25 de mar de 2011

Mount Disk Images With OSFMount

Mount Disk Images With OSFMount: "

Disk images come in various formats and sizes, from tiny floppy drive images to huge bit to bit copies of partitions or entire hard drives. These disk images can be mounted, which basically means that they become accessible under a drive letter in the operating system.

Mounting images can be interesting for several reasons, including the ability to play games without the physical game DVD, to watch movies without the DVD or to try to recover data from a corrupt hard drive partition.

Disk images can be created by specialized applications, and also downloaded from the Internet. Microsoft is for instance distributing disk images of their applications regularly, and many Linux distributions are provided as disk images as well. Some programs can access disk image formats directly, CD and DVD burning software for instance, while others can only access the data if the image has been mounted first.

OSFMount is a lightweight software for Windows that supports a variety of disk images. Among the supported formats are popular disk image formats such as ISO, Bin, IMG and NRG plus some exotic formats like DD, VMDK and AFD.

The program lacks support for some lesser used disk image formats, like mdf or ccd. OSFMount comes with a handful of extra options that are not commonly found in disk image programs.

Disk images are mounted with a click on Mount New, the keyboard shortcut Alt-n or the selection of File > Mount New Virtual Disk.

mount drive

The mount drive window offers to mount disk images normally or in RAM. A supported disk image format needs to be selected with the help of the file browser. Advanced options include selecting an image file offset, the size of the drive, drive letter and drive type. All disk images are mounted as read only drives by default which can be changed in the program options as well.

It is furthermore possible to create an empty ram disk that is then accessible via the mapped drive letter.

All mounted disk images become available immediately, empty disks needs to be formatted before they can be used.

The main interface lists all mounted virtual disks. All disks can be unmounted at anytime. A right-click displays a context menu with additional options, among them the option to change the size of a disk image, save the current data to a supported disk image format or make the disk read-only or writable.

mounted virtual disks

The ability to write data could be interesting for some users. You could use the option to create a ramdisk, install applications to it, save the state of the ramdisk to a disk image format once you are finished working for the option to mount the image again at a later time.

The program seems to support as many mounted disk images as free drive letters are available.

Interested users can download OSFMount from the developer website. It is provided as a 32-bit and 64-bit application there that supports all major client and server versions of the Windows operating system.


© Martin Brinkmann for gHacks Technology News | Latest Tech News, Software And Tutorials, 2011. | Permalink | Add to del.icio.us, digg, facebook, reddit, twitter
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21 de mar de 2011

ICANN aprova domínios XXX

ICANN aprova domínios XXX: "A guerra tinha muitos anos e estava a pender para o lado de quem não queria a aprovação deste TLD. A indústria pornográfica insistia que deveria haver um domínio específico para os seus conteúdos e sites, o que chocava com a vontade do ICANN. No entanto a pressão foi feita e o ICANN acabou por [...]
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14 de mar de 2011

26 Internet Websites That You Have Not Heard About, But Should

26 Internet Websites That You Have Not Heard About, But Should: "

Every Internet user knows Facebook right? Gmail, Yahoo, Microsoft and Twitter are also fairly common. But have you ever heard of Jinni, Joongel or Jangle ? No? Then read on to find out what they, and 23 more sites have to offer.

It is surprising that you cannot find a single site on the Internet that collects those unique, rare websites. You find the occasional top list that is usually outdated, with half the sites down for good, but no service that’s maintaining a list of the Internet’s top sites.

Maybe there is such a service, but if it is it is damn hard to find. I first thought Delicious or other directories or bookmarking services could be used for the discovery, but they are polluted that it is hard to find the gems among the thousands of sites.

The following 27 sites are unique and wonderful. You may have heard about some of them before, but I’d bet that you will discover at least a few gems among the services and sites listed below.

Recommendations

Recommendation engines are similar to search engines. The main difference is that they will recommend something to you based on your input.

Tastekid – A recommendations website to discover new books, movies, music, shows and authors. just enter what you like and Tastekid will display items that are similar. That way, you can find new items that you have not heard before that are “like” something that you already know.

recommendations

Jinni – Concentrates on movies recommendations. One interesting aspect is that you can not only enter movie and TV show titles but also plots or themes. Just enter Gothic Horror for instance to be presented with recommendations such as Sleepy Hollow, Interview with a Vampire or Frankenstein.

Alternative To – Looking for a program or service that is like something you know? Alternative To may have suitable candidates for you.

Search

Google is not the only search engine. There are thousands of specialized search engines that often provide better and different search results.

Joongel – combines access to multiple niche-specific search engines. Available niches include music, images, social, gossip and torrents. Joongel displays results from one of the search engines with an option to switch to any of the other available search engines immediately.

joongel

Scroogle – Search Google without cookies and search history. Helpful if you cannot install add-ons or extensions to achieve that.

Supercook – Ever wondered what you could cook with the ingredients that you have at home? Enter supercook. Just enter what you have and the recipe search engine will spill out recipes that match those ingredients.

Commerce

People like to shop. The services listed below improve your shopping experience.

Swap A Skill – Need something done? Then trade it for something you are good at in. Shoes for legal advice, a patio for french lessions, holiday in India for website? All that and more is possible at Swap A Skill.

Bust A Name – Combines words to find free domain names.

bust a name

Jangle, Searches Amazon.com for bargains and displays them in a neat sorted listing on their website.

Etsy – A marketplace for handmade goods. Carries everything from art over bags and purses to toys and supplies.

Media

Music and video mainly. Resources to discover new media, or listen to it online without paying a dime.

Jamendo – Offers nearly 300,000 free music tracks. Albums can be downloaded or listened to online. Great for discovering music that is not in the mainstream.

Nutsie – Takes your iTunes library to the web, only the album and song information that is, nothing gets transferred. You can then listen to your songs, or new recommendations online from a compatible PC or mobile device.

Hypem – Discover new music. The service adds new music that is posted on music blogs all the time, with options to play the music right on site, and visit the original blog.

Musicovery – Another music discovery engine. Select a mood, favorite song or artist and listen to related music.

Gaming related

Like games? These gaming related websites either invite you to play games online or offer a wealth of information about games.

Brettspielwelt – A multi-lingual online board games website. The Java driven website invites players from all over the world to play popular board games, from Settlers of Catan and Carcassonne to Dominion and Backgammon, against other players on the site.

brettspielwelt

Board Game Geek – Without doubt the largest English board game related website in the world. The site offers user based rankings, reviews, rule discussion and more. If you need information about a particular board game, or like to find a new one, then it is the site to go to.

Apps

Applications and online services.


Portable Freeware Collection
– Site that lists the latest portable freeware releases and updates.

The Rasterbator – Create a poster out of a standard sizes image. Uses rasterized images, posters can be up to 20 meters in size. Block Posters is an alternative that uses the same technology.

KeyXL offers a searchable keyword shortcut database. Just enter a program name and hit go to see available shortcuts for it. You can filter by platform or software category if you like.

xFruits – Offers to aggregate and forward news feeds and other forms of communication to one another. It is for instance possible to create an RSS to pdf, mail to RSS or RSS to mobile module on the site.

Misc Internet

Everything else that did not fit into one of the other categories.

Cl1p – An Internet clipboard. Create a unique url that starts with cl1p.net to paste text and other information into the opening editor. A click on save stores the information so that they can be accessed again in the next seven days.

Web 2.0 Calc – A handy online calculator with history feature. An alternative is Ecalc.

calc

Rainy Mood – 30 minutes of relaxing high quality background rain to relax.

The Best Page in the Universe – If you every wanted to see the best page in the universe, this is it. Even if you disagree, it is pretty funny.

What Happened In My Birth Year – Displays information about the year entered including what people did, the top books, movies and music of that year and other interesting information.

Support Details – If you ever had to talk to tech support you may have had problems answering questions about your operating system, web browser or IP address. Support Details list the important information, at least where online support is concerned, on a single page.

support details

Metacritic – Do not trust reviews of a single website, paper or reviewer? Metacritic combines the review scores to present you with an average for the game, movie, tv show or music that you like to know more about.

Do you know of a website or service that should be in the list? Post your url in the comments. Please note that I will review every posted site before they go online, to avoid spam.


© Martin Brinkmann for gHacks Technology News, 2011. | Permalink | Add to del.icio.us, digg, facebook, reddit, twitter
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How To Flush The DNS Cache In Windows

How To Flush The DNS Cache In Windows: "

The Microsoft Windows operating system stores all DNS look-ups in a cache to speed up the connection for future visits to previously visited websites or servers. DNS for simplifications sake turns domain names like ghacks.net into IP addresses like 96.30.22.116. To simplify it further: computer users make almost exclusive use of domain names, while computers and devices of IP addresses.

The DNS provider is queried during each connection attempt unless the information are already stored in the cache.

You may want to know why someone would want to flush the DNS cache? Lets say you have decided to switch from your provider’s DNS server to Open DNS, Google DNS or another free service that promise faster speeds and little extras like user-configured site filtering. If you switch during a session, you will be using old data from the cache if you access sites that you have already visited.

Not a big problem? You may be right, but think about the following situation. A webmaster migrates the website to a new server. It can take up to 48 hours before all DNS servers redirect users to the website on the new server and not the old server. Some webmasters change their DNS server before migrating if the ISP’s DNS server is known to be on the slow site when it comes to updating information (another option for webmasters is to edit the hosts file).

The DNS cache can have privacy implications as well, especially on public computer systems or multi-user systems. It is possible to display the contents of the cache, which in turn reveals all the websites that have been visited by the user in the session. Flushing the cache removes the entries so that the next user won’t be able to see a list of visited websites.

Flushing the DNS Cache

On to the commands. Windows users need to open a command prompt to flush the DNS cache. The easiest way to do that is to press Windows-r, type cmd, and hit the enter key.

The command ipconfig /flushdns clears the DNS cache. All records up to this point in time are removed from the cache.

C:\Users\Martin>ipconfig /flushdns
Windows IP Configuration
Successfully flushed the DNS Resolver Cache.

ipconfig flushdns

Displaying the DNS Cache

You can test if the DNS cache has been flushed with the command ipconfig /displaydns. Please note that the command may still display entries, but those are new entries that have been added to the cache after it has been flushed. Antivirus software may for instance connect automatically to update servers.

C:\Users\Martin>ipconfig /displaydns
Windows IP Configuration

ipconfig displaydns

Turning Off DNS Caching

DNS caching can be turned off for a session or completely. The negative effects are that look-ups may take longer, especially in computer networks with connected network shares and devices. Computer workstations without network connections on the other hand are likely not negatively effected by the operation. It is probably best to experiment with the setting first, by disabling it temporarily for a session.

The command to stop the DNS Cache for the active session is net stop dnscache. Please note that you need administrative privileges to run the command successfully. Windows 7 users can do that by clicking on the start menu orb, selecting All Programs > Accessories, right-clicking on Command Prompt and selecting Run as Administrator. The path should be similar for other versions of Windows.

c:\windows\system32>net stop dnscache
The DNS Client service is stopping
The DNS Client service was stopped successfully.

stop dns client service

You can start the DNS client service again with the command net start dnscache.

The previous instructions turned off the DNS cache for a single session. A restart would load it as a service again. It is however possible to turn off the DNS cache completely. This is done with the shortcut Windows-r, typing services.msc and hitting enter.

Locate the service DNS Client in the listing and double-click it. The window that opens offers controls to stop the service for the current session, and to change its startup type from manual to disabled.

dns client service

Disabled means that it won’t be started with Windows, which effectively disables the DNS Cache permanently. Another benefit of this is that other users are not able to display the DNS cache to retrieve a list of visited websites and servers.

Windows users who are thinking about disabling the DNS Cache permanently should test it first by disabling the cache for the session. If they do not notice performance drops or slower than usual connections they could go ahead and disable the cache completely.


© Martin Brinkmann for gHacks Technology News, 2011. | Permalink | Add to del.icio.us, digg, facebook, reddit, twitter
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5 de mar de 2011

MultiScan, Scan Local Files With Multiple Antivirus Programs

MultiScan, Scan Local Files With Multiple Antivirus Programs: "

The idea to scan files with multiple antivirus engines is not new, online portals such as Virustotal offer that feature for quite some time. If you look at desktop applications you notice that there are not many that offer a similar functionality. Programs that fall into the category are the previously reviewed Antivirus Multi and Avert.

MultiScan offers in many regards a similar functionality when compared to those two programs. The portable application can be configured to scan local files in up to ten different antivirus engines. The configuration is unfortunately not as comfortable as that of Avert, since it is necessary to download and add the antivirus programs and command line options manually. To make matters worse, there is no list of supported or recommended command line antivirus scanners on the developer’s site.

Links to free antivirus programs that support command line scanning would make the process a lot easier.

multiscan

Below is a selection of free options:

AVG
Avira Command Line Scanner
ClamWin
Panda Antivirus Command-Line Scanner (2009 last update)
VIPRE Rescue

Many commercial antivirus solutions offer command line scanners as well. Check the documentation or look in the program directory.

Downloading the different engines is just the first part of the setup as they need to be added to MultiScan before the program can utilize their antivirus engine in scans.

New commands are added in the main program interface.

MultiScan configuration

Run Order and Friendly Name are the easiest to explain. The first determines the order in which the commands are run by MultiScan, the latter is a name that describes the command to make it easier identifiable.

The command field finally contains the command that you want to run. This requires research on the antivirus developer homepage or readme file to get the scanning syntax right. An example of a config line would be the following:

C:\Windows\System32\cmd.exe /K C:\PROGRA~2\ClamWin\bin\clamscan.exe --database
=E:\SYSTEM\ClamWin\db --recursive=yes %FILES%

The code runs the Windows command line, and then clamscan.exe with several parameters. The %Files% variable is replaced by the selected files and folders for the scan.

MultiScan is not limited to scanning files with antivirus engines. It is for instance possible to configure the program to run a database update for a specific antivirus engine before it is used to scan the files. Other options include deleting old log files or displaying alerts, provided the correct programs or commands are added to the command field.

Configurations can be saved at any time. Saved configurations are then selectable via a pulldown menu in the main interface. This opens new possibilities like running commands for specific situations.

But it is not only configurations that can be saved. File listings can be saved as well so that it becomes possible to scan previously saved files and folders with saved configurations. This makes the process very comfortable once the initial setup has been completed and thoroughly tested.

Files and folders can be scanned by adding items to the queue from within the program interface, by selecting them in Windows Explorer after enabling Windows Explorer integration in the options or by selecting previously saved file listings.

Verdict

MultiScan has lots of potential and several interesting features. The ability to save commands, their run order and file listings is excellent. The downside is the complicated configuration, which the developer should work on. A good start would be to integrate links to command line antivirus scanners and their documentation on the program site. Example configurations for those programs would be the next step, and eventually the integration of those information in the program itself.

MultiScan is a portable software for Microsoft’s Windows operating system. It tested fine on a Windows 7 Professional 64-bit system, and should run fine on other systems as well.


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