Category Archives: Technology

Technology related articles

Netgear ReadyNAS Duo And Windows 7 Don’t Mix!

Update 04/01/2012: After many many months of trying to get this to work I ended up selling it on eBay. Worked fine for me using any Linux distribution but using Windows 7…forget it. Always had all sorts of trouble. I run a windows server box at home now and no issues.

Ok, so last November I went out and got myself a Netgear ReadyNAS Duo network attached storage (NAS) device. All in all its pretty nice, has very low power consumption and good performance…but when trying to browse the NAS using Windows 7 I’ve had all sorts of issues.

Now, Windows 7 introduced some new features to help improve network access by caching and perfetching network data differently to how it was done in Windows XP. Windows 7 may also have some improvements made to SAMBA and CIFS protocols that maybe the readynas doesn’t support? I’m not really sure but read/write performance using windows 7 to the readyNAS is really not that good, but the problem is random. Sometimes it’s problematic and others its fine.

It’s really strange. I’ve used different linux distributions which all play just fine with it, my iPad has no problems with it and our XBOX 360’s in the house can all stream music, photos and video from it no problem. It’s really just Windows 7 that doesn’t like it.

A small rant for today, maybe others out there have had similar problems with the ReadyNAS and Windows 7? If you have pls post a comment below and share your experiences and maybe even a solution to the problem. I’ve tried turning off the newer prefetching, etc in Windows 7 with no luck. Tried reducing the MTU of my Win7 box and the NAS below 1500 but still no luck.

Ah well, i’ll figure it out eventually.

Out With The New And In With The…Old?

HTC Touch Diamond 2
Nokia E71

Ok, so I’ve had a HTC touch diamond 2 for about 12 months now and I have to say they have been the most agonising 12 months ever! If you’ve never used a HTC touch diamond before…DON’T! I cannot not recommend them enough.

The hardware itself is kind of cool and has a nice large and hi-resolution touch display but the pro’s end there. The touch screen is high-res but it’s only a passive touch display (not a multi-touch) and Windows Mobile 6.5 is really a dog of a mobile OS. Its slow and laggy and when you’re texting on a virtual touch keyboard you really don’t want lag as it gets VERY frustrating. If anyone wants a 12 month old HTC touch diamond 2 (unlocked) let me know!

So out with the new, in with the old. A few days ago I ordered a Nokia E71 online and has just arrived today. Now, this phone has been around for a few years now (2008 release) but its such a great phone I had to come back to it. Symbian S60 3rd Ed is by far one of the best mobile operating systems I’ve ever used. While it is a little dated by today’s standards (iOS, android, etc) it is very solid, fast and everything you need and use is not very far to find (usually only a click away).

Access to email, phone, SMS and internet is all on the home screen and are functions I use most on my phone. Everything loads quickly and is a pleasure to use compared with my old phone. Having endured with a poor touch keyboard for 12 months coming back to physical keys was very nice, and the E71 has a nice full size QWERTY keyboard which is very easy to text on. I’ve already sent a handful of text messages today where on my old phone I would always avoid texting as it was such a pain.

Overall I’m much happier with an older phone…sounds a bit strange but as hey. Out with the new and in with the old!

How To Speed Up Your Slow PC

slow-computer When we buy a shiny new computer it boots up so fast, runs our programs even faster and everything is just crusin’, then as the months go by and the gigabytes pile up we find our computer was not as fast as it once used to be. Why does this happen and what can we do about it fixing it?

1. The Windows Registry

The most common cause of computer ‘slowness’ is a damaged or fragmented windows registry. Over time as you add and remove programs data is written to the registry to record program information such as version, install path and other information the program needs to run. When an application is removed a lot of the time some or all of this information is not cleanly removed resulting in ‘orphaned’ registry hives. Every time you start-up your computer it tries to execute the instructions in the registry that have been left behind and as the program can no longer be found it causes an error to occur. Having said this, your computer is usually doing a lot more work than it should be and this is the main reason for a slow PC.

How do we fix this? Well, there are a number of applications out there that can scan a windows registry and look for orphaned keys and data that references files that no longer exist. One such app I’ve liked to use in the past is CCleaner. No only can this repair damaged registries but it can also search for spyware, cleans internet browser history/cache/cookies, etc and depending on the version you have, it can also do disk defragmentation.

2. Spyware and Viruses

Spyware and viruses are pieces of software that find their way onto your computer usually without you knowing it. They are installed when you install a legitimate piece of software as a means for people to track what software you like, you have installed, type of operating system you’re using, etc. Spyware can also do other things like change your default search engine in your default browser, track web surfing history, can use your computer to send spam email and also steal your personal information.

Now, it sounds like spyware is doing quite a lot and, you would be right. Because its doing stuff that you would usually not want your computer to be doing, it can slow down various parts of your computer adding to the problem. Again, there are pieces of software out there that do a very good job of removing spyware such as Spybot search & destroy. Anti-spyware should be apart of your computer security software just as your anti-virus and firewall software as it plays an important part in not only providing security for your computer, but it can stop your computer from receiving malware from the beginning.

Spyware usually lives in software like screensavers and other free software. This is how they catch unsuspecting users. You should stay away from this type of software unless you are sure of the origin of the software.

Chris Pirillo – There’s Nothing Wrong With Windows Vista

For those of you who don’t know him, Chris Pirillo is the man behind the internet show lockernome which is a great technology oriented show primarily on YouTube. I was watching some old stuff of his show and came across a Windows Vista rant that I just had to share with you all.

From a software engineer’s point of view, I can empathise with him and Microsoft on this one. Check out the video.

Fujitsu Starts Selling Worlds First Colour E-Paper Mobile Device

Fujitsu Frontech and Fujitsu Laboratories co-developed proprietary color e-paper, and announced the launch of FLEPia in April 2007 as the world’s first color e-paper mobile terminal. Previously, commercial samples of FLEPia were available for purchase on a limited basis for corporate use only, as part of field trials of the first ever color e-paper mobile terminal.

Compared to the FLEPia commercial samples which were used in field marketing, the latest FLEPia offers 1.5 times higher brightness and greater contrast, enabled through optimization of the color e-paper’s optical properties.

Re-draw speed was also enhanced by 1.7 times. In addition to previously available high-speed wireless LAN, FLEPia is equipped with Bluetooth, enabling users to easily download and access various content from nearly any desired location.

Source: Fujitsu Frontech

New Australian High-Speed Broadband Network

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced today that the Australian government would go ahead and build the countries largest high-speed broadband network providing speeds of up to 100mbit to 90% of the country. Many commentators and industry figures saw the decision as bringing an end to Telstra’s monopoly of telecommunications infrastructure.

The big deal is that the Australian government will be the largest stakeholder in the network owning 51% of it, the remaining 49% will be owned by basically anyone who wants a piece of the action. The government will make available bonds to the public/private sector and even to private residents (similarly to what Telstra did about 10 years ago).

By 2011, most Australian’s will already have access to a 100 megabit per second connection via a variety of technologies, while the Government will only be one year into the (network) rollout Source: Duncan Riley

This new broadband network is due to be rolled out across Tasmania this year but the rest of the country won’t have access to the network until it is completed in 2017 (est. 7-8yrs).

That’s a long wait, but it should give us a lot of flexibility to increase speeds quite easily once better technology comes along (and by 2017 that will probably be the case) and will shoot Australia into the top 10 nations in the world with one of the fastest (and largest) broadband networks.

Computer Data Storage History – Now And Then

We’ve come a long way from punch cards to memory cards. From the 1700’s all the way to 2009 things have changed so much. Everyone always says how fast the computer industry changes, but from about 1725 through to 1925 it barely changed at all.

You had punch cards, paper tape, magnetic tape then in a great leap forward we started storing data on regular audio cassette tapes in the early 70’s through to the start of the 80’s.

Here are just a few storage technologies that really changed how we store data (before the 1990’s):

IBM Punch Cards (1725-1925):

(Image Credit: maximumPC – computer data storage through the ages)

Audio Cassette Tape (Early 1970’s to late 1980’s):

(Image Credit: maximumPC – computer data storage through the ages)

5.25” Floppy Disk (1976-1982)

There were 8” floppy disks which came out before these, but the 5.25” floppy disk was the first major magnetic disk storage to be used in mainstream computing.

So just remember, whenever you use your SD cards or 1TB external hard disk drives, your compact flash or mini disk just remember where it all started!

Computers For Everyone, Regardless of How Much Money You Have

There is an amazing place on Victoria street in West Melbourne called ‘Computerbank’ where you can purchase refurbished computer systems from as low as $15! They are a charitable organisation so they rely on community support for most of their stock.

It was originally set up to provide low income earners with an opportunity to obtain a computer system for their kids to do their homework on, for poor students to study on, for job seekers to find jobs with so they don’t get left behind and to give everyone a chance for a successful life regardless of your background or financial situation.

Computerbank recycles donated computers and distributes them to disadvantaged individuals and community groups.  Donated computers are tested, hard drives wiped, virus free open source software is installed on the computers and obsolete parts are recycled.  The recycled working computers come complete with a keyboard, monitor/screen and mouse and training booklet.  We also offer free training with each computer.  This work is carried out by volunteers, staff and Work for the Dole participants.

This place is really amazing and they do really great work for people in need. If you want to donate your old computers or spare parts they always welcome your support. Click here for more information on how to donate.

Optus Enters The ‘Naked DSL’ Market

There are two major Telco’s in Australia…Telstra and Optus, and as of a few days ago the 2nd largest telecommunications company in Australia has decided to enter into the ‘Naked DSL’ market.

For those of you who aren’t sure what Naked DSL is, it’s a broadband service offered by ISP’s that does not require an existing landline phone connection.

Optus today joins iiNet and several smaller telcos in offering "naked DSL" packages that allow people to connect to ADSL broadband without paying for a fixed line.

With mobile plans now offering hundreds of dollars worth of calls for less than $50 and some tech-savvy Australians making calls over their internet connections, the need for a landline has reduced dramatically. Source: The Age, march 2 2009: Last rites for the landline as Optus joins the ‘naked dsl’ brigade

As less and less Australians are using landline phones it makes sense that more and more ‘naked dsl’ services are being offered. Optus has been reluctant to enter this market as it didn’t want to jeopardise its established landline phone network (same reason Telstra hasn’t entered the market yet) but after seeing iiNet’s success with the service, Optus decided to hop on board.

The big difference between smaller ISP’s and Optus is that optus also carries mobile phone services, and it can augment its naked-dsl packages with mobile phone plans bring the total bill price down.

After a few months, it will be interesting to see if Telstra follows suit. If they do, it could mean the beginning of the end for the old landline phone service!

Online Music Sharing: From Napster To iTunes

We’ve come along way in the online world of music. So much has changed in the ways we obtain music online, the technologies used to deliver this new music and the ever changing business models and politics behind it all.

napster Back in 1999 a small file sharing application was born known as Napster. It was created by a bright student at Harvard University Shawn Fanning. The Napster application was a pioneer in online music sharing. It enabled anyone with a computer, a 56k modem and a CD burner to download music (for free) from other’s sharing that music on the internet and burn it to a CD to play that album in your car stereo or even your Discman!

Napster was well known for being a great source of finding unreleased bootleg tracks or copies of songs performed live that nobody else seemed to sell and it was it’s popularity that would eventually cause its downfall.

In 2000, shortly after its reign as supreme app of the dot com boom the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) sued Napster over copyright infringement and providing a means to facilitate music piracy.

"We love the idea of using technology to build artist communities, but that’s not what Napster is all about,”…”Napster is about facilitating piracy, and trying to build a business on the backs of artists and copyright owners." Cary Sherman – Senior VP at RIAA (1999)

Napster fell off the map shortly after this after scrapping their P2P business, but a few years later they created a new business based around the sales of music instead of just giving it away (although they still do give some music away for free, mainly independent artists who just want their voice heard).

There have been many similar p2p file sharing applications come out since the days of Napster, just to name a few:

  • Morpheus
  • WinMX
  • Bearshare

Later after this we saw stuff like Limewire and Kazaa hit the internet and the strange thing is, these days both companies still exist but Limewire has some how managed to dodge all the bullets from RIAA and other authorities to dodge lawsuits and the like from their p2p application.

Kazaa was just like Limewire but they lost a number of lawsuits and have now become a similar business to Napster.

So here we are, about 2003-2004. iTunes had already been available for a year or two as music software for the popular music player iPod.

Apple had created this giant monster of a music player, but at the time the only way people could get their music onto their players legally was itunesto ‘rip’ their music CD’s they already owned to their iTunes libraries to play them on their iPods. Seeing that other businesses by that time had started online music stores to download music legally Apple figured they should get into that market to provide a place where people could download music legally (for a price) for their own iPod devices. After all, what’s the point of making a music player and not proving a good way to get music onto the thing?

Around late 2003 early 2004 Apple launches its iTunes music store in the US, then later in 04 launches the store to the EU. A year later, Australia and others got their own music stores. So now Apple had a legitimate legal way for their iPod users to get music onto their iPods, and Apple being Apple with the great ideas and flawless business models capitalized on the shortcomings of other online stores to provide the best online marketplace for music there is.

If you would like to learn more about the history of online music sharing, Napster, iTunes, etc here are some great links:

And the rest as they say, is history.