Archive for January, 2009

Springboard Event – Windows 7: To the Beta and Beyond


As part of the Springboard Discover > Explore > Pilot > Deploy > Manage series, Mark Russinovich and his Virtual Round Table are presenting a session on Windows 7 To The Beta and Beyond.  It is to cover some of the new features and discuss where Windows 7 is going.  A good one not to miss.  Be a part of it:

Tuesday, February 12

11:00 Seattle time or 19:00 London time – depending on where you live 🙂

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2 TB for less than $300

small_wd20eads-2tb-hd-front-2 Western Digital has announced a new 2TB drive today.  Called the Caviar Green, it’s set to be eco friendly and is set to sell quite a few.  Some of the other vital statistics:

  • Capacity:  2TB (400Gb/ areal density)
  • 32MB cache buffer
  • Variable spindle speed
  • 3.5-inch form-factor
  • 500GB/platter, 4-platter design
  • 3Gb/sec SATA with NCQ
  • SATA power connector only
  • PMR head technology
  • RoHS compliant

    That’s a good storage area for quite a few ISO files :)


    Coming to an OS Near You…

    You might have read about IE 8 going RC 1 recently.  What else is also interesting is the EU’s potential decision to force Microsoft to ship another browser with Windows 7.  If we look at this in the big scheme of things I think it’s a step backwards – and no it’s not because I’m a Microsoft advocate…

    What is the first thing most IT people do when they get a new machine?

    Format it


    To get rid of any extra bits of software that might be installed – a.k.a. bloatware.

    Was it Microsoft’s original intentions to include IE components as part of the OS?


    When you take programming classes, what’s the first thing you’re taught?

    Reuse code when possible.

    Hmm, logic clearly states then that is why IE is part of the OS – not because they’re trying to gain an unfair advantage on Firefox.  If people want to use Firefox, they’re going to, but is shipping it as part of the OS going to change things?  No, so why doesn’t the EU focus on more pressing issues, like the economy, language barriers, new member states, etc…

    What’s next EU?  If I install Office 2007 are you going to require Microsoft to ship Open Office on the same DVD and install Java components as part of the install too?

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    Themes, Themes, and London

    For those of you that like London, or maybe those of you (like me) who live in or are from the UK and are using Windows 7, the default theme for us isn’t all that bad.  Good news is with a little rummaging for pictures here and there, you can make your own theme and here’s just one of those:

    London Theme Pack

    Included in the theme pack are photos of:

    • Big Ben
    • Tower Bridge
    • The Thames
    • London Eye
    • Tate Gallery

    Simply download the 10MB file above (stored kindly on my Windows SkyDrive) and double click on it.  Presto you’ll have a London theme up and running in no time.

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    Internet Explorer 8 RC1 Released

    InternetExplorer_1First off, good news, IE 8 has been progressed to Release Candidate 1.  If you want it, you can get it here:

    Windows Internet Explorer 8

    Few things to note though:

    Read the release notes!!! 

    Things that will stick out are things like – it won’t install on Windows 7 for those of you still beta testing.  You might need to install and un-install Service Packs of Windows XP SP3 if you are using it and a few other quirks and gotchas.

    However, it is a big step forward in the browser wars and hopefully they remembered to fix tab completion!


    Happy Chinese New Year – The Year of the Ox

    Today, January 26 is the start of the Lunar Year of the Chinese New Year.  Happy Year of the Ox!


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    PowerShell Integrated Scripting Environment (ISE)

    ps ide

    Now in built to Windows 7 – PowerShell.  I’m no coder and don’t profess to be one either, but there are some cool things you can do with PowerShell and the Integrated Scripting Environment (ISE) makes it just that little bit easier.

    Broken down in to three panes, one for writing and debugging code, one for viewing output of code and one for quick one liners, you can’t go wrong with this scripting tool.  Further to the uniqueness of it, save your .ps files and import them and use them over and over and over again.

    Definitely one of the take aways from Windows 7 I can see…

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    Problem Steps Recorder

    Another one of the Windows 7 utilities that comes packaged and will be helpful to the IT department – psr.exe a.k.a. Problem Steps Recorder:


    What’s it’s job?  Well to do as it says.  Record steps that give people problems.  Next time your user phones up IT support or the helpdesk or the service desk, or whatever it happens to be called, and they say "My application doesn’t work" or "It’s broke", you can have them fire up PSR.

    Essentially what it does it it takes their input and packages it all up in to a zip file for you with some other diagnostic information.  Click, click, click as well as screen shots to hopefully help you diagnose their problem just that little bit easier.

    Give it a try and see how you get on.

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    How Code Gets Reused…

    Some people love to use the mouse, others not so.  I fall in the later category and for that reason I try to find keyboard shortcuts for the day-to-day tasks (ok, so I try and find a keyboard shortcut for nearly everything – including netsh to change IP addresses for example).  After installing Windows 7 I thought I’d give a few of the new tools for a spin and see if my old trusty shortcuts worked.  Here’s what was interesting:


    Normally this will open Add/Remove Programs.  In Vista as many of you know or are aware, it was renamed "Programs and Features", this theme is still the case in Windows 7, but magically appwiz.cpl, whether in XP, Vista or Windows 7 will open the respective flavour of the control panel you’re after – essentially adding or removing programs.


    Up until now we had what was called the Windows Security Centre.  wscui.cpl opened that tool.  In Windows 7, goodbye Security Center and hello Action Centre (and goodbye shield hello flag).  Guess what though, wscui.cpl still opens the Action Centre.


    OK, so it’s still a firewall, but it has more advanced features in Windows 7, yet the same command opens the firewall control panel too.

    …Like I said, just a few interesting finds I came across when using some of my favourite shortcuts.  Have you found any other "strangities" or places where you know there’s been code reused, either to help with continuity or maybe just because it was easier?

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    Music for just over a pound

    The guinea pigs in the Isle of Man


    are now up to a new trick/scheme.  Ron Berry, an e-business advisor in the IoM has come up with a scheme, charge everyone 1 pound and then put a file sharing application on their machine.  What good is that going to do? Essentially he is going to turn the IoM in to a big file sharing mesh so that anyone can share their music with each other.  What will the music industry think of this?

    So far its a bit of mixed bag.  If you take the IoM population at 1 quid per head, that’s 75k – per month.  Not too bad…will HMV sell this many CD’s in the down turn and with the advent of internet file sharing/etc?  Probably not.

    Interesting idea Mr Berry, lets see what happens and what the lawyers and the music snobs think.

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