WinAudit - a shameless plug for a nifty tool

While surfing the interwebs, checking the emails, etc. I came upon a program called WinAudit. It’s a FREEware app that can report a lot of things about your machine and output it in a lot of different formats. Straight from their site: “The programme has advanced features such as service tag detection, hard-drive failure diagnosis, network port to process mapping, network connection speed, system availability statistics as well as Windows® update and firewall settings.”

Anyway - it’s pretty neat. My new employer is a “100% Microsoft Shop”, so I’m trying to move more that direction in the things I learn about and use on a daily basis. I’m all for open source, free software for all, and beautiful alternative user interfaces…but managing a 100% Microsoft Shop is surely going to have its peaks. All in all I’m looking forward to the opportunity. Only question I now have…should I switch my Linux server/media box to Windows Server 2003?

If you’ve got a handy free tool for the Windows world that makes your life easier - leave me a comment or two :)

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Spoofing the Mac Commercials

I don’t often laugh at online videos - but this one got me. Now don’t get me wrong - I love the Mac’s interface. It’s truly a wonder. But this video is absolutely hilarious :)

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Increasing the Wine font size

Thus far in using Ubuntu, I’ve been able to use only Linux applications. I’ll admit that some of them were just ports of their Windows or Mac OS X counterparts…but I never had to install wine (a compatibility layer for running Windows programs). Well you know that torrent app I recommended? kTorrent? It’s crashed on me several times in the last couple days…and ate up every bit of memory the system had this morning. I went looking for a better alternative and my only choice was to use uTorrent under wine. No problem!

Wine is only a synaptic click away. Running utorrent under it is a simple affair too. I found this tutorial very helpful: Using utorrent with wine - Ubuntu Forums

However, since my primary monitor is a 32” LCD and I’m at about an 8-10 foot distance from it - the font size needs to be increased. Under windows this is a simple task…but under Wine = not so much. I think this is something that NEEDS to be put into the wine configuration app. Anyway - here’s how it’s done.

First - close any applications that are running under wine.

To change the size of any menu font - you’ll need to edit the win.ini under the following folder:

/home/yourusername/.wine/

Add the following information to the win.ini file:
[Desktop]
MenuFontSize=18

You can change the 18 to whatever size you need - but that worked for me. Now we need to change font size of the rest of the application. To do so, use the terminal and launch wine’s regedit:

wine regedit

You’ll want to browse to this value:

HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG\Software\Fonts\LogPixels

and change it to something larger. Make sure to change the selection to “Decimal”, as you probably don’t natively speak hex. It’s default in decimal is 96. I upped mine to 120 and it worked nicely.

When you’re done doing that, close out regedit and restart your wine application. Enjoy your larger font sizes and lack of squinting!

Here’s the best resource I found on this matter after a bit of searching:
http://www.winehq.com/pipermail/wine-users/2005-April/017810.html

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Forced Enjoyment

This isn’t the first time I’ve tried Ubuntu (or Linux for that matter). Several times in the past few years (since 2002 actually), I’d get the “Linux Bug” and repartition my hard drive to be able to try out some new distro. This would normally come about after I’d read some positive review of said distro (or from a friend). What have I tried in the past? I started out on Mandrake (now Mandriva), moved to SUSE 8 & 9, then MEPIS (great distro btw), and now Ubuntu. At each step, the experience has gotten better - but I’d always switch back to using Windows full time for some reason or another. This typically took about 2-3 days. Sometimes only hours.

Why only hours? HP Laserjet 1020. I bought this excellent printer a while back and absolutely love it. No more expensive ink every 2 months for me! One problem though…this printer has some odd quirks under Linux. Last I looked, the best support for it had gotten was having the ability to print up to 20 pages - then you’d have to power cycle the printer. So this PC has been only Linux for over a week now…why? I don’t print from it.

With Windows XP still on my main PC, I’ve been free to continue my fun Linux project without interruption. The more I use it - the more I discover that it has every bit of functionality my Windows box has (except printing of course) and then some. Some favorite applications I’ve discovered:
<ul><li>Amarok - best media player I’ve used in years. I’ve been using Winamp since the 1.x days…and still do (5.x) on my Windows machine. I’d tried iTunes but didn’t like it. Amarok is fantastic and truly deserves a Windows port.</li><li>kTorrent - BitTorrent Client. On Windows I’ve stuck with Azureus. It’s stable, has lots of features, etc. I tried it under Ubuntu and had lots of little issues…overdownloading, NAT/DHT connection problems (not fixed by port forwarding, etc.), and even the occasional lock-up. I researched a while and lots of people say to run uTorrent under wine. No thanks. kTorrent apparently is much like uTorrent anyway. It’s completely stable, no NAT problems (or DHT). Even integrates well into GNome (despite it’s KDE roots).</li><li>GKrellM - System Monitor. Nice small out of the way utility that’ll let you know CPU/memory/ethernet details.</li><li>MPlayer - Media Player that will play ANYTHING. For all your avi/h264 needs.
</li></ul>These are pretty standard apps for Linux users, it seems. They’ve got equally viable ports or competitors on the Windows front - but I’m just happy they exist for Linux and have fairly decent GUI design (excellent in some cases). GUI design has always been lacking on Linux, in my opinion (specifically programs that you want to use on a typical desktop that have no GUI frontend). I’m really enjoying my current setup and don’t have ANY plans to change back to Windows on this media center Linux box.

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