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Last night I was watching CSI, and during one scene I thought I saw something strange. So I rewound and went frame-by-frame. Here's what I saw:

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One annoying thing about modern OEM systems is that they come with "recovery discs" instead of a regular Windows installation. On Vista recovery discs from HP (and probably others), those files are stored as .WIM files. I was initially under the assumption that these were somehow encrypted to protect them from tampering, as my initial attempts to open them had failed, but the reality is that they are spanned WIM volumes and can be reconstructed to a whole WIM image file, then mounted using imagex.exe.

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Dear Mexican restaurant owner,

If your servers need to warn patrons that their plates are very, VERY hot, so hot that the servers need asbestos gloves to carry them, then YOUR RESTAURANT SUCKS.

To be fair, there are many reasons why your restaurant probably sucks, but the "hot plate" issue eclipses all of them. It's the jump the shark of reasons, if you will. If you have the "hot plate" issue, it trumps everything else, and your restaurant sucks.

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A little while ago I did some testing on NTFS compression with HD Tune and Sisoft Sandra. The results seemed to favor using NTFS compression, but didn't really answer the question of which file types would benefit, and which would not. The tests gave a slight edge to the compressed drive for reading, but I didn't feel like one benchmark test was really conclusive enough, and benchmarks are not an indicator of real-world performance. So I decided to run a test of my own making using some real files, and see if I could get some better numbers.

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I've recently started studying Getting Things Done (aka "GTD"), and so far it's been interesting, though I haven't totally drunk the Kool-Aid yet. One of the main points of GTD is that you need to collect everything you want to get done into some kind of system. Initially I felt vindicated since I've been using my Palm PDA and Outlook to manage my to-do items for years, and sometimes I felt I was being too geeky by capturing everything into it. After reading about GTD, I'm finding that I haven't been capturing enough things, nor at the correct level of detail, and not in a sufficiently defined way. There are many other GTD things I haven't been doing in my own system, but one thing at a time.

When you're looking for a laptop (or any type of screen), one of the things you should look at is the screen resolution. Some people care more about the size of the screen, but to me, it's both the size and the resolution that are important. The more pixels on the screen, the more stuff you can see at once.

Remember the days before Automatic Updates? For a long time, if you wanted updates to a Windows system you had to wait for a Service Pack or a new version. Once the Internet came around, you could download patches from Microsoft if you really needed them, but in general you had to wait for the new versions.

Then Microsoft introduced "Windows Update". You could go to the web site and it would scan your system and present you with a list of available updates. This worked for system patches as well as service packs, and was great for System Administrators and home users alike.

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Every so often the debate arises (in tech circles) about whether or not one should use the compression feature that's built-in to Windows NTFS. One the one hand it will save you some disk space, but on the other hand it will slow down your system... or will it? (and are those the only two options?)

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TrueCrypt 5 was released yesterday, the long awaited (by some, anyway) version of the excellent TrueCrypt software. TrueCrypt allows you to encrypt sensitive data on your hard disk, like financial information, passwords, etc..., and the best part is that it's free and open source.

In addition to the already great ability to encrypt regular files, TC5 now supports full disk encryption, which allows your entire disk, including the operating system, to be encrypted. This is especially relevant for laptops which can easily be stolen. We've all heard the news about some government laptop with 1,000s of social security numbers on it getting stolen, and this feature of TC5 will go a long way in helping to prevent this type of data loss/theft.

This comes from a guide I posted at Notebook Review:
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So you just got your shiny new RAM, and you can't wait to upgrade your computer. Congratulations! You've been through the decision making process, scraped up the cash, placed the order, eagerly followed the tracking number, and now it's finally in your hands! This is what you've been waiting for!