Showing posts from April, 2012

Looking back…nostalgia, or a warning of things to come?

Well, this place is ‘my dropbox for tech thoughts’, and today I’m going to take advantage of that and launch into a train of thought that has been particularly bothering me lately. Let me start from the beginning. I often find myself slightly annoyed at work when I have to do tasks on Windows XP that Windows 7 could do much better. Frequently I recommend that home users also make the upgrade. I vouch strongly for Windows 8 and can’t wait to see how it performs on tablet hardware, especially of the x86-64 variety. And yet, for all my kicking against it, I can’t seem to completely move away from the OS myself.


The year was 2003.
I remember it well…

Two large packages arrived at our doorstep, each with a large DELL logo slapped on the side. It had arrived: our gateway to the 21st century. The computer was my family’s first to have been ordered over the internet, just one of many signs that the times were a’changin’. Gone were the days of 3D Accelerators and Glide, CPUs measured in MHz,…

Symbolic Links on Windows…the Easy Way!

For decades now, Linux users the world over have happily enjoyed themselves using symbolic links to increase productivity, make their computers easier to navigate, or squash certain location-related bugs in what they are trying to do. However, users of the more mainstream Windows persuasion have long been left out of the game, not realizing their computers are capable of such wizardry, or not knowing how to make use of it. What are these mysterious symbolic links, why are they so wonderful, and how can you use them yourself without having to be an IT pro? Check out the full post below to find out!

What are Symbolic Links?
Symbolic Links (often called ‘symlinks’, for short) can be thought of as advanced shortcuts. Only rather than open a program/file from another location (like a shortcut does), symlinks open files from other locations as if they were in the location of the symlink. In other words, you can have the data on your hard drive just once, but have that data appear in multiple …

Myths vs Truths: The Slow PC

Whenever I’ve had a side-job of computer repairs, the most common complaint I heard from people about their computers was: “it just runs slow!” Identifying the exact reason why varied in difficulty from case to case, but in the end it was always something like multiple anti-virus programs were installed and running in the background (sometimes actually attacking each other), too many start up items were enabled for the amount of installed RAM to handle, or some kind of malware had been introduced to the system. In most cases, rather simple problems such as these would have been the last guess of the computer’s owner if he had tried to solve the problem on his own, and his friends hadn’t given particularly good advice to solve the real problem, either. Through these experiences, I’ve come to realize that the worst problem PC users suffer from is actually that they simply aren’t well informed. If you ever run into an issue with your computer, you’ll find that more people are willing to …

Project Glass – Google's Personal Heads-up Display is Real

For decades we’ve seen scifi concepts of a heads-up display (or HUD) that presents all sorts of different pieces of information right on a person’s field of vision, completely personal to the wearer. In the last couple of years, concepts began to arise for contact lenses that could project such a display, though any serious plans to make the product were stymied by the question of how to give power to the things, not to mention how to mass produce such fine and fragile pieces of technology. More reasonable attempts at making HUD technology available have come in the form of smartphones using built in cameras for “Augmented Reality” (or AR). Google has even dipped its toes in the tech waters before with “Google Goggles”, available as part of the Google app for iOS, and as an independent app for Android. But in the last couple of days, every previous poke at real, practical heads up displays has been brought to its knees in the face of Google’s Project Glass.

Seen above is the first glan…

Trick-out Your PC Desktop With These Cool Sci-fi Mods!

I don’t know about you, but it feels like I’ve always been searching for the perfect sci-fi user interface for my PC. Admittedly, a lot of my inspirations (Star Wars, Minority Report, Tron, etc.) are not as practical as they are awesome to look at, but I just had to believe that a PC could look like something straight out of a movie if done properly. Sadly, in the past every theme I came across either cost money, had a lot of glitches, wasn’t usable on a daily basis, completely fell short of what I had imagined, a combination of these, or all of them at once.

If you haven’t already figured out where this is going, I’ll give you a hint: you should be sensing an “until now…”

What you see above is a very heavily Tron Legacy-inspired desktop running a compilation of multiple lightweight tools alongside the built-in Windows theme engine (though you will need to be using a uxtheme patch, as with any third-party theme). The main star of the show is the popular desktop widget engine Rainmeter, …