Archive for April, 2008

New version of PC Decrapifier

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

If you get a new PC (especially a notebook ... cough *Toshiba* ... cough *Sony* cough ...) then you're definitely going to need to get your hands on the latest version of PC Decrapifier.

PC DecrapifierPC Decrapifier does one job and it does this job well - it remove programs from new computers running Windows XP or Vista that the makers thought you'd want.  You know, stuff like AOL, Google Toolbar, and trial version of security software such as Norton AntiVirus.  Few people who buy a new PC actually want this stuff (lovingly referred to as craplets) installed on their PCs, but manually uninstalling all of it can be tedious.  This new version PC Decrapifier takes all the strain out of removing this junk and gives you a much cleaner, snappier Windows experience.

PC Decrapifier is a free download so cleaning your PC won't cost you a penny!

Kaspersky’s annoying “screeching pig” sound

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

I don't personally use Kaspersky AV, but some of the systems here do run it. Kaspersky makes a pretty good desktop AV product, but there's one aspect of the program that I really, REALLY hate. That's the screeching pig noise that the software makes when a threat is detected. I wouldn't mind so much if the sound only played when it detected malware (because it wouldn't go off that often), but it's also triggered by phishing emails and the like, and it's a sound that I'm hearing with increasing regularity.

Want to sample this sound for yourself? Here's the sound. I warn you though, it's unpleasant!

Kaspersky_logoNow, you might be thinking that I'm ranting over nothing here and that it's just a matter of checking a box to get rid of this awful racket. Oh no, it's not that easy. If it were, this sound would have been history a long time ago. After some Googling I found this on Kaspersky's own support forum:

1) going into settings-service,
2) untick "enable self defense",
3) go to C:\Program Files\Kaspersky Lab\Your Kaspersky product here\Skin\sounds\
4) replace infected.wav sound with sound of your choice.
5) re enable self defense.

Um, sorry, but why am I going to all this hassle over a stupid sound? What's the matter with offering a checkbox to turn the sound off, or add it to the Windows sounds scheme? And why add unnecessary steps to the installation and admin process? I just don't get it. A solution like this is of no use to the average user (and under Vista you have the added hassle of having to content with countless UAC prompts).

Having read through the thread on the Kaspersky support forum it is clear to me that the moderators are quite attached to this noise. I'm not. I'm pretty sure that each time it goes off that my life has been shortened by it. I can do without that.

After a little more digging around we did find a whole raft of event notification settings, but there's little help to tell me which one (or ones) are linked to the pig noise. Just to be safe I think I'll disable all the sounds on all systems that have Kaspersky running. That said, binning the software is starting to feel like the simplest option.

Kasp7eventnotifset

I'm not draconian, but my patience with this sound is wearing thin. Very thin! If Kaspersky doesn't come to its senses over this issue by the time our current license expires then Kaspersky AV will join Norton AntiVirus and BitDefender in the digital dumpster. Either Kaspersky wants to sell a security product, or it wants to mess around with moronic noises. With a free solution you get what you pay for and this kind of thing might be acceptable, but this is a commercial solution, and I don't like what I'm paying for any more. Time for Kaspersky to make a choice.

My favorite Windows Mobile 6 applications

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

The other day I picked up two ETen M800 Glofiish cellphones with the idea of doing more while carrying less. The M800 has a nice slide-out keyboard, a build-in GPS receiver, a microSD slot that's SDHC compatible (so you can use bit 4GB+ storage cards) and a whole host of other cool stuff. And the advantage of a Windows Mobile smartphone over, say, the iPhone is that I can augment it with additional software without any jailbreaking hassles.

So, over the past few days I've been taking a look at different applications for the Windows Mobile platform and come across a few applications which have impressed me.

Opera Mobile

Internet Explorer on the Windows Mobile platform is ... how can I put this gently ... awful. I decided to give IE the shove and install Opera Mobile. Unlike the desktop version of Opera, this isn't free (after the 30 day trial it costs $24) but I just can't live with poorly rendered web pages. I also like the tabs available in Opera.

For me, Opera Mobile is a must!

Price: $24

Resco Explorer 2007

If I didn't use my M800 as a mobile file storage device I could probably do without Resco Explorer 2007, but I handle a lot of different files so I find this utility handy. Not only does Resco Explorer 2007 offer a really powerful file manager that can handle advanced tasks such as ZIP compression, encryption and network browsing. Also available is a powerful registry editor (which I've already used to change the user agent of the browser) and a handy "send to folder" add-in.

Price: $29.95

Resco Backup

Once I've invested time into setting up my smartphone, the last thing I want to happen is for a crash to lose me my settings. This means that I need a good backup tool. The device came with a backup tool but this only seemed to handle documents and not system settings and so on. Enter Resco Backup. This utility makes backing up a snap. Not only that, but I can carry out both full and partial restores if (or when) problems strike. Also, the utility copies the unpacker to the location of your backup to make restoration of your device even easier. A nice touch!

Price: $19.95

Resco Keyboard Pro

One aspect of the Windows Mobile platform that I've disliked for many incarnations of the platform is the on-screen keyboard. I'm no fan of the iPod touch/iPhone keyboard either but at least it does offer some hope at thumb typing.

So, out of frustration I gave Resco Keyboard pro a try. At $19.95 it's a bit on the expensive side, but it has certainly boosted my productivity so I'm not too sore from the price. Oddly enough, I'm now using an iPhone-style keyboard on my Windows smartphone.

Price: $19.95

Atomic Cannon

No coverage would be complete without a game!  I'm not sure how I came to find Atomic Cannon, but once played this game is hard to put down!

The game is simple, but like most simple games, it's fiendishly addictive! Go on, download the demo for yourself (available for XP/Vista, Windows Mobile and Mac OS X)! It took me about two minutes to decide to buy the full version!

Price: $19.95

XP SP3 now available for download from Microsoft

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

If you've been patiently waiting for XP SP3 to be available for download, your wait is now over. Here's the direct download link for XP SP3 from Microsoft.

The download is 316MB (MD5 hash: bb25707c919dd835a9d9706b5725af58) and contains some 1,100 hotfixes and patches. This seems to be the same file that I've been seeing on download sites such as MajorGeeks.

For more information on XP SP3 check out the following:

No official word from Microsoft yet, but once there is, I'll update this post.

Getting help with the Office 2007 Ribbon

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

My ZDNet blogging buddy Ed Bott has come across a nugget of gold for anyone using Office 2007 and finding the new ribbon to be, well, confusing. The download is the new Office Search Commands add-in for Word 2007, Excel 2007 and PowerPoint 2007.

Office_2007_ribbon_help

I've grown to like the Office 2007 Ribbon over the time that I've been using it but I have to admit that there are times when I'm left wondering where a new feature is hidden (mostly when I'm using Excel). Hopefully this will make things a lot easier for me!

Oh, and like Ed says, this add-in seems to work fine on 64-bit Vista too (not tried it on XP 64-bit thought ...).

Good find Ed!