Tag Archives: Windows

Windows 7 killing laptop batteries?

Ars Technica reports on issues with Windows 7 and battery life on some laptops.

These users claim their batteries were working just fine under Windows XP and/or Windows Vista, and others are saying it occurs on their new Windows 7 PCs… their PC’s battery life is noticeably lower, with some going as far as saying that it has become completely unusable after a few weeks of use. To make matters worse, others are reporting that downgrading back to an earlier version of Windows won’t fix the problem.

The issue was originally reported back in June 2009, long before Windows 7 was actually released.

Windows based Internet cafés “illegal”

I never realised before, but Windows based Internet cafés violate Microsoft’s license terms, because:

Windows desktop operating system and Microsoft Office system licenses do not permit renting, leasing, or outsourcing the software to a third party.


Now however, by paying an extra licensing fee to Microsoft café owners can become legit.

Seems to me that a Linux based kiosk with OpenOffice.org is just going to become even more attractive..

Microsoft screencast shows Linux easier than Windows

In their attack on free software, Microsoft has launched a website which compares various aspects of Windows to its counterpart on Linux.

One of the latest videocasts compares getting Perl and PHP running on a webserver.

In the Windows screencast the author (who happens to be an Australian) says:

“In the past it was kinda difficult to set up Perl on Internet Information Services, now I’d actually argue it’s probably easier to set up Perl on IIS than it is to actually set it up on Linux.”

OK then, let’s watch both of his screencasts and see whether that is indeed true!

Excluding the tasks of installing Linux and Windows, installing the respective webserver, creating the Perl and PHP scripts themselves (which just print “$LANG is working”) and downloading the PHP/Perl install files (which you only have to do on Windows of course) here is the number of tasks required for each. As an aside, he is using Ubuntu Feisty Fawn, that’s SIX releases of Ubuntu ago.

Ubuntu – install and configure Perl
Total tasks = 7

Open terminal
    Open "Terminal"
Install Apache Perl module
    sudo apt-get install libapache2-mod-perl2
    Type "y" to proceed

Restart Apache
    sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 force-reload
Copy Perl script to cgi-bin directory
    sudo cp testperl.pl /usr/lib/cgi-bin/
Make Perl script executable
    sudo chmod a+x /usr/lib/cgi-bin/testperl.pl
Use Firefox to test

Windows – install and configure Perl
Total tasks = 34

Run Perl installer
    Click "Run"
    Click "Next"

Accept license agreement
    Click "Next"
    Click "Next"
    Click "Next"
    Click "Install"
    Click "Finish

Open Command Prompt
    Click "Start Menu"
    Click "Command Prompt"

Make cgi-gin directory
    mkdir C:\Inetpub\cgi-bin
Copy the script
    cd Desktop
    copy *.pl C:\Inetpub\cgi-bin

Open IIS Manager
    Click "Start Menu"
    Click "Administrative Tools"
    Click "Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager"

Configure Perl
    Select "Perl CGI Extension" from "Web Service Extensions"
    Click "Allow"

Create Virtual Directory for cgi-bin
    Expand "Web Sites"
    Right Click "Default Web Site"
    Click "New -> Virtual Directory"
    Click "Next"
    Type name "cgi-bin"
    Click "Next"
    Set path "C:\Inetpub\cgi-bin"
    Click "OK"
    Click "Next"
    Tick "Run"
    Tick "Execute"
    Click "Next"
    Click "Finish"
    Click "Close"

Use Internet Explorer to test

Perl Conclusion
If you live on planet Microsoft, then I guess you might deduce that Windows is indeed easier than Linux. Of course in reality that’s complete bunkum.

Now, let’s have a look at PHP, where our presenter says the following:

It’s as easy to install these particular services and languages on IIS as it is, or even easier to install them on Windows than is it on Linux.

Ubuntu – install and configure PHP
Total tasks = 5

Open terminal
    Open "Terminal"
Install PHP mod for Apache
    sudo apt-get install libapache2-mod-php5
    Enter "y" to continue

Copy the php file
    sudo cp testphp.php /var/www/
Use Firefox to test

Windows – install and configure Perl
Total tasks = 23 (or 42 if configuring cgi-bin)

Run PHP installer
    Click "Run"
    Click "Next"

Accept license agreement
    Click "Next"
    Modify path to "C:\PHP"
    Click "Next"
    Select "IIS CGI"
    Click "Next"
    Click "Next"
    Click "Finish

Copy the script
    Right click on php file
    Select "Copy"
    Click "Start Menu"
    Open "My Computer"
    Browse to "C:\"
    Open "Inetpub" folder
    Right click
    Click "Paste"

Open IIS Manager
    Click "Start Menu"
    Click "Administrative Tools"
    Click "Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager"

Confirm PHP is active
    Select "Web Service Extensions"
    Ensure "PHP: Hypertext Processor" set to "Allow"

Use Internet Explorer to test

PHP Conclusion
Of course, he had already set up the cgi-bin virtual directory when he did Perl, so he’s getting that configuration for free. If you were configuring just PHP (or PHP first) this would take a total of 42 steps, instead of 23.

Conclusion, Conclusion
Either way, this guy sure has a funny idea of what “easy” means. I think it’s easy for him to make money from Microsoft by spreading lies about Linux.

Finally, a drop-in replacement for Windows Small Business Server

Remember ClarkConnect? Well maybe you don’t, but it was a handy little distro for running local servers. Now it exists as ClearOS, built on CentOS (in-turn built from RHEL source) and it’s a great replacement for Windows SBS for small business.

It can operate in Standalone more, or as a gateway as well which includes firewall, shaping, intrusion detection and soo much more. It comes with lots of the features and finally, we have a single server install which bundles calendar sharing!

Definitely worth a look.. see my latest article about it.

How to triple boot Mac Pro with OS X, Fedora, Windows

Here are some step by step instructions on how to triple boot a Mac Pro (and I guess any Intel based Mac) with OS X (Snow Leopard), Fedora 12 and Windows XP. I ran into trouble because of the Fedora 12 installer being clever and setting my Fedora partition to be bootable, which didn’t play nice with the MBR table and Windows.

Firstly, the Mac Pro I am using has a 500GB SATA drive, so the partition sizes that I choose reflect that fact. Your machine might be different, so adjust accordingly.

Step 1
Install OS X on single partition using the whole drive (insert DVD and boot with C key held down).

Step 2
Use the diskutil terminal command to resize the OS X partition and create one for Linux and Windows.

Open “Terminal” and then run:
sudo diskutil resizeVolume disk0s2 200G "MS-DOS" "Linux" 200G "MS-DOS" "Windows" 5G
(Note that the final number for the Windows drive doesn’t really matter, it will fill all remaining available space.)

Step 3
Under OS X, install rEFIt (a graphical EFI boot loader) and then bless the drive:
sudo /efi/refit/enable-always.sh

Step 4
Insert Fedora 12 disk and reboot, holding down the C key (or boot it from the Linux CD entry in rEFIt menu).
(Note: I had to install via FTP, because installing from DVD didn’t always work on my Mac Pro. If you have the same issue then at the boot menu hit the “Tab” key and add “askmethod” to the kernel line and boot the entry.)

Step 5
During the installer, select the 3rd partition for / (choose “Custom” partition), format ext4.

Next, switch to terminal 2 (CTRL+Alt+2) and toggle boot to off for the Linux partition, like so:
parted /dev/sda
toggle 3 boot

Now sync the GPT and MBR partition tables:
gptsync /dev/sda
(Or you can do this step via rEFIt menu after the install if you prefer.)

Switch back to terminal 6 (Alt+6) and continue. Install the boot loader to /dev/sda3 (this is the default).

Complete Fedora install, reboot into OS X, eject disk, insert Windows XP install CD.

For reference, the GPT partition table should look something like this:

[chris@localhost ~]$ sudo parted -l

Model: ATA ST3500630AS P (scsi)
Disk /dev/sda: 500GB
Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B
Partition Table: gpt

Number Start End Size File system Name Flags
1 20.5kB 210MB 210MB fat32 EFI System Partition boot
2 210MB 200GB 200GB hfs+ OS X
3 200GB 400GB 200GB ext4 Linux
4 400GB 500GB 99.9GB ntfs Windows

While the MBR table should look like this:

[chris@localhost ~]$ sudo fdisk -l

WARNING: GPT (GUID Partition Table) detected on '/dev/sda'! The util fdisk doesn't support GPT. Use GNU Parted.

Disk /dev/sda: 500.1 GB, 500107862016 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 60801 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
Disk identifier: 0xcce7cce7

Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sda1 1 26 204819+ ee GPT
/dev/sda2 26 24325 195181428 af HFS / HFS+
/dev/sda3 * 24341 48656 195311616 83 Linux
/dev/sda4 48657 60802 97556480 7 HPFS/NTFS

Step 6
Reboot, holding down C key (or choose the Windows CD entry from rEFIt menu), install Windows XP to 4th partition, format NTFS.
If the Windows installer sees a single partition and can’t detect the file system, re-sync the GPT and MBR partition tables via rEFIt or Fedora gptsync command. Also, ensure that the Fedora partition is not set to be bootable (Step 5, part 2). The installer should see multiple drive letters, with the 4th partition being the C drive. Yes, Windows has to be installed on the last partition.

After install, the rEFIt menu should see Windows on the hard drive. Boot it and continue your Windows install. Once installed, insert the OS X Snow Leopard DVD and install the system drivers, etc.

That’s about it.

Build libpst for Windows?

We’re about to do a new Xena release at work, but before that happens I need to (somehow) create a Windows binary of readpst (from libpst) to normalise Outlook PST files. Normally I’d just do it under cygwin, but as of version 0.6.x that requires the cygwin server to be installed and running on the client’s machine (which introduces a whole new level of pain).

We have a native build of readpst from before I worked there, but no-one on “the Google” appears to know how to build it. It’s certainly not my strong point! It’s starting to get tricky..

Windows Server 2008 can now replicate Samba4

A few months ago Tridge demonstrated Samba4 to Samba4 replication and now this goes one step further for real world use. Andrew Bartlett has just blogged about the Samba team’s recent efforts in Redmond working with Microsoft to get a Windows Server 2008 R2 machine to replicate a Samba4 server.

He wrote:

As the days and nights dragged on, greater progress began, and the Windows 2008 R2 server being joined progressively accepted more and more data from Samba4. But just as things looked bright, another failure would rob us of victory, and Hongwei would be sent another trace to analyse…

But as the final minutes arrived, there was time for one final run… Cameras were at the ready, as we waited impatiently for the Windows DC to join, and it was with total shock that, with 15 seconds to spare (and tridge’s taxi no doubt already waiting), the Windows domain controller joined.

This was the first time that Samba4 had hosted an AD domain that a Windows DC found sufficiently acceptable to replicate the whole directory, and be comfortable to set itself up as a peer domain controller.

With this (after some refinement), we will be able to show Samba4 as a viable option to be peer domain controller in any AD domain, able to host such domains alone or in partnership with Microsoft’s Windows.

Great work Samba team, you are amazing!

This guy says it much better than I can..

Charlie Brooker from the Guardian says it much better than I can..

I know Windows is awful. Everyone knows Windows is awful. Windows is like the faint smell of piss in a subway: it’s there, and there’s nothing you can do about it. OK, OK: I know other operating systems are available. But their advocates seem even creepier, snootier and more insistent than Mac owners. The harder they try to convince me, the more I’m repelled. To them, I’m a sheep. And they’re right. I’m a helpless, stupid, lazy sheep. I’m also a masochist. And that’s why I continue to use Windows – horrible Windows – even though I hate every second of it. It’s grim, it’s slow, everything’s badly designed and nothing really works properly: using Windows is like living in a communist bloc nation circa 1981. And I wouldn’t change it for the world, because I’m an abject bloody idiot and I hate myself, and this is what I deserve: to be sentenced to Windows for life.

That’s why Windows works for me. But I’d never recommend it to anybody else, ever. This puts me in line with roughly everybody else in the world. No one has ever earnestly turned to a fellow human being and said, “Hey, have you considered Windows?” Not in the real world at any rate.

Until now. Microsoft, hellbent on tackling the conspicuous lack of word-of-mouth recommendation, is encouraging people – real people – to host “Windows 7 launch parties” to celebrate the 22 October release of, er, Windows 7. The idea is that you invite a group of friends – your real friends – to your home – your real home – and entertain them with a series of Windows 7 tutorials. So you show them how to burn a CD, how to make a little video, how to change the wallpaper, and how to, oh no, hang on it’s not supposed to do that, oh, I think it’s frozen, um, er, let me just, um, no that’s not it, um, er, um, er, so how’s it going with you and Kathy anyway, um, er, OK well see you around I guess.

To assist the party-hosting massive, they’ve also uploaded a series of spectacularly cringeworthy videos to YouTube, in which the four most desperate actors in the world stand around in a kitchen sharing tips on how best to indoctrinate guests in the wonder of Windows. If they were staring straight down the lens reading hints off a card it might be acceptable; instead they have been instructed to pretend to be friends. The result is the most nauseating display of artificial camaraderie since the horrific Doritos “Friendchips” TV campaign (which caused 50,000 people to kill themselves in 2003, or should have done).

It’s so terrible, it induces an entirely new emotion: a blend of vertigo, disgust, anger and embarrassment which I like to call “shitasmia”. It not only creates this emotion: it defines it. It’s the most shitasmic cultural artefact in history. Watch it for yourself.

NSW locks students into proprietary systems

The NSW Government has announced the roll out of 240,000 netbooks to year 9 students.

The system is completely proprietary:
Windows 7
Microsoft Office
Adobe Photoshop
Apple iTunes
and more..

But then I guess you’d expect nothing less from the Australian Indoctrination Education system.

Not only that, but the Government is touting these as “unhackable.” Oh yeah, right. Here we go..

This comment on Slashdot by by GradiusCVK says it all:

What is it with governments and hubris? If they had just shipped all these laptops without any mention of “unhackableness”, you know what would have happened?
1: 240,000 kids would have gotten reasonably secure systems with useful software on them
2: People would have noticed how secure and safe the systems were, and appreciated the low rate of problems they experienced
3: Eventually, some smart students would have figured out how to bypass all the security so they can play world of warcraft or something, but nobody would have cared and it wouldn’t have gotten any press

Instead, some asshat announces to the world “Bow to our unhackable laptops! We are awesome! HAHAHA!”, and now thousands of hackers and security researchers out there have made it their personal crusade to find a way to totally decimate all the security on the box. You’re right… It’s gonna take about 1 month for an exploit for these things to make it to the front page on slashdot. F****ing idiots.

Yes, I’m aware that security through obscurity is no security at all, but that’s not the issue here. The issue is that instead of nobody caring or trying to break the reasonable security they’ve implemented, now they’ve got thousands of people working on it. THAT does matter.


How to host a Windows 7 Launch Party

My goodness, Microsoft is so hip and cool.

They’ve made a video on how to host a Windows 7 Lunch Party. Of course for each of the characters you’ve got representatives of everyone; the nerd (red shirt), the older lady (blue shirt), the younger woman (purple shirt) and the African American (green shirt).

They try and be cool by cutting in and out and zooming the camera around, which really just ends up looking stupid.

One of the hot tips:

“Now, of course the first thing you want to do is install Windows 7.. [All laugh].. Der, der! Make sure you do that a couple of days in advance of the party..”

A few days before, hahaha.. Then it cuts over to a badly dubbed voice as though it’s the same guy continuing with:

“..call customer service if you have any questions..”

Amateur hour! I’ve got tears in my eyes!

My favourite quote?

In a lot of ways, you’re just throwing a party with Windows 7 as an honoured guest! Sounds easy, and it is!

“Oh my gosh, well when everyone was there and settled, I led an overview of some of my favourite Windows 7 features. I showed my guest things from two of the Windows 7 orientation videos and it took like ten minutes. Oh you know what was great? It was totally informal, like, everyone just crowded around the computer in the kitchen.”

Finally, it ends up with a deep message to everyone about how Windows 7 is all about you..

My goodness, what a shocker.