Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Little Devil is up to no good?

This Linux distro lets you create your own FREE network attached storage. If you have old drives hanging around and a slow machine this little devil can give you a place to share files around all your machines on the network.

FreeNAS is an embedded open source NAS (Network-Attached Storage) distribution based on FreeBSD, supporting the following protocols: CIFS (samba), FTP, NFS, TFTP, AFP, RSYNC, Unison, iSCSI (initiator and target) and UPnP.

It supports Software RAID (0,1,5), ZFS, disk encryption, S.M.A.R.T/email monitoring with a WEB configuration interface (from m0n0wall).

FreeNAS can be installed on Compact Flash/USB key, hard drive or booted from LiveCD.

One Giant Leap

So you need to get that HD video from your new camera into a format people can use?

Even though the logo looks more like a fox, they are both scavengers and so are we so here it is free of charge. They have many other great tools that I have written about in the past like FLV player. They have a good wmv and mp3 converter as well.

Free HD Converter V1.4

Free HD Converter is a freeware designed to convert all your MTS and M2TS files. AVCHD is a format for the recording and playback of high definition video. Video compressed in MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 format. This format is used by camcorders like Canon HF10, HG20, Sony HDR-SR1, HDR-XR100 and many more.

This freeware will let you convert your HD files from your camcorder easily to AVI, MPEG2, DVD format, Ipod, Mp4, Wmv format. Very fast conversion and completely free to use.

  • Batch conversion,
  • output video parameters configuration and presets,
  • Preview during conversion,
  • Fast conversion process and easy to use.


Compatibility: Windows 2000/XP/2003/Vista/Seven
Size: 3.46 MB

Free Mp3 Wma Converter V1.9

Free MP3 WMA Converter enables you to convert your MP3, WMA, OGG, AAC, M4a, MP4, Ape, Ac3, FLAC, WAVE files:

  • Mp3 to Ogg, Mp3 to Wma, Mp3 to AAC, Mp3 to Wav...
  • Wav to Mp3, Wav to Ogg, Wav to AAC, Wav to Wma...
  • Wma to Mp3, Wma to Ogg, Wma to AAC, Wma to Wav...
  • Ogg to Mp3, Ogg to Wma, Ogg to AAC, Ogg to Wav...
  • AAC to Mp3, AAC to Wma, AAC to Ogg, AAC to Wav...
  • Ape to Mp3, Ape to Wma, Ape to Ogg, Ape to Wav...
  • Flac to Mp3, Flac to Wma, Flac to Ogg, Flac to Wav...
  • M4a to Mp3, M4a to Wma, M4a to Ogg, M4a to Wav...
  • Ac3 to Mp3, Ac3 to Wma, Ac3 to Ogg, Ac3 to Wav....

And even more possible conversions !

You can convert Itunes audio files (m4a format) free of charge in MP3, WMA, OGG…! Tags's editor integrated (V1 and V2). Copy your audio CDs very rapidly thanks to “Free CD Ripper”. Simplicity at the service of efficiency.

For a full list of products

What is that on the horizon?

Cool tip for safer browsing

Google looks at web sites and maintains a 90 history of a site's security profile.


gives us:

What is the current listing status for

This site is not currently listed as suspicious.

What happened when Google visited this site?

Of the 197 pages we tested on the site over the past 90 days, 0 page(s) resulted in malicious software being downloaded and installed without user consent. The last time Google visited this site was on 2009-12-15, and suspicious content was never found on this site within the past 90 days.

This site was hosted on 2 network(s) including AS40009 (BITGRAVITY), AS33070 (RMH).

Has this site acted as an intermediary resulting in further distribution of malware?

Over the past 90 days, did not appear to function as an intermediary for the infection of any sites.

Has this site hosted malware?

No, this site has not hosted malicious software over the past 90 days.

Next steps:

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Juice player tastes Sour on Windows 7

Juice 2.2 player has issues launching showing a juice.exe.log problem.

You can first try this:

Originally documented for Vista. This solution works on my Win7 64bit box.

Here’s how to make Juice 2.2 work in Windows 7:

1.Download, install, then browse to the installation folder
2.Change the EXE compatibility mode to Windows XP SP2 [right-click the executable, flip to the Compatibility tab, place a checkmark in the 'Run this program in compatibility mode', then press the OK button]
3.Open Ipodder.cfg with Notepad and change the output directory from “My Documents” to “Documents” - which is found under C:\Users\username\appdata\Roaming\iPodder [by default]
4.Launch Juice


The Compatibility tab didn't show the Juice application so I renamed Juice to Juice.exe which allowed me to right click this and run test compatibility. At that point choose XP service pak 2 mode.

Then everything will run fine.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

New Exterminator for those Windows bugs

Everyone has those little crashes or annoying little bugs that we deal with over time. The problem is most of us can't hunt those buggers down and eliminate them. I hate to say it even a Phd in computer science doesn't have much of a chance without the right tools.

I try to provide links and post to many tools and solutions to help you get to the root cause of your problem. In this case I'm going to leave this arsenal to the experts.

Debugging Tools for Windows - Overview

This link has the tools, how-to's, and the resources to get you started covering all of the current and past Windows operating systems.

File System Management Super Compilation

Have you ever seen a kid who lost his parents in a large store. That's how I feel every time I tackle a disk partitioning project or problem. I have a simple one stop shop that simplifies the process but might not make it any easier.

About Parted Magic

The Parted Magic OS employs core programs of GParted and Parted to handle partitioning tasks with ease, while featuring other useful programs (e.g. Partimage, TestDisk, Truecrypt, Clonezilla, G4L, SuperGrubDisk, ddrescue, etc...) and an excellent set of documentation to benefit the user. An extensive collection of file system tools are also included, as Parted Magic supports the following: ext2, ext3, ext4, fat16, fat32, hfs, hfs+, jfs, linux-swap, ntfs, reiserfs, reiser4, and xfs.

Parted Magic requires at least a i586 processor and 256MB of RAM to operate or 128MB in "Live" mode.


  • Format internal and external hard drives.
  • Move, copy, create, delete, expand & shrink hard drive partitions.
  • Clone your hard drive, to create a full backup.
  • Test hard drives for impending failure.
  • Test memory for bad sectors.
  • Benchmark your computer for a performace rating.
  • Securely erase your entire hard drive, wiping it clean from all data.
  • Gives access to non-booting systems allowing you to rescue important data.
  • Runs from the CD, no install required.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Cross Roads of Technology

As you know my site is High Tech on a budget but there are those very few times when something comes along that is truely at the cross roads of technology. This phone is a combination of revolutionary functionality (Google Droid OS) and superior network performance (Verizon 3G Wireless) packaged in a device with world class specifications.

The fact is that a device with this level of power and performance is a absolute steal at $200.
All the commercials and the reviews tell you all you need to know. But if that isn't good enough I bought this phone and have been nothing but amazed by every aspect. I was impressed with the iphone but not even the Droid could get me to use AT&T. I personally wouldn't buy the iphone because of how its functionality is locked down by Apple but if it were hosted by Verizon I wouldn't consider it a bad decision.

Everyone I've handed my Droid phone to has said 2 things:
1.) "It feels like I know how to use it right away."
2.) "I want this phone."

Motorola Droid Specs:

- Carrier: Verizon <- simply the best
- Available: Now
- Networks: CDMA dual band (800/1900 MHz); CDMA2000 1xRTT/1xEV-DO rev.0/1xEV-DO rev.A
- Display: 3.7-inch screen with 854×480 (16:9 widescreen) capacitive touchscreen
- Camera: 5 megapixel camera with autofocus and LED flash and video recording
- Operating system: Google Android 2.0 OS
- Input: QWERTY keyboard, touchscreen
- CPU: 600 MHz ARM Cortex A8 Processor <- fastest on the market
- Memory: 256 MB RAM / 512 MB ROM
- Memory card: microSD/microSDHC <- comes with 16GB
- Connectivity: GPS, Wi-Fi, 3.5mm HeadPhone Jack
- Misc: AMR-NB/WB, MP3, PCM / WAV, AAC, AAC +, eAAC +, WMA
- Media: MPEG-4, H263, H264, WMV
- Form factor:
- Battery: 1400mAh Li-ion
- Talk Time: 420 minutes
- Standby Time: 450 hours
- Dimensions: 60.00 x 115.80 x 13.70 mm
- Weight: 169g

The only virus and anti malware solution

Stop paying protection money to those anti virus thugs. Microsoft has finally decided to do the right thing and get these bullies off the streets and out of our wallets. More importantly off our machines. Anti-virus programs have had a long history of loading down our machines with bloatware and providing consumers with a false sense of security. I would have more respect for these companies if they spent some time educating PC users while stealing their money.

Microsoft security essentials is free.

About Microsoft Security Essentials

Microsoft Security Essentials provides real-time protection for your home PC that guards against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software.

Microsoft Security Essentials is a free* download from Microsoft that is simple to install, easy to use, and always kept up to date so you can be assured your PC is protected by the latest technology. It’s easy to tell if your PC is secure — when you’re green, you’re good. It’s that simple.

Microsoft Security Essentials runs quietly and efficiently in the background so that you are free to use your Windows-based PC the way you want—without interruptions or long computer wait times.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Competition isn't always a good thing.

You don't want to compete with your neighbors over wireless spectrum. Sometimes there is noise being generated by outside sources. Maybe you just want to position that wireless router just right. Here are your free tools to to give you insight to that invisible world of 802.11.
inSSIDer is an award-winning free Wi-Fi network scanner for Windows Vista and Windows XP. Because NetStumbler doesn't work well with Vista and 64-bit XP, we built an open-source Wi-Fi network scanner designed for the current generation of Windows operating systems. inSSIDer was discussed by Lifehacker and Tekzilla!

These are my 2 wireless routers.

Here I am with my neighbors. I actually have my signal strength turn down to limit the range my networks can be picked up. You can see the fluctuations in my neighbors signals since they are transmitting a much greater distance.

Here is a capture of MeteGeeks chanelizer lite

We realize these don't look like inSSIDer reviews, but we've clipped them and you should be able to jump straight to it when you click play. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Not Just Virtually Free

When we think virtualization we think VMware or Microsoft virtual machine. This stuff is never easy and never seems to work out the way you want it. Here is a simpler, easy, and best of all, free solution. This supports most operating systems inside and out and can handle 64bit as well.

I'm still a big fan of Mojo Pak but XP is phasing out quickly.

What they say on their web page:

VirtualBox is a general-purpose full virtualizer for x86 hardware. Targeted at server, desktop and embedded use, it is now the only professional-quality virtualization solution that is also Open Source Software.

Some of the features of VirtualBox are:

  • Modularity. VirtualBox has an extremely modular design with well-defined internal programming interfaces and a client/server design. This makes it easy to control it from several interfaces at once: for example, you can start a virtual machine in a typical virtual machine GUI and then control that machine from the command line, or possibly remotely. VirtualBox also comes with a full Software Development Kit: even though it is Open Source Software, you don't have to hack the source to write a new interface for VirtualBox.
  • Virtual machine descriptions in XML. The configuration settings of virtual machines are stored entirely in XML and are independent of the local machines. Virtual machine definitions can therefore easily be ported to other computers.
  • Guest Additions for Windows, Linux and Solaris. VirtualBox has special software that can be installed inside Windows, Linux and Solaris virtual machines to improve performance and make integration much more seamless. Among the features provided by these Guest Additions are mouse pointer integration and arbitrary screen solutions (e.g. by resizing the guest window). There are also guest additions for OS/2 with somewhat reduced functionality.
  • Shared folders. Like many other virtualization solutions, for easy data exchange between hosts and guests, VirtualBox allows for declaring certain host directories as "shared folders", which can then be accessed from within virtual machines.

A number of extra features are available with the full VirtualBox release only (see the "Editions" page for details):

  • Virtual USB Controllers. VirtualBox implements a virtual USB controller and allows you to connect arbitrary USB devices to your virtual machines without having to install device specific drivers on the host.
  • Remote Desktop Protocol. Unlike any other virtualization software, VirtualBox fully supports the standard Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). A virtual machine can act as an RDP server, allowing you to "run" the virtual machine remotely on some thin client that merely displays the RDP data.
  • USB over RDP. With this unique feature, a virtual machine that acts as an RDP server can still access arbitrary USB devices that are connected on the RDP client. This way, a powerful server machine can virtualize a lot of thin clients that merely need to display RDP data and have USB devices plugged in.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

SMS - MMS from your phone to email and back

SMS gateways are the key to allowing you to use your text messaging functions to send and receive emails and media between phones text messaging and any email service.

Here is a list of address for the Cell providers:

To send a message from email use use the phone number plus the address listed in the link for that persons cell provider.

The send a message from the phone you simply put the persons email address where the phone number might go.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

We can build it better, faster, stronger for under 6 million dollars

What we are building here is the drive layout for a PC containing 2 equal speed equal size hard drives.

We want speed for applications that need it such as gaming and video encoding as well as web cache. We want to secure our data on a partition other than the partition holding the main OS. This space will also be used to load applications that may contain user data and settings that we might want to preserve in the event we have to blow away the OS partition. Finally we need raw storage for video mostly that is not on a raid in the event we need to recover it. We could create a raid array for recovery purposes but it has always been my opinion that home or novice users need to maintain good backups as opposed to trying to recover data from a failed hard drive in a Raid 5 array.

The partitions needed will be from each drive in Gigabytes:

(final partition containing the remaining space)

You will have 100 on one drive for the OS. You do it this way because we are creating the Raid arrays using Microsoft Disk Management.

Then 2 100gig partitions will be used to create a Gaming or High speed stripped partition. If you want a bigger gaming array you can allocate more space or simply add another array later with the left over space being used for mass storage.

The 10gig array will be used for internet cache and for a very fast page file for both speed and privacy. It is very easy to wipe a small partition that might contain personal data that could be used to steal your identity or create profiles on your surfing habits.

Click on the image below for more details:

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Send and receive text SMS messages from the PC for free.

Google has a option in gmail where you can put a phone number into your chat box and send a text message to any phone in the US.

This is how you get it set up:

In GMAIL click:
then Labs,
then scroll down to SMS chat which is fairly far down the list.
Select enable
Then back to the top to save settings.

Now you can simply type a phone number in the chat contact box. It will offer to save the number with a name associated.

Then simply type a message and wait for a reply.

These messages are not free to the person receiving the message.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Suck a golfball through a hose?

Well emailing a large file or movie to friends and family can be hard if not impassible, no I didn't mean impossible because I have a solution.

This is a free service from the people who created the commercial product file catalyst.

Registered Max Filesize 200.00 MB - this is a little weak but not bad.

File types - All type allowed
Multiple uploads - 5 (not sure what this means)

Support for resuming downloads
Support for download-accelerators

You can use a service like file front and upload just about any size file as well as maintain a neat little web space if you do alot of this kind of thing. There are other faster and simpler solutions if you want to share passwords with friends or family you can just simply share free online storage space.

I recommend encrypting personal files that you might share using true crypt but your family will need to have true crypt and the password to decrypt the resulting file. This method you can encrypt a whole folder and move it as a file. You can do this with zipped archives as well. 7-Zip is a great free solution for this.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Smoke and Mirrors - 4870 vs 4850

Comparing the 4850 vs the 4870, which card is best for you.

If you look at the stream processors you see 800 for both cards. So you begin to ask yourself what am I paying 50% or more for?

Lets look at some NewEgg specs:

GIGABYTE GV-R485OC-1GH Radeon HD 4850 1GB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail

  • Chipset Manufacturer: ATI
  • Core clock: 700MHz
  • Stream Processors: 800 Stream Processing Units
  • Memory Clock: 1920MHz
  • DirectX: DirectX 10.1
  • OpenGL: OpenGL 2.1
  • HDMI: 1 via Adapter
  • DVI: 2
  • Model #: GV-R485OC-1GH

GIGABYTE GV-R487D5-1GD Radeon HD 4870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail

  • Chipset Manufacturer: ATI
  • Core clock: 750MHz
  • Stream Processors: 800 Stream Processing Units
  • Memory Clock: 3600MHz
  • DirectX: DirectX 10.1
  • OpenGL: OpenGL 2.1
  • HDMI: 1
  • DisplayPort: 1
  • Model #: GV-R487D5-1GD
The only real difference here is the memory clock. In actuality both are clocking at 900Mhz. The DDR3 is double data rate which translates to 1800Mhz and the DDR5 is quad data rate at 3600Mhz. The 4870 core clock is slightly higher as well. All of this translates into about a 25% performance boost at most.

Finally we have to consider the power consumption which translates into heat. Can your case handle the extra heat? Is the 12v rail on your power supply rated to match the power consumption of the card. I recommend 25amps on that rail minimum. If your using 2 separate rails you can add them together. The 4870 uses much more power to operate.

If you're looking for stability (MMO gaming for example) you're going to want to go with the 4850.
If you're looking to get a bit more performance then pay the extra money but in most cases you will never see the difference even at higher resolutions. If you wanted to get the best of both worlds you might be able to put together a 4850 x2 crossfire system for slightly more than a 4870 but you will see huge performance gains by comparison.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Mythical and Elusive PhysX

Look, I'm not going to pretend this is a straight forward and easy process. I play around quite a bit with hardware and software and with something like PhysX you can't just check a box in the display panel and assume it is working or better yet is your PhysX setup providing any benefit?

Your going to need:
Cuda Driver

NVIDIA PhysX System Software WHQL Version: 9.09.0203 Release Date: February 10, 2009 Operating System: Windows XP, Windows Vista (32-bit and 64-bit) Language: U.S. English File Size: 39.2 MB

Installer update only from 9.09.0121 to resolve some installation issues on non-English operating systems. Supports NVIDIA PhysX acceleration on all GeForce 8-series, 9-series and 200-series GPUs with a minimum of 256MB dedicated graphics memory. Experience GPU PhysX acceleration in many games and demos, some of which are highlighted in PowerPack downloads on Resolves PhysX SDK runtime issues with multi-GPU configurations in Hybrid environments. Improves performance of some PhysX enabled games on GeForce GTX 285 and GTX 295 products. Resolves occasional system crashes when PhysX is enabled on some systems when running on EA’s Mirrors Edge. Runtime upgrade ONLY for AGEIA PhysX processors users. (New installations should install older PhysX system software such as version 8.09.04 – prior to installing this update). Includes the latest PhysX runtimes used in the latest game titles. Supports NVIDIA PhysX acceleration on GeForce via CUDA 2.0 for SDK versions 2.7.3, 2.7.2, 2.7.5, 2.8.0 and 2.8.1 (requires graphics driver v177.81 or later). Includes all the latest PhysX SDK Runtimes. Supports control of your GPU PhysX configuration from the NVIDIA display driver control panel. GeForce 200-series, 9-series, and 8-series GPUs AGEIA PhysX Processors (All)

Then to prove this is working your going to need:

PowerPack download

I found Physx to be of little or no benefit. and in my weak hybrid SLI setup I found this did more harm than good with respect to performance in games that don't support Physx. I wouldn't make any purchase decisions based on this technology. Besides ATI will have their answer to this very soon as well. The ATI chipsets support 800 Stream Processing Units compared to 128 on a 9800 nvidia. This will likely yield spectacular results.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Feeling diabolical? But your the good guy? Your ISP won't think so.

MLAB is attempting to provide users with the tools to test their broadband connections by briefly communicating with a server elsewhere on the Internet.

I could have a lab like Dexter if it wasn't for the high cost of maintenance and power. Besides I don't have a basement.

Ping testing doesn't really tell you that much about your connection. You get your response time and whether your packets made it or not. The ISP world treats ICMP packets (PING) with very low priority. Also routers do more than route these days. High speed routers forward packets in hardware with very little processing required allowing them to handle more data faster.

Your packets are queued, buffered, and prioritized based on many factors. In many ways its like a first class ticket on a plane. The more you pay the better your treated. But imagine if the plane was loosing fuel and they needed to loose weight or they will crash. Imagine if they decided to throw third class passengers out the door.

The plane analogy doesn't describe the Internet very well. Its more like a highway with a HOV lane for the rich, When traffic is flowing good everyone is treated the same. When traffic is congested the HOV cars get through. The reason I like the plane analogy because in the HOV analogy all cars make it to the destination. In reality on the Internet your packets get tossed out to prevent the situation from getting worse for everyone.

Now you have the tools to see if your being treated like a customer or a criminal.

Network Diagnostic Tool
Test your connection speed and receive sophisticated diagnosis of problems limiting speed.
Test whether BitTorrent is being blocked or throttled.
Network Path and Application Diagnosis
Diagnose common problems that impact last-mile broadband networks.
DiffProbe (coming soon)
Determine whether an ISP is giving some traffic a lower priority than other traffic.
NANO (coming soon)
Determine whether an ISP is degrading the performance of a certain subset of users, applications, or destinations.

The PlanetLab Consortium joins Google and the Open Technology Institute in creating Measurement Lab (M-Lab), a distributed server platform for deploying Internet measurement tools. M-Lab is designed to empower the public with useful information about their broadband connections.

Don't let the ISPs run away with your re-concatenator/assembler high speed compression port adaptor.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

What is in a number?

Free Voicemail and Web Based Fax

K7 offers users of the service a free phone in the 206 area code through which they can receive faxes and voicemails. Any faxes/voicemails received on the number are forwarded as email attachments or can be accessed via their website.

So, how can they afford to provide this service? Well, because of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, CLECs get paid by other providers for the termination (answering) of a phone call. Thus, every time you pickup the phone, your phone company gets a small amount of money from the carrier that originated a call. Normally, carriers are constantly making calls that terminate at other carriers and vice versa. But, K7 is a service that only receives calls and does not generate calls to other carriers, so all those termination fees, which would usually flow both ways end up flowing only into K7’s bank account and not out! This one way flow of money was distressing enough to most carriers that they protested strongly and got the law rewritten somewhat, but there is a grandfather clause for companies like K7 that were already in operation.

Anyways, sign up for an account (a very simple process that won't require you to divulge any personally identifiable information)


Better way to surf

Ixquick Protects Your Privacy !
The only search engine that deletes your personal data. - I'm not sure this is true. I heard is doing the same but I can't find a "seal of approval" telling me its true.

Your privacy is under attack ! - no doubt about it. Google is the worst offender and getting worse each day.

Every time you use a regular search engine, your search data is recorded.Your search terms, the time of your visit, the links you choose, your IP address and your User ID cookies all get stored in a database.The identity profiles that can be constructed from this cloud of information represent modern day gold for marketers.But government officials, hackers and even criminals also have an interest in getting their hands on your personal search data. And sooner or later they will... - this is really true, this info will be used in so many ways of which none you will like.

What could happen ?

Consider the following story:In August 2006, the online world was jarred by the AOL privacy scandal:AOL released three months' worth of aggregated search data from 650,000 of its users, publishing all the details in an online database. This database is still search able. It is an absolute.

Google may be or already took up a contract with the NSA to operate a data center on the google campus. This really isn't important except if you wish to protect your rights to privacy and truly have freedom. Freedom is about your God given right to express yourself in any way you want without hurting other people. Religion is a great example and in societies like China you do not have this kind of freedom to believe.
The problem here is that Google may even want to protect your information but when they say its a matter of National security and you are now locked out of your building, they won't need a reason why and will never have to answer for it in the future. Nobody will even know what was compromised.