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Photoshop on steroids, no skills required

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Adobe will be launching Photoshop CS5 next week and with it a new tool in particular that’s simply amazing. Enter content-aware fill:

Written by Julio Franco

April 4th, 2010 at 4:27 am

How to fix Pidgin issue connecting to AIM, ICQ – receiving ‘unexpected response’

with 34 comments

It was recently brought to our attention that the popular open source IM client Pidgin — and potentially Adium in the Mac — are having trouble connecting to AIM and AOL messaging clients receiving a “Received unexpected response from http://api.oscar.aol.com/aim/startOSCARSession” error. There is a simple fix that has been confirmed to work from one of our staff members:

1. On the top menu click on Accounts
2. Modify your AIM or ICQ account
3. On the Advanced tab, untick the ‘Use clientLogin/Use SSL’ checkbox
4. Save and you’re done

Pidgin unexpected response fix

Pidgin unexpected response fix

The source of the problem is still unknown, however this fix seems to be working for everyone. BTW, going back and forth with previous versions of Pidgin will not work, so just try the above.

Written by Julio Franco

January 13th, 2010 at 6:16 pm

A fix for Java applets not loading in Firefox

with 23 comments

Although I’ve been running Windows 7 betas on and off periodically since the release of build 7000, it wasn’t until I used the x64 RC more extensively as my primary OS that I realized Java wouldn’t load in Firefox. Intriguingly, however, it appeared to be working just fine in both IE and Safari. I can’t say for sure how widespread the issue is, coming straight XP, however, my girlfriend’s laptop running Vista Ultimate x64 also faced the issue.

test-1

There were no manifestations of an actual error, in fact, Java applets were as blank as could be, and trying to interact with the Java console in Firefox caused the text to gray out with absolutely no result. All the while, Java’s plugin was listed in the browser’s add-ons, just as one would expect it to be.
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Written by Matthew DeCarlo

May 20th, 2009 at 7:27 pm

A Quick & Easy Guide to Bulk File Renaming

with 3 comments

If you’ve ever been in a situation where you had to rename dozens or even hundreds of files, performing each and every file name edit manually, you can certainly understand the need for an utility like the Bulk Rename Utility.

While it might be a bit overwhelming at first sight, the 5-15 minute learning curve is well worth the time and energy you’ll undoubtedly save.

The Bulk Rename Utility allows you to perform a plethora of bulk file name modifications, all of which leave the files’ extension untouched unless you deploy an edit using the “Extension” section. You can easily add, remove and substitute letters, numbers, date and timestamps and it can all be done in more than a single way in some situations, ultimately leaving the process very open to the user.

You are provided with a preview of all potential and pending changes so you can tinker with and tweak your settings accordingly, though if you make an error it’s easily reversible by tapping CTRL+Z.
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Written by Matthew DeCarlo

March 2nd, 2009 at 4:25 am

List of antivirus suites that presently work with Windows 7 Beta

with 45 comments

If you’ve decided to give Windows 7 a whirl and have recently installed the open now closed beta, you’ll have noticed that upon installation you are notified of the fact that you’re lacking proper antivirus software.

This is nothing new and actually has been a “feature” of Windows ever since XP’s SP2 got released and the Security Center came to exist. It’s nothing new either to have a majority of antivirus suites to become incompatible with brand new operating systems – and Windows 7 is no exception, especially more so in its current beta form.

windows-1

Upon a bit of investigation you probably made your way to the Windows 7 security provider page at Microsoft’s site and perhaps were let down by the fact that the three “officially” supported AVs are all paid software or that your preferred suite isn’t listed (AVG is listed but not the free version). So, we’ve decided to install and test a variety of the more popular options out there so you don’t have to.
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Written by Matthew DeCarlo

February 12th, 2009 at 5:05 am

Geforce 7900GT Screen Corruption in Vista or How to change your GPU clock speeds at the BIOS level

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This is a problem that has existed in Vista from the very beginning, as I found out the hard way after its release in December 2006. If you use any Nvidia Forceware drivers other than version 158.24 you will get screen corruption like in the picture below when changing resolutions.

This situation only applies to factory overclocked 7900GT cards and the solution is to either under/overclock the card slightly.

I’m posting about this today because I had forgot about it until recently when I was reinstalling my brother’s computer, upgrading him from XP to Vista after a nice virus he got on MSN. I preferred to modify the card’s BIOS directly instead of just changing the clocks in software with Rivatuner.

To change the clock speed at the BIOS level download NiBiTor, first saving your current BIOS. If you are having trouble you can use GPU-Z for this instead, which I did.

The change is very straightforward, just change the 2D & 3D clock speeds on the main page and then save the file in .rom format as modded.rom. Obviously make sure that the card is 100% stable at the new speeds and corruption free. For flashing use nvFlash, make a clean MS-DOS boot floppy and copy the nvFlash util and BIOS to it, to flash just boot from it and type “nvflash modded.rom”

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Written by Per Hansson

February 8th, 2009 at 12:45 pm

Why even pay for software? A declaration against poorly implemented DRM

with 37 comments

I’m guessing you wouldn’t usually expect me to make a post like this, but seriously, where is the incentive to pay for software these days? Yes, it is unfortunate how millions of people pirate software nowadays, but by now it has to be clear that there is little to nothing that can be done about it.

Those that can afford to buy software generally do pay for it, but I have found the hard way that it isn’t always worth it, and this is becoming truer as time goes on thanks to poorly implemented DRM (Digital Rights Management).

When Microsoft released Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit it was rather pricey, but I still went out and purchased two copies right away – one for me and one for testing. Although I have paid for the software I’m extremely tempted to avoid the genuine activation and simply crack it. But why would I do such a thing for software that I have paid good money for? Well, it’s simple. Because of the large number of people that pirate Windows, Microsoft has felt compelled to punish the suckers that actually buy it.

Hateful DRM practices jeopardize the end-user experience

Hateful DRM practices jeopardize the end-user experience

Every time I change a major piece of hardware I end up with a warning message informing me that I have two days to reactivate my copy of Windows. Okay, that’s not so bad. Just click re-activate then shall we. Hang on, that didn’t work, and now I have to ring the Microsoft support center based on India and try to communicate a 60+ digit code to someone I can barely understand. After that process is done I can finally use my computer again. Yay! Well… at least until I need to change/upgrade something again.

The alternative is to run a 20 second patch that removes the Microsoft activation altogether, meaning that I will never be inconvenienced again when upgrading, an inconvenience I apparently paid good money for. Again, the options: to pay for software that is going to have you pulling your hair out every time you change something, or get it for free without any of the catches.

Over the years the countless re-activations of my computers has not only improved my Indian accent, but also simply become a way of life.

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Written by Julio Franco

February 6th, 2009 at 3:41 am

ZoneAlarm for Windows Vista? Don’t do it

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Update I have mentioned this post again on our front page after TS editor, Erik Orejuela downloaded a free copy of ZoneAlarm Pro earlier this month. The result was catastrophic for his Vista installation, even after a complete removal of the program and a system restore using the built-in Vista tool, the OS was simply bogged down enough that a clean format was the easier path to follow.

Several people have commented here since this post was made over a year ago and admittedly without any scientific or extended tests, we still recommend you to stay away from the ZoneAlarm + Vista combo.

Original post (October 9, 2007):
On a follow-up to my post yesterday about basic security programs you should be running under Windows XP, ever since I upgraded to Vista I revisited those program choices which for the most part remained the same with the exception of the free ZoneAlarm firewall…

In general, Windows Vista’s security is tighter and services such as Defender are more integrated into the OS. During the first couple of months, AVG’s anti-virus did not like Vista and it was common to find certain programs not working correctly until updates were released, even more so security suites that have to deal more directly with the core of the OS. ZoneLabs makers of the ZoneAlarm firewall took its time until the program was ready for Vista and it wasn’t until recently that it was made available on its free form as well (not part of the paid full suite).

Well, in short the experience I had with the latest build of ZoneAlarm for Vista was horrific. I noticed slowdowns and strange behavior from the OS that simply wasn’t there before. In other words, a far cry from the seamless integration and speed seen with the XP version.

If you come from XP and want to install ZoneAlarm in Vista… just don’t do it.

The good news is that Vista’s built-in firewall has proven sufficient for me so far though it does not feature outbound traffic monitoring. It’s time to look for an alternative full-featured free firewall if you are running Vista.

Written by Julio Franco

November 29th, 2008 at 11:04 am

Offers from our partner Tradepub

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You may not know this but you can receive free technology magazines from our partner Tradepub. Apparently they also do trial software downloads along with technology whitepapers, some of which I have mentioned in the past here in the blog or in the forums when something really interesting pops up. Here’s a couple of new rather interesting offers that I received on my mail earlier today.

Free Trial: 60-Day Trial of Microsoft Office Project

Free eBook: The 7 Things that IT Security Professionals MUST KNOW!

Written by Julio Franco

October 31st, 2008 at 10:49 pm

Posted in blog,deals,software

Cool wallpaper from Microsoft’s PDC

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One thing to love about upcoming operating systems and its public beta releases is that eventually feature details and design elements leak and get distributed all over the web. You may remember how there were several prospective default wallpapers for Vista that made it to the web months before the OS release. Something similar has happened with OS X releases which also come with great wallpapers out of the box.

Now Microsoft is expected to unleash the first public preview of Windows 7 at their Professional Developers Conference this week. Some details have leaked already, but nothing to share just yet in terms of UI elements except for this PDC wallpaper that all computers at the conference are using (courtesy of istartedsomething). I have been using it for the past few hours and I had to recommend it. Nice colors, blends well and is a bit flashy (Vista style) without being too distracting.

Written by Julio Franco

October 28th, 2008 at 6:03 am

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