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.