Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Unofficial Windows App Store

Ever since Apple popularized the concept of the App Store on the iPhone, it seems like every platform wants one. Windows doesn't have its own official app store, but there's a site called "All My Apps" that tries to fill this void.

  • Download free and paid applications, all 100% legal
  • Share applications with friends and family.
  • Keep your applications up-to-date using this service.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Windows 7: Alternate IP Address Configuration

Laptop computers often have to connect to multiple network (e.g. home, office, retail, etc.). In the past If one of the networks required a static IP address, while the other networks assigned addresses via DHCP you had to manually change the TCP/IP properties every time you switched networks. Since Windows Vista, you now have the ability to setup an alternate IP address configuration.

  • In the Start menu search field, type Network Connections and select View network connections.
  • In the Network Connections window, right-click a connection that needs an alternate IP address configuration (e.g., Local Area Connection) and select Properties.
  • In the Properties dialog box, on the Networking tab, scroll down and click Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IP v4) and press the Properties button.
  • In the General tab, enter the information for the main network you use (such as a static IP, subnet mask, default gateway and DNS server information).
  • Click the Alternate Configuration tab, then click Automatic Private IP Address so the computer will obtain an IP address via DHCP.
  • Press OK button twice to close the dialog boxes.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Testing IPv6 Connectivity

You may have heard our old friend IPv4, the protocol that handles most of the data moving across the Internet and its 4.3 billion addresses are now depleted (for more information see, Wikipedia "IPv4 address exhaustion").

Is this the end of the Internet? The answer is no, but it will force us to move to the next generation of the Internet protocol known as IPv6 sooner then later.

Recently I started playing with IPv6 on my Windows 7 client, behind my router.  After doing some research I discovered that every modern operating systems should support IPv6.  Although how its enabled will vary between operating systems.  For example Windows 7 has IPv6 enabled by default, and so do other OS.

When I bought my router one of the requirements was that it supported IPv6.  I enable the IPv6 auto-detect feature on my router to see what would happen, and discovered that my ISP supported a IPv6 transition technology called "6to4 Tunnel".

There are a few different IPv6 transition technologies, the "6to4 Tunnel" is able to encapsulate IPv6 packets within IPv4.  Basically what it is does is take one type of network data (e.g. IPv6) and translate to another type of network data (e.g. IPv4).

Soon after that feature was enabled on the router my OS and browser started to access IPv6 web sites, such as http://ipv6.google.com.

Find out your IPv6 readiness

The site http://test-ipv6.com  runs a series of IPv4 and IPv6 browser, connectivity, and DNS tests against your computer and connection to find out if you're IPv6 ready.

IPv6 Checklist

Below is a checklist of items that you have to have in order to use IPv6 on your computer and network.

  • An operating System that supports IPv6 
    • Windows Vista and above, and most current versions of Linux and Mac OS X).
  • A router appliance (commercial or consumer) that supports IPv6.
    • Most modern routers  support IPv6, older models may require firmware update if available (check hardware manufacture's web site for more information).
  • An ISP with IPv6 protocol and DNS support.
    • IPv6 readiness will vary between companies.  Contact your ISP to find out the type of IPv6 support they offer.
    • If you're ISP doesn't support IPv6 you can use an IPv6 Tunnel Broker like Hurricane Electric to allow your computer to access the IPv6 Internet.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Internet Explorer 9 is Now Available

On March 14, 2011 Microsoft officially released Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) to the general public.  Some of the new features of IE9 include support for HTML5 video and audio, CSS 3, embedded ICC color profiles improved JavaScript performance, and the Web Open Font Format.  Other features include, hardware-accelerated graphics, video, and text rendering.

Some of the new user interface enhancements include:

  • A compact user interface.
  • Pinned Sites: Integrates with the Windows 7 taskbar to make web site experience more like an application. 
  • Security-enabled Download Manager: File transfers and can pause and resume downloads and alerts if a file may be malicious.
  • Enhanced Tabs: the new tab page can show most visited sites.
  • Add-on Performance Advisor: Shows add-ons that may be slowing down the browser's performance, and allows them to be disabled or removed.

IE9 will only be available for Windows 7, Vista, and Server 2008 (for both 32-bit and 64-bit versions).

Windows 7: Service Pack 1 (SP1) is Now Available

Service Pack 1 (SP1) for Windows 7 contains previously released security, performance, and stability updates for Windows, and a few small bug fixes and minor enhancements for the OS.  For example, there's a bug fix for HDMI audio devices, a fix for printing mixed-orientation XPS documents, and a fix for "Restore previous folders at logon" functionality.

SP1 is available via Windows Update, downloading from the Microsoft web site or by ording a DVD from Microsoft.

SP1 installs in roughly 30 minutes, and does require that your computer is restarted.  System requirements and detailed installation instructions can also be found on Microsoft's Web site.

Don't forget to backup your computer before installing this update you never know if its going to break something.