January 18, 2008

Microsoft puts its mouse in Mac clothing

Microsoft is looking to make its Bluetooth notebook mouse more Mac friendly.

The emphasis in that sentence is on the word "looking."

The software maker hasn't made any software or hardware changes to the Bluetooth Notebook Mouse 5000. It has however, created a new retail packaging for the product, dubbing it Microsoft Notebook Mouse for Mac.

The new Microsoft Notebook Mouse for Mac is really a repackaged version of the company's existing Bluetooth muse.

(Credit: Microsoft)

Gone is the red packaging and the "Certified for Windows Vista" logo. In its place is a Mac logo and white packaging. Of course, the same mouse is inside, meaning the Bluetooth Notebook Mouse 5000 works perfectly well on a Mac, while the Microsoft Notebook Mouse for Mac has no problem working with Vista, or XP for that matter.

It will be interesting to see if Mac users take to the new packaging. The company has a mixed track record in the Mac space. Its Office for Mac is a huge seller and many people site its availability as a key factor in their being willing to switch to a Mac.

But it has pulled back on other efforts, including killing its ill-fated MSN for Mac service, Internet Explorer and Virtual PC for Mac.

Microsoft's current packaging apparently wasn't drawing too many Mac users, even with its inviting "Certified for Windows Vista" logo.

(Credit: Microsoft)

January 11, 2008

Open source software for Windows

Open source projects are usually free, and more stable than small commercial software. But that's not always true. Anyway if you're looking for open source software to use on Windows you can check out the list below

  • Web browsers: FireFox: one of the best browsers out there.
  • Video players: Miro: Plays almost all video types, supports RSS and torrent downloads.
  • Instant Messengers: Pidgin: Can use it to connect to multiple IM accounts including MSN, IM, AOL and Jabber simultaneously.
  • Email: Thunderbird: Another Mozilla great product with many features from FireFox (Themes and extensions).
  • P2P: Cabos: Simple, easy to use based on GNUtella network file sharing program.
  • DVD ripping/Video conversion: Media Coder: Great for ripping CDs, DVDs and converting to many file formats.
  • Office suites: OpenOffice: The world famous Microsoft Office replacement for the open source community.
  • Graphics/Photo editing: GIMP: Can do almost anything Adobe Photoshop is capable of.
  • FTP: FileZilla: Just flat out excellent.
  • IRC: X-Chat 2: The famous GNome IRC client.
  • Chat clients: AMSN: MSN Messenger replacement for the Linux community.
  • Mapping tools: Nasa World Wind: Very similar to Google Earth, it requires the Microsoft .NET framework to run.
January 11, 2008

Easy Cleaner 2.0

Last night I was stumbling upon computer related pages, when I bumped into a page titled "The 46 Best-ever Freeware Utilities". I took a look at the list of categories then I began checking them one by one. Well, I found it'd take me a whole day to do that so I started looking for interesting categories.

First of all I want to state that whoever made that list spent really long time doing this and I found some of the freeware listed in there very interesting, so Thanks for the effort unknown hero.

I looked at the "Best Free Registry Cleaner" just so I can backup my opinion in my past article "Keeping Windows Alive". It seems that CCleaner is there in that list but I also found a freeware that I haven't heard of "Easy Cleaner 2.0" so I decided to give it a try.

I installed it, started it, And found it to be multi tasking not just a registry cleaner. It can perform some useful tasks, so I tested those features. After going through my registry Easy Cleaner found many problems that CCleaner was unaware of. I cleaned them but found out it doesn't ask you if you want to make backups. Only because it backs up everything all by itself, and I found that a real plus since I always think "What will happen if I don't?".

Anyway I noticed that Easy Cleaner can scan you disk for unwanted file, so I gave that a try too. It was looking for unnecessary file types instead of looking for them by app or folder.

I decided then to reboot my computer to see if the startup time has improved. And yes it did improve. But as soon as I started a Microsoft Office application, it began the Repair process and asked me for the installation source. But that was about it, no other problems and so many files and registry problems removed from my computer. I still think it's great even though it removed some necessary files or registry keys.

January 11, 2008

Keeping Windows alive – part 3

Registry - The origin of most problems

This is the bad part in Windows as an OS. Windows has this very huge data center where the system and many applications can store anything, most of the registry is meaningless for a normal human, given that you might be able to track down and understand a couple of keys. But still very hard to make out. If you like a challenge type "regedit" in your run dialog.

Anyway, if you take a look at your registry you might find information about programs that you have removed for over a year. See, windows has this defect "it doesn't keep track" when it comes to the registry, and most of software creators don't even bother to cleanup when their installers/uninstallers.

This is where software like CCleaner - Another CNet highly decorated tool - comes handy. This easy and visually appealing tool can help you clean up your disk in a more advanced way the the windows Disk Cleanup utility. And it's capable of detecting some of the applications that store temporary data and cleanup after them.

Anyway it has wonderful power for such a small tool. But what does it have to do with the Registry?

If you click the "Registry" button you'll see a list of registry problem names that you might have heard of. Select the things you'd like CCleaner to look for, but be careful it's not that easy, the consequences might be harmful to your computer.

After selecting the issues you'd like detected click the "Scan for issues" button will do it's work and add the found registry problems to the list on the right with a check next to each of them. Checked problem are marked for fixing which means removal from the registry.

If you get any results you'll see the "Fix selected issues" button enabled. Click it and CCleaner will prompt you to create a backup of all the registry keys it's going to modify. Do NOT hesitate, say yes always and keep a backup for a couple of days until you make sure everything is working fine, The backup is very easy to restore, just double click the backup file and all the registry keys will be restored.

Now you can begin fixing issues 1 at a time or all in once, this operation might take some time and the application might stop responding if you have too many problems.

Anyway now that you have a clean registry try repeating the whole thing, new problem might be detected after the removal of old ones.

Now you have a huge registry with fewer problems (nothing can take care of all the problems so far). That registry as you might know is stored on your disk and for being so critical might need some extra treatment.

Any disk defragmenter will fail to handle registry files successfully. And that's why AusLogics came up with another highly decorated great tool called "Auslogics Registry Defrag" which simply keeps your registry as compact as possible install and use it, and you'll see the difference. It'll increase the performance of your Windows by a good percentage.

And that's it, you now should have your Windows as good as new.

Good luck and I hope you enjoyed reading this long article