Tuesday, 2 December 2008
According to their blog, pownce have already stopped accepting new users requests and as of the 15th December will be shutting down their service altogether. To ease migration the pownce team have created an export tool to help users move their posts to other blogging services like VOX, Typepad or wordpress. Pownce have said that they will soon be emailing pro members with further details of what will be happening with their accounts.
Pownce founders Leah Culver and Mike Malone have been taken on by Six Apart, the company behind such blogging software as Movable Type, TypePad and Vox.
Is this the just another start up that failed to get off the ground, an indication that there isn't currently room in the maket room for the vast number of social networking sites and services or the first signs of the credit crunch hitting tech industries. Whatever the reason, its a shame to see them go, they have built up quite a community and its always a shame to see communities collapse (whether in the real world or online).
Many thanks for the time and effort you put into the project guys, it was great while it lasted.
Sunday, 16 November 2008
Barcamps sometimes refered to as unconferences tend to be the habitat of the stereotypically geek. There is no set itinerary in advance of the event, there is no charge for the event, everyone is encouraged to join in, and everyone has to contribute something to the event.
One of the great things i found about barcamp was that they are all about sharing, sharing ideas, sharing knowledge, sharing experiences even sharing equipment. No matter what your background, what your age, what your sex, what your experience or what your position in your day job. Everyone is equal at bar camp.
One of the most unfortunate parts of barcamp is that at the moment it is still a bit of an underground movement, widely heard of in the techie community, but less well known to the rest of society. The are also a hardcore of barcampers that travel great distances to attend as many barcamps as they can afford to get to.
So what is so special about this event in Sunderland? Well firstly it isn't a bar camp as we know it. It is in the bar camp tradition of being free, not having a predetermined speaker list or itinerary, but it differs in the way that its been promoted, there is no wiki, its not stricktly first come first served, certain groups and individuals are being specifically invited. But the reason for this is quite a good one. This event is not just aimed at the geeks among us, its aimed a getting a perfect balance between local community groups, local geeks and local councils, and to encourage them to learn from each others expertize.
Social networks are springing up all over on the internet, and while these groups have the technology to enable people to share and communicate they often don't understand how to build and sustain a strong community environment. Similarly local community groups often know all about their local communities and how to organize local services, activities and events, but are quite often lacking the technical know how to take that to the next level reaching to larger audiences and providing extended services via the internet. Local councils quite often want to help these groups and have the technology infrastructure in place to provide all sorts of assistance but without those groups providing them with the intormation they need, they are unable to help.
This community camp in Sunderland, is one of the first i have heard of, of its kind, and there are very high hopes for the event, not is it taking some of the barcamp philosophy to the masses, but its doing it in a very specific environment, where with a bit of luck there can be some very tangible benefits.
Sunderland is a city that has a very strong industrial history in shipbuilding and coal mining, so while there has always been a strong community feel, its maybe not the place that springs to mind when you think of cutting edge technology, but maybe that is about to change.
Tara Hunt one of the original barcamp founders said that this kind of event that she likes best, where is its not just 'geeks' but also members of the local community, she also said that these sort of events are really hard work but that they can be really rewarding.
Sunday, 2 November 2008
Unlike some of the other search engines that combine alogrithyms with user rating, the interface is extremely simple there is a thumbs up or a thumbs down for each result and an option to add a comment.
Founded in 2007, Scour was originally known as Aftervote.com, a 1 year later, it was acquired by Internext media, owner of the ABCSearch Network and re-branded as Scour.com
So, how does the paying users to search thing work? Well it appears to be quite simple, you get 1 point, for each serach, vote or comment you add, and you get 25% of the points of anyone you introduced to scour. There are also a few bonuses, for thins like downloading the toolbar or inviting friends. Once you aggregate 6,500 points you can cash them out for a $25 Visa gift card, which you can spend on whatever you want.
My guess is this will be a bit like airmiles, in that while many of us will collect the points not many of us will ever make enough point to cash them in, and i'm not sure i really want to add another tool bar to my browser. Having said that the interface is quite clean and easy to use, and i do quite a lot of searching, so i might just give it a go.
Wednesday, 29 October 2008
website. Anyway, I decided pretty early on that I might as well add the rss feeds of the ones I found useful to the feeds tab in my browser as i went along. Pretty soon i'd got quite a selection, so I thought i'd better organised into folders to make finding them for a bit easier in the future.
Quite serendipitously, i discovered that flock deals with rss feeds in a really lovely way. If you have a number of feeds organised into a folder, it aggregates them for you. So when you click on a folder, you see all the entries from all of the sources within it sorted by date/time. This makes it really simple to see whats going on within that whole area, of course if you are interested in a specific feed, go can click on that particular feed and get just the data from that feed.
This may seem a really small thing, but like they say small things, please tiny minds, and i guess given the amount of time we all spend online these days, your choice of browser is a pretty personal thing. As far as i can tell explorer, firefox don't do this.
Saturday, 11 October 2008
Well, the answer is that you use social bookmarking sites like ma.gnolia or del.icio.us or content sharing and discovery site like stumbleupon, digg or mixx. These work by allowing you to see what information other people are looking at, or finding interesting. In effect its like a giant popularity contest the more people recommending a link the more likely it is to be displayed on the main page. Recently Yahoo introduced 'buzz' combining their search analytics with user recommendation.
In recent years there have been all sorts of interesting improvements to social discovery, in terms of the ways that information is displayed digglabs coming up with the stack, swarm, bigspy and arc and most recently pics options. While these are all really fun, they are still more entertaining than labour saving. Sure splitting the information into groups is useful, but its still not accurate enough to make it really useful.
I spend most of my day connected to the internet in one way or another, so its no surprise I have tried most of the social bookmarking and content sharing sites, and one of the things that i have always wished for, was the ability to submit a url to a site and have the site come back with recommendations on related information that i might find useful.
It would seem that this request was at last been answered, Digg.com just launched a Beta of a service they are calling the recommentaion engine. The recommendation engine works in a quite complex way cross referencing what it knows about you, with what it knows about people with similar tastes to you, and what it knows about the url you submitted to come up with links to relevant information.
The biggest change that i found was the addition of the stats section, this shows a small graph of the hits to your site on the home page, when you click on the link you'll get an array of stats ranging from a graph of hits per day, to summary of how many images, sets and collections you have, where links came from, which are most popular and how many images have been favourited or are yet to be viewed. All of which I actually found very revealing.
In my opinion while the changes have been nicely done. Because on the surface they appear to be slight, you retain familiarity with the page, but what they have changed has add a great deal to to the functionality of the page, putting even more information at your fingertips.
Thursday, 9 October 2008
Facebook this week teamed up with Microsoft Live Search, to provide an internet search facility within the facebook platform. The search facility has been in the header since the introduction of the new look layout a couple of months ago, but previously only returned results from the facebook site, friend, group or application information that kind of thing.
Most browsers now have search bars these days, and many sites have a search the internet box somewhere, so why its not exactly heartstopping news. In fact Facebook didn't even make a big this of its introduction, so why have i bothered to blog about it? Well... there were 2 things that interested me, firstly its interesting that facebook chose to go with microsoft, not google when it came to search technology, and secondly was that fact that they chose to provide the results in there standard facebook formating. The implication being that facebook is becoming so large and portal like, that some of its users are more comfortable with their formating than they are with the standard google or msn search pages. In some ways reminiscent of the way AOL presented the internet in the 90's.
I have to admit that i wasn't a fan of the new facebook layout when it came out and I'm not convinced that this is a feature that i'm going to use. But I am beginning to see where they are going with the new layout and little by little, its becoming more usable.
Friday, 5 September 2008
The new Picasa technology, referred to as ‘name tagging’, takes some of the pain out of adding tags relating to the identity of individuals in your photographs. If you share photos on the internet, you’ll be used to adding tags (or keywords) to your images. Tags help you find your images within sets or collections on your site and allow search engines to catalogue them effectively.
One of the best things about the new name tagging technology is that it sits very comfortably with the old site, a new button has appeared giving you the option to add name tags. There is no need to reload images that you have already uploaded.
The name tagging process, automatically identifies what it thinks are faces within your images, it then asks you to put names those faces. Once you have named a person a couple of times, it will learn to identify that person for you and automatically tag them for you in future uploads.
To make tagging easier, Picasa automatically links to your gmail contacts and predicatively tries to fill names for you as you type. Another technology enhancement also allows “geo tagging” or adding geographical data to shots, by allowing you to drag and drop images to Google maps.
The application works best with higher resolution images and images that are taken from a similar angle to shots its already seen, and in some cases will ask you to confirm the identity of a person that it does not recognise.
Of course, you have the option to keep images private or to share them, but being a Google related technology, if you choose to share your images they will very quickly be picked up in Google searches, and if you are using the Google labs advanced search tools, the location will be picked up by the geographical filtering.
Picasa has been around for a while, but its always been overshadowed by yahoo’s flickr. Will this sort of advancement in technology be enough to tip the balance in Picasa favour.
Tuesday, 2 September 2008
Monday, 1 September 2008
Live mesh allows users to create a mesh (or collection of devices) and then synchronize folders across all (or selected) devices. Ensuring that you always have the latest version of a file or folder wherever you connect. At the moment live mesh only supports xp/vista based devices, (mac and mobile devices are planned). The mac client in particular is rumored to very close to completion, one rumor goes as far as saying that a version was recently posted on the Microsoft website, but later removed.
Live desktop is a web based interface that allows you to access your (synchronized) shared files and folders over the internet. You can choose to keep these private or share them with friends. Live desktop also shows you a list of your devices indicating which are currently online, and giving you the ability to remotely control those devices.
Both Live Mesh and Live Desktop are based around not only synchronizations but also security,
and as part of the Microsoft live family integrates with existing Microsoft live accounts.
For those of us with growing number of devices and personal networks or small businesses's its the ideal way to keep you at the centre of your digital world and ensure that the information that matters to you is seamlessly and consistently up to date wherever you happen to be.
I saw this technology demo'ed by Steve Clayton of Microsoft at thinking digital, back in May
and it look fantastic. The tech preview has certainly been no less impressive.
For those of us with both macs and pcs or even just a desktops , laptop and a mobile, it will certainly take the pain out of keeping versions of files consistent across those devices. Add to that the fact that you can remotely take a file from your camera in the office, sync it to your home pc, then remotely control the home pc to push it to a wireless photo frame in your living room, and you'll get an idea of the power of the mesh.
But i can't help wondering if this is all coming a little late. I'm already using on line services for my email, contacts, calendars, bookmarking, and file sharing, this allow me to keep my files online, so they are always up to date and available wherever i connect . So the question for me is, how much of a benefit is it to have this all in one place? and does that merit persuading all my friends that share this data to move from those services that where already using to live mesh?
Tuesday, 26 August 2008
Ubiquity, is a firefox plug its available for download now, from the mozilla labs site. The developers describe Ubiquity as "an experiment into connecting the Web with language, in an attempt to find new user interfaces that could make it possible for everyone to do common Web tasks more quickly and easily. "
Ubiquity for Firefox from Aza Raskin on Vimeo.
Monday, 25 August 2008
There are a lot of social bookmarking sites out there, but my preferred option is ma.gnolia Its certainly not the biggest, but it is fast, reliable, easy to use and contains all the key features i want, its searchable and scalable, it supports friends (contacts) as well as user groups it allows public and private bookmarking, it plays well with other allows import and exports, works with other social networks like facebook and is based on industry standards, it supports signing in with open ids.
So if i am so happy with ma.gnolia already, why a i excite that Ma.gnolia are kicking off development of Ma.gnolia 2 (or M2 for short).
Well, for one, magnolia is about 3 years old now and they learned quite in that time, so having the opportunity to produce a ground-up rewrite means thay can re-creating features we love today, but also correct some of the areas that didn't work as well as they would have liked. But even more significant, M2 will be an open source project that can be downloaded to remix and run as your own. So its likely that there will be even more great stuff built on it in the future
For any further details, stay tuned to the Ma.gnolia blog, or check out http://ma.gnolia.org/.
Thursday, 21 August 2008
Simply upload a selection of images and photosynth will do the rest to stitch them together and make them navigatable. As high numbers of high resolution images are required you are going to need a decent internet connection and even then its likely to take a while, but believe me its worth the wait. A standard use account allows up to 20Gb of server space so you should be able to upload quite a lot and the more you upload the better the results.
This truly is one of the most amazing technologies i have seen for a while, however there are some issues, at this time only Windows Xp and Vista are supported, and i have had a couple of blue screens of death while playing with it (which is very rare for xp).
Monday, 11 August 2008
Sunday, 27 July 2008
For a start there are now millions of us that carry mobile phones with smart technologies or pda's that allow us to have access to the internet and email 24 x 7. But this also means that people have access to us 24 x 7. People even take there phones to the beach when they're on holiday. The last time i went away, instead of the relaxing sound of crickets and the surf all i could hear were mobile ring tones.
Then there's google, you can get a huge amount of background information from google, so much so that its almost common practice for people to google candidates before an interview, or meeting. I've even heard of people googling potential boy or girl friends before dating them and or after a break up.
But possibly the strangest area that i've noticed a change is that it would seem a lot easier to get access to people high up in some of today biggest businesses. Through services like twitter and get satisfaction, and lots of other online communities. I've posted comments to some top people in companies like microsoft, apple, wikipedia, twitter, slideshare and magnolia and to my amazement i've got responses and sometimes responses from company founders. Just a few years ago this would have been completely unheard of a series of pa's and secretaries would almost certainly have vetted this kind of stuff long before it got that high.
I'm not sure if this is because attitudes are changing or because technology is making it possible or even if its because businesses have to be more agile to survive these days, but it certainly seems to be changing.
Thursday, 24 July 2008
Nine times out of ten this means looking on the internet for a generic email address or calling a helpline, and then the fun really begins, you will be passed from pillar to post to find someone that can help you, and by the time you find the right person you have lost the will to live.
There are people out there though that do have the answers and are happy to help or that can pass your comments on to someone that can help...the problem is finding these people.
This is where get satisfaction comes in the site links users with questions, suggestions, ideas and suggestions to other users and to contacts within companies that can provide answers or point people in the right direction.
So far i have used the site about a dozen times, each time i've had a response to a problem or a reply to a suggestion within a couple of hours. In a couple of this cases, i got responses directly from the owner/creator the the service, and in somecases by suggestions for the services were implemented into future versions.
The service seems to work best with young and dynamic sites and services and technologies, and i can't help but think that the more it takes off the less useful it will become as more people asking questions means less access to the people that can help, but for now it seems t be working.
Next time you have to give a help desk a call and start to get frustrated with being put on holg again, give get sificfication a go, and see if it lives upto the name.
Wednesday, 23 July 2008
So what does it mean to be a beta tester? Typically a vendor will give you full access to their product or services before releasing it to the rest of the world, so you get to see it first and can work out if you can use it to your advantage before your competitors, in exchange you’ll have to report any bugs and give them some feedback.
Other advantages include, having the opportunity to have a say in the development of the service, it’s more likely that developers will include features you may want to see added, if your talking to them as they develop the service.
On the other hand this does come at a cost, the product is likely to have a few bugs, you may loose some or all of your data, the service is likely to be down at least some of the time and may be changed without notice, the service may even be dropped altogether, it could cause your machine to crash more often and you’ll have to spend a bit of time giving them feedback.
I have been Beta testing operating systems, applications and internet services for the past 10 years or so, and as an IT manager this has been OK on the whole. Sure I’ve been up half the night rebuilding my workstation or recovering lost data on more than one occasion, but i’ve also learned a lot in the process and its helped me find some fantastic solutions for my uses.
Would I like my users to become Beta testers? Probably not. It’s not only that they would need more of my time to support them, or that managing support would be that bit harder, but typically because when users want to beta test a product its because they want to work differently to their colleagues which causes real problems when implementing working practices.
There are beta version of new web based services and applications coming out everyday, the question is how many of these could really make a difference to your business, and is it worth making the effort to try, or should you leave it to other s and wait for the final release.
Saturday, 19 July 2008
So i have always fought the temptation to sign up for broadband, and until this week when i finally gave in. There are a couple of reasons for this, one is that while i use a computer all day my wife doesn't so i guess it would be nice for her to join us in the virtual world, without having to worry about how long she is online on a dial up connection, another reason is is its so cheap these days , (for the first time dial up would cost me more a quarter than broadband) and the final reason is that it will simply make live a bit easier, having wifi throughout the house, i should be able to connect the laptops, the wii, the ipod and the mobile to each other and to my online friends.
Admittedly during the day it seems a little light weight sitting next to the huge hulking steel creatures that are the tyne, swing, high level and millennium bridges, but last night (18th July) they lite it up with 400 fire pots and it looked stunning!
I've been privileged enough get to know some of the team and to spend some time on the site over the last few weeks, and i have thoroughly enjoyed it, so thanks guys! and also Thanks NGI, great project.
Friday, 30 May 2008
The conference was a technical one, so maybe there were a slightly higher than average percentage of geeks attending , but around a third of the delegates were tweeting (using twitter) on their laptops, smart phones and pda’s. This connected the delegates in a very unusual way, they were able to discuss what the speakers were saying while they were saying it and trade examples of how this worked for them. They were also able to swap reference websites and arrange meeting up after the conference.
I went to the conference knowing a handful of other delegates, and got to know another handful in the networking portions of the conference, but l ended up connecting to several dozen via twitter, and even after the conference finished i’m still following many of those users and sharing knowledge with them.
For those of you not familiar with twitter it works a bit like the status up dates in facebook. You are limited to 140 characters, that are broadcast to the internet. If your friends are connected, it works a bit like instant messaging or SMS, but instead of a the private conversation between 2 individuals, it’s more like a group discussion, where many people can take part.
Because the status updates are broadcast there are many additional bits of software or web services that can manipulate the date in all sorts of ways. Some of the main ones are search services like summize, but there are also some really fun ones like twistori.
Another use of twitter is something called microblogging, as the name suggests this involves feeding the status updates straight to your blog, so your blog is frequently updated with small bits of information, especially useful if for example your are attending a conference or even a sports event.
Like texting twitter has a language and a culture of its own, with users adding @ symbols to talk to each other and #hashtags reference particular events so that they can collate there post with other tweets on the same subject.
My advice to first time twitter users would be to download a twitter client like twirl or twitterific and to begin by following tweets like the bbc news or technology tweets, to start tying your tweets into your facebook status updates, then to persuade a few friends to join you once you have the hang of it, after that start looking at friends of friends within in your areas of interest.
Wednesday, 28 May 2008
Barcamp NorthEast was held in the Artworks art gallery, set up by Alistair and Gareth, and attended by Tara Hunt (or missrogue as she is sometimes known, one of the founders of the original barcamp in the states). There was no admission charge, projectors were borrowed from a local business, the food stored and prepared in a local church, chairs came from the SVDP charity across the street and each of the attendees did a talk for free (including some of the same speakers that presented at thinking digital). There was a real buzz to the event and genuine feeling of community, people borrowed each others power packs and adaptors, and worked together to come up with presentation graphics.
In many ways this was the simplest way to run a conference in the world, in other ways a completely unique experience. I met some very interesting people, added some new contacts to twitter, and learn't some very cool stuff. It was both a pleasure and an honour to attend.
The 3 day conference at the Sage Gateshead and Baltic, saw around 400 delegates, visiting the region. This provided a great opportunity for some social networking of the traditional kind, and of the twitter variety. For those of you not familiar with twitter, twitter is a bit like instant messaging, but rather than being a private chat between 2 people (tweets as they are known) are broadcast, so that any number of followers can pick them up at the same time. With a room of say 150 people, there were at points maybe 50 people with laptops, pdaís and smart phones having a parallel discussion about the talk, as it went on. One of the strangest aspects of the phenomenon seemed to be the openness of the group at least a few of those that were using twitter were the conference speakers themselves.
Monday, 12 May 2008
Over the past couple of weeks, I have been taking another look at search technology to see what's new and improved. I found several companies with products in private or public beta testing. There are 3 main areas of development; semantics, clustering and visualisation.
(to see the full presentation on search technology click here.)
Changing the way that search engines display their results, can have a dramatic effect on the speed a user can sort through vast quantities of data to find the answer they require. Microsoft tafiti uses silverlight combined with live search to allow stacking of results to different searches and dragging and dropping of data, media and sites, to a sidebar. Microsoft have also improved their integration of mapping data. Sites like Lygo return thumbnails of each website making easier to recognise sites at a glance.
Clustering was been around for a while, but recent developments in technology have made it far more effective. Sites such as Clusty provide a number of clustering options ranging from the source of the data to the content. Clusty not only uses clustering to group results, but it also uses the same complex linguistic technologies when performing a search, knowing what words or phases have the same meaning, and where the same word can have different meanings.
Quintura use clustering in a very different way, producing navigable tag clouds, that can be surfed from term to term, until you find the data you are looking for. For example i ran a search on myself, found some race results for a fell race i ran, linked to a local running club, and from there to details on the club members and finally to their blogs and websites.
The final area of development, is that of semantic searching. The current holy grail of searching is the ability to get real answers to real questions. For example you could ask "when was Elvis born" and you would probably get a fairly accurate answer. Where this seems to fall down is when the question is more subjective or where there are lots of matches, asking "when was i born" would be much more complex, as would "when was John smith born" as there are many many possible correct answers. Askwiki and wikiasearch both have beta's that work to some degree, true knowledge also have a very interesting public beta. Another key problem with this type of search is that it takes a huge amount of time and man power to enter the required data.
In many ways search engines are far superior to humans, they can reference and cross reference billions and billions of bits of data instantly. But in many ways humans still have the advantage, we start collecting data from infancy, and we are far better at understanding more subtle references. For example a human would recognise a photographic reference or a really abstract reference to a movie or popular song lyric (even if that was slightly different to the original - for example if you whistled a movie theme), a computer would find this far more difficult.
Wednesday, 9 April 2008
Normally I would have use add and remove programmes facility to remove this version of Remote Desktop and revert to the original version, however as this is a release candidate there isn't an option to uninstall. I knew that the 2 files that make up remote desktop are mstsc.exe and mstscac.dll , so in theory if i replace them with a copy from a machine running the older version of remote desktop it should be OK, but when ever these files are replaced manually they revert to the newer files automatically, even if completely deleted in safe mode.
After searching the microsoft sites and not finding an answer i resorted to some trawling of the internet and discovered a site called geekswithblogs.net where i found some instructions for removing the remote desktop.
Go to C:\WINDOWS\$NtUninstallKB925876$\spuninst and run spuninst.exe. Once the new version is remove the older version will automatically return unless you manually uninstalled it, in which case just download it again from the microsoft site and reinstall it.
This provided two very useful lessons, firstly don't install pre release candidate on machines that you actively use, or you might find yourself needing to flatten it and rebuild from scratch (and avoid installing multiple pre release candidates on the same machine unless you have lots of time on your hands) and secondly if you know the kb (knowledge base) number for microsoft updates then you can uninstall them using the spuninst.exe file located in the corresponding folder in the hidden NtUninstall directory.
Saturday, 29 March 2008
Long time industry leaders Adobe, have always been ahead in photo manipulation and editing on the desktop and have even had desktop file storage and organization in the form of Adobe Photoalbum, but they have never realy competed with the likes of flickr, photobucket or picasa, until now that is.
The new services is currently in beta, and is so far limited to users in the US, but already has 16387 galleries (as on 29th march 08). It looks to be the kind of feature rich product you would expect from the "house of Adobe" .
The free package has a whopping 2gb limit,and the ability to link into your images from facebook, photobucket and picasa. While a little shallow in respect to its social networking capabilities, it more than makes up for this in its editing abilities.
Editing is split into 3 categories, basics, tuning and effects. Unsurprisingly, these give not only the standard abilities to crop and rotate that all of the online photo sharing sites offer, but also the ability to do some very high end manipulations (for a free on online service), adjusting the hue and saturation, white balance, sharpness, soft focus etc, then there are the effects with everything from tinting and pop colour to stetching and distortion effects and its all surprisingly each to usel.
The gallery side of thinks is pretty standard, with the ability to store your private images in my photos and share and manage them in the form of galleries. You can add background images to galleries and you can choose to download, email or embed images which are all nice features, There is also a favourites feature and a basic search facility,but at present there doesn't seem to be much in the way of commenting, groups or blogs.
Thursday, 28 February 2008
The site still at the beta stage, is a sort of cross between a search engine and a web popularity contest. It ranks content by a combination of user votes and search engine scores (from yahoo obviously). The top stories from buzz make it to the yahoo home page.
It's very graphically rich, displaying the latest feeds as images only with roll over speech bubbles giving a summary of the content. The top stories are split into sections, entertainment, world etc and show a thumbnail of the site along with a brief description and the option to vote or "buzz up" the story.
The search is also quite slick, giving you the option to restrict the search to specific sections , entertainment, technology, world and specific periods like a day, a week and month or a year, cutting down on the number results returned.
This is the latest offering in what is fast becoming a "war of the search engines" with tafiti, mahola and clusty all starting to offer a bit more competition to market leader google. According to the Alexa website, yahoo hits actually exceeding google this week.
Saturday, 2 February 2008
I checked the website and it seemed the os would run on my hardware. I expected to purchased the appropriate licenses for the version of windows i needed (xp 32 bit or x86, i was running the 64 bit eddition that came with the pc) then i thought i'd just start from the cd, select my harddrive, reformat and do a clean install, should be done in an hour or so...
Unfortunately it wasn't that simple. My Pc (as most modern pc's) has a SATA hard drive, and in fact mine had a SATA dvd/cd drive too, unfortunately the install cd that comes with xp and previous versions of windows only supports install to ata/ide drives. So you don't get the choice to install to it.
It would seem the manufacturers have had to create specific installer disks or restore disks that recognise the SATA disk, these are often specific to their hardware (make and model) so if you have a cd for an hp it don't work with a dell.
I tried several tricks like installing a second sata drive and running the installer from the running install which obviously has the sata drivers, and even tried starting from dos floppies and loading the sata drivers, but as the installer only looks for ata/ide it still greys out the option to install.
I could of course reinstall the existing os from the original install cd that came with the pc, but that still left be with the original problem the software i needed to run won't work with the 64 bit version.
What is more interesting is when i did a bit of digging around on the internet, i found that this raises some serious issues, firstly you have to have the specific installer disk for every sata pc you own, you can't rely on using a generic windows installer, secondly many of these manufacturers disks are very specific about the hard drive set up and partitioning so you can't create dual bootable os's and if you want to replace a damaged disk you have to ensure you get exactly the same size of disk, similarly you can't install a larger hard drive.
Luckily i'm an it manager and could swap some pc's around to free up a machine with the 32 bit processor. But it did raise some very ugly possibilities.
As far as i am aware vista does come with support for sata disks - so if you are happy to run with vista you may be lucky.