Saturday, September 28, 2013

Microsoft to Let Windows 7 Die Quicker than Windows XP

Since Windows XP will go dark on April 8, 2014, many users have decided to make the move to a newer operating system. Still, despite Microsoft's aggressive marketing campaign for the new 8 and 8.1, many are actually moving to Windows 7, which is often described as a more user-friendly platform.

The tech giant, on the other hand, is willing to make everything to bring more users to Windows 8 and Windows 8.1, so it appears that Windows 7 support won't be extended.

Paul Thurrot is reporting on WindowsITPro that Microsoft wants to avoid dealing with the same problems of moving users to a newer platform when Windows 7 reaches end of support, so the company is willing to let its OS die at the original date.

At the same time, it will continue to promote both Windows 8 and Windows 8.1, just to make sure that those who want to move to a newer operating system will be familiar with the company's new offering.

Mainstream support for Windows 7 will end on January 13, 2015, while extended support, which only includes bug fixes and a number of critical security patches, will end on January 14, 2020.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

10 Windows 7 commands every administrator should know

                      The command line is often the best place to resolve Windows 7 desktop problems. These basic commands will help speed your troubleshooting tasks.

Holiday rerun: An oldie-but-a-goodie, these command-line basics topped the list of popular troubleshooter posts last year.
PC troubleshooting is becoming less common in larger organizations, but consultants and techs in smaller shops still have to get their hands dirty identifying and fixing desktop problems. Oftentimes, troubleshooting Windows 7 means delving into the command line. Here are 10 fundamental Windows 7 commands you might find helpful.

Before I begin...

This article is intended solely as an introduction to some useful troubleshooting commands. Many of them offer numerous optional switches, which I won't cover here due to space limitations. You can find out more about each command by checking out TechNet's command-line reference.

1: System File Checker

Malicious software will often attempt to replace core system files with modified versions in an effort to take control of the system. The System File Checker can be used to verify the integrity of the Windows system files. If any of the files are found to be missing or corrupt, they will be replaced. You can run the System File Checker by using this command:
sfc /scannow

2: File Signature Verification

One way to verify the integrity of a system is to make sure that all the system files are digitally signed. You can accomplish this with the File Signature Verification tool. This tool is launched from the command line but uses a GUI interface. It will tell you which system files are signed and which aren't. As a rule, all the system files should be digitally signed, although some hardware vendors don't sign driver files. The command used to launch the File Signature Verification tool is:

3: Driverquery

Incorrect device drivers can lead to any number of system problems. If you want to see which drivers are installed on a Windows 7 system, you can do so by running the driverquery tool. This simple command-line tool provides information about each driver that is being used. The command is:
If you need a bit more information, you can append the -v switch. Another option is to append the -si switch, which causes the tool to display signature information for the drivers. Here's how they look:
driverquery -v
driverquery -si

4: Nslookup

The nslookup tool can help you to verify that DNS name resolution is working correctly. When you run nslookup against a host name, the tool will show you how the name was resolved, as well as which DNS server was used during the lookup. This tool can be extremely helpful when troubleshooting problems related to legacy DNS records that still exist but that are no longer correct.
To use this tool, just enter the nslookup command, followed by the name of the host you want to resolve. For example:

5: Ping

Ping is probably the simplest of all diagnostic commands. It's used to verify basic TCP/IP connectivity to a network host. To use it, simply enter the command, followed by the name or IP address of the host you want to test. For example:
Keep in mind that this command will work only if Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) traffic is allowed to pass between the two machines. If at any point a firewall is blocking ICMP traffic, the ping will fail.

6: Pathping

Ping does a good job of telling you whether two machines can communicate with one another over TCP/IP, but if a ping does fail, you won't receive any information regarding the nature of the failure. This is where the pathping utility comes in.
Pathping is designed for environments in which one or more routers exist between hosts. It sends a series of packets to each router that's in the path to the destination host in an effort to determine whether the router is performing slowly or dropping packets. At its simplest, the syntax for pathping is identical to that of the ping command (although there are some optional switches you can use). The command looks like this:

7: Ipconfig

The ipconfig command is used to view or modify a computer's IP addresses. For example, if you wanted to view a Windows 7 system's full IP configuration, you could use the following command:
ipconfig /all
Assuming that the system has acquired its IP address from a DHCP server, you can use the ipconfig command to release and then renew the IP address. Doing so involves using the following commands:
ipconfig /release
ipconfig /renew
Another handy thing you can do with ipconfig is flush the DNS resolver cache. This can be helpful when a system is resolving DNS addresses incorrectly. You can flush the DNS cache by using this command:
ipconfig /flushdns

8: Repair-bde

If a drive that is encrypted with BitLocker has problems, you can sometimes recover the data using a utility called repair-bde. To use this command, you will need a destination drive to which the recovered data can be written, as well as your BitLocker recovery key or recovery password. The basic syntax for this command is:
repair-bde <source> <destination> -rk | rp <source>
You must specify the source drive, the destination drive, and either the rk (recovery key) or the rp (recovery password) switch, along with the path to the recovery key or the recovery password. Here are two examples of how to use this utility:
repair-bde c: d: -rk e:\recovery.bek
repair-bde c: d: -rp 111111-111111-111111-111111-111111-111111

9: Tasklist

The tasklist command is designed to provide information about the tasks that are running on a Windows 7 system. At its most basic, you can enter the following command:
The tasklist command has numerous optional switches, but there are a couple I want to mention. One is the -m switch, which causes tasklist to display all the DLL modules associated with a task. The other is the -svc switch, which lists the services that support each task. Here's how they look:
tasklist -m
tasklist -svc

10: Taskkill

The taskkill command terminates a task, either by name (which is referred to as the image name) or by process ID. The syntax for this command is simple. You must follow the taskkill command with -pid (process ID) or -im (image name) and the name or process ID of the task that you want to terminate. Here are two examples of how this command works:
taskkill -pid 4104
taskkill -im iexplore.exe

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Hands on with the Sony QX100 and QX10 attachable lens

One of the coolest things we played with during the Best of Sony event in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia was their smartphone attachable lens, the QX100 and QX10. At first, I thought it was like one of those lens you attach to your phones to improve the phone’s camera but it’s clearly way more than that. This attachment will transform even your measly Php4,000 Android phone into a respectable shooter.
First and foremost, the Sony attachable lens are cameras on their own. Yes, you can take photos with them by themselves without attaching it to any smartphone. Each has its own sensor, lens, shutter button, zoom lever, battery, microUSB port and a microSD slot. You can even attach a tripod onto it. In fact, the Sony QX100 is just like the enthusiast-level Sony Cybershot RX100 without the viewfinder, flash, menus, and dials.
The Sony QX10 has a 1/2.3-inch 18.2-megapixel Exmor R CMOS sensor (same size as the Xperia Z1’s sensor) paired with a 10x optical zoom f/3.5-5.9 Sony G lens. It comes with an optical image stabilizer as well.
The Sony QX100 on the other hand has a huge 1-inch 20.2-megapixel Exmor R sensor to go with a f/1.8-4.9 Carl Zeiss Vario Sonnar T* lens. It’s the
To fully utilize the lens though, you need to connect it to an Android or iOS device (iPad or iPod Touch will work as well) and download the free Sony PlayMemories mobile app from the App Store or Google Play. This app will allow you to use your device as the viewfinder, control different settings (auto or manual) on the lens, use touch focus, click the shutter, and act as secondary storage for the photos/videos.
You can clip a bracket to the lens so you can clamp it to your phone. It can accommodate a device of up to 13mm thick and from 54-75mm wide. It was able to snugly clamp on my iPhone 5 even with a thick case on.
Attaching it is optional though. You can hold your phone on one hand and the lens on the other to get those angled shots. You can even place it on a table or mount it on a tripod then take the shot from a distance.
So how does it communicate to your Android or iOS device? The Sony QX100 and QX10 can broadcast its own secured WiFi network (password is n the inside of the battery lid) which you need to connect to. However, if your device have NFC, connecting is made easier although primary mode of communication is still via WiFi.
Launch the Sony PlayMemories app to fiddle with the settings such as white balance, aperture, and exposure. You can use touch-to-focus on your phone and also the on-screen zoom controls and shutter button. We got some lag on our phone as we pan the lens around so there’s still room for improvement. Saving photos on the phone also took a couple of seconds so you might want to turn that setting off if you want to take shots quickly.
On paper, the attachable lens of Sony is something you would strongly consider if you’re after good photos on your smartphone. You can keep your super slim phone then just take out the attachable lens when you need to take good photos. However, the experience is still far from ideal with the lag you get from the lens to the viewfinder but it’s actually not bad for a first of its kind product.
These Sony QX100 and QX10 attachable lens will be made available sometime in October along with the Xperia Z1. Local price is yet to be announced but in the US it’s going to be $500 for the QX100 and $250 for the QX10.

Chinatowns – A symbol of Chinese Heritage

Chinatowns, a symbol of Chinese heritage were developed on both, the East and West Coasts of United States. In fact, Chinatowns were developed in many other countries around the world including Canada, Australia, France, Russia and several other countries. The mass immigration of Chinese and adjacent Asian communities owing to regional conflicts and the need of United States for a skilled labor was the main reason behind these mass immigrations.
Chinatowns were developed during the late 1800s and represent Chinese / Asian culture. These were developed throughout the major cities of USA like San Francisco, Boston (MA), and New York. Development of other Asian enclaves like Little India and Korea-town also started with the arrival of these communities. However, with the rise of Chinese and fall of US economy, many of the initial immigrants turned back to their countries for a better, prosperous life, and since then, Chinatowns have lost their true purpose.
Chinatowns are now mainly known for their food and regional specialties. For example, K&K, a famous specialty store in US Chinatowns that are known for their imports in Asian fruits and vegetables that are unavailable in the US. Similarly, China King, a new restaurant in Chinatown offers homemade cooking like no other. China King takes you back in time to Mom’s home cooked dumplings and noodles.
Overall life in Chinatowns is very dense but the old Chinese folks have made quite some efforts in preserving their culture even after mass relapse of their communities. Chinese are encouraged to live in Chinatowns where schools and libraries are developed and Chinese people are eager to expose their newly born children to their culture in an overall effort to preserve it. Asians are aware of the fact that their third generations are more rapt towards US culture and so, efforts are being made by the US government and China to uphold their culture and heritage