Pea Zip a freeware archiving program

I have been using WinRAR some years now and generally find it to be quite a good program. However every now and again I get error messages. Generally speaking whatever I’m  un-archiving seems to go okay despite the error messages. Recently I was an un-archiving something that I had downloaded and struck a problem with the an archive that had

WinZip Icon
Image via Wikipedia

very long filenames. My usual course of action is to Google for an answer. It turns out that this is a known bug of the WinRAR program. It seems it has a bug with filenames that are more than 260 characters long. Arguably filenames of this length are a little extreme however they do exist as I found out.

I searched around on the net and tried a couple of other archiving programs in trial mode. One was the venerable WinZip, which is now up to version 15, and this didn’t seem to solve the problem. Another program I tried was called Win7  or something like it. The latter program had a quirky interface and I just gave up.

I continued searching via Google and eventually came across a program called Pea Zip  which is an open source archiving program. This program has a fairly straightforward interface and after installing it successfully  un-archived what I needed without any errors. It did run noticeably slower than WinRaR rather but ultimately it did what I wanted it to.  I was then able to use what I downloaded without any trouble.

I’m not sure that I will use it to replace WinRAR completely it does however offer another option for un-archiving files. I notice that there is a WinRAR version 4 in beta so maybe this will solve the problem. however Pea Zip  offers a cheap alternative. I’ve installed it on my Windows 7 64-bit system without incident, and there are versions for most current operating systems including Mac and Linux. So go on over and visit their website at give it a whirl.

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A Test Post with Dragon Naturally Speaking

This is a test post using dragon NaturallySpeaking. I’ve used dictation software before, but this is the first time I’ve used it within a web browser. I’m using Google Chrome version 8 and everything seems to be going fine. So far Dragon hasn’t made any mistakes. This is actually the very first time I am using the software.

I have used this kind of software with limited success in the past. When writing academic type documents it becomes clear that the way you speak differs markedly from the way you write. Consequently I’ve spent hours editing documents with misspelt words and words that are simply missed. However this version of Dragon NaturallySpeaking seems to be somewhat more accurate. Or perhaps on speaking more slowly and deliberately deny otherwise would. It’s certainly much much faster than typing.

I am using this software on a Windows based computer with a core two Duo processor four gigabytes of RAMand running Windows 7 64-bit. I still consider this a relatively new machine although it had it for quite some years. I am curious to see how this software will run on my new laptop which features a Intel i5 quad core processor and the same operating system is this machine. I am using a Logitech USB headset which is probably the cheapest one on the market at the time of purchase.

Looks like I’ve succeeded in writing a post with voice recognition software.

iOS4 on my 3GS iPhone

Well I waited a few days and then took the plunge and installed the new iOS4. This is the

iPad, iPhone & iPod Touch
Image by DrewVigal via Flickr

latest version of the operating system for the iPhone and of course the over hyped iPad. I have been running it now for about 6 hours the most obvious thing is the wallpaper and the way the icons rush in from the sides when you turn the phone on. Multitasking seems to work so any app that you turn on remains on in the background. Not sure what this means for battery life, if there is an extra drain on the battery I haven’t noticed so far. The camera seems snappier but that might be me. I haven’t tried the folder function yet too much excitement at once isn’t good.
My main fear had been the sporadic reports of sluggish performance and non-responsive screens. So far so good. There doesn’t seem to be an easy was to actually just turn off an app when you are done. So you end up with all the apps running in the background. When the apps are displayed as strip that are running in the background you have to hold an icon until they all display a red circle with a cross in it then clocking on this shuts each app down individually.

Oh and I almost forgot this was written on my iPhone

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Adobe Premiere Elements 8 First Impressions

Adobe Premiere Elements icon
Image via Wikipedia

This is my foray into Adobe Video editing software. I have been a long time user of Pinnacle Studio (PS) having used this application through several versions. Version 14 I decided to try something different and looked to Adobe Premiere Elements (APE). I only use video editing for home movies so I need an application that is relatively simple to use. APE offers some advantages PS mostly the ability to use multiple video and audio tracks. The interface is not too different but the means of achieving the same is quite different.

Editing is relatively straightforward as is adding audio. The addition of Smartsounds allows the generation of royalty free music to accompany your video. The DVD menu system works well but requires a great deal of manual input. Once all the menu and scene markers are added to the timeline the preconfigured menus pickup all the scenes. My first project in APE was one and half hours long . The program crashed a few times during the editing process. This proved frustrating as the most recent changes hadn’t been saved. I am running Windows 7 64 bit. The rendering of the video files took nearly 2 hours and occupied a 100% of the Core 2 Duo’s attention.

The results were satisfactory but I had to resort using online video tutorials to get the most of the program. I think for a complete novice to video editing the learning curve would be quite steep. On balance Pinnacle Studio is easier for the novice.

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First Impressions with Win7

Well I have been running windows 7 32 Bit RC since the day after it was released, Mostly it has been good. I like the the interface and  it  is certainly better than Vista. Although my personal opinion on Vista is that it was  underwhelming in relation to the hype rather than truly bad.

I have been experiencing  a lot of freezes and I think this may be related to the touch pad on my ASUS laptop (PRO31P).  I have downloaded the latest drivers for this from synaptics, not sure if this is  a major step forward.

However my biggest issue to date happened after I installed an network printer over a standard TCP/IP port. I lost the print server spooling function . After repeated attempts to use the various recovery functions within Win7 I had to resort to using windows restore point.  Dont know if this is  bug in Win7 or just a mishap.

I have however been having some problems updating the virus checker , Kaspersky Internet Security  2009. My laptop at home connects  via wifi using a Dlink DIR-635 router. I have a second network set up Using a Dlink DI-824 VUP+ which works fine, and on several otehr networks for that matter. Additionally another machine, running XP, connects to the same DLink DIR-635 and updates without any problems.

Other than that all seems to work well, certainly happier than Vista.

Test from Iphone

Well this fabulous photo was take on an Iphone and uploaded using the WordPress application within the Iphone.
I must say that it couldn’t have been easier,it might be the reason that pushes me to actually get an Iphone. I might however wait until the new model arrives.

Windows 7 RC 32 Bit

Well this is my first post from a fresh install of Win7 RC 32bit on my laptop which is an ASUS PRO31P. Because I was having problems with Word 2007 that I couldn’t fix I was thinking of reinstalling Vista, but Win7 RC appeared at the same time so I thought what the hell. I did an upgrade install. The process was rather painless but it took several hours. In the end the machine booted without incident all I had to do was reactive my antivirus software Kaspersky 2009 and I was off.

The installer inspected my machine and identified three programs that I needed to uninstall prior to upgrade. One was a virtual CD Rom Magic ISO the other OCR software Finereader, I can’t recall the third but it must have been something that I was not using. After the install all my settings files etc were there including my cheesy background image.

Since I have had the laptop I have never been able to upgrade the graphics drivers (GEFORCE 7300) seems that neither NVIDIA nor ASUS had any particular interest in the graphics chipset for Vista. This has not been an issue as far as I was concerned with the exception trying to run Google Sketch Up. As soon as the machine was running I tried this program and too my amazement it ran without incident. There had been a Google workaround which I had to use to fire this application up on every occasion. This was with the Geforce Go 7300 driver that was in the installation package! There was more and update for the video driver as well. The only other issue was running Pinnacle Studio 12 this did not seem to fire up readily and when it did the GUI seemed screwed up. I was able to run this in Vista SP2 mode (interesting as Vista SP2 isn’t generally available) and seems to be OK but I have not extensively tested it yet.

I have been running Win 7 Beta on A Pentium 4 machine since it arrived and this did increase my confidence to install the release candidate. I have been underwhelmed rather than disappointed with Windows Vista so a move was on the cards. However I do think that my next laptop will be a MacBook as we already own one have had no problems to speak of with it. Then again Win7 may put all that to rest.


3G Wireless

Well here is a post from a 3G wireless device from Telstra. I am quite surprised that at the speed. Posting from Port Elliot, South Australia. Even my mobile phone can be variable from here so it seems to GSM mobile or the dreaded dialup. Telstra is unfortunately the most expensive telco on Australia however they do have exceptional coverage. I guess you get what you pay for. At least I am not dependent on it for my main internet connection.

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