One device to power them all

I’m sure I’m not the only one thinking about this being the real solution for the multiple devices nightmare that many of us are facing nowadays. You have a smartphone, a tablet, a personal laptop, and possibly a work PC. We are basically juggling devices. Each device needs to be maintained and kept up to date and they all come with their list if headaches.

But what is the only device that is always with you at all times?

Your smartphone.

It is the answer to all of that. Today, they are powered by powerful quad core CPUs, has oodles of RAM and enough disk space to accommodate your cloud storage for personal and work related files. So why can’t your smartphone be the power house? The device that powers them all?

Simply put, I believe eventually everyone will have a single “host” device (your smartphone), that will do the job of your tablet, your laptop, your office computer and your car’s
infotainment system. Those will be nothing more of cheap dumb terminals or hubs that your smartphone will either wirelessly communicate or dock with to transfer power and data. Of course by then, some of those devices may not even exist.

One device.

My Compaq Presario Got a New Battery

Finally, my old Compaq Presario got a new lease on life with a new 12-cell battery which I bought off eBay recently. My laptop has been suffering for a good year now with the old 6-cell battery which gave me almost 15 minutes of power. The new battery seems to give me a good day of work which is great considering the age of my laptop and the overall shelf age of any new battery I get for it.

My Compaq Presario (V2650CA) still runs Windows XP which I am considering to upgrade to Windows 7 when I give it more RAM. Currently it only has 1GB of RAM and that cause the system to crawl if it ran Windows 7. The RAM type is a bit old (DDR) so it wont be cheap to upgrade.

“Why even bother?” you ask? Good point. I mean it’s an old laptop and probably exceeded its end of life date but, nevertheless, it’s still running and can act as a good backup laptop if I ended up investing in a new system.

Add CAPTCHA to BlogEngine.NET

Recently I added a blog module to my company’s website and I used BlogEngine.net as the blogging platform, mainly because it’s free. But a week after the module was implemented, I started getting loads of spam a day. In the beginning I thought they were real comments on the posts but it turns out they all had websites associated with their names that was advertising products and services from different parts of the world.

I was under the impression that BlogEngine already had a spam filter built in (as extensions) and it did, but unfortunately it wasn’t catching most of the spam. I was surprised to see that BlogEngine lacked a captcha extension, but instead has recaptcha that still didn’t stop all the spam from passing through.

After some Googling, I realized BlogEngine users had to add captcha manually to the platform as there was no extension available. There are a couple of websites that gives you step-by-step instructions on how to implement a captcha function in your blog but the one that was easiest to follow and worked from the first try was the post titled “How to Block Spam Comments in BlogEngine.NET” from Code Capers.

Adding captcha seems to solve the spam issue for now, although it is quite annoying to type in those barely visible letters every time you want to comment. It’s a temporary solution for now till I research other ways to kill spam.

What’s with all the Macs?

I feel that people are buying Macs for the wrong reasons. Some friends who bought a Macbook Pro use it for their school homework and web surfing. Some others bought it because they ‘think’ it syncs, works and integrates better with their iPhone or iPod touch. And some others buy a Mac because they ‘know’ it doesn’t get viruses and malware that Windows PCs get. Go figure.

Most of those people I talk about aren’t tech savvy so whatever I hear from them from arguments goes in one ear and goes out the other. But at the same time it worries me what those Mac ads are doing to the public. Those ads are brain washing the public. But in the end it’s Apple’s most powerful and most expensive weapon: marketing. Everyone knows Apple is nothing without their marketing department. It’s what brings them profit. Whether if they’re pushing they’re patents and copyrights or brain washing the public. It’s all about making money in the end.

I am sticking with my Windows PC for a very long time. I just don’t see the reason to switch. It’s proven that whatever Macs do a Windows PC can do it too for a cheaper price. Plus programming for Windows is a walk in the park compared to the Mac OS X.

Blogging vs Twitter

I practiced twittering a lot during the past year that it sort of made me stop blogging. It was actually a combination of both Twitter’s short messages and the crippled blogging module in Windows Live Spaces that made twittering a better alternative to blogging. But no matter how many times you tweet, you still need a platform to write and post as much text as you want. That’s why blogging will never die.

I say that now mainly because I am back to blogging again and I couldn’t be happier. Sometimes you just need to sit back and spill whatever is lurking in your mind whether it made sense or not. Your head starts to feel much lighter after you hit the ‘Publish’ button.

Compaq Presario at repair shop

My main laptop has been out of order for quite a long time now. I opened it to clean it from the inside, put it back together, turned it on, I got an error message saying something isn’t connected properly and Windows won’t boot up.

Why are laptops still complicated? The task of opening up a laptop for a periodic cleaning shouldn’t be risky, time consuming or complicated or end up affecting the software (at least in my opinion).

So I sent it for repairs at a local laptop repair shop. It’s probably a disconnected hardware connector that I mistakenly took apart without noticing, even though I was extremely careful.

I hope they don’t charge me a premium for this. I wouldn’t have thought of repairing it if it wasn’t so important to me.

2 Best Buy Employees, 1 Question

So I went shopping for a new computer for a friend of mine. He was mainly looking for a gaming computer with oodles of storage. Of course I already picked the computer, video card and power supply from Best Buy’s website before we left, just to be prepared. I mean I really hate those people who just jump into their cars and go shopping for a computer before making any kind of research on what exactly they want.

Anyways, it turns out the computer I picked was of that slim kind that you can’t install a video card in. I have no idea why they didn’t mention that on Best Buy’s website, but, nevertheless, that’s not what pissed me off. So we looked around at whatever came as close as what we were looking for and we found one. But I had one question about it. There was an nVidia sticker on the PC which made me wonder if it had a separate video card installed or an integrated piece of crap that normally comes with, let’s see, ALL new PCs.

So I called one of the Best Buy employees over to help answer this one question of mine and he said, and I quote, “Yes. It has a separate video card.” I looked at the back of the PC and I didn’t see DVI ports coming from a video card but from the motherboard instead. So I asked him again, “Are you sure?”. And he replied confidently and with a smile, “Yes”.

I didn’t believe it. I mean the computer on display DIDN’T have a card! So I grabbed another employee and I asked him the same question and he too said “Yes”. So we bought the computer, went home, opened it up and there it was, the cleverly invisible video card sitting absolutely no where in the case.

Two Best Buy employees were WRONG! Not one, but two. That’s not just shameful, but embarrassing as well. Just because a computer has either an ATI or nVidia sticker on it doesn’t mean it has a separate video card installed. You don’t even need to Bing it or Google it, a simple look at the back of the PC would let you know and they didn’t even bother to look.

Microsoft should do this: Exchange plus Hotmail

I came across this article while surfing and it shared a similar idea that I had in mind for a while (I really should blog about whatever is on my mind before others do). The idea I had is to have the Exchange service added to Hotmail webmail as a service where users can subscribe to. Wouldn’t it be great for users (without a Windows Mobile smartphone) to have their contacts, calendar and email sync wirelessly to their smartphone? I know Nokia had to go through partnerships with Microsoft to add the Exchange service as well as the Windows Live Hotmail service to most of their high end smartphones. And iPhones has an option to add an Exchange email but no Hotmail option (even though Hotmail is the most widely used free webmail worldwide). And it’s not just an advantage to smartphones in general, but to your desktop too since there is numerous email clients that support Exchange.

Click here to read the article where the author (Pill Wainewright) describes the advantages in details of having Exchange plus Hotmail.

Windows Live Tags: Microsoft, Exchange, Hotmail

 

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Beta testing Windows 7 (64-bit)

Two nights ago, I came across Windows 7 beta download site so I downloaded the 64-bit version. What I didn’t know that night was the fact that Microsoft was closing the download site the next day. So I was fortunate enough to grab a copy of Windows 7 beta to start testing it out and sending in my feedback.

I just love testing beta programs and especially when it comes to Windows. I was there during Windows Vista’s beta testing and I can’t describe how exciting the experience was at the time. It’s always fun to experience software first hand and help make it better for millions (probably billions) of people worldwide.

Well, so far Windows 7 beta detected pretty much everything on my aging laptop (Compaq Presario V2000) except the sound device. Usually I would run into video adapter issues when testing a new Windows version but to my surprise this time it was the sound card (first time ever). I was even further more surprised when my laptop was able to run Aero under Windows 7 when it failed miserably to run it under Vista. I guess I should never under estimate the power of my laptop’s hardware but then again it could be an indication of an improved Windows. But seriously speaking, I need a better and faster laptop.

There is a whole bunch of new features and neat tricks built into Windows 7 that makes this version fun to work with. Click here to read more about Windows 7 and to see a list of ‘What’s new’.

Windows Live Tags: Windows 7, Microsoft, Beta, Testing

 

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Still waiting for new Windows Live Spaces themes

How long has it been since we’ve seen new themes around here? Well I have been waiting for too long and sending numerous feedback about it but all I see is the same old boring themes that came with Spaces 1.0.
Now don’t get me wrong, I do appreciate all the work the Spaces Team have done and all the time they’ve spent making Windows Live Spaces better with every update, but it wont hurt to see them throwing a new theme every once in a while. I don’t know, customizing the colors, borders, backgrounds and images sounds time consuming and having a cool theme made ready sounds, well, like a gift sent from all the way in Redmond.
I still having a hard time differentiating between links on the page and post titles. It’s still a bit confusing and I am sure I am not alone on that one. I don’t know why the Spaces Team can’t significantly increase the font size of post titles to make them stand out more. What could possibly be wrong about doing so? All the other free blog platforms out there does it. I think it’s pretty much a standard yet the Spaces Team find it wrong to go by.
Windows Live Tags: Windows Live, Spaces, Microsoft, Update