Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Prototype SunCat batteries enable solar charging

Solar-powered phones like the Samsung Blue Earth are great eco-friendly concepts, in theory.

But let's be frank with ourselves. We won't see these sun-worshipping devices replacing mainstream handsets in the near future. Meanwhile, we still have a mountain of gadgets that need to be juiced regularly, which is why designer Knut Karlsen's idea of integrating flexible solar cells onto rechargeable batteries could be a more immediate solution to reducing our carbon footprint.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Have your way with Windows

If your computer handles a heavy load of programs, deleted files, and temporary downloads, asking Windows to do your bidding is akin to disciplining a two-year-old child. You'll get your way in the end, but only after some resistance. Here are six top-rated, perfectly legal performance enhancers for Windows XP and Vista that help you regain control.

Easy Vista ManagerLaying out a smorgasbord of tweaks for all your computer's categories, this premium, easy-to-use performance-perfecter has Vista's particular traits in mind. Each of Easy Vista Manager's categories, ranging from hardware and software to network and security, is chockablock with detailed information about your computer and what you can tweak, including a few surprises that might help you save on energy overall--your own and the computer's. While the 20 use trial period isn't the most generous we've seen, Easy Vista Manager's thorough view into Vista's ins and outs makes it well worth the download

While most of the all-in-one optimizing applications include a tool to rev performance by freeing up choked RAM, you can do that on your own with a freeware program like RAMBooster. The small application may register as a little old-school, but it has what it takes to give your PC some extra fire. RAMBooster includes a few program defaults for those still new to the process, but you can modify them to your liking. An icon in the system tray serves as your memory conscience, gleaming red and black if all's well. As your quotient of available memory falls, the icon switches to yellow, a sure sign it's time to do some tweaking.

Glary Utilities

A brawny freeware application, Glary Utilities will helpfully put the squeeze on inefficient settings without charging you a cent. The good-looking optimization suite includes a Registry cleaner, and a privacy minder that sweeps away Internet Explorer tracks. In addition are tools to cut out junk files, remove invalid and dead-end shortcuts, and manage start-up programs. A file-shredder is also included, to securely reduce deleted files to ribbons. While you'll be able to perform many of the same actions from Windows' various maintenance folders, Glary Utilities and its optimizing kin conveniently centralize the tools and streamline the process.

Auslogics BoostSpeedBoostSpeed supersizes Auslogics' freeware disk defragmenter and Registry defrag into a strong package that includes some services unique to this all-in-one premium download. If you're already a fan of Auslogics' applications, its free-to-try suite will not disappoint. Optimizing the program's RAM, disk space, and Registry are Auslogics BoostSpeed's top tools, along with the file shredder and performance monitor. In addition, the application features a decent uninstall manager, start-up manager, browser tweaker, and manager for customizing Windows' interface and routines.


A defragmenter at its core, PerfectDisk tops robust performance-tending features with an attractive, logical interface. Its defragger comes equipped with a tool to analyze your data patterns and to use that information to more efficiently store your data in the future. This tack introduces a preventative element that helps lubricate your PC's internal gears. Offline defragmenting is another key feature of this free-to-try application that can optimize parts of your drive that can't be touched while Windows is going.

Tune-Up Utilities
TuneUp Utilities 2009 earns high praise for its capability to get to the heart of Windows' maintenance tools in a faster, prettier, and easier-to-use format. The modules tackle temporary files, superfluous registry entries, and start-up routines, and do so in a way that gets you maximum speed. In addition, the free-to-try application also packs on a host of performance accelerators, enhancers, and tweaks. There's also a file shredder, file recovery tools, and a tool to quickly analyze your problem areas. A button programmed with general presets gives those new to the optimizing game a one-click option for boosting performance.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

This week's PlayStation Store update

Today's Australian PlayStation Store update was not as substantial as last week's, although it still brought a bounty of add-on game packs, as well as the long-awaited Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. demo.

The highlight of this week's update is, of course, the 'Rio Demo' for Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X., where the literature promises that, "flying at Mach 3 becomes a right, not a privilege." The demo weighs in at 832 MB.

Two full PSP games also made their way to the PlayStation Store, with Generation of Chaos and WWII: Battle Over the Pacific. Both games are on sale for AUD $19.95.

The majority of today's update was made up of game packs, with a long list starting with Buzz's 'Quiz of the Year 2008' for AUD $8.45, Street Fighter IV's alternate costume 'Brawler Pack' for AUD $6.95, Skate 2's San Van Classic Pack for AUD $6.95. High Velocity Bowling receives two new characters (Candy and Dwyane) for AUD $1.75 each, as well as a free game pack named 'Trick Shits Part Two', which gives you further ways to boost your chances of picking up collectible patches in the game.

There's also the 'All-New Content' pack for The Lord of the Rings Conquest for AUD $12.95, which includes two new arenas (Weathertop foggy mountain and Minas Tirith main gate), three new heroes (Gothmog, Boromir and Arwen), two new multiplayer maps (Amon Hen and Battle of the Last Alliance) each with 3 new game modes (Team Deathmatch, Capture the Ring and Conquest).

Guitar Hero World Tour got hit by a Silver Bullet, as it was updated with three new Bob Seger tracks - 'Get Out of Denver', 'Her Strut' and 'Old Time Rock & Roll'. You can grab any of them for AUD $3.45 each of all together for AUD $9.25. Rock Band received three new Jimmy Eat World tracks - 'Futures', 'Lucky Denver Mint' and 'Sweetness'. It also received the country songs '3 Dimes Down' by Drive-By Truckers, 'Can't Let Go' by Lucinda Williams, 'People Got a Lotta Nerve' by Neko Case, 'Satellite Radio' by Steve Earle and 'Time Bomb (Live)' by Old 97's. You can buy them individually for AUD $2.45, or buy a pack of all the country songs for AUD $11.05 and a pack of all the Jimmy Eat World songs for AUD $6.45.

Finally, there's a host of videos including trailers for Disgaea 3:Absence of Justice, FIFA 09, Burnout Praadise: The Ultimate Bundle, Lumines Supernova and Prince of Persia Epilogue.There's also a 'Master Maze Makers Trailer' for echochrome. You'll also find yourself right at home with a LocoRoco 2 MuiMui House PS3 theme.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Top 8 Ways to Speed Up Your Computer

Over time, the speed of computers with Microsoft Windows can decrease. This appears as the system taking more time to respond to a user’s actions like opening files, folders, surfing the Internet and other tasks. However, there are things you can do to speed up your computer.
The following is a list of ways you can improve your computer's performance. These steps are intended to be used in order. The key is to do the simplest and least invasive thing first until your system starts responding better.

Golden Rule: Do No Harm
If you want to improve the speed of your computer, that’s great. However, above all, do no harm and beyond the scope of this Windows forum, ask for help from those you know if you get in over your head. Remember: you have time. You can stop most processes I discuss without causing harm. Caution and common sense go a long way when working with computers; problems are often much easier to fix than they appear.

Steps to Speed Up Your Computer’s Performance
1. Make Sure Your Hardware is Sufficient
Above and beyond everything you can do with software to optimize the function of your computer, making sure you have the proper hardware to support Windows is critical. Here are minimums that I recommend:

For XP – A computer with a Pentium processor, at least 512MB of RAM (operating memory), preferably 1 to 2 GB of memory and an 80GB hard drive or larger.

For Vista – A computer with any dual-core processor, 2 to 3 GB of RAM and a 160 GB or larger hard drive.
These hardware configurations will minimize Page Filing (swapping programs in and out of memory and onto the hard drive) and assure that your computer has enough horsepower to run the operating system. Upgrading memory (RAM) is the cheapest and easiest thing you can do to improve the performance of your computer.

2. Clean Your DesktopIs your Windows Desktop dotted with files? Have you noticed that your computer has been running slower and slower? Do you see the hard drive light often flashing while you wait for the computer to respond to an action? There are steps you can take to fix it. Read this article.

3. Scan Your Windows System for Errors
An operating system is a collection of files that perform different functions. It is possible, over time, that one or more of these system files has changed or become corrupted. If this happens, the speed of your system may decrease. By using a utility called “System File Checking”, it will inspect these files and correct any problem it finds.

4. Scan for Viruses, Spyware and Adware
Every Windows computer is vulnerable to viruses. Viruses are nasty little programs that cause both major and minor problems for users.

Spyware and Adware are programs created by companies to find out more information about customers, so they can better market products to them. Usually these programs are not created for malicious purposes. Spyware and Adware can load into computer memory and slow it down.

Periodically scanning and removal of Viruses, Spyware and Adware is a great way to improve computer performance.

5. Uninstall Unused ProgramsOver time, you may have accumulated programs on your computer that you do not use. When a program is installed, it creates connections between the program and the operating system. Even if you don’t use these programs, they can slow down your system. If you have the original program’s installation disk or file, removing programs will free up space on your computer and may speed up your system's performance.

6. Adjust Visual Effects for Better Performance
Windows provides a number of interesting visual effects including animated windows and fading menus. If you do not have enough operating memory (see above number 1), these effects can slow down your computer. Adjusting or reducing visual effects can make a difference.

7. Don’t Automatically Start ProgramsPrograms use operating memory (RAM, also called system resources). Unless you always use these programs, you can keep them from loading at Windows startup and speed both the booting of your computer and its performance.

8. Defragment Your Hard Drive (After you have tried everything else)
The more information and programs you have on your computer, the more it is likely that Windows has placed parts of the same file in different locations on your hard drive. It may do this for hundreds of files and programs, depending on how much space is available. Defragmenting the hard drive places all information for each file in one place. The result can be a faster computer experience.

Important Note: Before you even try this, backup all your work onto a different computer, hard drive, CD or disk. Also, you should only do this if you have a reliable source of power for your computer. Doing this when there is a brown out or power problem in the neighborhood, is not a good idea. If a computer turns off while it is defragmenting a drive, it will create more problems than not defragmenting it in the first place.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Windows 7 shipping this Fall... according to Compal, anyway

While Steve Ballmer himself declared that Windows Mobile 7 would be coming out next year, we've got a somewhat less reliable source suggesting that the desktop version of Win7 will be landing this fall. Ray Chen, president of Taipei-based Compal Electronics, was quoted as saying that "according to current planning," Windows 7 should be on its machines by "late September or early October." For those unaware, Compal is responsible for crafting HP and Acer laptops, and honestly, we're not exactly sure how this bigwig secured these dates. Of course, it stands to reason that everyone else in the industry is either 1) clueless or 2) just better at keeping secrets. For what it's worth, we're taking this with a huge spoon of salt, and just between us, you should probably do the same.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

what's new technology

Facebook Hit By 'Error Check System' Attack
Security experts are concerned by the methods being used by a new rogue application spreading through Facebook . vnunet.com reports that the 'Error Check System' seems to be harmless in its current form, but there is a good possibility it could be used in future malware attacks. The application uses social... More >

Apple Releases Public Beta for Safari 4
Apple has announced the release of the Safari 4 public beta. According O'Grady's PowerPage , the browser includes the Nitro JavaScript Engine, Accessible Rich Interactive Applications, offline database support and smart search recommendations. Safari 4 is available in versions for Mac OS X 10.4, 10.5, and Windows XP... More >

Symantec Warns of Excel Bug
Symantec is warning that attackers are going after a zero-day vulnerability in Microsoft's Excel spreadsheet program . According to InfoWorld , the vulnerability affects Excel 2007 and Excel 2007 SP1. Researchers say the attack can leave a Trojan horse on the infected system, which Symantec calls... More >

Microsoft Begins Run at Data Warehousing
Microsoft's run at the high-end data warehousing market has begun with the release of SQL Server Fast Track Data Warehouse , according to NetworkWorld . Fast Track consists of hardware and a series of reference configurations that allows channel partners to put together data mart and data warehouse systems using the... More >

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Waterproof and Fireproof USB SentrySafe

I’ve always thought it would be cool to own a safe for all of my valuables. Especially one of the SentrySafes that are both waterproof and of course fireproof. The problem is that I can never really think of enough items to jam in the safe that I would like to keep safe from a fire. Well now it’s not only practical for paper files and jewelry, it’s also a great way to store data that you want to keep safe from thieves and damage from either a fire or flooding. It wouldn’t be a big deal to store an external hard drive and other items within your average safe. However, it doesn’t have the extra perk of a USB cord/slot.