Try our New DriverScan 2012!

July 1st, 2011

We’ve just finished our new DriverScan 2012 software and you can try it and see what driver updates we find for your computer.

Download DriverScan 2012 or get more info here!

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What can DriverGuide do better?

April 22nd, 2011

We at DriverGuide try very hard to create the best driver, firmware, and support site out there, but it can be difficult to find the right balance giving our users the ideal user experience and giving us the opportunity to earn the  revenue we need to pay the bills.  So we’d like to open the floor and listen to what you our users have to say.  What would you like us to improve on?

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Guide to Making a Great Android Tablet Out of a $249 E-Reader

March 29th, 2011

With all the new tablets on the market it’s very tempting to lay down the requisite $500-700 to own a good one, but what if I told you there was a way to convert a good $250 e-reader into a great little tablet?  The Barnes & Noble Color Nook e-reader runs a custom version of Google’s Android OS and that let developers and hackers find ways to unleash its real power, and that’s just what they’ve done.  This guide will walk you through installing and configuring your Nook Color as a true Android tablet.  And while others may disagree, the size, utility, and style of this tablet rivals in many ways the Apple iPads, the Motorola Xooms, and the Samsung Galaxy Tabs.  One thing we can all agree on, $250 is quite a bargain for a device that could literally revolutionize your interaction with the web, and in a way, the world.

All you have to do is follow the directions at this Guide to Installing, Configuring, and Overclocking Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) on a Nook Color.

^ Quinxy

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Running Google’s Android on Your PC in Less than 5 Minutes

March 12th, 2011

Ever wanted to play around with Google’s Android mobile OS but don’t have the right phone or tablet?  Tonight I discovered how to play with Android using the free Android x86 Live CD and the free VMware Player.  It took a bit of time for me to figure out, but now that I did I can tell you exactly how to set it up in under five minutes.

Click to view the Guide to Running Google’s Android on your PC.

^ Quinxy

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Migrate Your Old PC Easily for Free with a Virtual Machine!

February 17th, 2011

Buying a new computer should be a joyous event, whipping all the geeky portions of the brain into delighted merriment. But those geeky neurons can sometimes barely crack a smile, knowing what’s in store for them, days upon days of mental effort wasted on a dreaded migration of applications and data accumulated over many years. But, my friends, there is a new and wonderful way to migrate your PC! In less than a day you can shelve your old PC, having moved everything flawlessly to your new PC! The secret? The virtual machine!

Instead of the old methods of manually copying your data and reinstalling your old applications or using automated tools of varying (but always failing) quality to assist, this new approach converts your old system into a virtual machine that will run inside your new machine exactly as it had. All your data and all your applications will work just as they had because the old computer’s entire hard disk, operating system, applications, and data were moved. And because everything is by default encapsulated within this virtual machine, you won’t clutter up your beautiful new machine with old software meant for a now antiquated operating system, nor will you be forced to buy upgrades to that old software to get it to work in your new operating system. It is as flawless a migration solution as you can expect in the Windows world.

In this series of articles we cover how to do a migration with a virtual machine running under the free VMware Player or its more sophisticated VMware Workstation.

For the How To, read Our Quick Guide to Virtualizing Your Old Computer.

^ Quinxy

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The Privacy Dangers of Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Hotmail, etc. and the Cloud

September 28th, 2010

Privacy erodes.  Just ten years ago most savvy internet users kept their own data on their own computers.  We did this partly because of privacy fears, but we did it mostly because it was technically advantageous and in truth was the only viable option.  The Windows users among us used offline POP/SMTP email clients Microsoft Outlook and Eudora, and when limited to a UN*X shell, we used readers like Elm and Pine.  But time moved on and the advantages of online services like Gmail became too hard to resist.  Vast storage, access from anywhere, ease of use, lack of maintenance, no need to backup (theoretically), etc.  I began using Gmail first as my online interface and a temporary holding place for my POP mail destined for Microsoft Outlook.  But after a few years I slowly stopped using Outlook.  And now as I look back I realize just how much privacy I’ve given up.  Let me be clear, I’m not particularly paranoid.  I don’t believe in a government so powerful that it can read every email flowing over the interwebs, nor a company so corrupt that it mines every ounce of the data it holds.  But, it’s not too much of a stretch to wonder just what could be made of your life if someone else had the occasion to examine it without context.  What might occasion that I’m not sure, we are not so important that someone would be likely to without some precipitating cause, real or imagined.  But with all the warrantless wiretaps going around, based on scant reason for suspicion, surely there miscarriages of justice are happening every day to some percentage of us, and we are effectively allowing someone else to sift through our lives.

And in the past we could expect some relative privacy by design.  A government which wanted to know what we were doing or thinking would need access to our homes, to the places we kept our data.  And that barrier has been a sufficient check to balance government curiosity.  Government is no different than the sum of the tendencies of its people.  We will all do what we can easily get away with, and warrantless wiretaps where government agencies can bypass a judge and send off a letter to request phone, email, etc. records from the companies you do business with are just one example.  While the invasion is effectively the same, they would concede to going before a judge if it required physically entering your home to retrieve the exact same data.  When all your data is housed outside of your home, you are vulnerable.

And there is little one can do if you choose to use online services for your mail.  If that service retains your email, it can certainly be accessed by those with the alleged authority to do so.  And there is no guarantee deleted email is really deleted from their system.  They may retain the data as a favor to you in case you change your mind,  they may retain the data on backups they have made, and the machines which handled your data will have remnants of your data until and unless it’s overwritten.  And of course anyone you’ve corresponded with could have their copy of your email similarly available.

I’m not suggesting everyone jump the Gmail ship and go back to the online stone age, but it is important that we all know what we’ve tacitly agreed to, and that we all encourage our government to acknowledge that our privacy extends beyond the borders of our domicile.  Until they do you can choose to use your own non-storing POP/SMTP mail system or switch to a secure online email system such as Hush Mail.

^Quinxy

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Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7: Admission of Failure

July 21st, 2010

Windows Phone 7 is now in the technical preview stage, and that means reviewers are getting their chance to just what it is, and what it’s not.  And I must confess I’m more than a little stunned by what Microsoft and the reviewers are saying.  Windows Phone 7 is a complete rewrite of the OS that Microsoft developed for the last decade and some as Pocket PC and then Windows Mobile.  And in completely rewriting the OS they have left out critical, previously available features such as copy/paste and multitasking and they provide no compatibility with the thousands and thousands of apps developers already produced for their previous mobile OS.  They are admitting their previous OS was a complete failure, and they undo the efforts of all those developers who wrote all the great apps that made the iPhone look elegantly stupid for its first three or more years of existence.  Microsoft’s mobile platform was seriously flawed, no doubt about it.  The paradigm they were using centered around the use of a stylus and this colored every aspect of OS and software design for the platform.  There was no elegance in Windows Mobile, it was all the ugliness of PC applications shoved into the discomfort of a small screen;  but it was powerful and flexible and unfettered by rules.   Perhaps the underpinnings of the OS were so badly written and so inappropriate to a mobile device that they had to be replaced, but even if that’s the case it’s ridiculous to try and out-Apple Apple while simultaneously removing the only good things that Windows Mobile had long represented.  With all their billions, surely Microsoft could have at least delivered a technical preview that assured the real thing was going to be at least as good as their old OS while making all the vital finger-focused improvements they desperately needed, and supporting the phenomenal feature-rich apps that developers had already invested all their energies and monies in creating (letting the user make the choice of whether to run these uglier UI apps while the developers have an opportunity to rewrite them).  No doubt Microsoft will find success with their copy-catting, I didn’t think the X-Box would stand the test of time when they first decided to get into that game, and they’ve managed it.  And while Zune is not succeeding, they’re at least rebranding things to make Zune not about a device but instead about accessing content (on a mobile device, on an X-Box, etc.).  Must be nice to have money enough to make people like you.

^Quinxy

 

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Review of the Viliv S10 Blade, the Windows iPad-ish Device

June 1st, 2010

Wanting the iPad form factor but not wanting the limitations an Apple product represents, I went with the Viliv S10 Blade, a Windows 7, Atom processor-based PC in a 10” screen tablet convertible form factor. It is roughly the same height and width as the iPad, but twice as thick, and 50% heavier. This is no iPad killer, but it’s not meant to be. It is instead a fully capable PC in a pleasingly iPad shape. I’ve been using it for three weeks now and I must say it’s a very good device, and if the right software were to come along to address its software-based shortcomings this could truly become great.

The machine I bought is the 2 GHz model, 60 GB SSD, no WWAN, with Windows 7 Home Premium for $1127 from Dynamism.


Hardware

I must confess my first impression of the computer at the time of unboxing was that the case felt a little cheap. The plastic they used, or perhaps its construction, feels a little unsatisfying. When you pick up the unit the case creaks like a floorboard in my dead grandmother’s house. It even creaks when your palms press against the top as you type. You just don’t expect that in a device which cost as much as this one did. I’ve been able to move past it and not let it get on my nerves, and in fact the longer I’ve had the S10 the better I’ve felt about its aesthetics and construction. It may make unnecessary creaking noises but otherwise feels solid.

Switching to and from tablet mode is a typical convertible tablet affair, and the screen hinge feels solid. Some people had written in reviews that the lack of a latch to secure the screen in place on the screen was a problem, but I’m pleased to say I’ve had no problems with it.

The keyboard is solid. I was struggling with my previous netbook’s keyboard, which had almost no action and routinely failed to register 20% of my keystrokes (the keys would bind if my fingers were a little off center). I can type on the Viliv’s keyboard for hours and hours and be quite happy.

The multi-touch supporting touch pad is good, but its buttons are lousy. The rocker design they use for the mouse buttons is unfortunate because it requires quite a lot of force to depress, and the force required depends on how far you are away from the fulcrum. And that wouldn’t be awful if there was some tactile indication that the click had been registered, but instead you just have to press until it seems like the button won’t go any further, which is a problem when the plastic they use is creaky. It’s not a fatal flaw, but you may find yourself using a bluetooth travel mouse more than you would if the buttons were more satisfying.

One of the truly most bizarrely confounding issues is that you can never leave the device in tablet mode between uses! No buttons, not even the power button, are accessible in tablet mode! You therefore need to lift the screen up almost all the way to expose the power switch located at the top of the keyboard just to turn the unit back on. This is a truly unfathomable decision. With this one simple design decision they guaranteed that no one would ever mistakenly compare this device to an iPad.

Read the rest of the review.

^Quinxy

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Stop waiting for yor computer! We review Process Lasso!

May 25th, 2010

More important than how fast your computer is — is how fast your computer feels.  Responsiveness is critical.  You can have the latest and greatest processor but it all amounts to nothing when some background process decides to grab all the cycles it can.  Quite a lot of software isn’t written in such a way that it plays as nicely as it should with others; developers often don’t give much thought to how their software might slow you down when you’ve moved on to work on other tasks.  This is where Process Lasso comes in!  The core functionality of Process Lasso monitors all your computer’s running software and automatically adjusts the priority of any non-critical processes so that they will be less likely to interfere with you.  For example, let’s say you are writing a paper in Microsoft Word and you left Firefox in the background with Gmail and Facebook open.  You may be typing away in Word only to get irritated as your typing and/or mouse movements momentarily freeze as Firefox executes the JavaScript to update Gmail/Facebook.  Process Lasso would detect that that Firefox has begun monopolizing the CPU and would reduce its priority to the operating system.  A process with a lower priority still runs as it should, it simply gets less CPU time when other higher priority processes need the CPU.  The only difference you’ll notice is that Word will be more responsive.  Process Lasso works in the background automatically adjusting priorities to give you the most responsive experience possible.  In addition there are all sorts of other bells and whistles included, including the ability to permanently block some apps from running (like that Quick Time process Apple always re-adds to my registry!), the ability to suspend and restore processes, the ability to automatically restart processes which you always want (if they crash/die), and a great performance graph that shows you just what Process Lasso is doing and why.

And best yet, the developers over at Bitsum let home/personal users make the decision about whether they use the free version or upgrade to the slightly more advanced Pro version (you’ll get all the Pro features during a trial period). 

Process Lasso isn’t snake oil, it’s not overclocking your CPU or doing technical wizardry, it’s adding a much needed intelligence and configurabilty to the process prioritization mechanisms already built into the Windows operating system; and it’s adding some other useful features along the way.

I’ve been using Process Lasso off and on for about 3 years now and strongly recommend it, particularly if your PC is older and more likely to be momentarily overwhelmed by newer and more resource intensive background tasks.

^ Quinxy von Besiex

Go Download for Windows  or Download for Windows x64 now!

Or visit Bitsum (the publisher)’s Process Lasso description.

 

We don’t recommend software often, and when we do it’s because we truly believe in it and use it ourselves!  We do not receive any sort of compensation for these reviews.

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Driver search now has highlighting!

April 27th, 2010

We’ve just added highlighting of your search keywords in our driver search results!  Let us know if that helps!

- Quinxy

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