geekspot


Moved.

Sorry for not updating this blog recently… been very busy.

I’ve moved to http://nm35.portasoft.org — go have a look!


New Section

You may or may not have noticed, but there’s a new section here at geekspot — projects. Go have a look — unfortunately, there’s nothing to download yet, but I’m working as fast as I can. I’d appreciate some help, so e-mail me if you have any ideas!


Windows Vista to be released December 1st

Apparently, Microsoft has set up a site where you can guess the Windows Vista launch date. This blog post tells us that Vista will be released either Nov. 30th or Dec. 1st — read his post for an explanation.

I tried to do this myself, but Micro$oft wants my full name, street address, country, and that sort of thing — not exactly suitable for those who love online anonymity. Otherwise, I’d post a screenshot… sorry about that.

Now, is Vista actually going to be worth it? That’s another thing to consider. I’ve got XP professional with a few paid programs to improve its look and feel (ObjectDesktop from Stardock, for example), and I don’t feel like shelling out untold amounts for a new graphics card, processor, and all that stuff just to make the fancy effects work. And just because it’s being released doesn’t mean it’s actually secure — however much anybody claims it is.

Anyway, I’m a pessimistic cynic, so you’ll have to bear with me and my rants… what do you think of all this?


“WebServUSB” — why pay?

I was just browsing Digg.com, and I stumbled across this page: http://www.realtechnews.com/posts/2653

According to that site, you can buy a preloaded USB flash drive which has everything you need to set up a fully portable web server. Apparently this guy hasn’t heard of the portability movement, and he sees fit to pay $90-$400 for something like this. The Uniform Server (a WAMP package) does just about everything except the mail server, is completely free, and is only ~30MB. And it’s OSS — the components are all open source or free, and usually both.

Another option is Abyss Web Server — though it isn’t free, doesn’t have Apache, and doesn’t have popular scripting packages pre-embedded. It is a lot smaller, though.

Apparently it isn’t so powerful, either. Their live demo, http://demo.webservusb.com/, isn’t up — so much for “all the power of a server in a little plug.”

Interesting idea, though. But I’m not paying so much for something that’s already freely available.


GMail +talk and Songbird hit the Net

This morning I logged into GMail today and saw a new section on the right — “Quick Contacts” — that lets me instant message anybody else on my Google Talk buddy list. Interesting idea, and it looks like Google stole a few ideas from GTalkr — it does the same thing. Here’s a screenshot:

GMail +talk

Also, songbird has finally released a preview release! I’ve been waiting for this for quite some time… and it seems that their server is down. Fortunately, some kind soul has offered a mirror at his website. Also, there’s an interesting review you can read, if you don’t want to download it — it’s got plenty of screenshots.


Alternative to a loader: Use a new shell!

This post on the PortableApps.com forums by TGStarfire about xoblite details how to use a new shell on your USB drive. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m about to. I’ll post back with results as soon as I can… probably Wednesday, because my schedule is jam-packed. Here’s a screenshot of the version TGStarfire uses.


Portability

Because the subject is so wide and constantly changing, I decided to make this post a page. Go have a look, and, if you have any suggestions, let me know!

Note: That page is still under construction — by no means is it complete!


A Pox on Microsoft…

My apologies for not having posted anything recently. My computer spontaneously combusted, so I’ve spent the past week or so re-installing all my stuff, restoring backups from four different locations, and screaming at tech representatives (God, I hate Dell).

I came across something which could prove very useful, while trying to figure out how to recover my data — a portable version of Windows XP. All you need is a 256MB USB flash drive, a Windows install CD, and PE Builder; you can read the article at “XP On Your Thumb Drive.”

I’ll try to post some more stuff soon, but don’t anticipate anything until Monday. Fixing my computer, along with my RealJob(tm), are occupying much of my time…


Portable Media Players

I’ve been keeping an eye out for portable media players as of late, but I can’t seem to find one that matches exactly what I want. I’ve heard calls for portable WiMP (Windows Media Player) and iTunes, but neither is opensource and neither is non-restrictively licensed.

There is an interesting program in development called Songbird Media Player (http://www.songbirdnest.com) but unfortunately it hasn’t been released yet. (A 0.1 beta was promised for December last year but hasn’t been released yet.) When, if ever, it gets released, it could probably be made portable with a launcher similar to that of Portable Firefox — they both run off XUL and they are both based on the same framework.

Here’s what I want in a portable media player:

  • A library comparable to WiMP’s or iTunes — with search, sort, and the like.
  • Rip/Burn capabilities.
  • A CDDB lookup to show me what I’m playing.
  • An intuitive interface similar to WiMP or iTunes — it has to look good.

Unfortunately, semi-portable programs (like WinAmp) don’t quite do the job, and I don’t want to learn some brand-new interface like that of XMPlay… I just want something simple.

But it looks like, for now, we’ll have to wait.



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