Recent Windows Software Posts



October 1, 2008

Mozilla Thunderbird is SLOW

So, I am still using my dinky Dell laptop, still no MacPro. So Thunderbird is the obvious choice for email, unless I go full out and use Outlook - which I do not want to do, this is a temporary thing. Besides, I like Mozilla and Firefox freakin' rocks.

I have tried out Thunderbird before but never used it on a daily basis. Well I can tell you from using it for about a week that it is bloody slow! I upgraded to the latest version. And it still displays, and most annoyingly, deleted emails from the list slower than... paint dries.

I mean click or select emails, hit 'delete' key, wait five to ten seconds, and then finally watch the junk go *poof* from your inbox.

Outlook 2003 on this Dell does not lag like this. So now I deleted Thunderbird entirely from my computer and am now using Outlook until I get my MacPro.

January 20, 2006

Foxmarks for Firefox

Foxmarks is an extension for Firefox that synchronizes bookmarks across multiple machines. It uses a system similar to how .Mac and Safari work - only without that $99 a year charge. Using the Foxmarks server is free, and syncing is easy.

Considering I now dominantly use Firefox, this is one of the greatest extensions I have found for Firefox.

December 11, 2005

Sony caught in another DRM snafu

It's déjà vu all over again, as Yogi Berra once said. On Tuesday, Sony informed the world that its other DRM software contained a security vulnerability as well. SunnComm's Media Max version 5 is the culprit, with its installation of a directory that could provide a means by which malware writers could hijack a PCs running Windows.
Source: Ars Technica

No, this is not old news. It is not about last month's rootkit debacle. It happened again. I really hope heads rolled over this, well, both incidents. It also makes me really happy I do not use Windows to do anything more then checking what is broken in Internet Exploder.

October 30, 2005

Review: Rockstar Custom Soundtracks

It did not take long for Rockstar to release a utility to enable custom soundtracks in Liberty City Stories (LCS). I would hope that it was planned to launch a few days after the release of the game, and not because of the amount of emails and ranting I am sure that Rockstar has received.

At any rate, it is nice to have custom soundtracks in LCS. You can download Rockstar Custom Tracks v1.0 (RCT) from Rockstar's official site, among other places. But you cannot use it on a Mac. It is Windows only software. This is disappointing as I use a Mac application to manage all of my PSP media.

Continue reading "Review: Rockstar Custom Soundtracks" »

July 29, 2005

Tiger echoes in Windows Vista - first look

Mac watchers may note that much of what is promised in Longhorn is already available in some form within Mac OS X. In a sense, Microsoft’s focuses within its forthcoming OS confirm that Apple has been on the right system development track within its Mac OS X releases.
Source: Macworld UK

We can't have a look at Vista Beta 1 without a biased Mac opinion thown in for good controversy.

Hands On with Windows Vista Beta 1

PC Magazine has a nice write up with a bunch of screens, and of course the SuperSite has a ton more screen shots and links to other reviews.

IE7 nukes Google, Yahoo! search

Microsoft's Internet Explorer 7 went on a limited beta release today and contains a nasty surprise for some users.

Users with search toolbars from Yahoo! and Google have discovered that these vanish.

Source: The Register

Is anyone really surprised? Of course MS wants you to use MSN to search in IE7. I'd bet that when Vista is final (which was let slip as being Q4 2006 today) that the Yahoo! and Google toolbars will work.

Microsoft "Genuine Advantage" cracked in 24h

AV sez, "This week, Microsoft started requiring users to verify their serial number before using Windows Update. This effort to force users to either buy XP or tell them where you got the illegal copy is called 'Genuine Advantage.' It was cracked within 24 hours."

Before pressing 'Custom' or 'Express' buttons paste this text to the address bar and press enter:

javascript:void(window.g_sDisableWGACheck='all')

It turns off the trigger for the key check.

Source: Boing Boing

Brilliance, pure brilliance!

July 25, 2005

Yahoo! acquires Konfabulator

Yahoo! Inc. on Monday will announce the acquisition of Konfabulator... company executives said they would also be giving Konfabulator away for free.

Yahoo! said the reason they purchased Konfabulator was that they wanted an easy way to open up its APIs to the developer community and allow them easy access to the information on the Yahoo! Web site.

Source: Macworld News

It looks to me like Yahoo! has out googled Google. It sounds like a great idea - to be able to mine Yahoo! services with the Konfabulator GUI. Giving it away for free is a nice touch. Now I will download it for Windows and see how much that messes things up.

July 23, 2005

Longhorn is now Windows Vista

It's not Longhorn anymore. Microsoft today announced that Windows Vista will be the official name of the next version of its flagship operating system, and that beta 1 of the OS will arrive by August 3.
Source: MacCentral

Now we can stop the cattle jokes and start with an all new set. Yay. I can't wait.

They "received good feedback" by abandoning version numbers and release dates for their name for Windows. Hmmm, maybe its because Windows 95 was still in beta in 1995, same with Windows 98 and 2000. Of course XP does has a number, its NT 5.1.24. Just like Tiger is really 10.4 (the 5th revision of OS X throws people though, but that's another story).

And to quote sigma8 on the Macworld forums "They should have taken a cue from Nintendo.. and done something like Windows Blue, Windows Emerald.. and of course, Windows: Special Pikachu Edition."

July 12, 2005

Mainsoft Brings Visual Studio to Linux

Mainsoft has made it possible for Linux developers to use Microsoft's Visual Studio software to create Web applications for Linux.
Source: BetaNews

Why would you want to use a Microsoft product to create Java apps? Why would any linux user want to install anything that came from Microsoft? Doesn't Balmer & Co. hate linux?

What are they doing working with the enemy (in this case Mono)? They seem to be doing this a lot lately.

July 9, 2005

Microsoft Downgrades Claria Adware Detections

Microsoft's Windows AntiSpyware application is no longer flagging adware products from Claria Corp. as a threat to PC users.

Less than a week after published reports of acquisition talks between Microsoft Corp. and the Redwood City, Calif.-based distributor of the controversial Gator ad-serving software, security researchers have discovered that Microsoft has quietly downgraded its Claria detections.

Source: eWeek

Well, so much for MS AntiSpyware having any shred of credibility. I guess Spybot Search & Destroy really doesn't have anything to worry about after all.

June 26, 2005

IE7 and RSS in action

Take a look at this picture, snapped at this year's Gnomedex conference. Is it just me, or does that look vaguely familiar to how Safari handles RSS in Tiger? I guess we will have to wait for Longhorn to ship to see how close it really is.

Am I surprised? Not at all.

Subscribing to an RSS feed from within Internet Explorer 7.0 will be similar to adding a Web site to "Favorites." An icon placed in a toolbar will illuminate when feeds have been updated with new content.
Source: BetaNews

Subscribing to RSS in IE7 even sounds like Safari. I wonder where they got the idea? It is nice to see that Microsoft is going to embed RSS into IE7 and Windows, but they could have at least been original about it.

And is it just me, or does IE7 look like Safari for Windows? Here are some more pics. Look at the IE7 window.

June 25, 2005

Microsoft virtually supports Linux

Microsoft plans to support Linux for the first time with the delivery of Virtual Server 2005 Service Pack 1 this year, indicating the company's commitment to interoperability, according to chief executive officer, Steve Ballmer.

"As much as that hurts my eyes, I know that is an important capability for the Virtual Server technology for our customers," said Ballmer as the company demonstrated Red Hat Enterprise Linux running on Virtual Server during his speech at the Microsoft Management Summit in Las Vegas.

Source: Network Times

I never thought I would see this come to pass. Especially knowing what Microsoft's stance on Linux has been in the past.

June 24, 2005

Macworld reviews Adobe CS2

Macworld recently reviewed Adobe Photoshop (Adobe talks), Illustrator (Adobe talks), InDesign (Adobe talks), and GoLive (Adobe talks), all part of the CS2 suite. Macworld has also posted an "Adobe talks" series that goes further into the new Creative Suite, this series has a good bit of information.

Today they added a review of Adobe Bridge and a piece on Bridge and VersionCue.

May 21, 2005

Netscape 8.0 Released

From the do-we-care Dept.

Netscape 8 is out! Not for OS X though. I will have to try it out in Virtual PC. It includes a toggle which allows switching between Mozilla and Microsoft's rendering engines as needed. How exciting and revolutionary!

The funny line of the day goes to a Slashdot post: "They certainly aren't instilling a lot of confidence in their own code base. Netscape 8 switches to IE rendering when visiting www.netscape.com."

Continue reading "Netscape 8.0 Released" »

April 20, 2005

Analysis: Considering Adobe's future

When I got up Monday morning, turned on my computer, and saw the headline in my inbox “Adobe buys Macromedia,” I just thought, “Isn't April Fools behind us?” But a quick check of the New York Times, Adobe and Macromedia Web sites confirmed the $3.4 billion deal. If all goes according to plan, come this fall, Macromedia will be no more and Adobe will own not only its own stable of graphic design applications, but also a barrel full of complementary and competitive programs. Adobe Flash, anyone?
Source: MacCentral

More opinion on the Macromedia buyout. I agree with it, and really hope his prediction of Dreamweaver's future is true.

April 18, 2005

Adobe to buy Macromedia for $3.4 billion

Adobe Systems Inc. has reached a definitive agreement to acquire Macromedia Inc. for US$3.4 billion in stock, the company said Monday.
Source: MacCentral

And then there was one...

This is a bombshell, and is not good. Not good at all. Competition fuels creativity. Look what Adobe has forced Quark to do. If InDesign was never released, we might not be seeing Quark 6.5, much less Quark 5.0 at this point. Think of how many years Quark 3.3 and 4.0 were out. With no competition, development gets stagnant, and that is not good for the customers.

The same could be said about a lot of companies. Why the NFL wanted only one license holder is beyond me, but now we only get NFL games from EA. That is just great (sarcasm). A different market for sure, but EA holds a monopoly akin to what Adobe now has.

Continue reading "Adobe to buy Macromedia for $3.4 billion" »

March 22, 2005

POPFile wins Jolt Productivity Award

... POPFile won a Jolt "Productivity Award" -- so I guess we are all award winning developers now. Cool. It's not the big award of the night, as there were 3 productivity awards in each category, but I am still thrilled.
Source: Sam Schinke

That is pretty cool. I love POPFile. I could not live without it. With 125,680 emails classified, it is 99.83% accurate.

January 7, 2005

w.bloggar turns 4.0

w.bloggar is my favorite XML-RPC posting app on Windows. Version 4 adds advanced Movable Type options that have been sorely missing, adds support for more blogging tools, and simply cleans up a lot of ugly things behind the scenes. Most noticeable are the following two:

ADDED....: Support to the advanced MovableType options: Extended Entry, Excerpt, Keywords, Multiple Categories, TrackBack and more;

CHANGED..: All Accounts and Settings are no longer stored on Windows Registry, now it's saved on a xml file;

There are a lot of additions and changes. This really is a nicely polished app. I am glad to see the time was taken to make changes on the back end that make for a much cleaner app. Being a Movable Type user, I also appreciate adding all the MT specific features.

The new blog account setup wizard is really nice. I had no trouble setting this up for my Breaking Windows blog. I did however run into an HTTP error 411 that I emailed the developer about. I got this error when trying to setup my Blogcritics account. If I find out more on this issue, I will be sure to post about it.

December 7, 2004

Thunderbird 1.0 takes on Entourage, Eudora

Weeks after the launch of its Firefox 1.0 Web browser, the Mozilla Foundation on Tuesday is set to release version 1.0 of its Thunderbird e-mail client.
Source: MacCentral

Special note to Windows users: Thunderbird uses the Mozilla rendering engine to display HTML e-mail messages, not Microsoft's IE engine, making it immune to IE-related bugs.

After only about 5 minutes of use, I really like Thunderbird 1.0. It has all the features I like about Entourage. It has the 3 column layout that Entourage 2004 and Outlook has, it even has the search bar at the top right. Reading RSS feeds in Thunderbird is just like reading email.

The default spam filter of Thunderbird 1.0 is a little touchy. It thought all my mailing list emails were spam. I also wish by default Thunderbird would leave the messages on the server the first time it retrieves your mail. You have to go into the account settings before you retrieve your mail and tell it to keep the mail on the server. Apple's Mail seems to be the only email client that by default leaves your mail on the server. Kudos to Apple, I wish others would realize how nice a feature this is.

November 21, 2004

Adobe announces Acrobat 7, set to ship by year end

With the shortest Acrobat product cycle in company history, Adobe Systems today announced the forthcoming release of its Acrobat 7 lineup of Portable Document Format (PDF)-oriented products. They are slated to begin shipping by the end of 2004, according to the company; Acrobat 6 shipped in mid-2003.
Source: Planet PDF

Other then the standard PR type stuff, they have a few articles on Acrobat 7, including a first look with screen shots.

September 19, 2004

Pivot Stickfigure Animator

This is cool. Look what some kid on Digital Press pulled off with it (clicky).

September 10, 2004

POPFile v0.22.0 released, major improvements abound

POPFile rocks! Now all I have to do is install this upgrade! I am not quite sure if I have all the needed perl modules for 0.22.0 but if not, its a quick download, Makefile.PL and install. I am excited in seeing the speed improvements, cleaner UI, and the support for NNTP! Once I have it installed I will have a full report on upgrading to 0.22.0 on OS X, as I have done in the past.
This version consists of a major update to v0.21.0 with many improvements and bug fixes:

1. History in database

We've finally done away with the old method of keeping the message history in a single directory full of files (which was frankly flaky and hard to maintain). Messages are now placed in subdirectories with no more than 256 per directory. History is now moved it into the database along with all the other information that POPFile uses.

This change brings two benefits: firstly it's a lot faster than previous versions because we can rely on the SQL database to do searching and sorting for us; secondly, it brings extra flexibility and we now have additional columns available in the history (we now have two time values (the date/time the message was received by POPFile and the date/time in the message header), the From, To, Cc and Subject headers and message size).

2. Switch UI to HTML templates

Back in the mists of POPFile time I grafted an HTML interface onto my little Perl script and POPFile was born. Unfortunately that HTML interface had grown into thousands of lines of ugly Perl and HTML interwined. This release completely separates out the HTML from the Perl.

This has a number of advantages: firstly, POPFile's code is easier to maintain because it's simpler; secondly, skinning POPFile can now take advantage of the full power of HTML and not just a limited set of classes and lastly it's made it easy to expand the UI, which brings us to...

Continue reading "POPFile v0.22.0 released, major improvements abound" »

July 12, 2004

IE loses market share on security concerns

Security vulnerabilities found in Microsoft's Internet Explorer may be having an effect on the Web browser's market share, according to WebSideStory. Over the last month, usage of Internet Explorer dropped by 1% (from 95.73% to 94.73%), the first noticeable decline since the Web metrics company began tracking the browser market in 1999. Mozilla and Netscape's combined market share has increased by 26%, rising from 3.21% in June to 4.05% in July Source: MacMinute 1% is a lot of people I would think. People are starting to figure out that IE is not the end-all be-all web browser. I am so proud of them!

July 8, 2004

The Best of BitTorrent

Kevin Rose has a nice roundup of BitTorrent sites as well as clients. His favorite client, as mine, is azureus. Source: kevin rose dot com

July 4, 2004

I gave up on MS-DOS format

As I wrote about earlier, OS X does not work well with the MS-DOS (FAT 32) format. OS X will read it, it will even format a disk as MS-DOS, but the real kicker comes in searching and just navigating said volume.

Steve Gehrman (Path Finder developer) told me about OS X and searching non HFS volumes.

If you have a MS-DOS formatted hard drive, and a HFS formatted hard drive, you will see a HUGE difference when you perform a search, and an even bigger difference when you navigate through the drive.

Just take my advice, if you want your hard drive to be readable on both Mac and Windows, just install HFS reading software on your Windows box. You could also just share in it OS X, since you have Samba available to you.

At least OS X is compatible with FAT 32 and NTFS. You cannot say the opposite for Windows. Being compatible and working well are two very different things though.

I cannot tell you how amazed I was at how much faster searching a HFS firewire drive. You live and learn.

Speed is the price you get for compatibility, at least in this case.

May 31, 2004

Request a Return Receipt

These instructions are written for Entourage, but they would work for any email client that does not have the feature built into the GUI. I never knew it was that easy!

March 30, 2004

FileMaker Developer 7

The new FileMaker is out! I got my shiny box last week, it came when I was in Detroit. I have been playing around and am about to post a First Look article. I want to go through the changes in ScriptMaker, then I will post it. So stay tuned. I am not going to be using FileMaker 7 for any of the solutions I have created for Student Publications. So why did I buy it? Because I need to be ahead of the curve. I need to know about all the changes. And eventually I will be moving the Unigraphics invoicing system, the KEY Yearbook purchasing database, etc, over to FMP 7, but not right this minute. They have changed too many variables. And since it is a new file format, we would need to upgrade to FileMaker Server 7 which comes out this summer. That being said, I could do a lot more with 7, and it is well worth the work, in my opinion, to port everything to 7. The one glaring omission I see is no "import file/table" feature in the Define Database dialog. FileMaker now acts like a SQL database, or day I say MS Access, you now have multiple tables in one file. Before v. 7 you had one table per file. FMI could have been nice and included a consolidation feature. That would have been great. Well leave it to the plugin community to fill a void. Both New Millennium and .com Solutions has tools out to help move a multi file solution into a single file, multi table solution. FM Robot from New Millennium is a table consolidation utility. It takes the Database Design Report (so you need Developer, not just Pro) and consolidates all your files into one multi table file. I might invest in this tool. New Millennium makes good software, so it looks like it would be worth it. Only the Windows version is available right now, so I think I will wait until they release a Mac version. Although I might just get the PC version to have it now, I do as much developing in FileMaker on Windows these days as I do on the Mac. What really makes sense about FM Robot is its ability to duplicate tables within a FileMaker 7 file. You can also build a "library" of "template tables" which you can transfer into any new solution. Very cool. FmPro Migrator from .com Solutions does not look like it as easy to use, as you need to install ActiveState Perl on Windows (although I have used ActiveState's Perl before and it is a breeze to setup). FmPro Migrator has a much broader scope then FM Robot though. FmPro Migrator will migrate FileMaker Pro databases to MySQL, Oracle, Access, SQL Server, Sybase and DB2. It now includes a FileMaker 3,4,5,6,7 to FileMaker 7 table consolidation feature, and Microsoft Access to FileMaker 7 migration feature. Both sites have detailed feature pages and screenshots available, so check them out. There is a demos to try as well. I can't say anything for the accuracy of either of these tools, but considering how much different FileMaker 7 is from v. 6, I can't see either tools being 100% accurate with regards to calculations, scripts, privileges, and relationships. I will have to buy one and see how it fairs. FM Robot looks like an easier to use tool, but FmPro Migrator has a much more robust feature set.

March 27, 2004

FileMaker Pro 7: Can You Say Paradigm Shift?

by William Porter wp@polytrope.com I wouldn't describe the last several versions of FileMaker Pro as ho-hum, but I wouldn't exactly call them exciting. The addition of XML support in FileMaker Pro 6 was so revolutionary an enhancement that most developers still don't know what to make of it two years later. Otherwise, version 6 felt like a maintenance release, with a few new status functions, the capability to import photos directly from a digital camera, a Find and Replace command, etc. As a result, many people who aren't already in the know will be surprised - no, scratch that - shocked to discover that the just-released FileMaker Pro 7 is dramatically, profoundly and comprehensively different from its predecessors. Different and, I hasten to say, better. What's New (FMI) Now, the difference is not primarily a matter of new or changed features, although there are more of those than I can mention here. It's more a matter of a new way of thinking. Experienced FileMaker developers learning to work in FileMaker Pro 7 may feel like Texans accustomed to attacking their food with steak knives, now forced to eat noodles with chopsticks. Chopsticks are not just a different tool for picking up food: they're designed for a different cuisine, behind which there is a different conception of what constitutes a meal. The same applies to FileMaker Pro 7. We're not just going to be building databases differently, we're going to be building fundamentally different kinds of databases. Source: TidBITS What a great analogy! This is a great review from start to conclusion. If you want to see the good and the bad of FMP 7, be sure to check this out.

March 26, 2004

InDesign CS 3.0.1 update released

Adobe recently put out an update to their print publishing tool InDesign CS (Creative Suite) that brings the application to version 3.0.1. The upgrade fixes a number of issues, including broken hyperlinks within a book after it has been exported to a PDF file, imprecise constraint when shift-dragging an anchor point on a page item, and more. Source: MacCentral For the first time that I have noticed, you download the updater through InDesign. There is an Update app not unlike the Software Update app in OS X.

January 29, 2004

Cain & Abel Password Cracker

They showed this off on TSS today. Its worth a download, it is free, after all. Check and see how secure your passwords are.

New Explorer hole could be devastating

A security hole in Microsoft Corp.’s Internet Explorer could prove devastating. Following the exposure of a vulnerability in Windows XP earlier this week, “http-equiv” of Malware has revealed that Explorer 6 users (and possibly users of earlier versions) could be fooled into downloading what look like safe files but are in fact whatever the author wishes them to be -- including executables. A demonstration of the hole is currently on security company Secunia’s website and demonstrates that if you click on a link, and select “Open” it purports to be downloading a pdf file whereas in fact it is an HTML executable file. Source: Info World Another one? Really? What I want to know is this: What WinIE hole/bug has NOT posed a serious security risk? When is the "phishing" hole going to be patched? That should have been taken care of BEFORE the new year!

January 28, 2004

Office 2003 Update Site; Word 2003 Update

Word 2003 users should download a patch that fixes more than 400 bugs (they must have been saving up!). Office now has an update feature that works just like Windows Update - probably worth bookmarking that and checking it regularly.

January 13, 2004

Post-it Software Notes

For those who do not know, the Mac OS has had this capability built in for some time now. Why M$ has not stolen this idea yet is beyond me. Post-it Software Notes is a great, free, utility that you should download. It is wonderful if you are like me, and are used to using Stickies on the Mac.

December 8, 2003

Ace Utilities

Ace Utilities is an award winning collection of tools to optimize and speedup your system performance. Registry cleaner, Clean disk and internet history, erase your application and internet browser history, cache, cookies and more. You can control startup programs that load automatically with windows, find duplicate files, fix broken shortcuts and uninstall software. Other features include secure file deletion, shred recycle bin, disk space analysis, tweaking of hidden settings, an empty folder finder and more.
This sounds like other tools out there like Tweak UI, but they showed this on TSS and it has some nice options not seen in Tweak UI.

December 4, 2003

PhraseExpress great to past text

Phrase Express pastes all your frequently used text phrases in a snap
Saves time by not having to rekey commonly used phrases Reduce typing errors Ideal for letter templates, signatures, addresses, chats Runs powerful macro functions to automate everday’s tasks Great for Tablet PC without keyboards
Ideal if you are just plain lazy! The SE version is free, and has all I would want in this type of app.

HoverSnap screen capture tool

Free is great, isn't it? I really like free software. HyperSnap DX might be the best screen capture tool I have found on Windows, but this one is free.
HoverSnap is a small but powerful screen capture utility that can capture the entire desktop, the active window or custom areas on the screen and save the image to JPEG, GIF, BMP or PNG format. It can even automatically rename and resize the screenshot and save it to a folder of your choice. Additional features include integrated FTP upload and support for layered windows. The program runs in the system tray and screen captures can be triggered via keyboard shortcuts.
The author has some other freeware too, so check that out as well.

November 13, 2003

Internet Explorer to stomp pop-ups

Microsoft plans to add pop-up blocking features to Internet Explorer next year as part of its Service Pack 2 update for Windows XP, a move that would go far toward stamping out the Web advertisements.
Source: C|NET What? M$ u is listening to the outcry from every web surfer? I think they are doing this for two reasons: 1) Everyone else has done it, even Apple, so now it is time they get with the program (everybody is doing it, shouldn't we Bill?). and 2) Many people are moving to PC browsers that do not have the word "Explorer" in the name. This is not just a thing geeks do anymore either. 'Normal people' even use browsers that block browser popups. This, I am sure, does not settle well in M$'s stomach. My last word: Finally!

Text-Only Outlook Email

This is a great tip from the good folks at Tech TV. Using this Registry hack you can make Outlook never show HTML anymore! I guess this is an option in Outlook 2003, but this is a much cheaper.

November 9, 2003

Adobe CS Shortcomings

I recieved my copy of Adobe CS Standard this past tuesday. I payed for expedient shipping, and I sure did not get it, as I know others who got their boxes 3 to 4 business days before I got mine. I am just glad to finally have it, I am really looking forward to the new features in all the new apps (sans GoLive, I am a Dreamweaver type of person). PRINTED MANUAL? If you buy the new Adobe CS applications separately, you will get the printed manual in the box. If you get the Adobe CS Standard or Premium, you do not get printed manuals. You get a 92 page booklet that has 2 pages of "what's new" content, and a bunch of lessons such as "how to make a brochure." All I have to say is WTF? I guess Adobe thinks it would make the CS suite too expensive to include the manuals, yet they are available from the Adobe Store. This is total BS. There are reports on MacInTouch about the printed manuals. Some people called Adobe Customer Support about the lack of manuals, and they got the line that I just described. You see I like having the printed manuals. Apparently I am not the only one. Having a PDF manual is nice to be able to do a keyword search on, but for all intents and purposes, I would much rather read about things in a book, I burn out my retina enough as it is. Hey Adobe! You made a bad choice here. Why include the manuals in the single application boxes and not the entire suite? If I pay $1,229.00 for a suite of apps, I expect printed documentation, and not 2 pages of "what's new" and a stupid bunch of tutorials. I also like the tri-fold Quick Reference Card with all the tools, palette options, and keyboard shortcuts. I cannot see how printed materials are too expensive for someone like Adobe. Odd thing though, I got a different story when I called the Adobe Tech. line. I was also told the manuals ship with the single application boxes, but they were not yet available for purchase. Also they would cost $50 a piece. This is not true at all. They cost $30 a piece, and are available for purchase right now. They are also available in a Standard and Premium bundle for $49 and $59 respectively. I have half a notion to call back and hope I get a different tech. on the phone to see if I get a different answer, the correct answer. Other people have been told they can buy the manuals online, after all. I bought the books for the Adobe CS Standard, that cost $67.38 after all is said and done. Tack on another $10 if you get the Premium set, which adds the manual for GoLive CS and the Getting Started Guide for Acrobat 6. Talking about Acrobat, it has not had a printed manual, I don't think ever. I have bought Acrobat since 3.0 and it has never came with anything substantial in the printed form. And for that matter there is no manual installed in PDF form with Acrobat 6 Professional. Why not? I don't understand why Adobe does not use the Mac OS X Help architecture for its online help. Macromedia does. Many other developers do. Its nice to have everything in the Help Viewer app. Acrobat 6 help is in its own interface inside the app. Photoshop CS opens in a web page, same with Illustrator CS, and InDesign CS. I am willing to bet its the same thing for the GoLive CS help. I know from doing it myself that it takes little time to get your online help into the Help Viewer application when you already have it in HTML. This is because Help Viewer in a sense is a web browser. I do not understand why Adobe does not go the extra mile to put their online help into the Help Viewer. And then there is Acrobat, the odd ball. It has its own Help within the app. I wonder if the Adobe CS help is in the standard Windows Help UI. I have a lot of "why didn't they go the extra mile" questions for the Adobe CS suite of apps. More on that in a minute. Lets put things into perspective, and not just point the finger at Adobe. I also bought the Macromedia Studio MX 2004 suite for $1000, and all I got by means of printed documentation was the same type of 90 some pages of "what's new" and "how to" projects. Macromedia also sells the manuals in print on their site. Of course I am the type of person that buys the Macromedia API reference manuals as well, as I like writing extensions for Dreamweaver. Quark did the same thing. For Student Publications I ordered a lab pack 15 seat license of Quark 6 which came with no printed materials what so ever. I cannot find a manual for purchase on the Quark site. Quark 6 online help is in the Help Viewer, just like the Macromedia apps help files are. I am already disappointed in Adobe for not including printed manuals. This is not like them. But of course this is a growing trend that only irritates customers. I wonder why developers like Adobe, Quark, and Macromedia, etc, etc, don't seem to care. UPGRADE COST? Also, if you do the math on the upgrade you will be scratching your head. $169 a piece for the new Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign (the three apps in the Standard CS suite) is less then the upgrade cost of $550. CS INTEGRATION? These apps are supposed to be even more integrated as ever. First they need to be consistent, then they can be integrated. The new features in Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator are great and in some cases numerous, but I am not going to talk about them. I think Macworld did a great job of explaining the "best of" the new features. I might highlight some of my favorite new bells and whistles, but I am not going to go in-depth on anything. Adobe claims that the new Adobe CS is integrated more then ever. There are some glaring omissions IMO to this integrated package Adobe calls Creative Suite. Lets start with the New Document dialog. Photoshop and InDesign allows you to make custom document sizes. Which is nice, now you don't have to edit a text file to make a custom entry in the Preset drop down menu. But there is no such custom preset feature in ImageReady or in Illustrator. Why not? I am not seeing integration here. The Keyboard Presets editor in Photoshop is really nice. It allows you to change keys for the menus, tools, and even the palettes. You can also save out an HTML file of the shortcuts (although it tries to open this file in InDesign CS, I do not understand that). The HTML file that is exported is nice though. This Summerize feature is not in InDesign, Illustrator, or ImageReady. Illustrator will export a very poorly formatted text file. InDesign exports a better formatted text file. ImageReady has no such Keyboard Shortcut editor. At least ImageReady still allows you to select "Use System Shortcuts" so Command + H hides ImageReady. This is more than can be said for InDesign though, the Keyboard Shortcut editor in InDesign, which does not look changed from version 2.0, does not allow you to change the 'Hide InDesign' menu command. So there is no Command + H (to hide the app) in InDesign. Photoshop has the most robust Keyboard Shortcut editor in the suite, with distinct sections for Application Menus, Palette Menus, and Tools. InDesign will let you customize all but the tools, and of course the Hide command. Illustrator allows you to change Tools and Menu command keys, but not Palette Menu keys. ImageReady lacks a customizable keyboard shortcuts editor all together. How about it Adobe? How about the same UI for keyboard shortcut customization. The HTML page exported by Photoshop CS is very nice, it is a shame that you cannot export the same looking file from the entire CS suite. On a rather comical note, be sure to check out my poll on this subject :) More is yet to come... there are more things that annoy me, but I don't have time to finish this now.

October 30, 2003

Napster 2.0 Review

Here is a very exhausting and thorough review of Napster 2.0 which includes the good and the bad. Check it out.

October 20, 2003

OGG Support in iTunes

iTunes doesn't support Ogg out-of-the-box, but it's really easy to add support for it, since iTunes uses Quicktime. Just go to QuickTime Components page and download either the Windows, Mac OS 9, or Mac OS X version. I have no OGG files, nor do I really have time to test this out. Neil tried this out and said it is a "less then utopian" experience.
The reality is somewhat less than utopian - while it does indeed work as advertised, be prepared for iTunes to hang for 10-15 seconds before playing each Ogg Vorbis file, during which time the program is completely unresponsive and CPU usage shoots up to 100%. You also cannot get tag data for an Ogg file while it is playing, unless you want to endure that pause.
Source: Neil's World Maybe the project will get updated, maybe Apple will add support in future versions of both iTunes and the iPod. I really doubt that, but its worth a maybe. My suggestion is to just convert your OGG library to MP3. It can't be hard to find a program that would batch convert them.

September 16, 2003

TradeKeys no longer free

Tradekeys, as well as other PC Magazine software, is no longer free. I blogged about TradeKeys back in January. Jim Kimble is the one who actually pointed this gem out to me. It is a wonderful tool for changing keys around in Windows (something that can be done with an easy OS 9 or OS X hack). Since I am so used to using a Mac, I changed the Control and Alt keys on my PC with TradeKeys. My friend Maury wanted to do the same thing, switch the Control and Alt keys around. I told him to go to PC Mag's site and download TradeKeys. Now you have to be a subscriber for $15 if you get PC Mag, or $20 if you do not subscribe (to the printed magazine), or pay for a 30 day pass which entitles you to 3 downloads, that option costs $10. It might be worth that $10, but when I downloaded it, the software was free. If I ever have to reinstall Windows (which I am sure I will, from what others have told me) I am going to have to fork over the money to get this application. I understand the need to generate revenue, and everyone is going to a subscription model, Its just irritating to see small utilities like this with big price tags on them, when once they were free to download. You can get a lot more for $10 on the shareware market these days. I just want TradeKeys, not 3 downloads for $10. Does anyone know of other Windows utilities that will remap the keyboard?

September 14, 2003

Check Out Burn At Once

Thanks for the link SPeedY_B, I will take some time later to check out Burn At Once. I have become very busy lately so I will not get to this right away, after all Toast 6 on the Mac is a very nice application. SPeedY_B posted a comment to Jim Kimble's letter to Ahead about Nero 6, if you have not read it please check it out.

September 12, 2003

A Letter to Ahead Regarding Nero 6

Letter by James Kimble a.k.a. Techisattva (Jim also reviewed the Tungsten T Scuba Sleeve Case)
Hello, I\'m writing in order to register a complaint with regard to your recently introduced Nero 6 Ultra Edition product. I am currently an owner of Nero 5 and use it regularly in my work for the creation of everything from simple file archives to hybrid cds to VCDs and DVD presentations, and was happy to see that you were releasing a new version of your software with even more features, tools, and hardware support. I downloaded your demo to test it out and, I must say, I was very disappointed. It seems that, much like Roxio, your company has moved away from developing a suite of professional tools, to building eye-candy laden toys for the digitally challenged. One of the reasons I preferred and recommended your software was the ability to choose either the simple wizard-driven creation mode or the full-featured development mode. After looking around, clicking on just about every part of the interface that looked to hold promise, I found that rather than being the next generation of your product, I was stuck with a Windows FP (Fisher-Price) interface with no way to turn it off. I\'ve spoken with several friends and contacts who use your product and, while some are less sure as to what they are going to be using in place of Nero, none are pleased with your latest product. For my part, I respectfully hope that you will give your customers the option to turn this sort of screen garbage off and return to a more professional-grade interface. If not, and I haven\'t simply missed an area of your new found facination with bevel, emboss, drop-shadow, and gaussian blur - but if this is the sort of product you are going to be putting out, I\'m afraid you\'ve lost a customer. Thank you for your time and consideration. Tathata, Techisattva
I really like the Nero 5 interface. I like Nero more then Toast. It is a very good application because it has a very good interface. It is all to often that new versions of software seem to have eye candy bells and whistles and not useful bells and whistles. The developer puts a pretty face on something to make it "more user friendly" and succeeds in not only alienating the current user base, but also makes it more difficult to get the job done, a job that was easier completed in the previous version of the software. Sometimes this manifests itself in only parts of software. But Nero 6 seems to be an exception. I was thinking of upgrading, the Toast 6 upgrade was well worth it after all (drafting a review right now). I had not yet downloaded the demo until I got this email from Jim. I just had to see if for myself. No thank you. Its almost enough to make the want to use EZ Coaster Creator (HA HA, just kidding). Just a boot note: There are no screen shots of Nero 6 on the Ahead site.

June 11, 2003

Internet Headers in Outlook XP

UPDATE
I could not think of the name of the software last night, but Calypso 3 is the only other email client I have found on Windows worth its salt. Its really nice and I used it for a while but got irritated at things like the quarky address book. Jake makes a good point (read the comments) about how Office for the Mac was a pile. Office 4.2.1 _shudder_ Word 6 and Excel 5 _shudder_. Office 2001 (where Entourage first popup up) was good and as Jake sais Office X "is a work of art." Outlook is not perfect but its pretty close and the best thing out there for Windows. If someone wants to show me a better solution then please do. ORIGINAL
I used to use M$ Entourage for my email (before that all I used PINE and Eudora). I was tempted to switch to OS X Mail when 10.2 shipped, but didn't. I stuck with Entourage. It is such a well put together email client, not to mention a good PIM that made Palm Desktop unneeded. Just to clarify: Entourage is the full featured PIM bundled with Office for the Mac like Outlook is the bundled PIM with Office for Windows. I guess I made the mistake of thinking that M$ Outlook XP would be much better then Entourage. I was wrong. Its no secret that I think that Outlook is inferior to Entourage. The main reason I do not like using Outlook is the fact that it hides things three or four windows, clicks, deep. There are numerous things that I think are buried deep in dialog boxes, but today I am focusing on just one: Internet Headers. There are many reasons you might want to look at the Internet Headers of an email. That would be this junk for those among us who have not yet been initiated:
Return-Path: <---@---.edu> Received: from localhost by ---.edu with LMTP for <---@---.edu>; Tue, 27 May 2003 11:39:55 -0400 Received: from ---.edu (---.edu [129.1.5.18]) by ---.edu (Switch-2.2.6/8.11.1) with ESMTP id h4RFdtm04585 for <---@---.edu>; Tue, 27 May 2003 11:39:55 -0400 (EDT) Received: from ---.edu (---.edu [129.1.5.20]) by ---.edu (Switch-2.2.6/Switch-2.2.6) with SMTP id h4RFdt919411; Tue, 27 May 2003 11:39:55 -0400 (EDT) MIME-Version: 1.0 Reply-To: ---@---.edu Date: Tue, 27 May 2003 11:39:55 -0500 From: "Ken Edwards" <---@---.edu> Message-Id: <---@---.edu> To: "Ken Edwards" <---@---.edu> Cc: ---@---.com Subject: killer web site X-Filtered: Sendmail MIME Filter v2.3.1 ---.edu h4RFdt919411 X-AntiVirus: Sendmail Anti-Virus Filter ---.edu 4.1.60 4266 h4RFdt919411 X-Text-Classification: real X-POPFile-Link:
(Yes I took out the addresses, domains, and link from POPFile-Link, I get enough SPAM as it is I do not need a bot picking up my email addy any more than already happens thankyouverymuch) My latest reason for wanting to look at Internet Headers is because I am looking into setting up SpamAssasin on my server. I have it available to me, so I might as well use it. Just for reference, POPFile tells me that 83% of the mail I get is SPAM. If I can setup SpamAssasin to bounce SPAM, I am all for it. In Entourage I would go to the View menu and select Internet Headers (or something very similar, don't quote me on that, I do not even have Entourage installed anymore, and I am not about to take the time to install it just for this post.) If I click on the View menu in Outlook I do not get options for the selected email. I get View options for the application itself, such as the different panes to view. In Outlook you have to open up the email, double click on it, then that View menu has options for that email. Why make Outlook the odd man out in email client software? That's an easy one: because its Microsoft. OK now I've got this email open in a new window. But alas there is no View > Internet Headers. There is View > Message Header which hides/shows information like the subject line. That's clever. You need to go to View > Options... to open up the Message Options dialog box to be able to see the Internet Headers. Why would you make this very simple process so dang complicated. In OS X Mail and in Entourage (and Eudora I believe) you can select a message from your inbox (without opening it), go the to View menu, and toggle Internet Headers on. It also displays those headers in the preview pane. Outlook displays the Internet Headers in a field of the Message Options dialog box. I guess what my main beef here is that View > Internet Headers, or hell even View > Options... is a level deep. It cannot be accessed from the main inbox view. You need to open up the email in a seperate window. What if I right click on a message in my inbox? Surely they would have put a View Message Headers option in the context menu. Nope. It is the same deal. Go to Options... which opens the Message Options dialog. I come from a Mac background and am not used to right clicking everything in sight like Windows folks are. I do however use contextual menus and keyboard shortcuts a lot. But the idea of a context menu is to be secondary as well as be in context to the object you are clicking. The keyword there is secondary. I know it's not going to work like a Mac, and I know that the MacBU and the Windows Office team are separate developers but why make so many things buried in Outlook XP in comparison to essentially the same product on the Mac. It is almost as if Windows users are used to the complexity of it all.

May 23, 2003

A Feature for Mozilla

It sure would be nice if gecko based browsers owned market share over M$ based rendering engins. I think tabbed browsing is the best thing that has come to the web experience since popup blocking. Was popup blocking in Mozilla first? Maybe it was in Opera first, or Konqerer, who knows. All I know is that tabbed browsing and popup blocking has made the web usable again. What I would like to see Mozilla do is start interpreting a target="_blank" or target="_new" as a new tab request not a new window request. And then have this an option is the Tabbed Browsing section of the preferences. I only bring this up because I am forever right clicking and selecting "Open in new tab".

April 13, 2003

DVD Playback in Windows

I just got a couple new DVD's and figured I see how playing a DVD on my new PC would be like. After all watching something on a 21" CRT is gonna be bigger and nicer than a 15" LCD, right? well I must say I am very unimpressed with the performance in Windows XP and Windows Media Player 9. I thought I would share what I have learned.

I have a 15" PowerBook G4 and am used to playing my DVD's in OS X. And I must say the controls for DVD playback in WMP9 are really bad. Only a few of the controls have a keyboard shortcut associated with them. I guess I was just hoping that the DVD controls would be better in Windows Media Player. I find no controls for Angle, Enter, and there is no keyboard way to get to the menu system of the DVD or to move through tracks. Also, and this is just a personal note, the scaling of the video to a smaller version to show the UI of WMP9 when in Full Screen Mode when you move the mouse is horrible. Sometimes this is jumpy in itself, and is also very annoying.

what really gets me is how much the video skips in Windows. Though the same DVD's do not skip on my PowerBook. Even though the DVD-ROM drive on my TiBook is really messed up, it still does not skip or jump around. (I did try many of my DVD's in Windows and they all skip to some extent). Now why is this? my PowerBook is a 2+ yr. old 500 Mhz G4 and my PC is a very new 3 Ghz P4. I have not once had the video skip on my TiBook. I even took the time once to kill all the background processes once before firing up WMP9 and the video still skips. And once, today, I was in the middle of watching X-MEN and WMP just up and disappeared. I was watching Storm zap Toad one second and the next I was staring at my desktop.

I just had higher expectations for Windows. I ended up hooking my 21" monitor up to my TiBook, that solved the problem of the jumpy video. I guess I will chalk this up to something else that is better done on Mac OS X.

Oh yes, my PC did come with DVD player software. I got whatever bundle of software that comes with a DVD-A05 drive. I have yet to really hear of any DVD player software that is really any better than WMP, so if you know of any I for one would like to know about it.

I rummaged through my Start Menu and found PowerDVD XP (version 4). funny thing is that this application does not show up in that window that shows up in XP when you insert a DVD into the computer. WMP9 and RealOne show up in the list, but not PowerDVD. I will have to watch a couple DVDs with PowerDVD to see if things are better. One thing that I find interesting is that Windows does not come with a built in (1st party) DVD decompressor. WMP9 has to rely on a 3rd party decompressor (in my case PowerDVD). Since WMP9 and PowerDVD are actually using the same "backend" to play the video there should be no difference in quality in either app (WMP9 or PowerDVD). But there is something that tells me that the video will jump less using a dedicated DVD player such as PowerDVD.

Talking about bundled software, of all the bundles software that came with the components of my computer, the Audigy2 card, the 9700 Pro, the LITE ON CDRW, the DVD-A05, none are worth using. Save maybe for the copy of NERO 5.5 that came with the LITE ON drive. Of course that will not let you burn using another drive (such as the DVD-A05 drive) so thats not even really a great bundle. PowerDVD seems to be a good piece of bundled software as well. I have not had the time to mess with it though. I plan to look into it and do a comparison/review of it though.

April 1, 2003

PC Internet Exploder

Who likes IE? I sure as hell don't. Well now I have one more reason not to like it. When I use it to preview within either Photoshop or Dreamweaver, and Exploder is not open it bombs either app that I am using, and will not launch IE. If I have Explorer running (which is very rare) and then preview through Photoshop or Dreamweaver everything is just fine. Its not as if I can just reinstall Explorer, and I have tried reinstalling both Photoshop and Dreamweaver. This one really puzzles me. For Photoshop this is an easy fix, I will just preview images in Mozilla. But it is unfortunately the case that I need to preview web pages in Exploder. I checked and I have installed ALL Windows updates. I just don't get it. The only thing I can do is go to the Task Manager and click End Task.

March 26, 2003

More on Outlook XP 3/26

I am sure glad I have a Mac and Entourage. Periodicly I send out emails to the University's Seniors about the KEY Yearbook (If any BGSU Seniors are reading this, it is my job, I just do what i am told to do :-P) . In Outlook there is no way to add multiple email addresses, you must do it one at a time. Outook also does not allow you to put more than X amount of charectors in the TO or CC or BCC fields. I get the list of Seniors from the Bursar's Office in an Excel file. With Entourage I can copy the column of email addresses from Excel and paste them into a new group email entry in Entourage. I am basicly pasting tab deliminated addresses, as that is what is copied out of Excel. I just find this odd that you cannot do this in Outlook XP. Outlook makes you add these addresses one by one. There is no way to, as far as I can tell, add multiple email addresses at once.

Stardock Suite is Sweet

The Stardock suite of tools, Object Desktop, are really nice. For those that do not know this suite is a set of 20 some utilities you can use to customize Windows. WindowBlinds is the most noticeable part of Object Desktop since it skins all of Windows - It has a few XP only touches as well. I personally got tired of the new XP "luna" look and I do not like the black text on darker khaki of the "Classic" theme. The problem I have found is there are very few skins made that could be used on a daily basis. Most are either too flashy and distracting or are just not usable for actually working on a PC. Of all the sites that have WindowBlinds skins I have found 2 that are usable. I like the Mozilla Modern (It looks like Mozilla or Netscape 7) and I also like the Blackcomb skin. I use Blackcomb 99% of the time because I like the negative UI elements, meaning white text on a dark (in this case dark blue) background. This is a lot more readable than black text on khaki (which is what both the Classic and XP themes use). WindowBlinds integrates right into the "Appearance" Tab of the Display Control Panel. When you install Skin Studio, it is incorporated into this control panel as well. The integration is very nice. Skin Studio is a really nice application in itself. I have used to it to customize parts of Blackcomb to my liking. WindowBlinds has a lot of customization features independent of the skin itself. You can choose if only parts of the skin take effect for example. One of the nice features of WindowBlinds is a Roll Up Feature (which would be called Window Shade on the Mac). This is a feature that Windows does not use at all, being able to "roll up" the document into nothing more than the title bar. I use this a lot on my Mac even though I have to use WindowShade X on OS X to do it. Another Mac OS feature I miss in the Windows world is spring loaded folders. Well there just happens to be a component of Object Desktop called SpringFolders that does this very well. Granted it is not worth $50 for just SpringFolders but WindowBlinds and the other applications make it worth it IMO. DesktopX and ObjectBar are much like Konfabulator is for OS X letting you create whatever kind of widget you want on your desktop. You can even put a Mac OS X like Dock in Windows. Using DesktopX I have created a few widgets myself as well as downloaded a couple made by others from the WinCustomize site. DeviantART has, among other things, a lot of Object Desktop skins and stuff. IconPackager lets you change all your icons. I have not really gotten into this part of Object Dekstop but I probably will soon. I mainly use WindowBlinds and DesktopX and also have SpringFolders running. I do not notice slowdown with these 3 things running, but I am sure your mileage may vary. I really like Object Dekstop. It gives me some familiar Mac like GUI features and also lets me put a more usable face (IMO) on Windows.

March 21, 2003

POPFile is up to 96 percent

The new version of POPFile is really nice. You can now re-classify mail in bulk, not one at a time like the previous releases. Since I installed POPFile at the end of January it is now 96.04% accurate. and it is a breeze to manage because it is web based. There have been all of 102 classification errors, I think that is pretty good. I only once in a while have to re-classify one or very rarely two SPAM emails. I think I have only had about 5 or 6 false positives. I'm really impressed. POPFile is a lot nicer to manage than SpamSieve, which is what I used when I used Entourage X on my Mac to check email. Macworld just did a big article on SPAM filters both server and client side. I was sad to see POPFile not in the article, even though you can run it in OS X. They did mention one Bayesian filtering application for OS X, SpamSieve (well OK they mentioned 2, Mail.app has bayesian filtering in it too, but lacks any kind of UI for looking at the statistics). I personally think SpamSieve is annoying to use. You have to reclassify email with AppleScripts. That is a lot slower then the web based UI which is backed by perl that POPFile uses.

March 18, 2003

AvantGo causes blue screen

This is not the BSOD in XP is it? Well I have never seen an XP BSOD or this screen. but after I rebooted I got these error messages, I am hoping someone can explain what they mean. This machine seemed to have recovered just fine. The problem was caused when syncing my Palm m505 right when the AvantGo sync started. all of a sudden that blue screen shows up. I rebooted and got those error messages. Then I tried to sync everything again and it worked fine. this is the first *major* problem I have had. And it was not that major at all.

March 15, 2003

From Phoenix back to Mozilla

I have used Mozilla for ever on Mac OS 9 & X but when I got my PC I found Pheonix to be almost as feature laden and faster. well last week just before Moz 1.3 became final actually, I decided I had enough with Pheonix. the thing that got me to go back to Moz was the amount of http authenticated sites I go to (the popup window that asks you for a user name and password, and usually displays a realm name). Phoenix was getting these confused a lot, even over many different domains. I would have to retype in my information, and in a world of Keychain (OS X) and Password Managers in most all browsers, this is something I do not like to do. so i'm thinking the password manager in Phoenix is not as robust as Moz, that or i'm just on krack. Cuz Moz doesn't get them mixed up, and I do not have to retype any authentications. and now Moz 1.3 is out, and that makes it even better to go back to it.

March 14, 2003

Windows Backup Utility

I was just going to write on how irritated I am with Backup Utility. But before I did, I asked the folks at NTFS.org - well they told me exactly what I thought in the first place. and all I gotta say is WTF? You cannot use Backup Utility to backup to a CDRW or a DVDRW. This is Windows XP after all, I mean they did license Roxio for OS level CD burning! so why not use that tech to allow Backup Utility to backup to something useful - yes to a CD. I guess I have gotten used to backup/archive apps being able to save data to a CD, why is this such a forign concept for the Windows Backup Utility? Backing up to my HD and then copying that to a CD is hardly an automated process. and I don't call that a backup utility at all. I didn't want to install Retrospect to backup my personal files. but of all the shareware utilities I found for Windows there is nothing that works as nice as Retrospect. Oh well, I was hoping, but figured this would be the case.

February 19, 2003

Zip Files Hack Update

Well I find one small drawback to using the hack I posted about here. Zip files no longer have any association. I had to go to File & Folder Options and add Zip to the list, and associate it to WinRAR. just a minor thing, no biggie. Well now THAT sucks. as soon as I put the Zip file association back in, it starts searching my Zip files again, arrrrrrrrrrrrrrg. fine ill live without the damn icon. I can still right click and uncompress through WinRAR so thats OK I guess. VERY annoying feature this is.

February 18, 2003

Rainbow Folders

Holy Toledo Batman! This comes from the should-have-been-part-of-the-operating-system dept. In Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X there is this notion of Labels (well in OS X you need to have a tool to see this color metadata like Path Finder or Labels X because the friggin Finder doesn't support it. Of course this is why you get Path Finder :) at least the implementation of colored labels are in OS X. if you are unfamiliar with the concept behind Labels let me explain. In the Mac OS you can put a colored "label" on a folder, just an overlay of a color on a folder for organizational purposes. you can even use Labels in AppleScripts. Labels are heavily used in Retrospect, and other Mac applications. since I have grown up using the Mac, I have grown very accustom to using these colored folders for my daily use. Windows XP has no such function. the only color coding is of compressed and encrypted files (blue and green) and this is only the file name, not the icon. now lets look at Rainbow Folders. Special thanks to Jake (check out his blog) for bringing this utility to my attention. Rainbow Folders does not overlay a color over an icon, it does replace it. but it takes a lot more to replace an icon in Windows than it is in the Mac OS. Rainbow Folders allows you to choose the color and brightness of the folder. then it allows you to choose from XP or 98 style folder icons. this is exactly what I need. some people do not understand the coloring of folders. but those who do will understand why I am so estatic about being able to color folders in Windows. I have some suggestions for the developer that I hope he can implement. this is a utility you should download and try out even if you have never used colored folders to organize your data. it is Postcardware, hell with that I will send him money, it is more than worth it. btw, if you wonder why I plug Path Finder so much is because I am an avid user of it, and help out with the development. I don't write any code for it, although I have found Cocoa programming to be rather easy, I just supply graphics and the occasional feature suggestion. I also beta test. Path Finder 2.1 has been through its beta tests, and is finished, it has an amazing amount of new features. the most impressed thing I have found recently is it mounts Toast disc images, as well as Apple Disc Copy disk images, and does it really fast. it also unstuffs .sit files faster than Stuffit Expander. I tested this out and its faster. oh and Path Finder is about twice as fast as the Finder on both an older G3 and a brand spankin new G4. ok done with the publicity. just go download it (direct link).

February 15, 2003

RealOne player annoyance

This is an update to one of my earlier posts.

i found a few solutions to this problem after posting to the NTFS.org Forums about my problem. some pople responded to trash Real and use a different player that will play RM content. well thats one solution. then a member told me to rename a file in an obscure folder:

C:\Program Files\Common Files\Real\Update_OB

he was correct about the folder, but not the file names. well i experimented and found that renaming realevent.exe and realsched.exe. i just made them .old files. RealOne still works, can get to remote RM content, and the Message Center is broken, AWW SHUCKS!

i also found a preference for the messages, go to Tools > Preferences > Automated Services. if you go to View > Message Center > Options > Display Preferences you cannot uncheck things, only select a different frequency for the messages. in the Automated Services section of the Preferences window you can uncheck "Periodicly check for new messages"

i personally would rather break it by renaming the .exe files to .old, as there would be no way i could get some stupid request to or from REAL. changing preferences might stop those buggers from showing up, breaking it however, is always gonna work :p

February 13, 2003

Real One Message Center

i installed the Real One player because i wanted to watch all the Super Bowl Players (the WMP 9 ones were only clips of the full commercials, Real had them in full, dont know why you would only put up clips, but then its WiMP :P

well every so often, once a week or so i get this *great* little popup that is the Real One Message Center i find out. after looking through all the menus in Real One, i find under View i can change the Message Center options, great i think, but only for a split second. i have 3 choices: Once or more times per day, Once or twice a week, and Once or twice a month. there is no TURN THIS ANNOYING THING OFF option, MORONS!

the only way i see how to stop this nonsense is to block it at the firewall, wich is something i should not have to do. i am glad i use Zone Alarm Pro because it is very easy to block things like the RealNetworks Event Launcher and its nice it is a seperate entity from RealOne, so i can still watch remote RM content.

let me say that again this is something i should not have to do.

w.bloggar is a great blog tool

w.bloggar is a great UI for posting to a blog, it has the text editing features that i think MT should have, like link buttons, bold, font, color, etc. etc. stuff that you would find in any forum software "new post" page. its great. and its free. thats more than i can say about NetNewsWire for Mac OS X. wich charges for its blog editing capabilities. but if you use Windows check out w.bloggar. i think the best part is i dont have to type [a href"http.... when i want to put in a link, i just click the link button.

the other thing i really like about w.bloggar is that it lets you predefine 9 custom HTML tags. such as [blockquote] that is a huge time saver! it also has a HTML menu to put in all the common tags. i cant tell you how much i enjoy the built in spell checker, hell yea!

February 5, 2003

$40 for a FTP Client?

At what point does an FTP client require a $40 price tag, or a $10 upgrade fee? WS_FTP and WS_FTP Pro aparently. its a FTP client for crying out loud! it transfers files from point a to point b, that is all it does. IPSWITCH's customers must be blind to pony up $10 just for an upgrade.

FileZilla, on the other hand, is free. it has a very nice UI, lets you save bookmarks to servers. what else does a FTP client need to do? your laundry?

February 4, 2003

More on Outlook XP 2/4

Why the heck are all your options a mile deep under 4 dialog boxes? here is an example for ya. i want to edit my signature. ok i had to go through the help screens to find it! you must go to Tools > Options > Mail Format tab > Signatures button. for crying out loud its a main option of the Tools menu in Entourage X for OS X!

MS Virtual Desktop

MSVDM - thats Microsoft Virtual Desktop Manager is one kick ass Power Toy to install in XP. it is so KDE-ish. this is something i would like to see done in OS X. this is great, i have Dreamweaver in slot 1, Photoshop in slot 2 and now i dont have to minimize one to get to the other, its just a keystroke away.

i would suggest you turn off "Use Animations" this animates the 4 dekstops when you click the Preview button to see the 4 in a slit screen view. even on a ATI 9700 Pro this animation is kinda jumpy. if you turn it off the preview of all 4 show up with no slow delay because of the stupid animation.

turning off "Shared Desktops" also makes more sense than leaving that option on. with Shared Desktops off every desktop has its own seperate task bar buttons. if you leave it on and click on Photoshop for example, you will bring photoshop up on the current desktop, and it will no longer be maximized on the other virtual desktop.

with "Shared Desktops" turned off when you alt+tab through active programs, it will only show the apps in the virtual desktop you are in, not all 4 virtual desktops.

the default keyboard shortcuts to switch desktop, win+1,2,3,4 is great. i can tell i am really gonna use this MSVDM a lot now that i have it installed.

the only covet i have come accross so far is WebShots doesnt work with 4 desktop pictures, and the main Trillian also seems to show up on all 4 dekstops. oh well. i'll live.

February 1, 2003

Windows Explorer Part 1

i was not going into this Windows world thinking it would be as easy to use as Mac OS X, but i am a little estonished at some of the things you have to turn on, or off, to put information in front of your face.

Continue reading "Windows Explorer Part 1" »

January 31, 2003

TradeKeys

"Sometimes the keys on your keyboard just aren't in the right place." Yes this is true, the Alt key and the Ctrl key are in the wrong spot on the PC keyboard. the Ctrl key should be right next to the spacebar. This is because i am a Mac user, and the Command (Open Apple) key is right next to the spacebar. and leave it to Apple to come up with a non standard way of using modifier keys. even SGI (and other *nix) keyboards have the Ctrl key on the outside. well im used to it on the inside, and my pinky is not trained to rest on the Ctrl, it rests on the Shift key. on the Mac the Ctrl key brights up the "right click menu" wich is useless to me since it has been many years since i have used a Mac with only one mouse button, my average is five. my buddy Jim suggested this little gem, TradeKeys, to remap my keyboard layout. that quote i started this post off with is from TradeKeys discription, and it does a nice job.

January 30, 2003

BrowserSizer

This is a great FREE tool to change your Netscape/Internet Exploder window to 640x480, 800x600, or 1024x768. it will also compensate for the TaskBar and the Office Bar. check it out.




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