jump to navigation

1984 All Over Again July 9, 2008

Posted by Doriano "Paisano" Carta in Apple, Microsoft.
Tags: , , ,
add a comment

Ridley Scott has always been one of my favorite directors so you can imagine the surprise I had today when I learned that he was the one who directed the memorable 1984 Apple commercial! Obviously, looking at it now with this knowledge makes perfect sense. It does have the same look and feel as his classic Blade Runner and Alien movies. 

Here’s a special behind the scenes interview

Here’s the classic commercial that was aired during the SuperBowl

Here’s Steve Jobs introducing the 1984 commercial at the 1983 Keynote

Just for comparison’s sake, checkout Apple’s first TV commercial from 1977!

Fast Forward again this time 30 years to 2007 for the ground-breaking iPhone commercials

Final Thoughts
Even though I am a big supporter (literally) of Microsoft, I have a deep respect and admiration for Steve Jobs and Apple. I think Steve and Bill both realize that they needed each other in order to push the industry as far as it could. Because of their rivalry we’ve all benefited. Their  companies continue to innovate and take technology to the next level.

How to clean your dirty windows June 1, 2008

Posted by Doriano "Paisano" Carta in Freeware, Microsoft, Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , ,
1 comment so far

 

Ever notice how much faster Microsoft Windows seems to run when it’s fresh new computer or a reinstalled system?

There are many reasons why performance degrades over time, such as defragmentation of the hard drive and a bloated registry but we will focus on a lessor known reason for sluggish windows and how to fix it.

 

First, let’s explain what the windows operating system is before we reveal what slows it down so much. Windows is not a single program or application but a complex system of processes that run together in a massive symphony of bits and bytes. Want to take a quick peak at this matrix of mahem and mischef? Press your Ctrl-Alt-Del keys and select your task manager, then select processes. You will see dozens of processes going on, even if you have no applications open. This is what keeps windows running.

 

The Dirt on Dirt
As you know, windows lives on memory so the more RAM it has the better it performs. Thus, the more programs/applications that you run at any given time, the less memory the operating system will have available for all of those necessary processes and threads it needs to run. So, the goal is naturally to only keep those things open that you need, but most of the time that doesn’t seem to make a difference. Why is that? Well, even though you “think” nothing’s running, the chances are high that there are several memory hogging programs running in the background.

 

The Windows Detectives
The task manager is pathetic when it comes to revealing the whole truth about what’s really going on inside windows behind the scenes. That’s why you will need a few free tools from Microsoft that are incredibly useful when it comes to spying on your system. Best of all, they are all free, small and easy to use!

 

The first one to get is called AutoRuns , which is the best utility there is when it comes to showing you everything that runs automatically when you start your windows (hence the name). One of the best features is the ability to hide all Microsoft processes that need to run for windows which lets you focus on all of the non-windows processes and programs that runs.

You can then disable or delete them for startup, thus freeing up a great deal of memory which will in turn make windows run much better. Download it here.

Sometimes it’s difficult to tell what a process or thread really is or what owns it.

No need to take dangerous wild guesses thanks to the following two tools.

 

Process explorer exposes everything you’ll ever need to know about any process that is running in windows. It will reveal which program owns the process and its path and location.

Download it here.

 

Process Monitor is like the task manager on steroids and more! It’s an advanced windows monitoring system that displays real-time file system, Registry and process/thread activity.

Download it here.

 

Final Curtain Call

Obviously, this is merely one simple method for cleaning your windows. There are many other things you can do to improve your performance but cleaning up your startup procedure is an excellent start.

 

 

 

Windows Live Writer April 25, 2008

Posted by Doriano "Paisano" Carta in Blogs, Microsoft, Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , ,
2 comments

Microsoft has actually released an excellent new application! Windows Live Writer is truly a powerful and useful tool for bloggers! It’s like Word for the Web 2.0!

I haven’t been this impressed from a Microsoft product in a very long time. Live Writer allows you to credit blog posts with amazing ease and spectacular results. It totally blows away another other blog editor that I’ve used before such as Google Docs, Zoho Writer, WordPress, Blogger, etc.

Any Blog, Anytime!
Live Writer has no problems working with just about any blog platform as well. I was able to open/edit and publish to Blogger and WordPress blogs without a hitch. What I liked best about the experience was its ability to open any existing blog post from any blog on the fly. You could then make any changes and re-publish it instantly. The results were almost always exactly what it looked like in Live Writer.

Insert This!
Inserting elements are also vastly improved on Live Writer. Simply click on the item you want to insert such as video, picture or link and Live Writer does all the dirty work for you. The options for manipulating the look and position of pictures is also very impressive.

Plug-in Mania!
One of the best features of Live Writer is the incredible amount of free add-on plug-ins!
Go to Live Writer Plug-ins and take a look at all of the things you can add to the experience! I instantly added a dozen must-have plug-ins! Plus, there are always new ones coming.

Here’s a visual rundown of the new Live Writer:

Preview before you post

Screen shot of Windows Live Writer view menu options

Know what your blog post will look like before you post it, including photos and other rich media. Writer detects your blog theme automatically, including fonts, and displays it while you compose and edit.

Works with your blog service

Screen shot of Windows Live Writer choose weblog options

Writer works with most major blog providers, including Windows Live Spaces, SharePoint, WordPress, Blogger, LiveJournal, TypePad, Moveable Type, Community Server, and many others. Get started with your blog in minutes, thanks to automatic blog configuration. Post to multiple blogs: themes are automatically detected for each.

Rich media made easy

Screen shot of Live Search Maps page

Turn your blog into a story with photos, videos, maps, tags and other rich media.  Writer publishes all of it automatically when post.  Quickly link to previous blog posts and other Web pages.

Powerful editing tools

Screen shot of Windows Live Writer spell check feature

Insert and edit tables directly in your entry. Inline spell checker helps you polish your text. Easy hyperlink support lets you link your blog to the online world. Use the HTML view to edit directly in HTML.

More rich content with easy plug-ins

Screen shot of Windows Live Gallery plug-ins

Use plug-ins from Windows Live Gallery to add more rich content to your blog like music feeds, emoticons and quotes of the day. Can’t find the plug-in you want? Make your own and upload it to Gallery for the whole world to share.

Final Thoughts

The only thing missing from the Live Writer experience is the ability to save drafts to online storage accounts such as Microsoft Workspace Office Live, Google Docs, Zoho Writer, or any others. I have no doubt that it will come someday, so we’ll just have to settle for saving drafts to the local drive until then.

Good Links

Download Live Writer here
Live Writer Blog offer useful information about Live Writer.
Windows Live Writer Group is a discussion forum for Live Writer users.

Here’s a good screencast on Live Writer:

Free Microsoft Project Clone March 3, 2008

Posted by Doriano "Paisano" Carta in Freeware.
Tags: , , , , , , ,
18 comments


OpenProj is a free and open source version of the most popular (and expensive) project management application, Microsoft Project. Yes, that’s right, free. Not only can it create project files that can be shared with Microsoft Project users but OpenProj can actually open Microsoft Project files as well! It becomes in essense a Project viewer much like Adobe Reader views PDF files, except for one major distinction: OpenProject doesn’t just view Microsoft Project files, it allows you to make changes to them too!
openproj_big.jpg
Here’s a screenshot of OpenProj. Click to view larger image.

Download OpenProj here for free. This isn’t some restricted time-limited lame demo trial version either. This is the full monty! Full version, free without any catches. There is a web version that they sell called Project-on-Demand which is still a fraction of what Microsoft Project Web Access costs (not to mention the expense for SharePoint and SQL server which are required)!

Projity is the company behind OpenProj with offices in California, France and India. There are gaining incredible popularity and credibility all over the world. OpenProj is a fantastic way to save $600 to $1000 per Microsoft Project license.

Free Search Engine for Your Enterprise January 31, 2008

Posted by Doriano "Paisano" Carta in Enterprise, Microsoft.
Tags: , , ,
5 comments
Microsoft Search Server 2008 Express is a free (for now) search solution for the enterprise. It’s easy to install and can be up and running within minutes. It looks and feels like search engines we use every day. Includes subscription service that sends update notifications of your search results via e-mail and RSS alerts. Watch this brief video to see how it works.

What can You Search?

Network File Shares
Local Intranet
Corporate Website
Microsoft Exchange Public Folders
Federated Search Connectors

What are Federated Search Connectors? (See video)

Federated Search Connectors allow your Microsoft enterprise search solution to pass search queries to a target system and accept and display results returned from that system.

They are based on the Open Search standard, making it easy to configure federated searches for a wide variety of existing information services. The configuration data for a Federated Search Connector can be packaged and reused as a Federated Location Definition (.FLD) file.

Here are just some sample connectors you will be able to search within your enterprise:
News: Live.com News, Yahoo News, Google News, Wired, The Register
Information Resources: MSDN, TechNet, Wikipedia, Encyclopedia Britannica, Yahoo
Media: Flickr, Yahoo Images, YouTube, PodScope
Blogs: Technorati, Google Blog Search

Technical Resources
Here’s a
6 minute video that demonstrates what the user will see.
Here’s the Installation & Configration video.

Comparison of Microsoft Search Solutions
The chart of features will show the differences in features for Microsoft Search Server 2008 Express, Search Server 2008 and their flagship SharePoint Server 2007. The free express version does everything that the commercial Search Server solution does except for High Availability and Load Balancing.


Pricing
Microsoft Search Server 2008 Release Candidate is free. The RTM (Release to Manafacturing) version will also be free. Will it always remain free? Don’t count on it, bub! However, by then everyone in your organization will be so hooked on it that there shouldn’t be any problems getting the purchase order approved by the powers that be.

Free Download and System Requirements:

  • Processor: 2.5 gigahertz (GHz) (minimum)
  • Memory: 2 gigabytes (GB) RAM (minimum)
  • Operating System: Any of the following editions of the Windows Server 2003 or newer operating system with the most recent service packs: Standard Edition, Enterprise Edition, Datacenter Edition, and Web Edition.
  • Hard disk: NTFS-formatted partition with 3 GB of free space (minimum)
  • Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0 with ASP.NET 2.0 enabled
  • Windows SharePoint Services 3.0
  • Microsoft Windows Workflow Foundation Runtime Components 
     
    Note: Search Server 2008 Express can be installed on one computer only. It supports an unlimited number of Web front-end servers, but only one application server.

Final Thoughts:
No matter how you feel about Microsoft or their operating systems, their Search Server 2008 Express is worth a look if your organization needs a way to index and search volumes of documents and other bits of information. Besides, the price is right!

By the way, Microsoft’s Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) 3.0 is also free and commonly called SharePoint-lite.
Here is how SharePoint can help you build your own social network for the enterprise for free!

Bill Gates eats his own dog food! November 26, 2007

Posted by Doriano "Paisano" Carta in Microsoft.
Tags: , ,
3 comments

Here is an interesting piece on Bill Gates and what programs he uses the most on a daily basis. Bill Gates: How I Use Office. It’s good to see that he actually “eats his own dog food” as they say. How much of this is true is anyone’s guess, but I have to say that the programs he mentions are actually quite useful. I’ve installed Microsoft SharePoint Server 2007 and Office 2007 and love Outlook 2007 compared to Outlook 2003. SharePoint allowed us to manage all of our documents and reduced our email storage problems because everyone sends links to documents in the centralized location instead of attaching large files to emails. There’s a six month free trial if you want to play with it.