Category Archives: Software

Disk Inventory X



After we use our computers for awhile the hard drive starts filling up with all sorts of files and application. The problems is trying to figure what files are filling up the hard drive. Until you know what you have it is hard to organize and delete those you don’t need. If you have a Mac, there is a program that is called Disk Inventory X that gives a great visual representation of what is on your computer or any hard drive on the network. You can have it scan your whole hard drive or a specific folder. It is a free download although they do ask for donations.

Disk Inventory X.png

As you can tell from this picture it is really easy to read. Each color represents a type of file and the bigger the block the bigger the file.  On the right side it shows the size of folder and the number of files. It also tells you where the files are located.  If you click on desktop on the list on the left side. There appears a yellow highlight around the files that are on the desktop.   If you find something you don’t need you can delete directly from Disk Inventory X.   For example, I have a Imovie project that I no longer need.  I simply click on the purple color, it confirms the file. I hit command delete and its sent to my trash.  This is all that Disk Inventory X does, it just shows what’s on your computer or hard drive, but it does it very well.   It is one of those applications that I don’t use very often, but when I need it I am glad its there.


The Tech World Through My Eyes



This is my first post for the Geeknews Central Network and I would like to thank them for this opportunity.  Since this is my first post I decided it would be a good idea to tell everyone a little bit about me.    I never saw or even heard of a computer growing up other then in science fiction books.  The ones that did exist were found mainly at the defense department and maybe some major universities.  There was no such thing as the Internet or the Worldwide Web and both Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were still in short pants.  The first computer that I saw was when I went to college.  It was a large main frame computer, which you sat outside of and in put a program one line at a time.  There were no personal computers and you had to schedule time to use the computer room.  The first personal computer I had was a Compaq Presario 1400 with Windows 95 on it.  Like a lot of people my first introduction to the world wide web was through AOL and then Netscape.

Fast forward 14 years and you will currently find me using a Macbook or a Mac mini and my browser of choice is Firefox.  I can connect to the Internet at home or at my local coffee shop at speeds that allow me to listen to audio and even watch streaming video at a quality that was unimagined of ten years ago.   If you want to search for information you can find it using Google or Yahoo within a few key strokes.  Instead of reading about the news in morning newspaper or waiting to  watch it on the 7:00 P.M. news, we have RSS readers that bring the news we are interested in directly to our desktop often as soon as it occurs.   We can connect and have conversations with friends and strangers from around the world through applications such as Twitter or Friendfeed in real time.   For those of you who have just graduated college or high school this world seem perfectly normal and expected, however for us of an older generation this can be both mind boggling and amazing at the same time.  If you were to ask me the one attribute that I possess that has helped me keep up with all the changes, it would be curiosity.  If I am presented with a new gadget or application I have to try it, I am what you would call an early adopter.  With this background I hope to give an unique perspective on todays tech world, whether its the growing arena of the real time web, web applications or any technology that happens to raise my curiosity.  If you want to follow me on Twitter or Friendfeed, I am listed under klandwehr and you can contact me by email at kim.landwehr@gmail.

(Originally post 4/4 corrected on 4/5 editing error)


The Transition to WordPress Update



I wanted to update everyone just a few days into the transition from Movable Type to WordPress.

  1. The web based editor has been the hardest to get used to. I like some of the things it does but I absolutley hate that it will not single line space in visual mode. I have to switch it to HTML mode to get the editor to behave correctly.
  2. Commenting is way up. The piece of crap commenting authentication system MovableType has is simply horrible.
  3. Website traffic is noticeably up.  Based on what we are seeing from Google the page updates have taken and this has resulted in better indexing thus traffic is up 25%
  4. I am still having challenges in external editors getting the tags to work correctly when posting externally. If someone has the secret sauce setting to Blogjet let me know.

So I guess you can say thus far I am a happy camper.  I am watching to see if we get a bounce in pagerank for cleaning up the duplicate content that was on the old site, only time will tell there but if we get a bounce then I will be pretty pumped.


Super Cool Browser add on



I don’t get too caught up in the “hot new thing” on the web. There is just so much stuff out there that is, well, a waste of time. Mostly I see new services and widgets that are neat but don’t help you do anything better than before. I found Piclens about 3 weeks ago and have been bragging on it ever since. Basically it is a “3D wall” of images or videos that runs on your browser. I use it on Firefox 3 but it is available on all the other major browsers as well. It makes viewing photos & videos smooth as opposed to the clunky way of I used to search for them one at a time. It works with google images, yahoo images, youtube, myspace, facebook, flickr, photobucket and more.

It’s nice to have all the photos in one place to just click through as you please. I can’t swear to it but the images look enhanced as well. Using it for youtube videos is even better as you don’t have to wait for another page to load before starting your next video. More sites are becoming compatible with Piclens everyday so it should only get better. If you have a giant screen for your PC or connect your computer to your bigscreen TV that just amplifies the experience. Oh yeah, it costs exactly nothing.

Continue reading Super Cool Browser add on


Some Free Alternatives to Pricey Software



Most of us don’t want to spend $600 for a program to edit pictures (Adobe Photoshop or CS3 Suite) or $400 for a text editor and spreadsheet program. And for those of us that detest Outlook, but like the calendar features, we’ve felt left out since Thunderbird doesn’t offer a calendar in its standard install. And then there’s that pesky problem with Adobe Acrobat Professional; unless you are an educational buyer, Adobe Acrobat licenses are a bit on the pricey side.

There are some free alternatives to all of these things that I’d like to share with you today.

Microsoft Office: For most purposes, you can replace the expensive Microsoft Office 2007 with OpenOffice, the free office suite. OO comes with frequent and regular updates and patches, and offers complete versatility. You can even save your text documents in an MSWord format when you’re done, so you can send it to your client who doesn’t have OO. Open Office also has a spreadsheet program and presentation program, so is virtually a full replacement for the MS Office Suite.

Adobe Photoshop/CS3: If owning Adobe Photoshop is too rich for your budget, and all you’re doing is editing your digital photos and making a few signs or drawings, then a decent replacement is GIMP. GIMP provides all the tools you need to crop, resize, adjust, and retouch your photos before you send them to your printer or to the store for printing.

Outlook Calendar: While I am a huge fan of Thunderbird and use it for all of my pop3 and imap email, the one thing missing is a calendar. You can download and install the Lightning plug-in to add a calendar to Thunderbird, or you can download Sunbird instead, which runs as a standalone product. Visit Mozilla.org for these two products.

PDF: Creating PDF’s is about 50% of what I do on a daily basis at work. I have Adobe Acrobat Professional at work to accomplish this, but when I’m doing things at home that have nothing to do with work, I am in need of a stable PDF-production tool that won’t cost me anything, and gives me all the same tools that Adobe does. I’m using PDF Creator for most things, and find it to have all the tools I need for basic PDF production.

Microsoft Publisher: Need to make a flier, brochure, or handout but don’t have MS Publisher? Never fear, Scribus is here to do your dirty work for you. This intuitive, easy-to-use, tiny-footprinted program is the best free tool I’ve found to replace Publisher and the well-loved Adobe Pagemaker (long gone from Adobe’s lineup these days).

QuickBooks: Need to do your home or small business finances but would rather not spend the big dollars to get QuickBooks? Try out TurboCash. And for a $49 optional support fee, you get access to technical support and corruption help, should that ever happen to you.

Why buy it when you can get it for free? That’s my motto.


Moving your Thunderbird mail to a new computer? Here’s help!



As I noted in another post earlier today, I got a new computer. This meant that three years of Thunderbird mail that I’d decided not to delete needed to move over to the new laptop from the old laptop. If you’re using Outlook, you can just backup everything to a PST file and place it on the new machine.

Unfortunately, Thunderbird was going to give me a few more problems in getting transferred over. I could transfer the files and data, but I was not going to get my profile, which in my case includes 22 email accounts along with my signature files and archived templates. And I am not in a position where I want to lose all that I’ve worked so hard on.

So I went out searching. I did find a few references to ways to do it, including this one on Quomon that was complex, but would work. But I’m a busy person, and I don’t have time to spend a couple hours on this process, so I kept searching.

That’s when I found Presto Transfer Thunderbird from Rinjanisoft.com. For a mere $12.95, I got an automated process to do the work for me. Trust me, based on the manual method I found above, Presto was worth every penny of the $12.95. It installed in about 12 seconds, the registration and purchase took another minute or two, and I immediately got my access code in email and a nice “thank you for doing business with us” followup email. I attached an external hard drive to the laptop and set the program to go to work. This was a not a speedy process, it took about three hours for Presto to archive, compress, and save an executable file on my external hard drive that grabbed everything related to Thunderbird. I let it run overnight, and this morning ran the executable on the new laptop, and within four minutes I was up and running with Thunderbird on the new laptop.

One note, you should download and install Thunderbird onto the new machine FIRST, but do not run it. That way the Presto executable will create the new files in the correct space without any muss or fuss.

p.s. If you have not checked out Quomon.com, it’s a great website for answering and asking questions. I’ve found a ton of great answers to simple problems there and often recommend it to people looking for immediate help with a software issue.


OLPC defector makes Sugar



Walter Bender, who was once President of the OLPC movement has moved his sugar to a new project. Sugar Labs will continue the software development, but as Bender stated:

As a separate foundation, we will be able to advance Sugar’s development even further and make it available on multiple distributions and hardware platforms.

The company states it enhances the Linux experience with an interface that doesn’t inundate people with Application, file or folder structures. The “Activity” will include program and data. Best part is it is all open source.

The OS GUI add-on is definitely based with children in mind. Icons like “Pippy” for Python programming and Tam-Tam for music creation. If you’re planning to load up the old computer with a system for the kid, or a new machine like a EeePC or even an OLPC with Linux, this is something to think about.


Virtual PC 2007 SP1 now out.



If you have Vista, or installed XP SP3, you might have seen some quirkiness
out of Microsoft Virtual PC 2007. To counter, Microsoft has released a Service
Pack for this Virtual environment. The Download is for x86 and x64 and are
available

here
. Release Notes are found

here
.

It doesn’t solve all the issues – if you have tried to install Ubuntu 8.04 or
tried the hackintosh install disk, you were met with an error message saying:

An Unrecoverable processor error has been encountered. The virtual machine
will reset now.

There are ways around that issue. Sean Earp has documented how that can be
done and can be found

here
. Of course, if you install an OS in Virtual PC, you must have a legally
licensed copy – it is considered another instance, and Apples’ EULA does not
allow it’s OS to be installed on non-Apple hardware. But does that mean if I
have a VPC on a Windows install on a Mac, then I can leagally install OSX on the
VPC?

An interesting conundrum. Nonetheless, VPC – although not as fully functional
like VMWare (it doesn’t support USB devices like flash drives) – still is a
great tool to have on an IT Specialists desktop. And best part is it’s free. 


Firefox Version 3 Beta a home run!



First impressions, much faster, smaller memory foot print, websites look much crisper. Overall A+ and as in comparison to IE there is simply no comparison.

Although Firefox 3 is still a beta, they have really hit a home run here. As of today I will use the beta version. Drawback to doing this is that most of my plugins don’t work. But the lower memory footprint really convinces me this will be the browser to use for a very long time. PcWorld/Reuters


Apple is trying to sneak Safari on Windows!



Why is Apple shoving Safari down our throat. If I had wanted to install that worthless browser on my Windows box I would have simply have downloaded it. The last thing I want is a half functional browser cluttering up my hard drive.

Apple is trying to be slick here in offering Safari via a iTunes update. Nothing like trying to have world domination through some back door way of getting the worthless browser on my windows machine.

Next time you get a iTunes update notice be real careful or you will end up getting Safari installed even when you don’t have it installed. Gizmodo