Archive for the 'Gadget' Category



20
Jan
10

Non Destructive Partitioning For Windows 7 and Vista

A short time back I bought a small pocket hard drive – just a Western Digital 320GB USB version. The idea was to fill it with some music and movies and have it plugged into the Sony PS3. The idea was fine, I put the videos on the HDD and plugged it into the PS3 Slim but it didn’t see anything.

The problem I discovered was that the drive was formatted NTSF and I needed Fat32 that the Sony PS3 recognises. Windows 7 and Vista have basic HDD tools but I was not able to format the drive with out losing data.
So I searched for disk partition tools that can reformat and resize non destructively – that is, I can leave the data on it and not lose anything. Nortons version is probably the most known but has not been updated for ages and does not work above XP (don’t try it , it corrupts the disk in Vista, Win 7). To be honest I did not find many at all. I ended up finding a neat Free Partition Magic Alternative that works with Vista and Windows7 including 64bit versions. It is called Partition Wizard . And it is completely FREE!

free partition magic alternative for windows 7 and vista partition wizardOf course this is a program that hardly anyone ever really needs and if you do it is probably only once or twice. I installed, used it as I needed than uninstalled it. Being free is fantastic because I did not want to pay for something I would only use once. They do have a Bootable version that I could have used instead, I wonder how easy it would be to have a USB bootable version? If you need a Vista or Windows 7 version of Partition Magic then this is the one tool I recommend.

13
Dec
09

More Than 100 Best Tips, Secrets, Tricks, Hacks For Windows 7

Windows 7 has been around for a little while now and so far it is pretty good, the only gripe I have is Microsoft Australia are not offering a family pack (3 copies) like they do elsewhere. In fact one copy in Australia is more expensive than the three pack in the US – ripped off. (I have just found out that you can buy the family pack of windows 7 in Australia but it is only available for December?? and around the $240 mark)

Anyway, lots (well 100 or maybe 101) of tips and hints for Windows 7 here, some well known others not so.

Here it goes.

Right-click an empty part of the desktop and ,instead of needing to go through the display settings, you will find a menu entry to set your screen resolution.

Right-click the Explorer icon on the taskbar to get speedy access to the Windows folder, Documents and Pictures.

Generate an Energy Report. To create a report type powercfg -energy in a cmd window and it makes a report named energy-report.html in C:\Windows\system32. It shows you anything in your computer that keep the PC buzzing away wasting power.

How to Change the Background in WMP12. Run regedit and go to the key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\MediaPlayer\Preferences . Double click on the key LibraryBackgroundImage and enter a value between 0 and 6 (each number is a different style background).

Windows Logo+Left Arrow and Windows Logo+Right Arrow docks the window to the left or right edge of the screen.

Windows Logo+Up Arrow and Windows Logo+Down Arrow maximizes or minimizes the window.

Windows Logo+Shift+Up Arrow and Windows Logo+Shift+Down Arrow maximizes or restores the vertical size of the window.

Access hidden international themes, just type C:\Windows\Globalization\MCT in the search box and Enter. You will see folders of other countries themes.

Installing Win7 on a Netbook with a USB Memory Stick. Take a 4GB USB 2.0 flash/thumbdrive and format it in FAT32, then just copy an ISO image to the flashdrive by xcopy d:\ e:\ /d /e (where d: is the DVD drive and e: is the usb drive location).

Make a system repair disc straight after install just in case you have problems booting Win7 later. Just go to Start , Maintenance , Create a System Repair Disc, and then Windows 7 will build a bootable emergency disc.

The new Windows 7 calculator looks like my old Vista one, but if you use the Mode menu there are Stats and Programmer views. Also in the Options menu it has unit conversions (weight, length etc.), calculates dates and templates for calculating vehicle usage and loan rates etc.

WordPad has new formats you can save and open, now you can save or open Word2007 .docx and OpenDocument .odt formats.

Have the desktop wallpaper act as a slideshow. When choosing your desktop wallpaper picture just hold down Ctrl and click on as many pictures as you like. Then choose how the time delay they change and even choose shuffle and enjoy.

Change the power switch. Windows 7 shows a shut down button on the Start menu but to change it to something else just right-click the Start orb, choose Properties and set the power boot action to what you want.

Show hidden drives. Win7 no longer displays drives (mem cards for example) if they’re empty. If you want to see them go to Explorer, Tools, Folder Options, View and untick the Hide Empty Drives In The Computer Folder.

Alt + P displays or hides the Explorer preview pane

Windows Logo + G displays your gadgets in front of other windows

Windows Logo + + zooms in

Windows Logo + – zoom out

Make IE8 start faster by getting rid of slow add ons. Click Tools, Manage Add-ons, and check the Load Time in the right column, and you will quickly see which add on is slowing IE8 down.

If you want to use Windows 7’s XP mode you need to have the Win7 Pro, Ultimate, or Enterprise not Home plus you also have to have a CPU with hardware virtualization support. To find out if yours has download Steve Gibson’s Securable (it’s free).

You don’t need a seperate burner to burn ISO images anymore, Windows 7 now supports this. Just right click the ISO file and select Burn Disc Image, or easier just double click the ISO.

Calibrate your screen by typing dccw in the Start Menu. It steps you through adjustments of gamma, brightness, contrast, and colour of your screen.

You have already got an app open on your desktop and you want to run a second copy, just Shift and click its taskbar icon, and it will open a new instance. Another way (and easier) is to middle-click the taskbar icon.

To get Windows Live Messenger off the taskbar and back in the system tray where it should be, close Windows Live Messenger and edit the shortcut properties by choosing run in Windows Vista compatibility mode.

Run cttune.exe to tune up the Clear Type font display. You will get the text looking perfect on your screen.

If you work on the same folder often, in Explorer right-click Favourites on the left-hand menu, and choose Add to Favourites. It then appears at the bottom of your favourites list for quick access.

For the visually impaired the Windows 7 Magnifier has two options for providing a bigger display. One is a dock and the other being a rectangular maggy lens that is stuck to the cursor.

You can rearrange the system tray icons, just drag them to the order you want on the tray or you can even move them outside (and back again) the tray.

How to disable or uninstall IE8 in Windows 7. Click on the Start Menu and go to Control Panel and find Programs and Features. Click on the Turn Windows features on or off link on the left side and uncheck the box next to Internet Explorer 8.

Disable Aero Shake in Windows 7. Run regedit.exe and find the key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows , right-click on the Windows key and make a new key called Explorer, right-click on the right-hand side and make a new 32-bit DWORD with these details Name: NoWindowMinimizingShortcuts , Value: 1 .

Add Videos to the Start Menu by just a right-click Start, select Properties then click Customize. Choose Display as a link in the Videos section near the bottom.

Windows 7 Paint the Ribbon UI, which lets you customise it and has the great live formatting previews.It also has new brush strokes, shapes, and grid support.

Control Panel has a new tool that allows you to save your usernames and passwords, it’s called Credential Manager. These credentials are saved in a Vault, that can be backed up.

Use BitLocker To Go to encrypt data on USB memory stick or other removable storage device, with a digital certificate or a password for access.

Turn Your Windows 7 Laptops Into Wi-Fi Hotspots. Microsoft’s Windows 7 has something called Virtual WiFi that makes one wireless card act as several separate one. Just go and use the free software Connectify and make you notebook/laptop/netbook into a Wi Fi Hotspot for free.

Install the best free antivirus/security suite for Windows 7. Just install Microsofts own Security Essentials, free , fast and does the job well.

Install Windows 7 on your Netbook. Use IMGburn to convert your Setup DVD to an ISO. Copy the ISO to a USB memory key by using Microsofts Windows 7 USB DVD Download Tool. Reboot the netbook and boot off of the USB mem key and follow the instruction to install.

You can move windows across multiple monitors without having to minimize or shrink the window first.

Pin up the folders you use most to your taskbar. Just hold your mouse over the folder, click and drag it onto the taskbar. Windows 7 automatically pins it to the Explorer Jump List.

Change the order of your Taskbar by simply dragging them to whatever order you desire. And you can launch the first five icons with a simple keystroke: just by pressing Windows+1, windows+2 etc.

Windows 7 automatically reduces screen brightness after a period of inactivity (a bit like mobile phones do) but Windows 7 adapts to your activity. For example, if the screen dims after 30 seconds and you immediately move the mouse to brighten the display, Windows 7 will wait 60 seconds before dimming the display again. Good when watching videos – actually I am sure my Vista does this as well.

On the Windows 7 Start Menu, the default power option is a simple shut down and that is what I want. Bit, if you want something else, you can simply change it to default to Switch User, Log Off, Lock, Restart, or Sleep. All you do is Right click on the Start button, Properties, Start Menu tab, choose the Power Button Action that you want. A lot better than how to change the shutdown button in Vista

Windows 7 includes a great taskbar preview feature where, if you hover over an open program’s taskbar icon, a preview pops up and where you can switch to or even close the program. By default you have to hover over the icon for a short time (400milliseconds) for it to pop up. I would like it a bit quicker and you can do it by a registry change. Just get into regedit, and go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER -> Control Panel -> Mouse. Double-click on MouseHoverTime, and set the value, in milliseconds (say, 200) to whatever you want. Click OK and exit and restart.

Well that is it, I am not counting to see if there are 100 tips and hints for Windows 7 but it must be close. I will keep adding more when I come across them.

28
May
09

Out Now, Windows Vista Service Pack 2

I have just turned on my Toshiba notebook at home and it popped up saying a new Windows update is available (I don’t have it on auto as I like to see what the updates are). Anyway, the update is 343.9MB , wow big, and it says it is Windows Vista SP2, yes service pack 2.

I haven’t heard any rumours about another service pack coming up for Vista. I wonder if it will improve performance, probably not because they would want Windows 7 to look the best when it comes out soon.

Well it’s downloading now, 12% complete, so I will see what has changed and if it has made any difference for me.

Anyone out there knew there was a Vista SP2 coming out now?windows vista sp2 service pack 2 install goldcoaster

Continue reading ‘Out Now, Windows Vista Service Pack 2’

19
Mar
09

Dell Australias Outragous Adamo Price

Just a quick update on my previous Australian Adamo post. The Adamo price in the US is $1999 which is about AUD2900 but here Dell has decided that the base model Adamo (the 1.2GHz model) will be AUD$3700 – what! The other model is AUD$4300 – super crazy and price gouging the public I think.

Australia also doesn’t get the higher spec white model either. By the way , the $4300 model has wireless broadband internet but only Vodaphone is an option and their coverage isn’t that good.

I have bought Dells before and have been very happy with them but no Dell, absolutely no Dell, computer is worth those prices. The lesser spec Apple Air seems a bargain by comparison – well nearly.

17
Mar
09

Dell Adamo Notebook Out Now For Australia

I am not sure how many people have heard of Dell computers amazing looking Adamo notebook PC, I only heard of it the other day. Dells release date is today and you can have a look at it on their Adamo website. I think it is pronounced Ah Dah Mo.

dell adamo notebook computer Australia

The notebook looks amazing, made of milled aluminium like some of the Apple notebooks and super thin – thinner than Apples Air PC !wow! A 13.4 inch HD screen that is flat glass to the edge, a fair number of ports and includes adaptors to use them (no extra cost I think) – eSata is great, my Toshiba has it and I connect my External HDD to it (and it can be used as a normal USB if needed) and the whole thing only .6inches thin (the air was a fat .76 🙂 ) .

The packaging is very iPod like and a first I would think for notebook marketing, I am betting others start doing it soon. The outer faces of the aluminium are an etched finish and look superb. A backlit keyboard with nice scalloped keys, I wish my current notebook had backlit keys, including my Netbook. Dell say the Adamo will get about 5 hours on the battery, not bad if true.

There are a few photos around but not many, I have taken stills from the Adamo video and it’s in black and white. Actually the computer will be available in two colours as well, Onyx and Pearl (black and white really).dell adamo notebook computer unbox goldcoaster Australia

The price will be around $1,999 US, not sure about Australian prices for the Adamo, hope it is not too bad as I would like to buy one if it is cheap enough with the Australian dollar as it is. Continue reading ‘Dell Adamo Notebook Out Now For Australia’

03
Feb
09

A new phone, N96 or C905

I am on the hunt for a new mobile phone. Yes, it’s called a  mobile phone not cell phone in my country 🙂

Here is a view/ review (written in good old sales script) on a couple of good looking phones, not bad at all but maybe a bit too over the top for me. The Sony Ericsson c905 is a little smaller than the Nokia N96 and feels nicer in the hand. Let me know what phone you think, remember data plans are super expensive here in Australia, especially Telstras network (at least double of others) so things like the iPhone are out.

nokia-n96-and-sony-ericsson-c905

Nokia N96

Some people are looking for a phone that’s just a phone. But if you’re looking for a phone that has more tools than Inspector Gadget, then you’ve found it right here. Offering superior features and multiple applications, this phone will keep you entertained with big-time fun that’s small enough to fit into your hand.
Photo quality is fantastic thanks to a 5 megapixel Carl Zeiss lens, autofocus and dual LED flash. Ever wanted to share a great place with your friends, but have found it hard to relay exactly where it is? Switch on ‘geo-tagging’ to add the geographical location to any photograph you take. Friends can use this information to locate your recommended destinations while travelling or out-and-about in town.
The Nokia N96 features an FM radio and music player with dedicated music and gaming keys.Listen through your own headphones or enjoy full-bodied sound through built-in stereo speakers. Sporting an unbelievable 16 gigabytes of internal memory, you’d have a hard time trying to fill it up, but for those who like to max out their phone’s capacity, the microSD slot will take up to 16 gigabytes on top.
On the practical side, the N96 features easy email set-up with document viewer, wi-fi internet and an in-depth organiser. Speaker phone is clear, as is call quality and messaging is straightforward and intuitive.

Sony Ericsson C905

You’d curse yourself for not bringing your camera. Who would believe you without proof? Enter the 8 megapixel Sony Ericsson C905 for immediate image capture. This brilliant auto-focus camera phone takes only a second to open so you won’t miss another once-in -a-lifetime moment. With heaps of settings and the Xenon flash illuminating even the darkest environment ,your photos will be of stunning quality. Immediately send them via MMS to mobiles or email addresses to spread the wprd of your discovery!

The music player is very similar to the Sony Ericsson Walkman phones, playing a variety of file types with MegaBass equaliser and stereo Widener.The FM radio features the TrackID system which traces the artist and song title of any radio song that you like. A new innovation of this system is the “Find similar music” function to recommend similar songs to the one you have traced.

It’s certainly not lacking in communication advancements either. The Manage Message feature helps to organise your messages by sorting into Business, Follow Up, Important, or create your own categories. You can also sort by sender and store on the phone or transfer to the included 2GB memory card. Call quality is great and you can count on long battery. The phone also features GPS navigation and Google Maps. So map out where the action is and get yourself there with this image-hungry essential for any photo fan.

18
Nov
08

Pokemon Master – A World Record

world record pokemon collector

Just doing a little web surfing and came across the Guiness Book Of Records site. Lots to read there, some interesting, some fascinating, some just weird. Anyway , I found a bit of a weird one.

This woman is called Pikabellechu (not sure what her real name is) and she is one mad Pokemon collector. She has collected more than 8000 Pokemon memorabilia, all Pikachu, even has a Pikachu shaped VW bug – she says its an official Pokemon car – can’t see how unless she works for Nintendo. Wow, ten long years to collect all this and I would think many thousands of dollars as well. She has a bumber sticker in one photo saying “Pokemon Put Me in the Poorhouse”.

Now, my son really likes Pokemon games on his NDS plus some online pokemon games like his one time favourite Pokemon Crater but games and being a crazy collector are two completely different things.

Takes all types I guess and I guess she really likes doing what she is doing.

01
Oct
08

Review Top 10 Best Online Multiple-Services Blog Pingers

Blog and Ping! Blog and Ping! I have read about doing this to increase your blogs popularity. I don’t know how true it is but I thought I would list what I think are the Top 10 Online Multiple-Services Blog Pingers. The Best there is.

So what does pinging do? Well a Blog Pinger lets a service, which tracks and connects to blogs, to know you have updated you blog (made a new post) so they can come and visit to check you out. In other words they crawl and index your site, publishing your blogs contents, and in turn increase your blog’s popularity. I have used Pingomatic and as it goes it is pretty good but maybe too many bloggers use it because, for me, it does not connect sometimes.

So I have put Pingomatic as one but what are other alternatives to Pingomatic, the other 9 of the top 10 Best Online Multiple-Services Blog Pingers?

goldcoaster pingomatic Top 10 Online Multiple-Services Blog Pingers

Ping-o-Matic is one of the best known blog ping services around. It pings to 19 general services and 5 specialised services. It says on the site they regularly check downstream services to make sure that they’re legit and still work. So while it may appear like they have fewer services, they’re the most important ones.

goldcoaster-blogblip-top-10-online-multiple-services-blog-pingersBlogBlip is the big one for me. No fancy logo – It currently sends pings to 44 web services plus it says you can request addition of more directories to its list using the form on the site. Not all services work (well not for me) but still, it’s very, very good.

goldcoaster feed shark Best Online Multiple-Services Blog Pingers

Feed Shark Is number three. It pings 16 services that accept blogs as well as 12 services that accept RSS feeds and a further 8 services that accept podcasts. Impressive and with a neat page that shows your submission status on the same page as the entry.

goldcoaster-autoping-top-10-best-online-multiple-services-blog-pingers

Autopinger is a little different from most. It handles the pinging task for you automatically, Autopinger will check your blogs and podcast feeds every 30 mins. and if you have posted it then pings a variety of services (25 English services , almost as many non english) – no need to manually ping. (well, if you need to ping immediately you can do manual pinging as well).

goldcoaster-kingping-top-10-best-online-multiple-services-blog-pingers

King Ping is a free automatic pinging service that makes pinging faster and easier for bloggers and online publishers. A huge 57 web services are available.

goldcoaster-pingates-top-10-best-online-multiple-services-blog-pingers

PinGates has 44 pinging services listed and notifies them to auto-ping your blog. Neat layout and works well for me. This site has been around for a while now.

GoldCoaster MyPageRank Top 10 Best Online Multiple-Services Blog Pingers

MyPageRank Ping is a very simple pinging service – well to be honest they are all simple aren’t they – and it pings 25 different services.

GoldCoaster PingIN Top 10 Best Online Multiple-Services Blog Pingers

Ping.IN is another blog ping service that notifies Blog Services like Blog Search Engines and directories that your blog has been updated. This lets them index your blog fast and make your content available for larger audiences ie: more popular.

goldcoaster ipings ping service

iPings is just a plain old ping service. Pinging around 31 services. the reason I have included it here is probably because of the Apple type name 🙂

goldcoaster-pingoat-top-10-best-online-multiple-services

Pingoat – a strange name but is another site that pings a number of services that keep track of weblogs and publish them. By pinging, you let the services know that your blog has been updated and so, they crawl and index your site, publishing your blog contents, and then increasing your blog’s popularity. I have to say this is not my favourite.

20
Jun
08

Telstra to offer iPhone – Australian plan prices revealed?

iphone plans in australiaI am thinking that for sure Telstra is going to have the iPhone now. I have read news reports that Telstra were struggling with Apple about wanting their own applications on the iPhone and not the standard ones that all iPhones have.

And costs for the Australian iPhone , no one is saying but…. I have a little information by way of a survey emailed to me. I have screenshots of the survey, not all questions but the most revealing ones. At first I didn’t know it was Telstra in the survey but guessed by the questions (asking about Yellow pages on the iPhone…) – and the last screen said the survey was for Telstra.

Notice the price mentioned – $220 plus $80 per month, no mention of data included and no questions about data at all so who knows what you get for $80 per month. It did also ask what the maximum I would expect to pay.

Anyway this looks like the first hint at plan prices from an Australian carrier for the iPhone.

 

 

iphone australia plans

13
Jun
08

Charge your iPod with an Onion

I was just surfing around trying to find some little science project for my young son to do at school and came across this youtube vid on how to charge your Apple  iPod with just an onion and some gatorade, of all things.

Amazing! I’ll have to try this myself now.




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