inSSIDer = NetStumbler for Vista & Win 7 (Windows 7)

In the days of Windows XP, I used a product called NetStumbler to view wireless networks, their relative strengths, and specific broadcast channels.  Since Vista and Windows 7 came a long, I’ve been missing this little app.  Found a new one over at LifeHacker that provides many of the same features for Vista and Windows 7.

* Inspect your WLAN and surrounding networks to troubleshoot competing access points.
* Track the strength of received signal in dBm over time.
* Filter access points in an easy to use format.
* Highlight access points for areas with high Wi-Fi concentration
* Export Wi-Fi and GPS data to a KML file to view in Google Earth.

http://www.metageek.net/products/inssider

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BP Live ROV Feed

So I worked today and while at work I had BP’s live ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicles) stream up.  It’s pretty cool what they can do with these things.  So far I have seen them cut a few small pipes of in preparation for the large pipe cut.   Take a look over at BP’s site.  Depending on the time and the day, they might not be doing much but keep it on an you might see some cool stuff. Live Stream

Use exFAT for faster flash drive performance

exFAT or (Extended File Allocation Table) is a newer hard drive/flash drive file system designed for mobile devices and well suited for removable devices.  exFAT was first introduced with Vista SP1 and it now ships with Windows 7 as well as Windows server 2008. Microsoft also released a KB to install the drivers on Windows XP, however it is not native to XP.

exFAT is designed to operate with much less overhead than the now standard NTFS file system.  This gives it the ability to run quite efficiently on removable devices.

For a full rundown on the advantages and disadvantages, take a look at the exFAT wikipedia page.

Performance wise exFAT comes out on top for most real life tests, however  FAT32 is still a big contender when it comes to straight file copying.  If you want further tests and benchmark details, head over to TestFreaks.com.  They have way more benchmarking information than you could have asked for or ever wanted.

Sprint 4G EVO

Sprint to release their new 4G EVO Phone (soon). The rumored release date based on anonymous sources is June 6th or June 13th. Some are calling this phone the iPhone killer. I doubt it will be the killer of iPhones, but If Sprint does things right, it will give the iPhone a run for its money.
The EVO features:

  • 1Ghz Snapdragon processor
  • 1500 mAh battery
  • WiFi Connectivity
  • GPS Navigation
  • Stereo Bluetooth
  • microSD (up to 32GB)
  • Proximity and motion sensors
  • Digital Compass
  • 4.3″ Multitouch display
  • 8MP camera and 1.3MP front camera
  • Mobile Hotspot router (up to 8 local connections)
  • HDMI output 720p max

This list is pretty impressive for such a small package.  I think the best feature is the mobile hotspot.  Seriously, that could be VERY useful.

The latest news is that Sprint employees are now being trained on this list of features. This means that the rumored release dates must be somewhat accurate…I hope :-)

For more Sprint training screen captures, take a look at this link. http://erictric.com/2010/05/12/htc-evo-4g-training-begins-at-sprint-more-features-leaked/

Update: I just received an email from sprint stating that the release date of this phone is officially June 4th.  Awesome.  Better get in line now!

L4D2 Windows Server Guide

  1. Download HLDSUpdateTool to your desktop or where ever you want.
  2. Install it with the defaults. This should create a folder named “Valve\HLServer” under “C:\Program Files”
  3. With notepad create a new document and copy and paste the following 2 lines into it.
  4. hldsupdatetool
    hldsupdatetool -command update -game left4dead2 -dir .

  5. Save the file as “Update_L4D2.bat” under the “C:\Program Files\Valve\HLServer\”
  6. If you want create a shortcut to this batch file on your desktop.  You can use it to update the L4D2 install as it needs updating.
  7. Run the batch file.  This will take some time because it will start downloading the L4D2 server files from steam.
  8. With Notepad again create a new document and copy and paste the following into it. Make sure it’s all on one line.
  9. start /High srcds.exe -console -game left4dead2 +map c1m1_hotel +maxplayers 16 -tickrate 33

  10. Save the file as “StartL4D2Server.bat” under “C:\Program Files\Valve\HLServer\left4dead2″
  11. Launch this batch file and the server will be up and running.
  12. If you are on the same network as the server you can connect to it by using your server’s local IP address.  Open your console and enter the command “mm_dedicated_force_servers x.x.x.x” where x.x.x.x is your servers IP address.
  13. Setup a lobby and launch.

Note: Since this is a local server, only you will be able to connect to it, or other friends on your local network. To allow external users the ability to connect you will need to setup port forwarding on your router.
Later I’ll add some more information about router port forwarding, srcfpsboost and setting your l4d2 server up as a windows service.

Microsoft Security Essentials

One of the better, free, no frills virus/malware apps.  I’ve been using MSE for a while now and have found it to a good piece of software.  MSE has a very small footprint and keeps to itself, yet it’s quite effective at finding malicious software.  I’ve had it come up with a few  items from spam I received (I might have purposely opened them to do some testing).  If you are interested in a free PC protection solution head over to http://www.microsoft.com/security_essentials/ to take a look.

For further information on how MSE ranks among its competitors here is another article you can look at. http://lifehacker.com/5433229/microsoft-security-essentials-ranks-as-best+performing-free-antivirus

XAMPP:Apache,MySQL,FTP,Mercury & Tomcat

XAMPP is a free application that allows you to run an Apache, MySQL, FTP, Mecury, and Tomcat server in Windows. It can be portable or you can install it as a service. XAMPP is an awesome application for web development or even production environments.

If you haven’t used it before head over to http://www.apachefriends.org/en/xampp.html and download one of the packages and give it a try.

Funny ad for the PS3 Move

The Playstation Move is the new motion controller for the Sony Playstation 3, designed to compete with the Nintento Wii’s “Wii-mote”. For more info head over to Sony’s official site.

HTML Character Code Lookup

So picture this, you are focused working on <insert thing you are working on> that must get done within the hour.  The last part of your project requires that you have a “©” inserted in the document.  You hop on google and start searching for alt codes and html codes.  You find a ginormous table of html codes and start sifting through the table only to find that for some reason this huge table of characters is somehow missing the one character that you need!

Have no fear, I found this nifty little app that will save the day.

This app lets you search through characters.  If the character you are looking for contains or looks like a “c” just enter “c” in the search field and it will give you a list of all relevant entries.  Nifty Eh?

http://leftlogic.com/lounge/articles/entity-lookup/

Gixen.com – Ebay Sniping

Just found a pretty cool website.  If you use Ebay, this service is designed to snipe auctions at the last few seconds, preventing others from being able to bid up the auction.  It lets you setup multiple auction groups so if you win one of the items in the group it will automatically prevent bidding on future items. If you have reservations about using the service look through the FAQ’s and forums. I’ve also done a good web search verifying that Gixen isn’t a hoax or fraud. Let me know if you find otherwise. Take a look at Gixen.com if you would like to give it a try.