Monday, October 12, 2009

IE8 Strikes again

Summary: My wife tells me that the internet seems slow on our Desktop at home. She says it seems to get worse using 2 tabs. After using it seems that is the case. It acts as if wireless is at the edge of a connection even though I was connected fine. It was happening in both IE and Firefox.

Troubleshooting: Anyways I check the wireless, fine. I test a constant ping to Google using "ping -t" No problem. I reboot all wireless routers involved just for kicks. (We have a Wireless Bridge that connects us to my parent’s network down the road.) No go. I also grabbed my trusty Laptop and suffer no problems. I look to see if any updates may have been causing the problem. Nothing had been installed recently to cause it. Also ran a full scan just for kicks by my antivirus, nothing. At this point I think I might have an idea of the culprit.

Solution: So I uninstalled Internet Explorer 8. Restart and POW, it works awesomely.

Conclusion: So far this is the 2nd time this has happened with IE8. Both times on a Vista Machine. I haven't had an issue with IE8 on all the computers here at work, which is plenty, but 98% of them are XP. I am wondering if how IE8 ties into Vista(maybe win 7 too) is causing this issue. I don't pretend to know the under workings of IE8. The thing I dislike is that it affects Any browser on the machine, not just IE8. So IE8's hooks are deep or something it modifies when installed is in front of all browsing. I must say though I have often just used IE8 but for personal use, Firefox is my highest recommendation at this point and checking the don't install IE8 update. IE7 doesn't seem to have this problem.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Pen is mightier than the Board

So I had the opportunity to go to a presentation yesterday regarding a collaboration/presentation technology. The AVerPen from AVerMedia. Currently it is still not available, yet they are shooting for a December release date. You can check out their Site HERE.

Right now in schools and many presentation rooms they utilize White Boards with technology that recognizes some sort of pen. Prometheam and Interwrite are some of the big names. They have their own pros and cons. Personally I have always disliked how people must cover up what they are trying to show. Some manufactors do provide some kind of slate or tablet. The ones I have used, are so so. Although I have never used one very long.

The Basic concept of the averpen is an optical mouse in the shape of a pen, or I should say marker. It doesn't feel too much different than a dry erase marker, yet it has buttons. As you can see from the picture above. It is very accurate with the laser being on the tip. As with an optical mouse you can use most anysurface. Now for you to start writing you must press the tip to whatever surface you are using it on. It causes a little disconnect because it goes in some, unlike a pencil whos tip does not move. I was told and can understand that it just takes some time to get use to.

The really neat thing is it is setup to be used with a teacher/presenter pen and then student/participant pens. So that teacher can be teaching utilizing the pen and then enable feedback and have the students write on board say the answer or try and solve the problem up to 6 at a time, without ever leaving their desk.

They have also included a voting feature, so that a question can be presented and the students can vote/answer the question. Both multiple/single answers. That is what the line of buttons is for on the top half of the pen. She said that up to 60 pens could be used from one dock. So this could allow for some serious answering.

The units come in a started pack of 1 teacher and 4 student, which MSRPs at 799.99. You can get additional Student pens in packs of 4 for 499.99. Battery wise we didn't get too much info. They may or may not be user replaceable. They use a Rechargable battery which is charged through the doc.No Battery meter, which could have been done like some of the laptop batteries. Press a button on the pen and the 5 voting buttons could light up depending on the amount of charge. It was a supposed charge being able to handle 12 hours. I would need to hear more.

Also if the program is open, and/or minized you can use the pen to control windows. Overall I was impressed  and looking forward to getting a par of these. No need to orient and  for one of our rooms where a rolling board would have been the only option, a big need. I'll post more as I have the opportunity to use them again. Probably sometime next May.

Monday, October 5, 2009

.5 Credit's = Windows 7 for $30.00

So Microsoft has a deal for students that are enrolled in at least .5 Credit's of College. It's great they are making this affordable for students to purchase and now days most people are at some point in college.

Go to Click on the Buy link which is the first picture in the second row. It will take you to a page filled with more details regarding purchasing Windows 7. This deal ends January 3, 2010 at 12:00 am CST. So you have a little bit of time to scrape together the money to purchase it.

Now this is for Windows 7 Home Premium or Windows 7 Professional. You can only purchase one copy per student. You can Also get the 32bit version or 64bit version. I recommend going 64bit.

You will need an .edu email address or you can upload a digitial scan of one of the following items:
  • Student ID card
  • Class list
  • Proof of course payment.
Also make sure you are currently enrolled in at least .5 credit's woth of classes. They can ask for proof. Anyways run and take advantage of this awesome price. Shoot me an email or comment and I will answer any questions you have. I have been running Win 7 since last August. Worth the money to me.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Unmountable Boot Volume

So I had one of my users drop off a laptop saying the laptop turned off and then after that wouldn't come back up. I turn the laptop on and yep that is the problem. It gives me the infamous Bluescreen, with the words "Unmountable Boot Volume" This is the 2nd one of the week.

Well if you get that then usually the first thing you want to do is find a Windows Installation Disk(Always order this with your computer if you have the option). Put it in the computer and boot to it. After doing this I selected the option to go the recovery console. Sadly it told me that it could not detect a drive and to run the diagnostics. So I booted into the Bios and ran Lenovo's HD Diagnostic tool. It said it was good so I ran the Windows XP disc again and this time ti worked. WIERD. Partially it actually sits for awhile before I get something useful. Must have really corrupted the Windows install. It gives me the option of which install to work on I select it by typing the number and hitting enter again. Still kind of sits for awhile after which the HD Light starts flickering away.

Sadly after running "chkdsk /r" I get the error "The volume appears to contain one or more unrecoverable problems." At this point just backup your info if you can.

UPDATE I downloaded Lenovo's PC Doctor Hard Drive Tool and this one did state a problem. Will be returning it since we are still under warranty.