Monday, March 31, 2008

VMWare from Microsoft

I'm a fan if VMware but VMware can be a bear to build and configure. If your not a super geek but have a need for a virtual machine then this might be an option.

Virtual PC 2007 is now available

Whether Microsoft virtualization technology is an important component of your existing infrastructure or you're just a Virtual PC enthusiast, you can now download Virtual PC 2007 absolutely free.

Stress can be a good thing.

When things go wrong how do you know and can you prove it.

I wanted to publish a list of benchmark software sites. The idea here is not to show that you have the most UBER machine ever created, you aren't even close if you read this blog. Actually I practice what I preach and my machines stay in the top 2% in the world.

If you think you have a failing video card or memory or even a CPU you can run benchmarks and stress tests to find the problem. I recommend multiple tests because some issues don't show up in certain tests. BFG video cards have caused me major issues in the past and customer support was so bad I would rather go to the dentist. At least at the dentist you feel like your accomplishing something. has compiled a list of benchmarking utilities to stress test you machine. I like aquamark, and 3D mark for the graphics. Even the newer cards can show signs of weakness under these tests.

I found a new link at:

for memory testing see my post:
Microsoft Online Crash Analysis - FREE
System Information and Performance Testing

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Make sure the patient is dead before the autopsy.

Force an XP Crash to get a Memory Dump

I'm going to do a little security experiment. I will post my results once completed but for starters I need to see what is loaded in memory. I'm going to manually generate a memory dump. Since I'm not a security expert ot hacker I don't have the tools that can do a system memory scan. If anyone has a free solution please let me know.

Microsoft KB article for activating a feature called 'Crash on Control Scroll'. This feature allows a user to manually crash the system, thus triggering the BSoD and memory dump.

To enable that feature on a USB keyboard:

Start the registry editor (regedit.exe)

Locate the following key if you have a USB keyboard: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\kbdhid\Parameters
Locate the following key if you have a PS2 keyboard: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\i8042prt\Parameters
In the Edit menu, click Add Value and add the following registry entry: Name: CrashOnCtrlScrollData Type: REG_DWORDValue: 1
Exit the registry editor, then reboot.

Reboot, so you can now trigger a crash by pressing the SCROLL keyboard key twice while pressing the right CTRL key.

What? Can You Repeat That?

Im a podcast Junky but I can't hear very well. I had a several explosions go off very close to me while in the Marines and lost about 50% of my hearing in one ear. This doesn't help that fact that men tend to loose hearing as they get older. This is a natural defensive mechanism.

Anyways I ran across a program that can help.

Tired of reaching for your volume knob every time your mp3 player changes to a new song?MP3Gain analyzes and adjusts mp3 files so that they have the same volume.
MP3Gain does not just do peak normalization, as many normalizers do. Instead, it does some statistical analysis to determine how loud the file actually sounds to the human ear.Also, the changes MP3Gain makes are completely lossless. There is no quality lost in the change because the program adjusts the mp3 file directly, without decoding and re-encoding.
Think about ways to get better audio levels out of movie audio tracks. I will experiment with this and post more later.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Sometimes its hard to see clearly

WinMerge Might Just help. This is no easy task to develop a program to do this kind of data comparision.

Visual differencing and merging of text files
Flexible editor with syntax highlighting, line numbers and word-wrap
Handles DOS, UNIX and MAC text file formats
Unicode support
Difference pane shows current difference in two vertical panes
Location pane shows map of files compared
Highlights differences inside lines in file compare
Regular Expression based file filters in directory compare allow excluding and including items
Moved lines detection in file compare
Creates patch files
Shell Integration (supports 64-bit Windows versions)
Rudimentary Visual SourceSafe and Rational ClearCase integration
Archive file support using 7-Zip
Plugin support
Localizable interface via resource DLL
Online manual and installed HTML Help manual

I guess my brain doesn't work so well.

I know what your thinking, no I don't. Now Im lost and confused.

Patience is a virtue but Im not virtuous. This is a tool to help you organize you thoughts. With most tools like this you have to be dedicated to using it all the time. I would hate to see what happens to you when they pull the plug.

I had a very hard time getting this to work with the massive amounts of data I deal with daily. It may just be a learning curve. Look at my leading comment. With me there is no learning curve because I don't have time for it. It look like it could be useful to many people. It could be useful to planners and organizers, possibly management with many employees. If I'm not that excited about this they you might ask why did I post this?

It is likely the wave of the future and it could be useful and it is free.

Free organization software:

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Ever wished you can be two places at once?

Maybe you can't be two places at once but your files can.
From my testing this application allows you to work from multiple locations on the same folder. The changes you make no matter where you are are updated everywhere. You can create shared or personal libraries. The website uses encryption and your file transfers are encrypted.
To get started click the INSTALL link at the top right of the website. This will allow you to create your account and form relationships between computers. Once this is done you select the folder you want to share and synchronize.
I created a TEST folder on 2 machines and put 2 files in each with the same name but different data. I allowed automatic synchronization and instead of randomly writing over my file the system on each end added a second extension for the duplicate file names and then synced up. So now the files from both machines are now on both machines without and random file overwrite.
I use the same terminal application on 2 machines. I have built in command folders and files to track notes. If I'm working from one machine and want to add notes it updates on both.
A word of caution! Before you synchronize 2 folders it would be best to start with a empty folder and a folder with files and let the application copy them over.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Monster Prices on HDMI Cables

Its time to slay this dragon. Digital signals usually don't degrade on cables until you get over 225 ft in length. I typically see 6ft HDMI cables from $60 to $150 dollars. Monster cables only makes for a monster bank account for the company and to be honest makes a fool out of you.

6ft HDMI cables for $5.24 - at

There is another company offering ok prices with lots of conversion options:

Internet Music Is Live and Well

Popular artists, steaming music like Rhapsody or Music Match without the price tag. This is going to contain ads but far fewer than your favorite radio station. You can create a stream and share it with friends anywhere. I'm a big fan of unsigned artists but I'm sure most of them hope to get signed one day. Here is a system in place that allows them to get paid to play.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Games Gone Wild, Not Even Close

WildTangent announced Orb, a new PC service designed with compatibility as a primary focus to have the plug it in and start playing experience, the way consoles work today. Orb will act as a portal for "console games," defined here as games designed for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and let you download and play games in its entirety or in play sessions, which will cost you via tokens or free through watching advertisements. These ads will be a short spot upfront, then you can play without interruption. THQ and Sierra have signed on, with Sierra promising to bring titles to the service "day and date" with console launches, according to WildTangent CEO Alex St. John.

Up to this point I see one game that I saw in Best Buy for about $15. The system requirements for this game were so low that I wasn't willing to take a chance even for 15 bucks.

Here is the description and link:

Battlestar Galactica
Inspired by the famous series, it's a fast and furious arcade-style space combat. You're the pilot and you must choose to defend the Galactica as a hot shot human flier, or cause havoc as one of the ruthless Cylons as they seek to destroy humanity. Enjoy action packed single-player battles or feel the adrenaline rush of multi player skirmishes with up to 8 players. Avoid annihilation with stealth moves and use destructive weapons like missiles and guns.

My final thoughts on this: can we trust this company? Wasn't this company the notorious Wild Tangent Adware company that made out lives miserable. Maybe they are putting their talents to something more productive and enjoyable. If the big names show up then I can see this being a big hit.

The reason Windows Live for the PC is failing is because of the monthly fee for online play. We are burdened enough with the high cost of these games and a monthly fee for every dam thing. Get your freaken hands out of my pocket. Just follow the Steam model, follow the Sony model and stop what is the real piracy of the 21st century.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

So what does a Berkeley dropout do?

I was going to write a program to replace FRAPS. This guy did just that and its free. This isn't rocket science but it is computer science. No spyware, no ads, no time limits. The utility also lets you record and post at the the same time. They claim great performance. From everything I see up front I think this is a job well done and is going in my hotpics list.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Take back control of your in game desktop

PLAYXPERT is a next-generation in-game community management tool set developed for PC-based and MMO games. Built around a completely unique in-game overlay technology, PLAYXPERT brings the tools that gamers use into the games they play.

Basically it is a kernel level widget that embeds itself into you directx stream. By doing this it will bypass any and all protections or restrictions that your game environment might have. It allows you to pull up web pages, communicate, take notes, or do just about anything you can think of. You can access Itunes or Winamp for example. This is possible because the developers have ported .NET functionality. We are going to see lots of game database tools.

Of course this is directx 8 - 10 compatible. It appears to be in a closed Beta and I'm not sure what this might cost if anything apon release.

Registration is open but the client download is currently disabled.

Sorry. The client download link has been temporarily removed while we prepare a new version of the product.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Good, The Bad, and The Beautiful

If you are a student or researcher I have 3 Firefox extensions that can make life much easier. The last 2 extensions I will mention are really for everyone. The last extension is simply amazing.


Zotero [zoh-TAIR-oh] is a free, easy-to-use Firefox extension to help you collect, manage, and cite your research sources. It lives right where you do your work — in the web browser itself.

Lets face it we do research on the web. This extension allows you to track your research and annotate your finding. When you are ready to publish your paper it automates the process of creating a bibliography in a multitude of standard formats. This can be integrated in MS Word, various blogger software, and Open Office.

As simple as this process is they have screen cast tutorials to guide you if needed.



This little plugin looks at the current URL and gives you UserName and Passwords to use so you don't have to register your own. There are other very useful features offered that are not part of this plugin:

Hate opening PDF Files?
Check out our latest tool:
Disposable Email Addresses
Tired of disclosing your real email address to anyone who asks?
Introducing free, disposable email addresses from bugmenot:
Wikileaks won't be censored
Have documents the world needs to see?
Share Coupon Codes
Online coupon codes from sister site include:
Turbo Tax Coupons
ShopBop Coupons
Target Coupons
Adobe Coupons
Zappos Coupons

Finally the most insanely genius plugin I've seen in a very long time. This is not only useful but is fun to play with. I would think the Google people would buy this up fast.


Think beyond the browserPicLens instantly transforms your browser into a full-screen, 3D experience for viewing images on the web. Photos will come to life via a cinematic presentation that goes well beyond the confines of the traditional browser window. With PicLens, browsing and viewing images on the web will never be the same again.

Simply Fun
Explore the world of physics is a whimsical way. Time killers? Maybe, but look at all the crap we fill our heads with. There are loads of games out there that can fill the void of time but for me these bring a little of that childhood feeling back to life.

Another game that is unusually fun is Desktop Tower Defense
DeskTop Tower Defense

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Power at Your Fingertips

7-in-1 Universal HD Remote Control

Model: HD-PRO
Catalog #: 15-135

  • Control up to 7 devices with this one handy remote
  • Dedicated HD keys for changing aspect ratio and dash and for dedicated input keys
  • Programmable HD keys takes you to a list of HD channels via a macro
  • Power macros and 4 dedicated PIP keys
  • 4 dedicated PIP keys

This runs every device in my house including my DVD player that has been more than a pain to find a universal remote that could handle the codes. Out of the box it even runs my Sony receiver which doesn't even work well on a Sony universal remote. This is a real steal at $10.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Finally Grep for windows

Just Added: Rampart Report - A program that allows you to do Boolean searches of log file. This is really a much more powerful GREP for windows. This is a Beta since I just created it and I could use feedback to make it better for everyone.

So you use Linux or Unix how can this help you? It is simple. Do a grep on what you are looking for and save the file to a windows machine. You can use my emulator to do this quickly. Then use the report generator to get the results that aren't so easy to obtain using Linux, GREP or EGREP.

You can search for lines in a file containing any combination of up to 5 search terms. You can search any combination of AND / OR. You can also filter your search.

The program allows you to search multiple files in a directory. You can also specify which lines you would like to pull above and below the line you are searching for. I have also included 3 layers of sub searches.

You should be able to search and filter any combination to get the results you are looking for.

Now GREP on Steroids (Windows Only)

The top box is a search or multiple files where you choose a wild card.

The next box is to search a single file. All of the features work for both search types but the multi file search annotates the report with what file the lines came from in 2 possible ways. The first is marking each line with the file name. The other is inserting a break between the results of each file.

You have 5 search boxes A- E. The check box to the left allows you or AND the search boxes such as (A and B) or C or (D and E).

The list boxes to the right allow you to pull any combination of lines above or below the line you specified in your search. You use click and drag or ctrl click to select or de-select multiple selections.

The with comments checkbox tells you which line was pulled above or below your search.

The exclude search line only pulls the lines above and below and leaves out your search line.

The spaces ckeckbox puts a space 0r newline between each search result.

The sub searches allow you to search again on the results you just search to further filter your results.

You can load a filter from a file. I do this to generate reports and filtering to see the data that is important to me from SYSLOGs.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Let it Ring - MagicJack

If you have a teenager that needs a second or third line at home or even in a situation with roommates or adult children or parents sharing a home, this could be a low cost solution.

Also if you are out of the country think about getting a magicjack to talk to family in the US. Since the company is based in the US then calls inside the US are free. Your voice traffic will route via the Internet to the US then to the persons local phone number. As far as magicjack is concerned you will look like your calling from inside the US.

The company has a robust nationwide network that Borislow says is also a certified CLEC; the company has interconnect agreements with all the larger carriers, meaning it's not about to be shut down like some other value-cost calling operations; and as part of its initial marketing push, MagicJack plans to give away a free phone number.

The business side of MagicJack, as best as we can tell, comes from the subscription plans as well as interconnect fees paid to MagicJack's CLEC partner company (apparently called YMax Communications Corp.) whenever a MagicJack phone number is called. More details — such as additional features embedded into the product, like voicemail, conference calling, and a direct-to-Google search link — will be revealed at the "official" announcement, whenver that is. (At the current leak rate, Borislow might not have much left to tell, other than "some big marketing plan" that he kept to himself Monday.)

Test from various gadget review sites are reporting the voice quality was good. Some reported only the occasional crackle and pop, and no dropped calls. This level of quality and stability is courtesy of magicJack's proprietary network, which maintains a solid, reliable connection that the company claims can't be achieved on traditional VoIP channels. MagicJack has all of the features, voicemail (you can receive messages even when you're offline), caller ID, call waiting, call forwarding, and emergency 911 dialing.

Priced at an incredible $39.95, magicJack comes with a year's worth of service (an annual subscription runs $19.95 after that, with international prepaid packages starting for as little as $5). Although it's designed for use with a single phone line (multiple lines require a magicJack for each) and your PC has to be turned on to use it, the magicJack is a fine way to cut your monthly telephone bill.

Testing results: High voice quality. Most corporate firewalls will block the VOIP ports. There is a problem with automated menus touch tones. When call a company with a menu or if you have to enter a account number it doesn't work so well.