Aug 30 2011

Firefox 6.0

Category: Reviews,SoftwareTeknovis @ 5:54 pm

I started using Firefox 6.0 about two weeks ago. (I realise now that it was less than four months ago when I started using Firefox 4.0 according to Firefox 4. What happened that Firefox 5.0 was so brief?)

The feature that I find most interesting is the new Panorama (see Firefox Features or Firefox Panorama: The Web browser’s next big innovation). I am still getting used to it, but I am hoping that I can use it to de-clutter my Task Bar.

The most controversial aspect in my opinion is that the Startup page reverts to “Show my windows and tabs from last time” by default. I really wonder how many people will be caught-out because they were browsing sites they should not have been when they became interupted, so they closed the browser not realising that Firefox will restore everything when the browser is restarted! It could be very embarrassing!

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Jun 20 2011

Merging Word Documents

Category: WindowsTeknovis @ 6:30 pm

Somebody recently showed me how to merge Microsoft Word documents that have been reviewed by several different people! See Merge comments and changes from several documents into 1 document and Compare and combine documents in Word 2007.

I could have saved so much time if I had know this for the last six months!

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Jun 17 2011

John Wilder Tukey

Category: People,SoftwareTeknovis @ 4:30 pm

Recently I read a fascinating story about the origin of the bit and software:

Tukey is also credited in the “Annals of the History of Computers” as the person who, in 1946, coined the word “bit”, a contraction of “binary digit”, the term describing the 1s and 0s that are the basis of computer programs. Tukey suggested the shorter “bit” to computer experts at AT&T Bell Laboratories, where he was a researcher. “Bit” was easier on the tongue than the other possibilities they were considering, such as “binit” and “bigit”, so it stuck. Twelve years later, Tukey came up with the word “software” to describe the programs on which electronic calculators ran, first using it in a 1958 article he wrote for American Mathematical Monthly.

The source of this is Patent Law for Computer Scientists by Closa, D., Gardiner, A., Giemsa, F., Machek, J.

For more information see John Wilder Tukey.


Jun 02 2011

Windows 8 Frontend

Category: WindowsTeknovis @ 6:29 pm

Microsoft has been demonstrating Windows 8, and there is plenty of reporting online. For example, see Windows 8 Brings Entirely New Look And Feel, Unifies Touch And PC Interfaces and Windows 8 Is Gorgeous, But Is It More Than Just A Shell? (Video) (the latter has a good video).

I do not see how a single operating system can span so many different types of devices, and I think it is likely that they will end up with the worst of all worlds! Maybe I am too sceptical!

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May 06 2011

Firefox 4

Category: SoftwareTeknovis @ 9:54 pm

I started using Firefox 4 today. It has been a good experience so far!

Perhaps the most noticeable difference so far is that the user interface is very different. I was going to revert it back to the previous layout, as described in Three annoying things about Firefox 4 (and how to fix them). However, then I decided to leave it. I guess that somebody put a lot of thought into the changes, so the least I could do was try them for a day :)

By the end of the day I had decided that the new layout was better ;)

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Apr 13 2011

VirtualBox Upgrade and Resumption Error

Category: SoftwareTeknovis @ 1:21 pm

I upgraded my VirtualBox to the latest version (4.0.4) last weekend. Everything seemed fine.

Yesterday afternoon I paused a virtual machine for the first time this week, and last night I tried to resume it. To my horror it would not start, and I kept getting the following error:

Failed to open a session for the virtual machine Windows 7. Implementation of the USB 2.0 controller not found! Because the USB 2.0 controller state is part of the saved VM state, the VM cannot be started. To fix this problem, either install the 'Oracle VM VirtualBox Extension Pack' or disable USB 2.0 support in the VM settings (VERR_NOT_FOUND). Unknown error creating VM (VERR_NOT_FOUND).

After a few minutes of panicking I discovered that this is a known bug, as described in Ticket #8182 Unexpected error about USB 2.0!. Luckily, the described fix worked perfectly for me :D

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Jan 15 2011

Skype Growth

Category: Internet,Mobile Computing,Software,TelecomsTeknovis @ 9:10 am

I read during the week that Skype has become the world’s largest international call provider! That is amazing, and it certainly must be concerning the traditional telcos! For more information see CES 2011: Skype Steals International Scene.

I am aware that Skype had a serious outage before Christmas, but luckily it did not affect me. The $1 credit was a nice apology!

During Christmas I had the opportunity to use Skype for video calls on the latest version of the iPod Touch, and I was extremely impressed with both the quality and the ease of use. It was a much better experience than I imagined, and I could easily get used to doing all my calls like that!

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Sep 22 2010

Stupid Windows 7 File Explorer

Category: WindowsTeknovis @ 9:52 pm

As I previous wrote, I am using Windows 7 as my main Windows operating system on my laptop.

To date, I dislike it intensely! I have not found a single useful feature that would really cause me to upgrade a Windows XP computer.

So today I am going to compain about the Windows Explorer! The following issues really annoy me, and I have been unable to find any solutions or workarounds online:

  • The Windows Ribbon drives me nuts! It occupies a lot of area, and it does not give me any useful options that are not already available in the toolbar! I want it to vanish!
  • Unfortunately, the entire toolbar area at the top of each window has grown very big :( I loved the way that I used to be able to put the address bar on the toolbar.
  • I find the favourites that insist on appearing at the top of the panel on the left hand side to be useless to me.
  • Why is there no button to allow me to “Go up one level” in the directory hierarchy?
  • The status bar no longer contains useful information, such as the total file size when more than one file is selected!

Great, now I feel better :)

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Sep 20 2010

Goodbye Windows 2000 Server

Category: Linux,WindowsTeknovis @ 6:12 pm

I have been happily using Windows 2000 in my home network for many years. My setup was fairly simple – I had a Windows 2000 Server that acted as a domain controller with roaming profiles enabled, and as a file and printer server for approximately six computers and six mobile devices. It also doubled up as a workstation.

All of this worked very well in my home network, although it was starting to show its age and limitations. However, about two weeks ago the server refused to boot properly after it crashed :( Instead of getting the normal login screen, I got the following error message:

Security Accounts Manager initialization failed because of the following error: Directory Service cannot start. Error Status: 0xc00002e1. Please click OK to shutdown this system and reboot into Directory Services Restore Mode, check the event log for more detailed information.

It appears that the reason for this is that my Active Directory became corrupted due to the crash (see Directory Services cannot start” error message when you start your Windows-based or SBS-based domain controller and Err Msg: Security Accounts Manager Initialization Failed Because of the Following Error: Directory Service Cannot Start).

Unfortunately, I do not have a backup of my Active Directory. More importantly, I do have a complete backup of all my data :)

Rather than rebuilding everything in the same way I have decided to use the opportunity to do some upgrading :)

So now I am going to install Ubuntu Desktop on my server. I am then going to install VirtualBox. This will be my host server.

Next I will create two virtual machines to run on my host server:

  • The first virtual machine will be Ubuntu Server, and it will act as my domain controller (using Samba).
  • The second virtual machine will also be Ubuntu Server, and it will act as my file server (again using Samba).

My main motivation in doing this is that it will make backup trivial (just copy the entire virtual machine), and it removes my dependence on hardware!

Now all I need to do is start implementing this great plan :)

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Sep 03 2010

Ikea Based Linux Cluster

Category: Hardware,LinuxTeknovis @ 7:31 pm

I have a friend who is a huge fan of all things coming from the template of Ikea :) (I am slowly trying to get her to become an Ubuntu fan also :) )

Anyway, she knows of my interest in all things computer related, so she sent me a link to an article describing how to convert a piece of Ikea furniture into a Linux cluster: What’s with Helmer, the 24 core Linux cluster?.

Actually, the Ikea Hacker blog is pretty interesting :o

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