Monday, June 25, 2012

Microsoft Flight (Free Flight Simulator)

Microsoft has a long history of creating flight simulators.  I remember playing the first version of Microsoft Flight Simulator on an Apple II+.  It was crude by today's standards, but it was state of the art back in the 80's.  Flight simulators now seem second only to the real thing.

If you love flight simulators, check out Microsoft Flight.  I need to note that there are two versions.  The  free version includes basic content you need to get started.  There's also a premium version that has expanded content.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

All Hail IPv6 as King, IPv4 is dead...

For decades IPv4 was king because it was the dominate networking protocol for Internet and corporate Intranet communications.  Although its rein has come to an end as the pool of publicly available IPv4 addresses (the numeric addresses assigned to every device on the Internet) was officially depleted as of February, 2011.

Its been known for a long time that the publicly available IPv4 address space would be completely depleted so in 1998 they started drafting a next-generation networking technology known as IPv6 to replace it.

For years several ISPs and Internet companies have been testing and deploying their networks to be able to carry both IPv6 and IPv4 traffic. They have also offer "tunneling services" that allow IPv6 customers to access IPv4 sites. 

June 6, 2012 was designated as "World Launch Day" for IPv6.  Several major ISPs and Internet companies permanently enabled IPv6 on their public Internet sites.

The IPv4 and IPv6 are majorly different network protocol, but have been designed to interoperate with each other so that they can co-exist on the same network.  

One of the first fundamental differences between the two protocols is the size of the address space (e.g. the amount of device that are supported).  The IPv4 protocol supports a maximum number of over 4 billion (4,294,967,296) public IP addresses.   The  IPv6 protocol supports a maximum number of over 340 undecillion (340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456) unique addresses. 

The following Microsoft operating systems include full support for IPv6: Windows Vista, 7, 8 and Windows Server 2008 and above.
Note: Windows XP does have support for IPv6 but its not native to the OS.
Brief Note: IPv6 to IPv4 Tunneling
For older IPv4 networks that don't currently support IPv6, there are a few different protocol transition technologies.  For example, there is "6to4 Tunneling" which is able to encapsulate IPv6 packets within IPv4.  Basically what this technology does is take one type of network data (e.g. IPv6) and translates it into another type (e.g. IPv4) then broadcasts it over the network.

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 and applications can that supports IPv6 (Note: applications have to be specifically updated to support the IPv6 protocol)
    • The most current versions of Windows (Vista and above), Linux or 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.
Testing Your IPv6 Readiness
Want to check out your networks IPv6 readiness?  Run the following test ( from your browser and it will tell you whether its IPv6 network is ready or not. If you  already have an IPv6 network running, this site offers a good way to test if you have any problems or other issues.

Other was to test if IPv6 is working properly on your network, run the following two search queries on Google and they will show you your publicly available IPv4 and IPv6 address.
Learning More
Want to learn more about IPv6, read the following article, "Introduction to IPv6".  Also check out a site called Hurricane Electric (H.E.).  H.E. also offers an unofficial IPv6 certification.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Windows Defender Offline (Offline Virus Scanner)

Everyone should have an up-to-date real-time anti-malware application running on their system at all times.  These programs won't guarantee that you will never get infected by a rouge application (e.g. virus, Trojan-horse, worm, root-kit, etc.), but it provides better protection then not having this software running at all.

If your computer starts acting strangely, you might want a second opinion to see if your system is actually infected.  This is why there are offline virus scanners for checking your system for malicious software.

There are several vendors that offer this type of software, but one of the newest is from Microsoft and called the Windows Defender Offline.  Below is excerpt from the site: "Sometimes, malicious and other potentially unwanted software, including rootkits, try to install themselves on your PC. This can happen when you connect to the Internet or install some programs from a CD, DVD, or other media. Once on your PC, this software might run immediately, or it might run at unexpected times. Windows Defender Offline can help remove such hard to find malicious and potentially unwanted programs using definitions that recognize threats. Definitions are files that provide an encyclopedia of potential software threats. Because new threats appear daily, it's important to always have the most up-to-date definitions installed in Windows Defender Offline. Armed with definition files, Windows Defender Offline can detect malicious and potentially unwanted software, and then notify you of the risks."

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Fun With Text

Tired of the boring old simily face emoticon ;-)?  Check out a site called Emojicons, it gives you access to a new batch of emoticons to express your emotions with text. 
Back in the early days of computer before graphics there was ASCII art.  People and programs would convert images into text based images.  A site called will convert your photos or graphics into ASCII.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Software: 0 A.D. - A free, real-time strategy (RTS) game of ancient warfare

Description from the website: "0 A.D. (pronounced "zero ey-dee") is a free, open-source, cross-platform real-time strategy (RTS) game of ancient warfare. In short, it is a historically-based war/economy game that allows players to relive or rewrite the history of Western civilizations, focusing on the years between 500 B.C. and 500 A.D. The project is highly ambitious, involving state-of-the-art 3D graphics, detailed artwork, sound, and a flexible and powerful custom-built game engine." (download the game)

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Video: Updates for Firefox 13

Video Description: "The latest Firefox has some great updates to make getting to your next task faster and easier than ever!

The New Tab page now opens whenever you click on the '+' sign, allowing you to see thumbnails of your most recently and frequently visited sites. You can customize the New Tab page by adding or removing thumbnails based on where you go most.

The Home Page now includes icons at the bottom of the page to give you easy access to bookmarks, history, settings, add-ons, downloads and sync preferences with one-click shortcuts"

Download the latest version of Firefox or get more information.

Monday, June 04, 2012

ASUS Taichi - dual screen Windows 8 notebook - Computex 2012

This is one of the more interesting Ultrabook/tablet hybrid designs that I have seen so far.

Video Description: "At first glance, the Taichi passes for just another ultrabook, but upon closer review, the lid yields a reflective surface, that is in fact, a touchscreen. The touchscreen is a beautiful Full HD IPS display with a 1920x1080 resolution that offers crisp visuals, even from extreme angles, so it's great for sharing with friends."

Not to be outdone, there are also other ultrabook/tablet hybrid designs, which include:

The Asus Tablet 810, demonstrated at Computex in Taipei.

The Acer Iconia W510, demonstrated at Computex in Taipei.

Back at CES 2012 in Las Vegas in January, Lenovo introduced the IdeaPad Yoga.