Category: "Technology"

Make sure you have the latest Windows XP/Vista service pack installed

Earlier this year Microsoft discontinued security updates for Windows XP with Service Pack 2, and Windows Vista with no service packs. I'm still seeing a lot of machines out there without the latest service packs installed, most of which are now out of support.

Users running Windows Vista without any service packs have not had any security updates for over four months now. That should set some alarm bells ringing. Those on Windows XP SP2 might have noticed this month's patch Tuesday being somewhat quiet. That's because you're not getting your updates!

I generally recommend people to install service packs as they're released. However I do come across other IT support people recommending people to "wait". Of course in reality they end up waiting so long they forget to install it and reach end-of-life for their version, blissfully unaware that their machine is now vulnerable to dozens of exploits with more increasing every month.

As of this post Windows XP's latest service pack is version 3, and Windows Vista's is version 2.

How to check with Windows XP

Click Start
-> Right-click My Computer
--> Click Properties in the menu

That will open the following window:

Windows XP System Properties

Your service pack version will be indicated within the red box. If you have less than Service Pack 3, or no service pack is listed you should upgrade now.

How to check with Windows Vista

Click Start
-> Right click Computer
--> Click Properties in the menu

That will open the following window:

Windows Vista System

Your service pack version will be indicated in the red box. If there is nothing listed there, then you do not have any service pack installed. In that case you should upgrade now. Service Pack 1 is still supported, however I'd still recommend upgrading.

How to upgrade

The fastest way to do this would be to check Windows Update. On Windows XP or Windows Vista you can click Start -> All Programs -> Windows Update.

If for some reason Windows Update isn't listing any service packs, check to make sure the update hasn't been hidden, on Windows Vista you can do this by clicking 'Restore hidden updates'. If it still isn't showing up, then download the full installers manually. Here's Windows XP SP3 and Windows Vista SP2.

So do yourself a favour and just check to make sure your machines are up to date.

Turning that advert off in Windows Live Messenger (Wave 4)

A new beta build of Windows Live Messenger Wave 4 was released yesterday. Like the previous Wave 4 build, conversation view was plagued by an annoying advert, yes you could close it to make it go away but it was an annoying extra click.

Windows Live Messenger (Wave 4)

Yes, well annoying. Microsoft have however also added an option to turn it off. This only effects the conversation view, not the Social or Contact list views. It is fairly well hidden in options. If you make your way to Messages and down the bottom under Conversations is an option called "Show expanded footer in conversation windows" uncheck that and the advert will be hidden by default.

Windows Live Messenger (Wave 4)

Sorted. My main issue has been resolved, now if only we could get handwriting support back.

Photosynths from the Claife Heights

As promised here's a couple more Photosynths from the Claife Heights, basically on top of the hill north of where we stayed at Near Sawrey in the Lake District.

First up this Photosynth was taken just east of Wise Een Tarn, and shows off some of the surrounding landscape quite well. Make sure to check out the highlights on the right hand side which will point you at some interesting places.

Then this one taken on the south bank of Moss Eccles Tarn a bit smaller in scope than the previous but pretty cool anyway.

For those that haven't seen the first of where we stayed at the Buckle Yeat Guest House here it is. With a bit of luck I'll have the last two finished up in the next few days.

Buckle Yeat Guest House Photosynthed

Those following me on Twitter will know I've been away with Catherine to the Lake District for a few days to enjoy the odd walk and bike ride here and there, and also to enjoy the dark (but mostly cloudy) skies and hunt for Perseids.

I'm in the process of going through the photographs I took for use with Photosynth and getting them uploaded. For starters here's Buckle Yeat. Don't forget to press P to toggle through the different point cloud options, press F to make the viewer fullscreen.

We stayed at the Buckle Yeat Guest House in Near Sawrey, approx 4 miles south west of Windermere. More Photosynths to follow over the next few days, including some landscapes.

Google News sitemap for b2evolution

The other day we got Gamercast listed on Google News, however we had a bit of trouble getting our news articles correctly indexed so I had to find a Google News sitemap plugin or skin for b2evolution.

After 30 minutes of searching I came up empty handed. So I just modified the existing _sitemap skin to do the job.

You can download it here.

There are a couple of things you'll need to do to get it working. First up you'll need to specify the publication name, language and any Google keywords in the file directly. I didn't pull this information out of the blog because the blog name might be different to the publication name on Google News, plus Google recommends specific keywords. So yes this may cause issues if you run multiple blogs on the same backend which you want listed on Google news, however as a workaround you can just use multiple copies of the skin. There's also some fields not used by the skin, such as the tags field or the subscription options.

You'll then want to upload it to the b2evolution skins directory into a folder of your choice, for example _newsmap. You can then check to see if it is working by visiting yourblog.somewhere/?tempskin=_newsmap that should show articles from the last two days. All you'd need to do then is submit if via Google's webmaster tools.

Windows Phone 7 beta emulator tour

Microsoft released the new Beta of the developer tools for Windows Phone 7.

Probably the most interesting bit for end-users is the Windows Phone 7 emulator, which lets us have a little play with the device. However in the original only Internet Explorer is available but like always the guys at XDA Developers cracked that emulator image to unlock full functionality like they did with the last 2 CTP releases. So if you're curious what Windows Phone 7 will look like check out the video Long Zheng put together earlier.

What I'm excited about is OneNote integration with SkyDrive - something we don't have with OneNote 2010 on Windows Mobile at the moment, it'll only sync with SharePoint. But it looks like with Windows Phone 7, we can sync directly with SkyDrive, which means Gamercast's shownotes can be done out and about now, sweet.

1 2 3 ...4 ... 6 ...8 ...9 10 11 12 ... 79