Saturday, February 20, 2010

Moving to Windows 7

Why Windows 7 Again?
Because it is new! But new does not necessarily means better. It depends - depends on different hardware configurations and COSTS.

If your PC has less than 4GB of RAM, I would not recommend you to upgrade to Windows 7... yet. No, don’t be silly.

I saw a guy once in Bohol, when I was in IDEA Philippines, who had installed Windows 7 on his office PC having only 1GB of RAM. What the heck? I guess he wanted something new, which he probably thinks it is better than Windows XP. I wanted to explain to him the advantages and disadvantages between Windows XP and 7 in the simplest clear-cut way.

However, the problem is... I don’t speak Boholano – the native dialect in Bohol. Worse is I don’t know how to do sign language either. (sigh) Yes, he is deaf. "Que sera, sera".

Thought I must admit, somehow I was amazed, because Windows 7 actually ran fine on that office PC. But is somewhat slower that its previously installed Windows XP.

To simplify your choice of whether to upgrade to Windows 7 or not, I came out with a very simple equation:

If any of the 3 variables is false, then you should stick with Windows XP. If your PC is already running Vista, but has less than 4GB RAM, then you should upgrade downgrade your Vista to Windows XP. If your PC is already running a Windows 7 32-bit version, then you should downgrade to Windows XP also. You only have two choices here: either Windows XP or Windows 7 64-bit.

Everything Else is a Moot Point
If your PC is already running Vista 32-bit, or Windows 7 32-bit, then you might as well go back to Windows XP; because Windows XP is a lesser resource hog and can run your programs faster than any 32-bit OS.

Windows 7Home Professional Ultimate
 Retail Upgrade $119 $199 $219 
 in Peso ≈P5,000 ≈P9,000 ≈P10,000 
Official Windows 7 Editions Pricing
We live in a third world country. There are alternative ways of getting Windows 7 to your PC without spending P10,000 in cold cash... legally (wink).

Contributed by: Emil Baseleres

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Hacking Windows 7

For whatever justification or religion that you may have; this post might be considered "illegal". So we will tackle this subject as "for educational purposes only".

Why Windows 7?
Windows 7 is the successor to Windows Vista. It was released to the public just two years after the substantial criticism release of Windows Vista. Windows 7 is exactly the same as Windows Vista, but without the bloated features and with the newly tweaked user interface.

On the same hardware configuration, Windows XP still outperforms both Windows 7 and Windows Vista. This is the main reason why I do not recommend Windows 7 to most of the people. However, if we compare your ubiquitous 32-bit Windows XP to the new 64-bit version of Windows 7, the tables are clearly pointing out in favor of Windows 7. I did a small benchmark of WinRAR both in Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 using the same machine.

Windows XP (32-bit)Windows Vista (32-bit)Windows 7 (64-bit)
WinRAR 3.91719 KB/s647 KB/s743 KB/s
Difference0 %–10 %+3.3 %

As you can see from the table, Windows 7 64-bit version is about 3% faster than the ubiquitous Windows XP. That gained speed is enough for me to permanently switch my preferred OS to Windows 7.

I got my laptop about a year ago with Windows Vista 32-bit pre-installed. It has 4GB RAM. After a few days (less than a week), I reformatted it with Windows XP because I wanted to see if Vista was really worth it. It wasn’t. My Vista 32-bit doesn’t have the full access to my 4GB RAM. The same plague that exist with all Windows 32-bit OSes. So for months, I kept using Windows XP instead of that pre-installed Vista; until I tried Windows 7 64-bit lately. I didn’t bother with the 32-bit version of Windows 7, because Windows 7 32-bit is almost the same as Windows Vista 32-bit. I am more interested with the raw unexploited power of my 64-bit CPU.

After setting up Windows 7 64-bit on my laptop, my whole 4GB RAM are clearly being utilized. My GPU is properly being used by the Aero user interface. My RAM is always full because of the SuperFetch technology. My 64-bit capable CPU is properly utilized. Windows 7 64-bit has completed my laptop, a marriage made in heaven by Microsoft.

Contributed by: Emil Baseleres

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Top 5 Alternative Energy Sources

Nuclear Power
Nuclear power is energy derived from controlled nuclear reactions. Electric utility reactors heat water to produce steam, which is then used to run turbines to generate electricity.

Proponents of nuclear energy believe that nuclear power is a sustainable source of energy that does not pollute air. Though critics around the globe argue that nuclear power is potentially a dangerous energy source, citing the Chernobyl disaster in 1986 in Russia.

Despite concerns about safety and radioactive waste management, 15% of the world’s electricity needs came from nuclear power as of 2009.

Solar Power
Solar power is derived from converting sunlight into electricity. Currently, there are two way in harnessing the sun’s power.

First is through the use of solar cells that convert solar radiation into electricity. The second is by concentrating solar power where the sun’s energy is focused to boil water thereby creating steam. The steam is then used to drive turbines which in turn generate electricity.

Unlike other energy sources, solar power is intermittent or not available at all times. Because of this, solar power is often combined with other power sources (such as wind, hydro, and biomass) to provide continuous power.

Wind Power
Wind power is energy derived from the power of the wind. A strong blowing wind is used to drive wind turbines which in turn generate electricity. This is the opposite of the conventional desk fan wherein electricity is used to generate wind.

Wind energy, as a power source, is gaining worldwide attraction as an alternative to fossil fuels. Wind, in itself, is abundant, widely distributed, and produces no pollution whatsoever.

However, just like the sun, wind is also intermittent. Wind is also dependent on local geography.

Geothermal Power
Geothermal power is energy derived from heat deep within the earth’s surface. Geothermal plants make use of this energy to heat water into steam which then drives electricity-generating turbines.

Unlike wind or solar energy, geothermal energy does not rely on variable energy sources. Current geothermal resources are said to be adequate to supply the world’s energy needs.

Geothermal power generation is cost effective, reliable, and environmentally friendly.

Hydro Power
Hydropower (or water power) is energy derived from the force of moving water like in dams or natural falls. Hydropower produces essentially no harmful emissions and can be far less expensive than electricity generated from nuclear energy.

Main advantage of hydropower is its ability to handle high peak loads whether seasonal or daily. When demand for electricity drops, the dam simply closes and stores water.

The most common sources of hydropower – the dams, are not without its setbacks. Dam failures can be life threatening as in the case of Banqiao Dam failure in 1975 in China.

Other media: Learn to build your own wind / solar energy source
Do-it-yourself green energy source
Magnetic energy source

Friday, February 12, 2010

Reyes Barbecue Misfit

Think all Reyes Barbecue franchisees are the same? Think again.

There is one Reyes Barbecue branch that I know of that would be a shame to recommend to anyone... unless of course, they don't know the unique flavor Reyes Barbecue has been known for.

Why? Because I brought my wife to one and was disappointed right after our very first bite. Their java rice tasted just like steamed rice unevenly sprinkled with yellowish something color. Their barbecue tasted only good on the outside. And once you sink your teeth in, you are at a loss as to what you were eating in the first place.

Well at least their peanut sauce is there to patch things up. A good try but the rest is an overall letdown. And as I look around, I could not see a single satisfied face. They look at their food, they look at the menu, and they look at each other as if wanting to complain. Too bad they’ve already shelled out their hard earned bucks.

For non-Philippine residents wanting to know more about Reyes Barbecue, click here.

Going back, I can only think of three lame reasons why this branch is a non-conformist.

Saving Money on Supplies?
It doesn’t take a genius to think that they can prolong their supplies if they reduce the amount of ingredients used in spicing up their menus. Less stuffs used today, more supply for the future.

Either that or they are using sub-standard ingredients not in the list of the heavily guarded Reyes Barbecue recipes.

Are Customers a Bunch of Idiots?
When customers are dead hungry, they will probably pay for and eat just about anything that smells good on the table. You bet. Most won’t probably be able to tell the difference between the REAL Reyes Barbecue-quality dishes and their inferior version.

They may be able to fool first time customers but regular patrons… unlikely

Negligent Staff?
Or (just a thought) an unhappy employee is trying to bring down the Reyes Barbecue legacy by serving poor tasting food? A company is only as strong as its weakest employee. If there is one who barely walks along on the trail of Reyes Barbecue perfection, the rest is likely to suffer.

If this branch goes unchecked by the Reyes Barbecue enterprise ASAP, new comers will start to think that this is the best (?) of what they have to offer.

The branch I'm referring to? The one located inside SM Marikina.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Choosing Between DVD-R and DVD+R

The DVD, jointly introduced by Sony and Philips way back in 1995, stands for Digital Versatile Disc or Digital Video Disc.

It's an optical disc storage that has the same dimensions as compact disc (populary known as CD) but can store as much as six times more data.

Its popularity over the years has increased resulting in numerous DVD variants. Two of the most popular are the DVD-R and DVD+R, both of which can write data once but can be read many times.

What’s the difference between DVD-R and DVD+R recordable disc?
Short answer -- Almost none.
Long answer -- There are few similarities and differences between the two types.

What are their similarities?
• They are both physically of the same size and shape.
• Their data capacities are the same 4.7GB.
• Their durability is the same (depending on the brand).

So what are their differences?
• DVD-R (and DVD-RW) media are officially supported by
  the DVD Forum organization. While DVD+R (and
  DVD+RW) media are NOT officially supported by the DVD
  Forum organization. However, the DVD+R are supported
  by the DVD+RW Alliance (Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Mitsubishi, Verbatim, Philips, Ricoh, Sony, Thomson, and Yamaha).
• The DVD+RW incorporate a higher frequency wobble (compared to DVD-RW) in the embedded
  microscopic tracking groove. This means that the recorder [of DVD+R] can stop and start the
  writing process with extreme accuracy [better than DVD-R].
• DVD+R is slightly costly that DVD-R.
• Some DVD drives specifically RARE OLD models are not  compatible to DVD+R.

Which of the two formats is better? For now, DVD+R is clearly the better choice especially if you’re going to burn multi-session discs.

However, you should also be keen on the brand of the disc you will buy. You can never go wrong with trusted brands as they are more reliable and are likely to keep your data readable for years.

Also consider the maximum burn speed of the disc. Higher burn speeds will enable you to back-up large amounts of data at a shorter time (but only if your DVD burner supports it).

Contributed by: Emil Baseleres