Archives for: March 2010

March 21, 2010

Fixing Nvidias Problems One Step at a Time

Get NVidia's Virtual Desktops to work with Windows 7 & VistaI primarily use Nvidia video cards in my systems but Nvidia alas, has been a tad disappointing lately. First, they took away nView, their desktop manager utility in Windows Vista & 7 along with ditching horizontal and vertical span modes across multiple monitors. More recently they started melting people’s video cards with their 196.75 driver release but since I don’t upgrade to new drivers right away, my cards are in their original unmelted, functioning state.

While I can’t do anything about their lack of skill or desire to put back horizontal and vertical span mode in Vista & Windows 7 (ATI sucks too on this), I can do something about the other two disappointments from Nvidia:

1. How Not to Melt Your Nvidia Graphics Card 101: DON’T IMMEDIATELY UPGRADE TO THE LATEST VIDEO DRIVERS! Let other suckers do that and find out what broke as the results and their tears pour in! (This wisdom holds true no matter whose brand of video card you use.)

2. I like Nvidia’s Desktop Managing software for it’s ability to allow you to run virtual desktops, assign hotkeys for certain graphics options and giving you the ability to manage windows, pop-ups and dialog boxes across multiple monitors. I missed nView in Vista & 7 and was looking for an alternative now that stupid doody-headed Nvidia stopped supporting it in current operating systems. Doody-heads! You hear my Nvidia, you’re a bunch of doody-heads!

Turns out I didn’t need an alternative to nView after all. Seems the sneaky buggers over at Nvidia just stopped the program from installing on Vista & Windows 7 when you installed their drivers. It’s still there and perfectly installable if you know how to do it manually. All you have to do is the follow these instructions:

To make NVIDIA nView Desktop Manager work on Windows Vista/7:

1 - Open the latest Drivers for your card from Nvidia’s website.
2 - Using either WinRAR or 7-Zip open the driver file and extract the nview.CAB file to your desktop.
3 - Open the nview.cab file with WinRAR or 7-Zip and extract all the files into a folder on your desktop
4 - Run the nviewsetup.exe file as normal.
5 - nView Desktop Manager is now installed. You can go to the Control Panel and in Appearances and Personalization the NVIDIA nView Desktop Manager will be there now. You can click it and then enable it. Unfortunately there is no system tray icon for nView anymore but once you activate it all you have to do is right click and empty space on your desktop and you’ll see the nView Desktops option.

And Viola! You’re done. just like that nView is back! Now if you’ll excuse me I’ll have to try doing my part for that spanning thing.

Hey NVIDIA! Yeah, you. I’m talking to you! Bring back vertical and horizontal spanning mode and stop blaming it on Microsoft. You’re a video card company that’s supposed to know how to make a video card work right no matter the OS! Bring back vertical and horizontal span mode in Vista and 7 and stop being doody-heads about it! And don’t say ATI can’t do it too as a selling point for lower expectations. Oh yeah and while you’re at it stop melting people’s graphic cards ya doody-heads!!!

There, I tried. Take that doody-heads!

Posted by Vincent Navarino (who has an iPod) at 11:02PM • 4 comments »

March 20, 2010

How Apple's iPad Ad Campaign Should Have Looked

Vader gives Luke an iPad
How Apple Should Have Marketed the iPad

And you think things couldn’t have gone worse for Luke in The Empire Strikes Back! :>

Posted by Vincent Navarino (who has an iPod) at 10:22PM • 1 comment »

March 19, 2010

What to Check First If Lightning or a Surge Kills Your Computer

What to check for after a surge or lightning damages your computerRecently a lightning strike had the nerve to toast my Smartest Uncle’s computer and knowing who his Smartest Nephew is, he called me to see about how to find out if it could be fixed. He has a lot of stuff he needed access to A-S-A-P on his computer and needed to know his options. Could his computer be saved or is everything lost? How about the hard drive? If the computer couldn’t be saved then hopefully his data could.

When a lightning strike or massive surge hits your computer it could toast everything. Your power supply, RAM, motherboard, CPU, cards installed in your the computer and whatever peripherals are plugged in. Sometimes you’re really, really lucky and the first thing that gives up it’s life and winds up saving everything else, is the power supply.

If you try to turn your computer on and there are no lights, fans spinning or hard disk whirring it may be due to a blown/slagged power supply. This is what was happening to my Smartest Uncle’s box. So I let him know to try another power supply in it to see if it’d work and to make sure the supply he bought he could return if it didn’t work.

If this didn’t work the chances were good the motherboard, as well as other stuff was toast so it just wouldn’t be worth playing around after that, financially or time-wise and he’d need a new machine. He could access his data on a new computer, or someone else’s by removing his hard drive and putting it in a hard drive enclosure; thereby converting it to an external hard drive in the mean time. If the strike didn’t kill that too of course.

The machine was on during the strike so anything and everything that was in the rig could have been toasted. If he was lucky, the power supply sacrificed itself to protect the computer. Very, very lucky.

Thankfully the new power supply worked for him (YAY!!) and his machine was back up and running in short order and he could access his data.

When a surge or lightning strike hits your computer and it will not power on, the order you should check for damage, in my experience is the power supply, then motherboard, RAM and CPU. If the power supply is not replaced first and it is damaged from the surge/strike it could fail to regulate the voltage going to your computer properly and it could slag or further damage your machine, so don’t mess with Step #1!

Luckily the power supply was the only thing to go and I’ve seen this a lot of times in similar circumstances but a lot of other times the machine blew as well. replacing the power supply was and should be the first step in diagnosing a computer that won’t run after such an incident.

To replace a power supply is really easy for even the average joe. They’re modular, have standard connectors and usually you won’t need to spend more than $50 for a replacement unless you have a non-standard specialty rig like a slim DELL or Sony (Vaio’s UGH!). Heck, even if you have a Mac there are usually OEM replacements that are much more reasonable in price than if you ordered it from Apple. Just look online and do a little research to make sure it will work in your computer, will put put the right amount of power and has the appropriate number of power connectors and you should be good to go.

It ended happy for my Smartest Uncle. Hopefully if a similar thing befalls you or your loved ones it’ll work out happily for them too. The more you know…

Posted by Vincent Navarino (who has an iPod) at 10:23PM • 2 comments »

March 18, 2010

Best Interview Ever? Ask Vincent Anything!

[Ok it’s time to answer those emails. Thanks to everyone that wrote me since doing this challenge and if you want to write to me, look at the email graphic on the right sidebar or click the Contact link at the bottom of every page.]
Ask Vin about his Tech Julie & Julia Challenge
Q: Can you tell us more about this Julie/Julia tech challenge you’re on? What are your goals? Why did you start it?
A: Well that’s 3 questions but ok let’s give it a go:

(1) After watching the movie Julie & Julia I decided to challenge myself to come up with 365 posts in a year that were Worth the Geek Read™ on this blog and what I mean by that is something of substance that geeks who like computers and technology would enjoy reading and not feel like they wasted their time

(2) Well like I said coming up with 365 posts this year that people thought were worth reading, that’s an average of one post a day all by myself for the whole year. Which kinda sucks a little because I thought of it a few days into January so I’m like 4 posts behind when I started and I never updated the blog more than infrequently at best. Well, except when I made myself be what I loathe, a daily blogger for a month and that was hello-kitty for me, so I really don’t see what the hellski I was thinking with this now that you got me actually thinking about it. Why would you do that to me? Why? Did I do something bad to you? I don’t even know who you are? Am I supposed to? You’re mean! And oh yeah before I totally freak last part of your question:

(3) I cannot explain why I started this except maybe to do something more useful with this blog and help people in the process. I really don’t know why I decided to do this quite frankly. Attention? Fame? Fortune? Well, if I was doing it for those things then I think I’m more of a moron than I thought. I’m going with helping people for $500, Alex! Uh, Mr. Trebek. Sir.

Q: How’s it going with the challenge?

A: Pretty good so far, I started out at 365 posts Worth the Geek Read™ and I’m down to 294, no 293 now! WOO-HOO!

Q: Has it been a struggle to come up with worthy posts?

A: There have been a few up and down moments when I start to try to decide what to write about but so far I’ve managed the task I set for myself and am having a lot of fun with it as well.

Q: Do you use all the software you talk about/review?

A: Yes I do. I can’t honestly recommend something I talk about here if I’ve never used it or haven’t used it for long. I see paid reviewers out there on the Net or in magazines (like the Net but printed on paper) whose job it is to come up with 50 reviews in a month of something that it’s clear when they’re talking they’ve had either little or no experience with the program or product and yet they get paid to recommend this stuff to people. Which can be quite misleading to the people that read their stuff and next thing you know a lot of people buy something that totally sucks that no one should buy. I can’t do that to people. I don’t get paid to say what I do and so there’s no reason for me to recommend crap to people in order to cash a check. It’s my Word I’m putting out and it has an infinite value to me. Same for when I say something sucks. I really believe it, not just writing to make my quota.

Q: What’s the biggest mistake geeks make when purchasing hardware, software or their latest shiny gadget?

A: Not doing enough research beforehand to make sure they’re not paying too much or failing to taking advantage of their peers’ experiences with what they want to buy in order to avoid wasting their money. There’s no excuse with the Web to buy a tech-lemon, really no reason save laziness. GOOGLE. It’s not even a lot of letters, people.

Q: Do you really dislike Irfanview and GIMP? Why?

A: Because they awful on so many levels they bring suck down to whole new levels. Irfanview has one of the worst interfaces of any program out there and has ever since it was created. There’s just no excuse to create a program with no attention to the user experience. There’s no pride there, no caring about how it looks which turns a lot of people off. I hate looking at an interface that looks like there’s duct tape on the dash and the radio’s missing. GiMP sucks because it does two things I hate (1) it’s commonly billed to as an alternative to Photoshop (and it’s not even close) and it’s still very, very buggy. The only reason it’s ever mentioned is the Linux community and that’s because they don’t even have a GiMP alternative. Heck Ubuntu’s dropped it!

Q: How many years have you used computers?

A: A very happy long time, since 1981 when I was in high school. My cool life started at 15. B)

Q: Is there anything that makes you mad about people who use computers?

A: Anyone that misuses a computer to commit a crime or to hurt, torment or otherwise abuse people or rip them off. Those kind of people aren’t people in my book. They’re a few levels below pond scum.

Q: What do you think all programs should do?

A: Perform their intended function well without errors, be as intuitive and easy to use as possible without problems and auto-update. No excuse any program failing any of those 3 criteria! None.

Q: Has your site seen more activity since you started your 365 post tech challenge?

A: Yes, but that’s not a goal I’m worried about. My goal is to create posts for anyone that stumbles across my blog to want to read and be happy they read it. That maybe they learned something, thought about something in a different way once they read my point of view. Laughed at something I wrote or better yet found a method that made their computing life easier or were put onto some new software, hardware or cool gadget they had not been exposed to before. As long as they didn’t feel they wasted any of their time they spent here, I’m happy. And if I meet my goal by the end of this year, I’ll be delighted!

Q: How long did it take for you to come up with that Illegal Alien Wants to Bed a Predator personal ad on Craigslist? How did you come up with that?

A: The day I thought of doing a spoof Craigslist ad is the day I posted it. It took 20 minutes to find the appropriate 4 graphics I used in the ad and the wording took under 5 minutes to make up. I did it totally on the fly at Craigslist. The how I came up with it, I can’t say as my brain just normally works that way. I’ve come to understand after a lot of time that what I consider normal isn’t to most people. Oh well, that said I LOVE THAT AD! (In case the ad has been taken down you can read it here elsewhere on my blog).

Q: What makes you happy?

A: The total absence of Scott Baio and ducks in my life.

Q: Do you have a girlfriend?

A: I’m currently taking applications. The Alien ad on Craigslist has given me a very promising start, I must say. But continue to send them applications in ladies! Your future Geeky Love Muffin™ awaits…

Posted by Vincent Navarino (who has an iPod) at 10:35PM • 4 comments »

March 17, 2010

How Do You Restore Deleted Files Easily in Windows?

NTFS Undelete saves the dayJust today I accidentally deleted a folder full of files that I shouldn’t have and almost lived to regret it. People all the time delete the wrong stuff by mistake and in that, I’m no different than people. Now in Windows, realizing you just deleted something is no big deal (same for most modern OS’s), you just head on over to the Recycle Bin, click it select the files you need undeleted and click Restore.

Boom! Couldn’t be simpler, could it? So no big deal, right?

Well, except that when I deleted the wrong folder of files, being the ubergeek that I am, I held down the shift key. Which means don’t bother putting them in the trash where I can easily restore them, I am a super-genius and do not make that kind of simpleton mistake. Get rid of them this instant!

And *POOF!* they were gone.

I am a super-genius.

*POOF!* they’re gone.

I held down the shift key.

*POOF!*

Now I have all kinds of file recovery software at my disposal and some of them I have already talked about but the second I realized I made a boo-boo, I decided to take the opportunity to try some new stuff to recover my I’m a super-genius deleted files.

I was confident that my files were easily recoverable because I am a super-genius and partition all my hard drives to separate all my stuff in case disaster strikes. Like super-geniuses deleting files while holding the shift key. THAT’s how freaking smart I am, people!

*POOF!* they’re gone.

S-h-u-t UP!

Since Windows 7 uses the NTFS file system I searched for undelete ntfs on Google and tried the first result that came up; a program called NTFS Undelete.

I always select the version that doesn’t require installation and ran the sucker and found it is quite a nice little utility with great straight-forward options. It was very intuitive (for super-geniuses that hold down the shift key) and in a few seconds I had it scanning for the files that were deleted.

It found them in under 10 seconds and after telling NTFS Undelete to restore them it did quick as lightning, 100% successful! Fine and dandy for me!

NTFS Undelete is a great program. Simple to use, quite intuitive and it saved the day for me big-time. It’s free, open source and has installable, portable and .iso versions available for download. If you accidentally delete stuff, try this bad-boy. It works better than a lot of programs I’ve tried over the years. And wouldn’t you know it, it even helps out super-geniuses from time to time!

*POOF!* they’rrrrreeeee baaaaaaacccccckkkkk! :banana:

Posted by Vincent Navarino (who has an iPod) at 09:11PM • 1 comment »

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