Sunday, August 31, 2008

Back to Ubuntu

A while back I fooled around with ubuntu (Linux OS) without much success. After installing another version(Backtrack 3) onto a friends laptop I decided to give it another try. I stuck with ubuntu because I was somewhat familiar with it and seemed most versatile. The biggest hangup I had was configuring my wireless internet to work with it. Being an internet junkie a computer without internet connection is like a car with no engine. It may look nice but it can't(at least not without pushing) go very far.

OF course as my luck would have my wireless card is not Linux friendly so I had to use the Linux program called ndiswrapper to use my Windows wifi card. Of course being relatively new to Linux I had to figure it out by scratch. By some trial and error I at last was connected to the world. I was a very happy camper as the saying goes. I now have a use for my old Compaq PC I've had lying around. So far I've found ubuntu very interesting. Perhaps I can piece together a how-to out of it(wireless hookup) soon if I can remember how I did it. Anyway back to exploring ubuntu...

Saturday, August 30, 2008

InPrivate in IE 8


I recently downloaded Internet Explorer 8 Beta to try out. Most of the time I use Firefox but it's interesting to see what the competition is doing too. One item I found out about was the InPrivate feature which is also called for Porn Mode by the the internet community for obvious reason. What InPrivate does is open a separate window and you browse as normal. The difference is when you close it out it also clears out your temp files,browser history cookies and such. Pretty much erasing what you've been looking and searching for. A perfect mode for those exploring the darkside of the internet. I made a short video of how to use this neat feature. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

How to fix or recover User Account in XP

I came along this article by Greg Shultz of TechRepublic that goes along with my recent video on User accounts. A very good read if you've had your User Account come up with an error or become corrupt and your unable to recover or log on to your account with all your precious data.

How-to: Buying a computer case

I saw this one and thought of my discussion about building a PC. This is from PCMech which is one of my favorite sites. I was going to do something similar but they beat me to it. Well as the saying goes if you can't beat them, join them so here it goes...


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Installing Backtrack 3 to dual boot with XP


I was recently asked to upgrade a laptop's drive(Dell Lattitude D600) from an 80Gb to a 120 Gb and to install Backtrack 3(Linux) in a dual boot with Windows XP. Backtrack 3 is a Linux distribution focusing on wireless security. The website for it is here called Remote Exploit. After I had successfully cloned the drive over using XXClone software, my next task was to configure the dual boot. I first tried to find some video's on Youtube on the subject or at least some instruction on the web. Though I did find some, many were a bit confusing even contradicting. 90% were for Ubuntu which though similar wasn't quite the same setup. For some reason didn't even think to try main website (Remote Exploit) so I ended up there and sure enough I found a tutorial video on dual booting XP and Backtrack. This was done by one of the developers Mati Aharoni(user: muts). It's a good tutorial though he's a bit quick though. I had to stop the video several times to follow along. I basically copied how he did it. Needless to say it was successful and the laptop now is configured to dual boot both Windows XP and Backtrack 3. There were a few moments when I held my breath because of a couple of goofs(though mostly my fault, Mati did a couple too) one was one line that had something like "root/root/" and all that was needed was one "root/" command. There were a couple of other's but I can't remember them(sorry).

I was happy that I was successful though it was tedious entering all the settings manually. It's not for the faint of heart. Most importantly(Even Mati emphasizes this) is to have a backup. I had just cloned the drive so basically I had a backup in case I messed up. You should too if you attempt this. Also if you attempt this I suggest have a good chunk of time and coupled with a whole lot of patience.

Source: Wiki page for Backtrack 3

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Windows XP User Accounts - The Movie!!

My latest video is about User Accounts in Windows XP Pro. I hope you'll enjoy it!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Importing photo's to Picasa

In this tutorial I go over the process of importing your photo's to Picasa. Hope you enjoy.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Is Building a PC Worth It Anymore?

David Risley of PCMech(aka:PC Mechanic) asked this question on his website. He brought up some good points. Below was the comment that I left.


I personally feel it’s worth it to build your own. Then again I like building stuff. For someone who’s looking to make a business out of building PC’s that’s a different story. It’s tough to compete with the big boys(HP, Dell, Sony etc..)on price(well except for Apple but they are a different breed). What you can do (like others have said) is to use the higher quality parts. Less bloatware from the manufacturer. A higher degree of customization is possible if you build it your self.

You could compare it to buying a classic car/hot rod. Do you buy one that someone else done all the work already and turn the key? Or do you buy something you’ll need to restore and rebuild the way you want it?To me if you’ve got the time, space, money and desire to build a PC, go for it. It’s a great feeling to get it all together and it fires up.

Picnik at Flickr

I use Flickr to share my photo's. Sometimes before editing or touching them up. A nice feature on Flickr is the ability to edit photo's you've already uploading them. The software they use to do this is called Picnik. Here's a demo I shot of it.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Video #3 - Lightscribe

I'm having a lot of fun with Camtasia Studio's 5 software producing video. The only downside is that it takes quite awhile to produce a video and that my computer struggles to keep up. This time the subject is on using Lightscribe to label your CD's and DVD's. You can also check out my "How-to" post on using Lightscribe here.I hope you enjoy the video and find it helpful.


video

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Video #2 - Picasa

I did this next video on using Picasa. I hope it's a little better than the last. I ordered a new headset w/microphone. Hopefully that will help. Enjoy the video!
video

Saturday, August 16, 2008

First video

This is the long anticipated video from Bob Productions starring Bob. Directed,produced,edited,spliced and botched by Bob. Well it was a long process but I managed to put something together. Forgive the production value but hey it's my first try. You may have to pump up the volume a bit during my narrative. I tend to be soft spoken plus the microphone I use is weak and cheap. I'm planning to get a new set up soon which I hope will help with that. Thanks for coming by.
video

First video in production

I almost had my first video demonstration done but technical difficulties (and real time job, yes I do have one) have postponed release. I can tell it's being produced using Camtasia Studio 5. I'll be trying it out for 30 days. At a hefty $300(I'm sorry $299) price tag I'll have to just enjoy the free trial. I hope to have the first release within 24 hours or so. Steven Speilberg can rest easy for another day. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

How to build a PC - Part 3





Case and Power Supply

I remember back in my earlier years working at a (now defunct) department store that sold PC's. You'd look at the rows of beige and white PC towers and go "Wow!". Those days are long gone . PC's now come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and colors. Even though most people may not want the flashiest or "pimped" out PC they probably want something that looks simple yet modern looking. I'll go over some of the things to look for here.




The most common type of PC found is probably of the tower variety. Sizes go from "Mini" all the way to full size tower. They generally fit your standard PC parts and accessories. Also available are the small form factor PC's which are smaller but use more specialized parts and are harder to build from scratch. The standard PC will fit ATX and Mini ATX motherboards and all add on cards like video, sound, network adapter etc... Prices usually start at $25 and up. The design and features are up to yourself. Build quality generally follows price but not good taste in design. It's all in the eye of the beholder as the saying goes. Cheaper cases though generally use cheaper plastic parts and have sharp edges which can catch you while installing parts so be aware. They will usually come with a power cord, manual, screws and other related hardware.



Size of the case may also effect what you purchase for parts in the future. If you use a mini ATX motherboard in a full size case you may find that your cables run short. Also if you buy a case too small you may be limiting your ability to upgrade or add on in the future. So as the saying goes size does matter.

Some cases you purchase may or may not come already with a power supply already installed. Be aware that these may not be of top quality and/or are underpowered. Which may cause issues in the future. If you find a case you like but, don't like the power supply you can always upgrade this. I believe 500 watt units are standard power for newer PC's. look for power supplies that are ATX12V standard. This is the newer standard that's replacing the previous ATX standard for power supplies. Don't be to worried they are backwards compliant for older systems if you looking to replace/upgrade an older unit.

The choice for power supply can be one of the most overlooked of building a PC. The choice of power supply can effect your decisions on what you can build. Look for the number and length of cables and connectors. There are many connector types such as 20/24-pin power,floppy,4-pin ATX12V, 4-pin Molex, 6-pin PCI Express graphics, 8-pin PCI Express graphics and so on. Keep in mind of the size of your case when looking the length of your cables. Especially should you use a full size case. It would sure be frustrating to find out later that your cables are to short when your assembling your PC.

These were some of the general things to look for . My goal wasn't overwhelm anyone with technical jargon or specifications that only the true geeky would understand or need to know. Thanks for coming by and I hope you'll return.

Source: Power Supply Guide - About.com

Monday, August 11, 2008

How to build a PC - Part 2

Of course your going to need some basic tools. What you need isn't expensive or hard to find. Kits are sold in many places where computers are sold and they are relatively cheap. It's good idea to have this ahead of time before starting your project. The basic tools I've found to be needed are:

  • Screwdriver
  • Phillips head screwdriver- The majority of screws used for PC's are of the this variety. It also maybe handy to have some Torx head screwdrivers too. They aren't too common but, they are out there.
  • Tweezers - These are handy to use with jumpers and the occasional fallen screw.
  • Screw extractor- These are necessary for finding those screws or jumpers the inevitably fall in the nooks and crannies of you case.
  • Magnify glass - A pair of reading glasses will do the trick too. Necessary at times to reading not only the multi-language manuals but also to reading items on motherboard(or expansion cards, jumper settings on a hard drive etc.).
  • Lighting - It's important to have well lit area to work in. A flashlight would be a good idea too.
  • ESD wrist strap - It's important to guard against static(or ESD) while assembling your masterpiece. You can also use an anti-static mat too. These are relatively inexpensive and is cheap insurance against losing that expensive piece of electronicThese are due to static. I will get this more deeply further on.
  • Something to hold the screws- An old egg carton works great for this. You will be dealing many screws, spacers, jumpers etc.. They have a way to fall on the floor out of sight reach just before you need them the most.

These are the basic items I believe you'll need to assemble a PC. It's also a good idea before you begin to gather necessary manuals,instructions, and software related to you hardware before beginning. Just have them in a handy spot because nothings more frustrating than searching franticly for a CD or manual for a piece of hardware you just installed at the last minute. One last thing thing to bring is patience. Nothing worse than getting frustrated or hot headed over this. If you find yourself getting flustered take a break and come back to it. I have found when I get too focused and angered (yes it does happen) that taking a break can clear the mind and allows me to come back refreshed. It's not rocket science to put these together and most anyone with a some degree of mechanical ability can do this I believe. Well that's all for now and thanks for coming by.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Project: How to Build a PC


Lately I've had the itch to build a new personal computer(PC). So lately I've been going over what is needed to build one. I've built a few but it's been awhile since I've done it so I'd thought I'd go over it and share it here. I don't really find it that hard and think it's fun to build something. The hardest part(I believe) is researching and making sure the pieces will match up.

The major considerations you've got to consider are: What is going to be the main purpose of the PC. Is it going to be a gaming machine, home/office use, low budget or a combination of the above. The another consideration is how much your build budget is and how much time you've got to devote to it. Also whether to use new or used parts. Another consideration that may be a no brainer but, to decide whether you can build one.

Well if you've decided to take a project on I've broken down the project into the major components. Internal Hardware,external hardware and software(operating system etc.).

Internal Hardware:
  • Case
  • PSU(or Power Supply Unit)
  • Motherboard(or system board)
  • Memory (or RAM, Random-Access-Memory)
  • Graphics card(or video card)
  • Hard drive
  • Processor(or CPU)
  • Networking(WiFi etc...)
  • Floppy drive
External Hardware:

  • Keyboard
  • Mouse
  • Monitor
  • Speakers
  • Microphone
  • Webcam
Software:

  • Operating System(Windows, Linux etc...)
  • Drivers for hardware(usually included with hardware when purchased)
  • Utility Software(antivirus,antispyware, firewall etc..)
This is the list I came up with. I'm sure I've probably left something out. My goal in the coming weeks and month's to go over each one of these more in depth as I go along. I'll share my research and thoughts on each subject and perhaps help someone else along the way. Thanks for coming by and I hope you'll return.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Randy Pausch Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dream

If you haven't seen this yet I would urge you to do so. Randy Paush gave this lecture last year and has since past away this year from cancer. It's a very moving and inspirational lecture.

Google "Street view" vehicle busted in Britain


Apparently an official Google "Street view" vehicle was caught using a bus lane in England recently. This and other incidents have caused some controversy across the pond. These guys were stopped by the local authorities but managed to talk there way out. I thought it was kind of humorous. I've never seen one in person but the "Street view" of our house show's us having our garage sale last fall. We almost caught them.

Friday, August 1, 2008

What is "Yahoo!" ?

Yahoo! actually does stand for something. According to David Filo and Jerry Yang it stands for "Yet Another Hierarchical Oficious Oracle". Say that five times fast. As you may(or not) know David and Jerry started Yahoo! in the mid 90's as a web directory of the then infancy of the world wide web. The original name of "David's and Jerry's Guide of the World Wide Web" just didn't have a catchy ring to it. Little did David and Jerry think that they'd be a part of Forbes 400 wealthiest men today. Paul Gil goes into more detail here at About.com.