Opera torrent support

In my last post about Opera I mentioned why it is a good browser, when I first installed it, I realised it had some built in torrent support, but I was not expecting it to be so good.

My main torrent app is uTorrent, its pretty lightweight compared to other apps out there, but all torrent applications I have used suffer from the flaw of reserving almost all of your available bandwidth pipe, even if the torrent transfer rate is a fraction of your total bandwidth.

Well along comes Opera’s built in torrent handling capabilities, and changes that. with Opera you can now download torrents and browse the web at the same time, it won’t totally bring your connection to its knees.

Without a doubt the best part about the built in torrent handling by Opera, is its aggresive nature, torrents fly down, I’ve never had torrents coming down at the full speed of my connection consistently, so obviously Opera are doing something right.

There is only one downside, I’ve noticed that overall speed for larger (1GB or bigger) torrents seem to take longer than in traditional torrent clients, such as uTorrent.

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Opera is back and better than before

The same Opera that challenged IE way back in the days is now back to challenge a more tougher rival, yes you guessed it Firefox.

Firefox might be the leading IE alternative to web browsing, but I have a feeling that this is soon going to change, as more and more people realise the superiority of Opera.

In the Windows world – 4 main browsers are in use, IE, FireFox, Safari and Opera, there are some IE clones out there like Maxwell, but these are the favorites. Worth noting Google’s Chrome is up and coming, but too new on the market to have gained any substantial support.

IEs main problem is that its the least secure browser on the market, IE also does not fully support the W3C compliancy standards, this means that pages lazily slapped together do not render correctly in other W3C compliant browsers. Unfortunately because pages like this do render in IE, and not in other browsers, its usually the other browsers that take the blame. The much anticipated IE 8, is a display of good faith that Microsoft are finally starting to take the W3C serious. A little late, I would say, but rather late than never.

FireFox is a really good alternative to IE, but its by no means perfect, FireFox takes a long time to start up, and it has become quite a resource hog, but it usually renders pages pretty well, and has some great plugins. Usually 3rd party vendors of plugins provide FireFox versions of their plugins, for example DAP (Download Accelerator Plus) and RoboForms.

Safari works great on a Mac, but before you think it works great on Windows, remember its developed by the same company that brought you iTunes and Quicktime, and both these products are notoriously bad. Quicktime causes more problems alone than any other media product, and iTunes runs many services and processes that consume your systems resources. I have not tested PC Safari, because I simply do not trust Apple PC software.

Then there is Opera, a mean lean cat, designed for speed. Its fast sure, but it also has a decent looking interface, and more features than IE, Safari or FireFox. Opera is not perfect and you might find a few of your favorite forum sites not working with Opera, but this does not happen often, usually Opera renders pages very well.

If you haven’t already tried it go ahead – http://www.opera.com

Windows 2008 Workstation (with some Vista ranting)

Who do we love? Microsoft!
Why do we love them? Because they give us such great operating systems!

If you agree with the above, you’re a moron. Only a moron actually enjoys having a great deal of his system resources stolen and used unnessecarily by the base operating system. This is the trend of Microsoft Operating Systems. Intel and other manufacturers delivery cutting edge hardware, and Microsoft find a way to drain all that power, and bring any self respecting system down to its knees, and then all the morons clap their hands and say – WoW! This is the real Wow Factor.

Vista performs like an XP machine infected with a virus, and please don’t get smug and say upgrade your hardware, my hardware is designed for Windows Vista, the drivers and some features ONLY work with Vista. So the machine should then run Vista like a dream, I have to say it runs it at reasonable speed, but it doesn’t come close to Windows 2008 Workstation.

Windows 2008 Workstation is the solution I have been waiting for, ever since buying hardware thats somehow locked into Vista, and as a result a downgrade/upgrade to XP was not possible for me.

What is this Windows 2008 Workstation you ask? Its Windows Vista the way it should have been – Windows Server 2008 – twinked a bit to use it as a workstation operating system.

Now I know not everyone can afford this little beauty, so I guess its only really practicle if you have an MSDN subscription, I won’t publicly endorse getting it via “other” means. But if you can get hold of it… Do it!

One thing I really like about Windows 2008 workstation is immediate speed increase you’ll feel. Applications like Word and Visual Studio 2008 run a lot quicker, and the whole operating system feels more responsive, this is not just my opinion, the whole experience has been put through lab tests, and the overall outcome in labtests was a boost in performance by as much as 17%.

One thing I don’t want you to think is that I am running Windows 2008 Workstation with all the effects turned off. Actually I re-enabled the Aero theme, and turned on glass effects and all those good things… Still its quicker than Vista.

The only draw back I can think of is that some software won’t install, primarily because of server licencing, things like Anti Virus might be a problem. For years I’ve been an AVG fan, now I use PC Tools AV free edition. Still I am not against change, AVG Free Farewell old friend, Welcome Windows Workstation 2008.
My last gripe is that Windows Media Centre does not work on Windows 2008 Workstation, but as you’re reading this, people are trying really hard to get it to work, and a lot of progress has been made, there is only some final problem to solve with software execution permission it seems.

Its a really good OS solution for experienced MOSS Developers who can finally develop locally if they would like to without the need for a virtual machine environment.

As for games, yes they run just like they do in Vista, only the few odd games have some installation issues, but these with a bit of work can be solved.

Server has some other neat benefits, like how about – Self Reparing NTFS!

Goodbye sucky Vista, welcome Windows Workstation 2008

Before you say Skype Beta 4.0 Sucks

So you’ve just downloaded the new Skype, and can’t get used to the new full screen user interface, infact you’re just amazed at how Skype could have┬áchanged the interface so much, you might even be furious.

Don’t worry, here is what you do to fix the problem.

1. Open up Skype 4 (it will start in full screen mode)

2. Click on the Compact View button (top right, next to minimize, maximize and close window). You can also click “View” from the menu option, and then click “Compact View”.

This will make Skype 4, look and feel like it should.

Update: Since Skype is now out of Beta, I thought I would upgrade my wifes laptop, she (without any tech experience) told me she hated the new skype, and wanted it back to the way it was.