Welcome to my blog. In here I hope to share with you tips, tricks, hacks and code that will make your life easier as a network administrator or general computer user. I come with a background in computer engineering and have worked for the past 12 years in the Library world as Manager of Library Systems. Even though some of my posts may be Library specific, most will be of use to all computer users.

If you have a tip that you wish to share with the group, please feel free send me your tip via email at my address rkisch@kischtech.com and I will include it here and give credit where credit is do.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Preview of the upcoming Windows 8

Microsoft is making a bold move by totally redesigning Windows 8 from the ground up. At the recent Developers conference in Anaheim, California called "Build", Microsoft demonstrated some of the capabilities of the new Windows 8 OS for developers. 

If you have the time I would suggest that you view the full conference keynote by Steven Sinofsky who is President of Windows and Windows Live divisions, as he demonstrates some of the features of the new "touch centric" interface of Windows 8. Not only will it run on the standard x86 processors that we are all familiar with, but it will now run on ARM processors as well. This will mean that Windows 8 will run on anything from a PC to a cellphone or a tablet. This is great news for Microsoft  as it will open up new markets for its products and for developers to write software for. To view the full keynote, just view it here:

To download the full developers edition of Windows 8,  please download here: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/apps/br229516  Note that using this pre-release software is not for the faint of heart. It is full of bugs and can not be used to upgrade an existing version of Windows. It must be installed as a clean installation on a computer and is meant for programmers to start to use the new version to get a head start on developing applications for Windows 8. To install it on an existing computer I ran it as a virtual computer inside of Windows 7. You can use several programs to run Windows 8 virtually (VMWARE 8, Microsoft Virtual PC and VirtualBox) but I found VMWARE 8 worked best for me. To see how to do the install with VMWARE, please view this video:

Windows 8 Installing in VMware Workstation 8 from Christian Mohn on Vimeo.

NOTE: If you end up with the infamous HAL_INITIALIZATION_FAILED message when installing Windows 8 (see picture below) then follow these steps to get rid of it:
  • Make sure that you are using the latest version of virtualization software.
  • Next make sure you set-up the virtual server with 2 CPUs and at least 1 Gb of RAM
  • Next remove any external media (USB keys or devices, memory cards, floppy discs).
  • Finally make sure that the PC that you are installing it on meets the minimum requirements for Windows 8 (System Requirements).

Here are some of the screen shots of Windows 8 that I have captured while testing Windows 8:

Initial Welcome screen:

The new START menu:

A new look for the Task Menu (note that Windows Explorer had stopped working...told you it was buggy software):

The new lock screen:

The touch keyboard:

The new search screen on IE 10:

Saturday, September 17, 2011

For weather there isn't anything better than Weather Underground.

If you like to keep track of the weather in your area, then have I got a site for you! Weather Underground (www.wunderground.com) has tons of features for amateur meteorologist or even for the guy that wants to know what the weather is going to be like at the cottage. When the tornado hit Goderich a few weeks ago, this was the first site that I turned to for informative information on the storm and were it was heading next. The detail of the weather radars make it simple to follow a storm progress in great detail and the up to the minute warnings are fantastic. 

Watch my video below to see some of the best features and then explore the site for yourself. This site really needs to be in your browsers bookmarks.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Scientists and engineers replace a man's eye with a wireless video camera

Rob "Eyeborg" Spence has been working with a team of engineers to make his prosthetic eye into a wireless video recorder/transmitter.  The camera doesn't connect to his brain, but engineers hope that eventually they will be able to connect this technology to give him sight. Check out the video video for a glimpse into the future of prosthetic engineering.

Starbucks is expanding its mobile card payment system.

Starbucks in response to customer feedback, are expanding their Starbucks Card Mobile App that was first developed for BlackBerry and iPhone smartphone as these devices are used by more than 71 percent of Starbucks smartphone-carrying customers. To experience mobile payment at participating New York City-area Starbucks, customers just need to download the free Starbucks Card Mobile App on their supported BlackBerry smartphone, iPhone or iPod touch. In addition to the mobile payment feature, the app allows customers to manage their card account, reload their card balance directly from their smartphone with a major credit card, check their My Starbucks Rewards status, or find nearby Starbucks stores. With the Starbucks Card Mobile App, customers will have a barcode on their screen that they’ll hold in front of a 2-D scanner on the counter to pay for their purchase.

Brady Brewer, vice president Starbucks Card and Loyalty said that "mobile technology is part of our customers’ daily routine and with the expansion of mobile payment, we’re seeing more and more customers using their smart-phones as their mobile wallets".