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All posts tagged "windows"

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Zune Music Pass Launches In Australia

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune News" @ 05:40 PM

Oh, yes, fellow Aussies. You'd better believe it. The Zune Music Pass has finally launched in Australia, which means 13 million songs and unlimited music video streaming are now at your fingertips on the Xbox 360, Windows Phone, PC, and web. You can get started now with a free 14-day trial; then, if it's to your liking, continue your subscription for $11.99 AUD per month, or go all out with an annual pass that nets you twelve months for the price of ten. Happy listening!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Windows 8: This is the Future of Windows

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 09:48 AM

"Microsoft is welcoming around 5,000 developers to its BUILD conference today to unveil the most significant change in the PC space since Windows 95. "It's a launch," explains Windows chief Steven Sinofsky. "It's a launch of an opportunity for developers. That's a lot, it's a big deal to do today and tomorrow," he says during an opening address to media and analysts in Anaheim California. You sense the sense of excitement in the room and the realisation that Windows 8 is a really big deal for Microsoft, a deal that cannot go wrong."

It's taken years, but Microsoft has finally delivered a truly workable touch-based interface. Check out the video above; the performance is stunning. Everything is smooth and impressively fluid. Yes, this is a developer's build so it's not finished, but seeing performance like this early on is a great indicator of what's to come. Windows 8 is also significantly lighter on resources than Windows 7; Engadget's post says that Windows 7 SP1 required 404 MB of RAM and had 32 processes running. Compare that to Windows 8 using only 281 MB of RAM and having 28 processes - that's big, big improvement.

Are you excited? I'm excited! More coverage here on Business Insider and Engadget.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Windows Application Junkies: Here's 20 For You

Posted by Brad Wasson in "Digital Home Talk" @ 07:00 PM,2

"A month or two back, we posted our list of 30 amazing apps under 2MB. We thought it was a pretty fun concept, and apparently you guys agreed, because we got some great feedback, and some excellent suggestions. Our first list was far from complete, of course, so we decided to do some more investigating, and found 20 more great apps. They're all free, all easy to download, and all great at what they do."

MaximumPC has created a list of 20 free Windows applications, all under 2MB in size, that it believes provide useful functions. The list includes applications for software inspection, sticky notes, hardware monitoring, graphics development, and more. It's a great list and worth your time to review. In addition, in these types of articles the comments section usually includes links to lots more applications the readers deem to be of particular value. Have some fun checking them out.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Windows 8 Sneak Peek: Well This is Different!

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 07:00 AM

"On Wednesday, Microsoft offered the first glimpse of Windows 8, a sneak peek that reveals much about both the influences and the strategic goals of the major overhaul of Microsoft's 25-year-old operating system. The fundamental goal with the new operating system, which is being shown for the first time at D9, is to create something that is equally well at home on an 8-inch tablet as it is on a powerful desktop attached to a huge monitor."

Microsoft is serious about the Metro UI being part of their product line-up, and we can see that in action in the screen shot above (check out the source article for a high-res image). This looks like what you'd expect it Microsoft transformed Windows Phone 7 into a tablet UI: Live Tiles more appropriate for a device with a big screen, a panoramic pivot view, and some extremely funky colours. I still have severe reservations around the performance and battery life of a tablet running full-blown Windows (even based on ARM), but I'm excited to see Microsoft going after this hard by betting on a radically different UI overlay.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Should the Unemployed Buy New Macs to Find Jobs? The Onion Panel Weighs In

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Apple Talk" @ 07:00 AM,20083/

No matter where you fall on the Apple/Windows side of the fence, you have to admit this is utterly hilarious - I love the way it plays to the fanboy stereotypes. ;-)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Fix Your Computer Boo Boos With Comodo Time Machine

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 11:00 AM

"Comodo Time Machine (CTM) is a simple but powerful system rollback utility that lets users quickly restore their computer to an earlier point of time. Unlike Windows System Restore (WSR), CTM creates a complete record of your entire system including the Windows registry, critical OS files, installed programs and user created documents with seconds. Oh, and best of all, it's absolutely free (as in beer)."

We have all come across this problem before. Your friend, relative or co-worker calls you up and tells you that their computer is not working. On promises of cookies, money or whatever else they are willing to barter, you check out their setup and find it severely messed up. One of the most handy tools I have found in those situations is System Restore. Born out of the unmentionable Windows ME, it is a great way to rewind mistakes. From the looks of it, Time Machine takes things a step further and gives you a bit more control over the restore process. Of course, no matter what you use, more important is a backup of your data on a separate medium. Do not forget that or one day you may find your hard drive clicking for attention.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Help For Tweaking Your Startup Applications

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 02:30 PM

"If no one in your family got a shiny new Windows PC for Christmas this year, they've already probably roped you in to do some maintenance on their computer, which probably involves heading into MSConfig. Unfortunately, digging into MSConfig can be pretty daunting, even if you know your way around Windows."

I see it happen with a lot of people's computers. When they get it fresh from the computer nursery, its peppy and fast. The computer starts up promptly and is ready to do your bidding with hardly a pause. Then, years, months or even sometimes days later, it acts like reticent cat and takes much longer to perform the simplest of operations like running CityVille. It was much worse years ago, when computers were slower and had much more limited resources but I still find it happening today. It just usually takes much longer to add enough background programs to eat up all the cores and all the gigabytes of RAM found in modern computers.

Cleanup is a good policy, just like spring cleaning, but for your computer. The biggest problem I find with preventing startup jam (don't get me started with Internet Explorer toolbars) is not the computers themselves but the users. People whose computers are in that situation often want to keep many of those programs whatever they do and however it impacts their system. It is almost enough to make one conveniently "forget" how to do tech support.

Monday, September 27, 2010

My Journey to a Media PC in the Living Room

Posted by Don Tolson in "Digital Home Talk" @ 07:00 AM

Here's how it all started: like many people (and I would guess a majority of DHT readers), building my home theatre started slowly. First it was the big screen TV from Costco. That was pretty cool as we hoisted it up on the wall, but then we needed better sound, so it was off to the audio shop for a 5.1 receiver/amplifier and so on and so on -- bit by bit getting pieces of equipment and jury-rigging them together as they are added. Eventually, it got to the point where I was the only one in the house who knew how to get everything working (which is quite the accomplishment, given that I have two pretty techno-saavy teenaged sons!!). Read more...

Friday, July 23, 2010

Add "Mac OS's Best Features" to Windows

Posted by Reid Kistler in "Digital Home Software" @ 11:00 AM

"Despite the claims of either operating systems' acolytes, both Windows and Mac OS X are very capable OS's that, at least functionally, are more similar than they are different.... But we will concede that there are some UI features unique to each OS that do help enhance the computing experience.... The good news for Windows users, though, is that these features have made their way over to Windows with the help of third-party software. Here are four of the best Mac OS's Aqua UI features that can be emulated in Windows with free utilities."

If you find yourself suffering from Mac OS envy, Norman Chan's article provides options for adding four Mac-like features to Windows. I am not familiar with the Mac OS, and so must take the author's word that these are the "best features" it provides - but if they are, I cannot help but wonder what the fuss is all about. In any case, Rocketdock is proposed as a stand-in for Mac's Dock feature, while Switcher stands in for Expose. But while Rocketdock and Switcher both seem to be well regarded applications, they also have some limitations: Rocketdock supports Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7, but 32-bit only; while Switcher requires Windows Vista and Aero, and thus skips Windows 2000 and XP. (The last release of Switcher was in October 2007, and I could find no mention of Windows 7 on their site.) The article also shows you how to add "Two-Finger Scrolling" and "Cover Flow" functionality to your Windows installation. Are these, indeed, the "best features" of the Mac OS? And, if so, are the proposed options the best ones for adding these functions to Windows?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wuala: Online Backup and File Sharing

Posted by Reid Kistler in "Digital Home Software" @ 05:30 PM

"Wuala is definitely one of the most under-reported start-ups, and there's no good reason for that. It takes the best features out of both Dropbox and Mozy to create a must-have online file storage service for anyone with a computer. Developed by Dominik Grolimund and Luzius Meisser, the technology behind Wuala is truly amazing. By using a ‘grid' algorithm, Wuala can take advantage of unused disk space across its network of users in addition to data-centre storage."

Wuala presents an interesting option for online backup, storage, and file sharing, and the reviewer for certainly is impressed with the service, which is available for Windows (XP, Vista & 7), Mac (OS X 10.4 or higher), and Linux systems. As with many online backup services, users are allocated a small amount of "Free" storage space (1 GB for Wuala), and have the option to purchase additional storage if needed. Wuala, however, adds two additional - and optional - ways to gain storage, as indicated in the above screen shot: 1) you can "trade" space on your computer, which will then be used by the Wuala Cloud to store other user's files, and 2) you can be awarded space by inviting others to join the service. Be certain to read both the linked review, as well as Wuala's own website, for additional features - some of which are apparently reserved for "Pro Users" (those that Buy and/or Trade for additional storage).

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

"Analyst" Conjures Up a Load of Cow Dung

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 08:30 PM

"About five years ago, when blogging as an analyst, I asserted that computing and informational relevance had started shifting from the Windows desktop to cloud services delivered anytime, anywhere and on anything. The day of Windows' reckoning is come: 2010 will mark dramatic shifts away from Microsoft's monopoly to something else. Change is inevitable, and like IBM in the 1980s, Microsoft can't hold back its destiny during this decade. The Windows era is over."

Seriously, how do analysts like these get paid? I want some of that money too. This article is terribly written in many ways, but I'll point out the real crux of the issue that is not addressed: there are no real statistics to show that both actual content consumption and creation are actually shifting away from desktops and notebooks (which mostly run Windows) in the article whatsoever. Read more...

Friday, June 11, 2010

Microsoft Antitrust Case: 10 Years Later

Posted by Reid Kistler in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 06:00 PM

"It was 10 years ago this week that Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson ordered Microsoft split in two as a remedy for abusing its Windows monopoly. That judgment was tossed out on appeal, but the eventual antitrust settlement has had plenty of repercussions. From crapware to insecurity, here's ... what 10 years of antitrust regulation has really accomplished."

Columnist Ed Bott, at ZDNET.COM, finds four "significant developments" that he thinks have resulted from the now over 10-year-old United States v. Microsoft antitrust case. Two of these are mentioned in the above summary (increased "crapware," and decreased security); read his article for the other two, along with additional interesting thoughts, including his assessment of the three technology companies that exercise "effective monopolies" in specific market areas. For more background on the case, the Public Broadcasting Corporation's Online NewsHour makes a good reference - or you can go directly to the source: the US Department of Justice "Current Case" site, which shows eleven case related documents in 2009 alone! In theory, this was a major antitrust settlement: How well did it work? (Are "we" - the computing public - better off because of it?) Do you agree with Ed Bott's assessment of the fallout?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Windows in a World Without CDs

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 02:00 PM

"Or maybe you are like me and bought a computer that has Windows 7 Starter Edition and want to upgrade to Home Premium or some other version. This tutorial will show you how to install Windows without a CD drive. The simplest way to install a new OS is to buy an external optical drive, plug it in, and after inserting the Windows installation disc into the drive, boot the computer from that drive."

There have been numerous guides outlining how to install Windows 7 without a CD or DVD drive, and this one from is no different. However, their tutorial is quite thorough and very easy to follow and takes into consideration extra details like making sure include third party device drivers in case a base install does not recognize everything your computer has. On the flip side, I am lazy. So isntead of going through all these hoops, I have an external USB DVD drive that I use for the computers I have that lack that optical goodness. A worthwhile investment though, as I have found the odd occasion where I need to give someone some data that is too big for quick Internet sharing, and I do not want to part with a USB flash drive. Back to Windows 7, there is no reason, aside form budgetary constraints, that you cannot make the upgade anymore. Yes, Windows XP is mature and safe. I still use it in one specific situation. However, there comes a time to put the old baby to sleep.

Tags: software, windows

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Future of Windows

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 12:00 AM

"Over the past quarter century, Windows has evolved many times, and it will change again in light of Microsoft's investments in cloud services, mobile platforms, and other new technologies. And as the way people compute and communicate morphs faster than ever, the challenges ahead for Windows are huge. With that in mind, Technologizer asked some of the industry's big brains about what Microsoft needs to do to keep its operating system relevant in the years to come."

It took me a while to read this article in bits and pieces, but it was worth it - there are some really interesting opinions about the future of Windows as a platform. Some of the suggestions are old and crusty ("Throw it all out! Start over!"), but some are interesting. The implementation of Project Natal technology in a Windows environment would bring with it some really cool possibilities. What do you think about the future of Windows?

Friday, March 5, 2010

Get Ready for Patch Tuesday, and Wednesday, and Thursday, and ...

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 03:00 PM

"The average Microsoft Windows user has software from 22 vendors on her PC, and needs to install a new security update roughly every five days in order to use these programs safely, according to an insightful new study released this week. The figures come from security research firm Secunia, which looked at data gathered from more than two million users of its free Personal Software Inspector tool."

Having half a dozen computers with a cornucopia of software installed on them makes the result of Secunia's study really hit home. There is rarely a day, let alone five, that I do not have to update this program or that. After much thought and cursing and clicking "next" five thousand times, I have come to the resolution that it is not so much that updates are not unified, but the frequency of them. Yes, a unified update manager (like what Linux distributions like Ubuntu do for most programs) is really handy and useful, but it is the frequency of these updates that bother me. In using my computers for work, each update breaks my workflow, and it makes me understand why Microsoft was pushed to do their updates once a month with certain exceptions. Unfortunately, I do not see a way around this. It is the nature of the beast. Even with a centralized update manager, I would still be facing updates every other day from one program or another. Anyone have a solution that minimizes the disruption updates cause?

Monday, February 8, 2010

Windows System Restore Helps You Restore Your Windows System

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 04:30 PM

"Windows System Restore is an awesome system recovery tool, and it's included with Windows for free. It's the ideal solution for rolling back bad drivers, fixing when buggy software breaks your PC, or simply rolling you back to a previous point in time. If you've still got a bad taste in your mouth from the lackluster XP version of System Restore, it's time to take a look at it again if you've upgraded to Windows 7 or Vista."

Lifehacker poo poos Windows XP's version of System Restore, though I have had fairly good experiences with it. Windows System Restore was probably the best thing to come out of Windows Millennium Edition, and it has come in handy more than once. I sort of imagine it a lot like a Recycle Bin for the Operating System itself. It is NOT a proper backup solution, but it is handy when it comes to recovering your system should it fall apart. Truthfully, short of viruses, malware and actual hardware failures, I'm finding OSes to be far more resilient these days. Still, having various ways to recover ones system is useful and practical. From file backups, to system images, to System Restore, all should play a part. Each of them has saved my bacon on more than one occasion.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Is Your Operating System Outmoded?

Posted by Reid Kistler in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 12:30 PM

"We've come so very far in the way computer operating systems treat us, and in the way we treat those computer operating systems. They multitask, they animate, they reach into the internet and pull down our favorite parts, they rarely crash and they're always on. It's a far cry from a decade ago, but I think we could go so much further.... I think there are serious opportunities for evolution available to the Microsofts, Apples and Ubuntus of the world, but they involve embracing new technologies in new ways. And stealing a ton of ideas from phones."

In an editorial that appears on Engadget, Paul Miller presents 10 "outdated elements" that he feels are keeping current operating systems from being all that they could be - along with a proposed solution for each. I do not think that most of his items are really all that important, but then my idea of an outmoded operating system is illustrated in the picture above! It would certainly be difficult to argue against easier windows management or lower costs, but his other points seem to be non-issues, already have solutions, and/or are pertinent to only certain user groups. Which of his 10 problems do you think seriously need to be fixed - and is the OS the best place to look for such solutions?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Create your own App Pack with Ninite

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 07:00 AM

"We install apps with default settings and say "no" to browser toolbars and other junk. All we do is install the latest versions of the apps you choose. Not even Ninite is installed."

I have heard people complain how long it use to take installing the OS on a computer. While that has largely improved from taking several hours to less than an hour in most cases, I find the lengthiest part of setting up a new computer is the never ending array of programs that need to be installed and tweaking them to my preferences. I am certain many of us have a USB drive or shared folder that has copies of all of their favorite programs, but Ninite may make that unnecessary. At the Ninite website, you just pick all the programs you want to install, all of which are free and up to date, and it will give you a custom installer that will install all the programs at once! It will not help you if you are installing Adobe Photoshop or Microsoft Office, but Ninite offers alternatives (actually, there's an Office 2007 trial available) and should at least cut down your initial setup time considerably. I tried it as part of my Windows 7 setup, and it worked great for me, installing about ten programs in one fell swoop!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Windows 7 Plays Nice With Devices

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 06:00 AM

"We wanted to enhance the installation and configuration process by improving enumeration and display of device capabilities, presentation of devices, and access to configuration settings. We also wanted to create a discoverable and enjoyable way of accessing applications and services specific to a device."

Windows 7 comes with a lot of new tweaks and how Windows 7 handles devices, such as phones, webcams and multi-function printers has been given an overhaul in the form of Device Stage. The Windows 7 Team blog has a lengthy article on how they changed from a function oriented view at devices to a device oriented view though be warned that the post definitely seems more targeted towards developers and manufacturers at a high level.

The biggest part to take away from it as a user is that Microsoft has tried to make playing with toys managing the dozens of devices you have plugged into your computer easier. From the central point where you can discover all the features of a device, to the streamlined user experience it looks like it is a step in the right direction.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Digital Cable Recordings Now on Your HTPC

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 09:00 AM

"Access to premium HD on computers has eluded most for way to long, so as soon as we heard that it was finally possible for anyone to add a CableCARD tuner to just about any Media Center, we just knew we had to try it for ourselves, and more importantly, share with you exactly how to do it. This doesn't really require any hacking, or anything illegal for that matter -- we're not lawyers -- but it isn't cheap."

If you have the urge to spend a penny and your recorded shows are looking a bit fuzzy, EngadgetHD has the perfect way to lighten your wallet. The process is not for the timid and could cause a few small hassles with your HTPC, but the reward will be an HTPC with no need for an external cable box and a much cleaner setup for your home theater. I'm using a cable box myself and the latency and picture degradation are noticeable but I'm afraid that I can't see this as worth the effort. Accessing shows online is becoming easier by the day, and in a few years, it will be all you need, and you won't have to choose which shows have priority in recording!

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