2010, Year of the eReader and portable computing, and the regeneration of newspapers

Having glanced at some CES 2010 coverage today, I have noticed a massive trend (as has everyone else to be honest). Portable ‘eReaders’ and tablet or ‘slate’ devices as they are now being branded. One of which that took my eye is the Skiff eReader.

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Chrome Owns Firefox

Ever since I started with Google Chrome about 2 months ago I was amazed at how little there was cluttering up the viewing space. I hadn’t realised quite how much was missing in chrome until I revisited Firefox for the first time in that time!

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As you can probably see from the above comparison, theres just less clutter! It gets even better when I use the Ctrl + B shortcut to hide the bookmarks menu in Chrome.

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This increased space on the viewing window and lack of clutter has made my mind love chrome, and when I tried to go back to Firefox it was like looking at a very untidy desk full of useless rubbish!

I will say that Firefox has that amazing extensibility etc etc that Chrome lacks, and the “magic bar” in firefox that allows you to use shortcuts for bookmarks is very nice, but other than that its Chrome FTW!

 

But, at the end of the day, its what ever takes your fancy! I personally think Chrome, now I’ve been using it for a while is the way forward.

Windows 7 on Idle

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What the hell!!!  Not only does Windows 7 boot amazingly fast, when I’ve got my applications loaded and sitting in the system tray this is my idling CPU usage. Its around 0-5%.

On the same machine with Vista running it was idling at around 20-30% if not more. Plus the memory usage was about 1.5Gb higher! Very glad I took the plunge and ignored the “no adoption until service pack 1”! Thank you University of Kent School of Computing and MSDNAA (for my free license of Win7 Professional)!

Dell Dock and Windows 7

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The Dell Dock was very very useful when I had it installed on Vista, and decided that I needed it on Windows 7 too. I set about getting it and the website that Dell suggest (www.delldock.com) wouldn’t let me download the application.

Luckily good ol’ CNET has it in their downloads area and I acquired it from there. Once I got it installed, I found out that 7 wouldn’t let me drag and drop shortcuts into the application! This kind of defeats the object of the dock! Solution was needed.

Then I thought about using the technique I use on Windows Live Messenger in Win7. Run the dock in Vista SP2 compatibility mode and voila, all working!

iTunes 9: Its wicked!

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I think this is pretty cool, so far iTunes 9 has been reasonably nice to me. It crashed but after that it was ok. The design changes are reasonably drastic but make it look a lot nicer. The new Genius Mixes is a thing I have yet to get working, but other than that its quite nice.

More soon!

Useful apps: Gladinet Cloud Desktop

I’ve decided to start a useful apps part of this blog, mostly will be for apps that will be useful for new university students (as I will be in 3 weeks!). I will kick this off with Gladinet Cloud Desktop.

This application can mount “cloud storage” services such as Amazon S3, Google Docs and Windows Live SkyDrive. The SkyDrive support for me is the best thing, because it now has 25GB of online storage for free. Once the storage service has been mounted you can use it just like a normal drive on your pc/laptop and copy files to the ‘cloud’ without having to use the web interface.

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There is a free version, which includes the professional version trial for 30 days. After that you lose the ability to backup stuff automatically and some advanced features. There is an academic license, which is the professional version for a cheaper price. All you need is an academic centre email address (@college.ac.uk if your in the uk) and you can get the £39.99 application for £7.48.

If you worry about losing your precious work and you will have less than 25GB of the stuff, buy this and you can auto backup to Google docs and SkyDrive and access your stuff anywhere.

This is much cheaper than getting a MobileMe account with Apple and using the 20GB of storage, and you don’t have to worry about needing Firefox on your campus computers (I have mobileme, I back up to there too!)

Sign up for a Windows Live ID

Get Gladinet Cloud Desktop

Facebook for iPhone v3

After complaining to my peers about the lack of features and general uselessness, Facebook finally updates its application for iPhone from v2.5 to v3.0!

The app now allows you to manage your events, which is very useful for when your on the go and want to check the location of an event. (I will add a photo as soon as I can download the screenshot from my phone!)

The news feed has been updated and now is more user friendly and is much more useful. Updating your status is easier too.

I have been playing around with this app for a while now, and I’ve not had a single crash! This is amazing because I’ve used the old FB app on two iPhone 3G’s and both kept crashing. 

Overall verdict, 9/10!

EMC is gone, Acronis True Image is in!

Retrospect EMC Express is a waste of time. It cant run in the tray, it cant run backup unless its actually running when the scheduled time rolls around. It doesn’t even look nice.

The backups it makes done allow you do go in and take files out. So I googled around and found Acronis True Image Home 2009. I’m using a trial at the moment, but after 30 days they ask for £39.99. Not too bad for an application that does an awful lot!

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I have it set up to backup my entire hdd at 22:00 every day, on an incremental basis. Meaning that it will see what has changed and back that up. It keeps backups for as long as you specify, or until a certain number of backups have been completed. It will then get rid of older backups to make way for current ones.

The software has a way of editing the boot loader to allow for the user to recover and restore their PC/Laptop at boot time. Just press F11 when it says to and it will run its stuff. It keeps system settings and files in a secure area called the Acronis Secure Zone. This is encrypted, just like the backup archive on the external HDD.

The software also allows you to create a bootable version of itself to run the restore from. It allows you to create a bootable CD, directly or an ISO can be made for burning at a later date.

There are also utilities included in the main application to allow a drive partition to be cloned or securely deleted by ‘zeroing’ out the data. A file shredder and a system cleanup utility for deleting old system files and caches. I tried the Acronis Drive Cleanser on an old 100GB external drive, but it hang for ages and later failed. Back to Eraser for that then!

I know this isn’t a very in-depth review, but for users with Windows Vista/7 Home Premium this package is very good as a solid backup solution.

Remember, to go forward, you must first backup!

 

Acronis True Image Home 2009 Product Page