Sunday, April 28, 2013

New Blog

Nicks Place 2 is at Nicks Place 2

Monday, April 15, 2013

TV Dongles / USB sticks. Hello fair people , heres a roundup of a few TV dongles that I`ve bought recently and a couple that I`ve had for some time. First up is a KWorld DV3 DVBT 310U USB 2.0 This one was bought some time ago and used to work perfectly with my first computer,- a windows XP machine. It has both a UHF aerial input AND a video in/Aux in connector and is VERY useful because I used to have two Freeview receivers daisy chained through it awith my DVD recorder and VHS tape recorder (yes I really still have got one!! Lol!). It proved invaluable for transferring all my VHS movies onto Hard disk. Another interesting feature is that this is both an Analogue and digital receiver, Obviously the Analogue part is now obsolete as programmes in the UK are no longer transmitted this way, but I have still found uses for this function - I have an external UHF camera that is connected to an old video sender unit which still uses the old Analogue system so it is useful for picking up pictures of the outside world without the hassle of cabling. The second dongle is a Pinnacle PCTV DVB-T Stick Solo 72e / USB DVB-T Receiver / TV Tuner. This wee unit was purchased from PCWorld and gave me about a year of service before the case fell off it. - This does not however seem to have affected the units performance and apart from a glitch where I had to re-solder the USB connector, (I had foolishly been using it without supporting the heavy aerial lead which cracked the solder joint) -it has given stirling service. how it SHOULD look:- How it DOES look:- Number 3 is an absolute bargain and I can thouroughly reccommend it to everybody. This dongle is selling on E-bay and Amazon for the HUUUUGE price of (dramatic pause). . . £5.99 plus £2 p&p. Ebay- MCX-/290798519228?pt=UK_Computing_Video_Capture_TV_Tuner_Cards&hash=item43b4f143bc Same dongle, different case on Amazon- Supports/dp/B007SME3A6/ref=pd_sim_sbs_computers_1 ] (The Amazon option has a much smaller case and is a little cheaper -£7.89 but Free P&P). It works beautifully in Windows Media Centre -its plug and play - just plug it in , run the settings wizard in WMC and you`re off! Lastly, the piece de la resistance, (sic), the HD Pinnacle pctv nanostick DVB-T2 which boasts full HD Freeview reception, -its small but powerful.Fully compatible with windows media center, also has software for running a TV server on your PC -i.e. you can watch the TV via a web browser on another PC or your smartphone. This dongle is an unknown quantity for me at present - I must say that I DID have some trouble setting it up and using the web software. However what I have seen has been quite good , - the HD channels are a great deal clearer than the normal digital channels. The last dongle is a lot dearer than the previous dongles but is the only one that receives the new HD Freeview channels so I have parted with my cash for it -£54 of it to be exact, only time will tell if I`ve got my moneys worth. PS -I`m fast going off this crappy blog editing . . . whoever thought of implementing the new editor must have been out of their minds on magic mushrooms or something its PANTS - it just REFUSES to recognise CR (carriage returns) and thats why the formatting is all over the place, its IMPOSSIBLE to get your text to appear in the correct places in relation to posted pictures now. My guess is Google are trying to PISS us all off so much that we give up these blogs, clearly they aren`t making any money for them. -Its enough to make you want to boycott Google altogether. . . . . . (wait a minute , now THERES an idea!!).

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Hello again, Captain Demotricus Tiberius Berk at the helm again, today I`m going to list some of my recent purchases starting with a selection of desk tripods or stands. -My desk was getting very cluttered and everything seemed to be constantly untidy and disorganised so I decided to make it a little tidier. The first one is for the larger Android tablet and is on Amazon here :- Picture its well made and does its job but I had a couple of little niggles with it , namely its not that stable and has a tendency to fold up when you are using the tablet, also the rubber resting pads on the bottom of the stand have a tendency to slide off. - I cured this with the application of a blob of glue in each one. The second one I bought is on Amazon here:- Picture This one is a portable unit and has a plastic case which slides over the legs to fold the stand into a small easily carried gadget which you can attach to a keyring or carry loose in your pocket, -again its well made and does its job. -I bought this one for the Star android phone (my "workhorse phone") as its the only phone I don`t keep plumbed into my computers and just needs "somewhere to put it". The THIRD stand I bought was actually purchased before the other two and was originally intended for the 10" Android, BUT it was not up to the job. -its not a BAD stand but its nowhere near the quality of the others and is poorly designed . -The legs are not fixed and can splay out easily so I`ve relugated it to the job of propping up my kindle. It does have an attachment on top for clamping a phone to the stand but it has to be a smaller phone - an iphone would fit, a galaxy won`t. Amazon reference:- Picture Lastly I have bought a proper "dock" for my posh Android phone - the Samsung GT-N7000 Note. This is not only a stand but a charging port and audio connector to plumb the phone into My computer and Audio system. its not cheap but it does make things a lot easier for me. All I have to do now is plonk the phone into the dock and it automatically connects the charger and Audio leads, its possible to prop the phone up in portrait OR landscape mode and is very spable. Amazon reference:- Picture Everything now looks a little tidier and more accessable:-

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Latest Rainbow post

Hiya Peeps! Was going to post about my Brand spanking New Graphics card today but unfortunately it has turned out to be faulty, (or at least I THINK its faulty - there is NO output from the HDMI or VGA ports). _I thought maybe it was not getting enough power from the (rather small) 250W PSU in my second computer - the HP P6 Pavillion, so I have ordered and installed a new 500W PSU.-The Graphics card has gone back for replacement, (its a Palit 2GB Nvidia GeForce GT 630 :- ). The Installation of the new PSU went Butter smooth and was simply a case of unscrewing the 4 mounting screws, and lifting the PSU out of the PC , then, one by one , unplugging each cable in turn and plugging in the new PSU cable. The only thing that was slightly different was the main motherboard connector - the existing HP connector is a 24 pin fitting whereas the new PSU has a 20 pin AND a 4 pin connector which sit side by side in the 24 pin socket, - they will only plug in one way so theres no way you can get mixed up, and if you are unsure - its easy to just note the wire colours on the existing connector and to match them. In the absence of the graphics card I thought I`d tell you about my plans for a screen switching unit I`ve spotted and ordered. Whilst waiting for my new screen (which is working brilliantly by the way) I administered and used the second PC by remote screen, -using one screen for both in effect. I found this to be quite a good solution and set me to thinking about exactly how I would configure my screens when I received the new one. - I did consider keeping the remote administration and using both the new screen and the existing 21" screen on the new PC. Well, -I`ve spotted and ordered a VGA screen switching unit on Amazon, its very cheap (£7) so I`ve sent for it along with two VGA cables. & I intend to connect like this:- (EXTREMELY Artistic picture drawn on new touchscreen :-) ) This will give me the option of using the Windows 8 PC with my new screen via the HDMI lead, and EITHER the Pavillion PC on the second VGA screen OR the Windows 8 PC on the VGA screen as well (as a second screen). (The switch unit will switch the VGA monitor between the Windows 7 system and the Windows 8 second screen). ...........................................................................................................................................STOP PRESS!! The unit arrived as I typed.... .......................................................So now I`m just waiting for the VGA cable to be delivered and It will be all systems GO! :-D I`m fast approaching (famous last words...) what I think will be my Final configuration/setup of all my stuff. "Everything has a place and theres a place for everything" as the saying goes. I now have 3 screens in front of me and I can choose to use Windows Vista ,7 or 8 with 1 or two screen configuration on the windows 8 machine. I have TV accessable on 2 of the PCs both will display/record off 2 channels at once (no more missed programs). I have web access on all PCs and the Android devices and I can control all of them remotely via the web too, or access files on any PC via the web. The sound from all three is linked together and sent to my main speakers/subwoofer. Also linked to the audio are my two android phones and an Android 10" Tablet, also an ipod and a shortwave radio. -(Having the Samsung Note GT7000 connected has the great advantage of being able to use the excellent Dolby 5.1 Function when playing music - it will play MP3,M4P,APE and FLAC lossless codecs and sounds VERY good). I can control one of the PCs via voice control (Dragonspeak)and have a rudimentary voice control (the base windows version)on the other two PCs (All the androids already have voice control built in), and have touchscreen control on four of the six screens (the Windows 8 PC, the Android Tablet and the two Android phones). What can I say? - I just like connecting devices together and seeing how they work together lol!. Latest Gadget purchases:- the Graphics card (watch this space), three separate Phone/Tablet stands, a pen/stylus/torch/laser pointer/extendible magnetic picker-upper,& an HD webcam & a game - Crysis - Maximum Edition. On order and awaiting delivery:- an HDTV dongle,a Smartphone to HDMI convertor/input device,a dock for the samsung,a 400 Lumen keyring torch (you can never have too many torches),several Games - Silent Hunter 4,Pacific Fighters,Dangerous Waters,& Doom BFG Edition -oh yes - and a capacitive paintbrush like stylus, for use on the new screen via an art program. Boldly going where no gadgeteer has gone before....this is demotricus Tiberius Berk signing off.... Postscript - latest "office" configuration/setup.^^^ . . . P.S. Sorry about the AWFUL Blog Layout - its all down to Googles idea of an "improved" (cough! BULLSHIT! cough) Editor (which has as one of its "improvements" - its OWN idea of correct layout and formatting.....(its SHIT isn`t it?)-----and thats in ADDITION to taking the video upload tool out - SOME IMPROVEMENT...(For the record - To whoever designed the new editor --YOU ARE AN IDIOT.).

Monday, April 8, 2013

Poor Fellow looks most bemused doesn`t he?... He landed here in Liverpool airport by mistake and look what happened...... thinks....."They could at least of used the right steps...."

Well I did a jigsaw today!!! (just the important bits)


My First PC. (well about the seventh tbh but Atari 400. 800, 1200`s and intel 286, 386 and 486`s don`t count)

My Second PC. My Third PC. My Fourth PC. The Bastard.

  No 6.

No 9.
No 10. (or 16 if you like...)

No 11.

(so far).

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Messing About with FSX and my phone.

Well, theres an Epic FSX clip here-->-----""----- But in their infinite wisdom , Google/Blogger/Youtube have made it impossible to post video clips EASILY in these blogs anymore. What a stupendously Dumb thing to do. It used to be easy, you would just paste the URL from youtube, OR click the "film" icon and enter the youtube title.... NOT ANY MORE.... Now (because my youtube account has a different google I.D. - [a situation caused by google] I have to log OUT of blogger, Log IN to the youtube Account, Find my clip {I can`t load it without being signed in as its not a "Public" clip} , -copy/paste the "share" tag from the youtube video, -THEN Log OUT of the youtube account and Log IN to the Blogger account AGAIN,and paste the link into the post field). All this because google want to link the blogger / youtube and google ID`s (and a heap of other services too) into one ID. - Good for them , BAD for us.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

You know, - it really BUGS me when people slate windows 8 without even using it.... And I`ll show you the major cause of my annoyance. This is Windows 7 which everyone agrees is a fine operating system, - nobody slates it. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Now THIS, - is Windows 8 which an increasing number of idiots are slating without noticing something major. . . . . . . . . . . . The "thing" they`re missing? THEY ARE IDENTICAL Only . . . . Windows 8 has a better start menu!!! and for those who are screaming "NO START BUTTON" ...... use start8. (or one of about 20 start button replacement menus). I rest my case.

Edit:- I recant, windows 8  & 8.1 are DOGS...after a few months of use I`ve come to the conclusion that it was coded by monkeys, - drunken crazy retarded monkeys... there are SO many bugs in it that even some very basic file functions just don`t work properly. - If you use the picture Preview pane you can not edit or delete the file without receiving a flat NO from the O/S with a message stating that the file is "open in another program" (yep the bloody preview window) and you have to turn thumbnails OFF AND reboot either the entire PC or windows explorer to do anything to it. Microsofts "fix" was to include a link in task manager to restart explorer rather than to actually end the thumbnail handler if you want to edit it. Thats just LAZY and retarded. - MONKEYS.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Special Post!! The Long Awaited Monitor has arrived!!! I spoke with the supplier (metaphorically) via E-mail on sunday and he dropped the bombshell news (for me) that my monitor would be arriving the next day, Monday. -I was not expecting it until the 31st March onwards as an advert addenda had been fixed to the original advert on the companys website. When it arrived I unpacked it and found all the necessary leads within -(theres just something about the `new` smell of virgin equipment..) I made space amid the clutter and hooked it up. The display is in a word - STUNNING. - To test the unit I loaded a few 4K HD Files from youtube amd Vimeo - if you enter "4k" in the search field in youtube you`ll see the type of clip I mean. - you have to make the clip full screen and then change the resolution settings (the `cog`) to "Original". The viewing Aspect is basically "If you can see the screen, you can see the image". (which is pretty good:-) The base resolution is 1920 x 1080 which is Full HD (1080), Films look very good on it. The touchscreen functions work via a USB link or a dedicated video link lead. - I chose the USB lead , which also activates the built in 4 way (powered) USB Hub. There are also inputs for HDMI , Ethernet (not sure what thats used for , someone told me it has something to do with the Bios), a microphone input and sound/headphone output. I found setting up the drivers and client software to be straightforward and easy. When I First switched on the configured and connected unit I tested the touchscreen. The Latency is FAST , immediate response and as good as , if not better than your average smartphone. -I have to say that after receiving this unit and playing with the Windows 8 Metro Apps - I finally "get" the Windows 8 Operating system. It transforms from a weird microsoft experiment into something I can see myself using every day. My computer is a little underpowered where graphics are concerned because I use the on board Intel graphics instead of a dedicated card. My Experience index is 3.5 because of the on board graphics. - Your score is calculated by the lowest mark in several categorys - graphics , processor, memory etc, -3.5 is pretty low but would be boosted to an pretty good score of 7 or above if I were to upgrade, because my next score up for my machine is 7. (The SSD makes a big difference),- For comparison, my windows 7 machine has a score of 6 and my Vista laptop is 5. Well, I won`t witter on about how good this is , I `ll just post these pics and you can see for yourself!!
Hello there! The Scanner arrived, and a wonderful little gadget it IS. Heres a picture with its clothes (oops -I meant BACK) off :- and one with the back on. It has Hi and Lo resolution scan modes which are 600dpi and 900dpi respectively, and it outputs files to either PDF or JPG files. The PDF setting is not as useful as it sounds though as invariably a scan is saved as a single PDF `page` and its impossible to save a proper PDF `book` with several pages in. So the JPG is the better option. -There are a number of programs that will convert a sequence of jpg images into a PDF book so it is possible to scan a full book with this although its not its intended purpose. This device is an invaluable tool for students and researchers or anybody who has a need of copying and collating information from different sources. Certainly it will save you money if you are used to paying a library for facsimiles of book pages and is an ideal size for transporting to and from librarys, schools etc. Here are a couple of scans made with it :- [IM Well, since my last post I have been having more than a few problems with the dreaded windows 8 Pro again. As you know, - I use Bitlocker - or did... Edit:- Now reverted to truecrypt again. about a week ago I had cause to reboot the computer to upload some microsoft updates. Something `happened` and I was unable to reboot properly. I was confronted with the default bitlocker `enter unlocking key" screen. Now I`m a careful chap and keep CD copys,USB stick copys and written copys of my keys, and they are also stored on microsofts servers along with your identity details. So I entered the key. It ACCEPTED the key, and promptly Rebooted..... into the "Enter Key" screen again. and no matter WHAT I did, - I could not get into windows or repair windows , even with the original install disks or the restore or repair disks that I made when I first installed it. I eventually had to format the drive and install a clean copy of Windows 8 again.THEN upgrade it to windows Pro, THEN upgrade it to Windows 8 Pro Media Edition. Blah, Blah, Blah. So I`ve installed everything, and Re-installed all my desktop apps, and all my Metro Apps, and my passwords etc, etc -(you get the picture.) ALL DONE! - or so I thought... After about three days of use, -ALL my Metro Apps stop opening. This time thinks I, I`ll fix it rather than re-installing (which is of course a pain in the arse). No such luck. I posted a question on the microsoft forum. The moderator deleted it. No reason, No message, No E-mail -just gone. So I posted it again. Same thing, -Question deleted. Posted a third time , with the added message that I would keep posting and DOUBLING the amount of posts each time until someone at least answered me. I eventually got a response with some crap about posting twice (the two that he had deleted miraculously - re-appeared for about 10 hrs then disappeared again) __________________________________________________ Edit:- I think Microsoft KNOW about this problem and DON`T know the answer, - I`ve seen loads of posts from people describing the same thing happening but no clear answers - No wonder they`re deleting the questions if the "Answer" is to start from scratch again... __________________________________________________ Then I DID get a proper response from a DIFFERENT moderator and he actually helped me. To cut a long story short (thank god for that I hear you muttering...) I needed to do a "Refresh" which is basically another name for a clean install AGAIN. I ranted, I raged, I cut all my hair off (really -I did!)but then settled down and got to thinking. "How do I use this to my advantage", -I thought. Well. I bought and installed an SSD. Its an OCZ "Agility 3" 120GB SSD , 6GB/s transfer rate and is a 2.5" device. -Very small , Very powerful. I have re-installed windows 8 to it by simply swapping the SATA leads over in the PC and doing a clean install onto it. Luckily I did have a little forethought when I did the previous install, and rather than restoring all my data to the set librarys in windows. I made use of the excellent Livedrive restore client to download my backed-up data to two USB drives separate from the main C drive (partly because I suspected that the disk might have been the cause of the failures. So my installation went like butter and I was up and running with all my data within 3/4 of an hour. All I had to install was the Operating system and my Flying Simulators , which will benefit from the fast speed of the SSD. The computer is now running like a new beast entirely. My Index score is now only being held back by the lack of a proper graphics card. its 3.5 but everything else is around 7-7.5 on the index. The Size IS a little small and a larger one would have been a lot better but as long as I only put my essential programs or programs that will benefit from its speed onto it , it should be enough for now. (The price was a factor in my choice). Stuff now loads in a finger click rather than a protracted yawn. Its not perfect - not by a mile but its loads better and I urge you if you can afford it and you have the opportunity to, - to install one because the difference it makes is astonishing. Now all I need is for my long awaited touchscreen to arrive and a new graphics card, and I will be packing one kick-ass computer! __________________________________________________ Edit:- Also, arranging things so just the windows system is on the SSD and my data is on USB drives means any further installs will be very, very quick. __________________________________________________ for a footnote I`ll post something I had but did not realise... -I`ll elaborate. In the First posts in this thread I mentioned using Tonido and Deluge. -Well it occurred to me that I could set up a shared Tonido link as the monitored folder for automatic torrent input. In practice this means that wherever I am - if I have a web link i.e. my smartphone, - I can `share` or post a torrent metafile into this directory remotely and it will automatically load into the torrent client and download, then begin seeding. -Then as long as I have set up the seeding folder in Deluges settings as another shared tonido folder, then I can retrieve the downloaded file in the same way (by FTP). - I`ll have the file without having to have a client in the portable device and it stays seeding in my `proper` client. (YES I know thats what a seedbox does - but this is FREE -as is the software). I remember posting this idea in the first post here - and the answer was already on my PC! -You live and learn... See you next post, Demotricus (Tiberius, captain...){{Berk...}}
Hello fellow Gadgeteers Its Captain Demotricus Berk Reporting again, Stardate 14/02/2013 This week your intrepid Adventurer has been wrestling with the world of Flight Simulators and despite a severe mauling from the Microsoft Software Activation process, is in the Guise of "Biggles,Maverick, Ice Man and the Red Baron Amongst others. I`ve been looking at several Flight Simulators AND Games - I make the distinction because some of the simulators I`ve been testing are far more than games. Two in particular deserve special mention , - Flight Simulator X and X-Plane 10. -The level of detail present in these programs is simply stunning when the right add-ons are installed. A Nice function is also that you can download and play time limited versions of these programs to "try before you buy". My Experience with Flight Simulator X (FSX) , - Microsofts offering has not been painless though. It has the most frustrating and error prone Program Activation process I have EVER come across. I`ll deal with the good stuff first. Microsofts Flight Simulator has evolved from humble beginnings on the windows platform. Early versions have progressed from Chunky, choppy, roughly shaped planes and spartan environments to the more accurate flight models and more detailed virtual worlds that we see in todays offerings. A word of advice here - if you are planning on getting this program you would do well to look at the slightly earlier version of Flight Simulstor 2004 rather than FSX if your machine is not cutting edge. Although the Virtual world is not quite as detailed as FSX, the flight model is accurate with a good frame rate on less powerful PCs and at first glance its hard to tell the difference. The Flight simulator 2004 version I bought is called "Flight Simulator 2004 -A Century of Flight". -The Plane models supplied are varied , from the "Wright Flyer" and the "Spirit of St Louis" all the way up to the Boeing 747-400. Many Forums and Blogs have downloadable Plane models you can add to both F/S 2004 and FSX, so if you`ve always wanted to pilot a Vulcan or Avro Lancaster, or even Spitfires and the pantheon of WW2 planes , there will be a model available somewhere. The models do vary in the level of detail and generally "purchased" plane add-ons are more detailed, especially in the cockpit. You can immerse yourself deeply in the world of flying OR just dip your toes in because the Realism and control detail are fully configurable. At the highest levels Planes like the 747 need a lot of mugging up on before you attempt to fly them - the cockpits and controls are superbly detailed including Radio and GPS function and accurate control and switch/gauge function. (or you can just jump in and Fly!). FSX -(the "X" is 10 BTW) has an improved virtual world and with add-ons can include Real photographic scenery (ever wanted to fly over your own house?) and moving road vehicles, airport vehicles and ground staff. Weather effects and real life "Emergencys" can be enabled to test your skills.Both versions have good learning/teaching functions and will train you to be a better pilot, indeed many real world Pilots use these programs to brush up on their instrument theory etc. It could be said that if you want an accurate Flight model and frame rate , you should go for F/S 2004 but if you want a prettier virtual world and more detail level then you should go for FSX. Heres a Clip showing what can be achieved with FSX and a fast machine plus the correct add-ons :- These programs will work just fine on windows 7 and 8 machines BUT you MUST enable the Compatability settings in order for them to run without crashing. This leads me into the Bad stuff. Being a stickler and having a reasonably powered system - I was annoyed when FSX kept crashing at higher detail levels on my machine , so I decided to uninstall and re-install the "Acceleration add-on pack" I had bought. BIG MISTAKE!!! The Acceleration pack duly uninstalled and re-installed, but when I came to re-Activate it (on the same machine) it would not activate or connect to the Microsoft Server. -I surfed the Microsoft support site and discovered that I was not the first to experience this. -A "fix" was posted on the site that was supposed to reset the product activation so you could re-activate. So this I duly downloaded and ran accoprding to the instructions. WELL.... it did not reset the activation on the acceleration pack at all. - It DE-ACTIVATED the main FSX program. "S**t!" I thought, and decided on a complete re-installation. -No such luck, -BOTH the main FSX Program AND the Acceleration pack resolutely refused to activate. - The Options given under "troubleshooting" advised me to contact support and activate by telephone. 1. The Telephone number given on the DVD was incorrect. - I found the correct Microsoft support number and rang it. 2. The product was not listed under the Auto - activation system. 3. After a LONG wait I finally was connected to a very bored sounding indian voice. 4 He asked me for a 9 digit product identification code -supposedly on the DVD package. (Nope!) 5 He then told me I needed to speak with "Technical Support" and proceeded to give me THE SAME NUMBER I had dialled HIM on. 6 When I pointed this out he just reverted to script and kept repeating "I am terribly sorry sir" to every question I fired at him. I`ll cut the story short here as I can see your eyes glazing over.... I got No answer from microsoft. I won`t go into detail of how I got FSX and the Acceleration pack running again...lets just say it involved Bittorrent and a tracker. Right - Enough about FSX. X-Plane 10 WOW! - What a program!! The detail is photographic, its technically superb and the flight model is second to NONE. - I won`t go into too much detail here but will demonstrate by posting these clips:- Don`t think I need to elaborate on them. I only have the X plane 10 Demo at the moment but its on my wish list and will be taking over from FSX. A couple more then I`m done, - "LockOn" air combat simulation is another SIM that I`ve bought. - Now this is more of a game than a fully fledged Flight Simulator but its pretty damn good for that. It has the very satisfying addition in that you can shoot other planes down and attack targets on the ground. Again, as with FSX its very detailed with its control functions and you won`t get very far unless you read the manuals and learn how to arm missiles,guns, - target enemys and navigate and fly to the target locations. The detail is good but not on a par with FSX or X plane 10. You have eight flyable Aircraft including the A-10A Warthog (a big gun with a plane attached), the F15C Eagle and several MIG variants. There are also 50 types of Computer controlled aircraft models to shoot at. You can go Head to head with someone else or fly co-operative missions too. Lastly, A VERY cheap program that is vastly under-rated and Excellent value for money is "IL2 Sturmovik" 1946 This is akin to Lock On but with WW2 aircraft instead of modern ones. Its a bundle of 3 seperate titles, "forgotten Battles", "The Ace Expansion Pack" and "Pacific Fighters" and runs on win 98 - XP computers , but will run on win 7 & 8 in compatability mode well. The Graphics are pretty nifty and at least as good as "Lock On" but can be bought for the startling price of £4.69 GBP ($7.28 USD) The only downside is the lack of a paper manual. Here are a couple of clips of first "Lock On" and secondly "IL2" :- So thats a round up of some very nice simulators. One that I missed was microsofts "Combat Flight Simulator 3 " which did not arrive in time for me to comment - I`m waiting for it and the Battle of Britain Expansion, (lets just hope the Activation goes smoothly.) Next time I post I`ll be looking at a portable 600DPI Book scanner, which I am currently awaiting delivery of. And with any luck, my new touchscreen will have arrived by then Heres a teaser for it :- See you soon! Captain Demotricus Berk signing off!!...
Stardate 29/01/2013 12:34 Captain Demotricus Tiberius Berk reporting:- The Gadget man is on a roll.... Today I received a few bits and bobs to further complete my setup. I now have dual DVBT dongles feeding two of the three computers in front of me so I can now watch/Record from/Timeshift 4 channels at a time from the Windows 8 Desktop and the vista laptop. I also have a TV dongle feeding the Windows 7 machine too but I don`t use it for TV. (Not for TV? then what do you use it for? I hear you ask...) Well its a RTL2832U type dongle which can be used as a SDR (Software Dependent Radio) and I`ve always been a bit of a short-wave and HF listener having had several scanners and short wave radios in my time and I`ve never lost the bug so when I discovered how easy and Cheaply you could set one up by using this particular type of chipset dongle I leapt at the chance of buying one (they are now becoming quite rare.). Todays arrivals include the second dual receiving dongle and all the antenna plugs cable and splitters needed to wire everything up. I have daisy chained the sound inputs and outputs from all three computers into the same set of speakers - The windows 8 machine is the "master" and accepts a line in from the Windows 7 desktop which in turn receives an input from the laptop headphone socket to its line in. The microphone input on the laptop has a microphone in it (for dragon speak speech recognition), the microphone socket on the windows 8 machine has a flying lead for inputs from either my phones / radios or whatever whilst the windows 7 microphone socket is permanently wired via an attenuator to my 4 track under the desk (which has its own inputs for decks, Guitar leads, line in inputs and microphones). As you might guess this arrangement is not perfect and it can pick up electrical noise easily. However its about the best I can do with only two useable line inputs and surprisingly once a signal is present - the noise is negligible. Using this arrangement I can play,multitrack and record music from my guitars and synthesizers and even croak a few bars into a microphone too. I can hear audio from all the computers (And the decks/cassettes/instruments) at the same time and on the same speakers. One of my aims is to integrate the whole lot into one viable system and I am getting there slowly. Another small triumph was adding an android tablet into the mix - its connected via that flying lead I mentioned and gives me skype access without using my desktop system resources and also monitors my E-mail feeds. I can also use it as a "super-mouse" by using a remote desktop application which enables full gesture control on the windows 8 machine, - a useful stopgap until my touchscreen arrives. The latest on my touchscreen is that I am on a pre-order list and will get one of the first monitors of the type I`ve ordered as soon as its in the country. -They are apparently in GREAT demand - a good sign, as is the numerous glowing reviews on the web and youtube. Unknown to me when I ordered it has a webcam built into it as well as its own soundcard/speakers /USB hub, and ethernet inputs. -Its a capacitive ten point touch device. I am left with a decision to make when the monitor arrives. Do I :- Sack the idea of putting my windows 7 "seedbox" in the attic and use my existing LCD monitor as a seperate monitor for it and use the touchscreen by itself for the windows 8 machine, OR do I:- Use the Touchscreen as screen 1 and the LCD as screen 2 on the windows 8 Machine and continue to administer the windows 7 machine through "logmein" the remote desktop program. ??? Bear in mind that if I DO carry through with the "Hide my seedbox PC in a cupboard or the Attic" --scheme. that I will have to rethnk my audio setup. As this project was originally a mental exercise - I think I`ve proved it viable so am now in two minds about what to do next. The back of the PCs resemble a plate of spaghetti and out of curiousity I counted my spare and used USB leads - 29 in use and 15 hanging up - maybe I should uprate my power supply? Decisions , decisions... Actually it may be academic, -The windows 8 PC does have two video outputs, - the VGA socket the existing LCD monitor is plugged into, and a HDMI output. I know that the new monitor takes an HDMI input so am just assuming that I`ll be able to configure it for two screens. This may not be the case. I MAY have to purchase a graphics card (existing graphics are on board the motherboard).-If I do that , I may have to uprate the power supply -its 280W (not huge..) Still , I`ll cross that bridge when I get to it! so For now... Demotricus Tiberius Berk signing off.... Edit:- Stop Press! Now have integrated VHS video recorder and freeview box into system via composite video/Audio input and can now transfer Old tapes to digital storage And ANOTHER Freeview Feed (that makes a total of 6 patchable ( and recordable ) channels viewing at same time)
Naaahhh Naahhh Na na na na naaaaah etc (Star Trek Theme tune...) Yup it`s Captain Demotricus Berk again and its time for more mumbo jumbo talk... Encryption. ______________ The story so far... Our intrepid hero has set up two computers , one with Windows 8 Pro , and the other with Windows 7 , a Bittorrent client (Deluge) and a VPN , and, and... Oh well, just read the first post`s :-) Today I will be tackling encryption. -what I used, why I used what I did, and how to set it up. The first type of encryption I set my beady eye to was "Bitlocker" - the microsoft offering, which comes with windows 7 Ultimate or Enteprise edition`s and windows 8 pro. This is the Wilkepedia entry :- What is Encryption I hear you ask...Well in a nutshell, its a combination lock on your computers data. In the same way that you would need a combination to get into your work locker or home safe you can set your computer up so that you need an encryption key to get into your computers data. When you use drive encryption - ALL of the data on the drive (or "container" ) is encrypted and unreadable without the encryption key. The key can be any combination of ascii characters, the more characters you use, the better the security. You CAN if you wish use just a password but it will not be as secure as if you follow my advice and use at least 20 characters. -I generally think of an easy to remember phrase then substitute key characters in the phrase with similar ascii characters. e.g the phrase "thequickbrownfoxjumpsoverthelazydog" can be written so:- "th3qu1ckbr0wnf0xjump50v3rth3l4zyd0g" (I tend to leave spaces out of the phrase, but you can include them if you wish). _________________________ A note about Bitlocker. When you first come to use bitlocker you may find that you are unable to use it and may receive a error message on your PC telling you that bitlocker requires a special chip installed on your motherboard. -This threw me for a long time until I discovered that you have to alter a setting in your computer in order to use it without this chip. the message reads :- "A compatible Trusted Platform Module (TPM) Security Device must be present on this computer, but a TPM was not found. Please contact your System Administrator to Enable Bitlocker" Well as YOU are usually the "System Administrator" this is what you have to do to enable bitlocker. open a "run" window and enter "gpedit.msc" (this must be done as an administrator) this will open a "Local Group Policy Editor" window. Navigate to Computer Configuration Administrative Templates Windows Components Bit Locker Drive Encryption Operating System Drives and double click on Require additional authentication at startup. Enable the feature and check the box next to Allow BitLocker without a compatible TPM, click Apply and Ok, and close out of Local Group Policy Editor. Now when you switch on bitlocker in your control panel , instead of the error message you will be ushered into the bitlocker setup wizard which will prompt you to choose your drive to be encrypted, it will also ask you for a key and then prompt you to backup the key to a thumb drive or CD/DVD.(These are sensible precautions). You can use bitlocker to encrypt an entire drive, which can be your C drive if you so wish , or a slave Hard disk drive or external USB Hard disk drive. you can also encrypt thumb drives using "Bitlocker-to-go" which basically means that windows installs a reader on the drive when it encrypts it.-you then have a thumb drive that is worthless without the password or key.(useful). Bitlocker IS a strong encryption system but a word of warning. -it is NOT infallible. - I recently came across an illuminating microsoft document that was part of a presentation to forensic detectives instructing them just how to bypass and decrypt Bitlocker encrypted drives.(!!) A strong "Plus" for the Bitlocker system is the ability to encrypt drives "on the fly" or transparently.. - in laymans terms it just means that once you have unlocked the drive or system with your key, -the computer behaves exactly the same as an unencrypted system. -You only have to enter your key when you boot up, and then carry on as normal. Source of above info :- _____________________________ TrueCrypt. the other system I use (and have used for a number of years) is Truecrypt. Truecrypt is an open source encryption system that has VERY strong encryption algorythms. it is widely used and provides security for people all over this planet including many governments and companys (Even the U.S. Government uses it). Here is their Website :- Truecrypt gives you the option of choosing an encryption algorythm or method these include:- AES Serpent Twofish AES-Twofish AES-Twofish-Serpent Serpent-AES Serpent-Twofish-AES Twofish-Serpent RIPEMD-160 SHA-512 Whirlpool They are all good and as you can probably guess by the names , some are variations that combine two or more basic algorythms to make one stronger method. in practice it doesn`t really matter which you use but as a general rule,the more complex an algorythm, the longer the encryption process and consequently the slower a system will seem to run. Truecrypt is Extremely configurable and its use goes way beyond the scope of this brief description. You can use Truecrypt "on the Fly" and in the same way as Bitlocker, you can create portable drives in the same manner as bitlocker-to-go with thumbdrives. You can also create "virtual encrypted drives" which appear in your system as large files.- You mount them in the same way as ISO`s can now be mounted in windows 8. I won`t embarass myself trying to explain how to use truecrypt`s many features but will instead point you towards the excellent tutorial on their site which walks you through the process of creating an encrypted drive by using a "wizard". When I set my system up I made use of Bitlocker on the Windows 8 machine because of its ease of use. -Once you`ve set it up its just a matter of entering your key when you boot up your machine, -you only have to enter it once and then its invisible,working in the background and everything is normal and identical to using an unencrypted system. I used Truecrypt on the windows 7 machine for a couple of key reasons, 1. the encryption is stronger. (& I got spooked by the microsoft document I mentioned). 2. Having used it before, I was familiar with its use, and I have a number of volumes already encrypted with truecrypt that I wanted easy access to, so needed the client software installed somewhere. 3. I figured if its used by the N.S.A. then its good enough for me... 4. I like it. When using Truecrypt you have to run a TSR (Terminate and Stay Resident) program upon booting, and then you mount the encrypted Drive . - The physical drive letter becomes unaccessable (you`ll get an error if you try to click on the drive), and the new mounted drive is allocated a new letter. (which then behaves as a normal drive). All these methods are probably irrelevant if it comes to the crunch though, if the "powers that be" want to see what you`ve got on your computer then they have ways and means of doing so ( as the microsoft document demonstrates). One last thing, If you are serious about wanting security by using encryption... DON`T WRITE DOWN YOUR PASSWORD OR KEY. Make it something that you can remember easily. - If you make an unlock disk or thumbdrive (for forgotten passwords or keys) Then keep them away from your computer, preferably give them to a friend or keep them at work -use your imagination. Until next time... Demotricus signing off.... Edit:-Ooooh! - a little footnote... Because windows 8 Pro has been behaving itself for a while now , I have bought it (and myself) a present, - yes I have re-ordered the touchscreen.. it`s a Dell S2340T 23 inch Full HD Widescreen LED Multi-Touch Monitor. I will post pics when it arrives, (monday hopefully). :-) Edit:- some chance of that! - its now the 15/02/2013 and I`m still waiting.
"Never judge a book by its movie"....