Here's an interesting result of a linux a distancia poll. Although there were not too many votes this poll is relevant and even addicted Linux users will agree with some of these problems (like I agree that Windows development process is out of control for example). English (partial) translation:
1. The worse Linux problem: installation of applications
Installation of applications in Linux seems to be its greater problem. People mention problems with the diversity of distributions, dependencies, conflicts with versions, compilation problems, etc.
2. Lack of drivers
Even if drivers exists people have problems in finding the version that corresponds to the distribution which they are using.
3. Deficiency of a standard
In many cases can be a true problem. The people suggested that when they become familiar to a distribution, the next version is totally different. Or when they change the distribution, the files are stored in other locations. Almost all the voters suggest the differences in the interface, differences in the availability of the commands and the differences in the configuration of the applications make difficult the learning of this operating system.
4. Problems with modems
This seems to be the device most complicated to run in Linux.
5. Linux is slow
21 votes mention that Linux is much more slow that Windows XP.
6. “X” applications
17 votes mention the lack of availability of applications for Linux. Particularly they stand out the lack of applications to use for web design, audio production, graphic design, etc. Also there were many commentaries of the type “lack good games for Linux”.
7. The GUI has deficiencies
With 14 votes, problems in the more popular visual interfaces as GNOME and KDE are located in the seventh position. Problems of usability, management, etc. appear in the descriptions of the users. Many people complain that “Linux does not order the icons automatically”.
8. Problems with printers/new hardware
Printer appears like the second device more difficult to use in Linux. Other 13 votes suggest the “new hardware” is practically impossible to install/use in Linux.
9. Linux is seen “ugly”/“is difficult to use”
11 votes suggest Linux is seen “ugly” compared with other operating systems. Other 11 votes suggest simply “is more difficult to use that Windows” without giving too many explanations of the cause.
10. Problems using the scanner/complicated File system
Scanner seem to be another one of the devices most difficult to run in Linux. Finally, 10 votes suggest the Linux file system is “too complicated”.
Personally I agree with 1, 3, 6, 7.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Here's an interesting result of a linux a distancia poll. Although there were not too many votes this poll is relevant and even addicted Linux users will agree with some of these problems (like I agree that Windows development process is out of control for example). English (partial) translation:
Here's a Linux project which tries to provide users an identical Windows XP look&feel. If you are interested you can take a look at the SourceForge project here. So, who's copying who now? And why?
From the project site: "LXP is a desktop enviroment identical to Windows XP. LXP is a collection of different pieces of GNU software (icewm, xfe, idesk, etc) modified in order to look and feel identical to Windows XP. LXP has its own icewm themes and utility pack."
The project started in 2005 with a kiosk Linux distribution with a look similar to Windows XP. I think it does a good job now but in the end it remains a imitation. Please note that I'm not against Linux, why should I be?
See also :
Top 10 Linux problems - poll
Biggest Linux problem: it makes users think
Another "Linux like XP" project
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Most mainstream projects you see today derived from research projects. All big companies have research labs and some of them will give you a preview for their upcoming projects. Here is what I think it's worth taking a look at:
- Google Labs home
Google Related Links
Google Ride Finder
- Adobe Labs home
- IBM Research home
Aurora - Network Traffic Analysis and Visualization
- Microsoft Research home
Microsoft Outlook Mobile Manager
- Reuters Labs home
- AT&T Labs home
Networked Video Quality Measurement
I'm not sure if this was produced by Microsoft or not but it really is one of the most stupid commercial one would make for Windows 2000. Watch...
Here is another one which will "surprise" you : Steve Ballmer "sells" Microsoft Windows 1.0 and the well known parody Developers Music Video. WTF?
A graphical user interface (or GUI, often pronounced "gooey"), is a particular case of user interface for interacting with a computer which employs graphical images and widgets in addition to text to represent the information and actions available to the user. Usually the actions are performed through direct manipulation of the graphical elements. Here is a timeline to show you how GUI evolved in the last 20 years. Examples for Windows, Mac OS, GNOME and KDE. Click to see the full image (2 MB).
I uploaded the full size image so that you can make a poster if you want.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
The fastest way to take a screenshot of a web page is to use "Pint Screen" an copy entire screen to clipboard. The problem is that if the web page you want to save as an image is larger than you screen resolution this method can be very time consuming and requires multiple "Print Screen" screenshots and recomposition of the whole image. A quick solution to this problem is to use Firefox and a free extension (Page Server Basic). After you install it browse to the page, right-click on it and choose "Save Image of Entire Page As..." from the drop-down menu. Here's a quick example of the resulting image for this blog (click on it to see the larger version):
MOTTO: The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes of mind (William James)
Communicate. Employees must be empowered with information so that they can make the best decisions, quickly and without the approval of higher-ups.
Do not think you know everything. Listen to the people around you. Ask for their input when appropriate. Seeking help from individuals with expertise in specific areas is a sign of strength, not weakness.
Delegate. You can't do everything yourself. And even if you could that would not be the most effective use of your time as a manager.
Accept responsibility. A common mistake made by managers is to either delegate blame or simply not accept responsibility for that which happens under their guidance. Eventually, avoiding responsibility will catch up with a manager and usually not bode well for his or her future.
Take time to get to know your people. Learn what makes them excited, how to motivate them, what they fear or worry about. Get to know them as individuals, because that's the only way you can effectively manage them.
Do not try to show everyone who's in charge. Everyone in your group already knows who the new manager is. You don't have to make a big show about being "the boss".
Be human. Just because you are the boss doesn't mean you can't laugh, or show emotion, or make an occasional mistake. Make doing a good job for your company fun.
Protect your people. It's your job to stand up for your people and make sure they are treated as fairly as possible. They will return the loyalty.
Set goals with your employees. Effective performance starts with clear goals. It is up to you as a manager to meet with your employees to develop attainable goals and guide them in their efforts to achieve those goals.
Make the transition from worker to manager. Becoming a manager requires the development of a whole new set of business skills: people skills. Sometimes it is a tough transition, but with the proper tools and assistance, it will be a satisfying transition.
Learn as more as you can. Today, more than at any other time, managers must be ready to change if the situation changes.
Don't fool yourself that you can stop change. Instead, concentrate your efforts on taking actions that make a positive difference in your business life. Learn how to adapt to change and use it to your advantage instead of spending your energy fighting it. But do not change everything. Don't re-invent the wheel.
Don’t get out of balance in your life. Our lives are made up of Seven Vital Areas: Health, Family, Financial, Intellectual, Social, Professional, and Spiritual. We will not necessarily spend time every day in each area or equal amounts of time in each area. But if in the long run, we spend a sufficient quantity and quality of time in each area, our lives will be in balance.
Get enough sleep. For most people, they get the quantity of sleep, but they lack the quality of sleep. If you will plan your day, then work your plan, you will get more done, feel a higher sense of accomplishment, and experience less stress and enjoy a more restful night's sleep.
Take a lunch break. Many do not take a lunch break, working through that time period in the hopes that it will give them more time to produce results. A lunch break, even a short fifteen minute break, gives us a chance to get our batteries all charged up again to more effectively handle the afternoon's challenges.
If you are not yet a manager pretend you are and use these advices. The results will be surprising!
This is a important problem posted by Jordi Sánchez regarding the factors that play against the expansion of Linux between the less expert users: Linux makes us think. As paradoxical as it seems, that is a factor against Linux and we can find a similar idea in another area, web usability. Steve Krug has a good book on this ("Don't make me think"). In the beginning of his book you can find that that if a user must ask itself how your site works your site has a problem, not the user and that's because his intent is not to know how your website works but to find information.
The mission of a normal computer user is neither to install an operating system nor to know how it works, but to use the computer for his specific necessities: to publish texts, to browse the Internet, etc. Normally he will choose the way that makes this less difficult and, still in many occasions, that means to install Windows. To use Windows implies “to think little”: normally the last version available is chosen and installed, it includes the software needed to browse the Web (Internet Explorer) and in addition the user knows that almost any hardware is going to be compatible with Windows. He may know that Windows is not the optimal solution for him, but is the one that solves his necessities with less effort.
What about Linux? It is well known that it can have technical, economic or ethical advantages on Windows. But it makes us think and make too many decisions:
- What hardware we need?
- What distribution should we choose? (and there are many)
- How will we maintain and update our system?
- What desktop environment should we choose?
- Why I need to compile applications?
- and so on...
It seems that Google has patented the look of it's result page. You can clearly see in the image attached below what is all about. The patent is now (Dec. 12, 2006) approved and was filled in March 2004 (no progress since?)
Monday, December 11, 2006
Robert Scoble is one of world's top tech bloggers. He did a great job with Channel9 at Microsoft and then moved to Podtech. And because I like his work I took the chance and sent him five questions. I didn't expect an answer but I was surprised to get it. So here is me interviewing Robert :)
1. If I look at your old blog the title says "Scobleizer: Microsoft Geek Blogger" and the new one "Scobleizer - Tech Geek Blogger". Why this change?
Robert: I don’t work at Microsoft anymore, so wanted to make it clear that I wouldn’t just be taking a Microsoft-centric point of view anymore.
2. What are the most important things you learned at Microsoft?
Robert: Hmmm, I don’t know if there’s any one thing. Well, maybe that one person CAN change the world. But lots of little things, from how to convince people to see the world the way you do to how to scale your conversations.
3. What books (blogs excluded :)) do you read and maybe why?
Robert: I’ve read Woz’s book. I’m reading one from the LifeHacker folks right now. But I’m not a big book reader.
4. Do you have/had role models? Who?
Robert: Dave Winer is my role model, but I really have hundreds of role models.
5. Is there a "silver bullet" for tech blogs?
Robert: I don’t see a silver bullet. Having a successful blog is due to doing tons of things. From building relationships with lots of people to writing good headlines to just plain old having fun and experimenting.
I think there are two important things to learn from this. One is that tech people are great guys and will always take some time to answer your questions - but play nice and don't be too insistent. The second one is that is no recipe for success, you only have to DO SOMETHING.
There are many articles and tools which promise to increase your browsing speed. Well, I usually don't like spending too much time on this but today I decided to try a small tool and show you the results. I'm sure the guys at TotalIdea did a good job looking for ways to improve our browsing speed if we use their freeware application so I didn't spend more time looking for something else.
So, FineTune (1.1.3) will offer you 5 presets for Firefox performance optimization and the idea was to measure real page loading time (htms, css, images, flash, ads) for a few popular websites (DIGG, CNN, NBA, W3C, FreeImages). To do this I used a free service offered by Numion. As you can see in the chart below no optimization resulted in a noticeable performance gain so I advice you to work with your browser default settings.
For this test I used a AthlonXP 2600+ machine with 512MB RAM, Firefox 2.0 and a 256Kb/s internet connection. Before each test I cleared browser's cache using "Tools > Clear Private Data...". I'm sure this test can lead to different results for other configurations so feel free to post comments with your own results/suggestions. The "y" value of the chart is page load time so lower is better. The red series use values measured for Internet Explorer 6.0.
Conclusion: Don't waste your time to make Firefox load pages faster. It already does it's best by default!
If you take a popular idea like DIGG and clone it the result will be "just another clone". But for me grupl.com looks like a promissing way to overcome DIGG's limitations although it resembles much of DIGG's functionality. The "killer" idea is that it lets you create and join groups of any topic. Each group serves as a "mini-digg" with its own links and ratings. This keeps the links relevant and if I like to see only "the best photo you will see today" kind of links I'll create my own group without disturbing others.
The problem with grupl.com is that is a good idea with a bad implementation. The deisgn of the site is awful and it may have been launched too early. And, well, too many ads! But I'm sure you got the idea and in the following months "group powered content" will become a popular model. Image DIGG with this features!
Thursday, December 7, 2006
To find what you are looking for when using Google you can include some special words in your query and get interesting results. Here are the most useful ones:
- related: - get related pages to the one specified (example in the picture below)
- cache: - get cached version of the page (maybe the page is not accessible at the moment and you really need that piece of information)
- link: - get pages that link to specified page (usually you will use this to find who links to your website)
- info: - get more information about specified page
- define: - define a term (for example try define:virtualization)
- site: - limit your search to a given domain, very useful to find information on a specific page
- allintitle: - search for pages that contain the words in page title
- allinurl: - search words must be contained in website's URL
Lately virtualization software became more accessible for any of us. Especially if you are a developer you may find virtualization software very helpful for testing your application in different environments with less effort. For Windows the most popular choices are VMware and Virtual PC. Even if there are many free software solutions you may find that running a virtual Windows machine is not as free as it looks (and I think that's why Microsoft affords to offer Virtual PC for free). If you read your license agreement you will find that you have to buy a new license for each Windows virtual machine (VM) you want to run. For older Windows versions you may have simply not noticed this because your serial # will work in every VM but for Windows XP the product activation comes into place. For Vista there is the possibility to have 1 host and 4 VMs with a single license but only for Vista Ultimate released under Software Assurance. Here are some common scenarios you may have run into:
- You installed Windows XP on the VM, used the same serial # as guest and the activation worked without problems. Well, even if it looks good it's not. The fact that activation worked indicated Microsoft that you replaced your old computer with a new one. And that's not what you intended and you may run into problems updating your guest (original) system.
- You tried to install the Windows XP copy from an old computer you are not using anymore and it didn't work. That's because most OEM copies are looked to work only on the hardware they were supplied with.
- You have more than one license (MSDN subscriber for example) but you don't want to burn one license/VM install and activate them every time. Well, there is a solution but nobody seems to know if it's legal or not. Create a VM, install Windows and activate it then make a backup of the file. Now every time you need a new VM just copy the files from the backup and use them.
Update: it seems that every copy of Win2003 R2 Enterprise Edition allows you to run up to four virtual machines. Good start but it will still cost you $3,999 :)
Update 2: Microsoft itself has released a free Virtual PC image download which includes Windows XP SP2. This VPC image will expire on 04/01/2007.
Wednesday, December 6, 2006
If you use multiple google services (gmail, blogger, adsense, analytics) and different accounts you may have noticed some problems these days:
- when you sign-in to Google Analytics you are presented with your account setup page even if your account was already set (like this account doesn't exists)
- you cannot use two different services at the same time with two different accounts (when you will sign-in for a service the orther will be signed-out)
- you can create more accounts with the same e-mail address and your password will make the difference (strange behavior)
A simple resolution for some of these problems is to delete stored cookies. If you use Firefox you have the option to select what cookies to remove (Tools > Options > Privacy > View cookies... and remove all from gogole). For Internet Explorer (7) you will have to delete all cookies and this is a bit annoying because you will loose some settings from other websites.
A better but more time consuming resolution would be to recreate all your accounts using a single Gmail address and account. For some services (adsense) this is not possible for the moment. I hope Google will present us some best-practices soon.
I'm a Windows user for about 8 years now. During this time many people helped me to fix/improve/understand a lot of things related to this operating system. Now it's my time to pay it forward so ask me a question using the "Post comment" function below. I promise I'll spend the time needed to find the best answer (if exists). Go on, ask!
If you wondered what are the real minimum requirements to start Windows XP here there are: 24 MB RAM and space for install. To use the computer in this configuration some tweaks are needed. By the way, did you know that only 3 services are needed? Here's a small video as proof:
If your favorite activity isn’t scrolling through blogs here are the latest informative subjects covered here (off-topic articles omitted):
- Install Windows Vista without the product key
- WPF/E - Teach your browser new tricks
- SharpDevelop - a free and opensource .NET IDE
- Fast install latest Apache, PHP and MySQL on Windows
- Virtual PC 2007 Beta
- Using "pivot tables" in Excel 2003
- New in Windows Server "Longhorn" - the next server OS from Microsoft
- Use Windows XP like a pro
- Things you should install to make a better Windows XP
- Windows public errors
- 16 Hidden Windows Vista Goodies
- How to create a simple survey using Outlook
- 17 ways to save your time when using Windows
- 16 Hidden Windows XP Goodies
Tuesday, December 5, 2006
Windows Vista has a nice "feature" you may want to know: you can install Windows Vista without having to enter the product key during the setup process. I think the reason for this is to let you test the different versions of Vista before deciding which one to buy. So, when you reach the dialog that asks you to provide a valid product key during setup you can leave it blank! Just click "Next" and answer "No" in the "Are you sure?" dialog box.
The big surprise is that you will be presented with all versions available on the DVD and you can choose one of all the different Windows Vista versions available on the DVD because the product key is the only thing that tells the setup process what version of Vista it should install.
After 14 days you will need to enter a valid product key or do a fresh install.
- “WPF/E” page on MSDN link
- “WPF/E” Community Technology Preview download
- Getting Started with "WPF/E" - screencast
- Joe Stegman talks about the "WPF/E" CTP video
- Celso Gomes : Designing in "WPF/E" video
If you want to develop applications using C# and .NET you have two free choices: Visual Studio Express and SharpDevelop. I'm sure you know about the first so I'll make a short description of SharpDevelop because I know it deserves your attention. At the first glance it looks a lot like Microsoft's Visual Studio: it has a Start Page, Solution Explorer, Toolbox, Clipboard Ring, Class Viewer and Task List. The first think that you will notice is the small download size: 4.1 MB (compared to ~400 MB for VS Express CD). And that's because it's also written in C#. Here are some of SharpDevelop main features:
- Forms designer for C#, VB.NET and Boo
- Integrated debugger
- Code completion for C#, VB.NET and Boo (including Ctrl+Space support)
- XML Editing
- Integrated NUnit support plus code coverage (NCover)
- Refactoring support
- Parser-based code converter (C# to VB.NET / Boo and more)
- Code AutoInsert (Alt+Ins)
- C# to VB.NET converter, as well as VB.NET to C# converter
- Completely written in C#
- Compile C#, VB.NET & Boo code in the IDE out-of-the-box
- Open source, LGPL licensed
- Xml documentation preview
- User interface translated to many languages
- Everything templated: add new project or file types, or even compilers to SharpDevelop
<iframe src='http://digg.com/api/diggthis.php?u=DIGG_STORY_URL' height='82' width='55' frameborder='0' scrolling='no'></iframe>
Make sure you replace the DIGG_STORY_URL with your own submitted story link. The end result should look like this:
The easiest way to install a WAMP (Windows, Apache, MySQL) suite is by using a pre-built package like WAMPServer. However there are some situations this approach will not work: maybe you need a PHP version released today or maybe you need a specific version of MySQL. You can always install these packages separately and it will take you no more then 10 minutes if you know the steps. I will present you the process for the latest versions available today.
1. Download the packages
- Apache (2.2.3) MSI Installer: http://httpd.apache.org/download.cgi
- PHP(5.2.0) ZIP: http://www.php.net/get/php-5.2.0-Win32.zip/from/a/mirror
- MySQL (5.0.27) MSI Installer: http://dev.mysql.com/downloads/mysql/5.0.html
- Please note that I had some problems using Apache 2.2.3 and PHP 5.2.0 so you may want to choose other available versions.
- Start apache_2.2.3-win32-x86-no_ssl.msi from your downloads folder
- Click "Next" until you get to the "Server Information" dialog. Usually default settings will be ok so click "Next" again.
- Choose "Custom" install and click "Next"
- I usually choose a different folder for the server like "C:\Server\Apache\". This will help later when you will edit configuration files. Choose the path and click "Next" then "Install".
- Open a browser and enter "http://localhost/" in the address field to see if all went well.
3. PHP Installation
- Unzip your downloaded file (php-5.2.0-Win32.zip) to a folder (I will use "C:\Server\PHP\")
- Rename php.ini-recommended from PHP folder to php.ini
- Open Apache configuration file (httpd.conf) from "C:\Server\Apache\conf\" and add 3 lines at the end (replace "C:/Server/PHP" if needed):
LoadModule php5_module "C:/Server/PHP/php5apache2_2.dll"
AddType application/x-httpd-php .php
- Click "Start > Run..." and enter "net stop apache2.2" to stop apache service
- Click "Start > Run..." and enter "net start apache2.2" to restart apache service (this is needed to reload configuration file)
- Now create a file called test.php in your web root folder (in our case "C:\Server\Apache\htdocs\") . The contents of the file should be:
- Open a browser and enter "http://localhost/test.php" in the address field to see if all went well.
4. MySQL installation
- Start mysql-essential-5.0.27-win32.msi from you downloads folder
- Click "Next" and choose "Custom" installation type
- Leave the default options selected and change the install folder if you want (I will use "C:\Server\MySQL\")
- Choose "Next" then "Install"
- I choose to skip registration but you may use it if you want
- Make sure you let "Configure the MySQL Server now" checked before you click "Finish"
- In the Server Instance Configuration Wizard click "Next" and chose "Detailed Configuration".
- In the next screen I advise you to choose "Developer Machine" unless you plan to use this for a server.
- Choose "Multifunctional Database" next.
- Leave the default options for the "InnoDB Tablespace Settings" and click "Next";
- Choose OLAP on the following page.
- You can now click "Next" until you get to "Security Settings" page. Type a root password and write it down or make sure you will remember it.
- Choose "Next" and then "Execute" to apply these settings.
- To enable MySQL support for your PHP installation edit php.ini and uncomment (remove ;) the following line : extension=php_mysql.dll and modify the extension_dir parameter (to extension_dir = "c:\server\php\ext")
- Apache needs a restart now so use "net stop apache2.2", "net start apache2.2" commands
- All should be ready to go!
I didn't expect Micrsoft to release anoter FREE version of Virtual PC. However they announced in a recent press release a new version (2007) and there is a beta version to download. There are not many articles regarding this release for the moment but we can find from their beta page some of the new features, mainly regarding Windows Vista support:
- Hardware-assisted virtualization
Virtual PC 2007 includes support for virtualization technology from Intel and AMD. By default, hardware-assisted virtualization is enabled if the feature is enabled on the physical computer. You can turn this assistance on or off for each virtual machine by modifying the virtual machine settings.
- Support for Windows Vista as a host operating system
This beta release of Virtual PC 2007 introduces support for Windows Vista as a host operating system. The following versions of Windows Vista are supported: Windows Vista Business, Windows Vista Enterprise, Windows Vista Ultimate.
- Support for Windows Vista as a guest operating system
This beta release of Virtual PC 2007 introduces support for Windows Vista as a guest operating system. The following versions of Windows Vista are supported: Windows Vista Business, Windows Vista Enterprise, Windows Vista Ultimate.
- Support for 64-bit host operating system
This beta release of Virtual PC 2007 supports 64-bit host operating systems. However, there is no support for 64-bit guest operating systems.
A pivot table is a powerful data summarization tool in Microsoft Excel and other electronic spreadsheet programs. Among other functions, it can automatically sort, count, and total data stored in a spreadsheet and create a second table displaying the summarized data. With PivotTables, you can quickly turn rows of data, such as sales information or inventory figures, into summary reports. Once you have the summary, you can then change the format to create other reports or summaries.
To begin select the following rows and copy/paste them into Excel (use Right-click, paste special, text). Now you have the raw data.
With a bit of effort you can make a quick aggregation mentally and see, for example, how many hours were spent on each project. But what if there were 10000 or more rows? So let's try to do that using the pivot table feature:
- Select any cell in the datasheet. Try A2 for example.
- On main menu click "Data > PivotTable and PivotChart Report..."
- Leave the default settings for the first stept of the wizard and click "Next"
- In step 2 you should select your data ranges. If you use the data provided above the range should be "Sheet1!$A$2:$D$12". You can use the mouse to select it or enter the value in the dialog.
- Click "Next" then "Finish". The wizard result should look like this:
- Now, from the right panel drag "1" below the date value in the "Drop Data Items Here" panel. This will sumarize work hours.
- Next, drag "AAA" value on the "Total" cell below "Sum of 1". This will split hours by project.
- If you want to see also how many hours each employee worked on each project you can also drag "JOE" from the list between "Sum of 1 column" and "Total" column. This should be the final result of your work:
About a year ago both client and server upcoming operating systems were called Longhorn. A split was made, the client became Vista and the server part is still called Longhorn. Of course, as the release will come closer the name will change. Longhorn will ba a major release and that means fundamental changes from the core to the interface. Here are my favorite new features:
Network Access Protection (NAP)
Provides a new framework that allows an IT administrator to establish health requirements for the network, and to prevent computers that do not meet these requirements from communicating with the network. NAP enforces administrator-defined policies that describe the health requirements in the given organization. For example, health requirements may be defined to include having all critical updates to the operating system installed, or having antivirus or anti-spyware software installed and operational. In this way, network administrators can control the baseline level of protection all computers carry when connecting to the network.
Internet Information Services 7, ASP.NET, Windows Communication Foundation
IIS version 7.0 is a major enhancement to the existing Windows Web server and plays a central role in integrating Web platform technologies. IIS 7.0 introduces some major improvements to the way configuration data is stored and accessed. One of the key goals of the IIS 7.0 release is to enable distributed configuration of IIS settings, allowing developers to specify IIS configuration settings alongside code and content.
Windows Server “Longhorn” core
Administrators can choose to install Windows Server “Longhorn” with only core server functionality and without any extra overhead. This limits the roles that can be performed by the server and does away with the server graphic user interface (GUI), but it can improve security and reduce management. This type of installation is called a Server Core installation. Because Server Core installs only what is required to have a manageable DHCP, DNS, file server, or domain controller, less software maintenance—such as updates or service packs—is required for the server. Moreover, since there is less installed and running on the server, there are fewer attack vectors exposed to the network, and therefore less of an attack surface. In addition, if a security flaw is discovered in a file that is not installed, a patch is not required. Finally, because less functionality is installed on a Server Core-based server, there is less for administrators to manage.
Windows Deployment Services
Is the updated and redesigned Windows Server "Longhorn" version of Remote Installation Services (RIS). Windows Deployment Services assists with the rapid adoption and deployment of Windows operating systems. Windows Deployment Services allows network-based installation of Windows Vista™ and Windows Server "Longhorn", deploys Windows Vista and Windows Server "Longhorn" to "bare metal" computers (no operating system installed), and supports mixed environments including Microsoft Windows XP and Microsoft Windows Server 2003.
Windows Server “Longhorn” provides simplified, centralized server management through a single Server Manager interface. Server Manager provides a centralized source for managing a server's identity and system information, displaying server status and health, identifying problems with server role configuration, and managing all roles installed on the server. The Server Manager console is a new Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-in that allows administrators to view and manage virtually all of the information that affects server productivity and health.
Windows "Longhorn" uses the kernel-mode transaction support to provide a transactional version of the NTFS file system, which allows transacted file-system operations within the NTFS file system—and the Transactional Registry—which allows transacted registry operations. NTFS and the registry have been enhanced to be able to coordinate their work with a transaction. Because transactions are necessary to both preserve data integrity and handle error conditions reliably, administrators can use Transactional NTFS to develop robust solutions on the Windows platform.
Terminal Services Remote Programs
Terminal Services enables organizations to provide access to programs running on a Windows Server "Longhorn" terminal server to users running Windows Vista or Microsoft Windows XP, Service Pack 2, with the newest Remote Desktop client. The remote program is completely integrated with the user's desktop and behaves as if it is running on the user's local computer. Users can run programs from a remote location side-by-side with their local programs.
Terminal Services Web Access
TS Web Access is a new Windows Server "Longhorn" feature that lets administrators make Terminal Services Remote Programs (TS Remote Programs) available to users from a Web browser. With TS Web Access, users can visit a Web site (either from the Internet or from an intranet) to access a list of available Remote Programs. When they start one of these programs, a Terminal Services session is started on the terminal server that hosts the Remote Program.
Monday, December 4, 2006
If you want your car to perform and look well you have to do some maintenance from time to time: clean it, change the oil, change the tires and so on. Windows XP can be a good performer but, like with the car, you should take care of some things. Most people will tell you that it's performance will degrade over time and you have to do a clean reinstall to get it back. That's not true! Make sure you follow these advices and you'll see.
Things to do only once
- Make sure you have a big enough system (C:\) partition. This will make file fragmentation less likely to occur.
- Set your swap file to a fixed size. To do this access "Control Panel > System > Advanced > Performance : Settings > Advanced > Virtual Memory : Change" and enter a custom size. Use the same value for the initial size and maximum size (usually 1.5 x physical memory size). A good practice is to defragment the drive before so that Windows can allocate a contigous space for the pagefile.
- Disable visual effects. To do this access "Control Panel > System > Advanced > Performance : Settings" and check "Adjust for best performance". This will make Windows XP look a bit uglier but work faster. If you have a new and fast system enjoy the looks and leave the default for this setting.
- Disable indexing services. To do this go to "Control Panel > Add/Remove Programs > Add/Remove Window Components" and uncheck the Indexing services. Click "Next" to apply.
- Install a good antivirus and leave Windows Firewall on. This should keep viruses and spyware away but you can never be too careful with those.
- Disable "last access update notification". Create a new DWORD registry value called ‘NtfsDisableLastAccessUpdate’ in "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\FileSystem" and set value data to 1.
Things to do from time to time
- Delete temporary files. Usually you can find them in "C:\Documents and Settings\
- Delete your browser cache. For Internet Explorer go to "Tools > Internet Options... : General" and choose "Delete files > Delete all offline content". For FireFox go to "Tools > Options > Privacy > Clear now..." and make sure "Cache" is checked.
- Defragment at least your system partition monthly. Make sure you completed the last two steps before and the result should be better.
- Use Windows Update every week!!! This is very important. Also make sure your antivirus is up to date.
- Check for newer versions of your drivers and software. Your browser, messenger or email client can be vulnerable to attacks even if the OS is updated. Also, updated drivers often bring good performance enhancements.
Things not to do
- Do not install applications you don't need. These can bring the most bloat to your system increasing disk space, registry size, number of services, number of DLL's and so on. Make sure you install well-known and supported software. Check this for a list of free software I use.
- Think twice before installing software from the internet. Twice!
- Do not use memory defragmentation/cache enhancer software. Memory cache system is a key component of Windows constantly improved in the last 20 years and you simply cannot beat it with a 15$ utility.
If you are like me you spend a huge amount of time using Windows XP. There are many tools that can improve your experience with a small amount of effort. My choices are:
Free, fast and more standards friendly browser. Even if you use Internet Explorer make sure you have this one in your toolbox.
A lightweight audio player. I use it because it's small, fast, uses very few resources and I never had problems with it. If you like to just listen to music it can be your choice too. No bloat included.
Google Desktop Search
Will help you to find anything faster. A single tools to search in your emails, files and web history. There are many plugins and gadgets you can use with this great tool.
Media Player Classic
Small and fast video player. The project it's not very active lately but I hope it will come back.
The most popular image viewer. Huge list of supported formats, fast, small.
They say: ConTEXT is a small, fast and powerful freeware text editor, developed mainly to serve as secondary tool for software developers. I agree.
Released by SysInternals this tool is a major Task Manager improvement. You can diagnose almost any activity in your system, from memory leaks to opened files, spyware activity and more. There are also two more tools from SysInternals you may find useful: Filemon and Regmon.
It's a small video capture/processing utility. If you ever need to change the format of a video file use this tool.
1. The snipping tool - take freeform screenshots
The snipping tool is used to grab screenshots and save them to common image formats. Open the start menu and just start typing “snipping”. You should see the tool pop up in the search results by the time you get to “snip”. You can choose from four types of snipping areas: Free form snip, Rectangular snip, Window snip, and Full screen snip.
2. Enable/disable startup programs
There are multiple places where an application can register itself for execution on startup, and this makes it hard to retain control over which programs are granted such status. Solution : From the start menu search bar, type System Configuration, and click on the link that comes up. The Startup tab enumerates all the applications that are set to run as startup, regardless of whether they are set in the registry, the user profile, or simply the startup folder. Application are still listed after you disable them.
3. Open an elevated command prompt - FAST
To launch an elevated command prompt, simply press the Win key; type cmd; press Ctrl+Shift+Enter; and then hit Alt+C to confirm the elevation prompt. Type "color 4f" in the command prompt to differentiate this from other non-elevated windows.
4. Use Windows XP drivers
If you have trouble finding a Vista driver try to use Windows XP version. There is a good chance it will work. At least to make your device usable.
5. Recover overwritten documents
If you accidentally overwrite a document, you can use Vista's implementation of Volume Shadow Copy to roll back changes—just click on the file and select "Previous Versions" on the Windows Explorer toolbar.
6. Bring back Start > Run...
If you want to restore it permanently to your Start menu, here's what you do:
- Right-click on the Start menu and choose Properties;
- Select the Start Menu tab and click on the Customize... button;
- Ensure the "Run command" option is checked.
7. Open command prompt here...
Right-click on any folder on your Windows Vista machine while holding down the shift key. You'll see an extra context-sensitive menu item there: Open Command Prompt here. Just click on this menu and a command window will open with the current working directory set to the folder's actual location.
8. DPI scaling via DWM (for laptops and Tablet PC)
A screen resolution of 1400x1050 on a 12" diagonal display is about 144dpi, 50% higher resolution than the 96dpi which Windows assumes by default! So, if you're tired of squinting, set your DPI properly instead of scaling down your resolution. You should find that applications work more reliably on Vista when the DPI is set greater than 96. Steps:
- Right-click the Windows desktop.
- Click Properties.
- Click the Settings tab on the Display Properties dialog.
- Click the Advanced button on the Settings tab.
- Select a dpi setting in the Display frame.
- Restart your system to allow the changes to take effect.
Consider making the caret (text insertion point) easier to see in bright / daylight conditions, by increasing its thickness slightly. You can increase the caret width with this straightforward registry key:
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop] "CaretWidth"=dword:00000003
10. Take ownership of a file or directory (if you can't access or delete it)
You may find sometimes that you cannot access/move/delete some folders even if you are administrator because their ACLs were set for accounts with SIDs that applied to an old partition. To take them back use:
- takeown /f [folder] /r /d y
- icacls [folder] /grant administrators:F /t
You can simply use Win+1, Win+2, Win+3 and so on to launch each application from the QuickLaunch menu.
12. Run a command prompt during setup
Simply press Shift+F10 during setup, and you'll be presented with a command prompt. This also works after Windows Vista has rebooted for the first time on an upgrade, although be very careful what you do here - there's almost no good reasons to be interacting with the system at this point in time. (works also in Win200 and WinXP)
13. Zoom in Explorer
If you're looking at a folder with lots of photos, maybe a small thumbnail view works well; for a folder with lots of documents, maybe a larger thumbnail view works better. Now you can use the Views button on the toolbar to modify this - click the button to toggle between views or use the down arrow to get access to the slider - but it's quicker to use a shortcut. Simply hold down the Ctrl key and use your mouse scrollwheel to resize the icons from small to extra large. This also works on the desktop itself. If the desktop has focus, simply do Ctrl+mousewheel and you can go from the regular 48x48 icons to full 256x256 photographic-quality renditions.
14. The oldest component in Windows
It seems that edlin is the oldest program included in Windows. It was the only text editor provided with MS-DOS before version 5.0 of that system. However, Edlin is still available in Microsoft Windows including Windows Vista. If you want to try it here's the edlin command help.
15. Slow down Vista animation using the shift key
This only works if you have the aero interface turned on. You can slow down windows animations by pressing the shift key. This is the the animation you see when minimizing, maximizing or closing windows. To do this:
- Open registry editor
- Go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\DWM
- Create a new DWORD value AnimationsShiftKey and set it to 1
Notepad can be used to make log files. Open it and type .LOG on the first line, then save the file as whatever you want. Now every time you open the file the current date and time will be appended to it's contents.
uTorrent is the best bittorrent client you can get for Windows. It is small (170 KB) and it has all the features you will need. No, I was not payed to say this but I love what they did. Well, what I didn't expect is a 170 KB application to have easter-eggs. There are two in uTorrent:
1. A sound when you click the round logo in the "About uTorrent..." dialog
2. A tetris game (press "T" in the same dialog)
Often you have to send an e-mail to a group and you expect a simple Yes/No/Maybe response. You can save your time and their time by using a simple but not very well-known Outlook feature: voting and tracking. To do this click "New..." to create a new message.
On the message editor dialog toolbar click "Options..." and the "Message options" dialog will open:
Check "Use voting buttons" and select desired buttons. People will have the option to respond to your message by simply clicking a toolbar button. I hope it helps.
PS: There are also some more interesting settings on this dialog. The "Do not deliver before" can be used to send messages to your boss while your in a pub for example :).
1. Create a Shortcut to Lock Your Computer
Leaving your computer in a hurry but you don’t want to log off? You can double-click a shortcut on your desktop to quickly lock the keyboard and display without using CTRL+ALT+DEL or a screensaver. To create a shortcut on your desktop to lock your computer:
- Right-click the desktop.
- Point to New, and then click Shortcut.
- The Create Shortcut Wizard opens. In the text box, type the following:
- rundll32.exe user32.dll,LockWorkStation
- Click Next.
- Enter a name for the shortcut. You can call it “Lock Workstation” or choose any name you like.
- Click Finish.
You can also change the shortcut’s icon (my personal favorite is the padlock icon in shell32.dll). To change the icon:
- Right click the shortcut and then select Properties.
- Click the Shortcut tab, and then click the Change Icon button.
- In the Look for icons in this file text box, type:
- Click OK.
- Select one of the icons from the list and then click OK
You could also give it a shortcut keystroke such CTRL+ALT+L. This would save you only one keystroke from the normal command, but it could be more convenient.
2. Create a Shortcut to Start Remote Desktop
To create a shortcut icon to start Remote Desktop
- Click Start, point to More Programs, point to Accessories, point to Communications, and then click on Remote Desktop Connection.
- Click Options.
- Configure settings for the connection to your office computer.
- Click Save As, and enter a name, such as Office Computer. Click Save.
- Open the Remote Desktops folder.
- Right-click on the file named Office Computer, and then click Create Shortcut.
- Drag the shortcut onto the desktop of your home computer.
3. Instantly Activate a Screensaver
Turn on a screensaver without having to wait by adding a shortcut to your desktop:
- Click the Start button, and then click Search.
- In the Search Companion window, click All file types.
- In the file name box, type *.scr
- In the Look in box, choose Local Hard Drives (C or the drive where you have system files stored on your computer.
- Click Search.
- You will see a list of screensavers in the results. Pick a screensaver you want. You can preview it by double-clicking it.
- Right click on the file, choose Send To, and then click Desktop (create shortcut).
To activate the screensaver, double-click the icon on your desktop.
4. Get the “Administrator” name on Welcome Screen
To get Admin account on the “Welcome Screen” as well as the other usernames, make sure that there are no accounts logged in. Press “ctrl-alt-del” twice and you should be able to login as administrator!
Or for Windows XP Professional only, go to:
- HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE SOFTWARE Microsoft Windows NT CurrentVersion Winlogon SpecialAccounts UserList
- Right-click an empty space in the right pane and select New > DWORD Value Name the new value Administrator. Double-click this new value, and enter 1 as it’s Value data.
- Close the registry editor and restart.
5. Create a Password Reset Disk
If you’re running Windows XP Professional as a local user in a workgroup environment, you can create a password reset disk to log onto your computer when you forget your password. To create the disk:
- Click Start, click Control Panel, and then click User Accounts.
- Click your account name.
- Under Related Tasks, click Prevent a forgotten password.
- Follow the directions in the Forgotten Password Wizard to create a password reset disk.
- Store the disk in a secure location, because anyone using it can access your local user account
6. Change Web Page Font Size on the Fly
If your mouse contains a wheel for scrolling, you can change font size on the fly when viewing a Web page. To do so press and hold Ctrl. Scroll down (or towards yourself) to enlarge the font size. Scroll up (or away from yourself) to reduce the font size. You might find it useful to reduce font size when printing a Web page, so that you can fit more content on the page. This tip also works for other programs such as Adobe Reader, Microsoft Word, etc.
7. WinXP Clear Page file on shutdown
Browse to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE System CurrentControlSet Control Session Manager Memory Management and add the DWORD variable “ClearPageFileAtShutdown”=dword:00000001
You can also do this without reg hacking: go to Control panel Administartative tools, local security policy. then goto local policies —-> security options. then change the option for “Shutdown: Clear Virtual Memory Pagefile”
8. Speed up the Start Menu
The default speed of the Start Menu is pretty slow, but you can fix that by editing a Registry Key. Fire up the Registry Editor and navigate to the following key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER Control Panel Desktop MenuShowDelay. By default, the value is 400. Change this to a smaller value, such as 0, to speed it up.
If your confounded by the slow speed of the Start Menu, even after using the tip above, then you might try the following: Navigate to Display Properties then Appearance then Advanced and turn off the option titled Show menu shadow . You will get much better overall performance.
9. Temporarily Assign Yourself Administrative Permissions
Many programs require you to have Administrative permissions to be able to install them. Here is an easy way to temporarily assign yourself Administrative permissions while you remain logged in as a normal user.
- Hold down the Shift key as you right-click on the program’s setup file.
- Click Run as.
- Type in a username and password that have Administrative permissions.
- This will also work on applications in the Start menu.
10. Use your Windows Key
The Windows logo key, located in the bottom row of most computer keyboards is a little-used treasure. Don’‘t ignore it. It is the shortcut anchor for the following commands:
- Windows: Display the Start menu
- Windows + D: Minimize or restore all windows
- Windows + E: Display Windows Explorer
- Windows + F: Display Search for files
- Windows + Ctrl + F: Display Search for computer
- Windows + F1: Display Help and Support Center
- Windows + R: Display Run dialog box
- Windows + break: Display System Properties dialog box
- Windows + shift + M: Undo minimize all windows
- Windows + L: Lock the workstation
- Windows + U: Open Utility Manager
- Windows + Q: Quick switching of users (Powertoys only)
- Windows + Q: Hold Windows Key, then tap Q to scroll thru the different users on your pc
11. Add album art to any music folder
One of the coolest new features in Windows XP is its album thumbnail generator, which automatically places the appropriate album cover art on the folder to which you are copying music (generally in WMA format). But what about those people that have already copied their CDs to the hard drive using MP3 format? You can download album cover art from sites such as cdnow.com or amguide.com, and then use the new Windows XP folder customize feature to display the proper image for each folder. But this takes time—you have to manually edit the folder properties for every single folder—and you will lose customizations if you have to reinstall the OS. There’s an excellent fix, however. When you download the album cover art from the Web, just save the images as folder.jpg each time and place them in the appropriate folder. Then, Windows XP will automatically use that image as the thumbnail for that folder and, best of all, will use that image in Windows Media Player for Windows XP (MPXP) if you choose to display album cover art instead of a visualization. And the folder customization is automatic, so it survives an OS reinstallation as well. Your music folders never looked so good! Album cover art makes music folder thumbnails look better than ever!
12. Massive file renamer
You can now rename multiple files at once in WinXP. Its real simple: Select several files in Explorer, press F2 and rename one of those files to something else. All the selected files get renamed to the new file name (plus a number added to the end).
13. DNS caching
When you connect to a web site your computer sends information back and forth, this is obvious. Some of this information deals with resolving the site name to an IP address, the stuff that tcp/ip really deals with, not words. This is DNS information and is used so that you will not need to ask for the site location each and every time you visit the site. Although WinXP and Win2000 has a pretty efficient DNS cache, you can increase its overall performance by increasing its size. You can do this with the registry entries below:
************begin copy and paste***********
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
************end copy and paste***********
Make a new text file and rename it to dnscache.reg. The copy and paste the above into it and save it. Then execute it by dbl-click.
14. Disable Error Reporting
As many of you would have noticed – every time a Microsoft program crashes in Windows XP – and Error Report comes up allowing you to send some information on the crash to Microsoft. Well this can get quite annoying, so here is how you disable it.
- Open Control Panel
- Click on Preformance and Maintenance.
- Click on System.
- Then click on the Advanced tab
- Click on the error reporting button on the bottom of the windows.
- Select Disable error reporting.
- Click OK
15. Allow more than 2 simultaneous downloads on Internet Explorer 6
This is to increase the the number of max downloads to 10.
- Start Registry Editor (Regedt32.exe).
- Locate the following key in the registry: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Current\Version\Internet Settings
- On the Edit menu, click Add Value , and then add the following registry values:
- Quit Registry Editor.
16. Remove programs from uninstall list
Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall. Delete the folder of the program.
17. Turn off indexing to speed up XP
Windows XP keeps a record of all files on the hard disk so when you do a search on the hard drive it is faster. There is a downside to this and because the computer has to index all files, it will slow down normal file commands like open, close, etc. If you do not do a whole lot of searches on your hard drive then I suggest turnning this feature off:
- Control Panel
- Administrative Tools
- Disable Indexing Services
You can turn indexing off for each drive by right-click on the drive in Explorer > Properties and uncheck “Allow Indexing Service to …”
This article is a follow-up for 16 Hidden Windows XP Goodies
1. Installer music: Start > Run > “C:\Windows\system32\oobe\images\title.wma” > Ok
2. Hibernate: Start > Turn Off Computer… > press Shift key to change the “Stand By” button to “Hibernate”
3. Hidden Devices: Control Panel > System > Hardware > Device Manager > select “View” and Show hidden devices
4. Character Map: Start > Run > “charmap.exe” > Ok
5. Clipboard Viewer: Start > Run > “clipbrd.exe” > Ok
6. Dr Watson: Start > Run > “drwtsn32.exe” > Ok
7. IExpress Wizard: Start > Run > “iexpress.exe” > Ok
8. Old Windows Media Player 5.1: Start > Run > “mplay32.exe” > Ok
9. ODBC Data Source Administrator: Start > Run > “odbcad32.exe” > Ok
10. Object Packager: Start > Run > “packager.exe” > Ok
11. System Monitor: Start > Run > “perfmon.exe” > Ok
12. Network shared folder wizard: Start > Run > “shrpubw.exe” > Ok
13. File siganture verification tool: Start > Run > “sigverif.exe” > Ok
14. System Configuration Editor: Start > Run > “sysedit.exe” > Ok
15. Driver Verifier Manager: Start > Run > “verifier.exe” > Ok
16. Windows for Workgroups Chat: Start > Run > “winchat.exe” > Ok
Ask me a question about Windows