Hoorah, the news sounds positive that Vista sp1 will drastically speed up this sloooow OS as well as fix the cursed drag-and-drop problems that make me resort to trusty ol’ CMD whenever I need to move some files about.
Archive for August, 2007
ITWire: A lot of open source software goes under the radar which is unfortunate, given the altruistic way their developers contribute their work to the community. Here’s five little-known – but cool – “sleeper” apps you ought to check out.
I’m a fan of real-time strategy games.
I recently got into Age of Empires III and picked up the expansion, “The War Chiefs”, today. To my dismay, it wouldn’t install, instead giving a “Age of Empires III was not installed for AllUsers or the current user. Please log in with the correct account” error message.
Now, I know I did install it for all users, and nevertheless that I was using my own account. I wondered if I could install the files manually but the main CAB file was a mess of undecipherable files.
I considered uninstalling AoE III and reinstalling, which would have been a pain, and which wouldn’t necessarily have solved the problem anyway. A quick Google revealed this topic which revealed the installer is looking for the start menu group “Microsoft Games\Age of Empires III”. So, for anyone – like me – who moves their games into a specific “Games” start menu group (and the same with apps, etc.) the AoE expansion would never ever install.
That has to be a crummy means of checking for how a program is installed if ever I saw one …
Why do so many things startup on my laptop? Why is modern software so bloated?
Why does VMWare Workstation need services like vmware-tray.exe (when I’ve never even noticed a tray icon except when a virtual machine is running) and hqtray.exe?
Why does Adobe Acrobat insist on running acrotray.exe? Is that the Acrobat Helper App that Adobe insist on putting in the Windows’ startup program folder?
And how lazy are the Telstra/Maxon programmers? Their app, MdmMgr.exe, to drive a NextG USB modem has the amusing description “To do”.
Why does iTunes need a helper module, iTunesHelper.exe?
What happened to software that runs when you invoke it, and exits when you close?
ITWire: Harden your Linux server.
Update: I’ve been slashdotted again. Mind you, many of the comments on SlashDot are quite harsh! A number are quite unjust – some protest the lack of mention of nmap (yet I did advocate it), others say “telnet is SOOOOO old” (yet, the reference to telnet is as an example of a service driven by xinetd – but, nevertheless, telnet is a staple of the Internet!) and others say it is just a puff piece for Bastille. Other comments are perhaps quite fair – e.g. no mention of other tools – but there’s only so much you can cover in 1,500 words.
Update 2: It’s been bookmarked on del.icio.us too.
Tech-Ed closed today, and just before the locknote Andrew Coates – developer evangelist extraordinaire who has been a good friend to the Newcastle Coder’s Group – caught up with me. One of Andrew’s several niche areas is Open XML which I actually had previously poo-pooed on ITWire.
I am a Microsoft advocate, and my primary development tool is Visual Studio and I absolutely LOVE SQL Server. And I think Excel is one of the greatest pieces of software in the world. (Mind you, I do think any person who believes that Access is a commercial development environment should be banned from computing ever, but I digress …)
However, it’s true: my formidable days were in UNIX. I became a UNIX hacker at the University of Newcastle’s Computer Science department. I was a UNIX systems administrator for several years, including right at the birth of the World Wide Web. I was checking out Minix long before today’s Linux fans even knew fork was something other than an eating implement.
As such, I both work with, and write about, a raft of technologies. Whereas my work for APC mag was generally Visual Studio-oriented, it just so happens ITWire hired me for my open-source and UNIX/Linux bent. And, I’m delighted to say, I must be doing something right because they upped my contribution from one per week to two a week. That’s right; you get eight or nine opportunities a month to hear my opinion Lucky you.
I knew Andrew reads my blog (heavens above!) so I kind of hoped that piece would escape his notice. But, it didn’t. Andrew responded to some of the matters I had raised as “concerns”. In particular, he pointed out the Open XML standard has been ratified by ECMA and consequently is implementable by anyone. Additionally, although the full standard contains measures to support backwards compatibility of prior Office products, these do not have to be catered for by any specific implementation.
Andrew also made the exceptional point that a fairer article would have been to tout the benefits of Open XML as enabling interoperability between diverse operating systems and application suites.
He is, of course, right. So, I am going to address the unbalance and one of my ITWire pieces next month will spruik the benefits of an Open XML implementation on Linux.
Andrew gave me a site to check out, openxmldeveloper.org. I’m going to find out if there are any present Linux OpenXML readers/writers/parsers and if not, I will commit to providing a tool for the Linux community – perhaps something to allow plain the editing of strings within Word docs, with the formatting being preserved.
Cheeky IBM balloons promoting Lotus Domino 8 have been left tied up on both ends of the monorail line at Jupiters Casino hotel.