Archive for the ‘Computer software/hardware’ Category


Posted on April 20th, 2009 in Computer software/hardware, Tech News, Things we should do more of, Time Wasters | Comments Off on TrackThis

Track this is a web-based package tracking application.
It can pretty much everything from FedEx and the usual to CEVA and Canada Post.
Register and it can send you updates through the website, email, SMS, RSS, Twitter, or Facebook. Pretty much, you can stalk your package.

It’s pretty nifty, especially when you get a few packages and its hard to keep track. I used this recently for a set of 4 different boxes, and it was pretty nifty.
Check it out: TrackThis

I Like B-Sides

Posted on April 19th, 2009 in Computer software/hardware, Tech News | Comments Off on I Like B-Sides

This is an interesting web-based application similar to builtin function in itunes, except, with larger base and hopefully better accuracy.
You upload the itunes xml database which has your music information, frequently played songs, ratings, etc and it spits out a few dozen suggestions with preview and purchase links.

Check it out, basically a better Genius, powered by 3rd party databases: “i like b-sides”

New Web Address Endings coming soon?

Posted on April 16th, 2009 in Computer software/hardware, Historic Technology, Site of the Day, Software/Hardware Reviews, Tech News, Webpage/SEO | Comments Off on New Web Address Endings coming soon?

According to an article in USA today,

“The familiar .com, .net, .org and 18 other suffixes — officially “generic top-level domains” — could be joined by a seemingly endless stream of new ones next year under a landmark change approved last summer.

The current TLDs are :
.aero  –  Air-transport industry
.asia  – Asia-Pacific region
.biz  – Business
.cat  – Catalan language sites
.com –  Commercial entities (open to anyone)
.coop – Cooperatives
.edu –  Educational
.gov  – Governmental
.info –  Information
.int  – International organizations
.jobs –  Companies
.mil – U.S. military
.mobi –  Mobile devices
.museum – Museums
.name –  Individuals, by name
.net –  Network
.org – Organization
.pro – Professions
.tel – Internet communication services
.travel – Travel and tourism industry related

(List of TLDs from here)

What the ICANN is proposing would allow anyone to register .”anything”.  Instead of it could be diet.coke.  That’s it.  Our website could be flash.ladybug. could become Explosiontheory.bang.   Google could have .google,,

On one hand, this could open up some interesting web addresses.  No more adding in “.com” after to check my email.  On the other hand, this chage is removing one of most important orginizing features of the internet.  So that I’m not turning this post into a product pitch, I’m going to use Slum Cola from Futarama as my example product.


Right now, Slurms website would be Slurm.Com.  That’s their main site.  Slurm would probably also own Slurm.Net,, and maybe Slurm.Info as well.  All of those sites re-direct you back to Slurm.Com, so that there’s almost no chance of someone missing the Slurm website.  Along with “Slurm,” there’s probably SlurmCola, SlurmIsAddicting, and numerous other promotional sites registered under the .com, .net, and .biz domains.  The last thing someone wants is for a brand to get hijacked.  Companies work hard to make sure that they’ve got as many different combinations of names and phrases that they might want under their control.  So, as things stand now, Slurm only needs to worry about 4 or 5 major domains (Slurm. _____)

Now, under the changes the ICANN is proposing, they’d have to worry about a lot more.  There could be Slurm.Cola.  Slurm.Soda  DietSlum.Soda.  GetAddictedToSlurm.Soda  Drink.Slurm  SlurmIsDa.Bomb.  Slurm.Pop  Slurm.Drink    The list could go on and on and on.  So what happens to corporate identity then?  If I’m looking for Slurm now, its probably going to be a .com.  But if I’m looking for Slurm online  in the future, it could be ANYWHERE.  It wouldn’t have to be .com.

It might not seem very important when it comes to buying Slurm.  But the same problem of brand identity could hit your bank.  Scammers and phishers could find ways to mimic the banks official website.  As things stand now, the banks website is .com  In the future, it could be .bank, .banking, .financial, etc.  It would be very easy for a scammer to create a website that was .financial, or .banking to mimic a real page that was supposed to be .bank.

This quote from the USA Today article really worries me :

“To beat a competitor to the punch, a company might decide it needs to control a new generic domain, such as .cereal or .detergent, but it would be costly. The currently proposed application fee is $185,000, says Levins, plus an annual “continuance” fee of $25,000. If more than one company wants a suffix, there could be a bidding war.”

It would cost almost $200,000 to register a different TLD ending??? There are millions of businesses out there that could, in theory, benefit from more specific domains – like having .hardware as an ending.  But what if I giant chain buys up the .hardware ending?  That creates a major problem for all the other hardware stores out there, especially since a lot of web users might mistakenly think that .hardware is somehow better, more professional, or just the authoratitive source for harware information, when in reality, its the same old .com it was before, just $200,000 more expensive.

I don’t like this idea at all.

-Confusion between domain names could make it hard to find things

-Scammers could take control or create fishing websites that mimic originals, but could end in anything.

-Companies will have to spend more money guarding their corporate images (and the expenses will get passed on to us, the conumers.)

-With something as large as the internet, some organization is a good thing.  Libraries have the dewy decimal system.  Graphic designers have different standardized color codes to organize and share specifici colors.  The internet needs its top level domains.

Read the original USA Today Article Here

Osiris BatteryBar

Posted on April 7th, 2009 in Computer software/hardware, Downloads | 3 Comments »

BatteryBar is one of those simple little apps which you generally forget about, but its quite useful.
Many people have laptops now, and one very important piece of equipment is the battery. Without it…it might as well be a small desktop.
While battery technology has improved, and so has the power efficiency of today’s hardware, battery life quickly drops from a reasonable 3 hours to 2, to zilch.
What BatteryBar can do is monitor the state of your battery, gives you the usual power percent, estimated life, but it also keeps historical data and allows you to see the degredation of charge. You will see the amount of charge your battery can hold decrease ever so slightly, or, if you’re not lucky, ever so quickly.
Check out this simple little program: BatteryBar, which is quite useful in determining battery life.

CleverStat Google Monitor

Posted on April 6th, 2009 in Computer software/hardware, Downloads, Google, Webpage/SEO | Comments Off on CleverStat Google Monitor

Those of us with webpages…*raises hand. Well, by now, if you don’t at least sometimes think of SEO or how you are presenting your webpage to search engines, you really should start thinking about it. While you can tinker around with your html and layout, maybe change your writing a little, it’s very important to be able to track this progress.
Google Analytics and other tracking systems help greatly, but none of these inform you about SEO directly. In particular, Google rankings are quite influential in the amount of traffic you get to the site.
Free Google Monitor by CleverStat allows you to save a list of urls (your websites) and have a list of keywords for each site. It will batch search your ranking for those keywords, which lets you monitor your ranking without having to google search each one and count up and down for each url and keyword.
Test out Google Monitor and see if your SEO is doing anything for you in Google’s realm.

QuickPar: Reliable CD/DVD Burning

Posted on April 5th, 2009 in Computer software/hardware, Downloads, Software/Hardware Reviews, Tech News | 5 Comments »

We are in an age of information, where we have so much data, movies, music, photos, that many of us turn to DVDs and CDs to backup our data. We burn movies, copy photo collections, to DVDs in the hope that when we need them, they will be there with all our data.
However, CDs and DVDs are not a failsafe. It is very likely that with a few years, those DVDs will become unreadable, as the dyes in them degrade. By buying more reliable DVDs made by companies that use more stable dyes, and as technology moves forward, we get longer lasting DVDs.
As a secondary measure, QuickPar can create recovery volumes. QuickPar creates parity volumes which will allow you to verify and recover data if they are damaged. Since we rarely use exactly the maximum amount of data space on a DVD, you can stuff the remaining empty portion with this parity recovery data there. QuickPar will form several .par2 files which are just normally burned along with your other files.
If and when you need the files, and they are corrupt, QuickPar can open those par2 files and repair any lost data.
This is in no way a guarantee for data protection, but it is a nice feature which could save many headaches in the future.

A small tip, QuickPar only accepts files, not folders, but in a windows search window, you can search * in the folder you want and just drag the results into QuickPar.

Check out QuickPar

Run Windows 7….Remotely

Posted on March 4th, 2009 in Computer software/hardware, Downloads, Tech News | 1 Comment »

Windows 7 Beta has gotten alot of press time, I’ve personally played with it quite a bit, and have it on my main laptop. It was, to be honest, more stable than Vista, with the acceptable incompatible issues that should be fixed by release. But…what if you want to play with 7 but not install it on your main computer? Windows 7 can be made to allow concurrent connections, and you can use RDP to run it remotely.

Downloadsquad has a post and a link to an enabler file. Check it out if you want to play with 7 but not install it on your main computer.

Downloadsquad: Run 7 on two computers, on one install


Posted on February 19th, 2009 in Computer software/hardware, Downloads, Tech News | 1 Comment »

This is a very nifty program especially for people who play around with lots of programs.
Yawffer monitors and freezes Windows processes which are resource hoggers, CPU, memory, and disk usage.
You can go in and pause a process which seems to be hogging alot of CPU, finish up work, and then resume the program. Of course, this doesn’t kill the program, it’s just on pause.
This would be pretty useful if you are multitasking, and your productivity is being hampered by another program running which you can’t really close, but would like to chill for a few minutes.
Check it out: Yawffer

Drive Manager

Posted on February 5th, 2009 in Computer software/hardware, Downloads, Tech News | 1 Comment »

To continue the theme…Drive Manager is another computer tool. This program gets you detailed info about your drives, HDD or optical, even USB.
It tells you the size/format/name/volume number/read write speeds, and even better, SMART info, system flags, and analyze disks. An interesting but I doubt very secure form of privacy is also included, letting you hide drives so they don’t show up in Explorer. Its a nifty little thing, which is relatively useful, but not something you would go out looking for.

Check it out, save it for just the right time to shave off a few minutes of looking for the data: Drive Manager


Posted on December 3rd, 2008 in Computer software/hardware, Downloads, For Macs, Linux, Software/Hardware Reviews, Tech News | 2 Comments »

No…not what your probably thinking.
Instead, synergy allows you to use a keyboard and a mouse to control several computers. What this lets you do on a network is use 3 or 4  computers, as a 3 or 4 monitor setup.
To make it better, a clipboard is shared across them.
You install the server software on the main computer that has the keyboard and mouse, and client software on the others. What is quite nice and lets everyone have the fun, is that you can use Macs in this wonderful array too.
Check it out, Synergy