Posts Categorised: Computing

0windows 8 logoWindows 8250 consumer preview: Traditional start menu

Win­dows 8 looks to have many nice new fea­tures, but unfor­tu­nately, as I men­tioned in a pre­vi­ous post, Microsoft has decided to cre­ate a phone/tablet user inter­face and foist it upon desktop users as well.  This would­n’t be such a prob­lem if Microsoft had left an option to turn the excel­lent and well estab­lished tra­di­tion­al inter­face back on, but in their infin­ite wis­dom Microsoft has­n’t provided any such option.  For­tu­nately there are 2 options for get­ting the tra­di­tion­al start but­ton and menu back.

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19windows 8 logoWindows 8: Horrible Horrible Horrible Metro UI

OK, I sus­pect the title is going to give it away.  I down­loaded Win­dows 8 8250 con­sumer pre­view today, and almost imme­di­ately real­ised that as it stands I am going to avoid Win­dows 8 like the plague.  As far as I’m con­cerned the UI changes cur­rently make Win­dows 8 the worst release of Win­dows ever (even worse than Win­dows ME!)

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21Wordpress LogoRich Snippets Code for Thesis Theme

In response to a query by Darko Kovan­cives on my pre­vi­ous art­icle about fix­ing Rich Snip­pets code for the Mys­tique theme we have resolved the same issues with the Thes­is theme.  Details of the changes required are below.… Read Full Art­icle

0Storage SpacesMicrosoft Storage Spaces: Virtual RAID for Windows 8?

Microsoft’s Steve Sinof­sky has writ­ten a detailed art­icle about a genu­inely excit­ing new fea­ture of Win­dows 8 — Stor­age Spaces.  I won’t repeat the details here, for those you can go straight to the horses mouth.  How­ever I will point out a key line from a home media serv­er point of view: “There’s anoth­er resi­li­ency attrib­ute, called par­ity, which dir­ects Stor­age Spaces to store some redund­ancy inform­a­tion along­side user data con­tained with­in the space, thereby enabling auto­mat­ic data recon­struc­tion in the event of phys­ic­al disk fail­ure.”  To me, this sounds a LOT like a soft­ware RAID5 sim­il­ar to that provided by UnRAID.  Until Win­dows 8 is released and the tech­no­logy is fully reviewed the details are of course some­what spec­u­lat­ive, but my read­ing of the art­icle leads me to believe that Stor­age Spaces will enable the strip­ing of disks, with a par­ity in the event of single disk fail­ure.  Fur­ther, it is reas­on­able to assume that this sys­tem will work with stand­ard non-enter­prise drives without suf­fer­ing any com­pat­ib­il­ity issues.  Finally, it is reas­on­able to assume that Stor­age Spaces will offer some of the per­form­ance bene­fits of hard­ware raid‑5 too.  If you have a home serv­er with a lot of media and you want some redund­ancy, without huge cost, then this tech­no­logy sounds like it might be the per­fect solu­tion.  Thanks Microsoft!

11Windows Update IconFix Windows Update or Service Pack error 80073712

It’s that time of year again, and as always, when I vis­it the fam­ily over xmas there are vari­ous PC issues to resolve.  This year there were blessedly few issues, but there was 1 prob­lem that it took me quite a while to track down and resolve.  One of the fam­il­ies PCs was fail­ing to install Win­dows 7 ser­vice pack 1.  It’s a fairly new PC and came with an OEM install of Win­dows 7 x64 Home Premi­um, all legit and activ­ated.  It also has up-to-date anti-vir­us pro­tec­tion, and oth­er than the SP1 install prob­lems it seemed to be in excel­lent work­ing order.… Read Full Art­icle

0PSU LogoEfficient PSU Upgrades: HuntKey Jumper update

I spot­ted a much cheap­er 80+ gold PSU in the ebuy­er xmas sales, and decided to look up some reviews.  I found a review on anandtech which I must have some­how missed in the past.  In light of this dis­cov­ery, I’ve updated my pre­vi­ous art­icles about PSU effi­ciency to include the HuntKey Jump­er 300G (aka R90).  The price of this PSU changes the con­clu­sions of 2 of the 4 scen­ari­os I’ve pre­vi­ously detailed, and I have in fact ordered one at the dis­count price of £20, for use in my cur­rent serv­er!  After tak­ing into account that my cur­rent serv­er PSU (an Ener­max Nois­e­Taker 475 from 2004) is approx­im­ately 80% effi­cient rather than the 70% worst case I use in the art­icles, I’m hop­ing to net sav­ings of around £20 per year.

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0Wordpress LogoMystique 3 Theme: Full-post and Excerpts

I’ve been try­ing to fig­ure out how to dis­play full posts on the home page, and excerpts on all archives for about 3 days.  This is nice because it means a decent amount of each post is shown on the front page, whilst archive pages con­tain a much more con­cise sum­mary of each post.  This is bet­ter both for humans, and also for SEO — my archive pages now don’t have duplic­ate con­tent from my home page!

I’ve finally pro­duced a solu­tion.  It’s not espe­cially eleg­ant, but I’ve been at the very lim­it of my PHP know­ledge just to achieve this meth­od.  This applies spe­cific­ally to the Mys­tique 3 theme, oth­er themes are likely to vary, although some of this inform­a­tion may or may not prove rel­ev­ant.  If you are try­ing or suc­ceed in doing the same to a dif­fer­ent theme do drop a com­ment in.… Read Full Art­icle

26Windows Icons: Full list with details, locations & images

Good qual­ity icons and images, espe­cially ones with an alpha trans­par­ency can be time con­sum­ing to make, and are often also hard to find.  One source of lots of high qual­ity icons in a range of sizes is Win­dows.  Win­dows 7 includes lots of icons which can be use­ful as the major­ity are avail­able in sizes from 16×16 up to 256×256, and come with alpha trans­par­ency.  You may have noticed that we use some on our down­loads page — they’re handy to quickly indic­ate file type. Win­dows stores most of its icons inside exe and dll files which makes them inac­cess­ible to stand­ard image manip­u­la­tion applic­a­tions like Pho­toshop.  How­ever, once they have been loc­ated they can eas­ily be extrac­ted with the free­ware util­ity IcoFX. Track­ing some of them down seems to be the trick­i­er part. Below is a quick ref­er­ence for the loc­a­tions of many of the icons avail­able on Win­dows 7. I will peri­od­ic­ally add more details and any extra icon lib­rar­ies I dis­cov­er to this list.
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