Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Networking: IP subnetting made easy

If you work on a medium to a large size network, then you need to understand IP subnetting? IP subnetting lets you breakup a large network into smaller sub-networks. Personally I find this subject one of the more difficult parts of networking to understand, mostly because you don't use this knowledge very often.

If you want to understand this topic here is an an excerpt from a TechRepublic article on the subject: "IP subnetting is a fundamental subject that's critical for any IP network engineer to understand, yet students have traditionally had a difficult time grasping it. Over the years, I've watched students needlessly struggle through school and in practice when dealing with subnetting because it was never explained to them in an easy-to-understand way. I've helped countless individuals learn what subnetting is all about using my own graphical approach and calculator shortcuts, and I've put all that experience into this article."

Monday, August 27, 2007

Software: CCleaner

CCleaner is a free system optimization and privacy tool. This utility can remove unneeded files from your system thus freeing up hard disk space. It also can remove the URL history, cookies, and other types of privacy data from the top three main Web browsers (IE, Firefox and Opera).

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Software: Glary Utilities (Free)

Glary Utilities offers several easy-to-use system tools and utilities to help fix, maintain and protect your computer.  When you open the application you will be presented with five basic tabs, each tab represents a category of tools:

  • Clean Up & Repair
  • Optimize & Improve
  • Privacy & Security
  • Files & Folders
  • System Tools

The program is free for personal use.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Software: Google Earth 4.2 (Now You Can Explore the Sky)

Want to explore the known universe from your computer. With Google Earth 4.2, you can explore the earth or skies and see planets, stars, nebulas and galaxies. The new 'Sky' feature in Google Earth 4.2 includes images taken by the Hubble space telescope. Watch the video to learn more.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Software: Indentifing Your CPU and RAM

CPU-Z is one of the best utilities for finding out what type of CPU and RAM you have installed on your computer. What is even better is this program is freeware, and can be run on your computer without having to install it. Below is a list of the information that this program displays:

  • Name and number.
  • Core stepping and process.
  • Package.
  • Core voltage.
  • Internal and external clocks, clock multiplier.
  • Supported instructions sets.
  • Cache information.
  • Vendor, model and revision.
  • BIOS model and date.
  • Chipset (northbridge and southbridge) and sensor.
  • Graphic interface.
  • Frequency and timings.
  • Module(s) specification using SPD (Serial Presence Detect) : vendor, serial number, timings table.
  • Windows and DirectX version.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Essential Guide To PC Memory

PC Magazine reports: "How much memory does Vista really need? What about Windows XP? And what the heck does DDR mean? How much money will a memory upgrade cost, and where do you buy it? We'll answer these questions and more, briefing you on the essentials of PC memory technology and saving you a great deal of money and hassle. Whether you're building a new system from scratch or upgrading, you'll find PC Magazine Labs–tested advice you won't get anywhere else."

If you're the type of person who likes to understand everything, and you don't feel that you understand the different types of RAM that are available. Then I would recommend reading this article.

If you just want to buy RAM and install it in your computer and you don't care to have a technical understanding of it. Then go to a site like Kingston they make it pretty easy to buy it.

To learn how to install the RAM in your computer, watch the following video.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Internet: Testing Your Bandwidth Speed

Not too long ago, the speed of your Internet connection was determined by the speed of your modem and your ISP's modem, plus quality of the line you're using to connect. With today's new high-speed broadband connections (such as: DSL, Cable, Fiber, etc.), the speed of your bandwidth connection is only limited to your budget and the availability of the service.

Although, you may wonder how you can make sure your broadband connection is as fast as your ISP claims it is? There are bandwidth testing site that you can use to test how fast Internet connection really is. These sites work by downloading and uploading a single file to and from your computer and measuring how long it takes.

Below is a brief list of these sites that offer these services.
Just remember there are a lot of real-world factors that determine how fast (or how slow) your connection is to the Internet. For example:
  • The type of connection you're using.
  • How far you are from your ISP
  • How far you are from the web site or host you're trying to reach.
  • How fast the remote host can process your request.
  • And the list of other factor can go on and on.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Windows Vista: Performance Updates

Microsoft has released two updates for Windows Vista that address performance and reliability issues. These updates include several enhancements and other fixes, below is a brief list of some of the updates:
  • System and memory performance enhancements
  • Fixes for video drivers
  • Fixes for wake-from-hibernation problems
  • Improved compatibility with printers
  • Better HD DVD/Blu-ray playback
  • Improvements in file transfers.
For a complete list of all the fixes and how to download the patches, see the Microsoft knowledge base articles: 938194, and 938979.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Microsoft 'Money Plus' Adds Financial Services

PC Magazine reports: "Microsoft on Wednesday unveiled the latest version of its money management software, dubbed Money Plus. The software giant is touting the offering's new 'Insights' function, which provides personal updates about users' bills, spending patterns and cash flow."

If you're a fan of Microsoft Money, you might want to check out this article about Microsoft 'Money Plus'. There are now four versions of Money Plus:
  • Deluxe
  • Premium
  • Home and Business
  • Essentials
Read the article to find out more.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Firefox: NoScript plug-in

Is seems like no browser is safe from security exploits these days, not even Firefox. Although, there's an extension that allows you to make the Firefox browser more secure, it's called 'No Script'.

The No Script extension works by preemptively blocking JavaScript, Java and other potentially dangerous content from untrusted sites that could contain malicious scripts. The biggest problem using this extension is training it, but once you do it works really well.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Hardware: 2-Port USB 2.0 Multi-Function Print/Storage Server

I rarely report on any types hardware in this blog. Although this was the most innovative product that I have read about in a long time.

Its called a USB Print/Storage server. Basically it allows you to share your USB devices (such as multi-function printers, and hard drives) over your LAN with multiple computers.

Read the product page for more information.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Software: Skype Update Adds Viral Videos

PC Magazine review the new version of Skype 3.5: "Online VoIP application Skype crept a bit farther into the social networking space with the release of Skype 3.5 for Windows, which adds videos from popular social-networking sites to the Skype experience. ... Previous versions let users talk via video. Now, Skype users can download videos from Metacafe and DailyMotion and add them to a user's 'mood'. Video can now be integrated into text chats as well."

I will have to try the new version to see if I like this new feature.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Software: Buying Options

Are you looking for great prices on your favorite software? Did you know that some companies offer different types of special discounts on their products depending where and how you buy the products. For example, if you work for a school, you could qualify for a educational discount on some products. Also, some medium to large size companies and governments offices can offer employee special discounts on certain types of software.

There are two rules that you should follow when buying heavily discounted software. Rule one, generally the better the price the more restrictions that govern it, make sure that you understand what you're buying before you buy it, it may not be what you expect. Rule two, there are a lot of businesses selling counterfeit media over the Internet, so be careful where you buy your software.

Below is a list of common types of discounts that are offered by several different software companies. Although not all software companies offer them or they may not apply to all products.
  • Street Price: This is the price most people pay for a product from a retailer. It's generally 10-40% below the suggested retail price, but this all depends on where you buy the software. If you don't know where to start, check out the following companies:
  • Upgrade Price: This is a discount offered by a company if you're upgrading to the latest version of the product from a previous version. (Note: generally evidence of a previous installation is required. Meaning that upgrade process will check your computer or the application media in order take advantage of the discounted product) Also, sometimes a competitive upgrade is offered if you own a competing product.
  • OEM Pricing: Depending on the product, you can buy OEMs (which stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer) versions of software from business that build computers. Generally this software is sold at a substantial discount, but also comes with special restrictions (such as: it doesn't qualify to be upgraded to the next version).
  • Education/Academic Discounts: This is the price that students and educators will pay for a full or stripped down version of a product. Depending on the product, the qualifications can be pretty liberal (make sure to check with the retailer or manufacture for the qualifying details) or restrictive (such as: the application can't be used for commercial purposes or it doesn't qualify to be upgraded to the next version). For example, Adobe offers educational versions of their higher-end products that are greatly discounted.
  • Employee/Employer Discounts: This benefit can vary from employer to employer depending on the relationships that they have with the software developer. For example, Microsoft offers their Home Use Program to customers that have their Volume Licensing Software Assurance. Contact your employer to see if you qualify for this type of discount, and find out the cost and restrictions.
Warning: When buying any software, especially from sites that you never dealt with before or from auction sites (such as eBay) you need to be very careful of counterfeit software.