's part of the magic of software, people give you feedback... and you get to make a new version. ... We have a culture of 'we need to do better.'"

7:28 - Ballmer: "There are two unique things: in a lot of our Windows releases in the past, we've always had a second stream. With 95 we were introducing NT in the background... the number one thing people found jarring [with Vista] was that we changed the UI. ... That was ironic." Mossberg: Will you show us a little bit of Windows 7? Ballmer: "Sure! This is the smallest snippet of Windows 7. It's just a small little snippet."

Seventh Screenshot - Ironically of Windows 7's new UI.

7:29 - "This is 'likely to ship within three years of general availability of Vista.'" Demo time! It does multi-touch!

Eighth screenshot - Windows 7 UI

7:35 - They worked with the Surface team on the multi-touch stuff.Microsoft is re-thinking the whole user interface to better accommodate multi-touch for day to day use.

Ninth Screenshot - Maps UI

Tenth Screenshot - Maps UI

7:39 - Swisher and Mossberg: So, what does this represent? Is this the next phase of the way people will do day to day work on their computers? Gates: "We're at an interesting junction... in the years to come, the roles of speech, vision, ink, all of those will become huge. I showed what an intelligent whiteboard would be like."

7:43 - "For the person at home and the person at work, that interaction will change dramatically." Talking about the single-user interfaces we have today. Mossberg: This is 15-18 months from release, your friends in Cupertino probably have one more turn before you get this out the door. They have the iPhone, which is on the market today... is there a risk that the work you're doing here will look like they got there first? Ballmer: "There's a lot in Windows 7, and our goal's got to be, with our hardware partners, to produce fantastic PCs. ... We'll sell 270m PCs a year, and Apple will sell 10m. Apple is fantastically successful, and so are we."

7:45 - Ballmer's talking about Microsoft's "real opportunity" to improve things in the future -- which is another way of saying that things could be better, but there's no real specific commitment to making the Windows experience better.


7:47 - Mossberg's drilling Bill on the Mac vs. PC, Bill's retiscent. Ballmer: "Every share point Apple picks up is a share point we don't like. ... But it depends on what your goal is. We like selling 290m units. ... Our model is better." Mossberg: But you CAN'T be happy with this Vista situation? Ballmer: "What's the appropriate response? I kind of like what Bill already said." Gates: "You're kind of repeating yourself." Ouch. Big applause.

7:51 - Q from the internet: Do you feel the unsuccessful pursuit of Yahoo! has tarnished Microsoft at all? Ballmer: "No. ... at very least, people now know we're serious about our online business."

7:53 - Talking about the phone market, Mossberg and Ballmer are debating unit volume between Nokia, RIM, Windows Mobile, Apple. On Android, Ballmer: "It's another person taking another crack at the pie. ... Google comes late, without experience, and no clear business model. ... But we take them.

7:54 - Open floor for Gates as he transitions out of Microsoft: "It probably is the last time I'll get to speak here..." Nawwwwww. "Melinda will be speaking Thursday, you'll hear from here why this will be a fun journey."

7:58 - Audience questions, but unfortunately none have been all that interesting so far.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Themers, what the heck?

Guys, I might not be a the greatest themer of all time, infact I'm on the bottom level, I've only made a handful of themes, and those were not that great, but do I seem unreasonable when I ask if the themers could keep in mind that I don't really want to modify about half a dozen files in order to get the theme to look nice? I mean, what if I want to have a different theme? I'd have to go back and restore every single file I modified, and unless I took the time to take note of every file I modified, well, I'm pretty fooked.

Also, do keep in mind that files tend to differ from language to language, for instance, if I'm running the English Vista Ultimate version, and the themer is running the French version of Vista Business, there could be incompatibilities. Also, SP1 just came out, and it could cause serious instability issues. So guys, keep the files down to a minimum, keep in mind that most users want a theme, not a conversion pack-in-a-rar. It makes it extremely difficult to actually use a theme when I need to change the forward and back buttons every single time I try to run a newer theme! So, after going through about a dozen themes, 10 of those requiring massive system file replacement, I'm back to using Aero Default.

 

Also, yes I'm running Vista again, I figured it was a problem with my chipset, and I downloaded and installed the latest drivers, so far as good.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Offtopic Discussion

Alright, I'm parting my normal tech related material to talk about something that is increasingly bothering me. I browse about various stories on the interweb and seem to stumble upon various websites that tell the tale of atrocities by the United States in Iraq. Mainly, the use of White Phosphorus against military targets and civilians, which is by the way, a chemical weapon. The user of depleted uranium shells, which, by the way, leave the landscape they fight in littered with radioactive material. All this, and the RUMOR of the use of Napalm in Fallujah, which was banned by the United Nations.

I need to explain my position a little bit, I'm an American, I love my country and I'm proud to be one, but what I'm not proud of is the fact that the military uses increasingly contreversial methods of warfare, they they swore that they would never use. They've killed THOUSANDS of civilians, and to this day, Bush won't answer for any of it. Ever heard of the phrase, the buck stops here? Yeah, apparently not in this ass backwards administration.

 

Now for the news stories to back this stuff up, and the things I stumbled upon to seriously anger me.

 

Christian Science Monitor Finds Radioactive Material

BBC News: US to use depleted uranium shells

BBC News: US used white phosphorus in Iraq


Yeah, these are why I'm supporting the prosecution of George W. Bush for crimes agianst humanity.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Outside The Box, Sort Of

I want to deviate a bit from what I've been posting about in the past few weeks. I want to make a side note as I sit here in Salisbury University's computer lab, at how DAMN COLD it is, I mean come on, it's the middle of May, and it's 54 F, now for those who are not exactly sure what the norm is for this time of year, we're talking in the 70's or 80's, that's a 20 to 30 degree difference.

Anyway, onto the tech. Today's topic is Windows Live Messenger and the censoring of several different domain types and words. Now I can understand stuff like Mediafire, I mean it CAN theoretically be used to spread various forms of malware, but deviantart? Come on, Microsoft isn't even in direct marketing with Deviantart, and even if they were, why censor DevArt? Are they afraid that someone's art is going to cause someone else an epileptic seizure or something? There are also several other domains that was censored, keyword here is "was".

"Greetings Messenger fans –As some of you noticed, we had a problem from Friday night to Saturday morning where our Messenger service was incorrectly blocking some legitimate IP addresses. We sincerely apologize for any difficulties this caused our users. And we want to thank those of you that reported this problem to us so that we could quickly fix it. Because of your help, the incorrect block was only in place for a few hours. As you can imagine, we are very serious about our efforts to block virus, malware and other harmful URLs from being passed on to our users. And we're continually working to improve this process so that we can keep our users safe without having a negative impact on your Messenger service."

So...it was a mistake? Pretty big mistake on their part, hopefully they can get their act together and make sure it doesn't happen again.

Friday, May 09, 2008

OS Chatter

Alright so I admit I change my mind a lot about which OS to have installed on my machine at any given time. Sometimes I install Vista, enjoy it for a week or so, and then move back to XP, or I install Ubuntu via Wubi, and use that for a week or two before removing it, and falling back to Windows XP. The thing here is, the OS that I constantly fall back to is Windows XP, it's good, stable, familiar, and with Service Pack 3, it's even better than before, provided you install newer drivers, unlike me, curious as to why my OS was lagging up, and then finding I had drivers for my RealTek AC HD drivers from 2005.

I mean here I am sitting here now with Ubuntu 8.04, despite my bitching about it earlier, is a relatively solid Linux OS, and Windows XP. Honestly, if you've ever, EVER, wanted to get into Linux, there is no better time than now to get your feet wet in the Linux OS. Canonical's latest offering of Ubuntu comes with a clever little application that will create two virtual disks, one for the OS, and the other for the swap, and install a working, fully fledged installation of Ubuntu 8.04.

If you choose to get Ubuntu going, another awesome application, that is if you have an ATI or NVidia card, is Envy. Go to Synaptic Program Manager, you'll find it under the Administration tools, and search for it. Install it and it'll appear under Other/EnvyNG. Run it and choose your brand (nVidia/ATI), and it'll automatically detect your specific card, search for updated drivers, and install them for you.

Another little thing you might want to get, to have better/sleeker looking desktop, Emerald. Search for it under Synaptic, and install it. Then, go to System, sessions, add the command "replace --emerald" then log out, and log back in, next, visit Gnome-Look.org, and visit the Beryl section. You can import the themes via System/Emerald.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Windows XP Service Pack 3 Information

Microsoft recently announced that Windows XP Service Pack 3 has reached RTM, with that, and almost immediately, it leaked, reaching Torrent websites, and personal mirrors around the internet. I’ve even had a chance to test it myself, and I’m glad to say that it was well worth the wait, almost immediately I’ve noticed a performance increase on low end machines. For those individuals who haven’t had access to the build, Microsoft plans a phased release for the Service Pack.

Windows XP Service Pack 3 is currently making it’s rounds to the OEMs, followed by general availability in Windows Update Microsoft Download Center. MSDN/Technet subscribers are next, getting it around May 02nd. I’ll post the full availability dates at the end of this article. SP3 is to be the last Service Pack for Windows XP, as Microsoft intends to stop sales of the popular OS by June.

Detailed Release Schedule

Release to Manufacturing – April 21st

OEM – April 21st

Windows Update – April 29th

Microsoft Downlaod Centre – April 29th

MSDN/Technet Subscriber Download - May 2nd

Windows XP SP3 Fulfillment Media – May 19th

VL Customers via download – June 1st

Automatic Updates – June 10th

You can get more information on Service Pack 3, including the newest features that made it into RTM from Microsoft's documentation.

Windows XP Service Pack 3 Overview

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Windows XP SP3 Download

It was bound to happen sooner or later, now the RTM of Service Pack 3 for Windows XP is finally available through less than conventional means. I'll continue to post links as I get them, as far as I know, this is the real deal.

HTTP Download - UK


Bittorrent Download

Windows XP SP3 + Other Stuff....

Rather than making this a simple post about wanting to become more active in my blog, I'll put some meat and potatoes behind this post, and rant like I usually do.

 

If anyone's been following the current tech news, they'll know the debacle with Windows XP Service Pack 3. Granted I can understand Microsoft's strategy behind wanting to prolong the release of the thing in order to drive more users to Vista SP1, but they need to understand at this point that a lot of people are on XP because they WANT to be, not because they just failed to update, or not noticed that Vista is out. We'll pull example from Windows 98 -> ME -> 2000 -> XP. Consumer Windows users, the Average Joe who doesn't care what they're running, as long as it works, have never really caught whim of Windows 2000, it was an incredible OS, but it was mainly geared towards business users.

 

The point I'm trying to make is that, all OS upgrades since Windows 1.0, has had the bloat feel. Windows 98 users, who couldn't stand Windows ME, stayed with XP due to pretty much the same reasons many XP users refuse to upgrade to Vista. Unstableness, driver issues, irritating additions (subtraction even, as with the removal of native DOS), and so on. There will always, ALWAYS, be that feel of bloat with any Windows upgrade, that's just the way it is. Then the product stays out in the wild, more people user it, more hardware distributors create drivers for it, and the OS becomes more stable. This quickened with the implementation of Service Packs with Windows NT 4.  Granted Average Joe consumers only got a feel for Service Packs in XP, since NT4, and 2000 were both business OS's.

 

I'm already seeing this with Windows Vista, granted there is a bit of bitterness, but for me it's time to move on and say farewell to Windows XP. Perhaps I fell into the ploy that Microsoft was trying to play with delaying SP3? Honestly, No, SP3 was RTM'd when I felt it was time for a final upgrade. I had an irritating time with nVidia drivers, but that's for another post at a later time.

 

The topics I tried to get at here was Microsoft, with delaying SP3 a bit to get Vista SP1 more exposure, probably didn't give them the results they were looking for, despite how well the OS is selling, it's still not doing half as well as XP, and probably never will, XP was THE perfect OS. There is honestly no doubt in my mind that Vista will take it's place with stability, it's just not it's time yet, and I'm holding out hopes that they've learned their lesson with Vista and put what they've learned into Windows 7. We'll just have to wait and see.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Digsby Widget - Give it a try!

Well, I really got into Digsby, it's a pretty nice IM client, and honestly might be one of the best, so I'm going to give people who read this blog, a chance to have a chat with me, ask a question or just chat! :D Enjoy!



You can download Digsby Below, and expect a full review of the multi-IM client to follow shortly.

Download

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Downloading Music, There is a gray area?

Ah downloading music, the phrase often associated with pirates. Downloading music legally, associated with subscription users, example, iTunes, Napster, and so forth. For a long time there hasn't been much of a gray area, that little area that seems wrong, but could very well be perfectly legal. For years the RIAA and so forth have gone after pirates for sharing media with others, which is logical, share copyright material with public users, and get fined for it. However the method to their madness is a bit on the harsh side.

I'm not going to sit here and rant and rave about how the RIAA's less than legal methods, and their mafia like partner companies violate almost every privacy law in existence, as well attack, maliciously, into someone's computer to steal information, which by the way, is illegal too, and if found out, could jeopardize a case as it is a felony.

Anyway, I'm not going to tell you that there is an application called Youtube Downloader that downloads Youtube's .flv files and then can in turn convert said .flv files to .mp3. Oh wait, I am, why you ask? Well, because record labels place their music videos on Youtube, with a plethora of ads to pay the artist for it's music. Now this is where the gray area comes in, they didn't intend for their music videos to be downloaded and converted into .mp3 files, you could very well be breaking the very copyright laws your trying to avoid. Until then however, happy hunting.

 

*For the trollish little imps out there. I don't use this service myself, even though it's ingenious, never have, never will, I post this here for informational purposes, I listen to my music straight from Youtube, got a problem with that? Contact Youtube.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Windows Update Screw Up?

Sorry about the lack of updates, I really had to evaluate the blogs I had, closed a few, and made this my primary tech related blog and article thing for the next couple of years. Now, onto the main reason I've posted here today, Windows Update in Vista, had a bit of  a seizure today, and it could give some insight into what's to come in the near future.

 


As you can see, new items are available in Windows Update, primarily the inclusion of the Windows Live applications and services. I thought, NICE, now whenever I need to reinstall, I can get my Live applications from Windows Update when I update my 50+ updates for Windows Vista. (Compared to 120+ for Windows XP, plus drivers) I proceeded to install said updates, in fact, the ones marked in the screen shot, only to find that they didn't appear anywhere in my PC. I searched the installation folder (C:\Program Files\Windows Live usually), and nothing. No sign of the installation files anywhere.

 


Well, they appear as installed applications, now I wonder why they don't appear on my PC. Oh well, I guess I'll cut my losses and attempt to install Windows Live Writer so that I can continue my blog posting. Windows Live Installer picks up that I don't have writer and mail installed, so it installs and completes. Now I go back into installed updates, and it shows up twice. Alright, no harm no foul, as long as it doesn't cause any problems in the future.

 

I go back into Windows Update to notice that the updates no longer exist, save for the one coinciding with the recently installed Windows Live Writer. This makes me wonder, with the news that Service Pack 1 is coming relativly any day now, is Microsoft prepping for a bigger role in Windows Update for Vista than before? It appears so, as it looks they're working on fixing it so you can download various Windows applications straight from Windows Update itself.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Inactiveness

I'm going to be a bit inactive as I continue to fight this very, very, nasty flu bug. I mean, I can't even stay up for more than three hours at a time.. D:

After that though things should begin to pick up.


-John

Monday, February 04, 2008

Orientation Sencitive Behavior ~ Foldable Display Prototypes

Discovered something that could very easily be common place in our future, minus the wii-mote of course.


Foldable Display Prototypes

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Got it

Finally got my new PC the other day, must say I'm blown away by the performance of it...


Sorry for the crappy pics, my 10 year old webcam is .. old. :/

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Pheonix Specs

Windows XP Home Edition
AMD Athlon X2 64-bit Dual Core @ 2.2Ghz
2GB DDR2
Seagate 320GB Hard Drive
nVidia Geforce 7600 512MB PCI-E
18x DVD-RW Drive With Lightscribe Technology

V.S.S Enterprise

Just got a look at a very impressive video over at CNN, of Virgin showing off the almost ready for production space ship program. Their first starship, which is a Space Ship Two model, is called Enterprise, with several other's to follow shortly. Virgin hopes to make starships that will allow one hundred thousand or more people to travel to space by the middle of the 21st century. They also stated that they want to build larger starships that can accommodate people like commercial aircraft can.


(sorry about the CNN watermarks, ripped these screenies straight from CNN video)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

A small update..

As a little update to Ubuntu 5.10 VMWare, the latest version of Ubuntu in a preinstalled VMWare enviroment is located below.


Ubuntu 7.10 VMWare Image

It'll give you instructions on how to enter the OS, as well as a username and password.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Inactiveness Explained..sort of

I apologize for being inactive, this is mainly due to the part that a lot of things are happening tech wise over here, and the transition isn't being as smooth as I'd like it to be. Firstly, I'm trying to get a hold of a new machine, my Vista testing and other fun stuff can't continue as this machine isn't really capable of running Vista as smoothly as I'd like it to. It CAN run it, but I'm used to the speed of XP, and the issues with Vista are mainly performance issues. I'll list my specs below.

 

AMD Athlon XP 2400+ 2.0Ghz

1GB DDR SDRam

80GB Seagate HDD Partitioned three ways

Sapphire ATI Radeon 9550 256MB AGP 4x/8x

--Recommended Minimum Specs for Windows XP

1.0Ghz and up Intel Pentium III/AMD Athlon Processor and up

1GB Ram

30GB HDD

<ANYTHING BUT AN ONBOARD GPU>

--Recommended Minimum Specs for Windows XP

2.0Ghz Intel P4/AMD Athlon Processor and up

2.0Ghz Ram

30GB HDD

<ANTHING BUT AN ONBOARD GPU>

 

Pretty no brainer, I haven't had a real chance to touch Vista, as my system isn't the greatest thing in the world, but those are the specs that I'd tell people they'd need to have at a bare minimum to run it nicely.

 

Also, I'm going to be getting an Xbox 360 with all the trimmings, so I will likely be a little inactive and when I am active, it'll be heavy in Xbox 360ness as I get my hands on Halo 3.. :)