Archive for November, 2009

HandBrake 0.9.4 released … Good tool gets better

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

DVD ripper Handbrake has seen an update.

Lots of new features:

  • 64-bit build
  • Live preview
  • Quality-based encoding

We also get big promises:

"There's an old proverb in the video encoding world: "Speed, size, quality: pick two." It means that you always have to make a trade-off between the time it takes to encode a video, the amount of compression used, and the picture quality. Well, this release of HandBrake refuses to compromise. It picks all three."

Neat! I'll take it for a spin later.

Thanksgiving Tech Tips

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

Stuffed on turkey and doped up on tryptophan? How about some tech to clear the head! Wanna thank you Mom for that wonderful meal? How about a little tip of tech tidy-up!

(If you're a Mom reading this, then print it out and leave it somewhere conspicuous! )

Here are a few idea. Use a few or use them all, it's up to you!

  1. Clean out the hard disk junk!
    This will free up hundreds of megs of disk space! Click Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Cleanup
    Disk Cleanup - Vista Disk Cleanup - Vista Disk Cleanup - Vista
  2. Error check the drive and defragment!
    Open up Windows Explorer and right-click on the hard drive and choose Properties. Click on the Tools tab and there you will find buttons for Error-checking and Defragmentation.
    Properties - Vista
  3. Get your Mom decent email address!
    I like Gmail and I'm certain that your Mom will too! The interface is pretty easy to use and the spam filter excellent!
  4. Set up an IM program!
    Take your pick - there's plenty to choose from! Best to try to standardize everyone onto the one platform, but if different members of the family use different IM programs then you might want to give Trillian a spin.
  5. Install antivirus!
    Microsoft Security Essentials is a good, free and nag-free solution.
  6. Update browsers and plugins 
    Update all the browsers and let your Mom choose which one she likes best. Firefox | Opera | Internet Explorer | Chrome
    Remember also to check whatever browsers are installed for updates (and add-ons), as well as Java, QuickTime and Flash.
  7. Windows Update/Microsoft Update!
    You know what to do but your Mom might not! Make sure that you also check that things like QuickTime and Flash are also updated because these get real old real fast.
  8. Backup!
    How you pull this off will depend on what kind of media your Mom has (take over your external burner if you have one and she doesn't!). A good (and free!) backup tool is Back4Win.
  9. Introduce your Mom to the wonders of RSS web feeds/Twitter/Facebook!
    Whatever your Mom is into, there's bound to be ways she can better keep her finger on the pulse. Imagine all the fun your Mom can be having with RSS, Twitter and Facebook!

Check out my "Turkey Day" tech support kit on Hardware 2.0.

Flashback to a bit of tech fun ...

Apple ads dodge the network coverage issues

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Posted @Hardware 2.0:

According to the folks at Engadget, Apple will tonight roll out two new ads that counter Verizon’s attack on the iPhone and the AT&T network it is bound to.


Law firm interested in hearing from banned Xbox Live gamers

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Posted @Hardware 2.0:

A US law firm is keen to hear from Xbox gamers recently banned from Microsoft Xbox Live.


Free Tool: VIPRE PC Rescue Program

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

I find it very handy to carry around with me a portable antivirus scanner that I can use to clean up any infected PCs that I come across.

My favorite tool of choice is Sunbelt Software's VIPRE PC Rescue Program.

The VIPRE Rescue Program is a command-line utility that will scan and clean an infected computer that is so infected that programs cannot be easily run.

The VIPRE Rescue Program is packaged into a self-extracting executable file (.exe) that prompts the user for an "unpack" or installation location, then starts the scanner and performs a deep scan. The user can start the program either by opening it via windows or from the command line.

Virus definitions are included, and the program is self-running once executed. The initial scan, and all subsequent scans, include Rootkit Detection. Four command line options are available, perform a deep scan, perform a quick scan, log the events, and disabling the rootkit.

Detections are consistent with the full VIPRE, and the VIPRE Rescue Program is designed to disinfect a system so infected that a user cannot install VIPRE.

Good bit of kit! Highly recommended!