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Password Protection or not...
There's an article on Lifehacker about recovering passwords with free tools. It's a little scary really. After all, we go to all this trouble to create a safe password with all the trouble of learning the random collection of digits, and then someone comes along with a free tool and steals it as if you'd just used password.
It goes to show that physical security can be just as important as virtual. Give someone access to a computer and it is suddenly very easy to steal all sorts of stuff.
If you do read the article, remember with great power comes great responsibility. Don't be stupid and try and steal other peoples details. It's against the law for one thing.
New version of Windows Search released
Word over on the Windows Experience Blog that Windows Search 4 has been released. Download the 32bit Windows XP version here, or go to the Microsoft Download Center for other versions for 64bit and Vista. Or you could hang on a little while as Search will be available through Windows Update soon.
It's not always neccessary, in computers, to get the latest and greatest. That might sound strange in an industry that's so geared towards the novel and the cutting edge, and it's true that if you're a gamer or you're into video editing, for instance, you do need a very powerful computer.
But for many people who just want to do word processing and check their emails, it's possible to get away with spending less than you think. Obviously prices of new PCs are dropping sharply in any case, but even then the second-hand market is worth checking out.
Coming events: future music
There are some interesting goings-on at the Dana Centre in London (it's in South Kensington, near the Science Museum). The Royal Academy of Engineering is sponsoring a series called Fine Tuning, in which the institute wants you to come and use computers to explore how music is created and played now, and how it will be in the future.
Technical preview of Live Writer available
Now this is something I look forward to trying out, as there are plenty of improvements for the next version of Live Writer.
I've found Live Writer invaluable when writing this blog as it is much faster than relying on a web editor and can quickly switch between different blogs. You can download it here.
Microsoft Store arrives in the UK
Microsoft is now selling direct in the UK with the Microsoft Store. It has most versions of Vista, Office and the Expression design series available for purchase.
What is interesting about the site is that the software can be downloaded immediately, no need to wait for deliveries. It is possible to request backup media but this then incurs shipping costs.
Thanks to Darren Strange over at OfficeRocker for the link.
Windows XP vestiges in Windows Vista
Whatever the claims of large updates to the inner workings of Windows, one of the bigger frustrations of Windows Vista is that there are still lots of little bits left over from Windows XP.
For example, the Display Properties window is just like that of the previous version of Windows once you get to it.
According to the Windows UI Taskforce, there are even more extreme examples of this, the Add fonts window hasn't been changed since Windows 3.1, making it harder to use than modern dialogue boxes.
I'm not programmer but surely it can't take that long to redesign a dialogue box. As much as I applaud the code reuse (and the money is probably better spent on security) it doesn't really give a very good impression.
I suppose it's an area where open source has an advantage as you can get the non programmers with a flair for design to do all of the legwork. Maybe.
Windows XP boot CDs
A Windows XP disc is a very useful thing to have on hand when things go wrong with a computer. Unfortunately, most computers are not supplied with Windows CDs in an effort to reduce piracy. Who says this is a victimless crime?
All is not lost thankfully as it is apparently possible to create a bootable disc using the files stored on the computer.
This looks very useful for me as I have a computer in desperate need of a fresh install. After six years, it's starting to get rather cluttered, not least after a work experience lad was let loose on it for a week.
Ways to improve Internet Explorer
It may be because many available through the Windows Marketplace cost money to use and that seems to get a very negative press very quickly. I think that's a shame, because if I put a month of evenings into writing some code, I'd like to get a little something in return.