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All posts tagged Killer App

Your Computer Seems A Bit Sluggish…

Of course, it’s been a few months since you read and followed what I wrote in my February post “Give your Computer a Digital Double Espresso“.

<<Pause>> Okay, now you’ve reminded yourself about all that and of course are running with those tips on your Windows PC here is one more tip that will give your PC a nice performance jolt. (Windows Vista and above, just like Microsoft I’m looking towards the end of support for Windows XP).

Ready, Steady, Readyboost…

Microsoft gave us a somewhat hidden power-user surprise where you can use Flash Memory to act as extra RAM for the computer.

One qualifier: the Flash Memory (if it’s a USB stick) and the port need to be USB2.0 and higher for this to work.

What Do I need To Do?

 Grab that Flash Memory (Disk on Key) and assuming you don’t need it for anything else or that it isn’t full of vital data just plug it into the USB port.

computer - readyboost

  • When Windows opens this dialog then select Speed up my system.
  • You should be offered the chance to allocate all or part of the space available. Make your choice.
  • You should see a marked difference in computer performance almost immediately.

Things To Be Aware Of

  1. Using your Flash Memory this way will decrease its life. The read/writes being made by ReadyBoost affect what is a finite number it can handle. Admittedly this is in the millions but it varies based on generic brand / good brand. Prolonged use may render your Flash Memory less reliable in the long run (not that this should be your go-to method of backup).
  2. If you have set your BIOS to boot from USB first then rebooting your computer will leave you hanging. When you start up / reboot ensure the Flash Memory is safely removed.
  3. Yes, always safely remove Flash Memory or you may find a USB port that doesn’t want to recognize it anymore.
  • When you reboot Windows should begin reusing ReadyBoost the moment you reinsert the Flash Memory. If not then troubleshoot by opening Windows Explorer and right click on the drive from the left pane list:

explorer - computer

  • Now select Properties from the menu and go to the ReadyBoost tab and select Use this device > Ok.

readyboost - dialog - computer

The Warptest POV

This is a useful tool for boosting your computer performance when you have some memory intensive activities running.

Microsoft gives us once again an elegant, easy to use solution to a common problem as part of our OS.

Keep in mind this shouldn’t be your default state of affairs; if you are continuously running into RAM issues you may need to consider upgrading to more memory on your computer.

So add this to your arsenal of ways to give your computer the digital equivalent of a double espresso and stay productive out there folks.

soluto logo

Soluto Could Be To Blame …

For all the frantic stories about a drastic slowdown in PC sales so far in 2013.

FUD slow pc sales

By providing a tool for maintaining a stable and more robust PC that can boot at optimal speed, Soluto has possibly extended the usable life of many PCs that otherwise frustrated owners might have replaced. However, the slowdown may only be until Windows XP reaches end of support next year.

All grown up …

The awesomely good App for managing your PC frustrations is all grown up and going into the workplace.

Soluto‘s CEO sent an email out to registered users and no doubt this accompanied a conventional and social media blitz.

The PC management and maintenance App that makes keeping your PC speedy and stable a doddle is to quote Soluto CEO, Tomer Dvir,

“…launched our new service for IT managers in small businesses and IT service providers.

The new service includes some awesome new features such as remote access, chat, asset management and extended reports, and can really help IT pros to become more productive and provide a better service.”

For The Uninitiated…

Soluto has been through a couple of major iterations. Originally Soluto was a client application, installed on your PC that allowed you to: –

  • Reduce boot time by pausing or delaying unnecessary items that run at Startup.
  • Receive real-time notification when an application crash occurs / recurs and offer information on the problem.
  • Manage browser add-ons and remove those slowing down your browser.
  • Add applications on your PC that Soluto does not recognize to its PC Genome (By adding this information Soluto applied a neat crowdsourcing solution to creating a comprehensive knowledge-base and thus the user who adds the app pays it forward to other users also using that software).

Next big iteration Soluto went to the web and it allowed management of those features on your or 4 other PCs via the web interface and all for free. In addition Soluto added the feature of (popular) 3rd Party Software update by remote.

The Warptest POV

I have been using Soluto since the earliest version came out. The move into the business market is eminently logical. It was either that or form a strategic alliance with OEMs to deliver Soluto pre-installed on PCs or branch out into the Smartphone/Tablet markets.

Soluto is not just incredibly functional and replaces a couple of other tools that IT professionals may be using but it comes in what may be the most eye-catching and user friendly UI you have ever seen. The free consumer product seems to be among one of the best tested I have seen in a long time and in all my time using Soluto I have only twice reported issues to their Support who responded promptly.

The pricing for Soluto for up to 10 users is incredible value for money and to my knowledge they were one of the first Windows 8 Apps released so they have you covered for all currently supported PC Operating Systems.

 soluto win 8 app

If you are an SMB and want to reduce antacid consumption, swearathons and the like in your IT department then I would be seriously considering making the jump to a more efficient way of managing your work PCs.

soluto mainpage smb

Finally, if you are interested in signing up for Soluto then click here

Disclosure: hitting this link will take you to Soluto’s site but is also part of a competition they are running. Soluto will award an iPad Mini for the user with the most sign ups. So you can help yourself and help me too.

Google Plus World Domination After Wave or Buzz?

Google Plus is this just their third strike at Social? I’m going to be generous here and say.. after the experiments that were Google Buzz and Wave.. it seems that Google has gotten things mostly right with Google+

google plus - ui

The experts, professionals and pundits are already arguing if Google Plus is going to become the leading platform.  I decided to deconstruct its functionality and see what occurred to me.

google plus - functionality

In a Nutshell…

Google Plus incorporates sharing content, grouping your friends/ followers in Circles and much  more however, as much as I find it to be a killer app I find myself dissatisfied with the User Experience.

A friend told me they felt Google+ would not “take off big time” as it was a techie oriented platform compared to the ubiquity of Facebook or the professional niche of LinkedIn.

Google Plus right now is the child who brings home the “Little Timmy could be doing so much more..” report card. Sharing content on Google+ definitely drives traffic to you and generates followers who you would not get via Twitter or Facebook but there is more..

What’s Missing / WISHLIST?

Google Plus definitely is a rock star make no mistake but I suspect we are going to see a few more features added in the next year or so. These are my predictions: –

  • Goo.gl – Google’s own URL shortening service with some great tracking features built in. Microsoft Fuse Research Lab released their experimental platform So.cl not long ago and had the foresight to include a built in URL shortener; come on guys this is a no-brainer!
  • Google Analytics – yes, I want to know everything about everything I share on Google Plus and if someone +1’s I want to see the who, how and more.
  • 3rd Party Integration – I get it, I do.. Google Plus is the New York of platforms.. the center of the universe and nothing exists outside it.. give me a break. I want to be able to post from Google Plus directly to Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook etc.
  • Save Hangouts as YouTube videos to my channel .. instant video-blogging showing all the members of your conversation .. for the business users who want full Google App integration (I believe this is already working) this adds a powerful tool for co-located team meetings.
  • Save Chats and or Comments as a Google Document via Apps or Gmail it to all participants – again think co-located team meetings and think minutes of a meeting including action items.
  • Event planning and invitations – Google Calendar integration nuff said.

I had one or two more but it seems that Google and I think alike so these are considered Hangout Extras (optional):

google plus - hangouts

My favorite here is Screensharing: for group support or training sessions this could be a killer feature.

Simply put Google Plus is good but to make it great (and by great I mean World Domination class) let’s see some of these features implemented.

Redmond, Redmond, Redmond

Windows 8 - MWC 1

Microsoft has had an amazing week at MWC stealing much of the limelight on day one together with Nokia and Windows Phone 7.

Yesterday they outdid themselves with the Consumer Preview of Windows 8. Having gone hands on with the earlier Developers Preview and now with this, albeit both as Virtual Machines I can honestly state I’m impressed; not just by the Metro UI which continues to be the best looking UI I have laid eyes on all year but more importantly by the ecosystem that Microsoft is developing. Windows 8 is intended to be the OS for every type of device in the Microsoft arsenal: Touch tablets, conventional PCs and ultimately for Smartphones (so we are led to believe)

In my opinion Windows 8 is going to drive a stake through the hearts of the other Operating Systems out there unless they can find a competitive edge and speech recognition apps isn’t it.

Windows 8

I wrote about Windows 8 here “Too Retro for Metro..” based on the Developers Preview back in October 2011. Yesterday saw the launch of the more polished Consumer Preview.

windows 8 setup1

Above is the setup screen complete with the newly rebranded Windows logo.

Where and How

For those who want to try out this preview then it can be downloaded as either an executable installer or if like me you prefer running it as a Virtual Machine then get the ISO.

I’m running the VM on Oracle’s VirtualBox. I’m a long time VMware fan but they won’t support pre-release versions of an OS and frankly VirtualBox does the job simply and elegantly.

What to Expect?

Setup is about the easiest I have ever experienced for a Windows OS install and the process includes login using a Windows Live account which hooks up nicely to the OS.

Windows 8 login

However the user is not obligated to use a Microsoft account. Following the login the user is confronted by a beautiful photo with an overlaid clock this is where the touch experience begins. If you have a touch screen then finger slide from bottom to top of the screen to arrive at the Start Screen (this does function with either a mouse or touchpad):

windows 8 - metro UI

The touch functionality takes some getting used to but the Windows key to return to Start and or Alt-Tab to toggle open apps should be kept in mind when trying to navigate.

The look and feel of the sample apps and the OS are great. On the Desktop you can get to Windows Explorer which has come of age receiving an update in the shape of the Ribbon we know and love from Office. Internet Explorer is IE10 which again has a radical UI upgrade:

Windows 8 - Metro UI IE10

The navigation bar in IE10 now resides at the bottom of the browser for starters.

Walkthrough

I decided to capture video of my walkthrough and did this with Microsoft Expression Encoder. I didn’t factor that my laptop microphone would capture so much background noise. Apologies folks but here is the video via YouTube:

Windows 8 - short walkthru video
My walkthrough the Windows 8 Start screen

Conclusions

I have a lot more exploration and testing to do but I stick by my earlier impressions. I have high expectations for Windows 8 itself and as a driving force behind Redmond’s competition. Time for them to seriously consider how they are going to compete.

(For those who have Silverlight support in their browser you can see a Photosynth of some more screengrabs here.

Soluto – In the Beginning:

Soluto has done it again. No longer a simple client PC application it has evolved and iterated into a sophisticated Control Panel for system management of multiple PCs.

soluto - button

Uncle Monty’s Got No Internet:

Many of us who are used to the frantic calls to resolve PC issues for friends and family were overjoyed with this remote access solution; allowing you the Power User to solve these issues from the comfort of your own chair and computer.

You may have heard it here first:

I wrote on my old blog in July 2010 about how to use Soluto hand in hand with CCleaner and FileHippo; this was the best way at the time to ensure a smooth running, stable PC.

Awhile later I indulged in predicting via Twitter that @soluto should romance either CCleaner or FIlehippo as the results would be awesome.

Soluto-logoCcleaner-logo - Solutofilehippo-logo - Soluto

Will It Blend?

Last week the guys at Soluto did one better and announced on their blog that they are incorporating a Disk Cleaner and App Installer (beginning with Skype apparently with other apps to follow).

As a freemium user you get to invite 4 other users and be their Power User / Online Support:

Soluto - grab

So we have one killer app that basically will allow you to do away with: –

  • Maintaining a stable, optimized boot and running OS
  • 3rd Party Patch Management
  • Remote Access Tools for Support
  • The uncertainty of DIY 3rd Party App Maintenance

What Next?

That’s Soluto today as a Freemium version. It doesn’t take much to imagine the Web App / Soluto Client providing support for iOS or Linux (even Mobile platforms) but the kicker is going to be seeing your Sys-admin maintain your whole IT infrastructure via Soluto with an Enterprise version. (prediction)

In a nutshell for all you LOTR fans this will likely be the One Ring to Rule Them All.