Entries Tagged as 'Computers'

Acronis TrueImage 11

I honestly can’t remember how many years ago I gave up on Symantec Ghost… but I do remember Acronis TrueImage 5 (at least that’s the version I remember) was a much better, much easier to use, and much less expensive product.

I recently played with TrueImage 11, and it’s certainly got more features, but it appears a lot of the focus for Acronis now is in there higher end products.

A few noteworthy things about TrueImage 11.

  • Windows Vista Support
  • Modern Hardware Support
  • “Try & Decide” Support

Vista support is only important if you have or plan to move to Vista.  Supporting more current (modern) hardware is particularly important if your machine doesn’t work with older versions of TrueImage.  But maybe the most significant addition is “Try & Decide”.

“Try & Decide” is what Acronis calls shawdow copy / snapshot and commit or rollback.  Basically, you checkpoint your system at a particular time, and then you can decide later to either commit all the changes or roll them back to that point in time.  So you could install a piece of software, play with it, and then if you decide to keep it, commit the changes or you could roll your system back to the way it was before you installed the software (you would lose any other changes as well — so you have to be careful).

The rollback requires a reboot; and to use “Try & Decide” you have to have an Acronis “Secure Zone” partition (but it will automagically create that for you).

Acronis also throws in some additional utilities that they used to charge for. 

Overall, I’d say it’s a great product, a great price — and better than any of the competing products I’ve ever tried.

Acronis TrueImage 11 Home

Originally posted 2008-05-11 16:32:06.

1and1 POP / IMAP / SMTP Settings

If you have a 1and1 hosted domain with email (like my domains are), you can use the following settings for your email client:

POP:

host: pop.1and1.com
port: 110
port: 995, SSL

IMAP:

host: imap.1and1.com
port: 143
port: 993, SSL

SMTP:

host: smtp.1and1.com (requires authentication)
port: 25
port: 587, SSL

You can access 1and1 web mail via:

http://webmail.1and1.com/

Originally posted 2008-05-19 14:26:41.

Web Site Version Control

I’m not sure this is something that occurs to everyone, but I use SVN to version control my web pages. Essentially I treat my web pages just like a “software project”.

You do need to be mindful of files that you want to exclude from source control and/or transfer.

But I find the combination of SVN and FileZilla works great to take a local working copy of my web pages, maintain versioning, and push them out to my hosting facility.

While it’s not quite “one click” — it’s fairly simple to do, and it allows you to roll back changes easily.

Originally posted 2008-07-18 21:01:19.

Hardware MPEG2/MPEG4/MPEG4-AVC/H.264 Transcoding

Leadtek Research Inc has release the WinFast PxVC1100 PCIe x1 add-on card which uses four of the Toshiba encode/decode cores  (SpursEngine SE1000 — BXA32110) derived from the joint Sony/Toshiba/IBM alliance (STI) Cell (Cell Broadband Engine Architecture, CBEA) processor (used in the Sony PlayStation 3 game console).

If you’re serious about video encoding this card is way more powerful than leveraging your GPU (nothing stops you from using both).

I couldn’t find a retail price on the PxVC1100; from what I’ve read it was delayed, but should be available in the US soon.  I expect it’ll be fairly expensive since Nikkei WinPC’s benchmark showed a high-def video in MEPG-2 TS format was transcoded to H.264 using the WinFast PxVC1000 about 2.9 times faster than a Core2 Q9650 (3GHz).

If you want to check out other vendors that offer a SpursEngine enhancement, some Toshiba Qosmio laptops and the Thomson-Canopus Firecoder Blu PCIe add-on card are candidates.

Originally posted 2009-01-03 12:00:46.

Computer Tid Bits; Malware

Computer viruses, worms, trojans, etc are on the rise… if your computer is connected directly to the internet (or on a public wireless network) you’ll definitely want to have a firewall enabled.  The firewall in Windows XP SP2 (or better) and Vista is reasonably good (so there’s no reason to spend money on one).

Also, you should definitely consider running Windows Defender (free from Microsoft) and a Virus scanner.

Two good free Virus scanners are Avast and AVG.

Avast is extremely thorough, but can put a bit of a load on lower end systems.  AVG isn’t as thorough, but a great deal lighter on CPU.  Also, Avast will require you to register for a key — you can use a throw-away email address (from my experience they don’t seem to SPAM).

Avast

AVG

Originally posted 2008-05-09 18:20:12.

hMailServer

If you’re interested in running a fairly full featured mail server on Windows, take a look at hMailServer — it’s completely free and through version 4 Open Source.

I have a patch to V4.4.2-B279 and V4.4.2-B283 that allows you to set the directory separator for IMAP folders (by default it will use “.” — and for many people that’s not a good choice).

To get it working:

  • Download the source.
  • Download the patch.
  • Un-archive the patch
  • Apply the patch (easy to do with SVN)
  • Setup a build environment (Microsoft VS2005, Microsoft VB6, Inno Setup v5, CollabNet SVN [optional]).
  • Run the build tool (you may need to make some changes to it’s configuration).
  • Install the resulting package.
  • Edit the INI file and change the FolderSeparator to “/” or “\” (I would not advise using other characters)
  • Restart the service.

It only took me a couple hours to modify and test the code; other than installing the environment to build it (and I recommend you do that on a virtual machine since these are older tools) it should take you substantially less time.

Some notes:

  • The changes to the build configuration are not necessary; you will need to make the appropriate changes for your build environment so I would say don’t apply them.
  • The changes to the HIS_DBWrappers is because you do not need to (and in many cases it will fail) register the built DLL on your build machine; it will be packaged in the install file and registered on installation (you would only need it registered if you wanted to debug, and I recommend building, installing, and then attaching to the running process so you need not worry about configuration issues if you want to debug).
  • This is Open Source software, and it’s not MY software — I don’t make any claims about it or warrant it in any way.  It’s your responsibility to test it.  While I’m certainly interested in anything you find, I’m in no way responsible.

I have a couple more modifications I’m considering (both of which will require much more work):

  • Changing the way folders and sub-folders are stored so that the folders appear in the file system in directories that match the folder names (and removing the limits on depth and number).
  • Potentially adding a ‘search’ feature that’s integrated with WDS to quickly find messages.  Since IMAP will only search within a folder, I’m thinking about adding a special folder called “Search” and any folder created in it will actually be the search term and the results displayed will be dynamic based on WDS output. 

In case you’re wondering, I don’t really care about hMailServer as an end-point mail server; I care about to manage my IMAP message store.  I have nearly 40GB of mail, nearly 50,000 folders, and WAY too many messages store on a server with 16 spindles in a RAID5 configuration.  So my “interest” doesn’t align closely with most users.

This is only the patch file; you must download the source from here.

These are patches produced from the specific versions listed, but they can (most likely) be applied to any v4.4.2 build fairly recent).

Originally posted 2008-11-09 08:00:38.

SyncMate 3

I’ve written about Eltima’s SyncMate before, but they released a new version about a month ago, and I’ve spent some time using it and decide that it’s well wrote revisiting.

SyncMate 3 is very similar to SyncMate2; it’s an excellent utility for keeping your Mac synchronized… particularly if you have an Android phone, Windows phone, Nokia phone, depend on Google for services, etc.

Like with the previous version of SyncMate you may find that the free version has all the features you really need; but the low price of the Expert Edition might make you just go ahead and buy it for one of the useful features included with it.

The only major disappointment I had with SyncMate 3 is that it didn’t migrate my sync accounts and setting from SyncMate 2.  That’s not really an issue for most people, but I had a large number of sync devices setup in SyncMate 2 and I had customized the icons and settings quite a bit for each of the test devices.

Beyond that… SyncMate 3 worked, and worked well.

I really couldn’t test the direct Android sync since I use Google to sync my Droid; and I highly recommend you do not try and sync both directly and via Google – you’re not going to be happy with the outcome (and I guess there isn’t any real way for SyncMate to detect you’ve entered the same device twice).

One of the things I use SyncMate for is to synchronize multiple Google accounts; actually I had one main account, and prefer to have the contacts from it pushed to the other account (which are used mostly for Google Voice).

The list of features is long, and you’re much better off to view them on Eltima’s web site than have me try and list them here.

While the software is very easy to use, you’ll find that it supports a number of sophisticated features — and really what you do with it is limited to your imagination more than the software.

This is a company and product that I believe is well worth taking a look at.

SyncMate 3

Originally posted 2011-02-19 02:00:59.

nextbook 7S 7″ Tablet

BigLots has the nextbook 7S 7″ Tablet running Android 4.o (Ice Cream Sandwitch – ICS) on special this weekend for $89.99 (regularly $99.99, and only $72.00 if you have a Rewards 20% off coupon).

The tablet has a 7″ resistive screen with 800×400 resolution, a 1GB Rockchip 2918 ARM Cortex A-8 processor, 512MB RAM, 4GB of flash, and an SD slot.  And while ICS is loaded, there’s no Google Play Store (you can resolve that with a hacked ROM — see FreakTab.com), but the one thing you will not be able to “fix” is the resistive screen.

While it’s a good resistive screen, and it supports multi-point touch — it requires way too much pressure to be comfortable to use.

One other thing I noticed, was when I tried to stream music (using Amazon) the tablet lost it’s internet connection — my Xoom on the other side of the desk had no issues playing the exact same song; and while I did eventually get the nextbook to play streaming music, the tablet was very sluggish while doing so (my songs are encoded at 320kps), plus I was unimpressed with the quality of the speaker (there is a headphone jack on it).

Also, the tablet (like most budget ones) lacks both Bluetooth and GPS.

The last (minor) thing I noted was that there were some issues with rendering along the notification area, I don’t think nextbook got everything resized quite right for this 7″ model (text would be cut off or overlapping an icon).  Like I said, very minor — but I’m not sure it’d be high on their list to fix since they just came out with a capacitive version of this tablet (and the resistive version hasn’t been out that long).

My advice, hold out for the slew of multi-core Android 4.0 tablets that will hit the streets this Summer at a price about twice what this one sells for — those will be from “bigger” companies that are likely to support them for longer.  Though if you just can’t afford more for a tablet, this is probably one of your best choices (plus the hacker community has already taken to this tablet).

nextbook 7S

nextbook 7S

Originally posted 2012-05-27 02:00:05.

Disk Drill – Beta

Generally I don’t like to write reviews of software that hasn’t been released yet; and certainly in this case I’ll do another review of the product once it has been release — particularly since there is no pricing information available.

There are a number of utilities similar to cleverfiles Disk Drill available on Windows, many are free of charge, but I wasn’t able to find any free utilities for file recovery on the OS-X (there are a few more that are available for purchase; and this is the first of these types of tools I’ve looked at).

I guess I’m a power user, and I like to know a little more about what’s going on, and have more control over what’s installed on my machine, and what it’s allowed to do… from my perspective Disk Drill is just a little too “black box”.

While I don’t think it should necessarily require that everyone understand what it is going to do or install, it seems like it shouldn’t be such a task to figure it out.

Also, while most users will probably like that it just “works” (and it does) I didn’t care for the fact that it had no ability for me to actually have control over the recovery.

I will say that the developers haven’t rushed this product out and there has been a number of betas — though they haven’t don’t a good job about marking the images with a version (just a date on the download panel).

Finally, when I first looked at the product a couple months ago the web site was in horrible shape — the grammar was abysmal, and the clarity of the writing made me extremely leery of the “professional-ness” of the company; that has improved a great deal.

The bottom line, without a release product and a price-point all I can tell you is, I don’t know.

I’m hopeful that the product will be available at a reasonable price; and that the commitment the developers have shown in the quality of the Beta will not end once a release has been made.

Disk Drill on cleverfiles.com

Originally posted 2011-02-20 02:00:32.

Restoring Windows Boot Manager

If you’ve tried Linux (or another operating system) on your PC, and you’d like to return to just the Windows boot manager (and perhaps remove the other operating system) or if the boot manager that was installed is no longer working here’s a quick way to recover.

First, find your Windows installation disc (or an equivalent Windows installation disc).

Boot into install; on the first setup screen hit Shift+F10, that will open up a command prompt.

Execute the following commands:

  • bootrec /FixMbr
  • bootrec /FixBoot

Now reboot…

The Windows boot manager should be in control — you may need to correct the BCD entries, but generally those will be fine.

You may also want to review: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/927392

Originally posted 2013-12-30 12:00:31.