Category Archives: Software

Which software is right for you?

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.

WordPerfect Lightning

And another product comes out to compete in the word-processing maze, Corel’s “WordPerfect Lightning”!

According to ZDNET writer David Berlind, “Lightning conforms to the 10/90 rule. It takes the 10 percent of the features found in heavyweight word processors that 90 percent of the people who have those heavyweight word processors actually use, and dispenses with the rest.” So what is it? After downloading it today, I tested it out, and found out a couple of things – it’s a note assembling side-bar that allows you to pull information from websites, documents, emails (and more), and organize them all in one space. It’s “Microsoft Word Lite”, or “Windows Notepad Extreme”. It is, in effect, the PC-version of G Notebook, so try it out today, at If you’re the kind who takes notes, and writes down thoughts, and bookmarks websites all day … I think you just might be in for a surprise!

Track Your Files Using GIT

GIT is an open source version control system that runs best on unix machines, but is also available for windows.

Software developers are constantly tracking changes to their file system so that any false steps during the development of a software product can be reverted. Git allows you to snapshot your current work and to query to see what has changed since your last snapshot. The tool is used via the command line, but there are GUI versions available. To those unfamiliar with software development, this all may sound quite strange, but to an average computer user this capability is quite useful. For example, suppose you are editing an HTML document, and you’d like to try out an alternate version. Simply use git to snapshot your work, then continue writing. If you don’t like your changes, you can simply revert to a previous revision. You can also use git to push and pull changes from remote machines in order to collaborate with other users of git around the internet or you work team.

Paint and Wordpad Get A Facelift

Developers working on the Windows 7 project have expanded on the changes they’ve made to Paint and Wordpad, and promised not to leave the next update for so long.

Windows 7 brings an extensive refresh to the basic applications, which have been included with Windows operating systems for years. “As you get to try out these applications you’ll see that while showcasing the Windows 7 platform innovations, we have also added some commonly requested features and functionality,” reads the Engineering Windows 7 blog. “Some of them are: check and correct, calculation modes and templates in Calculator; new brushes, shapes and multi-touch support in Paint; Open standards support in Wordpad and Ink; and text, taskbar and search integration in Sticky notes.