Categories
Tutorials

[Video] How to set up a Linux Virtual Machine using Virtual box

A virtual machine is a program that acts as a virtual computer. They allow you to run other operating systems within your current operating system – the operating systems will run as if they are just another program on your computer. Virtual machines are ideal for testing out other operating systems – like the new Windows 10 or alternative Linux operating systems.

The video below will guide you in setting up your own Virtual Machine in no time.

 

Categories
Technology Tips

Upgrading From Windows 8 To Windows 8.1

A couple of weeks ago, i decided to upgrade my Windows OS from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1. Ordinarily, it does not sound like a big deal but it was.

Firstly, you will have to initiate the upgrade from within the Windows store. Perhaps due to the large number of early adopters it was almost an impossible task. It was even worse in regions were Internet speed is very slow.

Windows-8.1Secondly, the upgrade requires at least 3.5GB of download data. That is about half my monthly data allocation. For an incremental upgrade, it is definitely a whole lot of data!

Additional problems i also identified are;

1. I do a lot of Operating Systems installations (and reinstallation). Would i be going through the time and data wasting routine of an online upgrade, the only official route provided by Microsoft?

2. The finacial implication of the Internet data download for the OS download and setup is at least N4000 based on the rates from my ISP. It adds up quickly when you do a lot of installations like i do.

The ideal solution that would work for me would be;

1. Look for a “Once and for all” solution. By this, i would need to find a way to download an ISO image of Windows 8.1 which i can burn on a DVD and use repeatedly without a need for internet access to download a fresh install for every machine i need to install Windows 8.1 OS on. Also, I could easily share the DVD and save others the costly internet access and the stress of slow data downloads.

2. To save myself even the estimated N4000 for the Windows 8.1 OS download, i could wait till 12 midnight. My ISP gives its subscribers free internet access with no download restrictions from 12am – 6am daily. That way i could do a whole lot of post installation downloads. Very nice option that comes at a cost – your sleep!

A quick search on the Internet brought up this link here. With it i was able to generate an ISO image of Windows 8.1. Took me almost 5 hours to download the data for the 3.5GB ISO image but, like they say, all is well that ends well.

Please note that if you follow the process in the link above closely, it will only generate the ISO image and should not install the OS yet. You can easily install the ISO image on a DVD.

For the OS installation proper from the DVD, you may encounter a problem whereby the product key may be rejected. Thing is, your license only qualifies you for an upgrade installation via the Windows Store and not a Clean Install. To get around this, pick up a temporary relevant product key from here for your installation, depending on the Windows OS type you purchased a license for. Note that you will still need to use your Windows 8 key to activate your installation online.

Good luck!

Categories
Gadgets Technology

Tablets : Between Recreation and Productivity

I handed over my tablet to my son a few months ago after a failed bid to sell it off.

While I was researching for the ideal tablet to put my hard earned cash on, the Toshiba Thrive came tops as the most productive or functional tablet around. However, after a few months of using it, i realised that there is only so much even the best featured tablets could do. Read my review of the Toshiba Thrive here.

By my definition, productivity or functionality is the speed or amount of work one can get done on a tablet compared to what can be achieved on a regular computer. Yes, the yard stick for comparison has and will always be the PC.

From this definition, you may understand why the iPad was never considered.

toshiba-thrive-6While the Toshiba Thrive could take most of what I threw at it by way of hardware accessories – full USB keyboard, mouse and all – the fact remains that the operating system powering it (an enhanced Android 4.1.2 custom rom) was never suited for getting much productive work done.

While tablet manufacturers have access to near infinite apps on Google Play, with a good number focused on enterprise & productivity, however it seems majority of the apps available fall within a ‘recreational’ category.

It has been predicted by many technology analysts that the tablet form factor will be replacing the PC as we know it. And as if to prove these pundits right, the PC has witnessed a very sharp drop in sales since the introduction of the iPad.

But why is this so when it is very clear to about everyone that the functionality of the PC is almost only limited by the imagination of the user whereas the tablet can barely get simple productivity tasks done conveniently?

The reason may not be far fetched. Most users do not need the infinite computing powers of the regular PC, at least you don’t need it for the regular tasks that most people indulge in; word processing, web browsing, other Microsoft office products, solitaire, watching films, etc. A role that even the least powered tablets can undertake perfectly.

The question however still remain; would the tablet form factor be the end of the PC. Well, one thing is very sure, definitely not in our lifetime. Many have predicted the demise of Linux too which, against all odds, is probably even more relevant than before; it powers most of the websites in the world, embedded in more devices than we can ever count and also is the basis of most operating systems around now; Mac 0s, android, etc.

For geeks like me, the tablet remains what it is meant for- recreation. I can not even being myself to undertake the simplest word processing tasks on an android or iPad tablet because of formatting issues.

However, Microsoft has already set the pace with its mobile and desktop OS convergence operating system – the Windows 8. Still rough at the edges, I strongly believe this company would play a major role in how soon the tablet form factor replaces the PC form factor.

Categories
Technology Tips

Shutdown, Hibernate or Put To Sleep – Which Option Is Best For Your Laptop?

You probably may have been faced with this decision more than once; Hibernate, put to sleep or simply shutdown your PC. What option did you take? What option should you take?

Simply put, the choice is yours on the options to take. Your work schedule or purpose for use of these laptops should largely determine what option you should take.

Hibernating or putting your PC to sleep usually preserves your PC state, keeping your workfiles and applications intact for you to continue with whenever you choose to do so. Perhaps the major difference between these two options is that with Sleep, is a power-saving state that allows a computer to quickly resume full-power operation (typically within several seconds) when you want to start working again. Putting your computer into the sleep state is like pausing a DVD player—the computer immediately stops what it’s doing and is ready to start again when you want to resume working. (I quoted Microsoft there). Hibernate, on the other hand, puts your open documents and programs on your hard disk, and then turns off your computer. Of all the power-saving states in Windows, hibernation uses the least amount of power. .

Sleep is good for short periods while hibernate is advisable if your laptop will be away from a power source for a long time. Note that if you will be transporting your laptop in a backpack, hibernate is advisable because of the heat that would be generated from your laptop if put to sleep.

PC Hibernate Or PC Sleep ModePutting your computer to sleep is popular with pre-Windows 8 systems largely because of the long boot up time of the Operating Systems. Putting your PC to sleep shaves a lot of precious seconds, even minutes, off the boot up time. Things have, however, changed a bit with Windows 8 which has a fairly fast bootup time.

A class of people however prefer to leave their laptops on 24/7. While this has an advantage of giving you quick access to your PC whenever you need it, it can however be a security risk if it is left online – well, except it is being used as a server. Also, because of the heat generated by the laptop, its internal components and USB accessories also stand a risk of being fried.

Geek Recommendation

– Put your laptop to sleep only for very short periods; lunch breaks maybe.
– Hibernate for longer periods, especially if you have unfinished tasks or open windows you are working on.
– Nothing beats the good old shutting down of your laptop. Windows OS sure needs to reboot itself very often to keep it functional.

Categories
Gadgets

Check Out These Awesome Ways To Use Your Flash Drive

Flash or thumb drives are probably a dime a dozen nowadays with good quality original 2GB drive costing as little as N1500.  Apart from the popular use of simple file transfers, many are missing out on the best use that any of these tiny data buckets can fulfill. Enthusiasts know that flash drives are the perfect portable repositories for all sorts of software that can breathe life or enhance your PC usage experience.

Run Portable Applications

The first thing you’ll want to install on your USB rescue drive is PortableApps, a free, open-source platform for installing desktop applications on USB drives and other removable media. PortableApps manages the installation of new portable software on your USB drive, and it also acts as a front end when you’re actually using the USB drive, allowing you to browse and launch applications easily.

PortableApps maintains a list of hundreds of “portable” versions of popular free programs, each of them designed to work without installation. For the complete list, see portableapps.com/apps.

Each of the following applications that has “Portable” in its title is available for the PortableApps platform. You can download these items at the URLs provided, or start PortableApps and click Apps ▸ Get More Apps. You’ll see a large list of applications; just check the ones you want and then click Next to download and install all of them automatically.

Boot an operating system

If you want to do more than just run your own applications, you might want to consider booting an entire operating system from your USB flash drive. You can boot either Windows or Linux from a USB flash drive; however, the process is not an exact science and you may be in for a technical adventure.

Most existing operating systems support or can be adapted to support this feature.

Run A Website From It

If you are a Web developer, you may be interested to know that with Server2Go, you can easily run a Web server that supports Apache, PHP, MySQL, and Perl right from a USB flash drive. You can use Server2Go right out of the box without any installation. It runs on all versions of Windows, supports most common browsers, and is completely free. To a developer, the benefits of having a portable Web server on a USB drive are numerous. For example, imagine being able to carry a live Web site demo into a sales pitch meeting. For more information about this package, visit the Server2Go site.

Lock Your PC

Have you ever seen a movie in which a person in some secret government installation simply inserts and removes a card to log in and log out of a PC? If you thought that idea was cool, you’ll definitely want to investigate Predator. Once installed and configured, this little freeware utility will allow you to turn a USB flash drive into a key you can use to lock and unlock your computer.

While the USB flash drive is connected to your computer, everything works as it normally would. Once you remove the USB flash drive, your computer is locked down — the keyboard and mouse are disabled and the screen darkens. To unlock your computer, you just plug in the USB flash drive and the computer will be unlocked and you can begin using it.

PREDATOR locks your PC when you are away, even if your Windows session is still opened. It uses a regular USB flash drive as an access control device, and works as follows:

  • you insert the USB drive
  • you run PREDATOR (autostart with Windows is possible)
  • you do your work…
  • when you’re away from your PC, you simply remove the USB drive:
  • once it is removed, the keyboard and mouse are disabled and the screen darkens
  • when you return back to your PC, you put the USB flash drive in place:
  • keyboard and mouse are immediately released, and the display is restored.

It’s easier and faster than closing your Windows session, since you do not have to retype your password when you return.

Turn a USB Flash Drive into Extra Virtual RAM

It is not hard to turn an extra USB stick lying around collecting dust into an extra memory for your computer, allowing it to run speedier and manage more applications better.

You can put the flash drive to good use by using it to increase the virtual RAM on your Windows computer, preferably a USB drive smaller than 4 GB. The procedure has been summarized below:

  • Rename your thumb drive as “RAM DRIVE” or something similar, so you can see which drive is being used as RAM.
  • Delete all the stuff on the flash drive. Check for hidden files.
  • Right click on My Computer, and go to Properties. Once there, click on Advanced and go to the system output’s Settings.
  • Click on Advanced, and then Edit.
  • Click on your thumb drive above, and select “user-defined size.” Here you can see the size of your flash drive.
  • Calculate the size of the flash drive, and subtract 5 Mb.
  • Type this number in the first box. In the second box, type in the same number.
  • Click Set and confirm all your settings, applying them wherever you can.
  • Restart your computer.

Windows 7 users should go into their System Properties, under the Performance tab for these options. After you’re done, your computer will recognize your flash drive as extra virtual memory. Do not pull out your thumb drive after these settings are implemented. It could crash your computer. More detailed information can be found here.

usb001pic

Categories
Hack Mobile

How to Secure Your USB Drive

Bitlocker2GoLosing a USB flash drive can be the stuff of nightmares if it contains sensitive or valuable information. There are many hardware and software options available for use in encrypting the contents of your flash drive and also to lock it down with a password. However, the major problem with most of these software options is that you need to have administrative access to your PC to be able to unlock these flash drives to access it.

Fortunately, Microsoft introduced an encryption system called BitLocker in its Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8 Operating Systems  which will safely encrypt the data stored on your external drives and lock them down with a password. But most importantly, you need not have administrative access to your PC.

Like most encryption utilities, BitLocker protects your data by making it unreadable or inaccessible without a password or some other form of unique key. To secure the data, BitLocker uses an AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) encryption algorithm with a 128-bit key plus a data-mixing algorithmic function (known as an Elephant diffuser) for disk-related security features not offered by AES alone.

BitLocker to Go (introduced with Windows 7) enables encryption of externally attached portable drives. It uses the same encryption technology with BitLocker, but instead of protecting an OS volume, it is designed to secure data stored on a portable drive, such as a USB flash or hard-disk drive. And with Windows 8, Microsoft has updated BitLocker to Go with some new features that make it faster and easier to use than ever before.

BitLocker To Go is very straightforward to use. Simply insert the USB drive you wish to protect and locate it in the Computer folder in Windows Explorer. Next right-click the drive and select ‘Turn on BitLocker’.

BitLocker_To_Go
Enable the setting ‘Use a password to unlock the drive’, enter and then confirm your password and click Next. Ensure you use a memorable but secure password.

Windows will now prompt you to print or save a recovery key to a file. You can use this key to regain access to the USB drive if you forget your password, so be sure to keep it in a safe place away from the encrypted drive.

Using the BitLocker To Go Reader, which is automatically installed on your USB drive, you will be able to read, but not write to the contents of the encrypted drive on a PC running Windows XP or Vista. This utility will allow you copy files off the drive and on to your PC for editing.

Categories
Articles

The Geek Shall Inherit the Earth

geekModern society is massively complex. We like to pretend that our mastery of tools and technology has made life easier or better, but in actuality it has never been harder to simply live life.

Above all else, tools and technology give us choices, and more choice means more complexity. Ten thousand years ago, life basically consisted of hunting, eating, and procreating, and stone arrowheads were the state-of-the-art, must-have devices. Over time we mastered new materials and devised new tools (iron, paper, plastics, computer chips), and society grew increasingly complex (trade, diplomacy, religion, global media).

Tools are force multipliers, and our tools and technologies are now so advanced that the tiniest of human machinations can have worldwide repercussions. Whereas once your actions very rarely affected anything or anyone beyond your immediate vicinity, today a single photo shot with a smartphone and uploaded to Facebook can change the world. Tools also used to have very specific purposes; but thanks to monstrously powerful general-purpose hardware and operating systems, our present-day computerized tools can perform an almost infinite number of diverse tasks, often simultaneously, in many cases without our even being aware that they’re being performed.

EACH WILL HAVE TO BEAR HIS OWN LOAD

To put it bluntly, most mere mortals simply have no idea how to handle the overwhelming power of modern devices. Do you know someone who has sent an embarrassing email or picture message to the wrong person, or misunderstood the privacy settings on their Facebook or Twitter feeds? How many of your friends know what really happens when you push the power button on your PC, or press play on Spotify?

Most mere mortals have no idea how to handle the overwhelming power of modern devices.

It wasn’t so long ago that most people completely understood every aspect of their tools, and this reflected in their proficiency with them. Today, there probably isn’t a single person alive who can tell you exactly how to make an LCD monitor, let alone a whole computer—and likewise, there are very few people who know how to properly use a computer. A modern PC outputs more data and has more functionality than a 1970s supercomputer that was operated by a dozen engineers. And yet in today’s always-connected, ubiquitously digital world, we expect a single, relatively uneducated person to somehow use these devices effectively.

Miraculously, the system actually works. Yes, people still screw up and crash their cars while texting, or get malware on their computer, but for the most part we make incredibly good use of the tools and technologies available to us.

Partly, this is due to the near-infinite adaptability of mankind—but it’s also due to geeks. Human civilization has always had elders who guide their spiritual children safely through life’s perils. In the olden days, these wise men and women would educate their communities in the ways of the world: how to nurture children, how to grow crops. In modern society, geeks are our sages, our shamans, our technocratic teachers.

THE GEEK IS MY SHEPHERD

Now more than ever before, the only way that we will successfully navigate technological pitfalls and make it out in one piece is if we listen carefully and follow in the footsteps of the geeks, the shepherds of society. This is quite a burden for geeks, who obviously have a better grasp of the underlying science and wizardry, but they’re still being buffeted by the same startling rate of advancement and myriad ethical and moral repercussions that technology is thrusting upon the rest of us.

Geeks must assimilate our technological advances, and then provide guidance for the rest of us.

As our shepherds, geeks must assimilate our technological advances, and then quickly provide guidance for the rest of us. You can probably remember a time when you asked a geek for advice on your next PC, whereupon he gladly imparted upon you the latest hardware, software, and peripheral wisdom. Or maybe you’re the geek to whom people come seeking council.

Today, with the exponential effect of Moore’s law and the emergence of pervasive, ubiquitous computing, it’s a little more complicated. It’s no longer a matter of the fastest computer or largest hard drive; we’re now talking about ecology (power usage, recycling), privacy (social sharing, behavioral targeting), and other philosophical quandaries that most geeks really aren’t ready for. Five years ago, almost all geeks agreed on which CPU was the fastest (the Core 2 Duo). Ask three today which mobile OS is the best, or what your Facebook privacy settings should be, and you’ll get three very different answers.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. As our interactions with hyper-advanced technology shifts from the hard sciences underpinning hardware (chemistry, physics) to the soft sciences that govern software (sociology, psychology, law), it’s understandable that absolute answers are becoming harder to come by. It isn’t vital that geeks always give the right answer, anyway: The main thing is that they know enough that they can give advice.

It isn’t vital that geeks always give the right answer, but that they know enough that they can give advice.

Ultimately, the real takeaway here is that we’re all beholden to the wishes and whimsies of our geeky compatriots. They have now taken over the mantle of the wise men the masses have always followed, and for better or worse there isn’t much we can do about it. At least geeks have been doing a pretty good job so far.

If you’re one of them, however, remember that you are not only a guide who must gently lead society through the uncertain, ever-shifting mists of bleeding-edge tech, but also a captain who must ride out any storms we suddenly find ourselves in. This is a lot of responsibility to bear, but like the priests, village elders, and witches that came before you, you will do the job, and you will hopefully do it to the best of your capability. Pay heed: Your actions will directly affect the adoption (or not) of technology, thus shaping the future of human civilization.

No pressure, geeks. No pressure.

Sebastian Anthony | PC Mag January 2013 Edition

Categories
Mobile

Firefox OS: Another Lab Experiment?

There are now a good number of mobile OS out there, with many still considered as not more than lab experiments. The likes of Jolla and Tizen fits this description perfectly.

Jolla, in particular, has a tall order of competing with Research In Motion’s upcoming BlackBerry 10 OS, as well as the latest version of Windows Phone for the lucrative title of third most popular mobile platform globally, behind Apple and Google’s operating systems. How that pans out, time will tell.

The ambitions of some of these mobile OS can be considered humorous at best. Not to be considered a “kill joy”, why not let us , em, humour them.

The new kid on the block is the Firefox OS, still in its alpha release. My initial hands on with this OS left an Android taste in my mouth. Simply put, the experience was too familiar.

Why take my word for it? Firefox has been nice enough to allow a simulation of its new OS using a firefox browser. Follow the steps below to grab it:

  • In your Firefox browser, go to this link and click the download link for your OS. This will install the r2d2b2g Firefox OS simulator extension.
  • Click on the link for your OS and allow Firefox to install the software in your browser
  • After installing, the Firefox OS simulator dashboard pops up immediately. No need to restart your browser.
  • Enable the simulator by clicking the “stopped” button on the top left side of the browser. The button turns green and is labelled “running”
  • The Firefox OS simulator pops up immediately.
  • Enjoy!

Categories
Hack

Virus Alert!!! Obama Twitter Scam

An elaborate Twitter scam involving a sensational tweet about Barack Obama has been detected. This scam lures its victims with a promise of a video showing president Barack Obama punching a man for cursing him, leads them to a fake facebook page where it steals their Twitter credentials, and closes the deal by enticing them to download a malicious worm disguised as “an update for YouTube player”.

It all starts with the scandalous tweet as shown above (personal details and racist content blurred). Users receive this tweet as a DM, and if tempted to click, they’ll be led to a fake Facebook page, where they will be asked for their Twitter credentials in order to watch the video. If you choose to enter your Twitter details here, the malware will promptly hijack your account and begin sending these DMs to all your contacts in your name.

Next, users are taken to a second fake Facebook page, complete with a fake YouTube frame, where a new message appears: “An update for YouTube Player is needed”, it says, prompting you to install this update in order to watch the video. Naturally, this is no YouTube Player update, but the Koobface.LP worm, which will infect your computer and steal your personal data.

Koobface.B Worm is a worm that spreads through social websites such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and others. If you look closely at the worm’s name you will see that Koobface is actually “Facebook” spelled backwards. It infect all types of operating systems, and the main goal of Koobface.B Worm is to gather login data to various websites such as Facebook and other social media pages, although it has not been registered to steal financial information.

As far as the distribution via Facebook is concerned, Koobface.B Worm is spread through spam messages that are sent out from already infected users’ profiles to their friends. The messages carried by the worm are very random. Some of the examples include:

“You must see it!!! LOL. My friend catched you on hidden cam,”
“Is it really celebrity?
“Examiners Caught Downloading Grades From The Internet”
“Hello this guy is saying bad rumors about u…”
“Did you see this pic of you?”

BE WARNED !!!

Since Koobface.B Worm does not have an interface and runs in the background of your system, manual removal is hard if you are not a computer specialist. That is why you need to acquire a trustworthy antimalware scanner that will detect all the worm’s components for you and remove Koobface.B Worm from your system automatically. Then don’t forget to run the full system scan again, to check whether you have any other malware left, because malicious threats like Koobface.B Worm seldom come alone.

Instructions on how to remove this worm if you are infected.

  • Disable System Restore if you are running Windows XP or earlier. Click “Start,” “Control Panel,” “System” and select the “System Restore” tab. Click the “Turn off System Restore” check box and click “OK.” Restart your system if prompted to do so. Windows Vista users can skip this step. Windows 7, windows 8 users should not be affected by this virus.
  • Open your anti-virus software and update your virus definitions to make sure you have the latest definitions.
  • Run a full virus scan on your computer. Do not run a partial or quick scan. Take the time to run your anti-virus software’s full scan so it searches absolutely everywhere for the Koobface Facebook virus.
  • Quarantine and/or delete the virus when it shows up in your scan results. Use the method of control recommended by your anti-virus software.
  • Visit your anti-virus software’s website for specific patches for the Koobface Facebook virus if your full scan could not contain it. The virus will most likely be taken care of in your regular scan but McAfee and Symantec both have patches, if necessary

TIP & WARNING

This is by no means the only scam of its kind going around. As always, it’s crucial that you don’t click links with suspicious messages about scandalous videos and pictures of you or others, even if they seem to come from people you know. And even more importantly, if you’ve already clicked it, never enter your credentials and never download anything that looks even remotely off.

The Koobface virus is easily stopped by simply never downloading files unless you have complete confidence in their origin. If you receive a suspicious email, delete it without clicking any links. If you think it might be a legitimate email, but aren’t sure, email or phone the sender to ask.
Have a wonderful day.

Categories
Hosting

Virtualization? What Is That?!

If you have the feeling that everyone else in the world understands virtualization perfectly while you are still trying to understand just what it is and how you might take advantage of it, take heart, you are not alone.

Virtualization, in simple English (no geek speak), refers to a concept in which access to a single underlying piece of hardware – Laptop, Desktop PC, Apple Mac – is coordinated so that multiple guest operating systems – Windows 7, XP, Ubuntu, Linux Mint, etc – can share that single piece of hardware, with no guest operating system being aware that it is actually sharing anything at all. (A guest operating system is an operating system that is hosted by an underlying virtualization software layer, often called the host system). A guest operating system appears to the applications running on it as a complete operating system (OS), and the guest OS itself is completely unaware that it’s running on top of a layer of virtualization software rather than directly on the physical hardware.

We would concern ourselves with two approaches to virtualization:

TYPE 1 (Bare Metal Virtualization)

In this approach to virtualization, a virtualization software is installed to run directly on the host’s hardware to control the hardware and to manage guest operating systems. Examples of such virtualization softwares include Xen, Citrix XenServer, KVM, VMware ESX/ESXi, and Microsoft Hyper-V hypervisor. This approach is very popular with corporate bodies and web hosting companies. The hardware referred to in this instance are usually enterprise grade servers.

TYPE 2 (Operating System Virtualization)

Operating system virtualization, by contrast, is an approach where guest operating systems (also called Virtual Machines) are installed on top of a conventional operating system using your regular laptops and desktop computers. This is made possible using special installed softwares like Virtual Box, VMWare Workstation.

This is the approach to virtualization that we are going to concern ourselves with and our software of choice will be Virtualbox

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