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51
Microsoft Microsoft has a 5-year $400 million sponsorship deal with the National Football League to provide Surface tablets to all teams for coaches to use on the sidelines during games, along with supporting IT infrastructure.

Yesterday, Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots, the most successful coach in the league for the past two decades, demoted the tablets to the bench, saying they were not reliable enough to use during games.

52
For many years my program of choice has been Paragon Hard Disk Manager Pro. Not cheap ($100 and usually $50 upgrades every 2-3 years when new versions come out), but it does everything in one tool: Imaging, cloning, OS migration, partition management, wiping, backup media creation, virtualization, mounting  images as drives, etc.

I keep my OS and critical data (financial, working data files, etc.) on C and most other program data on D. On my desktop system, I also have E for long term archiving of data files, backups, etc. On my desktop system, C and D are on a single SSD and E on an HDD.

I image C at least once a month. Other partitions are never imaged but everything on them is duplicated on two or more external drives.  Images of C are created on E and copied as needed, which is much faster than imaging to external media.  I keep USB sticks formatted as Paragon recovery media for emergencies. If I travel, I copy the latest backup image to one of those USB sticks to take with me.

My sequence in setting up a new system is to image the entire drive as received from the manufacturer before the first initialization, then image again after the system is initialized and before any of my own software is installed, then again after I have the essential backups installed.  That gives me three critical restore points in case I ever decide to go back to the beginnings.  I don’t usually bother keeping a restore partition or Windows restore points after that.

Actually, since manufacturers typically gouge for larger drives, I buy systems with the smallest drive offered and get a larger one elsewhere. That lets me clone what I want from the original drive on to the bigger one and stash the original away so that I can put it back system if I need to return the computer for service or replace it.

53
General Software Discussion / Re: The Hostile Email Landscape
« on: September 23, 2016, 10:33 AM »
OK so if you don't have the ability to run your own server, or weed through the problems of the BigCorporateFreeMailSystem, what's the suggestion for the rest of us to be as "safe" and "complete" as possible?  Thanks

For starters, don't use Yahoo!

54
General Software Discussion / Re: Windows 10 Announced
« on: September 22, 2016, 09:20 AM »
Anyone here still using Win 7?

I had to replace my primary work PC (i7, 32GB RAM) last month because of an intermittent fault on the motherboard. A major consideration in my choice of a replacement was that I could get a system with similar specs on up-to-date hardware with Windows 7 Pro pre-installed instead of Windows 10.
 
I simply don’t have the time now to spend working around Microsoft’s debugging process for Win 10. When Microsoft gets their act together and things stabilize, I will consider upgrading the OS, but not before.

Many, if not most, large enterprises seem to be taking the same route, which is why the PC makers who sell to them (Lenovo, Dell, HP) all provide the option to get Windows 7 Pro pre-iinstalled on most new business computers through “downgrade rights “ on a Windows 10 Pro license.

55
Softpedia and FileHippo both show it as Firefox 49.0 stable.  No changelog though:
https://www.mozilla....x/49.0/releasenotes/


56
I have a lot of articles that I've written that I want to assemble into one or more ebooks.

I can easily format each as a PDF file, but I don't know what software to use to merge them all, in the correct order, and at the same time create a table of contents that updates every time I add a new file.

Can anyone help me?
Take a look at PDF EX-Change Pro. It's extremely powerful, although its user interface is not always intuitive. Many features are hard to find and the documentation dense and not that easy to navigate.

PDF EXchange Editor provides an option to automatically create a top level bookmark pointing to each new document inserted into an existing document, as well as a bookmark editor and macro facility that should be enough to do what you want. The Pro version costs nearly twice as much, but adds tools that would allow you to more fully automate the process.

57
I feel like I’ve spent much of my life looking for ways to keep synchronized calendars on my desktop computer and whatever portable device I was using, going all the way back to an HP-95LX.

eM Client is what I use these days to show my Google Calendar and  Contacts on my Windows PC.  I don’t use it for email.  I’m not crazy about its display options, but it works flawlessly for my purposes.

I used EssentialPIM for several years, but its synchronization with Google was always flaky and it had a tendency to corrupt its local databases, so I eventually gave up on it.  The EPIM Android app helps with synchronization but just adds another layer.  I have a lifetime pro license and have tried most new major releases, but it retains too many aggravating design flaws to be worth the trouble, IMHO.

I used Pimlical’s predecessor Datebook on the Palm Pilot and Treo back in the day. Pimlical can probably do anything anyone might want from a calendar app, but it’s way too complicated to deal with. While I liked supporting C.E.S. Dewar’s conservation causes, I’ve simply never been able justify the effort involved in setting up and configuring Pimlical to make its interface palatable, let alone use it every day.


58
General Software Discussion / Re: HashTab Shell Extension
« on: September 07, 2016, 12:29 PM »
Google Developer now provides only SHA-256 checksums, so if you want to check factory image downloads for Nexus devices (HIGHLY recommended), you need a hash checker that supports that.

59
General Software Discussion / Re: HashTab Shell Extension
« on: September 07, 2016, 07:00 AM »
Gizmo's had a useful comparison of free hash check programs for Windows last year.

Not noted in that article is that HashCheck File Extension has been updated by a new developer to include SHA-256 and SHA-512, making it useful once again.  The latest version (2.3.2 at this writing) is available here.  It is also much lighter on resources and easier to use than most of the others, which is why I prefer it.

60
General Software Discussion / Re: Directory Opus 11 Released!
« on: September 06, 2016, 09:37 AM »
Different strokes for different folks, but there is still nothing in DOpus that would make me want to switch from XYplorer, and much that doesn't.

61
Non-Windows Software / Re: android remote control tool...
« on: September 05, 2016, 06:33 AM »
Teamviewer host app for Android will supposedly do what you want, although I haven't tried it myself.  If you try it and it does work, please let us know.

62
From what I understand, the problem with running local apps on Chrome OS has been the lack of a storage manager, because the original assumption was that all data would reside in the cloud.  Many Android apps require local storage so Chrome OS could not support them. That is supposedly going to change by the end of this year with a local storage manager being implemented in Chrome OS.  Apparently this requires some kind of hardware support, which means older (and less powerful) Chromebooks probably can’t use it, so Chrome apps will continue to be supported by Chrome OS “for the foreseeable future” according to Google. How foreseeable is anyone’s guess.

Eventually, Google expects most, if not all, Android apps to work with Chrome OS and I would guess that at that point ONLY Android apps will be supported on all Google platforms.

The idea here is to have a single store through which all apps are distributed, which is also what Apple is trying to accomplish with the convergence of iOS and MacOS, and I suspect is also where Microsoft expects to go with Windows 10 (probably justified as for “security” purposes).  This will allow Google/Apple/Microsoft to monetize their operating systems by collecting a tax on every app sold.

63
Google has announced that it intends to kill off Chrome apps on all platforms except Chrome OS devices.  New apps will no longer be allowed, beginning later this year, although existing apps can be maintained until 2018, when they will no longer work on any devices not running Chrome OS.

Developers are encouraged to migrate all Chrome apps to the Web.

64
Living Room / Re: External 5.25 floppy usb drive or another way?
« on: August 18, 2016, 03:01 PM »
As it happens, this month marks the 35th anniversary of the IBM 5150 computer, better known as the IBM PC, which made the 5 1/4 inch DOS format floppy disk ubiquitous.  The drives in that system were full-height single sided Shugarts with a maximum capacity of 360kb!!!
 
Prior to that, CP/M was the dominant operating system in microcomputers (as they were known) and each vendor typically had their own proprietary format.  Although I used 8 inch floppies myself, I had a disk conversion system with dual 5.25 floppy drives attached to a CompuPro 816 so that I could provide data in whatever format my clients needed for their own systems.  I recall that it supported over 100 different formats.  By 1986, all that was history and certainly not lamented.


65
Understandable, but what's being lost in the optimization process, is both adjustable, and in the default settings virtually imperceivable. But I'm guessing there is a great deal of cruft in the PDF format. Part of which is the boiler plate header trash that froths on about how cool Adobe is, and the rest is duplicitous formatting and object description code.

The example that sold me on the program was a 35Mb (in house created) sales brochure that one of the staff was trying to stuff through our mail server. I ran it through NX and it gave me a 3Mb file that looked (and printed) identically to the bloated original.
I'd guess that they main problem with your sales brochure was large jpeg image files embedded within it and that most of the size gain came from reducing the resolution of those.

PDF editors like Adobe Acrobat and PDFXchange Editor provide optimization tools that give you full control over the size and compatibility of a PDF file.  How you handle the many different options depends on what you want to do with the PDF.

66
Raymond.cc had a fairly thorough comparison of archivers a few years ago.  There are a couple that create even smaller archives than 7-Zip, but take even longer to do it.

The problem for me is that formats like 7z may save space and are definitely worthwhile for transmitting large amounts of data, but they are just too slow for my everyday use.  7-Zip is also very good (and fast) for creating ZIP archives and I occasionally use it for that purpose, but my regular archiver is WinRAR because it has a very good GUI with a lot of options, and is much faster at extracting from archives, which I do more often than creating them.

67
The ZIP routine built into Windows Explorer is optimized for speed rather than compression and there is no way to change the settings.

Nearly all standalone compression programs, including 7-Zip, will allow you to create standard ZIP files with a far greater level of compression than you will get from Windows Explorer.  ZIP files at maximum compression usually won't be much bigger than 7z files and are much faster to create, while remaining readable by Windows.

68
Living Room / Re: The end of the hard disk
« on: August 12, 2016, 11:29 AM »
Seagate is showing off a 60TB SSD in a 3.5 inch HDD form factor.  Toshiba has also announced new NAND that it says will allow it to produce 100TB SSD drives.

Don't expect to be able to buy Seagate's SSD until next year, and it might cost you over $40,000 then. But if you are in the cloud storage business, you probably spend far more on physical plant, maintenance and energy than you spend on drives, so this may already be a good deal

None of us here is going to buy this kind of SSD storage anytime soon, but what these developments mean is that storage companies are not going to be spending any money on HDD development or manufacturing facilities.  SSDs are less labor intensive to build and Seagate has already announced 8100 layoffs this year

The combination of lower production costs and competition between NAND manufacturers should cause prices to come down sooner rather than later.  Perhaps more important, those are capacities that you are never going to see in spinning metal, at any price.

And that, in turn, means that sometime in the foreseeable future, maybe even within the next decade, HDDs will go the way of the VCR.







69
I doubt if anyone is reading our one-to-one conversation  :huh:

I had looked briefly at Notezilla some time ago and dismissed it, but reading this conversation made me realize that it could in fact help me with some specific needs, so I bought a subscription yesterday.

I also appreciate your responsiveness as a developer. :Thmbsup:

70
General Software Discussion / Re: Windows 10 - The gloves come off!
« on: August 02, 2016, 09:11 AM »
The “free upgrade” to Windows 10 has ended.  It is now time for Microsoft to reel in their nets and start processing the catch.
[..]
Step 2: Prevent users from disabling ads and forced installs.

there must be a lot of professional users of the pro edition -- I cant see link #2 there being accepted by them. Hopefully MS will change that.
But would still be a crappy experience for home users then...

Microsoft is in fact offering a solution to this problem for businesses.

Windows 10 Enterprise allows forced upgrades and installs to be turned off, at least for a while.  But you will need to pay for this since Windows 10 Enterprise is moving to a subscription model.  The announced pricing is $84 per year ($7/month) per user, with a minimum of 5 users, although that could change, and it will probably cost much less for very large users.


71
General Software Discussion / Windows 10 - The gloves come off!
« on: July 30, 2016, 07:28 AM »
The “free upgrade” to Windows 10 has ended.  It is now time for Microsoft to reel in their nets and start processing the catch.

Step 1: Substitute Cortana for local search and prevent users from disabling it.
Step 2: Prevent users from disabling ads and forced installs.

This is far more invasive than Google, which mines what you store on its servers or search for using its search engine.  It effectively allows Microsoft to sell you things based on whatever is present on your PC.  Worse, it gives Microsoft the ability to replace anything on your PC with anything else it wants to.

I'm not saying that Microsoft will abuse these capabilities, but the fact that it is forcing them on nearly all Windows users is scary.

72
Living Room / Re: better battery life out of a laptop
« on: July 10, 2016, 12:00 PM »
You can get a 120GB SSD for less than $35 these days and your computer will certainly support it.  TRIM is an OS function and is implemented in Windows 7.  I have SSDs runnning in older systems with SATA II without problems. It may not run as fast as SATA III, but it will still be many times faster and more power efficient than any HDD.  Forget about an SD card - they usually run through a USB 2.0 controller (particularly on cheap systems) and they are much slower than SSDs anyway.

That said, the screen is most likely the major power consumer on that system and I very much doubt that replacing the HDD with an SSD would result in more than a 10-15% difference in battery usage.

73
You should make a backup copy of your Win7 activation tokens beforehand.

See this post for more on this topic.

74
I was hoping to avoid playing with logs at the command line, but your linked post got me thinking and after a little searching online, I found a solution that does what I need, and then some.

As so often the case, it comes from Nir Sofer:  MyEventViewer

Thanks for setting me in the right direction.

75
General Software Discussion / Utility to track boots and uptime.
« on: July 04, 2016, 05:25 PM »
To help diagnose a system (Windows 7 Pro x64) that has been rebooting by itself on what appears to be a fairly regular basis, I'm looking for a utility to keep a log of the date and time for each time it boots up.  Ideally, it would also keep track of the time elapsed between successive boots.

What I'm trying to find out is whether there is a pattern in the reboots or whether they happen completely at random.

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