September 8, 2011

Hassle-free ISO Mounting with WinCDEmu

Posted in Beginner, Games, Intermediate at 8:31 pm by gloriouscomputing

Want to mount an ISO on Windows? The conventional wisdom is to use Daemon Tools, but if you don’t need DT’s video game copy protection emulation, you can save yourself a lot of bloat and get a better user experience using the open-source WinCDEmu.

Once installed, just click .iso files to mount them as a drive. To unmount them, just right click on the corresponding drive in Windows Explorer, and click “Eject”.

Even if PC game backup is your thing, you generally use cracked executables that remove the CD check anyway, so there is no need for your ISO Mounting tool to emulate that protection in most cases.

WinCDEmu Homepage

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January 15, 2010

Cell Phone Tracking in Europe – piCOS Review

Posted in Beginner, Smartphone at 1:21 pm by gloriouscomputing

There are tons of different ways to track the location of your cell phone by installing software on the device (Like Google’s free Latitude and Apple’s pay-per-month offering), but this article is about cell phone triangulation. The location of any cell phone with a SIM in it can be determined with help of the SIM’s network operator. This subject fascinated me since I went to The Last Hope conference in New York, because it’s something that’s not really in the consumer sector in America.

Europe however, sees this quite differently. Here, many providers exist which will triangulate any cell phone for you. The generally accepted way to add a cell phone is that the company will SMS you, and require you to SMS them back from the SIM you want to track. There are laws against tracking someone else’s SIM without their written consent, so this ensures that you’ve at least held this cell phone in your hand.

Once you have added a phone, you can triangulate it at any point using the company’s website. Of course, this is generally done for a fee per triangulation. Today, I have tested Germany’s piCOS, since I’m currently studying in Germany.

So how accurate is this service? In case of a stolen cell phone, will you be able to track down at least the building it’s in? Well, looking at my first (and only) test, costing 0.50 Euro, the answer is probably not:

The big green circle you see is the area on the map where my phone could potentially be. As you can see, it’s about the size of a small city. Here, my actual location is on the very edge of the circle, so if you thought this big area was exaggerating the inaccuracy, that’s not the case.

Here’s a picture of me attempting to measure just how big this circle is.

The radius of the circle is over 1km, so we’re talking about a ~4.5km area where my phone could be.

If you dropped your phone and you want to use this map to try and locate it, godspeed!

The service is cheap though, requiring a minimum refill of only 2EUR, and at 0.50EUR per location tracking, it might be fun to do this in case you ever forget which city you forgot your phone in.

December 9, 2009

My new favorite free PC Remote Control Application: TeamViewer 5

Posted in Beginner at 4:55 pm by gloriouscomputing

Until now, LogMeIn has been my primary choice for remote controlling my own machines. And for that purpose, I’d still recommend it to friends, because it is just barely easier to set up than TeamViewer, and LogMeIn Free allows Remote Access via your Web Browser, which TeamViewer charges money for.

However, for every so slightly more effort with TeamViewer, you can start a Remote Control session considerably more quickly each time you need it, plus you can swap files with ease (A feature which LogMeIn charges money for).

So what is this slight annoyance when setting up TeamViewer? After making an account with TeamViewer, and logging in at both my PC here as well as the PC I wanted to remote control regularly from now on, the PCs did not automatically appear in each my account’s “friends” list. If I log in on two PCs, the program should detect this. However, this was easy to fix by adding the PC’s ID (shown in TeamViewer) to my friends list manually.

Starting a Remote Control session with TeamViewer takes about two less mouse clicks, and skips some loading times which LogMeIn makes you wait through. I just start TeamViewer, click the PC I want to control, and I’m in. It takes seconds.

So if you insist on remote controlling via your browser, stick with LogMeIn, but if that’s not required, go with TeamViewer. TeamViewer has also long been my choice for one-time remote controlling random people’s PCs who need your help.

I’ll also give an honorable mention to Live Mesh, but after installing it I haven’t really used it much. It’s mostly some awkward interface decisions, like requiring ActiveX (making you use IE-Tab with Firefox) that made it less than ideal to use.

Update: After using TeamViewer5 together with LogMeIn for a while, I have found LogMeIn to be much more stable. Even when my remote PC was semi-crashed and unexcessable from TeamViewer and LogMeIn, LogMeIn was able to remotely reboot the machine to fix the issue. So my recommendation is: Install both, or just LogMeIn. However, I still try TeamViewer as my first choice, when I have both installed.

November 14, 2009

Microsoft Security Essentials

Posted in Beginner at 10:20 am by gloriouscomputing

So I’ve tried out Microsoft’s new Anti-Virus software, and I like it. I haven’t really done any tests, but the performance seems fine. Before I used Avira Free, and the biggest difference is that I didn’t have to write an ad-blocking script for MS’s offering, unlike Avira, so that’s a plus. Both programs use very little RAM when idle, but MS uses less (~3MB when I checked).

The reason I moved over was hearing that this anti-virus was designed to annoy the user as little as possible. No annoying “Hey, listen! I’m still here, and I’m updating too! Aren’t I great?”. If you are running (which you should be 24/7), you better be upgrading, and if you can do it without getting in my way, the better.

Download

October 8, 2009

Install Software by doing a Start Menu Search – GetIt

Posted in Application Launchers, Beginner at 5:20 pm by gloriouscomputing

So you have the shiny new Windows 7 (Vista works too) installed, and you want to run your favorite once-a-week software. You hit the Windows key, type in “fire” only to find that you have not yet installed Frets On Fire! If only there was a way to instantly remedy this situation without any extra effort. Well, there is:

With the open-source GetIt, you can now install software with no more effort than is required to run it. Just type whatever you want to run/install into your Windows 7/Vista Start Menu Search, and shortcuts to silently install any of over 400 programs will be included in the results.

Download GetIt

Full Disclosure: I’m the lead developer of GetIt.

September 12, 2009

HashCheck – Finally a great Checksum Verifier

Posted in Beginner, Intermediate at 5:45 pm by gloriouscomputing

I’ve been looking for a quick way to get checksums of files for a while, and this is my favorite solution so far: Just right click the file in Explorer and go to properties, and then click the Checksum tab. Easy!

Download HashCheck

June 14, 2009

Find any file on your hard drive instantly – Everything

Posted in Beginner, Intermediate at 10:19 am by gloriouscomputing

There are a variety of solutions for searching your hard drive. If you are running Windows XP, you will definitely want to install one of these right now.

However, the same goes for Windows Vista and Windows 7. Even though their “Windows Key + Just Type to Search” and “Windows Key + F” are pretty good, they are not as good as a little program called “Everything”.

It runs at start-up (if you wish), and goes to your tray. When it starts, it indexes every file on your local hard drives (NTFS only) extremely quickly. I have over 1 TB in space, and it takes maybe 1 minute.

Now here’s the cool part. When you invoke Everything (click tray, press Hotkey) and start typing, it will find file names matching what you type virtually instantly. I don’t think it takes more than 1 second.

Purely theoretical example: “Hm, I’ve been downloading a lot of Daily Show episodes, and I’ve moved them between different hard drives…”
Invoke Everything, type “Daily Show”, bam, list of all Daily Show episodes.

“Everything” also has the ability to host a web server interface, which lets you remotely search your PC in the same way, and then download the files you find. For quickly getting a file from my PC to my Laptop, this has replaced my need for hosting a separate FTP server (although the latter still gets used for heavy duty folder moving).

I would recommend this only for your LAN, as there is no encryption.

Enjoy! Everything

PS: I’ve also tried Locate32, which has the major difference of storing the content of your hard drives in a database (on your hard drive, vs just in memory) and supporting non-NTFS partitions, but if I can choose, I prefer Everything.

January 11, 2009

GetIt now Supports Chain Installing over 400 Windows Applications

Posted in Application Launchers, Beginner, For Developers at 3:23 am by gloriouscomputing

Do you install a lot of software on Windows? Are you tired of the hassle of clicking the Next button millions of times? GetIt has allowed users to easily install applications with one click for over a year now. Over 400 freeware software titles are available for you to install without ever seeing a Next button.

GetIt is not the first software to allow you to do this, which is exactly why it was created. Rather than coming with its own repository and installing engine, it indexes various other installed application-getter’s repositories on your computer, combining their individual databases of installable applications into one big list. When you pick an application to install from this list, GetIt knows which application-getter to call on to make the installation happen. GetIt is the ultimate middleman for your application installation needs. It integrates seamlessly into Find And Run Robot, an application launcher, but can also be used with other application launchers, from the command-line, or with GetIt’s own GUI. Don’t worry if you don’t have any application-getting engines yet, GetIt can install them for you.

GetIt now supports Chain Installing applications. When you want to install multiple applications unattended, just select the ones you want and click Install. Come back to your PC later to find all your desired applications installed!  You can also save your selected application list as a Chain Install Batch file for later use, so you can quickly set up your favorite applications on a new PC without having to select them all again.

GetIt is open-source, and freely available from http://puchisoft.com/GetIt

If you create software yourself, you can manage your own repository and add it into GetIt. 🙂

December 16, 2008

This ends today! (Open File – Security Warning)

Posted in Beginner at 4:01 am by gloriouscomputing

Are you sure? Are you?

Are you sure? Are you? Are you feeling lucky, punk?

How many times do you see this Vista dialog a day? 20, 30 times? How many times, after the first time you saw it, did you stop to think “Hm, well, I clicked the download exe link, I waited for it to download, then I double clicked it, I told Firefox that it’s cool to run… But now! But now if Windows thinks it might be dangerous due to being an exe, well maybe now I should reconsider this whole thing.”

Not once did this dialog make you think the above? That’s because warning dialogs of this nature are useless. In total, this dialog alone probably wasted an hour of my life. Well, this ends today! You turned off the stupid UAC as the first thing you did after installing Vista, now it’s time for this abomination to go.

Here’s how to turn it off:

  • Go to your Control Panel
  • Internet Options
  • Security tab
  • Custom Level (it’s a little button somewhere hard to see)
  • Scroll down for a while, under Miscellaneous
  • Launching applications and unsafe files
  • Change it from Prompt to Enable

Wow, 7 steps. They really tried to stop us from enjoying our computing experience. Here’s a screenshot of what you are looking for.

Need a map?

Need a map?

Think of it like a map, cause you’ll need it.

November 24, 2008

DVDFab – DVD Decrypter’s Successor? Seems that way

Posted in Beginner at 1:27 am by gloriouscomputing

I’m so old-school, I thought CSS was still the only game in town when it comes to DVD movies.

I found out how wrong I was when I came across “10,000 BC” from another region. “Wrong region”? I’ll just copy the DVD to fix that, I thought.

Long story short, turns out a lot of old software can’t handle some of the new little hackish protections the movie industry figured out how to add to new movie DVD releases. Namely, neither DVD Decrypter nor DVD Shrink could handle it.

So what to do? Just rip the DVD to the hard drive with DVDFab HD Decrypter, then burn it with ImgBurn. Problem solved, and with free software to boot.

Now I could actually watch the DVD I bought. If only I had pirated it, I wouldn’t have had this problem… Yay for punishing customers, MPAA.

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