Category Archives: Software

Software that Deneb has used or is using

Pfsense 2.1 tutorial

Hi All,

Wow the guys from PFSense.org are going to be running a Tutorial in Poland this October. How exciting.

PFSense 2.1 Tutorial at EuroBSDCon 2012 

For those who have not had a chance to use the awsome PFSense it is an open source firewall solution based upon  Free BSD and PF (Packet Filter software). The feature list is longer than my arm and although it can be a bit picky when it comes to hardware drivers (It is Free BSD and not Linux ) it is just a wow product that I cannot recommend enough.

Next time your looking for a firewall before you pick up the Vyatta, Moonwall, Untagle etc disk try PFSense first.

Oh and If I can I want to meet you all in Warsaw on October the 18th for the PFSense 2.1 launch party and  tutorial.

 

Defrag with Defraggler

What is a Defrag?

Imagine your hard disk is a book, when your computer writes some more information (saves a file for example) it writes on the next free page in that book. When you delete a file it erases the text rather than ripping out the page so that it can be written on again. Then when the computer writes something new or wants to make a file bigger it finds the first empty piece of paper such as the part that you just erased and starts writing there. If there is not enough room it fills what space it has and flicks through the book to find the next empty piece of paper.

As you can imagine, after a while when the computer wants to write a few pages of information it will end up putting some on one page another paragraph on a later page and then the rest somewhere in the middle of the book. This means that when the computer comes to read the file it has to keep flicking forward and backwards through the book to read the whole file.

When you defrag the hard disk it re orders the information so that a whole file can be read in a single chapter without having to skip pages to find the next part.

Windows Defrag

Windows Defrag is a useful tool but it doesn’t give much information on what it is doing and it always seems to take a long time.

Defrag with Defraggler

Defraggler from Piriform can be downloaded for free and lets you watch the blocks of data be moved about into order. It is quick and has a nice report to give you a warm fuzzy feeling that it has done its job well.

I also feel the system runs that little bit quicker afterwards too.

Essential software part 1 Browsers

Browsers

Your browser is your portal to the internet and it is an emotive subject for some the choice of which to use. Some applications work better with some browsers than other browsers then there are some legacy applications that only work with old versions of Internet Explorer. In my professional opinion and my experience you should use something new and keep it updated.

On my computer at work I keep the following browsers installed

Why upgrade

Note If you are running Windows XP or older I would strongly recommend you to install Chrome or Firefox and update Explorer to the latest that you can. Earlier versions of Explorer are buggy and exploitable by criminals. Please note all browsers have weaknesses and exploits are found regularly in all of them but old versions of Internet Explorer are the biggest target.

Then there are positive reasons to change browser

Chrome

The auto updater works well and in the background keeping your install of chrome up to date without the hastle. Mos the other others are following suit and implimenting their own updates.

Google services integrate well into Chrome indcluding the excellent bookmarks sync and the tab sync between devices. See this page for more info.

Hidden hint – For an advanced look at a page composition hold down the ctl shift and I keys then reload a page for some really cool info.

Firefox

Well known and mature. Firefox has been about for over a decade and has come along way. The length of time that firefox has been about means that it has had the most exposure to web developers other than Internet Explorer. The add ons for firefox are a huge asset and I know many web developers who swear by Firebug add on.

The new tabbing system in Firefox is pretty awesome too.
Hidden hint – In the URL bar enter about:config to get into the hidden configuration options for your browser. Be careful though you can break things.

Opera

A  secure browser which is pretty easy to use and has a big following of devoted supporters. Opera have been about for a long time and they are the most prevelent mobile browser in the world. I like the way the tabs work and I think it is second in performance only to chrome.
Hidden hint – Type /. in the URL bar to short cut direct to slashdot.com

Internet Explorer

Most people use it by default. It does have some great integration into modern graphics hardware if you find a site that needs it. And it is installed by default on all windows machines (except N versions). Looks pretty when the Areo theme is running.
Hidden hint – ? If you know one let me know ?