Tag Archives: pc

Hamachi for Secure Network Computing

Chris | Live Tech Support | Video Help | Add to iTunes

http://live.pirillo.com/ – In the past, I have never really used VPN. It just seems so complicated and costly. However, using open wireless networks while out and about, I’m definitely concerned about privacy and safety.

My buddy WirelessPacket from our live chat room is on Skype with me tonight. He has convinced me that it’s time to try Hamachi. Hamachi is a free program that allows you to create your own Virtual Private Network, or VPN. He has made an excellent video tutorial demonstrating exactly how to use Hamachi. From his description:

“Hamachi is a simple, secure, and effective alternative to VPN. If you have ever wanted to access your home computer from the office, hotel or internet cafe look no further. With Hamachi there is no need to configure your firewall by opening ports and exposing you computer to nasty threats lurking on the web”

A standard VPN encrypts the traffic you send and receive… email, IM, web browsing, etc. A VPN makes your Internet activity more secure over a wireless network, but it’s also quite costly. Hamachi allows you to create your own VPN basically… for free! You can add other users to it, and share files with them in a secure manner. Some of the features of Hamachi:

  • LAN over the Internet Arrange multiple computers into their own secure network, just as if they were connected by a physical cable.
  • Remote Access Remote control any machine on your network with Remote Desktop.
  • Files and Network Drives Access critical files and network drives.
  • Zero-configuration Works without having to adjust a firewall or router.
  • Security Industry leading encryption and authentication.
  • Cost Effective Basic version is free to use.

Thanks, WirelessPacket, for showing this to me. This is definitely something I’m going to start using, and I hope others will, as well.

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A Different Kind of Personal Computer

There are comments (beyond Dan’s) that deserve more attention in the Leopard vs Vista discussion thread.

The issue of locking into hardware puts me off going Mac OS X, Mac hardware certainly costs more than a few nickels. Give it a couple of years and attempt upgrading some of the components, or replacing a faulty component when the price totals more than the value of the system. I’m more than happy with Vista running on this machine that I built myself.

If by “locking into hardware” you mean embracing newer technologies like EFI or GPT for a consumer class operating system and platform, then yeah – you should be put off. How much is power management that just WORKS worth to you? How much is a 64-bit OS that just WORKS worth to you? How much is being able to open up your Web browser or Email client without worrying about opening the WRONG THING worth to you?

Gaming rigs certainly cost more than a few nickels – so, what’s your point about price? If you want to buy cheap hardware, that’s your prerogative. If you want to build your own system, that’s your prerogative. But don’t assert that the issue is related to cost – cost is always relative.

You’re not locked into anything other than something that works with far fewer incompatibilities than you have been lead to believe. The hardware and software were designed to go hand in hand with Apple – whereas, the traditional PC’s greatest strength and weakness is in its level of configurability flexibility.

Some people like building cars for themselves – and some people like researching and simply buying them. At least with Apple, you know who made the hardware and who made the software – there’s no guessing games or finger pointing with systemic problems.

Does YESTERDAY”S ARGUMENTS include the fact that Apple will never have support for applications like Windows will. Stating that you hate iTunes does not disguise the fact that you are indeed an Apple Fanboy and like most Apple Fanboys in the media, Leo Laporte being a classic example, you fail to recognize that the overwhelming majority like Windows and are happy with it. A Mac to most will always be considered a pretty toy and your feeble attempts to woe the unconverted will remain just that, a feeble attempt.

I don’t understand why you’d call me a fanboy of any kind – unless you’re talking about my enthusiasm for Peet’s Coffee. I’ve taken Apple to task, I’ve taken Microsoft to task. Do you feel THAT threatened because you realize this is a battle you cannot win? 🙂

And believe me, more than a few Windows users are not “happy with it.” If you really think that the Mac is nothing more than a pretty toy, you live a very sad existence. I didn’t think OS X was anywhere near usable or stable until Tiger (10.4), and I didn’t know that Leopard would give Vista a run for its money until I saw one of the more recent (late) beta builds.

The only Ultimate thing about Windows Vista Ultimate is its price tag: $339 on Amazon today. And with that, you get Ultimate add-ons such as… Texas Hold ‘Em Poker. Somehow, you blame users for this issue instead of holding Microsoft’s own foot to the fire.

Trust me, every OEM on the planet would give anything to offer OS X as an operating system choice on their systems. Dell’s already shipping Ubuntu PCs, and HP is shipping Red Hat now. Even so, Linux could never compete directly with Apple on the consumer’s desktop – since Linux largely provides a software solution without a controlled hardware environment. That, and its own unwieldy community has recently displaced one of its strongest desktop advocates.

If your friends are “happy” with Windows, they’re either masochists, complacent, or grossly underinformed. The only semi-lucid part of your argument was in relation to backwards compatibility, but… virtual machines can already handle legacy apps with relative ease. The onus is on VMware, Parallels, and Microsoft (Virtual PC) to make their respective VM’s power invisible to average user.

Which would make you happier in terms of uninstalling a program: simply deleting its icon, or dancing through some kludge of an uninstallation routine that may or may not be broken and may or may not be complete? Hrmph.

The sad thing is that Microsoft can do amazing things. The Office suite is excellent, and Exchange is brilliant (although a pig to configure for beginners). XBox 360 with its Live service is brilliant, and the new Surface (www.microsoft.com/surface) is mind blowing. They are also funding amazing technologies like Seadragon, and yet despite all this they can’t build a decent OS. I wonder if it’s the backward compatibility that holds them back. Perhaps we are witnessing the first stages in a shift in focus for Microsoft.

Do you know why the Xbox 360 with the Live service is amazing? Because Microsoft controls the hardware and the software experience. Moreover, they pay attention to user interface; elegance is not sacrificed for ease-of-use (they come hand-in-hand). If the Xbox had a built-in HD-DVD / Blu-Ray combo drive and Cable Card support, they’d have the ultimate home entertainment device.

People don’t necessarily want to buy brands anymore – they want to buy interoperability. This is where both Microsoft and Apple typically fall short with consumers (for whatever reason). As far as my parents are concerned, Mac OS X can do the same things that Windows XP / Vista can do – and frequently, with a lot more flair.

I would never cut off my nose to spite my face. I’m not abandoning Microsoft (or Windows entirely, for that matter). I do feel, however, that Microsoft Windows has already abandoned me as a power user. If you’re content with Windows Vista, fine – but you’re doing yourself a tremendous disservice by dismissing Mac OS X because it doesn’t work the same way.

The Ultimate Mac vs PC Battle

Chris | Live Tech Support | Video Help | Add to iTunes

http://live.pirillo.com/ – No, I haven’t had too much caffeine. No, I haven’t ‘completely lost it’. There IS a method to my madness!

How cool is this? When you run MacSaber on your latop, it will use your Mac’s sudden motion sensor to detect movements, fast and slow. As you move your laptop, MacSaber plays varying levels of Light Saber sound effects, from a waving sound to exciting saber crashes. It also features a very cool keyboard blacklight effects!!

Playing with this application was fun, but I warn you… DO try this at home. 😉

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Mac vs PC

http://live.pirillo.com/ – Mac vs PC: who wins? While a Mac is a Personal Computer, we're talking specifically about OS X vs Windows. So which one is better: Mac or Windows?

Chris believes that buying into the Apple monopoly gives end-users a much better experience:

  • The user interface is far superior to that of Windows and Linux
  • With control of the hardware, Apple can almost guarantee a great experience that OEMs running Windows cannot.
  • The customer service experience with Apple is also superior to most other customer service experiences.
  • Since you cannot run OS X on another platform (legally) you can use OS X as a host system, and boot into Windows or Linux with parallels.

What do you think? Is Apple going to expand their monopoly and continue to chip away at Microsoft's position?

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How to Make my Desktop, Laptop or Game PC not Suck

Tonight at some point, I’m opening up the Gaboogie to talk with anybody and everybody about what the PC manufacturers are doing wrong. I’m talking about personal computers, be they running Windows, OS X, or any flavor of Linux.

Preliminary talking points have already started streaming from our live chat room:

  • “Lower prices should be #1”
  • “Power management in laptops is horrible”
  • “Better durability for portable hardware”
  • “They don’t fix hardware failures
  • “Warranties shouldn’t be voided when opening the case”
  • “Loading crapware on your PC”
  • “Tech support in India”
  • “Getting driver updates”
  • “Poor Linux support”
  • “They suck at configuration choices”
  • “They’re all trendy: following one another in design and features, and NOBODY is original in what they offer.”
  • “They don’t give you an actual OS disk, they give you a ‘restore’ disk”
  • “They suck at saying Vista Compatible. I have a laptop supposedly vista compatible. NOTHING ON the laptop would work in Vista.”
  • “Custom made parts can’t be replaced except via the OEM.”
  • “Overheating machines.”
  • “When you call in and ask for a new serial number for xp. They didn’t believe me that I was legit and won’t give me a new key.”
  • “Inflated hardware prices.”
  • “Tech support agents don’t have proper training.”
  • “Turn around time on orders is HORRIBLE at some places. Taking upwards of 4-6 weeks just to configure and ship the machine.”
  • “Their upsells (routers, cables, etc.) cost WAY TOO MUCH.”
  • “OEM manufacturers buying the best custom boutique PC makers and turning their products into OEM clones.”

So, what about you? Where do you think computer OEMs are messing up?


I Met Michael Dell – In Person

I’m not sure if I can say exactly how it happened, but it did happen yesterday – a chance to speak with Michael Dell, face to face, for about fifteen minutes. No PR flacks, no marketing messages, no imposed limits. I made a bold move by bringing up the subject of “Dell Hell,” and he responded in a very kind manner with a satisfactory answer. I have a great deal of respect for this man (on countless levels, for countless reasons), and that feeling was only strengthened by conversing with him one-on-one. I probably sounded like a babbling idiot (what’s new?), but the entire experience was surreal. Dell is a big, big company – and you’d be crazy to belive that it had a monopoly on hiccups. Dunno if I’ll ever have the chance to shake his hand again, but at least I can say I did it once.

The PC De-Crapifier

Long overdue: an OEM’s worst nightmare. Jeff Jarvis oughta love it, but I doubt Dell will. Nothing illegal here:

The PC De-Crapifier is designed to remove a specific list unwanted software in an unattended fashion. Before running, the user may select exactly what software should be removed. Currently, it is targeted for use on most Dell machines; however it will theoretically run on anything that has the software listed below…

Hey Dell – if you really *ARE* listening, and you really *DO* believe in your own marketing hype, why don’t you put some truth behind the new “Designed For You” campaign? Ya know, offer a HUGE CHECKBOX next to the “Install software that doesn’t ship natively with Microsoft Windows” option and have it unchecked by default. First, you have to make that option available. Second, you could call it… “Really, Truly Designed For You.” Welcome to the blogosphere!