Video: Take A Ride In The Dragon Lady to the Edge of Space

April 16, 2011
James May from Top Gear rides in a U-2 spy plane

The Lockheed U-2, nicknamed “Dragon Lady“, is a single-engine, very high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft operated by the United States Air Force and previously flown by the Central Intelligence Agency. It provides day and night, very high-altitude (70,000 feet / 21,000 meters), all-weather intelligence gathering. The aircraft is also used for electronic sensor research and development, satellite calibration, and satellite data validation. [Source: Wikipedia]

This is an awesome video that demonstrates just how capable technology and man are. A related article is the recent post “YouTube Movie: First Orbit” .

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A Successful Data Recovery Story Using Some Desperation Moves

April 15, 2011

A friend recently came to me with an old IDE hard drive that was determined to be dead by a computer tech. He had held onto the drive, which was several years old, with the hope that someday the data on the drive could possibly be recovered, without costing him an arm and a leg. Typically, professional data recovery can be very expensive and there are no guarantees the data can be fully recovered.

Data Recovery

As a challenge, I opted to take a shot at recovering the data on the drive. I placed the drive in an external drive enclosure, powered it up and connected it to my PC. The first bad sign was the clunking noise being generated from the drive and the drive not spinning up properly (which indicated a mechanical problem); AND the second bad sign was that my computer could see the drive but was unable to pull up the file/folder structure (which indicated a potential drive sector or partition issue).

At this point, I had to agree with the original tech’s assessment of the drive; however, it hit me to try a couple of things out of desperation. I put the drive in a ziplock plastic bag and placed it in the freezer for a couple of hours. The theory being that this would cause contraction of the metal parts in the drive. Following the deep freeze, I quickly connected the drive to the PC and I could tell immediately that it was spinning up and the clunking noise had dissipated. My PC could see the drive; however, the sector/partition issue was still looking me in the eye. What I did next was really out of desperation. I started thinking, I can see the drive and if I can see the drive can I format it?  My plan was to do a “quick format” then use data recovery software to extract the data on the drive.  Guess what?  It worked!

Using data recovery software (called Power Data Recovery) I was able to extract every single bit of file data from formatted the drive ( a total of 21 GBs of data). Using the Power Data Recovery software, the data recovery process took over 8 hours to complete.

Several points this article:

  • The Hard Drive Freezer Trick – I do think there is something to this!
  • Data Recovery – Don’t ever think by formatting your drive you are wiping the data from the drive! It can be recovered…
  • Backup Your Files – If you have files on your PC that is close to your heart and soul, make sure you back them up.  Hard Drives do and will fail.

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Learn About eBooks and eReaders vs. Kindle

April 13, 2011

Tech Paul at Tech-for Everyone put up an article this morning that brings into perspective all this hype about ebooks, eReaders and the Kindle.  Do you really need these eReader devices?

To check out his article, “eBooks and eReaders – There is more than Kindle, you know”.  visit Tech-for Everyone [CLICK HERE] .

Kindle

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YouTube Movie: First Orbit

April 13, 2011

YouTube (and Google) continue to raise the bar when it comes to online video content. Typically, it features a repository of short video clips and now they are working toward featuring longer, higher-quality video content on its website. Google, which owns YouTube, plans to invest millions into developing “original content”.

On that note, YouTube is featuring a premiere video (hour-and-half-long) called First Orbit. The video is a real-time recreation of Russian astronaut Yuri Gagarin’s first 108 minutes long orbit of Earth in 1961.

To mark this historic flight YouTube has teamed up with the astronauts onboard the International Space Station to film a new view of what Yuri would have seen as he travelled around the planet.

If you are interested in watching this move, [CLICK HERE] .

image

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An Ever-Growing Collection of FREE Online Jigsaw Puzzles

April 12, 2011

If you love jigsaw puzzles then you will be surely entertained and challenged with TheJigSawPuzzles.com. There is nothing to install.  Just visit the site in your web browser and select your puzzle background from over hundreds of puzzles. You can even select how many puzzle pieces you want to scramble.

TheJigsawPuzzles

The cool factors with TheJigSawPuzzles.com is that once you select your puzzle, you can go full screen, pull the pieces sidewards, change the background color, turn the sound on and off, get hints, pause the timer, move the edge pieces for an easier start and can select multiple pieces by dragging the mouse around the pieces.

TheJigsawPuzzles

You can sign up for an account; however, not necessary. By signing up you can make your own puzzles from your own pictures. You can upload up to 8 megabytes at one time. No individual file may be larger than 2 megabytes. I know that does not sound like a lot and it’s not; however, from my testing when I uploaded a large picture file, the site automatically scaled down the image to a kilobyte size without affecting the clarity of the image.

TheJigSawPuzzles.com is one of the best online jigsaw puzzles I have experienced.  Here’s to hoping that it continues to get better.

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Use UltraVNC to Manage the PC’s in Your Home

April 11, 2011

UltraVNC is a powerful, easy to use and free software that can display the screen of another computer (via internet or network) on your own screen.

UltraVNC

If you have a home network setup, UltraVNC is an excellent way to manage all of your PCs from one main PC.  For example, I currently have a wireless network setup of three PC’s in my home consisting of a desktop PC (Win7), a netbook (WinXP) and a Home Theater PC (Win7). The cool factor here is that UltraVNC will work over a wireless network. In this scenario it is not uncommon for me to have all three PCs running at the same time. With UltraVNC I use my main desktop PC (Win7) to remote into into the other two PC’s to perform routine maintenance, updates, transfer files or to simply have another computer resource available (for super multitasking purposes). In other words I can bring up the screens of the other two PCs on the screen of my desktop PC and work on them as if I were sitting in front of them.

Setting this up is pretty easy… When you install UltraVnC you will see that it consists of a “server” and a “viewer”.  Do not let these words scare you. The “server” is what you want to install on the PC’s you desire to control. The “viewer” is what you want to install on the PC that will be controlling the other PC’s. If that sounds pretty confusing let’s use my network setup as an example. I installed the “server” on the netbook and the Home Theater PC and installed the “viewer” on my main desktop PC. I use the main desktop PC to “view” the other PCs. You can get specific install instructions [HERE] .

UltaVNC is pretty powerful remote software and can be used for many types of application. When I was managing a business network, UltraVNC was my go to app to remote into other PC’s to perform help desk tasks and to perform maintenance routines.

UltraVNC was specifically designed to answer the needs of:

  • Help desk (Internal & External)
  • IT departments
  • Remote Computer Support companies
  • Remote Computer Access
  • Remote demonstration
  • eLearning, classroom control
  • Individuals that want to help their relatives and friends, or access their home PC from work or cybercafes
  • If you are looking for a way to easily manage the PCs in your home and keep an eye on your kids; then, UltraVNC will get the job done.

Key features: File transfer, Video driver, Optional Encryption Plugins, MS Logon, Text chat, Viewer Toolbar, Java Viewer with File Transfer , as well as Auto scaling and Server Side Scaling, Multiple-Monitors-support,Repeater/Proxy-support, Auto reconnection, good performances and tons of other functionalities.

UltraVNC runs under Windows operating systems (95, 98, Me, NT4, 2000, XP, 2003, Vista, Windows 7…). Its embedded Java Viewer allows you to connect (and make File transfers) from a simple Web Browser on any system supporting Java   (Linux, Mac OS…) to an UltraVNC server.

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Wallpaper of the Week (#12)

April 10, 2011

This is actually a downloadable image of a red fox that is absolutely breathtaking that can be used as a wallpaper background. The image, “Simply Red” by Skia, is posted on the deviantART web site and can be downloaded from [HERE] or by clicking on the image below.  I cannot get over the detail of this!

Fox Wallpaper

Need wallpaper software to show off your wallpaper collection? Try one of these:

John’s Background Switcher

Walyk Wallpaper Changer

Wallpaper Updater

Windows 7 Users: If you are using Windows 7, did you know you can create a desktop background slideshow to show off your pictures and wallpaper images?  To learn how to use this feature [ CLICK HERE ] .

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Beware of Sending Money in the Name of Love

April 9, 2011

If you are looking for love using the online dating and social services, BEWARE! The cybercriminal, posing as your Romeo or Juliet, may in fact be in it for the money.

Online Dating

According the to Federal Trade Commission, scammers, using fake and very convincing profiles, will often use these services to lure those seeking companionship to send them money. This is accomplished by gaining the trust of the online love interest by using the mystique of the internet and getting into the psyche of the person. Let’s face it, when we’re in love, we are gullible and will believe anything.

Typically a warning sign is simply this: If the communication with an online love interest turns toward the subject of “MONEY”, then BEWARE.

What the FTC says  to look out for…

  • If the online lover wants to leave the dating site immediately and use personal e-mail or IM accounts, then BEWARE. The intent here is to  manipulate you further in a more private and personal cyber setting.
  • In the online lover claims instant feelings of love, then BEWARE.
  • If the online lover claims to be from the United States but currently overseas, then BEWARE.
  • If the online lover claims to be planning to visit, but is unable to do so because of a tragic event, then BEWARE.
  • If the online lover starts asking for money to pay for travel, visas or other travel documents, medication, a child or other relative’s hospital bills, recovery from a temporary financial setback, or expenses while a big business deal comes through, then BEWARE.

These scammers will work it as long as it takes. As a matter of fact, it is not uncommon for these criminal cyber lovers to have more than one person on the hook at a time. So, BEWARE of that online Romeo or Juliet and in the event the urgency for MONEY crops up, cut the relationship off and report it to the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov/complaint or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261.

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Supplement Your Study and Understanding of God’s Word with Biblos

April 8, 2011

In the book of John (12:26) Jesus said, “If any man is my servant, let him come after me; and where I am, there will my servant be. If any man becomes my servant, my Father will give him honour.”.

I am a servant of Jesus Christ and I know there are many readers out there that are with me; however, I also know there are many who have never chanced reading the Bible (the word) or will not express their Christian stand or beliefs in fear of losing praises of men. As a matter of fact, I may lose readers here due to my stand on this and for professing the reflection of  my faith.

If you are looking to take the chance in something that will change your way and outlook on life, a good start is by reading the Bible. I know many people have tried reading the Bible and get lost in the readings and translations. I know, I am one… I struggle with it, wrestle with it, and put it down; but, then something clicks and I get consumed by reading it.

Recently, I went on the hunt for a good online Bible and Bible Study app to help me bridge the gaps that I was experiencing. What I found was simply phenomenal and has become a daily focal point for me.  It is called Biblos .

Biblos

Biblos is an excellent online cloud computing bible study source that is comparable to some of the commercial Bible Study software that you install on your PC.  The good here is that it is FREE and there is nothing to install. Everything you need is there from the various translated versions of the Bible to the numerous languages which the Bible is available. It is a one stop Bible resource for Bible Study, Original Language Tools, Gospels and numerous Study Resources. There is even a mobile (smartphone) version of Biblos available.

Biblos, the Greek word for book and the first word of the New Testament, is a root of “Bible” in English and many other languages, including “Bibel” in German and “Biblia” in Latin and Spanish.

Mission:

1) Increase the visibility and accessibility of the Scriptures online.

2) Provide free access to Bible study tools in many languages.

3) Promote the Gospel of Christ through the learning, study and application of God’s word.

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Geek Squeak (#110) – NEW Taskbar Organizer for Windows 7 is Coming

April 7, 2011

Typically I test any software that I write about; however, I decided to make an exception in this case due that I am excited about the development of a NEW application (called Bins).

Bins

Bins is a Windows 7 taskbar organizer, currently in beta development, that will enable you to combine related programs into a group (called a Bin). I love application launchers, but what I am seeing here is that Bins will be handling applications on the Windows 7 taskbar in a very unique and different way.

Bins was created from the concept that your programs should be quicker and easier to get to. After having created many application launchers over the years including the Dell Dock for Dell in 2007, it seemed the Windows 7 taskbar was a great step in the right direction, but lacked the powertools needed to get the job done for serious computer users. By allowing you to group programs, and allowing you to access them immediately with a simple mouseover, we think we’ve created a tool that will drastically improve how you work with your computer.

Bins is being developed by the same author of ObjectDock, the DellDock and the critically acclaimed Fences. Currently Bins is in the beta stage of developmnet and is  “invite only”.  To be considered for the beta testing of Bins, you have submit your email and leave a message. I am still patiently waiting for my invite.

Features

Group your taskbar icons

Combine related programs on your Windows 7 taskbar into “Bins”.
Reduce clutter, and get at your programs quickly.

Super easy

Create a Bin by dragging one taskbar icon on top of another, and dropping into the popup that appears. Ungroup shortcuts by dragging the icon back to the taskbar. No need to open a settings screen; Bins is simple and intuitive.

Instantly accessible

Once combined into a Bin, your shortcuts will appear instantly when you mouse over the group’s icon, for launching or for window-management. Move your mouse away and your Bin will tuck back into the taskbar.

Pin files and folders to your taskbar

Want a favorite folder or document more easily on hand? Bins allows you to pin any file or folder to your taskbar natively.

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Web App Note – A NEW Online Sticky Notes Type Program

April 6, 2011

As I continue down the road of cloud computing I am finding myself more and more looking for (and finding) internet based apps that take the place of the software that I typically would have installed on my computer. The benefit to this is that I can access apps, such as these, from any PC that is connected to the internet. One such app, that is NEW, is called Web App Note.

Web App Note

Web App Note, is a very nicely done online sticky notes program that requires no installation and is run directly from your web browser (e.g. Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari). The only requirement for Web App Note is that you have a Google account in order to access and store your notes. The cool factor about Web App Note is that it is like a sticky notes program where you can store individual colored notes in tabbed categories. I currently use this program to post my reminders, to do lists and tasks.

With Web App Note You can:– drag & drop notes- change the note size- change the background color- change the font size- use advanced text formatting commands as bold, italic, underline, create lists, indent text…- copy / paste html- hyperlinks are clickable

With Web App Note You can also:– manage a todo list- upload / download files from your Dropbox- add reminders into your Google Calendar- send your notes by email- import emails as notes

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Geek Squeak (#109): Q-Dir File Manager

April 4, 2011

Q-Dir File Manager is worthy of Geek Squeak #109 for its’ continued development cycle that is making this multi-panel file manager one of the best out there. If you are looking for a Windows Explorer replacement that requires no installation, then Q-Dir is the one to go with.

Q-Dir

The ability to understand and manage your files and folders on your computer is something that everyone should learn to do. It not only makes you more computer literate; it gives you the confidence in knowing just what files you are saving and where. Microsoft, in its’ infinite wisdom, actually takes into account that most people do not have a clue about file management and have tried to make it easy by making default folders (such as My Document, Pictures, Videos, etc…) that will prompt the user to save their files to.

Once you have learned to manage files and folders you will find yourself using the Windows Explorer interface on a more frequent basis; then you then start wondering is there a better way.  There are numerous file management utilities available that I have personally tested, but I keep going back to Q-Dir .

Features

Favorites: – Quick access to most often used folders.

Drag&Drop: – Move files by dragging in Q-views, and other programs such as MS Explorer.

Clipboard: – Copy/ Paste between the Q-Dir directory views, and other programs such as MS Explorer.

Folder-Type: – ZIP-, FTP-,cabinet-,network-, system – folders, shortcuts …

Views: – Large icons, tiles, list, detail, thumbnail (Vista: extra large symbols) .

Export: – to XLS, CSV, TXT, HTML.

Popup Menus: – Desktop, My Computer.

Screen magnifier: – anything on the screen can be enlarged.

Color Filter: – Different colors for different item types (e.g. *.log;*.txt).

Highlight-Filter: – Effective way for fast items highlighting.

File-Filter: – Allows for quick and easy filtering of the items.

Columns: – All columns support, and save function .

Quick-Link´s: – For fast folder access.

Folder-Select: – Fast & flexible folder selection address-bar/ desktop menu/ my-computer menu/…

Multi-INI: – Several INI files for Q-Dir.

Tree-View: – Simple and quadruple.

Preview: – Allows a quick preview.Portable: – from 2.77 is Q-Dir portable.

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Windows Stability Center is a Rogue Anti-Spyware Program

April 3, 2011

If you are seeing the Windows Stability Center (see below) on your PC, then you are victim of malware attack that is trying to trick you into buying the full version of the program to remove bogus system threats. Do not fall for this scam and read further for removal instructions. If you are seeing this, your computer is infected.

Windows Stability Center

The reason I am bringing this to your attention is that this past week the the so-called LizaMoon “SQL injection attack” began that redirects users by exploiting web site programming errors and poorly written website code and scripts. In other words at the redirected site, users will see a warning dialog that they had been infected with malware and a link to download a fake antivirus. I know none of this makes sense to you, but a massive internet attack has occurred that is trying to scare computer users into visiting a bogus antivirus site that has infected more than an half million websites and continues to spread, according to the Internet security firm websense. [Sources: USAToday, eWeek ].  As of this writing, many of the anti-virus and anti-malware programs are not set to detect or remove this infection.

Now the magical question.  How do you remove this? I researched this issue and found removal instructions [ HERE ] .  Appears Malwarebytes Antimalware will be required to remove this pest.

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Wallpaper of the Week (#11)

April 3, 2011

Here on the east coast of the U.S., spring time has been slow coming. To help get us in the spring time mood, this wallpaper is a picture of a green meadow backed by a blue partially cloudy sky.  What I like about this wallpaper is the depth.

To get this wallpaper, [CLICK HERE] or on the image below and you will be taken directly to the source. To take a look at wallpaper backgrounds from the previous weeks, [ CLICK HERE ] .

Wallpaper

Need wallpaper software to show off your wallpaper collection? Try one of these:

John’s Background Switcher

Walyk Wallpaper Changer

Wallpaper Updater

Windows 7 Users: If you are using Windows 7, did you know you can create a desktop background slideshow to show off your pictures and wallpaper images?  To learn how to use this feature [ CLICK HERE ] .

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Watch Live Video: Iowa Eagle Mother and Hatchlings

April 2, 2011

This is the internet and HD video at its’ best…  Click on the video link below to see a mother bald eagle on her nest tending to three hatchlings. Last I looked they had not hatched yet. The Raptor Resource Project in Iowa has two cameras positioned to capture the moment.  I don’t know how long this live video coverage will be up, but you have to see this [ CLICK HERE ] .

image

 

The Raptor Resource Project (RRP) maintains the cams, of which there are two, and the feed is streamed online 24/7. Both are positioned on one of the nest’s supporting limbs about 4-5 feet above the nest. The main cam is automated and is trained on the nest. The other cam has pan-tilt-zoom capabilities (PTZ). At dark the main cam switches to infrared (invisible to the eagles) night-time view. Here is a slide show of the cam installation in fall 2010.

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