Archive for the ‘Software/Hardware Reviews’ Category

Repost: Synergy

Posted on November 2nd, 2009 in Computer software/hardware, Downloads, For Macs, Linux, Software/Hardware Reviews | 6 Comments »

Perhaps I’m just trying to get back into things…but lets start off the supposed revival of flashladybug with a repost.
I only recently, and I mean *recently* discovered the true usefulness of Synergy.
I posted this waaaay back in December, ’08. Reaaaly long time ago.
In any case, I tried this up on my desktop and laptop, stuck them side-by-side. My current setup is Left Panel, Center Panel, Laptop Display.
With synergy, I essentially have a 3 panel desk! The only thing that is missing is that I cannot move windows between the desktop and laptop screen. They are working on that, and I gotta admit, if they succeeded in doing that somehow, this would be quite an app.

In anycase, brief summary: Lets you share the use of a mouse and keyboard across computers, regardless of platform/OS. Copy paste is retained between the machines, and it works with almost no lag on a wifi network.

Synergy could be the easy way of adding productivity without having to shell out for a new video card and monitor 😛

Sweet Dreams…

Posted on April 26th, 2009 in Computer software/hardware, Downloads, PSA-Types, Sleep/Naptime!, Software/Hardware Reviews, Tech News, Things we should do more of | 1 Comment »

If you live with several people or in close proximity, such as dorms, apartments, etc, you generally will encounter at some point in time the problem of someone being loud when your trying to go to sleep. It could be intentional, but most of the time, its completely unintentional and could probably be easily fixed by popping out and asking nicely. However, if its not, or if you just don’t feel like it, Sweet Dreams can gradually lower your system volume based on a schedule.
What does this mean?
Your trying to go to sleep, set Sweet Dreams to decrease the volume on your computer over the course of 30 minutes, stopping at the final volume of 5%, and tell it to shutdown afterwards. Well…that’s exactly what it will do.
It does it quite gradually, and I really did fall asleep without even noticing that it had gotten so quiet. Very useful if you have some music you can fall asleep to, but don’t feel like having to turn it off or listening to it all night.
Check it out: Sweet Dreams

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

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


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

Network Administration

Posted on November 9th, 2008 in Computer software/hardware, Downloads, Software/Hardware Reviews | 4 Comments »

I’ve found 2 new apps that should help with those who have a handful of computers to admin, mainly at a home network type, or a very small business.

Advanced IP Scanner finds and then lets you control computers on your network. Mainly useful for remote shutdown and LAN-on machines, easy ftp/ssh, etc. Granted, if you have a home network set with reserved IP’s, its kind of useless, but it does make connecting to computers a simple matter of finding it on the list and clicking on it. Best of all, its free for windows.
Check it out, Advanced IP Scanner

SoftPerfect has a nice portable network scanner. It’s small (<1 mb) but can scan the network quite quickly. It provides a list of shared folders that you can easily map as a drive, the usual Lan-wake, restart, but also provides mac addresses, but the best part?
It lets you launch applications through the network. Of course its freeware, and sadly, windows only.
Check it out, Softperfect Network Scanner

Google has a browser?!

Posted on September 3rd, 2008 in Google, Software/Hardware Reviews, Tech News | 1 Comment »

Yes, Google has recently released the beta of its new browser Chrome. It has been designed from the ground up for web applications with a focus on security and performance. Some of the features include a UI with tabs on top, an integrated privacy mode, and a task manager that can monitor and restrict individual tabs and plugins like processes. For more information take a look at the comic book Google produced to explain every aspect of Chrome.  I have been using the browser since yesterday, and it does seem to be faster than firefox especially when loading a whole bunch of tabs at the same time. Being that it is still in beta, Chrome is not without some issues. There are reports of some security flaws, even though Chrome is supposed to be more secure than other browsers. I experienced some problem with the controls in flash videos, but this was easily fixed putting the tab in its own window. Chrome still has a lot less features than Firefox, most significant being its lack of extensions. This is something Google is working on, and will perhaps be included in the final release. Even though it will not yet replace firefox, Chrome is a good, albeit minimalistic alternative.

Windows Steady State

Posted on July 6th, 2008 in Computer software/hardware, Software/Hardware Reviews, Tech News, Viruses spyware and other nasty things | 4 Comments »

Here is a very nice piece of software. When you get tired of being oh so good to your computer and feel like playing with some dangerous download, or am letting someone use the computer for a while and you know their going to screw the computer up, Windows Steady State is here. What I find very odd…is that its released free by Microsoft, without any fanfare.
But heh, it works and its free. It makes a cache file which includes all the system changes, when you revert, it simply clears the cache.
Check it out: Microsoft Windows SteadState

BBSpots top 11 WORST Firefox extensions

Posted on June 17th, 2008 in Site of the Day, Software/Hardware Reviews, Time Wasters | Comments Off on BBSpots top 11 WORST Firefox extensions

These would have to be my favorite worst FF extensions :

Spyware Accelerator – Speeds spyware download and installation
JS Crash – Prevents any page with Javascript from running by crashing the browser
RandomTab – Moves tab order around randomly
KidProtector – Replaces every single image with a picture of a bunny wearing a top hat
Redirector – Any link you click is redirected to a random MySpace profile.

Now, the REAL evil would be #11 set to dowload #5, and #2 (sorry, you’re gonna have to click the link to find out what #2 is. . .I can’t totally steal this post.)

Read the full list here

Introducing: Firefox 3

Posted on June 9th, 2008 in Software/Hardware Reviews, Tech News | 1 Comment »

So, Firefox 3 is coming closer to release and so are all the pros and cons of an update to firefox. Theres always the problem that alot of extensions that you have come to depend on go pop, and many developers do not continually update their plugins.
For FF3, quite a few improvements are slated. A new Bookmark system is being implemented, its become more of a searchable tool and lets you filter bookmarks.
A very useful tool, Whole-page zooming is also being developed. We all know what happens when you jack up the text size, it becomes huge, layout dies, images stay tiny. Well…whole page zooming will solve that 🙂 I wonder how well this will work with multimedia, but we shall see.
Major performance fixes are in place, so hopefully it won’t start sucking ram and cpu. I know I can’t wait for this, as I check my ram usage and see that FF is using an enormous 1.3 gigs of ram (I blame too many tabs)
It’s also changed the address bar so that what you type there searches your history, be it in the page, the title, the url, its pretty nice when you can’t remember the url of a page you’ve visited in the past.

All in all, some very good features and fixes for FF3, I just hope my beloved extensions don’t all bite the dust 😉