Archive for the ‘Tech News’ Category

BlueScreenView

Posted on December 28th, 2009 in Computer software/hardware, Tech News | 2 Comments »

For those of us who slave for the computer illiterate ūüėČ by fixing their broken computers, here is something which is quite useful.
If you can boot into windows and are able to run .exes, bluescreenview will be able to let you read all the blue screens you want. With the error codes there and not disappearing after about 2 seconds.
It also tells you what files or drivers caused the crash which is exceedingly useful when the knee jerk reaction of googling the 0x0 code fails miserably.

Overall, its a small, portable app which can often help you diagnose those pesky bsods unless its a boot problem.

Check BlueScreenView out and see if its worth keeping in that usb key.

Preview of Sketch2Photo

Posted on November 16th, 2009 in Computer software/hardware, Downloads, Labs/Experiments, Photos/Videoes, Picture of the Day, Science!, Tech News | 3 Comments »

So, this is a preview of a piece of software which I find to be absolutely ridiculous.
I had not thought that anyone had actually been able to program an algorithm to do this as well as this.
Here, we have a program which allows you to do very rough sketches of an image, say a beach with some birds, sailboats, and a newly wed couple kissing. Very rough sketch.
Well, this program takes your rough sketch and keywords for each object and runs them through image searches online and *builds a composite image of it.* In other words, it outputs a “photoshopped” image composite of what you had sketched.
All fine and good, it sounds relatively meh on paper. However take a look at these images and you will be astounded at how real the final picture seems, especially when compared to what it was extracted from.

Check out their university research page which has more ridiculous images made by Sketch2Photo, as well as the source code of the program itself!

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

GifTag

Posted on April 25th, 2009 in Computer software/hardware, Tech News, Things we should do more of | No Comments »

GifTag is a universal wishlist. Pick stuff you want,  add them to your list, share em with friends/family, and voila, they all have access to a wishlist that can contain items from any webpage.
It’s a pretty nifty app which could get very useful for those parties where you get lots of gifts. *Hint Hint.

Check it out: GifTag
Did I mention it was free?

GeeMail

Posted on April 23rd, 2009 in Computer software/hardware, Downloads, Google, Tech News | No Comments »

GeeMail is a desktop client for Gmail. You know how Gmail now allows offline support? GeeMail lets you do it from your desktop, without the browser. No configuration except logging in, offline support, cross platform. It is a free Adobe Air app.
Check it out, it works pretty well, and its nice to have a separate app instead of always having a firefox or chrome window open. GeeMail

Crap, I missed it!

Posted on April 21st, 2009 in Computer software/hardware, Dumb Things That Happen, Tech News, Things we should do more of, Time Wasters | No Comments »

Once you start building up a library of music artists, actors or directors that you keep track off, its very easy to miss a release or event from them. Crap, I missed it! is a way to keep track of book authors, tv shows, albums, concerts, movies, sports, pretty much everything.
Register, add your interests and tracking, and it will notify you of anything.
It’s really quite useful. Check it out: Crap I missed it

TrackThis

Posted on April 20th, 2009 in Computer software/hardware, Tech News, Things we should do more of, Time Wasters | No Comments »

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 | No Comments »

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 | No Comments »

According to an article in USA today,

“The familiar .com, .net, .org and 18 other suffixes ‚ÄĒ officially “generic top-level domains” ‚ÄĒ 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  РAsia-Pacific region
.biz  РBusiness
.cat  РCatalan language sites
.com –¬† Commercial entities (open to anyone)
.coop – Cooperatives
.edu –¬† Educational
.gov  РGovernmental
.info –¬† Information
.int  РInternational 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 DietCoke.com it could be diet.coke.¬† That’s it.¬† Our website could be flash.ladybug.¬† Explosiontheory.com could become Explosiontheory.bang.¬†¬† Google could have .google¬† Mail.google, maps.google, search.google.

On one hand, this could open up some interesting web addresses.¬† No more adding in “.com” after mail.google 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.

slurm

Right now, Slurms website would be Slurm.Com.¬† That’s their main site.¬† Slurm would probably also own Slurm.Net, Slurm.biz, 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¬† Slurm.diet¬† 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 Рlike 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

http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/2009-04-06-web-site-domain-names_N.htm?csp=usat.me

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