Nero launches freeware CD and DVD burning software

July 30th, 2009

For those of you out there looking for a free, basic, easy-to-use CD/DVD burning solution, then Nero might have the tool for you.

Grab the download here.

The catch? Well, there are three:

  • It's very basic. There are free tools that do a lot more available out there, such as ImgBurn and CDBurnerXP.
  • It tries to install the Ask toolbar and change your default search provider. You do get the option not to do this, but you need to pay attention during installation.
  • It's Windows-only.

Other than that, it's worth a try!

Adobe Flash player dangers

July 29th, 2009

Very worrying:

With news that 92% of Windows PCs are vulnerable to a zero-day attack that Adobe won’t patch until Thursday, is it time to dump Adobe’s Flash player?

The most current versions of Flash player, 9.0.159.0 and 10.0.22.87, are both vulnerable to hacker. According to security companies, hackers are launching wave after wave of attacks, using both malicious websites, and websites that have been compromised.

Take care out there folks!

Get ready for Windows 7 RC on Tuesday

May 1st, 2009

Next Tuesday Microsoft will make the Release Candidate of Windows 7 available for the public to download and play with.

Here are some tips to help you get ready:

  • First, the download is big - the 32-bit edition is nearly 2.5GB, and the 64-bit download is bigger. You need a fast connection.
  • If in doubt as to which download to bring in, go for the 32-bit edition.
  • Microsoft won't be placing a limit on the number of product keys it offers, so there's no rush to get the download.
  • The Release Candidate doesn’t expire until June 1, 2010, so if you grab a copy you have plenty of time to test the OS thoroughly.
  • Here are the system requirements:
    - 1 GHz or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
    - 1 GB of RAM (32-bit)/2 GB of RAM (64-bit)
    - 16 GB of available disk space (32-bit)/20 GB (64-bit)
    - DirectX 9 graphics device with Windows Display Driver Model 1.0 or higher driver
  • Don't go nuts and start installing the software on you main system without a backup!

More info on Windows 7:

More RAM or a faster hard drive?

April 30th, 2009

Here's an interesting question I received today ...

Question: Depending on whether you have a 32-bit Windows or 64-bit Windows, which makes more sense; adding more RAM or fitting a faster hard drive (such as a solid-state drive or SSD)?

A lot depends on what you do with the PC, so I'll look at the general picture and then some more specific scenarios.

On the whole, the gains from adding more RAM to a 32-bit Windows system start to tail off at about 3GB (when entire OS can only address 4GB, so there's no point going over that). so if you've already got 2GB or so of RAM installed then adding a faster drive will give you more bang for the buck than adding more memory at that stage. If you've got less than 2GB of RAM, then add the RAM first.

On a system with 64-bit Windows installed things are a little different. Here you get performance gains up to 8GB, and you should make sure that you have at least 4GB of RAM fitted. Below 4GB, add more RAM, but if you have 4GB installed then you'll get more benefit from fitting a faster hard drive.

Finally, let's look at some specific scenarios:

  • While many games need at least 2GB of RAM, because the level files are huge you can cut down loading times considerably by installing a faster drive (and loading the games onto that drive).
  • Applications such as Photoshop that load and save huge files also benefit from a fast drive.
  • If you want a quiet PC then an SSD is great, but you can also find cheaper regular drives that are great for applications such as media centers, such as Western Digital’s Caviar Green drives, or the Seagate Barracuda LP.
  • If you have lots of digital photos, a fast drive will help you scan through them quicker.

Remember that these are general guidelines and your mileage could vary.

The origins of Autorun

April 29th, 2009

Thanks to a Slashdot user for this funny:

In the beginning, there was a User.

This User did not possess the special knowledge of the Priests of the Cult of Computers.

This User was granted divine Manna from heaven in the form of a shining disc with an outer shell of a transparent horn-like material.

"Lo!" said he, "I have found the Sacred Tablet of AOL!"

And he put the Tablet in the Slot of Curious Whirrings, and nothing happened. And this was Good.

But the User was unhappy, and complained to the Disciples of AOL, that the sacred disc of AOL was defective.

And so the Disciples of AOL conferred with the Disciples of Borg.

Now, the Disciples discipled for a while, and determined that the User could never be trusted grok the mysteries of "Drive D". The Disciples agreed, also it was bothersome and unholy, to be summoned each time a Tablet was delivered by divine provenance to another User. And so Autorun was created.

Verily, the User could place the Sacred Tablet of AOL in the Slot of Curious Whirrings, and without any further discipling by the Disciples, could run AOL.

And thus were the Demons of AOL unleashed upon the world together with the Lord of PC Plague and Pestilence, he-who-should-not-be-named-but-nevertheless-I-will, Autorun.