You no longer have to be an involuntary beta tester. Dr Dave guides you through the technology maze, separating the hype from technology that actually adds to the quality of your life.

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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Another Catastrophic Drive Failure

Bricking Seagate SATA disks in IBM Servers

I have to confirm whether it's just IBM servers or not. Neither Ibm or Seagate have responded to inquiries from the Bunker. Seagate just had a rash of drives with a similar problem in January. They say that this is a firmware problem too, and that no data loss is involved, just unavailability. While that is good news, unavailability is almost as untenable. Doesn't encourage a feeling of confidence in Seagate products. they are not the company they once were.

I've become increasingly unimpressed with modern 21st century hard drives and am eagerly anticipating the arrival of cheap SSD's on the market because of it.

Backup! backup! backup!

Get the Windows 7 Look Without the Fish

Make Windows XP Look Like Windows 7 With SevenVG R2 Theme

I love themes because I get so bored with the same look all the time. This one gives you the look of Windows 7 without having to deal with a beta piece of software. Download now.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

ThumbsPlus 8 Beta 2 released

ThumbsPlus Image Database, Thumbnails and Editing

Cerious software has released the beta 2 version of it's very capable and popular image management software. Click the link above to check it out. One of my favorites through the years.

Compressed File Utility

Download 7-zip and

My pick for compressed file software: 7-zip. It's interface is a little quirky, but it's fast, efficient and free. Handles zip, rar, and all other major compressed file formats. Get it.

Cloud Computing for You?

Avanade Cloud Survey Executive Summary (pdf file)

Avenade commissioned Kelton Research to find out what Fortune 1000 type enterprises plan to do with technology spending and how much of that spending would be Cloud computing.

Guess what.. IT people are concerned over security and privacy. Sounds reasonable to me. If there is anything I've learned, nothing is 100%. You need to realistically assess your existing systems uptime and cost, then do your best to find out the true, real world uptime and cost of your cloud options. You can't count on marketing stats. Find out from engineering, or better yet, existing customers.

Just like any other technology - cloud has great promise, but must be approached with care and skepticism. We live in a world of hype. Don't be a volunteer.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Free can't possibly be any good, can it?

Many people believe that free software can't possibly be any good. If we were talking about almost any other type of product I would probably agree. But in the case of software, I find that free software is often better than equivalent market products.

How can that be? The best free software is by necessity "less" than it's for-sale brethren. In most markets, this might be considered a negative but efficient focused software is a real advantage. Very few programs that try to be comprehensive packages are superior in all aspects. So you end up tied to software with significant weakness that you've paid for.

Take a Windows anti-virus program for example. Companies like Avast, Avira and AVG offer a simple and effective protection program free. If you buy it's for sale version, you get what appears to be a very big, comprehensive program with many added features that does much more. But with a little research (by listening to my show and reading my recommendations on my website), you can build a better protection suite free, by using the best products in each category. You also get the flexibility to change individual components should you find a better program, or if an update to one component gives you trouble.

You might say that the effort and complexity isn't worth it. That a single vendors suite would be more efficient and work more reliably. Not so. Many are bloated, ill behaved and weak in a significant areas of protection or compatibility.

So take advantage of the fine free software I recommend. It's not often you get great products free, and it may not last forever, particularly in this economy.

Advanced rehabilitation of bad hard drives

We use tools and techniques that can sometimes repair drives well enough to retrieve data or even put the drive back into use, without the expense of physical repair. If you have a drive that's seemingly dead and you need the data, it may be worth a look.
Dr Daves Data Recovery

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

More Windows 7 Bliss

I haven't been so impressed with a piece of software in a long time. I've been so used to smashing Microsoft for bloated, unreliable products that I feel weird being positive about Windows 7 beta, but I am.

I have tried since I downloaded it the first day it was available to break it. As I mentioned in my first Windows 7 post I have purposely loaded it on a very marginal laptop. I expected to have problems, but I wanted to push the envelope. I knew if Windows 7 ran even halfway well on this machine, it would be a winner. Well, I say it's a winner.

I'm not going to jump on the "release it now" bandwagon, but I am confident that Microsoft could pick any date in the future, whether it's a week, or a year, and it would be ready.

I realize that a couple of weeks experience on a single machine isn't a very comprehensive test, but I couldn't get past 6 minutes with Vista. I have installed all manner of software, good and bad, fiddled with the registry, even installed the wrong drivers on purpose, and the OS just keeps working.

Way to go Microsoft! Keep it up...

Monday, February 23, 2009

Auctiva site infected with malware

EBay Auction Tool Web Site Infected With Malware - PC World

Be careful on the Internet. We all know that right? It's tough when trustworthy sites get whacked. We get infected, and we've done nothing wrong. Thank goodness for Google, they found it and Auctiva probably has it cleared up by now. I have yet to get an official response from Auctiva. I'll let you know when I do.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Ultimate Keyboard!

Logitech G19 Keyboard for Gaming

Click on the link to get the details. Incredible $200 keyboard that is completely customizable, including your choice of backlight color, it's own LCD screen and macro customization built in. It's not for everyone, but if you're a very serious gamer, have a lot of very repetitive key strokes, or just want the most advanced keyboard on Earth, it's for you.

Free Open Source Partition Manager

GParted -- Welcome

Gparted is my pick for the best free partition manager. As with all partition managers you need to be very careful to check that you are modifying the drive and partition you think you are. It's easy to get confused and remove or resize a partition that you didn't mean too. Works well and is very reliable.

Official Approved Vista Products List

Windows Quality Online Services: Windows Logo'd Products List

Those of you you may have braved the Vista minefield in spite of all my recommendations against it, here's a Microsoft resource to review what products Microsoft officially supports on the Vista platform.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Improve Responsiveness of Windows

ProcessTamer - Mouser - Software -

I haven't fully tested it, but Process Tamer looks promising on first blush. It senses processes that hog CPU cycles and "tames" them by forcing them to free up CPU cycles for other processes. This often makes your computer feel more responsive when processor intensive apps slow things to a crawl or even lock up the computer temporarily. Of course those processes are slowed by being forced to free CPU cycles, so it can be a mixed bag. I've found it to be stable and of apparent benefit. That's pretty good praise considering I'm using the Windows 7 beta. Says a lot good about Windows 7, too.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Choose a Free Laptop? FREE? What do you think?

The REAL deal about "Choose a Free"

You may have heard the radio ads for "super get a free laptop". As with anything free there is a catch. Remember Economics 101: "There's no such thing as a free lunch".

I am not saying there's anything illegal or unethical about it, but I am saying that it makes no sense for most of us. There are significant costs involved in the requirements for the free laptop that may exceed the value of the laptop. I have yet to be able to figure a way that I could get what I wanted and no more, and still get a laptop for a price that makes sense. I would have to sign up and PAY for offers that I had no interest in. And the link to review the requirements is broken. I'm sure it's just coincidental.

Unlike many other similar offers the laptops are pretty good ones, it's just that the requirements are quite expensive. And if you think you can sign up for stuff, get the laptop and cancel the subscription. Won't happen.

You won't recive your laptop for months and by the time you get it it may be obsolete. It is a REAL rats nest of rules and regulations with convenient out-clauses for the laptop provider.

It's a no-brainer. Don't do it!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Stunning Deal on Solid State Drive! - OCZ 120GB USB Drive

Only $200 for a 120GB solid state drive. Haven't seen anything else close in price. First thing I want to do is take it out of the USB case and put it in my laptop. Of course the warranty goes away at that point. Smokin'!