There is a new version of Autorun out now but it looks like the licence agreement has changed which means that I can’t use it on customer boxes anymore. You can use it on your own pc, your companies pc but you can’t load it on another companies pc unless you are employed by them directly unless you purchase a commercial licence. The licence agreement is in the extended entry. This looks like a new change to the utility as the previous version(s) didn’t seem to have this restriction. I doubt that many people will notice this change (or take any notice of it) but it looks like we’ll have to use an old version or look for another utility – msconfig anyone *shudder*

Google Pack

I’m sure loads of people have blogged about Google pack which is a bundle of google software and third party software for free. One of the cool things is Norton Antivirus 2005 with 6 months subscription – great for people who don’t have antivirus on their machine. It would be good if they included a free firewall package AND had the ability to download the lot as a cd image (or one big install file) so I could download it and make it available for friends on a cd when I go to fix their pc.
This weekend I have a project of getting together some software for a (shudder) 98 machine including antivirus and a firewall for a new broadband user. Not sure which firewall I’m going to use just yet……

In other software updates I’m still struggling with Internet Explorer – i’ve fixed the problem when new windows would only open in firefox by downloading Setbrowser which allows you to force the computer to use a particular browser. This solved the direct problem and now I can open new windows in ie but……The problem is that now the browser seems to download part of the webpage and then hangs. The browser title will change to the title text within the webpage so I know its downloading something but then it just completely hangs. After 2 or 3 minutes (if I’ve not loaded the page in firefox) I may be lucky enough to find the whole page has downloaded successfully.
I downloaded AvantBrowser, a tabbed version of ie to see if this would have the same problem and it does (as does ie7 to a lesser degree). Unfortunately it is not possible to repair an ie installation apart from reinstalling sp2 (which I’ve done twice) but it doesn’t help matters.

On other software related issues I’ve also switched my mail server across to Surgemail, a free mail server which includes pop3,imap,smtp,webmail, spamfiltering and blogging software. It’s pretty powerful but the user interface is done through a webbrowser and is incredibly complicated and confusing. I can never find a setting that I was using just a minute ago and it doesn’t help that all the webpages are titled “Surgemail” so the back function in the web browser history is useless. It is not as good as vpop3 for downloading pop mail and sorting mail into the relevant mailboxes as it is really geared to be a proper mailserver with incoming smtp traffic for mail delivery – but it works. I’d recommend downloading a copy if you want a free local mail server and have some time to play with the settings.


windirstat is a great utility to work out how much disk space each folder/file is using. When you get down to the file level it will show you in a graphical format as the larger the file, the larger the colour block on display. Using this utility it was very easy to find out where the 12gb of disk space had suddenly gone on a server – it quickly showed me that a particular user had a large docs & settings and within that was the desktop and on the desktop were 2 6gb .tmp files!

caution on a USB KVM switch

Be careful if you buy a Belkin USB KVM switch as although they say they work with all usb keyboards, what they really mean is that they work with all usb keyboards that don’t have usb hubs in them – so the keyboards that come with dell computers will not work – which is annoying as the whole reason that we got the kvm switch is because the dell keyboards were usb!

Free EssentialPim Pro

Essential Pim are going to be giving away the pro version of their software for everyone who visits their site on Halloween. Looks like Opera started a great trend 🙂
The cool thing is that the portable version will be available too which means you can use it on your usb key. The data is encrypted and it doesn’t need installing on the pc.
Although I’ve not tried this software it sounds really good. Now that we don’t have outlook in the office (or even on the computer) and the Notes Pim functions just suck big time (at least on a naff 1024*768 screen) this will hopefully be really useful.

Microsoft Max

I think that Microsoft Max stands for Maximum Hassle, Maximum uselessness and Maximum Waste of time. I downloaded the small stub installer yesterday and then when you install it, it insists on downloading a winfx graphics pack and some other files that it needed. This took about 40 minutes on my fast connection so I dread to think what it would be like on dialup. I find stub installers very annoying as it means you can’t burn the application setup program to cd ready for reinstallation at a later date/another machine – instead you have to spend ages downloading. Then after it had installed it insisted I signed up for an account/linked my max account to my passport account. Thats all very well and good, but the email that is meant to get sent to my passport account never arrives. I then realised that this was probably due to the fact that I have to have my hotmail junk filter to exclusive due to the amount of spam I get even on the enhanced option. A solution to this is to add [email protected] to your contacts in hotmail before you attempt to activate/log into Max.
Once signed into an account it doesn’t seem possible to sign out from that account and re-sign in with a different account as you only get prompted for your password address and not your email address. Actually after renaming store.xml and settings.xml in %userprofile%\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Microsoft Codename Max you can sign in as someone else, but this doesn’t do you any good as Max is a peer to peer application so you both need to be running it at the same time.
Oh and did they forget to mention the fact “If your ISP does not support IPv6, you will not be able to access websites after you install Max. ” (from the readme that doesn’t get displayed when you install the software). They also have a blog of help posts but these do not appear on the main page unless you select one of the categories.