Category Archives: Technology

Hardware, software, gadgets, drugs, science, industries, how-to

More RTM Leaks from Microsoft. Hold the Magic Ball!

As somebody said, looking at all these RTM builds leaking these days, the Microsoft security team must be on vacation. In reality RTM builds are not digitally signed and not linked to labs at Microsoft (as contrasted to pre-RTM builds).  So there should be very difficult to trace who leaked RTM versions (one way to prevent it would be to ban the use of any external media in Microsoft’s premises). Now we know that Visual Studio 2012 is complete and available for download on August 15. You can also try Visual Studio 2012 RC (Release Candidate) here.

What’s good new Visual Studio for? If you like Metro UI (or now Windows 8 UI, or even WinRT as Mr. Thurrott suggests), you can create one window that supports multiple views. As per Microsoft, unlike traditional desktop applications, a Metro style application has a single, chromeless window that fills the entire screen by default, so there are no distractions. A Metro style application can support different layouts and views to create a fluid and harmonious experience across a variety of form factors and display sizes.

Website http://winunleaked.info/ (an asylum of famous Canouna) has published information on some new leaks:

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Windows 8 RTM Leaking Madness

win8rtm-01In less than a day after the Microsoft gave the Windows 8 final RTM version to OEMs, the Big Leakage started. First we got non-bootable images of Enterprise “N” editions with key embedded (N — means no Media Player), and now we got the real thing — good old Russian friend of all computer geeks WZOR released first Windows 8 Enterprise RTM x86/x64 and then Windows 8 Professional RTM x86/x64 which he claimed to be original MS images. To give you some facts let me list the IDs of those builds at the end of this article.

You may see quite a lot of people installed these releases already and have been testing heavily. Look at these forums:

http://forums.mydigitallife.info/forums/42-Windows-8

http://winunleaked.info

If you hesitate which version to install, I suggest you install Professional. It can be activated through all channels by applying the right key, while Enterprise is VL only, as it is primarily made for corporate use.

As for pirates, there is no workaround yet to activate the leaked copies, although Microsoft activation servers are online and Windows 8 can be activated with legit keys such as MAK. In the trial mode Windows 8 goes into specific License Status — Notification State (i.e. there is no 30-day “grace” period), which is quite annoying:

  • you cannot personalize Metro
  • you cannot change Start Page or User Picture
  • you have Watermarks of build number and non-activated stamp

Besides, there is a difference between SKU keys: Retail gets the metro message screen to activate, and Volume License gets the desktop watermark. The latter seems less annoying.

win8rtm-wallpaper

The great DAZ (hero of Windows 7 Loader) already admitted he would not create a similar program for Windows 8 RTM. It is more likely to see updated KMS Server Activator for Windows 8 from ZWT or other genius enthusiast. [If you don’t know what KMS stands for, read this article on TechNet]

Why DAZ believes it is difficult to simulate OEM activation now? Because it is so different now. One source revealed new changes in Windows 8 activation taken from internal Microsoft presentation. In short, in version OA 3.0 of OEM Activation will ensure that each PC with pre-installed Windows 8 will have unique product key in the BIOS and will be activated (physically) at the factory. If you know how old activation OA 2.1 worked, you’d understand it is completely different story now. In the past one OEM (e.g. ASUS or HP) used to have the same product key for every PC they shipped.

But as one guy said in a forum: “I don’t see the point; Microsoft has already taken care of discouraging piracy in Windows 8 — Who really wants to pirate a crippled OS that’s missing the start menu? Well, at least this feature will be something exciting for those up for a challenge in breaking the product activation.” That’s exactly my point — who wants to run Windows 8 and get in trouble even more? Do not pirate, stick with Windows 7, because that is what most big corporations will do — they will ignore Windows 8 for corporate use.

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Dreamweaver and Photoshop CS6 Screenshots

Here’s few screenshots of Dreamweaver CS 6 (version 12.0 build 5808) and Photoshop CS6 (version 13.0). By the way Dreamweaver CS 6 has no 64-bit version yet.

New Mini Bridge in the Photoshop:

photoshop-cs6-new-01

Photography workspace:

photoshop-cs6-new-02

Painting workspace:

photoshop-cs6-new-03

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Adobe Creative Suite 6 — Cloud of possibilities

I’m very much interested to see what more we can do now, when Adobe Creative Suite 6 is finally available. If you look at the buying guide (Product comparison table), some products are presented only in Cloud version (As Adobe says: “Adobe® Creative Cloud™ is the digital hub that lets you download and install every Adobe Creative Suite® 6 application; access online services for file sharing, collaboration, and publishing; and benefit from new apps and features as soon as they’re released — giving you the freedom to create anything you can imagine.”). For example Adobe Muse (Webdesigning software without writing code), Adobe Edge preview (tool for creating interactive motion content for the web using HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript) and some “Services” like Adobe Typekit (a solution to use real fonts on the web). Cloud is obviously a way to fight piracy, yet Master Collection (the combination of major Adobe products) is there as well.

Downloads of trials are still due. I’m very curious to test new Adobe Dreamweaver CS6 with fluid grid layout for cross-platform compatibility.

Three Flaws of Metro UI in Windows 8 CP

I’ve been running Windows 8 Consumer Preview for a few days and I should say Metro User Interface has no bright future for a regular PC with a mouse and a keyboard. All this tiling nightmare is an attempt to make a structural multi-purpose information display, and that idea has three big issues:

  1. User need is overestimated. I don’t have a need to see multiple screens/tiles simultaneously, like weather and emails and photos, etc. My desktop (or, whatever, monitor screen) is not a control panel of the aircraft where, for instance, this need is present. Even if it was, it would need to be frozen, fixed for each and every display or tile.
  2. PC is considered in a wrong way. My PC is not a giant mobile phone. On a mobile phone with a tiny touch screen that free space would be probably useless. Yet I enjoy and appreciate the free space on the desktop. PC is special in that regard. Apple does not mix mobile and desktop, why Microsoft should?
  3. Core concepts are overlooked. Basically common sense is put underneath MS corporate intelligence as it seems.  Simplicity is good, limitation is not. I don’t mind multitude of controls, small fonts and complexity. I hate rules that cannot be hacked. I am annoyed with the whole approach of “follow the pattern”-style in mouse navigation. It is not convenient, period. And don’t tell me shutting down of PC is stupid, that is my cow and it is up to me what to do with it.

I like new ideas and I know it is difficult to change. The most difficult is to understand that your mind thinking pattern is wrong. But in this case there is no revolution with Metro UI. I just feel it.

Metro UI Claustrophobia in Windows 8

Windows 8 StartI installed Windows 8 Consumer Preview on one of my secondary computers to see if it is playable. The kids were puzzled at first, but then realized that movies link works and there are new games hidden behind the Metro tiles.

I agree that Metro UI is more suitable for touchscreen hardware, and if there is no such hardware is present, it is difficult to justify its usability with only mouse and keyboard (although there are some very handy keyboard shortcuts).

I like Windows interface in general and I believe that Windows 8 works better and faster (that I can witness) than Windows 7. Yet, Metro User Interface is not a revolutionary move on PC screen. It is meant to be simple, which is a good approach. But a computer remains a very sophisticated device and Metro UI on top of it feels overwhelming to me, because as a power user I don’t mind multitude of controls and … empty space on my desktop. Empty space on my desktop is inspiring, as it can be filled with anything. Empty space in Metro is not easy to fill.

metro-1

Get reimagined and reinvented Windows 8 Consumer Preview

win8logo

Windows 8 Consumer Preview is here (build 8250). Feel free to download and test:

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-8/consumer-preview

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-8/download

Direct download links to ISO images with Windows 8 Consumer Preview:

English
64-bit (x64)                    Download (3.3 GB)
Sha 1 hash — 1288519C5035BCAC83CBFA23A33038CCF5522749
32-bit (x86)                    Download (2.5 GB)
Sha 1 hash — E91ED665B01A46F4344C36D9D88C8BF78E9A1B39

One Product Key for all:   DNJXJ-7XBW8-2378T-X22TX-BKG7J
Windows 8 CP will expire on January 15, 2013.

Here you can find more links to more languages:
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-8/iso

Big change: the Start button has gone forever :)

How to deal with suspended account in Twitter

We know Twitter for its speed and communication efficiency. As for their Customer Support — it is simply slow and deaf, one of the worst customer support I’ve ever seen. Well, maybe I should not generalize my experience. Look what happened.

On December 13th 2011 my Twitter account @expertvista was suspended without explanation and any notification. I read again the rules but I had no clue what my violation could be. The help page was particularly useless (see the screenshot below):

twitter account suspended

I used the online form with stupid “with love” built-in ending to report my issue. In few minutes I got an automated email from Twitter Support [mailto:notifications-support@twitter.zendesk.com] asking to reply (!) “to this ticket with a confirmation that you understand our policies and will not engage in any prohibited following behavior.” That request to reply was unusual, and easy to miss.

So I replied. Nothing happened. I sent another request on December 20th. No answer.

Only on December 22nd I received an email from someone with a dog’s name “gobeee“, saying that I’m fine now. Eight days for Twitter customer support to fix an issue.

So if you want to quickly deal with your suspended account in Twitter, I really don’t know what to suggest. It looks like Twitter handles manually the customer tickets. I think it is OK, but that should not be that slow (8 days!) for a company providing instant services.

Cheap PC upgrade with 2nd Generation Intel Core i3 Processor for less than 300$

intel_i3_logoIn January 2012 the time has come for my old PC to die. For a day or so I was confused to identify the root cause—as I thought it could be the video card fault due to the BIOS beep pattern (endlessly repeating two short and one long) —but it turned out to be my super-hot (literally) motherboard ASUS A8N32-SLI. I assembled the PC in 2006, back in Switzerland, and since then I upgraded only the hard drives. Obviously, together with motherboard the other important  components were doomed: CPU and memory. It was an old AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800 for socket 939 working with DDR memory. But I thought it would be a good chance to upgrade. So I would keep my roomy ATX Thermaltake Swing Case, Gainward GeForce 7800GT PCX 512MB with fanless design, Thermaltake Toughpower 600W PSU, and all the hard drives. As this breakdown was unexpected, the budget was going to be miserable, very thin in fact. I also understood it had to be reasonable, as I was not going to buy crappy stuff. So I went down to the exploration part on the internet.

AMD new Bulldozer offer did not impress me at all, it was a fake cores feeling somehow. Intel on the contrary has opened new vistas with their successful 2nd generation Core CPU line. I was thinking about something close to 100$, and I found the fastest 3.30 GHz Intel Core i3-2120 Processor with 3M Cache. intel-core-i3-2120

The motherboard became a nice AsRock H61iCafe in LGA1155 ATX package with cool  AMI UEFI BIOS, SATA3 ports, USB3 and other good stuff for less than 100$. CPU and motherboard are both based on new Sandy Bridge platform. But AsRock reinforced Intel H61 chipset with USB3 and SATA3 support, which is great for saving money.

The rest is DDR3 8Gb (2x4Gb) 1333MHz DIMM Kingston [KVR1333D3N9K2/8G] and a Cooler Master Hyper 101 PWM. Again altogether for just 300$.

Then couple of hours for hardware assembly, getting Windows 7 Sp1 64-bit installed, and here we go—almost new computer:

rating

Eventually I will change the video card as well, but not now.

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No end-to-end encryption in Opera Mini

At some point I realized that I cannot access www.careerbuilder.com website. For the first time it happened to me back in Switzerland when I worked few years ago. Since then I moved from there and from time to time I tried that website again. I like Money section on msn.com and careers.msn.com was always just a click away. But I had no luck. First I thought it was screened by a corporate firewall, but an attempt to connect at home did not improve the situation. Careerbuilder.com is not something I really need to use, but it has been a bothering feeling that there’s a major website where you are not allowed to access, and you do not know why.

As in a good detective story there was another plot developing independently from the Careerbuilder.com story. I have an iPod Touch and I installed Opera Mini browser there as I enjoy Opera browser in general (mouse gestures are very handy). After a while I noticed that with Opera Mini I can access some sites that I could not normally access from the country where I’m staying now (Russia). To my surprise it turned out that Opera Mini uses a transparent proxy, which is built-in and cannot be disabled, as according to my ip I was somewhere in Iceland (please see the screenshot below):

opera-mini-1

Puzzled I typed in careerbuilder.com and here you go, as if it has been always there for me:

opera-mini-2

Then I pinged careerbuilder.com in a usual way, and here’s the result:

careerbuilder.com-unreachable

Reply from 38.104.182.222: Destination net unreachable. As I could not decipher that message myself, I posted a question on Neowin.net forum.

And mighty BudMan replied in his typical elaborated manner, with a short summary in this quote: “Clearly ICMP is being blocked […]. Yeah it sucks with parts of the internet do not follow the RFCs and block icmp that should not be blocked..” Continue reading