Choose strong passwords, or don’t bother at all

May 30th, 2008

Over on Hardware 2.0 I've got a post showing you how quickly weak Windows logon passwords can be cracked using a tool such as Ophcrack.

The results were quite staggering. In less than 50 seconds three weak passwords had been recovered (shame on you pcdoc, Fred and Betty … I’m not letting you on my systems again). However, two much longer and more complex passwords (one consisting of alphanumeric characters, the other more complex) survived.


If that doesn't get you motivated to change those weak passwords this weekend, I'm not sure what will!

Long Zheng cuts through the Windows 7 BS

May 28th, 2008

Now that Microsoft has actually started talking about Windows 7, many sites have kicked into BS high gear.

Two sites that seems to have taken this to the next level are CrunchGear/TechCrunch, with their wild claims that they have insider knowledge about Windows 7 that is nothing more than pure nonsense.

If you've been over to TechCrunch or Crunchgear today and WOWed! over what Windows 7 could look like, you really should go over to Long Zheng's site - he'll put you right.

Expect lots and lots of BS between now and when Windows 7 is released.

Hats off to Long for more great Windows 7 sleuthing!

Can you hear the difference?

May 27th, 2008

Can you hear the difference between an MP3 file encoded at 320kbps and one encoded at the lower bitrate of 128kbps?

Technically, the file encoded at 320kbps is of better quality than that encoded at 128kbps but whether you can tell the difference depends on a number of factors:

  • Your hearing
  • The quality of your speakers/headphones
  • Soundcard quality
  • ... other random factors

Go on, take the test ...

I can tell the difference, so much so that I think I'm going to go back to my CDs and re-rip everything at 320kbps.

Thousands of words about Windows 7 that say nothing at all

May 27th, 2008

CNET News interviewed Steven Sinofsky (Techmeme conversation here) in an attempt to get some concrete information about Windows 7. The bottom line - a whole lotta nothing.

About the only real takeaway from the article is that Windows 7 will ship some "three years after the general availability of Windows Vista", which sort of places the date at around early 2010.

So, what's happening here? Why is Microsoft being cagey? Simple. In the run up to Vista (even when it was still called Longhorn) everyone involved or linked with the project at Microsoft was shooting their mouths off about what the OS would be like and what new features it would bring to the desktop. When a number of these features were dropped, this understandibly caused a certain level of disappointment amongst consumers. This time Microsoft is changing tactics and choosing to remain tight-lipped as to what's going to be or not be included in Windows 7.

You can also extend this line of thinking further and suggest that Windows 7 isn't going to be all that different to Vista - it's going to be an improvement, not a complete rewrite. On its own this makes Windows 7 news a whole lot less exciting that Vista was.

Still, once Microsoft releases a beta I'll make sure I have space for the new OS here ...

[UPDATE - Some more information trickles out. Mostly though it's stuff that was to be expected ... 2010 launch, no new kernel, Vista hardware will work for Windows 7 ...]

How to get Windows Vista to remember Windows Explorer Folder View settings

May 27th, 2008

For a while now I've been planning on writing a blog post on how to get Windows Vista to remember Windows Explorer Folder View settings. Why? Because this seems to be a common ailment affecting Vista users (I think all my Vista rigs here are affected by this issue ... on most of them I just live with it though).

However, the other day I came across a post over on that covers this problem from pretty much every angle going. The site even contains registry edits available as downloads so that you can make the necessary system tweaks without having to mess about in the registry manually.

How to get Windows Vista to remember Windows Explorer Folder View settings

Excellent post!  Well done to Brink for the effort!