Excellent virus checker information

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If you are trying to decide what virus checker to run on your home or work PCs, you really ought to take a look at this Greek site focused completely on reviewing and comparing the latest software.

Particularly worth mentioning is their December 2005 comparative tests which in there are some surprising results, particularly when some popular and well known scanners don't even reach 50% on their scores! Good stuff!

New video editing software for work

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At work today I had need to convert a DVD to Windows Media and Quicktime formats, and trim the video by about a minute (out of a 9 minute DVD). After looking at the options one seemed like it'd be the best choice - Pinnacle Studio Plus 10, which is easy to use, can output a whole bunch of formats and apparently import existing DVD content (provided the DVD is not encrypted, i.e. something you make yourself). I've used older versions in the past, this new one adds on support for high definition video formats (not an issue for me) and chroma-key effects (not needed, but could be fun), along with some general user interface improvements. I'll let you know how it goes.

Laptop installation - Windows Wouldn't Work

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In the continued saga, this week I got Windows 2000 Professional on and then after some hair pulling reformatted the drive. Why, you may ask? Drivers.

The laptop in question was build around the time that Windows 98 was coming out, before Windows 2000 Professional was released, and it was never officially supported under the latter. Despite that, after installing Windows 2000 Pro every minute piece of hardware was correctly identified, I didn't have to install any extra drivers to get it that far. There were, however, three problems remaining: the built-in video card wasn't working correctly (it defaulted to generic VGA) and the two PCMCIA/PC-Card slots refused to work - with my intentions of using a PCMCIA ethernet card, this was going to pose problems.

Long story short, it completely stumped me. Each device was giving a similar error in Device Manager that there were insufficient resources, but none of them gave detailed enough of an answer to pinpoint what was insufficient - IRQs, memory, etc. I suspect it may have been a memory issue, but it was kind of silly of them to write drivers that were hardcoded to memory above the 64mb limit for laptops that were released back when 32mb was a large amount. After several hours of searching for alternative drivers, disabling other devices to see if it was a problem of something else conflicting, it was just going utterly nowhere.

So last night I took my HD platters in my hand and wiped the drive. Then the real fun began, but that's for another time.

Fedora Core (Linux) tip: manually installing RPMs using Yum

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Here's a little tip I came across today while attempting to manually install software using Yum.

One of the the really cool things in Yum is that it can not only install software for you from online repositories but it can also take care of all of the inter-file dependency hell associated with installing a 3rd party RPM file. To do this simply run the command

yum install yourarchive.rpm

and it will check all of the dependencies for you and automatically queue up the files it needs to install, just like it was getting the file from a repository in the first place. Very handy when you're beta testing software.

Another tip is related to this. When I did the above it queued up all of the extra files I needed, then complained that it couldn't recognize the electronic signature attached to the new program I was installing, specifically it said:

Public key for <filename> is not installed

A quick google later and I discovered there's a little trick you can do but are generally advised not to. You see when you're updating software using Yum it verifies that all of the software is coming from somewhere reputable, so it keeps track of the signatures for each repository it knows about. The obvious problem then is that if you're installing a once-off file there's no server to have a signature from, so it shrugs its shoulders and gives up. The temporary fix for this is to change a line in the file /etc/yum.conf that says

gpgcheck=1

Simply change that to =0 and you're away with it! Do make sure to change it back afterwards, though, you want to keep this security precaution in place for normal use.

I hope these can help others who get stuck.

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