Archive for the ‘ Computers ’ Category

Piriform Speccy

Brought to you by the same people who made Defraggler, CCleaner, and Recuva, Speccy tells you everything you wanted to know about you hardware and quite a bit you didn’t really need to know.

Pros:
Tells you –in great detail – about your OS, CPU, RAM, Motherboard, Graphics, Hard Drives, Optical Drives, and Audio.  For instance, it turns out my hard drive’s model is WD1600BEVT-00ZCTO

Cons:
Tells you more than you needed?

Rating:  9   9/10

Get this great program here, and have fun.

The window
Speccy

About the ratings: 
I copied Wired Magazine’s rating system because I like and I think it works well.  Here’s the key:
1 = A complete failure in every way
2 = Barely functional – don’t get it
3 = Serious flaws, proceed with caution
4 = Downsides outweigh upsides
5 = Recommended with reservations
6 = A solid product with some issues
7 = Very good, but not great
8 = Excellent, with room to kvetch
9 = Nearly flawless – get it now
10 = Metaphysical product perfection

Advertisements

PStart

A “Personal Start Menu,” you can customize what shows up in it and assign your programs into groups and folders for easy access. Ideal for managing any portable apps you may have.  All in all, pretty cool.

Pros:
Works just as advertised. Has a ‘scan for executables’ option: point it to a folder and it shows you all your .exe files, which can then be moved into groups or folders to you like.  Can also, I think, show files.

Cons:
Bland look.  To keep groups from nesting you have to add separators.  Sometimes required wiggling to move items from one group to another.

Rating:  8  8/10

Grab this program here.  Enjoy!

About the ratings: 
I copied Wired Magazine’s rating system because I like and I think it works well.  Here’s the key:
1 = A complete failure in every way
2 = Barely functional – don’t get it
3 = Serious flaws, proceed with caution
4 = Downsides outweigh upsides
5 = Recommended with reservations
6 = A solid product with some issues
7 = Very good, but not great
8 = Excellent, with room to kvetch
9 = Nearly flawless – get it now
10 = Metaphysical product perfection

Links!

I’ve got a whole ton of cool links that’ve been building up for quite a while.  Here you go:

Bobby McFerrin Demonstrates the Power of the Pentatonic Scale
At this year’s World Science Festival, Bobby McFerrin does an interesting demonstration of how audiences can always hit the pentatonic scale right on. [Vimeo]

5 New Technologies That Will Change Everything
USB 3.0, Video streaming over Wi-Fi, 3D TV, Augmented Reality in mobile devices, and HTML5.  All very very cool. [PCWorld]

SeatGuru
A very cool site:  plug in the type of airplane you’ll be flying on and it shows you the seating chart for that plane, with the benefits (or lack thereof) to each seat.  E.g. “This seat may have extra traffic in the aisle due to its proximity to the lavatory” “The large TV screen is not visible from this seat” [SeatGuru]

The Adventures of Dr. McNinja
A webcomic about a doctor.  Who is also a ninja.  In a family of ninjas who came from Ireland (or perhaps Scotland).  ‘Nuff said. [Dr. McNinja]

Metal Chess Pieces
A very cool metal chess set, made out of screws and flanges and such.  Also, a diagram of the heart and lungs.  You can ignore that one. [Flickr]

Repair a Broken Ethernet Plug
Everybody hates broken connectors on an ethernet plug.  Now you can fix them.  Enjoy. [Instructables]

T-Shirt:  Ninjas Can’t Catch You
I would totally buy this t-shirt, except holidays are coming soon so I think I’ll just add it to my wish list. [TopatoCo]

Tron Legos
I will make this, once I get around to finding the parts. [Flickr]

Cardboard Kayak
I will build this, once I convince mom to drive me around to look for cardboard.  I sense a theme here. [Instructables]

Silent Conversation
A very cool game where you are the cursor and you have to touch words in a story – words moved into patterns so you have to jump and swerve.  Also there are words that can kill you if their ‘spirit’ hits you.  [Armor Games]

Anatomy of a Black Hole
Self-Explanatory.  Very easy to understand, very well presented. [ThinkTechnologies]

Screws and Nails
Detailed description of different kinds of screws and nails and their uses.  [Web-pros]

A Story About ‘Magic’
Cool, chuckle-inducing story. [Catb]

Fraction-Of-An-Inch Adding Machine
A very cool, very useful machine (made out of paper) to add fractions. [EvilMadScientist]

EZ-12 Parabolic Reflector
Stick this over the antenna on your router and view the speed boost.  I went from 48 to 54 Mbps, as defined by the popup thing in my System Tray. [FreeAntennas]

Ta-Da!  Also, hopefully the Favicon issue is resolved.  What happened was that the site it was hosted on had a crash and lost a whole bunch of images.  I reuploaded, reset, and it seems to work now.

How to setup/print half-letter-size booklets

If your window looks like this

You have this version of Word.  Remember this.  You will need it.

image

Microsoft Word 2007

clip_image004

Microsoft Word 97-03

==============================

SETUP

For Microsoft Word 2007

1. Click on the Page Layout tab
image
2. Click Size
image
3. Scroll to the bottom of the list, and choose ‘Half Letter’ (Fifth from the bottom)
image
4. Under the Page Layout tab, click Margins
image
5. Choose Narrow
image

For Microsoft Word 97-03
1. Click File
File Menu
2. Choose Page Setup
Choose Page Setup
3. On the Margins tab, set Top, Bottom, Left, and Right to 0.5
Small Margins
4. On the Paper Size tab, change Letter to Half Letter (6th from the bottom)
Half letter selection
5. Press OK
OK

==============================

PRINTING

For Microsoft Word 2007
1. Look at the table below to find how many blank pages you’ll need to put on the end of your booklet
2. Click on the Office logo in the top left hand corner of the window
07 - Office Logo
3. Hover over Print, then choose Print again in the resulting list
07 - Print Hover 07 - Choose Print
4. Set Pages Per Sheet to 2 (Under the Zoom heading)
07 - 2 Pages
5. Use the table below to find out how to finish the print job

For Microsoft Word 97-03
1. Look at the table below to find how many blank pages you’ll need to put on the end of your booklet
2. Click File
File Menu
3. Choose Print
03 - Select Print
4. Set Pages Per Sheet to 2
03 - 2 Pages
5. Use the table below to find out how to finish the print job

==============================

 

If you have written this many half-size pages (including the title page)

Add this many blank pages to the end

Put this in the Pages box (under Page Range).  Then follow the paragraph below the table.

Then put this in the Pages box after following the below paragraph
10 2 2, 11, 4, 9, 6, 7 12, 1, 10, 3, 8, 5
11 1 2, 11, 4, 9, 6, 7 12, 1, 10, 3, 8, 5
12 0 2, 11, 4, 9, 6, 7 12, 1, 10, 3, 8, 5
13 3 2, 15, 4, 13, 6, 11, 8, 9 16, 1, 14, 3, 12, 5, 10, 7
14 2 2, 15, 4, 13, 6, 11, 8, 9 16, 1, 14, 3, 12, 5, 10, 7
15 1 2, 15, 4, 13, 6, 11, 8, 9 16, 1, 14, 3, 12, 5, 10, 7
16 0 2, 15, 4, 13, 6, 11, 8, 9 16, 1, 14, 3, 12, 5, 10, 7
17 3 2, 19, 4, 17, 6, 15, 8, 13, 10, 11 20, 1, 18, 3, 16, 5, 14, 7, 12, 9
18 2 2, 19, 4, 17, 6, 15, 8, 13, 10, 11 20, 1, 18, 3, 16, 5, 14, 7, 12, 9
19 1 2, 19, 4, 17, 6, 15, 8, 13, 10, 11 20, 1, 18, 3, 16, 5, 14, 7, 12, 9
20 0 2, 19, 4, 17, 6, 15, 8, 13, 10, 11 20, 1, 18, 3, 16, 5, 14, 7, 12, 9
21 3 2, 23, 4, 21, 6, 19, 8, 17, 10, 15, 12, 13 24, 1, 22, 3, 20, 5, 18, 7, 16, 9, 14, 11
22 2 2, 23, 4, 21, 6, 19, 8, 17, 10, 15, 12, 13 24, 1, 22, 3, 20, 5, 18, 7, 16, 9, 14, 11
23 1 2, 23, 4, 21, 6, 19, 8, 17, 10, 15, 12, 13 24, 1, 22, 3, 20, 5, 18, 7, 16, 9, 14, 11
24 0 2, 23, 4, 21, 6, 19, 8, 17, 10, 15, 12, 13 24, 1, 22, 3, 20, 5, 18, 7, 16, 9, 14, 11
25 3 2, 27, 4, 25, 6, 23, 8, 21, 10, 19, 12, 17, 14, 15 28, 1, 26, 3, 24, 5, 22, 7, 20, 9, 18, 11, 16, 13

Print the pages according to the third column, then put them in order so that that the largest numbered page on the left side is on top (e.g. first the whole-size page with half-size pages 10 and 11, then the whole-size page with half-size 8 and 13, then the whole-size page with half-size pages 6 and 15, etc). It might already be this way. Turn them around so the blank side is facing you, then do all of the past steps again but with the numbers from the fourth column in the Pages box

Trillian Astra

This is an IM client along the lines of Meebo or (presumably, I’ve never used it) Digsby.  Kind of obscure, but a really great program. 

Pros:
Slick user interface.  Connects to:  AIM, ICQ, Bonjour, Facebook IM, IRC, MySpaceIM, Skype, Windows Live Messenger, XMPP (all Jabber, XMPP, and Google Talk networks), and Yahoo! Messenger.  It also has support for any POP3 or IMAP enabled email account and Twitter.  Lots of great color themes.  The main window doesn’t take up any space in your taskbar, just a small icon in your system tray.  You can switch it from one tabbed chat windows to multiple single-conversation windows.  When connected to certain clients (at least Windows Live Messenger) certain words, when mouseover-ed, pop up a Wikipedia article about that word.  Tested and certain words:  bacon, yay, and The Sixth Sense.  Windows snap to other windows and the edges of the screen.

Cons:
You must manually reconnect to Facebook every time you log on (basically, when you restart your computer).  Won’t pick up responses from one (only one!) of my friends on Facebook, but I suspect that’s an issue with Facebook.  As far as I can tell, disconnects you when your computer screensavers.

Rating:  9 9/10

Get it here.

About the ratings: 
I copied Wired Magazine’s rating system because I like it and I think it works well.  Here’s the key:
1 = A complete failure in every way
2 = Barely functional – don’t get it
3 = Serious flaws, proceed with caution
4 = Downsides outweigh upsides
5 = Recommended with reservations
6 = A solid product with some issues
7 = Very good, but not great
8 = Excellent, with room to kvetch
9 = Nearly flawless – get it now
10 = Metaphysical product perfection

 

On the left is the main window, on the right is an open chat windowTrillian Astra
No ma’am, no names here, nothing to worry yourself about.

My Portable Apps

This is a post I wrote a couple of weeks ago, saved it as a draft on Windows Live Writer until I could get links, and promptly forgot about it:

I’ve got a couple portable apps (only one from the actual PortableApps website) that I like.  Here they are:

Highly Recommended

  • Defraggler
    The best disk defragmenter I’ve ever used.  My favorite function is the Defrag Selected Files feature, so I can defrag just, say, a few files I was moving around.  Also much faster than the Windows built-in defragmenter.
  • Revo Uninstaller
    I’ve raved about Revo before, see this post to see its awesomeness.
  • Everything
    A crazy powerful, crazy fast search engine for files on your computer.  See this post.

Other good ones

  • Portable Google Chrome
    I use this when I want my bookmarks on someone else’s computer, or when Firefox is having beta-derived issues.
  • Weird Metronome
    A really fun and easy-to-use beat maker.  See their website for yourself.
  • Portable Movie Maker
    Replaces all the stuff that Windows Live Movie Maker got rid of.  I don’t make too many movies, it doesn’t get a lot of use, still good to have for when I need it.  Also, my netbook’s built in Movie Maker is FUBAR’d.

Ones I don’t use too much, but are good to have.

  • ClamWin Portable
    Portable virus checking for files; I don’t use this much because I don’t download much on computers besides my own.  Still, good to have.
  • Tor Browser
    On days when I’m feeling paranoid, I use Tor Browser (It’s really just Firefox with built-in Tor).  Sadly, it’s slower than Chrome so I don’t use too often.  Anonymity’s good, though, when I want it.
  • EditPadLite
    A totally customizable version of Notepad; on my computer I use Notepad++ instead.  On other computers, I usually use it as a to-do list sort of thing.

SphereXPlorer

This is meant to be a browser where instead of tabs, it pulls up multiple windows and you can arrange them around a ‘sphere’. Good idea, not so great program.

Pros:
Good idea for a program.  Easy to resize and move your windows around. 

Cons:
Hard to see the tiny windows on my MSI Wind’s screen.  Issues with lag.  Leaves behind marks when you move or close a window.

Rating:  4 4/10

You can download it here, if you like.

About the ratings: 
I copied Wired Magazine’s rating system because I like and I think it works well.  Here’s the key:
1 = A complete failure in every way
2 = Barely functional – don’t get it
3 = Serious flaws, proceed with caution
4 = Downsides outweigh upsides
5 = Recommended with reservations
6 = A solid product with some issues
7 = Very good, but not great
8 = Excellent, with room to kvetch
9 = Nearly flawless – get it now
10 = Metaphysical product perfection

SphereXPlorer