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 http://www.lightningcommunity.com. 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.

File Comparison Tool – Beyond Compare

I’ve extensively used Beyond Compare, a powerful file and directory comparison software from Scooter Software.

This is an invaluable tool for software developers, software configuration engineers etc. The file compare view is very intuitive yet powerful and customizable. You can chose to view only different lines or matching lines, you could set foreground and background colors of your choice to highlight the differences etc. It supports two way merging of changes (both ansi and unicode text). The directory compare view is equally powerful, supporting rules based or binary comparison of file names. Quite large directories can be compared in seconds. Filters can be applied to show only different files, orphan files etc. The interface also supports copying of files between directories, deleting files, changing timestamps and much more. There’s a 30 day trial version and I feel the pricing is quite reasonable.

Release Your Inner Spielberg

If you would like to produce DVDs to share videos of family events, child performances, but hope to edit out the most amateurish or embarrassing elements, consider Adobe Premier Elements.

Adobe Premier Elements provides a relatively low cost entry point into professional quality editing media editing software. Video capture from your camcorder to your computer’s 1394 (Firewire) interface is integrated into the package. Sound clips from other sources are easily integrated in the timeline view. Dead time is straightforward to clip out. Titles and text overlays with various effects are easy to add. When you are ready to produce a DVD, pre-built templates make it easy to quickly put together a product you will be pleased to share with family and friends. Premier has the reputation of being a complicated and difficult-to-use product. Adobe Premier Elements can be used by a sophisticated computer-savvy older elementary age child.