Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Windows XP or Windows 7

Windows XP is a good Operating System. By August 2011 it will be a decade old. But many find it hard to switch to Windows Vista or Windows 7. This is further testament to its popularity.

However, users of Windows XP will no longer be able to take advantage of newer hardware technologies since Microsoft has decided to stop selling last October 22, 2010 and the support is only available until April 2014.

Windows 7 is the latest release of Microsoft Windows. It came shortly after Windows Vista has gathered a lot of unfavorable reviews.

You maybe asking yourself, how is Windows 7 compared to Windows XP? And is it bad like Windows Vista?

Actually, Windows 7 is good too. In the office I have seen a Duron 2800+ with just 512mb of RAM run Windows 7 without any problem.

I myself am running it on a newer PC. If I would compare Windows 7 to Windows XP, I would say Windows 7 crashes less than Windows XP plus it recovers better.

When running computer games, it is just as fast as XP. Just make sure to install the graphics driver from the manufacturers website. Windows 7 will provide default driver for the latest graphics card. But this driver is not optimized, so you may experience some lagging when running graphics intensive computers.

Personally, between Windows XP and Windows 7, I think I'm sticking with Windows 7.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Windows 7 Sticky Notes

Windows 7 has its own Sticky Notes application. It does not have as many features as Morun's Sticky Notes like: you can't hide a selected note, you can't put a title on each notes, and you can't make the fonts bold or italic. But you can change the color of the notes and it is useful enough though it seems bare in terms of features.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Free Software versus Commercial Software

I am a fan of the Free Software and also the Opensource movement. But one must realized that not all free software are good for you. Here is why: Usability.

I realized that you should not choose to use an FOSS software just because it is free. Because a software maybe so unusable that what you save in money will cost you time. For me time is more valuable than money. Don't we all think that way?

So I am trying to discipline myself to use the “best of the breed” approach for choosing software Instead of going with what is free.

Having said that these are the free software I can recommend: Inkscape, Wings3D, Flex, Jquery, PHP, Apache, Codeigniter, and MyPaint. They are very easy to use. They have intuitive user interfaces. No. You won't find yourself pulling your hair when you are using them. They are great.

As for the other prominent free software out there, I won't mention them cause some of their supporters can be frighteningly sensitive and fanatical.

Warning: This problem with usability is not unique to free software. You can also encounter them on commercial ones.

As a rule, always try a trial version of a software first before purchasing them.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Adobe CS5 Collection Inconsistency in Installer Database

There are some issues you may encounter when you are installing Adobe CS5 Collection. The installer will run and accept the serial number. But it will abruptly end saying - Inconsistency in Installer Database.

What happened here is that the file were Adobe keeps the list of programs got corrupted.

To fix the problem go to:

C:\Program Files(x86)\Common Files\Adobe

Then look for the caps directory.

Delete this directory and reinstall Adobe.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

How to Save and Restore Mozilla Firefox Bookmarks

It is a good idea to save your browser bookmarks in a safe place. It will come in handy incase you need to reinstall the browser when your OS gets corrupted or your browser gets corrupted.

In Mozilla Firefox, You can do this by clicking on Bookmarks on the menu.

And then click on Organize Bookmarks.

The bookmark management window will be displayed. Click on Import and Backup on the menu.

Then click on Backup. The program will asked you where to save your bookmarks list.

It is a good idea to save this in a different hard disk or in your USB stick.

To restore, repeat the whole process except choose Restore during the last step.

Friday, December 3, 2010

GIMP: How to Enable Wacom Pen Tablet

If you are doing digital graphics in Gimp, whether painting or simply drawing, it is best to use a pen tablet. Wacom is a recognized brand when it comes to pen tablets. Gimp does support it but it is not enabled by default.

How to Enable Pen Tablet Support

1. Launch Gimp using your pen tablet. Don't use the mouse to launch Gimp. If you do, Gimp won't detect it.

2. In the menu click Edit>Preference.

3. On the list click "Input Devices".

4. Click "Configure Extended Input Decives". Here is where Gimp gets weird. If you started Gimp for the first time using a mouse, it will say there are no available input device. But if you launched it using the pen tablet, you will see "Wacom Tablet Pressure Stylus" and "Wacom Tablet Eraser".

5. Click the Close Button

6. Click "Save Input Device Settings Now" so that the pen tablet will still be supported when you launch Gimp next time.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Latest AVG Update Corrupts Windows XP 64

AVG is one of the free anti-virus software you can download off the Internet. It is easy to use and good at detecting computer viruses. But today I have a reason to dislike this software.

This morning I received a message from the software that the latest update is ready. So I clicked update.

And then it told me that I need to restart my computer.

I clicked Allow Restart.

After the computer restarted, it no longer boots properly. I kept getting an error that a DLL file was missing and then the OS restarts.

I could not even remedy the problem by loging into Safe Mode.

I ended up reformatting my hard disk and reinstalling the OS.

And now I have not yet installed all the software that were originally there because it would take me the whole day and I would get nothing done.

Ugh. AVG!

Monday, November 15, 2010

CoreTemp: Monitor Your CPU Temperature and Load

I am a big fan of AMD CPUs. They are cheap and just as fast and reliable as Intel CPUs. But a few years ago, its cooling system was an issue. Intel based computers will not start if the CPU temperature is to high. But not for early AMD CPUs. It would continue to run regardless of the temperature.

That is why in my early days as an IT professional, I managed to burn three CPUs.

But these days this is not a problem anymore. You can set your BIOS to stop the computer when the central processing unit reaches a certain temperature threshold.

Still, if you are curious about monitoring your CPU temperature and load, you can use CoreTemp. It works for both Intel and AMD based computers.


This program can be useful in determining whether you need to improve your computer ventilation. Perhaps you might need more fans or more powerful fans to lower your CPU temperature.

Future of Computing: CPU + GPU

Personal computing continues to advance in an unprecedented ways. At first chip makers were trying to out do each other by making CPUs (central processing unit) faster. And then they decided that it would be more efficient to combine multiple CPUs in one chip. That is why we now have what we call multicore CPUs. What this latest chip is capable of doing is to split computer processing loads among its cores.

But soon you won't be needing you graphics card either. Intel and AMD are working on a new breed of CPU that combines a graphics processor with the traditional multicore CPUs.

At Intel they are using what they call the Sandy Bridge Architecture to achieve this combination. AMD's initiative on the other hand is called AMD Fusion.

Back in 2006, Intel started exploring making their own graphics card. Which probably forced AMD to buy ATI, the graphics card company.

One has to wonder what NVIDIA is thinking or doing right now. If in the future we will no longer need a separate graphics card, this will be a big problem for them.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Importance of Two Partitions

Ideally you should have one hard disk for your OS (Operating System) and one hard disk for your data. But if you only one hard disk it is extremely important that you divide it into two partitions.

The Reason for this is that your OS may crash. And the only fix would be to format and reinstall your OS.

You can't do this without losing your data if they reside on the same partition.

So as a rule, always...always make atleast two partitions if you only have one hard disk.

If only I can remember that rule.

Ugh.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

RealTek Audio HD Microphone Problem Solution

Most of the new motherboards that comes with a built it RealTek Audio HD have microphone problems. I recently, bought one that suffers this problem.

So I checked the headphone jack and it works perfectly fine. But when I checked the microphone and it doesn't work.

So I opened my PC to make sure that everything is plugged correctly on the motherboard. And every was perfectly okay.

So what seems to be the problem?

The Solution

1. Your motherboard should come with a software to manage the audio input and output. Find the program RealTek Audio HD Manager.

2. Select the Mixer Tab.

3. Look at the RealTek Audio Input Section. I don't know why they do this but the Mic is set to mute by default.

4. Turn the Microphone settings on.

5. Check the RealTek Audio Output section.

6. Make sure the Front and Rear Volume are not set to zero.

7. Make sure the Front Pink In and Front Green In volume are not set to zero.

8. The Rear Blue In, Rear Pink In, and Rear Green In volumes should also be not zero.

9. Close the RealTek HD Audio Manager.

Your mic should be working now. If not, go to C:\Windows (depending on your installation) and run MicCal.exe to calibrate your microphone.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Nanostar Siege 1.8.1: Good Game Play Bad Maintainer

The latest version of Nanostar Siege is 1.8.1. It was released just this September 20, 2010.

There are a few changes:

1. You can now test your defense with your own attack units.
2. You can place as many special units: Standard Bearer, Bard, Sergeant in the field.
This can help a lot when you are attacking a player who has more powerful set of heroes. But it is going to cost you more gold so you still have to decide if a player is work attacking based on gold cost.
3.The 'Army Reserved' has been replaced by 'Battle Points'. Like in the case of Reserve in the previous version, Battle Points is what determines how many times you can attack other players.

You will have 3 Battle Points maximum. 1 Battle Point is generated every 3 hours.
You can gain additional Battle Points by attacking your friends. But it will be rewarded to you randomly. Or you can purchase it with real money.

Good Game Bad Maintainer
Nanostar Siege has very good game play. It is a combination of a card battle game and tower defense. The problem is that the maintainers seem to have a knack for alienating their players.

The Battle Point system is the worst update they have made. Not only do you pay for the Cards to have more powerful heroes, now they are even forcing the players to pay so that they will be able to play.

Yes you can earn Battle Points randomly by attacking your friends by I'm sure that my friends would not like it when they see that I keep attacking them.

Unless they come up with something more suitable to replace the Battle Point system, I say pass to this game.

Update:

They shortened the time when the battle points are automatically gained to an acceptable duration.

Monday, July 12, 2010

NanoStar Siege Basic Strategy Guide

About a month ago, I discovered an action strategy game in Facebook called Nanostar Siege. It has been my favorite game in Facebook eversince. To get a basic information about how this game is played you can read the Nanostar Siege Guide that I've written earlier. But on this post we will talk about how to win the game more often.

Basic Strategy

As I have said before, there are three basic units in the game: swordsmen, archers, and slayers. Before the start of the battle you are allowed to choose which combination of units you will use, how many, as well as their formation. Let's talk about...

If the defender uses Archers as their front, the best unit to place infront of your own formation are Slayers. Slayers move fast. They will be able to close the gap with the archers very quickly.

If you use a swordsman to attack a frontline of Archers, you can be sure that your first two swordsmen will die before they reach the archers.

Swordsman moves very slowly as compared to Slayers.

If you are facing a frontline of Slayers. The best counter is to use Swordsmen with Archers behind them.

Other things you should know is that Slayers are the best unit when it comes to attacking structures. They can quickly diminish the morale of the opposing castle. And then the next best unit for attacking strutures are Swordsmen.

Archers, on the other hand, gives poor damage when attacking structures. That is why when Archers happen to be at the front hitting the other players castle, I just let them die so that my Slayers or Swordsmen can take over.

And now that you learn the basic strategies, it's time for you to learn more advanced tactics: How to Keep Winning in NanoStar Siege.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Android Laptops and Netbooks

We already got Windows based laptops and netbooks. Plus we can install any variant of Linux or have one preinstalled when we buy a mobile computer.

I think Ubuntu is the most popular Linux nowadays thanks for it being easy to use, especially to those coming from Windows OS.

Soon we are going to have Android based mobile computers hitting the market.

Android OS is a new operating system being developed by Google.

I will post here information regarding the Android based Laptops and Netbooks as they come out.

At the moment, there are no Android base mobile computers out in the market. But Toshiba and LG has announced that they will release Android based Laptops by the end of 2010.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Mozilla Firefox 3.6.6 Released

Previously, I wrote about Mozilla Firefox 3.6.4 and the most prominent feature in this really is the Third Party Plugin crash protection.

Unfortunately, the side effect of this release is that plugins that rarely crashes before suddenly crashed more often.

But today, Mozilla released a patch and everything seems to be okay.

Whew! That was fast.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Ipads, Laptops, Netbooks

Apple has managed to sell 3 Million IPads in just 80 days. Steve Jobs is really the master when it comes to hyping gadgets.

There is a popular saying that goes - "The best salesman can sell refrigerators to the Eskimos." I've always found this saying funny. But if there is one guy that could do it that has got to be Mr. Steve Jobs.

IPad Features

If there is one thing that the IPad can do very well is that it is great for viewing things. It is certainly the best for viewing electronic news, reading books, viewing pictures, reading electronic comics, and watching videos. However, you can not view the complete Internet with it since Apple has decided not to support Adobe Flash. Therefore, I you like to watch videos online, there are only a limited sets of videos you can watch. You cannot watch those videos available only using Flash Player ( which is a lot of videos by the way). And also you cannot use IPad to see web applications that run on the Flash Platform.

Nonetheless, I think IPad will be good for light tech users.

Netbooks for Highly Mobile Writers

You will still need your netbook. If you do heavy typing you won't feel comfortable using the onscreen IPad keyboard.

Laptop for Highly Mobile Programmers and Graphic Designers

Obviously you need a powerful laptop if you are engaged in these two professions.  The IPad is simply not flexible enough and powerful enough to handle the tasks programmers and graphic designers do on a daily basis.

Drawing and Painting using the IPad

I would have wanted to buy an IPad simply for this feature alone. Unfortunately, it does not have it. Which sucks.  Can you imagine having an IPad on your lap, a stylus pen, and a pressure sensitive brush drawing program. That would be fantastic. No more need to scribble on paper.

And also, Apple could have made the Wacom Cintiq obsolete. Because that one is a much more expensive hardware. Oh well. Maybe IPad 2.0?

Ipad and the Future

When people realize that the IPad is nothing but a very expensive reader I wonder what will happen? Ah, but Steve Jobs won't let that happen I'm sure.

I wonder if HP Slate will top the IPad.

Related Links:
Notebook vs Laptop
Desktop vs Laptop

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Mozilla Firefox 3.6.4 Released

Firefox 3.6.4 has been released today. The most prominent feature for this release is the third-party plugin crash protection.

It used to be that when a plugin crash, say Flash Player, you were left with no choice but to kill the browser.

Now plugins run within their own thread process. So that when a plugin crash, Firefox would just display an image to inform the user that a third-party plugin crashed. And then you can just close the Tab where the plugin was running.

One thing I notice with this release though, is that the Flash Player which rarely crash before now seem to crash more often.

I hope Mozilla release another patch for this problem soon.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Blog Housekeeping

I did some housekeeping on this blog today. I decided to make the navigation simpler.

Cleaning up a blog is not much different from cleaning a house. You will accidentally unearth some things that you have already forgotten and they bring back memories.

I wrote several personal entries on this blog a couple of months and a few years ago.

It seems only yesterday.

Anyway, I think it is time for me to work this blog again.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

How to Prevent Children from Seeing your Selected Facebook Post

Sometimes you make a Facebook post that is intended for more mature audience. But the problem is that you also have under aged friends.

So how do you make children see only specific Facebook posts?

Setup a Group List
1.Click on Account in the Menu.
2.Select Edit Friends
3.Find List on the lower left side of the page.
4.Click on Friends
5.Click on the Create New List button
6.Enter a name for your new list. You can type Kids or Children or whichever you prefer.
7.On the icons of your Friend List, select all your friends who are under aged.
8.And then click the Create List button

Hide to Specific Group
1.Go to Profile
2.Type a Status Update. Let's say “Test Status”.
3.If you notice, there is a Padlock icon next to the Share button. Click the Padlock icon.
4.Choose Customize from the list
5.There is a text box that says Hide this from these people.
6.Type the name of the friend group you have just created. In my case, it's Kids.
7.Click the Save Setting button
8.When you finally click Share, your update will be shown to all your friends except from those who belong to your Kid group.

Show to Specific Group
You will notice that there is another option that will allow you to share your Facebook post to specific people or group list. Basically, it works quite the same as hiding. You choose specific friends or groups and your post post will only be visible to those you specify.

Related Link:

Managing Facebook Privacy

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Invalid Maildirsize File Solution

Sometimes you may encounter a problem where a certain email account could not send or receive an email. The usual error message you get is that the email account is over it's allotted quota.

This problem usually occur when you have set a limit as to how many megabytes of email an account is allowed to store. But there are some problems wherein you check your server and the account has not even reached its quota yet.

The real problem when this scenario occurs is that the maildirsize file has somehow become corrupted.

To verify, try to change the quota of the problematic email account. When you finally confirm, you will get an Invalid maildirsize file error.

Solution:
1. Login to your server using your FTP or Cpanel>File Manager.
2. Navigate to yourdomain.com/mail/emailaccount
3. Delete the maildirsize file. Your mail server will automatically recreate it.
4. Try sending and receiving email using the account again.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Google Documents Update April 2010

Haven't used MS Office for a very long time now because Google Docs (and Openoffice) is good enough for my needs. And now they recently updated Google Docs with new features.



Now, If only I could really feel comfortable knowing that a third party has access to my documents.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Long Time No Post

Long time no post here. The reason for that is I did a little experiment. We'll right now I am a bit confused as ever. Or probably they just outworked me. But that can't be the case since someone I know who will not stop working ended up the same as this blog.

The rules must have changed a bit. That is the only explanation I can see.

This only means one thing. It's time to relearn.

Now what am I talking about? Nothing. This is just me thinking out loud. Never mind. Now move along. :)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Telecommuting Equipments

Before there was broadband Internet you could not imagine that it is possible to have a job while home. But now we have writers, programmers, graphic artists, medical transcribers, and call center agents working in the comforts of their own home. 


    There are several advantages to this kind of setup.  You will be able to look after your children while you are working. Or you can take care of a sick family member. You can manage your own time.  You won't have to experience heavy traffic while commuting to your office. 

    This setup will save you a lot of time. 

    However, if before you can take jobs in this kind of setup there are equipments you will need.

    Broadband Internet Subscription - You will need a fast Internet connection. Dialup will not do because there will be times when you may need to have a conference with your client. Skype or Yahoo Messenger is typically used.  If your Internet connection is slow, then you may have a hard time talking to your client because your voice will be choppy.  It is even worse if you need to see each other through webcam.  And the client may need need you to see some video or download a fairly big document or file.

   Fortunately, Broadband Internet is even cheaper than dialup service nowadays.

   Computer Equipment - Your computer can either be a desktop, laptop, or netbook depending on your type of job. If you are an artist, you may need a powerful desktop. A dual core CPU should be minumum, with a recently released graphics card, atleast 2 gigabytes of RAM, and a large hard disk to store your work.  A programmer will need a  similarly powerful computer with an almost similar specification.

   If your job is a writer, you can do with a netbook or any low powered desktop since word processors are really not that CPU hungry.

   Headset with Microphone - This is a must to be able to speak with your client through the Internet.  Actually, one of the benefits we get with the Internet is that you it eliminated the need to pay for expensive long distance calls. Using Skype, Yahoo Messenger, or Google Talk you can speak with anyone located anywhere in the world. And you will be able to talk to them for free.

   Webcam - This is actually optional but some clients do request it. The main reason is that some of them are just more comfortable knowing how the person they are talking to looks like.

   Fascimile/Scanner/Printer - You won't really need a fax machine since most documents are sent through email these days. You could buy one that also doubles as a scanner and printer.

   A scanner and printer is used for signing contracts. Usually the client will email a contract. You have to print it then sign it. You then scan the signed contract then send the image to them.

  A Quiet Room - Lastly, you need a room where  you can work with minimal interruption.  You my also need this place for clients who might decide to pay you a visit for some work related reasons.