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Archive for the ‘Computers and Internet’ Category

MSDN Azure Subscriber benefits

April 24, 2014 Leave a comment

In my last post , I spoke about the free Azure credits that every MSDN subscriber gets , and detailed the steps to activate them.

Well , the Azure channel on Youtube now has a video which talks about this.

Azure MSDN Subscriber benefits

Windows 8 – How to open all links in Desktop Internet Explorer

April 16, 2014 Leave a comment

I thought I’d share a Windows 8 tip with you guys. When you’re using a Modern Application ( like Windows Mail ) , and you click on a Hyperlink , it normally opens it up with Modern Internet Explorer ( like in the image below ).

Modern

This is fine when you’re on a tablet ( or in touch mode ). It’s not so great if you’re using a mouse and keyboard. However, there is a setting to change this behaviour.

1) Launch the Desktop Internet Explorer

2) Go to [Tools] , [Internet Options] and then [Programs]

3) Under [Choose how you open links], select [Always in Internet Explorer on the Desktop]

IE Setting

When you go back into a Modern Application and click on a link , it will take you to the Desktop Internet Explorer.

Intel Haswell and Tablets – The future of computing

May 21, 2013 2 comments

Like many enthusiasts, I’m very excited about Intel’s upcoming Haswell chips, and I’m really hoping that Intel can deliver on the hype. If you want more information on this new architecture, there’s nothing better than the ( as usual ) in-depth article at Anandtech.

AnandTech article

Intel 4th Gen

Now while any new processor launch gets people excited in terms of more horsepower being available , here we also expect better integrated graphics performance and much reduced power consumption. And it’s that last aspect, together with the timing of this launch that makes this a significant milestone on the computing timeline, in my opinion.

You see, we’ve been hearing recently about how we are now in this “post-pc” era, and how tablets and phones are the computers of the 2010’s. Its something we certainly see , people walking around with massive smart phones and, in meetings, everyone holding an iPad.
But what is also clear to me is that these devices haven’t replaced PC’s for most people. Maybe it has with college students, but not in the enterprise. They are simply complimentary devices.

Enter Windows 8. When launched, I really thought that Windows 8 tablets would change all this. I felt that tablets like Surface would be to notebooks what notebooks were to desktops 10 years ago. We didn’t see that happen in a big way , because the launch of Windows 8 was only the first step.The second important step that I feel will drive this will be the launch of Haswell. Why ?

How does 5 times the power efficiency of current chips sound ?

Xbit labs article

I’ve been wanting to write this blog post for a long time , but an article from Seeking Alpha today spurred me into action.

Seeking Alpha Article

“The advantage of the Windows 8 based tablets and hybrids was supposedly that it can run legacy software, but the disadvantage was that there was an awkward trade-off between power and energy and cooling needs. The user could either buy a rather underpowered Atom CPU based tablet/hybrid that was as sleek and energy efficient as most of the competition, or a much less energy efficient iCore based tablet/hybrid that is thick, heavy, doesn’t last all day but is fully powered in terms of processor needs.
With the new Haswell processors, that trade-off has become distinctly reduced, perhaps it even disappears completely.”

intel_Haswell

As I said , this is the next milestone and I can’t wait. Of course , we will then have the improved Windows 8.1 released after that and we’ll then be truly into the “PC-Plus” era…..

Shape shifters are here !

October 30, 2012 Leave a comment

Well Windows 8 has landed , and with it…. shape shifters. No , not what you’re thinking ( I actually don’t know what you’re thinking ) . Shape shifters ( convertibles? ) are basically laptop PC’s that can swing around their screens to become tablets. We were promised something of a PC revolution with Windows 8 , with the new touch interface being the biggest change to Windows since ’95. What many didn’t realize though , is that with it we would see all types of interesting hardware devices surface as well ( see what I did there ). And the first batch are here…..

Engadget has just reviewed the new Dell XPS 12 : here

Looks quite interesting. If you’re too lazy to click the link , here’s a pic of what the beast looks like

Now this is all interesting because we could be looking at the future here. Even with tablets being more and more popular , notebooks aren’t going away. You’ll still see them at airports, coffee shops etc. But how will they all look in a few years time ? They’ll be smaller , yes. They will all have touch screens, I’ve already mentioned that before. But will the average joe embrace this form factor for his basic notebook ? I’ll have to use this first to gauge an opinion – its definitely not going to replace a tablet in tablet mode. But it might be tablet enough for those unwilling to fork out for 2 devices.

While the above might seem trivial to some , I’m just happy that we’re seeing some excitement in the PC industry again. ( Recently , the only articles about PC’s were predicting the death of my favourite gadget ). For that reason alone we can be happy that Windows 8 is what it is.

The New Decade

January 1, 2010 Leave a comment

Well , it’s 2010. Not just a new year , but in case you haven’t realized it yet , the start of a new decade, the “teens”.  The 2000’s were over before we knew it.

 

It might not be obvious immediately, but our life today is quite different from 10 years ago , especially in the realm of “personal technology”. The biggest advancements , and something that we couldn’t have predicted in 1999, come in the sector of mobile phones. Who would have thought we would all be carrying around micro-computers in 2009 that allow us to surf the internet at any time, make video calls, connect to a GPS satellite and get guided navigation and also take pictures that can rival a decent camera ? I’ll admit , my smartphone sometimes still amazes me.

 

However , as someone who is always wondering what the future might hold, I have to say I’m disappointed in mankind’s progress in other key areas.

 

Take transportation. I really didn’t expect that the internal combustion engine would still be dominant in 2010. The car enthusiast in me appreciates that powerful sports cars haven’t disappeared, but it’s a bit disappointing that cars have only become more expensive , without necessarily breaking new ground. In fact, we’re in the era of cost cutting. Some new models don’t seem to have the inherent long term quality that we would have expected by now. Just more gimmicks along with progress in some areas. Why are cars still so inefficient ? Why is ride quality getting worse by the model year ? Why does is cost a fortune to maintain a modern vehicle ? I actually think that it could be better, but companies are holding back , preferring to just build what makes them the most money.

 

Space , the final frontier…

 

The most disappointing area would have to be space travel and exploration. Remember, there was a movie launched in the 80’s called 2010: The Year we make contact. Well, we won’t make any physical contact with other planets and civilizations with our current technology ( unless they come here ). Mankind went to the moon in the 1960’s , but right now in 2010 we have no way of going back. The shuttle program is being scrapped , and NASA will actually rely on the Russians for a few years, to send supplies to the Space Station. The next Ares rocket is in development, however there are rumours that there isn’t enough funding to complete it. Hopefully that proves false. We may just be living in the era of robotic space development, and all those movies you watched as a kid showing exciting expeditions to far off planets now look even more ridiculous and far fetched. What Virgin is doing with private space travel is encouraging , but once again , frustratingly, it seems that it all comes down to money, and who cares what progress we make as a civilization ?

 

And then there’s computing. There’s lots of progress here, right ? The products that I work with on a daily basis ( not just Office or Windows , but SQL and Visual Studio as well ) are much the same as 10 years ago, but there’s new features and we can do more today. I suppose the big shift in terms of desktop computing took place in the 1990’s, but I’m quite excited when I see how far we have come on the enterprise side of computing, and look forward to the next 10 years.

 

Some things worry me though. When commentators proclaim that time wasting gimmicks like Facebook and Twitter are the biggest computing innovations of the decade, I wonder if we’re really going forward here. Sure , they are nice communication tools, but consider Facebook as a computing breakthrough as compared to those from previous decades, like the desktop GUI or the Microprocessor itself.  It’s a laughable comparison, maybe a sign that we’re in decline ? Maybe the cloud will be the one thing that brings about the most significant change in the way we compute, if it hasn’t already.

 

The Singularity

 

The greatest computing landmark that we could hope for in this decade would be the achievement of the Computing Singularity, the rapid advancement of artificial intelligence until computers reach a state where they can think for themselves. This always invokes fear in people, who immediately think of Hollywood parallels like HAL9000 and Skynet, but those surely are extreme examples. The dangers should never be forgotten though.

 

I don’t know if it will come during the next 10 years. I do know that in terms of computing , 10 years is a long time , and whatever we have now will seem horribly outdated in 2019.

 

So lets hope that the next decade proves more exciting for us techno geeks and dreamers. The technology we have today may satisfy the masses , but it’s not good enough for us !

Back up your Keys !!

March 7, 2007 Leave a comment

This morning I faced an interesting problem at a client. They had a whole bunch of data – driven subscriptions that had been running smoothly for months , but suddenly stopped working. The error message was "Logon Failed".
Well , I immediatly checked all usernames and passwords , those of the reporting services service, the jobs that were created and I even tried to reset the account used to connect to the database and the unattended execution account by using the RSConfig command. All to no avail. I decided that something must have become corrupt , so I decided to delete the encryption keys and start over. You can do this by using the RsKeyMgmt -d command.
You will however lose some of your stored settings , such as authentication information stored locally in reports for subscription purposes. Therefore , the golden rule is , back up your encryption keys regularly,so when tragedy strikes , you just delete the corrupt ones and restore the working backup. You can do this by using the following command :

RsKeyMgmt -e -f c:\key.snk -p<password>

These are some of the tags :

To restore a previously backed up key you go :
RsKeyMgmt -a -f c:\key.snk -p<password>
Might spare you a headache……

Update for SQL 2005 Service Pack 2

March 7, 2007 Leave a comment

There’s been an update for SQL Service pack 2. If you’ve downloaded SP2 before the 5th March 2007 , you’ll need to apply the following update :

Knowledge base article