Archive for the ‘Tools’ Category

The Post PC era has arrived!

August 3, 2011 Comments off

OK, maybe not quite but hyperbole aside when something enters the mainstream media (does Dilbert count?) there’s normally something to it – in this case a succinct statement about the challenges of supporting Generation Y users and the potential for conflict with Generation X.

Categories: Humour, Tools

Microsoft Web Platform Installer

March 27, 2011 Comments off

Recently featured by both eWeek and PC Pro, Microsoft’s WebMatrix is a free web development tool to speed and ease deployment of projects based around proprietary or open source platforms including (but not limited to) blogs, CMS’s and Wiki’s. The accompanying Web Platform Installer (PI) simplifies the process of downloading these platforms and as you might expect is primarily based around the Microsoft Web Platform comprised of Internet Information Services (IIS), SQL Server Express, .NET Framework and Visual Web Developer.

In my case I needed to get a new dedicated WordPress environment up and running quickly and having previously completed this manually and finding it somewhat time consuming and fiddly, any way to achieve this in a more structured, reliable manner would be welcome.

After downloading the Web PI and installing it on my Windows Server 2008 virtual machine I was presented with the Web Gallery which lists the applications available – it was then a simple matter of selecting WordPress, following the on screen prompts and in minutes my new WordPress instance was up and running.

Unlike the authors of the above reviews however I did not encounter any problems with the download and installation of MySQL and as the required components are downloaded dynamically the WordPress version was current. The Web PI does not remove the need for an understanding at least at a high level of the technologies involved and if it is to be used for serious development/staging purposes knowledge of how to backup the MySQL databases created etc. is still required.

More information is available at the Web Platform website or via the associated twitter feed – @mswebplatform.

Qualys BrowserCheck

February 23, 2011 Comments off

Recently featured on the Internet Storm Center’s podcast, Qualys’s BrowerCheck tool can be used to complete a very simple but highly important task – to ensure that your web browser and all of plug-ins are up to date. Compatible with Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome it will scan a machine and the browser being used (i.e. multiple browsers installed will require individual scans) to detect what browser/plug-ins are installed and whether a new version is available; if so – a “Fix It” button is displayed to the right of the plug-in concerned which upon being clicked will direct the user to the vendor’s associated installation page. After an update(s) have been applied re-run the scan to update the compliancy status.

Whilst Qualys does use the results of scans conducted to produce reports of the findings it states on the tool’s FAQ page that use of the tool “..does NOT use or track your personal information and browser history”.

So simple, effective and essentially free  – make it part of your personal computer hygiene routine today!

Categories: Reviews >, Security, Tools

VMWorld Subscriptions

September 5, 2010 Comments off

For those unable to attend VMWorld this year, VMWare offers on-demand re-runs. For $699 (US), subscribers get year long online access to all of the sessions and labs (in a variety of formats) for both the US and Europe events as well as those of previous years. More here.

Categories: Tools, Virtualisation

A Belated Move To Chrome

June 23, 2010 Comments off

Google Chrome logoOK I admit it – this is well overdue. However with the news today that Firefox won’t include it’s new crash protection feature for third-party plugins under Mac OS X until version 4 as well as my original reasons it’s time to finally pull the plug. Begone mis-behaving flash banners!

Categories: Google, Tools

Make The Most of Your Surroundings

May 2, 2010 Comments off

MS NERD iconBoston is well known as a major conference and exhibition hub as well as being home to a number of high tech corporations and one of the things I was looking forward to upon moving here were the opportunities for networking this might present. Two examples that came to light are events regularly hosted at the Microsoft New England Research & Development (affectionately known as the NERD) Center and the Boston Mac User Group which holds it’s meeting on the MIT campus.

Obviously not everybody is in a situation as fortunate as mine but the point is every now and then to get from behind a keyboard, engage with other people of similar interests, make contacts and enjoy yourself – you never know what it might lead to.

AMD Virtualization™ Technology and Microsoft® Hyper-V™ System Compatibility Check Utility

April 4, 2010 Comments off

Following on my previous article I came across this AMD equivalent utility from its inclusion in Tony Soper’s article on “How to run Hyper-V on a Laptop” which for those interested or working on the Hyper-V platform is in itself well worth a read.

Categories: Tools, Virtualisation, Windows