Sunday, August 16, 2009

Utility Gumbo

There’s a lot in this pot.  Probably something everyone can find to enjoy.

I’m serving it up tonight out of the back of the truck on the side of the road.  So it will be short on dialog, full on flavor.

Feel free to pick-around.  Just wash your hands first.

And yes..bring your own bowl because unless noted, it’s all free

RE: Windows Roux

RE: “Prettification”

RE: A Hard Drive to Crack

  • Tableau Disk Monitor – free with registration – nice tool for providing information on hard-disks. Particularly from a forensics perspective.  Interfaces with supported read-write blocker devices as well (it appears).  I registered and downloaded it.  Requires installation. Has some handy extra features when used in conjunction with a Tableau disk bridge device. For more see these Pocket Hard-Drive Utilities post and more newer finds at this Tweak SharePoint and NAS Links post.
  • Atola Insight - ($6990 - $8990) (not free) – I have to confess I wasn’t really sure what to make of this.  From a feature-standpoint it definitely seems to have all the bells-and-whistles for just about any hard-drive servicing needed under the sun including firmware backup/restore and hard-drive password display/recovery/blanking. Atola Technology blog has more information and demos.  Before you run off because of the price, give them credit as they also are the producers of the free/pro versions of Partition Find and Mount — free partition recovery software which is simply an amazing piece of software and something every sysadmin should be familiar with.
  • Acronis® True Image Home 2010 Beta II – TinyApps blog recently brought to my attention that Acronis is accepting beta-tester signups for this application.  I’m mostly an ImageX guy for my imaging needs at work, as well as use a basic backup solution that came with my FreeAgent drive, but I must confess I haven’t really deployed an effective data-backup solution at home.  I hope I have some time to kick the tires on this one.
  • O&O Software - O&O DiskImage 4 Express – free version for home users – More of a real-time imaging/backup solution than a real-time backup solution.  Nonetheless, it still might provide a certain level of ease-of use and recovery for home users.  Version 4 reports some good feature updates.

RE: Other Stuff

  • Java SE 6 Update 16 Is Here – SDN Program News.  Wasn’t auto-picking up on my systems with the Java Control Panel tool.  Manually get the update here..
  • ATI/AMD Catalyst 9.7 - first unified Vista and Windows 7 WHQL driver - Aaron Tiensivu’s Blog.  - I’ve been accepting the default drivers for Windows 7/Vista provided by Microsoft Updates.  However if both our systems did continue to have BSOD issues with the video driver (Catalyst…you would know), I might try this fix.  So far only been having them on Vista.  Win7 x64 bits (RC) is rock-solid stable so far
  • Recuva – file recovery app – lots of updates of late: View full version change history...
  • Paint.NET v3.5 Enhanced for Windows 7 - Windows Experience Blog – I love Paint.NET. Will be designed to use a special Win7 API to enhance some performance and rendering.  You can download an alpha build (build 3509) of Paint.NET v3.5 here.

RE: Browsers

RE: A/V Sweetness

  • hype-free: Basic multi-media (post)processing.  Great tips from cdman83 on post-processing along with some great freeware/OpenSource tools listed in the post as well as below.  Go read it and get better output.  See also this related “hype-free” post No codec packs please!
  • The Levelator – drag-n-drop processor to auto-adjust sound-levels in audio files. Sweet! 
  • VLC Media Player Portable – Who needs Windows Media Player? Not Me!.
  • The KMPlayer – My personal preference.  Seems to have all the codecs I need to play the audio/visual files I regularly encounter at work and home. Nice interface also.
  • ffdshow tryouts -  “ffdshow tryouts is a DirectShow and Video for Windows codec with support for a wide range of audio and video formats, such as Xvid, DivX, and H.264. It includes a powerful filter set that can enhance the video quality - with filters for resizing, deinterlacing, and displaying subtitles - as well as audio quality through normalization, down-/upmixing, and resampling.”  Bleeding edge versions also available that now support x64.

Thanks cdman83!  Great tools all the way round.


--Claus V.

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