Archive for November, 2010

What are you thankful for? It’s such a cliché statement, especially given that we’re barely past the brief period of time where we’re all allowed to indulge ourselves in vast quantities of food—leftover or otherwise.

Of course, the Thanksgiving break—if you had one—provides for a perfect time to get some home cleaning done. But I’m not just talking about dusting off your action figure collection. No, of course, all fingers point to your PC. That poor, neglected piece of equipment does nothing but provide for you, day in and day out. It’s become bloated to excess and you, realizing that there’s no time like the present, have decided to wipe it clean and start anew.

So what, pray tell, do you install first? It’s a simple question and, indeed, one with nearly a thousand answers. Look, as far as I’m concerned, you’re still on vacation. Allow me to do the work for you. For I present to you a five-course meal of applications that we should all be thankful for on some level—game-changers that, really, deserve to be installed on any system you touch, period.

If you’ve already heard of them, excellent. You’re just that ahead of the game. If not, consider this your chance to get caught up to all that is awesome in the world of freeware and open-source software.

 

TeraCopy

Why would you install this first on a brand-new PC? Simply put, it speeds up your file transfers. As well, it’s a far more feature-packed way to copy or move files around instead of the default, no-options and no-frills Windows Explorer. You can pause and resume transfers at your leisure, automatically retry files that screw up for whatever reason, and stack more and more copy and move requests in a virtual queue that Teracopy handles one at a time.

But, really, it speeds up your file transfers!

Download it here!

 

Dropbox

I used to freak out a lot whenever I had to wipe my primary hard drive and reinstall windows. Although it wasn’t so much the formatting process that got to me: I, of course, had previously backed up (most) critical files onto a separate hard drive. However, when it came time for these files to make their way back to their new home, I’d always get a little nervous. What if I was missing something? What if I neglected to copy over a particular directory and, poof, there went all my saved games or high school papers or something?

We could talk circles about how Dropbox, the awesome cloud-based storage utility, is a wonderful way to store information in a virtual environment. We could talk about all the different hacks and modifications that you can use to really supercharge Dropbox into a completely different experience. But at the end of the day, Dropbox is awesome because it helps you be less forgetful: Slap your super-important files into your Dropbox folder, and they’ll be right there waiting for you when you reinstall the app on a fresh Windows installation.

Download it here!

 

Anything that isn’t Internet Explorer

Let us not overlook the most important part of reinstalling windows: Dropping Internet Explorer like it was a bad joke. I’m not going to use this paragraph to promote one browser over another, however, because I know just how easy it is to latch onto a browser of choice as if it was a familiar seat on a couch. It’s yours. Nobody—and no recommendation—is going to take it from you.

So, be my guest. Use Firefox, Chrome, Opera, or Safari (yes, even Safari) if you want to stay with the mainstream. Or… you could get a little crazier and bust out the xB Browser, Sleipnir, Flock (yeep), SpaceTime, or Lunascape. So many choices exist that are each, themselves, better than Internet Explorer. Start investigating!

 

ImgBurn

Simple. Easy. Efficient. I would have slapped AnyDVD onto my list, were that application free. But it is not. And, frankly, I kind of like the ability to directly rip full CDs down into nicely packaged .ISO files. Of course, that all goes out the window if you’re trying to do that to a copy-protected DVD—which you are not, of course.

Anyway, ImgBurn is a fast and excellent tool for either burning or ripping disc-based media. For the layperson, that’s CDs and DVDs. Create your own “playlist” of files, or create images files from the folders and files on your system that you can subsequently burn in a one-shot method within Imgburn. And, as I mentioned, it’s super-easy to rip optical media down to its own little packaged ISO file (or what-have-you). If you’re using the standard Windows burning tool to make CDs, well, you’re doing it wrong.

Download it here!

 

Revo Uninstaller

I don’t like the default uninstallation tools that come with most apps. One installation of Revo Uninstaller (that very phrase drips with irony) and you’ll soon see why yourself. For when you go to uninstall a program with this app, Revo usually runs the default uninstallation tool built into the program you’re trying to nuke. Simple, right?

Only, when said app’s routine is done, Revo then scans your drive and registry for any leftover information—an errant file here, an empty folder there, a billion registry keys left untouched, et cetera. Nine times out of ten—or, at least, a heck of a frequent amount—you’ll find a wealth of things that the default uninstallation tool didn’t manage to wipe.

Now, multiply this by the number of apps, games, and assorted software bits that you likely tinker around with over a given year… and you have quite a lot of drive/operating system bloat! Consider Revo Uninstaller your golden ticket to software sanity.

Download it here!

 

Funny you should mention it, for David Murphy reinstalled his entire system this Thanksgiving break.  Nothing says “day off” like “hey, your operating system is totally hosed.”  Sigh.

At this year’s Intel Developer Forum, Korea’s OCOSMOS was seen flaunting a 5-inch UMPC. Based on Intel’s upcoming Oak Trail platform and running Windows 7, the dual-joystick OCOSMOS OCS1 piqued our curiosity due to its ability to run PC games like StarCraft and World of Warcraft.

According to new information posted on the company’s website, you will only have to wait until March, 2011 to lay your hands on one. It features a single-core 1.5 GHz or 1.9 GHz CPU, a 400MHz GPU capable of handling 720p decoding, 32GB solid-state storage, a front-facing 1.3MP webcam, a 5MP camera on the back, USB 2.0, HDMI, Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n) 3G, and Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR. Sliding the 5-inch capacitive TFT upwards reveals a QWERTY keypad.

Its battery will last anywhere between 5 to 10 hours on a single charge. This is due to that fact that OCS1 will ship with the option of a 24 watt-hour battery or a 10-15 watt-hour battery.

As we get closer and closer to the holidays, we’re thinking more and more about gadgets, gizmos and gifts. To that end, last weeks Old School Monday showed you what our intrepid editors were lusting after in 1996. This week, we show you the picks from 1997 and oh, what a difference a year makes! $1,000 for an HP printer?! $4,500 for a Sony Vaio?! Those were the days…. Read on to see what the boot editors put on their holiday wish lists a mere thirteen years ago, and let us know what’s on your must-have wish lists in the comments!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the rollout of Facebook Places, it’s clear the Geolocation is the big thing in social. Foursquare has been pining away in that space for a while now, but they aren’t just standing still. Their API has been used as the backbone for other services that need a database of places. Instagram is perhaps the most notable start-up making use of the Foursquare API.

According to TechCrunch, Foursquare is in the process of developing a new API for their service that is “1,000 times faster”. This new API will also lay the groundwork for some features the be rolled out at a later date. One detail Foursquare has let slip, is that the new API will offer tighter integration with special deals at various businesses. The better, faster, smarter API is not yet available publically, but an email to the Foursquare team could net developers early access for testing purposes.

badges

 

If you only paid attention to internet forums and comments, you might think that all smartphone users were diehard supporters of their current platform. But a new study detailed by Reuters seem to say quite the opposite. In all, 56% of global smartphone users were found to be willing to consider a different type of phone when they next bought. Only 25% were definitely planning to stay loyal to their current smartphone OS.

The loyalty rates varied wildly for individual mobile operating systems. Apple has a commanding lead with 59% planning to stick with the platform. Microsoft was at the low end with only 21% loyalty. RIM’s Blackberry platform enticed 35% to claim they will stick with it. Google’s Android OS only garnered long term support from 24% of users in the survey.

Smartphone sales have nearly doubled in the last year, and the demand probably isn’t going away anytime soon. If anything, this data shows that new entrants in the market, like Microsoft Windows Phone 7, might actually have a shot at attracting converts.

phone

 

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