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Earth Images so real they look fake

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NASA just launched a new Satellite called NPP. THe VIIRS instrument on that satellite has started returning stunning images of Earth. These are great to look at, make desktops etc. There is an Article at KnowledgeOrb about it. Here is a Link to the VIIRS article.This shows the very first image by VIIRS and you can see an amazing amount of detail. If you are looking for these kids of images be sure to check this out.

Last Updated (Saturday, 26 November 2011 22:08)


Awesome New Saturn Movie

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This movie is a flyby of Saturn using REAL images. This is NOT CGI....the real deal It is incredible.



No its not computer generated, not its not about PCs...who cares sometimes things are too cool not to share. This time reality beats fantasy!!

Last Updated (Thursday, 08 September 2011 19:35)


SimNASA team looking for members

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Ever wanted to fly a Satellite or work as a flight controller for NASA? Well now you can. According to their site SimNASA is run in the spare time of NASA engineers who want to share the experience with anyone who is interested.  Simulations will be with real people, just like you using the SimNASA simulators. All you need is a computer with a web browser to participate. The SimNASA software totally runs within the browser.

With actual NASA engineers running the show this might be an interesting new concept if you have ever wanted to see if you have the right stuff!! 
The SimNASA team states that any age or education level can participate so don't be intimidated...a major goal if SimNASA is FUN! Here is a link to the www.SimNASA.com web site.


According to their site"We are looking for a few good...PEOPLE!! Any age, any education, any location..the only requirement is DESIRE!! If you have ever wanted to run a NASA mission, be a flight controller, troubleshoot billions of dollars of spacecraft hardware now is your chance!!"


Good luck Space Cadet!


Last Updated (Saturday, 03 September 2011 13:38)


Sun Virtual Machine Review

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Sun Vbox

I've always liked trying different operating systems. The trouble is, I don't always have a spare PC laying around to do this.

I could go through the effort of installing a second hard drive and using it as the home for the new OS. The trouble with that is...well, the trouble! Who really wants to open the case of their PC and perform a type of “techno brain surgery”? Did you ever see all those wires in there? Who knows what they all are? What if I do something wrong? I could end up opening someone's garage door in Lapland every time I click on a link.

There is always the old and daunting method of partitioning and re-formatting my existing hard drive, and using the “newly created” space to install and try the new OS. The issue with this is that it's risky. There is always the possibility that something could go wrong, and not only will the new OS not install properly, but the drive could be damaged or destroyed. Instead of having a cool system with dual operating systems, I could end up with nothing but a $600 paper weight.

Besides all that, I've never been particularly good at that sort of thing. Like most people, I like my computing to be simple, straightforward, and most important of all, idiot proof.

Oh, if only someone would come up with a way to install and manage multiple operating systems that was simple and safe! It was during such a verbal tirade that a friend told me about Sun Virtual Box, the best OS management software I've heard of yet. As its name implies, it literally creates a “virtual” computer within your computer to run and manage multiple operating systems.

Getting it was simple enough, I just went to this URL for the SUN Virtual Machine

Installation was a breeze. It was nothing more than launching the downloaded file and following the simple steps outlined in the installation wizard. It was no different than installing a game or ordinary office software.


With all that out of the way, it was now time for the nerve racking stuff: installing a new OS!

When I first opened the Sun Virtual Box I got a window with only two things: a brief “welcome” message and an icon of a blue gear with the word “new” below it. The welcome message stated clearly that I was to click the blue gear to begin my OS installation. With tension in my stomach but optimism in my heart, I steadied my hand and clicked on the blue gear. What I got was a reassuring message:

This wizard will guide you through the steps that are necessary to create a new virtual machine for VirtualBox. Use the Next button to go the next page of the wizard and the Back button to return to the previous page.

Ah, a wizard! My stomach immediately settled. It seems that Sun Virtual Box manages operating systems by creating a unique “virtual machine” for each one. The next window presented me with a dialogue box to name the new VM (virtual machine), and a drop-down list to select which OS was to be installed in this space. The selections offered were Microsoft Windows, Linux, Solaris, BSD, IBM OS/2, and “Other”.

I was trying Windows 7, so of course I chose the Microsoft Windows option. A “version” drop-down list allowed me to choose Win7.

The next window asked me to choose exactly how much of my machine's memory (RAM) would be allocated to my Win7 installation. This was easily done by dragging a “slider” graph further to the right for increasing memory allocation. I chose the recommendation of 512 MB.

The next step is where things got slightly tricky. The wizard needed me to “Select a hard disk image to be used as the boot hard disk of the virtual machine.” Not being the world's foremost tech guru, I wasn't quite sure what it was asking me. The wizard said I could create a new “hard disk” or use an existing one. I guessed that it needed disk space to boot Win7. I had nothing of the sort installed on my machine, so I bravely chose the “create new hard disk” option. This opened a “wizard within the wizard” to create this new space. “Fear not”, I thought to myself, “for this is a wizard, and, as long as I pay attention to what I'm doing, it can do me no harm”. I swallowed my fear, and moved on to the next step.

I was presented with two options for the size of the virtual hard disk image: Dynamically expanding storage, and Fixed size storage. Fortunately, the wizard provided brief but clear explanations of what this meant:

As the names suggest, the dynamically expanding space starts out very small, but grows in size as Win7 needs it. A limit is set on how large it will be permitted to grow.

Fixed size storage is just that: a size is set and this space will neither grow or shrink.

I've always been kind of a “flexible” guy, so I chose the dynamically expanding option. I liked the idea of it “shrinking” to almost nothing when not in use. I've got a 35 GB hard drive, so I decided to allow the space to grow to about half of what I've got, or 17 GB.

The next step asked me to confirm the settings I just selected, and press finish. With a slight lump in my throat, I clicked the button, then crossed my fingers. One more final confirmation, and viola!! What I got next was a pleasant surprise: no whirring or clicking for five minutes, no smoke or fires, no...well, no anything! I was merely back at the Virtual Box opening window, this time with the newly created “Win7” virtual machine listed on the upper left. My heart momentarily soared, but I soon realized I had to “power up” this vm, and install Win7 into it.

The first step in doing this is to click a green arrow icon titled “start”. Even someone with my limited ability could figure this out. Clicking this icon brought me to a splash screen informing me that I would have to press my right “Ctrl” key to move the cursor outside of the VM window. It seems that when you use your keyboard and mouse inside the VM window, it is “captured” by the Virtual Box. This was not complicated, but if I had not been informed of this, it would have drove me nuts!

The next step started the “First Run Wizard”, which guided me through the installation of Win7. This went quickly and smoothly. In no time at all, I had completed the installation. Installing was just as easy through Sun Virtual Box as it would have been on any computer.

Now I'm able to run Win7 (as well as a couple of other operating systems I've since installed!) on my system almost effortlessly. So, if your like me, and want to experiment with different operating systems, and don't want to go through the trials and tribulations that used to go along with it, give Sun Virtual Box a try. You'll be glad you did.





Auto Aero Enable your Cmd.exe

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If you have ever used the Command Prompt in Windows Vista, or 7, and thought "How can i give it the Aero effect". Than we have to answer for you. Our friend "Solo-Dev" on Deviant-Art has the the solution. HE has made a App called "AeroCmd".

Notes from Solo-Dev.

"Before I do a description, Windows Vista and Windows 7 is needed, both running Aero. XP users need not download. It wont work on XP.

Ok so I know that others have worked to make an "Aero" Cmd.exe thru 3rd party apps. TBH "Glasser" was the best way to do this but you needed command link knowledge, and it seemed funny that you had to start up Cmd.exe then use Glasser to "Aero" it.

So this is a very quick Automated AeroCmd app.

Basically all it does is start up Cmd.exe, then it takes the Process.info, and runs it thru the correct DWM Api call.

I owe me making this app to Dev, seeing as how HE made Glasser, i just integrated the idea of it in to one simple app.

This is a .Net 2.0 app, so it should work just fine with both Vista and 7 without any more needed .Net runtime files.

I may or may not update this app, odds are this is final. If I WAS to update the app it would be for me to just simply to see if i can re-assign Cmd.exe's icon to that of AeroCmd. But TBH that is just silly nit-picking.

I suggest downloading and unzipping the app to your c:\windows\system32\ folder, as how that is where Cmd.exe is at. I have set the Startup Folder as the System32 folder, same folder as how Windows starts up at now.

This will only Aero one window at a time. So if you start up 4 cmd.exe apps, one will not be aero'd, until you start up another process. I dont know why it seems to run "One Behind" like that, but really, how many Cmd.exe's do you normally have open at once?"




Drobo NAS Review

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Some of you may or may not know what a NAS is or even a RAID, but if you use a computer at some point you are going to have to deal with backup of your data or the need for more storage or both. You can easily add external storage via USB device to your local machine but what if you have many PCs on a network and what if those are not all windows? A Network Attached Storage (NAS) device could be a good solution for you. This is a device that simply plugs into your homes router and can be seen by all of your computers. It then used as any other storage area on your PC but all users can see the storage and exchange data there due to it being on the network.

A NAS is a common way for businesses to store data and a RAID is a way to have redundancy in the storage device so it is safe. The Drobo is both a NAS and a RAID (well it is kind of a RAID but more on that later) The model Drobo we installed was the Drobo FS. This is a storage device that can have up tp 5 hard drives internal to it. You buy them and put in how many you want. . The more drives you install the more storage you can have and/or the level of redundancy of the data for safety.

Installing the Drobo could not be simpler. You simply buy the number of drives you want and slide them into the lots in the Drobo. Once that is done there is some software you need to install on a PC to manage some of the Drobo settings but you do not have to have this PC running when you use the Drobo. Once your drives are installed in it plug it into your network switch via Ethernet (there is also a USB version if you want that) and turn it on. The Drobo configures the hard drives and comes to life. This takes about 5 minutes the first time you start it. Once that is done you can use the Drobo software to tell it if you want more redundancy, more storage and less redundancy etc...it is really up to you. The Drobo is not a RAID but does exactly the same thing a RAID does in assuring that your data is duplicated and a single disk going bad in the Drobo will not cause you to loose your data. They state it is NOT a RAID but their software assures redundancy...not sure how it does it but that is proprietary, we will take their word for it.

We used the Drobo on a network with many Windows OS laptops and PCs. We also have MACs on this network as well. The drive was easy to map just like any other external device and it worked well. We put 3 disks in the Drobo and it defaulted to a configuration which had single disk failure redundancy so while we did not get the full use of all three disks we did get most of it.

On the whole we liked the Drobo, it was easy to configure and manage and a snap to install. Having an external shared storage area is a really great feature. You can configure it and the directories on it just like any other directory on your PC. You can lock down the permissions, restrict access with your native operating system. If you have never used a NAS before you should have no issue with the Drobo and not only will you be adding storage you will be assuring your data is kept safe!!

Last Updated (Monday, 28 March 2011 14:17)


How Close are you to Nuclear Plant

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Check out this CNN link. If a crisis at a nuclear reactor happened in the U.S., could you be living in a danger zone? In a 10-mile radius, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission says the air could be unsafe to breathe in the event of a major catastrophe. In 50 miles, food and water supplies may be unsafe. Not Really related to PCs but its interesting!! Click here to find out how close you are!


Last Updated (Saturday, 19 March 2011 21:51)


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