Category: Windows

Windows 8 – Where have I seen that Metro widget panel before?

So, my wifes’ computer crashed, with a completely trashed system volume, and no sign whatsoever of the Windows7 install media or activation key to resuscitate it. But What I did have on had was the Windows 8 Developer Preview. Free and not due to expire until late 2012.
So I stuck in the DVD and rebuilt the computer with this.
Then after playing with it for a little while, it struck me as to why pulling up the metro panel flt familiar.
OS X Lion moved all of its widgets into a widget desktop panel. You access it with a multi finger swipe on the mouse or track pad, and are taken to a sinlge screen with small widgets. I have mine showing me weather, the time in a couple of foreign cities where I have frends I occasionally skype with, a widget shiny what is playing on iTunes, and the lyrics, and sometime I setup small browser windows here too.
Then I looked at what was on the Windows 8 Metro screen. Most of the active tiles were just like the widgets in OSX. Some launched other full screen apps of course, and obviously those were optimized for touch (I also noticed just like on iOS, when backgrounded, most suspended themselves as indicated in task manager)
So neat, still faster than Windows 7, but nothing new here, move along. Just square, blue tiles instead of much better looking and useful, and well developed (after all they have been around for a few years) OS X widgets.


OSX Dashboard

Windows 8 Metro

Windows 8 Metro





Cheap MiFi

OK, so I really am a cheap bugger sometimes, but what annoys me is that I pay NZ$90 a month for my cell phone plan, and I get 3GB of data on it, but I usually only use about 250MB or maybe even 300MB on a bad month mainly because most of the places I go also have pervasive wifi. So I waste 2.5 GB of data I’ve paid for on my 3G connection. I can’t just buy a MiFi or another 3G USB modem and hook it up to my cell phone plan, they all want extra money as they wont share my phone data plan.

So, how to make the most of my 3G connection? I need to make my own MiFi!

What you Need:

iPhone (or similar) on a plan allowing tethering.

Laptop with bluetooth and Wifi, (mine runs Linux Mint 9)

Other wifi clients wanting to use the connection.

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iOS 4.2 is here, available NOW!!

So my iOS gadget stash runs like this:

My phone is an iPhone4, 32GB, and is about 75% full, running 4.1. I bought this as an update to my 3G, which I gave to my lovely wife Lynelle, who was otherwise quite happy with her Nokia dumb-phone, but it was falling apart.

Now she to is a smartphone fan, even though she only uses the home Wifi for Data 8)

So anyway, 4.1 fixed a lot of glitches with iOS 4.0 on the 3G, and every indication is the preformance is even more improved with 4.2, So I will definately upgrade the 3G. I like new shiny stuff, so I will also upgrade the iPhone4 once I am not on call.

Now a week later, I do the downloads for the iphone 4 from my Mac. First attempt, 15 mnutes to download the 500MB+ bundle, and… corrupt. Try again. Second download shows it to be over 600MB! WTF Apple!!!

Anyway, upgrade completed on the second go, and was the most pain free update apart from the huge download, twice! Come on Apple, bit torrents give me GigaBytes of … umm… LINUX OS downloads with no error, surely you can put some better error checking in your downloader in iTunes.

Features I use – Nothing that does Airplay – umm, performance seems the same, umm.. Oh, free Find my iPhone (or as Lynelle calls it, Find My Husband. Damn, she has my Apple ID for buying stuff for the phone.) That works as advertised.  So thats it. Off to try the 3G now.

Only 322MB download required for the 3G. Just have to find something else to do for 15 minutes…….Installing now. Only one download required.

iPhone 3G - update in progress...

iPhone 3G - update in progress...

Hey, 30 minutes later, and it’s updated. Seems to have worked fine. No errors at this stage, so I’ll just have to wait to see if Lynelle notices anything in general use.

Tin-Foil Hat Time – PGP Encrypted Mail

So now I have a lot of my mail, and other information out there in the cloud, hanging around on other people’s servers, and some of it I may want to keep from prying eyes for some reason. And remember, an email on the internet is more like a postcard than a letter in an envelope. Don’t put anything in email you don’t want the postmen to read!

Remembering that any employee of Google authorised to manage their email systems could probably see my mail, and the latest attempts by someone in China to hack into Google to break into dissidents email accounts, or the fact the under US law, authorities may not even need a warrant to snoop into your mail held on a routing agencies server if older than 30 days etc and you start thinking, “Maybe I should encrypt my mail stored on these systems?”

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