Monthly Archives : March 2012

Ultramon – A taskbar on every screen

Ultramon is a piece of software that allows users who have multiple screens to have a taskbar on each screen they are using. This becomes particularly handy when your are working with mulitple application as it allows you to see what screen the application is opened on, rather than trying to tab thru it or clicking until you find it.

www.realtimesoft.com/ultramon

With Ultramon you can:
– You can move applications from one screen to another with a click of a button
– You can easily manage more applications so that they are not all on one task bar
– You can have a different wallpaper on each screen
– Easily mirror monitors
– You can also maximize windows across the desktop

4Sync – Syncing Files so you can access them virtually anywhere

I wrote a blog previously about Dropbox. An application that allows you to sync a folder so that you can access it over the internet, or on whatever PC you have dropbox installed on. I love the application, the only pitfall is that it only gives you 2gb of free space, after which you need to start paying a monthly fee to get more space. I found another application today called 4Sync, its basically the exact same $9.95. Not too bad. I decided to try it out today and I was able to sync a folder and have the folder replicated on two different PC’s. I can also access the files logging into the 4Sync website at www.4sync.com or there is even an app for my iPhone that works very well. I was able to open various files and documents with no issues.

Miss the Start menu in Windows 8?

Stardock has created software that adds the Start menu functionality that many users rely on, back into Windows 8.

Features

  • – Adds a “Start” menu to the Windows 8 taskbar
  • – Enables quick access and searching of your installed applications
  • – Adds Run… option via right-click menu
  • – Adds Shutdown… option via right-click menu
  • – Choose a custom Start button image

Download it here:  http://www.stardock.com/products/start8/

 

 

How to reset local security policy settings to default

If you’ve ever found yourself with a computer that has remnants of a Group Policy still applied to it, or if you have changed GPO, and need to reset the local policy back to default, there’s a handy command you can use.

Open a command prompt (Start, Run, CMD) and enter:

secedit /configure /cfg %windir%repairsecsetup.inf /db secsetup.sdb /verbose                           for Windows XP

secedit /configure /cfg %windir%infdefltbase.inf /db defltbase.sdb /verbose                                 for Windows Vista/7

It will take a few minutes, and then you will need to reboot the computer to complete. This uses the default security configuration templates to reset the local policies.  Once rebooted, new policies or configuration can now be applied.

Apple TV: Oh the Possibilities…

I have used the Apple TV appliance for a little over a year now and just recently found some cool features to use it with my iPhone and two very neat applications. First of all for those of you who don’t know what the Apple TV is, its a small box that you can connect to your TV and by either wifi or ethernet cable access movies, netflix, music, and whats really cool your iTunes library when you turn on Home Sharing. You connect the device to your TV via HDMI cable, the streaming video quality is amazing.

The AppleTV retails for $99. If you have a Netflix subscription you can access it via this device as well. It comes with a remote that is simple to use, please that if you have a MacBook, the remote works on that as well, I found this out when I trying to browse through netflix and it kept playing music on my itunes that was my MacBook Pro.

Now onto the apps…
On my iphone I have an app called AirVideo, up until recently I had only used it to convert my .avi videos so that I can play them on my iPad. One of the coolest features of AirVideo is the ability to stream your video from your computer on your iPhone or iPad, and now I can play it on my Apple TV as well. My videos are stored on my pc in my home office computer and with just a couple of taps on the iPhone its streaming on my TV!

Another cool app is called Remote, this app allows you to control your AppleTV on your iPhone or iPad and thus allows you to stream content ie: pictures, videos or simply control your AppleTV when your playing movies from Netflix.

Put all three together and you’ve got an amazing way to stream videos! I have two AppleTV devices, one in my main media room and one in my bedroom.

Windows 8 and Kinect Make Smart Shopping Cart

If you watch this short video that I posted you will soon realize that the possibiliteis are endless as far as technology goes. they are simply using a Kinect for Xbox which is like $200 and a tablet PC running Windows 8. Essentially what they ahve done is pretty neat. They incorperate your shopping list into the computer and it is attached to a scanner at the bottom of the shopping cart. You walk around, with the use of Kinect, the cart follows. When you put an item in your shopping cart and run it across the scanner at the bottom, it checks it off of your shopping list.

Note that in the video it also makes mention of his preferences of Gluten Free noodles. I think this is primative but it’s radical as well. I don’t see this in your shopping centers anytime soon as the cost benefit is just not there but we can all imagine can’t we?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=16GiO8EEVpE

Not Even NASA’s data is safe!

For those of us who think we are pretty good at keeping our information safe, I would highly suggest you think again. Most leading government organizations have issues on keeping their data secure. Take for instance NASA. According to a recent article in Popular Science, NASA was targeted some 47 times last year by cyber criminals and they were successful 13 times giving hackers full control of critical NASA networks. They even lost the codes to control the International Space Station at one point.

NASA is often a target for cybercriminals and often NASA hardware is stolen. Between 2009 and 2011, 48 mobile computing devices were lifted from NASA or NASA employees. One of which containted those control codes for the ISS. Believe it or not, the device in question was not encrypted, and it appears that a lot of NASA devices are like this.

One would think that NASA, a pioneering government organization would have this type of stuff under wraps considering they have a 1.5 billion dollar a year IT security budget. It gives you the sense that if somebody really wanted to, they could easily get into your computer and get your personal information.

Furthermore, think of all of the companies and business that are not NASA, with much smaller IT budgets, that are targets all the time. Hackers could easily can access to these networks without anyone even knowing it and that often happens. A good recommendation is that you be very cautious with your personal information and where you put it. Doing research into security standards and checking to see if companies have had previous IT breaches.

You can also encrypt your hard drive with Windows BIT Locker or 3rd party software if you would like. You can use software such as Pretty Good Privacy (PGP), TrueCrypt, or CyberAngel.

You can never be too safe with your personal information!

Free up disk space on a Windows 2008 Server without a system reboot

Disk clean up can be a very useful tool especially in Servers when Disk space is fully utilized.  But what do you do when you are working in a production environment and you can’t reboot the server.  In a pinch, I found the following process to cleanup a congested System Partition.

Copy cleanmgr.exe to System32 folder

A favorable alternative to adding the Desktop Experience feature to your production server, while requiring no system reboot or maintenance window, is simply copying the cleanmgr application files to their appropriate location.

There are two files that need to be copied to the Windows System32 folder.  The only downside to this process is that the disk cleanup utility will not appear in the normal disk drive properties.  However, as these files will be copied to the System32 folder location, the utility can be easily launched from the integrated server search bar.

The two files you are looking for are the cleanmgr.exe.mui and cleanmgr.exe. Below is listing of folder locations that these two files will be located for the most popular version of Server 2008.  After you have found these files, simply copy then to their designated locations as described below.

  • Copy cleanmgr.exe to the System32 folder
  • Copy cleanmgr.exe.mui file to System32en-us

Windows Server 2008 64-bit:

C:Windowswinsxsamd64_microsoft-windows-cleanmgr_31bf3856ad364e35_6.0.6001.18000_none_c962d1e515e94269cleanmgr.exe.mui

C:Windowswinsxsamd64_microsoft-windows-cleanmgr_31bf3856ad364e35_6.0.6001.18000_none_c962d1e515e94269cleanmgr.exe

Windows Server 2008 R2:

C:Windowswinsxsamd64_microsoft-windows-cleanmgr.resources_31bf3856ad364e35_6.1.7600.16385_en-us_b9cb6194b257cc63cleanmgr.exe.mui

C:Windowswinsxsamd64_microsoft-windows-cleanmgr_31bf3856ad364e35_6.1.7600.16385_none_c9392808773cd7dacleanmgr.exe

To run the disk cleanup utility, simply navigate to a command prompt or Run and type cleanmgr.exe

SSL Shopping?

The Internet and the data provided on the Internet have become a primary source for research, news, and shopping for much of today’s society.  But how much of that data is real and how can you be certain your financial data is transmitted securely.   Identify theft is not only prominent from a personal level; corporate identity theft has now become too common in today’s electronic society.  In regards to Internet communication, a corporation can take steps to ensure their customers they are who they say they are.   Online merchants can also give their customers the peace of mind that their personal data remains just that.  SSL certificates have been around for a number of years, but buying the right one from the right supplier can be frustrating.   The website SSL Shopper (www.sslshopper.com) is a great place to read reviews from many of the popular SSL providers while also providing easy to follow wizards to find the right SSL for you or your business.  Give your customers the peace of mind that comes with providing your services on the Internet, start using an SSL certificate today.

If you have already purchased an SSL certificate but are having problems with the configuration, don’t worry, SSL Shopper has a number of tools to assist.  I spent a number of hours troubleshooting a publicly assigned cert before finding the SSL Verification Utility.

SSL Verification Utility

Trying to resolve an SSL certificate issue?  The SSL Checker utility at SSL Shopper (http://www.sslshopper.com/ssl-certificate-tools.html) is a great utility to identify issues with any internally assigned or public assigned SSL certificate.  It provides a comprehensive look at your SSL cert, providing detailed information including server and server chain information.

Near Field Communication (NFC)

Something promising that i read up on recently was the concept of Near Field Communication. Essentially near field communication or NFC for short, consists of a close-range radio chip that is in your phone or other personal electronic devices and it will allow you to access different devices or rooms based on the settings. The current interesting use is for turning your cell phone into a key for a hotel, or a key-card lock. Personally I would love to just walk up to my house or hotel room and put my phone in front of the door which would allow me to access my room. Consolidating everything into one would be a great accomplishment.

This could also be potentially used for a variety of things. It wouldn’t necessarily have to be put into a cell phone but it could be in other devices as well. Maybe a car key or something of that nature. The nice thing is that they can be reprogrammed for anything.

If you lose your device, your access can easily be revoked through the management system. It is currently being pioneered in Sweden by a lock maker company Assa Abloy.

I think this is pretty neat and would love to see it in action.