Sunday, January 31, 2010

Review: GRC's DNS Benchmark

With the release of Google's Public DNS I have been meaning to test my home connection and see whether it would be worth switching to other DNS server in comparison to my ISPs own nameservers. I was recommended this one tool and now I am also reviewing and recommending it. GRC's DNS Benchmark is a software tool that simply runs on your computer and analyses name resolution times, errors time and then sums it all up in a nice report.

GRC's DNS Benchmark checks the user's current set DNS servers against over 200 other DNS server available and measure responce time and error redirection handling. This is all easily view as the software generates in real-time graphs measure times.

Once completed, the software generates two separate reports, Tabular Data and Conculsions.

Tabular Data essentially takes all the data just collected by the software and lays it all out in a per server layout. This gives the users a detailed information and score of each server.

Conclusions tab is absolutely clever in that i takes what data has just been collected and then writes up a report about its finding and gives recommendation regarding which DNS servers you should be using and how they performed. Intelligent stuff.


This software is freeware for download and works wonderfully on all versions of Windows (9x / XP / Vista / 7).

I recommend you give this software a go and see if you are getting the best internet experience.
GRC's DNS Benchmark - Home Page

Saturday, January 30, 2010

No more Internet Explorer 6 for Google

Annouced yesturday on Google's Enterprise blog, Google will stop supporting Microsoft's Internet Explorer 6 (IE6), and for many good reasons.

Internet Explorer version 6 was originally released in 2001 making it 8-9 year old technology however the proprietory code that the browser read from has since been implemented in various agencies and their websited, making upgardes to other browsers has more or less been an up hill battle, not mention the dozens of security flaws and the recent security hack between Google and the Chinese government.

From a developer persepective, developing website that are compatible for IE6 as well as other standard regulated browsers is more than a headache and cries from developers to stop using the out-of-date browser has fallen on deaf ears.

Google's recent decision to stop supporting the browser will hopefully start enterprise and other users on a whole to either upgrade or change their browser.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Visual Basic: MenuStrip items not visible

I recently got into Visual Basic programming and encountered the following problem (as discribed by wy125 and seen in the image):
The menustrip for the MDI form works fine. But with child forms the menustrip items are not visible unless another child form is on top of it. When I select the form below the menustrip items disappear again.
 I have spent hours search for a solution with nothing, until wy125 answered his own question. THANK GOD!!

The solution

Okay, I'll post what I found just in case it helps someone else. I had recently added a MenuStrip to the MDI parent form and when I did this the menustrip items from the child forms were merging with the parent. The AllowMerge field controls this behavior. Setting this to false on the child form's menustrip resolves this.


Original forum post:

New iPad not worth the hype

The latest innovation of Apple inc. was released today in the form of the well speculated tablet-like device. The Apple iPad is a light-weight, touch screen device was release as the next best solution to the netbook market (despite not being directly targetted as such) sports various new features including a new iBook store allowing users to download and read ebooks. But is this device really worth all the hype? Here are my thoughts:

No Multitasking

Although this new device is based off the iPhone OS, enthusiests were hopefull that this new device might encorporate the simple ability to do more than one thing at once. On the iPhone it has lightly been forgiven of its inability to multitask but on the iPad this is a devistating oversight. Most people will often have the web browser open to a site while also flicking between a IM client and their email. But on the iPad, you're either answering an email or viewing the web etc.

Also keep in mind how much critisms Microsoft got when they release Windows Started edition and was restricted to running only THREE applications at a time? Why does Apple get away with this?

Really? A tablet?

As I have said before in a previous blog, why the hell would Apple release a tablet-like PC?

In recent months, the netbook market has taken off with sales ever increasing and more and more hrdware makers getting on board. But for several years now, the tablet pc has been a hard market to make mainstream. Who exactly is interested in a electronic panel?

Not widescreen

This device is supposed to be the device which people will watch movies, listen music and read books. So why are they using a 4:3 ration screen. With every laptop, netbook and monitor these days being widescreen, why is Apple's next inovation a backwards step in technology?

Wireless connectivity

I must say that I am impressed that not only have they (Apple)  incorporated a full range of WiFi compatibilty (a/b/g/n) but also releasing a model allowing for 3G Mobile Broadband access. However I can see that some people will be discouraged by this seeing as though the Amazon Kindle comes with built-in full 3G access cost in the price tag, while the iPad leaves it up to sign up and get a SIM card.

For more information, please take a look at these sites

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Statistics of Game Consoles, Summed Up In One Big Graphic

Post originally by Gizmodo

Why the desktop operating system IS NOT DEAD

Listening to alot of podcasts lately who are rating an reviewing the latest in Netbooks, mobile internet techonologies and the like and they seem to all push one notion. The desktop application and even the desktop operating system will soon die if not dead already.

Noticably I can completely understand these people's point of view. With the continuing trend of service such as email, personal information and service moving to the internet rather than managed locally on a PC shows that we are using our home and business systems less and less like computer and more and more like consoles to an array of internet services. The email client is becoming a thing of the past as web-based services like Google's Gmail and Microsoft's Hotmail service become more popular as well as being able to store photos online is slowly lightening the load on photo managemnet software. But to claim the the desktop OS is dead is a rediculous over step and sweeping statement that shows these Technology Ethuisists are so far away from the real world that they forgot that there is so much more going on than just photos and email for example.

Small businesses and companies everywhere have custom or retails software that keep their business running. To claim that there won't soon be an Operating system for these people use is ludicrous. Not only would it be a devistating blow to a company like Microsoft, but would force companies and business everywhere to start spending millions in research and conversion to a new system. Not all business can rely on internet connections to run there business, nor can they be expected to. Enterprises still require nearly every employee to run a PC therefore in most case running software locally load if not running Microsoft Outlook to communicate with the collegues through Exchange server.

Also when sweeping statements are made that the desktop is dead, this is immediately forgetting about any developer or designer in the world. There is no conceivable way that a true hardcore designer is going to ditch their Photoshop, After Effects or even software packages like Visual Studio for some Web 2.0 app. Not only is there a lack of performance in that strategy, but also prohitits productivity.

PC gaming, while suffering from a deline in popularity in recent years, there will always be a need for a desktop operating system to cater for their entertainment and run their games. While mulitplayer games are online they are not solely cloud-based. Games, like World of Warcraft, require you to instant up to six CDs before allowing you to play online.

I totally disagree with the statement that the desktop operating system, especially in terms of Microsoft Windows. It is far to popular for multiple applications to just be scrapped for more online solutions.

Configuring Windows Firewall Group Policies in Windows Small Business Server 2008

In the new Windows Small Business Server 2008, there are actually two different locations depening on which version of Windows your are configuring for.

Below, I have outline where to find the appropriate locations to configure both Windows XP SP2-based (click the link for more infomation) workstations or Windows Vista (including Windows 7) based workstations.

Note: these directions assume you have Group Policy Management addin saved under Windows SBS Native Tools Management.

For Windows Vista & 7
  1. Open “Windows SBS Native Tools Management” Console
  2. Navigate to:
    Group Policy Management > Forest: domain.local > Domains > domain.local > MyBusiness > Computers > SBSComputers
  3. Right-click on “Windows SBS Client – Windows Vista Policy” and select Edit
  4. Navigate to:
    Computer Configuration > Windows Settings > Security Settings > Windows Firewall with Advanced Security.

  5. Right-click on “Inbound Rules” and select “New Rule...” and complete the wizard respectively.
For Windows XP
  1. Open “Windows SBS Native Tools Management” Console
  2. Navigate to:
    Group Policy Management > Forest: domain.local > Domains > domain.local > MyBusiness > Computers > SBSComputers
  3. Right-click on “Windows SBS Client – Windows XP Policy” and select Edit
  4. Navigate to:
    Computer Configuration > Policies > Administrative Templates > Network > Network Connections > Windows Firewall > Domain Profile
  5. In the right-hand panel, right-click on “Windows Firewall: Define inbound program exceptions” or “ Windows Firewall: Define inbound port exceptions” and select Properties
  6. In the window, click the “Show...” button
  7. Enter in required exceptions (see example), then click OK when finished.
For Windows XP Firewall program exception example, use the following as a guide:
%ProgramFiles%\ExampleAppFolder\Example.exe:*:Enabled:Example Program Title
For  Windows XP Firewall port exception example:
Port Number : TCP/UDP: Scope : Enable/Disabled : Port Title

For more information, see the following Microsoft TechNet page:

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Call of Cuty Modern Warfare 2 Multiplayer freezing on launch

So I had to fix a friends laptop that wasn't running Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 for PC properly. The symptoms were:
  • Single Player works correctly
  • Using Steam
  • Multiplayer lanuches and shows the splash screen then the screen goes black and then nothing...  the game then  hangs and forcing you  to press ctrl alt del to start the Windows Task Manager and end the no longer responding iw4mp.exe.
  • So you start Multiplayer again and get the option for play in safe mode prompt, which either answer brings you back to your original issue. Mulitplayer still doesnt work.
After seaching the internet for couple of hours I soon found the solution that worked for me.

1) In Steam, select "Backup game files" for Modern Warfare 2 and Modern Warfare 2 Multiplayer, (select both titles in the backup list). 

2) Then select "Delete local content" for both single player and multi player.

3) Next, locate your Steam common folder, eg; C:\Program Files\Steam\steamapps\common. There should be a folder called "Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2" . Either Delete this folder OR move (not copy) it to another location for backup reasons.

4) Navigate to the location of your recent backup of the game and run the restore program. e.g. C:\backup\Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2\Disk 1\Restore.exe. Once it has completely restored, open Steam and run updates.

5) Once everything is 100% run multiplayer and it should run without error.

If you have any further issues with this procedure or your own additions please leave a comment or email me.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Fix: Can't open Zip files using Windows Explorer

I had to fix this on a clients PC the other day where they had decided that Adobe Reader might be a better program to open ZIP files rather than the built-in capability of Windows (or any other decompressing utility for that matter).

This is how I fixed it.

First, check in Folder Option that the ZIP file extention is associated with Windows Compressed Files or something similar. If you are using programs like WinZIP or WinRAR. Reinstalling or reassociating the program should be enough...

However, if you are using the built-in Windows function, I also had to do this:

From Start > Run ... type and run the following:
regsvr32 zipfldr.dll

Once you get the prompt telling you that it is registered, you should now been able to open ZIP files in Windows Explorer.


Interest Review of Windows 7

I found this article regarding a review of Windows 7, but not Windows 7.

The author, Chris Bucholz, decides that he is going to do a review of Windows 7 for his webiste. So in order to obtain a copy for testing he buys a copy on eBay.

But what he receives is in fact Windows 95 on floppy disks.

Chris continues to do the review on Windows 7.

Click on the link below to have a read. The funniest thing you will read on Windows 7.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Is this the Year of the Tablet PC?

For years now, Microsoft has been trying hard to make popular the Tablet PC, but will this be the year that the Tablet PC is finally made mainstream? And will Microsoft be the one to pull it off? I think both Yes and No to these questions and here's why.

Ever since the release of Microsoft's Windows XP Tablet Edition (originally released in Novermber 2002), Microsoft has been pushing the mobile PC market expecially to those devices using the famous Stylus.However, this device hasn't been accepted into the mainstream market but does have it's niche markets (i.e. students, medical professionals) with specialised needs that are met with a tablet PC (i.e. digital note-taking) that are hindered with the standard laptop/mobile computers. But is this the year that this trend changes?

There has been increasing speculation that Apple Inc. will be releasing their first table PC device (gossip predicts it to be titled the Apple iSlate)with word that the device will be revolutionary to the industry. Since the release and ever-increasing success of the Apple iPhone 3G series, there has been hope that Apple will release a larger version of the iPhone (minus the phone function). With this speculated device expected to be showcased some time this year, the table PC may actually become mainstream. So what has Apple done to make this device popular that Microsoft couldn't?

Although on a basic level, Apple's & Microsoft's tablets are the same; touchscreen, mobile/wireless etc. Apple will actually "reinvent the wheel" using the iPhone model, hence helping it to succeed more than Microsoft's intended design. Apple's apprent iSlate, as mentioned before will actually be a bigger iPhone. It will be available to the all famous App Store along with the reknowned refind hardware and operating system. Microsoft's issue is that they never had control over anything but the operating system. When you look at the current designs and layouts of the Windows-based Tablet PCs they are more or less standard laptops where the LCD display can be repositioned into a tablet-like state. Ending up with large, heavy and bulky slab. More specifically designed models that actually ARE tablet PCs still remain heavy and awkward, all of which are out of Microsoft's control. On the software side, the Windows-based tablet does come with some specially designed software but not comparable to the offerings of Apple App Store.

In order for Microsoft to hacve had seized this niche market, they would have need to not only made the software and become more or less proprietory and make the hardware to go with the operating system. In the last decade we have seen the success of devices tht have been design all by a single creator; the Apple iPhone/iPod, XBOX360 for example. Had Microsoft designed the tablet entirely and made it proprietory we might have seen a greater success for this device.

So with the prediction of Apple's tablet release and then most recent news of a possible Google Chrome tablet PC this is definitely the year of the tablet. But the ever high design expectation, Microsoft will not be owning this market. There hasn't been a PC maker yet that has been able to produce a market changing Windows-based tablet PC. We will, although see plenty of copycat devices, jut like all the "iPhone-killers" on the market, but nothing has yet to compare to Apple's design or impress/revolutionise the market.