Tag: software

Entries for tag "software", ordered from most recent. Entry count: 25.

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# SVN in My Windows Made Me Angry

Feb 2010

Today I had an unpleasant adventure with SVN. Although I'm now going to use Mercurial (with TortoiseHG client) for my home projects, as this whole distributed revision control systems looks quite promising, I wanted to checkout some SVN repository and it turned out to be much bigger problem than I expected.

The obvious solution is to install and use TortoiseSVN - great shell extension for Windows. Unfortunately it doesn't work in my 64-bit Windows 7. Setup succeeds, but then no new items appear in context menus for directories. I tried to install both 64-bit and 32-bit versions, two times, with restarting my computer. Nothing helped. I tried to disable read-only attribute for TortoiseSVN directory, give full permission to this directory for all users, maually run TSVNCache.exe (because it doesn't start automatically) and nothing helped. I also ensured shell extensions are successfully installed by using ShellExView. Google knows this problems, but not the solution.

So then I installed RapidSVN - a normal Windows SVN client. Such application seems even nicer for me than shell extension. But then another obstacle appeared: opening repository in RapidSVN failed with error message: rapidsvn Error: Error while updating filelist (Can't create tunnel: The system cannot find the file specified. ). I though: Fuuuu! After issues with new Windows version here come Linux-like issues with some command-line or config driven, small and independent programs that never smoothly work together. I knew it was probably because the repository I wanted to checkout have an URL starting with svn+ssh:// so the SVN client probably needs to create an SSH tunnel.

After some searching in Google I found a solution. I needed to download PuTTY package and set special environmental variable to point to the plink.exe program that, according to Google, work as SSH tunnel. This variable is named "SVN_SSH" and its value must be like "E:\\PuTTY\\plink.exe" - without quotes, but with these double backslashes! Here I was sure it had to come from the Linux/Unix world, noone other would come up with something like this :P

It seemed to work so I was a step further, but still I couldn't access the SVN repository. This time when checking out, an empty console appeared and freezed so the RapidSVN didn't go any further. I wanted to try some "easy" solution so I installed another windowed client - Qsvn, as well as console SVN client - SilkSVN, but it seemed to recognize and run this SSH tunnel and finally freeze in same situation. So after another Googling I've found this post, opened configuration file "C:\Users\MY_LOGIN\Application Data\Subversion\config" and inserted this line into it:


It finally worked and I could access the repository, but it took me so much time that it made me really angry. I hope I'll live to see the day when there will be no such stupid problems with software. Meanwhile, now you can understand why do I always *very* carefully handle all errors in my code (check returned values, throw exceptions, write logs) - to always know exactly what, when, where and why went wrong, so no annoying things can happen like "context menu items don't show up and I don't know why" or "empty console window opens and freezes".

Comments | #svn #windows #software #tools #version control Share

# New DirectX SDK and Total Commander

Sep 2009

There are two new software releases that are important to me. I know about them from Twitter (yet another good reason to join microblogging activity :)

First one is DirectX SDK August 2009. Updates relate mostly to DirectX 11, but hey, there was no new SDK version for a long time!

(I've just discovered there are changes in the error handling system that are not backward compatible. To compile my code I had to change #include <dxerr9.h> to <dxerr.h>, link with file dxerr.lib instead of dxerr9.lib and rename function calls DXGetErrorString9 and DXGetErrorDescription9 to DXGetErrorString and DXGetErrorDescription.)

Second new release is Total Commander 7.5 FINAL. I can't see any revolutionary changes (despite the new, Vista-like behavior of the current directory bar), but that's a good news as Total Commander is already great.

Comments | #directx #software Share

# Computer Self-Defense for Beginners

Jul 2009

Inspired by recent virus-infestation of one of my family member's computer I've decided to write a small guide to computer self-defense for beginners - that is, to write down things that are obvious for every computer scientist, but not for every user. I emphasize I'm not a security specialist so for some of you my thoughts may look lame :)

Historical background: Many years ago people used to copy programs and transfer them between computers using floppy disks. Viruses were infecting EXE files by adding their code to programs and once someone ran such file, the virus spread to other programs in his computer. Viruses were sometimes written for fun. Some of them were harmless, while other did "pranks" such as formatting whole hard drive :) Now we live in the Internet era and programs downloaded from the Web or from CD/DVD disks require installation, so viruses like these are no longer effective.

Today's viruses are no longer infecting particular EXE files. They are rather kind of worms or trojan horses (however you call or classify them) - they just install themselves in Windows and run in the background as separate programs. They are neither destroying whole computer nor totally harmless. Modern malware software is part or organized crime, so it can, for example, steal user's passwords to online bank account, MMORPG game or use his computer to perform DDOS attacks and sending spam.

So how (not) to catch a virus? Viruses are not usually able to infect a computer without user's initiative. It's quite safe to use Windows, be connected to the Internet, browse any websites, read any emails, open any files such as music (like MP3), images (like JPG), archives (like ZIP) or documents (like PDF). The exception is when one of the programs have a bug which can be exploited to execute code embedded into document's data. Such critical security bugs are fixed quickly so the security procedure for them is to update your software regularly - use Windows Update / Microsoft Update and install new versions of programs you use, especially these connecting to the Internet.

The only possibility when a virus can run without user's approval is Autoplay technology for flash drives and CD/DVD disks. Each time you enter such media, Windows looks for autorun.inf file and can automatically run prepared program. As pendrives are very popular nowadays, I consider critical for computer security to turn off the Autoplay functionality. You can do it using free Tweak UI tool, just like that:

Tweak UI Autoplay

It's amazing to me how some people constantly suffer from viruses on their computers while other almost never catch any. Do the second never visit porn sites or use cracks and pirated software? Maybe, but I think it's rather the matter of obeying some simple security rules. Websites, emails or image/music/document files are not able to run arbitrary code on your computer. You must explicitly agree for that. This danger comes in two forms. First one is when a website wants to run/install something on your computer, usually using ActiveX technology. You can see warning about that asking if you really want to allow the website to run such program. Virus installs itself on your computer only if you agree to that.

The second danger is when you just run new EXE file. How to distinguish between safe and dangerous executables? First of all, never run unknown EXE files just for fun. Never trust it's a new brilliant porn screensaver, good and free antivirus software or a document in executable form (like image gallery, video, ebook, archive), even if you have it from your best friend. Pirated software and cracks/keygens from P2P networks also very often contain viruses. On the other hand, you can be almost sure it's safe when you download a well-known application from its author website or a website such as SourceForge.net. If you are not sure about an executable file and you really need to run it, scan it with an antivirus first.

I believe these simple rules are worth much more than not using Windows, Internet Explorer, Outlook Express or cracks/pirated software and using any firewall or resident antivirus protection.

Comments | #windows #software Share

# New Web Browsers: Safari 4 and Opera Unite

Jun 2009

Two new web browser applications have been released recently: Opera Unite and Safari 4. Of course they are both free. Here is my quick review.

Starting with the second one, I must admit I've never used Safari before. I generally dislike Apple corporation, but today I read news about new Safari 4 and decided to try it on my laptop.

My general impression is rather good. The browser's look and feel is quite standard comparing to other popular programs of this kind (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera). The same applies to keyboard shortcuts and set of features. All websites I tried work OK in Safari. To make long story short - Safari is yet another web browser, not bad but also not so special.

There is one (not so) small issue though. For all of you who complain about performance and memory consumption of Firefox: try Safari or just look at the screenshot below and you will change your mind :) I just entered one website (www.onet.pl) on both browsers.

Now let me say few words about Opera Unite. I tried Opera before and my impressions were very positive (although I still use Firefox). Personally I think Opera is a very good web browser - it launches and runs very fast, has lots of features and its GUI is nice. This time I just wanted to test brand new functionality introduced to Opera Unite - a personal web server.

To set up your own server, you just need to click on a command in Opera menu. Then you have to create an account in Opera system (standard question about your login + password + email). According to current trends in Internet applications (like Skype or Hamachi), there is no or minimum technical configuration required. Opera proposes use of UPnP (to forward ports through router) and automatically sets up something like dynamic DNS in operaunite.com domain.

Not only is the server setup far from what you have to do to install and configure Apache server, but sharing files is so easy too. You just need to point to a directory on your hard disk and it automatically gets shared, so people can explore directories and download files if they know correct URL (for example, the URL for my test was http://reg-laptop.reg01.operaunite.com/file_sharing/). I think I don't have to add that there is no need to code or setup any CMS script to make it work. You just put your files and a nice website for browsing them is generated automatically.

There are also some other "services" available. Photo Sharing works just like File Sharing, but looks like a gallery, where user can see image thumbnails instead of list of files. Fridge allows you and other people to leave sticky notes on your virtual fridge :) The Lounge is a chat service. Finally, Web Server is a normal server where you can put your own website starting from index.html. It looks like Opera Unite supports only HTML, without any PHP, MySQL or other stuff like this.

Opera Unite really impressed me. I've never seen anything like this before and now I think it will cause kind of a small revolution in the Web. Internet have always been server-oriented and transferring/sharing files between regular users always have been an issue. Of course Opera Unite is not going to replace traditional website hosting services (most of home computers do not work 24/7), but it can greatly support exchanging files between people.

Comments | #web #software Share

# Mój niezbędnik - Najlepsze programy

May 2009

Zebrałem tu listę programów, których używam i które polecam do poszczególnych zastosowań. Każdy z nas ma swoje ulubione programy, ale to który jest lepszy to zwykle nie jest kwestia gustu, tylko obiektywny fakt. Dlatego aby wiedzieć o dobrych programach, warto się takimi informacjami jak te tutaj wymieniać. W komentarzach piszcie, jakie są wasze ulubione programy.

Założenia wstępne: Używam Windows XP. Staram się używać programów darmowych, a nie piracić (wszędzie, gdzie nie wspominam o kosztach, mowa jest o programie Freeware lub Open Source). Komputera używam do wielu różnych rzeczy, ale przede wszystkim do programowania.


Manager plików: Total Commander. Jest bezdyskusyjnie bezkonkurencyjny. Niestety jest Shareware. Niezarejestrowana wersja w pełni działa, ale legalnie można jej używać tylko przez 30 dni.

Kompresja: 7-Zip. Pakuje formaty 7z, zip, gzip, bzip2, a jeszcze więcej rozpakowuje (w tym rar). Rozpakowywać różne archiwa potrafi też wprawdzie Total Commander, ale 7-Zip ma fajny interfejs (bardzo podobny do WinRAR) i do obliczeń wykorzystuje obydwa rdzenie procesora. Trzeba w tym miejscu dodać, że nie ma darmowych programów zdolnych pakować format rar - to potrafi tylko płatny WinRAR.

Antywirus: Mamy już na szczęście takie czasy, że są darmowe i niezłe programy antywirusowe. Mnie najbardziej podoba się Avira AntiVir. Niezły jest też avast!, ale wymaga darmowej rejestracji e-mailowej raz do roku i mniej mi się podoba jego interfejs. Cały czas zastanawiam się też nad zakupem komercyjnego pakietu bezpieczeństwa (firewall + antywirus i inne) - to wydatek rzędu 150-200 zł. Poza tym w szukaniu szkodników w systemie pomóc może HijackThis (pokazuje podejrzane dodatki zainstalowane w systemie), SpyBot Search & Destroy (skanuje system jak antywirus, ale pod kątem spyware, adware i podejrzanych ciasteczek) oraz ShellExView (listuje i zarządza zainstalowanymi rozszerzeniami powłoki systemowej).

Emulacja napędu CD/DVD z plików z obrazem płyt (np. ISO): Daemon Tools.

Launchy - używam go zamiast Menu Start i Pulpitu. Pisałem o nim tutaj.

Samurize - wykresy pokazujące statystyki działania komputera. Pisałem o nich tutaj.

Nagrywanie płyt: Nero Express dołączany do nagrywarek. Potrafi wszystko co potrzebne.

WinDirStat - bardzo oryginalny program, który analizuje wybrany dysk lub katalog, a potem pokazuje graficznie i w kolorach, które podkatalogi i które typy plików zajmują jak dużo miejsca.

Console2 - zamiennik systemowej konsoli. Pozwala zmieniać czcionkę i ogólnie jest sympatyczny. Obsługuje zakładki. Można do niego podłączać inne "powłoki", np. Windows PowerShell czy Python (command line).

TweakUI - pozwala konfigurować masę ustawień systemowych, np. łatwo wyłączyć wszelkie autostarty z płyt CD i pamięci Flash (co moim zdaniem jest obecnie podstawą bezpieczeństwa komputera, bo wirusy często przenoszą się przez Pendrive).

Platformy: DirectX Redistributable, .NET Framework (pobiera się go przez Windows Update), Java Runtime Environment, Adobe Flash Player.




Comments | #windows #software Share

# Total Commander a foldery specjalne

Nov 2008

Total Commander to świetny manager plików. Pozwala zarządzać plikami tak jak naprawdę wyglądają na dysku. Jednak czasem instalują się w systemie specjalne foldery, na Pulpit lub do wnętrza Mój komputer. Dotyczy to na przykład oprogramowania do komórek i palmtopów. Total Commander nie pozwala eksplorować wirtualnego drzewa powłoki Windows, w którym na samej górze jest Pulpit. Czy wobec tego w programie nie ma dostępu do takich folderów specjalnych?

Okazuje się, że jednak Total Commander potrafi poruszać się po przestrzeni tych folderów powłoki. Trzeba tylko uciec się do prostej sztuczki (którą pokazał mi kolega z pracy Piotrek - pozdro!) - utworzyć gdzieś na dysku zwykły skrót LNK do takiego folderu, a potem w Total Commanderze "wejść" do niego klawiszem Enter.

Swoją drogą, Christian Ghisler mógłby do swojego programu dorobić jedną ważną funkcję - asynchroniczne odświeżanie listy plików, tak żeby przedłużające się listowanie komputerów w Otoczeniu sieciowym czy innym folderze nie zawieszało całego programu. Twórcy przeglądarek internetowych już dawno wprowadzili takie rozwiązania.

Comments | #software Share

# AutoIt - automatyzacja Windows

Sep 2008

Miłośnicy "drobiu arktycznego" wiedzą, jak fajna jest możliwość wykonywania różnych operacji automatycznie, za pomocą skryptów. W Windows takie podejście nie jest typowe dla użytkowników, zwłaszcza że wiele programów ma wyłącznie interfejs okienkowy, którym nie sposób sterować z konsoli. Jednak jest na to rada - istnieją technologie do automatyzacji GUI, takie jak AutoIt.

AutoIt to język skryptowy podobny do Basic, z którego można m.in. uruchamiać programy, wysyłać wciśnięcia klawiszy, kliknięcia myszki oraz operować na oknach i kontrolkach interfejsu użytkownika. Dzięki temu można przygotować sobie skrypt, który "na powitanie" uruchomi wybrane programy i wyda w nich od razu pewne polecenia. Na przykład tak wygląda skrypt, który uruchamia Total Commander i automatycznie klika w jeden z przycisków 1, 2, 3 w okienku przypominającym o rejestracji:

const $WindowTitleMatch = "Total Commander"
const $WindowTextMatch = "NagPage"
const $ProgramPath = "M:\Program Files\Total Commander\TOTALCMD.EXE"
WinWait($WindowTitleMatch, $WindowTextMatch)
$Number = ControlGetText($WindowTitleMatch, $WindowTextMatch, "[CLASS:TPanel; INSTANCE:2]")
WinActivate($WindowTitleMatch, $WindowTextMatch)

Comments | #software #tools Share

# Wyszukiwanie inkrementacyjne

Sep 2008

Tematu wyszukiwania ciąg dalszy... Każdy edytor tekstu ma wyszukiwanie Ctrl+F, ale od pewnego czasu twórcy interfejsów użytkownika wiedzą, że brak okienek dialogowych i natychmiastowa odpowiedź jest lepsza. Dlatego wiele edytorów ma wyszukiwanie inkrementacyjne (czy jak to tam ładnie po polsku nazwać :P) - takie, w którym można wpisywać kolejne litery i one się od razu wyszukują.

Na przykład w Visual C++ służy do tego skrót Ctrl+I. Wpisywanie kolejnych znaków wprowadza tekst do wyszukania, Backspace kasuje, Ctrl+I znajduje następne wystąpienie, Ctrl+Shift+I poprzednie, a ESC wychodzi z trybu wyszukiwania. Z kolei w moim ulubionym edytorze tekstu - jEdit - taka funkcja jest dostępna pod skrótem Ctrl+, (przecinek).

Comments | #tools #software #gui #visual studio Share

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