Category Archives: Software

Which software is right for you?

Useful Command Line Options

These commands can be run on your machine to find information and perform troubleshooting.

Note: Further help for these commands is available by typing ‘commandname /?’ to display help at the command prompt. To get to the command prompt, click ‘Start’, ‘Run’, then type ‘cmd’ and hit ‘Enter’. Similarly, for each of the commands listed below, type the command and hit ‘Enter’.

Machine frozen? Don’t waste your time clicking the mouse! It takes up more resources to interact with the graphical interface. Instead, do this! shutdown -r -f -r : Reboots after shutdown. -f : Forces running applications to close.

Microsoft Outlook giving you trouble? Most problems can be solved by simply launching Outlook in safe mode, closing it, and starting it regularly. outlook /safe

Want to find very specific information about your computer without digging around? Everything about memory on your PC: systeminfo |findstr /i “memory”
Sample result: Total Physical Memory: 511 MB Available Physical Memory: 142 MB Virtual Memory: Max Size: 2,048 MB Virtual Memory: Available: 2,008 MB Virtual Memory: In Use: 40 MB Operating

System-related info.: systeminfo |findstr /i “os” Sample result: Host Name: garagePC OS Name: Microsoft Windows XP Professional OS Version: 5.1.2600 Service Pack 2 Build 2600 OS Manufacturer: Microsoft Corporation OS Configuration: Member Workstation OS Build Type: Uniprocessor Free BIOS Version: DELL – 8

What kind of PC? systeminfo /s computername|findstr /i “system”
Sample result: System Up Time: 11 Days, 23 Hours, 16 Minutes, 53 Seconds System Manufacturer: Dell Computer Corporation System Model: OptiPlex GX240 System type: X86-based PC System Directory: C:\WINDOWS\system32 System Locale: en-us;English (United States)

Want to register your system to connect to a wireless network? Need to find the PC’s ‘MAC address/Physical address’? getmac
Sample result: Physical Address Transport Name ===== 00-11-43-0B-1B-93 \Device\Tcpip_{9EE91240-BC9D-44AB-B5F5-2317E335CD43}

Windows Movie Maker

The WMM program that generally comes with Microsoft Windows Operating System from 2000 onwards is found to very useful to me.

The software is provided by Microsoft Windows for free with their operating system. The simplicity of this software surprisingly did not draw my attention earlier. The look & feel of this program is similar to the other user-friendly programs that come with the Windows Operating System. WMM contains the basic File menus that you generally see in any Windows programs. Here, you can make your own videos using this software with a lot of features enabled.

The WMM workspace has four parts namely “Movie Tasks” to be done or can be done with WMM, “Collection Space” where you can collect all your pictures, videos and audios to combine and make a new video with all your personal stuffs, “Media Player” where you can play your personalized movie after finishing or during construction and last but not the least the main work area where you actually do your job, the “Story Board or Timeline”. You have to import pictures, videos, audios stored in your PC, using the panel “Movie Tasks”.

After importing, you will see those imported stuffs in the “Collection Space”. From here you can drag any items into the “Story Board or Timeline” below. You can also capture from any video device and make use of it in this creation. You can put video effects, video transitions, and make titles for each of your pictures being displayed in the movie and play an audio in the background. The “Movie Tasks” panel also have movie making tips which you can use as a tutorial even when you are actually in progress to make your own movie.

Zotero Add On

If you’re like me, your bookmarks folder can get out of control pretty quickly. Especially if you read a lot of long articles on specialized web sites, you can lose track of topics you’re researching if you have to rely on bookmarks.

Zotero, a new Firefox extension developed for academic research is a convenient and easy way to collect and organize sources you find online. As the developers say, it “lives right where you work.” That is, it provides a simple UI to a XML database of citations as an add on to Firefox. When you find a source you want to capture, you pop it open from the status bar and plug in a reference to it. The best part has to be the automatic recognition of metadata. Zotero knows when it sees certain kinds of metadata information in web pages, and can derive a full citation for web pages and books and articles presented on web pages.

If you find a new book on Amazon (or most academic library catalogs) or if you find an interesting article in a newspaper, journal or through G Scholar (and many academic indexes), Zotero will present a small icon in the address bar. Click and its already in your database of citations. Zotero knows SFX interlinks too, so if you are using academic indexes that allow you to download citation lists from your search results to Endnote or similar software, Zotero can automatically eat them and load them in your database. Citations can be organized by folder or with tags.

Reset Your Mac OS X Root Password

This happens periodically to me were I need to work in the Unix underpinnings of Mac OS X but have recently purchased a Mac computer either new or used with the OS already installed on it.

To set or reset the “root” password you need your system’s Mac OS X install disc. Insert the disc, wait for it to mount, then click on the “Install Mac OS” icon (or alternatively reboot and hold down the ‘c’ key to boot from the DVD drive). You are not installing the OS again, but you need to click through the Wizard pages far enough until you see the menu bar with “Utilities” as one of the menu pulldowns. In this menu is the command “Reset Password….” That’s it. As you can see it is very easy to reset the “root” password so if you are really security minded you might want to use an Open Firmware Password as well to prevent easy re-booting and resetting using the DVD drive.

Remove Unwanted Programs From New PC

Here is a great little utility that was featured in my local newspaper recently. It’s called PC Decrapifier.

The last time you bought a new PC it came full of all this junk software that you don’t want or need but which annoys you to no end with popups encouraging you to buy it right? Well, this utility will automatically detect and remove the unwanted software. It will scan your new PC and offer you a list of programs to remove. You can then select which ones you want to keep and which ones you want to go and PC Decrapifier will uninstall the unwanted applications. It’s free to download and use, but the author would appreciate a five dollar donation.

ZFS File System

ZFS is an emerging file system developed at Sun Microsystems.

Unlike traditional file systems like FAT32 or NTFS, which you would find on a Windows-based system, ZFS can “pool” multiple disks together so they appear as a single volume to the user. This is similar to a RAID configuration, but implemented in the file system rather than above it.

Another thing that ZFS implements is copy-on-write, which means that whenever a piece of data on the disk is changed, the new version does not overwrite the old version. This enables the system to take “snapshots” of the disk at any point in time, since virtually every iteration of the stored data is available. Snapshots can be used to easily clone a copy of the entire file system from a specific date and time. ZFS has been open sourced by Sun and is currently being deployed on FreeBSD, Mac OS X, and Solaris.