Posts tagged review

Must have FreeWare Windows Apps

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As a Multimedia business owner workflow and efficiency are the keys to success. I use a multitude of shareware and freeware applications to increase my efficiency at the office. There are a few that really stand out and deliver the ultimate in time saving so I decided to share them here.

DupFinder
Duplicate File Finder is a simple, but effective tool to locate duplicate files in one or more selected search paths. It scans the files and compares them based on Byte for Byte Comparison, which ensures 100% accuracy. You can then choose to delete the selected duplicate or original files. The program is multi threaded and performs scans quickly.

Download dupfinder >>

ImageResizer
Resizing hundreds of images is now extremely fast and simple.
Just drag and drop the images you want to resize onto the dialog.
%name variable can be used to retain the original file name (without extension).
Supports saving files into the same directory, or subdirectories.

Download resizer >>

BulkRename Utility

Bulk Rename Utility is a free file renaming software for Windows. Bulk Rename Utility allows you to easily rename files and entire folders based upon extremely flexible criteria.

Add date/time stamps, replace numbers, insert text, convert case, add auto-numbers, process folders and sub-folders….plus a whole lot more!

- Rename multiple files quickly, according to many flexible criteria.

- Rename files in many ways: add, replace, insert text into file names. Convert case, add numbers. Remove or change file extensions.

- Check the detailed preview before renaming.

- Rename photos using EXIF meta data (i.e. “Date Picture Taken”, “Resolution” and other information embedded in all JPG photo files) Rename your holiday pictures from a meaningless dsc1790.jpg to NewYork1.jpg in a flash.

- Rename MP3 files using ID3 tags (a.k.a. MP3 ID3 tag renaming).

- Change files’ creation and modification time stamps.

- It’s free. Easy to Install. Download and start renaming your files now!

Download BulkRenameUtility >>

CCleaner
CCleaner is a freeware system optimization, privacy and cleaning tool. It removes unused files from your system – allowing Windows to run faster and freeing up valuable hard disk space. It also cleans traces of your online activities such as your Internet history. Additionally it contains a fully featured registry cleaner. But the best part is that it’s fast (normally taking less than a second to run) and contains NO Spyware or Adware!

Download CCleaner >>

image menu WampServer
Wampserver
WampServer is a Windows web development environment. It allows you to create web applications with Apache, PHP and the MySQL database. It also comes with PHPMyAdmin and SQLiteManager to easily manage your databases.

WampServer installs automatically (installer), and its usage is very intuitive. You will be able to tune your server without even touching the setting files.

WampServer is the only packaged solution that will allow you to reproduce your production server. Once WampServer is installed, you have the possibility to add as many Apache, MySQL and PHP releases as you want.

WampServer also has a trayicon to manage your server and its settings.

Download WampServer >>

Review
I have tested this software on Vista 32bit, Vista x64 and windows XP and have had no problems with any of these tools on any of the systems tested on. These utilities are FAST and efficient at what they do. A must have for anyone looking to speed up some of the mundane tasks involved in the Webdesign business, Graphic Design business and Programming.

Hope you enjoy…

ParetoLogic Software

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pareto logic software

A local software company that develops some award winning software is offering downloads and trials of their applications. The software that is provided buy Pareto Logic is amazing and easy to use, the appilcations are all utility based applications designed to help the average computer user maintain a clean and optimized computer.

Outlook Repair – repair your damaged outlook PST files
Product information
Download a Trial

Recovery – Recover deleted files, Data recovery
Information and Registration
Download a Trial

RegCure – safely clean your registry and speed up your computer
Information and Registration
Download a Trial

Privacy Controls – Protect your internet privacy
Information and Registration
Download a Trial

AntiVirus – powerful small memory footprint anti virus tools
Information and Registration
Download a Trial

Driver fix and company homepage.

logo_viatecPsyc3D Recommends these products and believes in this company we have seen their office and met the founding partners so I vouch for the quality of the products offered.

Driver Shopping – Get tested!!!

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Well yesterday I decided it was time to treat myself to a new Driver (1 Wood). Of to GolfTown I went with the intention of getting myself one of 3 drivers I had picked out. My short list as I went into the store was the Nike Sumo from 2007, The Callaway X460 from 2007 and the Ping G5 from 2007. I get to the store and ask my favorite dealer ( yes I said dealer, golfing is my drug and GolfTown in my dealer :) ) to help me select the right driver for my swing.

We head through the isles of 2007 model drivers grabbing all kinds of them. I am choosing 2007 models as they retail for around $200 instead of paying over $400 for this years model. Well after a few minutes of feeling like a kid in a candy store we head over to the launch monitor with 6 drivers in hand:

Callaway Big Bertha
Callaway X460
Cleveland HiBore S Flex
Cleveland HiBore R Flex
Cobra Speed 460
Used Titleist 905R

There was no Nike Sumo or Ping G5 in stock so I didn’t bother looking at them.

At the launch monitor.
I begin to swing away with the drivers getting into my groove and getting my average swing speed etc. With an average swing speed of 85MPH topping at 95MPH I decided that the R flex shaft was more consistent and matched to my average swing speed. Most of the drivers were giving me a ball speed of approx 128-130MPH with 3500RPM of spin on the ball. I was now ready to put these drivers through their paces.

Callaway: Both the X460 and the Big Bertha felt much like my current Adams RPM Redline driver with a big 460cc head in the traditional round Volkswagen on the end of a stick feel. Swing speed stayed the same but the consistency of my drives and distances was weak at best. I felt like I was watering the lawn when I look at all the launch paths. These clubs really did not do anything for my striking, when I did feel a miss hit the ball flight was way off center. I was also finding that the launch angle on these clubs was inconsistent for my swing and level of skill ranging from 9″ to 16″ and not really having many consistent drives.

Down to 4

Cleveland: Ok so all my irons are Cleveland TA7, My Wedges are Cleveland reg.588, My fairway wood is Cleveland Launcher steel head 17″ so why not try the Cleveland Driver and my sales guy recommended it so lets try them out. The head on this club is very different and felt smaller than the big head drivers. The design is very aerodynamic and pleasing to the eye. My launch angle was consistently hitting 14″ with 3500-3800 spin and more often than not the ball was in the fairway. I tested both the R flex and S flex shafts but quickly put the S flex away it was not as consistent for my swing as the R. Well this is a shocker I never thought about the HiBore as being in my dwindling list of possible drivers, guess I am a little brain washed by the media for golf.

Cobra Speed: Great reviews, wonderful ad campaign  and promises of longer straighter drives, I figured this was going to be a winner. I pick up the driver and OMG this is the weirdest feeling thing I have ever held. The head on the club is massive and somewhat flattened in comparison to the Callaway’s. Resembling something like a B2 Bomber I take a few swings. Ugh I feel like I can’t control the club head its massive, the sound is a dull thud and I feel totally uncomfortable swinging this mammoth. When I look at the launch monitor it says it all. Terrible across the board, in the NO WAY list you go. Sorry Cobra this is just not the driver for me.

Down to 2

Titelist 905r: This is another of the fat headed drivers that I am a little uncomfortable with but I swing it away anyway to compare with the HiBore R Flex. What a nice club to swing the 905r is, under normal swinging speeds the club is very similar to the HiBore in feel but at impact it still feels much like the Callaway’s and for my swing it does impede the follow through a little. With that said though I could be happy with this club.

Still at 2

Conclusion:
As most purchases do it came down to price, I know the 905r is a “better” driver with a “better” name but a used 905r was over $200 and the Cleveland HiBore Brand new was $188.00 and honestly felt better in my hands. I Grabbed the HiBore and heading to the till. After getting home and unwrapping my new driver I was itching to try it out on the course. I had also just bought my daughter a new set of clubs  so she itching to play as well. Of to the little nine hole course up the road we go  it has  2  par 4′s that  use driver on so why not.  Each of these par 4′s are 265 one is straight and one is uphill. It was a windy day so once the players ahead where on the green I figured I could hit as I have never driven onto the green there before (hit the fringe a few times) I swing a nice smooth average swing, I feel a slight bump as the club head touches the ground slightly but a solid contact and the ball is off. Well half way through the ball flight I am contemplating yelling FORE its climbing and heading right for the green. It was windy and colder and the ground was wet so the ball ended up landing 10 yards short of the green. Chip and Putt for Birdy. Similar experience on the next hole. I love this new Cleveland HiBore thanks Golf Town.

Windows Vista SP1 Update

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Well as I began using the Windows Vista SP1 update and putting it through its paces on my laptop. Some major concerns have come up which have now caused me to uninstall the service pack and wait till Microsoft gets it right before I install it again.

Problems:

I predominantly use Firefox as my browser but after installing SP1 Firefox began hanging when loading pages, especially during tabbed browsing sessions. I tried to recreate this problem in IE7 but I could not recreate the problem. The router and modem are working fine and tested well on other computers in the network. After uninstalling add-ons and trying an upgrade to Beta 5 of firefox I still found the same problems occurring. Therefore I concluded that this is a conflict between Firefox and SP1, where does the blame lie? I would put the blame on Microsoft myself considering that Firefox was working fine before the update.

When shutting down the laptop the system would hang at “Shutting Down” at one point I left the system to see how long it would hang but after 45mins I decided it was time to hit the power button. After fixing some registry entries the main one being this:

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control] On the right panel look for the “WaitToKillServiceTimeout” string and change it value to 5000 by right clicking the string and selecting Modify…

Default Value WaitToKillServiceTimeout=20000

Modified value WaitToKillServiceTimeout=5000

This sped up the shutdown time a little but it would still hang on some shutdowns. With these to issues I have had enough of SP1, a service pack is supposed to enhance the usability of a system not cripple regularly used programs. At this time I am going to wait until the update is available through windows update. [NOTE] On my x64 VIsta system in the office I have not seen these problems, all though on that machine the update came through windows update. The x64 system is also a desktop and built with newer components.

Thats it for now, I patiently await a REAL service pack from Microsoft for Vista.

Vista SP1 – Review

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Well its here and ready to install, Windows Vista SP1. I grabbed the install from the downloads because its not available for Windows Update until April18, 2008.

The Review
This install took approximately a 1/2 Hr. and was uneventful, this installation was on my Fujitsu 6025 Lifebook. Reboot worked without out fail and there it was. Some of the first things that I noticed was that the delay in file transfer estimation was gone as I transferred some large files from one partition to another. The file transfer rate on the 5400RPM laptop drive was approx. 5-6MB/Sec but the update bar is more consistent than it is in the non SP1 setup.

Vista SP1 ScreenshotWhen using FireFox and trying to open html links from within applications like Mail there is an error that pops up saying that the page cannot be found but then FireFox loads the page anyway. It is more of a minor inconvenience than a major problem. There is a driver compatibility problem with SP1 and the Fujitsu shock sensor. A quick check on the Fujitsu site netted me an updated driver that seems to be working properly.

I am still finding that the network detection tools are still weak, often when clicking network my router is not in the list so to log-in to the router I have to go in via http. Other times the router appears and the standard Right Click>View Device Web-page is available. Network access is quicker when navigating through shared folder on the XP machine in the network.

Display adapters
There was supposed to be fixes in this Service Pack for display adapters running multiple displays from a notebook. I have not yet seen the fix I was looking for, when I plug my plasma T.V. into the laptop via VGA I can use it as a second monitor but when I unplug it from the laptop the task/start menu bar goes invisible with a thin outline of where it is supposed to be. In order to get it back I have to stop the dwm.exe (Desktop Window Manager) from the task manager and let it restart the service for the start menu to appear again. Still no fix for this error in the new SP1.

So far I have seen one of the fixes that I was looking for in HDD file transfer and Network access but other than that there is not much of a change to the general functionality of Vista.

Well that is my first glance, I will make updates to the post as I delve into the update a little more.

WordPress 2.5 Review

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Yet again I logged into my blog admin to find another update is available for WordPress. Usually these updates are just security fixes to the WordPress code or fixes to remove vulnerabilities exploited by hackers hell bent on making out lives a hassle.

So I did the deed downloaded the update and installed it, first thought was hmmm its making Database changes. There must be some serious changes in the latest version. After a few seconds I was told that the database was upgraded and I could view the site. No changes to the site thank god, login into admin and WOW that is some major changes.

WordPress has made a complete overhaul of the admin control panel and I have to say it is for the better. The sidebar editor is way easier to use than previous releases, the layout on the control panel is very web 2.0 looking and easier to read. Frequently used tabs are prevalent in the dashboard area ‘settings Plugins Users’ are smaller links on the right side but always there for a quick click. The overall UI has been made extremely easy to navigate and is much more friendly than it was on the previous release. I also had no problems with my highly custom theme on this site.

The greatest add on for me in this version is the one click plugin updates no more downloading new plugin delete old install new rinse and repeat. With one click you can simply update whatever plugin has an updated version. This saves SOOOO much time when running mulitple blogs.

Overall I have to say GREAT JOB WordPress 2.5 is an absolute mush have for anyone using an older version of this powerful blogging tool. Two thumbs up and keep up the great work!

Some of my other Reviews.
Esoteric Agenda Movie ( Government Conspiracy Theories )
Primeval Television series
Windows Vista x64
Webserve.ca web hosting review
Surface Season 2
Linksys NAS200 Network storage Drive

Webserve.ca Review/Complaint

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Ok well after a few months of hell with webserve.ca hosting I have had to bite the bullet and switch to a new hosting company for my business, clients and personal sites. Consider this post a review of the shoddy service provided by this filth that masquerades as a hosting company. Where do I start?

Customer Service:
This topic is unknown to webserve as they don’t actually provide any. Anyone you can actually get on the phone is actually an outsourced call center you are just glorified human answering machines that take a message and send it off to “someone” at webserve who if they actually exist will choose to ignore the message and not get back to you.

After months of hassles, a 7 day stint with no service I opened a Better Business Bureau complaint which webserve chose to ignore also. After a few months someone from the company finally contacted BBB to inform them that they had just credited my account 2 months. WOOHOOO two more months of crappy service and downtime.

Service:
Well were do we start? There were weekly downtimes where the server was down for 15mins to 4hours at random intervals. There was a 2 day downtime when a RAM module went. There was 1 week downtime when the OS got corrupted. Most recently there was a week of downtime when the server got hacked, when they finally got the server online again they disabled the ability for anyone to log into blogs, forums, CMS or anything with a submission field. Did I forget to mention that this was all within a 6 month period. Here is the best part my home IP address yes MY IP ADDRESS was put on a black list because I accessed multiple sites on the server via FTP, and HTTP, POP3 and logged in to my forums and blogs. Is there any web developers out there that can manage 9 websites on one server without showing you IP accessing the server multiple times. Oh and doing all this without checking email. On numerous occasions I was not able to upload files to the sites because the HDD was full however my allocated 12GB of space was 10% used so how could the HDD be full. I never used more than 2GB of the 1TB of allocated bandwidth, I never even came close to using the allocated 12GB of storage for the RESELLER ACCOUNT that I had with them. I did not even host all of the 10 allocated domains.

Tech Support:
OMG here is where it gets interesting, these incompetent outsourced glorified answering machines using scripted messages to send you when you open and ticket or god forbid actually get a rep on live chat. They don’t know anything either other than to tell you:

“We are Sorry for the inconvenience caused”

“The issue should resolve within few hours”

“We are aware of this situation. Unfortunately [SERVER OR SERVICE] is down but we are working to resolve this issue ASAP. As with any service we provide we realize it must meet the expectations of our clients. Rest assured that we do take the business of hosting people’s websites seriously and are constantly upgrading our systems and services to address any points of failure within our control. We also review all service interruptions and outages for ways to prevent such problems in the future. Again I do apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your business. Our technicians are working on the issue but at present we do not have an estimated time to repair. Your patience and understanding is greatly appreciated.” – This particular blithering ID10T did not even have the common decency to choose an option SERVER or SERVICE before pasting this script into the chat window.

The Worst part of all:
I opted to upgrade to a VPS account after finally talking to a director in the company. Yah I know stupid me why stay with them? Well I have 9 websites all with CSM and or complex MySQL Databases and settings/permissions. I figured a VPS would cure all. I asked to have my accounts transferred over and was told they would. The account comes with 5 IP addresses but they only alocated 1. I had a domain transfered over to webserve and asked that it be added to my billing account DUH not rocket science. Well 3 months later I still have 1 IP address. The only domains on the VPS are the 2 that I managed to make the time to transfer myself and the original server is spending more time out of commission that actually up. And I cant find the billing information for the domain transfer anywhere. I did remind them on a dozen occasions that these simple processes needed to be done.

Conclusion:
BEWARE OF HOSTING THROUGH WEBSERVE.CA FOR ANY REASON THIS COMPANY GUARANTEES 99.9% UPTIME BUT DELIVERS NOTHING CLOSE TO THIS. THEY HAVE NO CUSTOMER SERVICE OR TECH SUPPORT AND REALLY DONT CARE ABOUT THEIR CUSTOMERS AT ALL. OUT OF 10 I GIVE THIS COMPANY A RESOUNDING 0 A COMPLTE WASTE OF TIME AND MONEY DONT’T EVEN CONSIDER THEM FOR ANYTHING LARGER THAN A PLACE TO MAIL YOUR MOST TREASURED FINDS IN THE KITTY LITTER!

I have been using HostGator for many of my sites lately and I have been more than happy with the service they provide.

Dragonlance(2008) Movie Review

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Well the much anticipated release of Dragonlance – Dragons of Autumn Twilight was On Jan 15th. I have finally had a chance to see it. Here is my review of the film (no spoilers).

Casting – The major members of the party are the only ones that I will be rating.

Michael Rosenbaum – Tanthalas ‘Tanis’ Half-Elven (voice) Rating – 3/5
Kiefer Sutherland – Raistlin Majere (voice) – Rating 5/5
Lucy Lawless – Goldmoon (voice) – Rating 4/5
Fred Tatasciore - Flint Fireforge / Fewmaster Toede (voice) Flint Rating 1/5 Fewmaster Rating 4/5
Michelle Trachtenberg – Tika (voice) – Rating 3/5
Rino Romano – Caramon Majere (voice) – Rating 0/5 WTF Someone had a brain fart here.
Jason Marsden – Tasslehoff Burrfoot (voice) – Rating 3/5
Neil Ross – Fizban The Fabulous (voice) – Rating 2/5
Marc Worden – Sturm Brightblade (voice) – Rating 2/5
Phil LaMarr – Riverwind / Gilthanas (voice) – Rating 3/5

The Good

Finally there is a release of a movie based on a book that kept so true to the story. The unfortunate thing with this movie is that the rest of the production did not live up to the potential of the story. Here are the reasons for the previous statement.

The Bad

  1. Poor blend of 3D and traditional animation styles. This is a tricky method of producing a film and this one was just not done right. The stylized characters did not match the CG Draconians and Dragons in the film.
  2. Awkward animation, very jerky and not fluid. With todays technology including motion-capture and photo realistic rendering It’s disappointing that a story with such potential ended up looking the way this production did. It looked like animation from the 80′s reminiscent of the original LOTR Cartoon.
  3. Poor camera work and angles. This stems back to the poor blend of 2D and 3D animation techniques. With 3D techniques there is no limit to the work with the camera. Why this production did not make use of the available technology today is beyond me.
  4. Poor selection of music for the score, not much else I can say about that.
  5. Acting, with the list of actors in the movie I would have expected better voice acting. It seemed like the actors had no emotional bond with the characters. Very much like reading from a script and not living the part.

Overall I have to fail this movie considering the era of its release. If released in the 80′s this movie might have been acceptable but as an animator and artist myself I am extremely disappointed in the production quality of the film. I was hoping for so much more :(

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