Friday, March 25, 2011

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Is it a Netbook? Is it a Tablet? No... it's the Dell Inspiron Duo 1090!

The Tablet PC industry has been made famous by the likes of the iPad and the Samsung Galaxy, even though tablet PC's have actually been around for many years.

It takes something truly unique then, to grab the attention of the IT community, especially since the iPad 2 was launched just last week... so that is exactly what Dell has done - check out the Dell Inspiron Duo 1090:

The final product is a mix between a conventional Netbook, and a Tablet PC.
Running Windows 7 Home Premium (32 Bit), and powered by an Intel Atom Dual Core N550 CPU with 2GB RAM, this little hybrid has received rave reviews all over the net.

When you are done using it as a Tablet PC, open up the keyboard, flip the screen around using the nifty mechanism that Dell have conceived, and watch those jaws drop faster than Apple can release the next iteration of the iPad... ;)

Check out the full specs:

10" Wide HD LED (1366 x 768) with multi-touch technology
Intel Atom Dual Core CPU N500 (1.5GHz)
320GB Hard Drive
Windows 7 Home Premium (32 Bit)
1.3MP Webcam
Stereo Speakers
4 Cell Battery (non-removable)

Fancy one of these nifty gadgets? I know I do... :)
Get yours now for only R 6250 - drop me a mail if you want to place an order (currently in stock, but moving fast).

You can also place an order over on our contact page. :)

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The scariest first-person video of the Japan tsunami yet...

Imagine a small stream of water flowing down the street, much like an overflowing stormwater drain...

Well that's pretty much how this first-person video of the Japan tsunami starts out... but keep watching - within minutes the stream becomes a full-on maelstrom of raging water...:!5781566/this-is-the-scariest-first+person-video-of-the-japan-tsunami-yet

Ouch... nature's fury is no joke.

Video courtesy of
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Amazing before and after shots of disaster sites in Japan... scary stuff indeed!

To get an idea of the scale of damage and the power of the tsunami that hit Japan last week, head over to the site below for a before and after look at some of the coastal areas that were affected:

It is at times like this that I am seriously grateful that I live on higher ground...!
My thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by this disaster.

Hat tip to Patricia for this ;)
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Monday, March 14, 2011

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Windows 7 Service Pack 1... the pros and cons.

I was taken by surprise today while working on a Windows 7 laptop - it really took an unusually long time to install an update while shutting down.

Normally I wouldn't be at all concerned by updates installing during shutdown, but this took in the region of half an hour... on a Core i7 machine no less!

As the machine restarted, I realised that the update was in fact Windows 7 Service Pack 1, an update which I was not even aware of yet.
Windows 7 has just been such a hit when compared to Vista, that I didn't expect a Service Pack just yet.
Regardless, here we are. Windows 7 has received its' first Service Pack.

Now Service Packs are generally a good thing, offering tweaks, fixes, patches, bug fixes and all those wonderful things, but it would appear that Windows Service Pack 1 is causing headaches all over the place.
In some cases, as in mine, the installation hangs at some point, citing some or other failure / error "282".
Reboots do not help, Safe Mode is useless, and there are no System Restore points to help you get back to a pre-installation state.

In short, it's a mess.
So without any further ranting, here is how I fixed it in my particular case (full thanks and credit to user "thiswoot" on the Microsoft Technet Forums for this solution - you saved my bacon man!!):


01. Reboot your computer while it's hanging / attempting to start up, by pressing reset or by holding the power button down for 6 seconds, and then switching it back on.

02. When your computer starts up again, choose the option "Launch Startup Repair"

--> PIC:

03. When the Startup repair starts, click cancel.

04. After you click cancel it will show a box. Click "Don't Send"

--> PIC:

05. Click the link "View advanced options for recovery and support"

06. In the new window click Command Prompt at the bottom.

--> PIC:

07. In Command Prompt type this and press enter: %windir%\system32\notepad.exe

08. Notepad will open. In notepad go to File-->Open.

09. Change the type of files notepad views from .txt to All Files (see pic)

--> PIC:

10. Now in Notepad, go to C:\Windows\winsxs\ (or whichever drive Windows is installed on)

11. In that folder, find pending.xml and make a copy of it (Right click it, click Copy, then Right click in a blank space beneath it, and click Paste).

12. Now open the original pending.xml (it will load really slow because the file is huge)

13. Press CTRL+F and search for the following exactly: 0000000000000000.cdf-ms

14. Scroll slightly back from the text you found, and delete the following text (click to enlarge - yours might be a little different):

--> PIC:

Your PC might not have all 3 sections of code (, , ). Just make sure you delete section "Checkpoint" and whatever other sections have "000000000000000.cdf-ms". They will be right next to each other.

15. Save the file, close notepad, close command prompt, restart your computer.

Once your computer starts up, do a normal startup (it may stall for 5-10 minutes at the "starting windows" screen, but leave it going) and the Service Pack will install some more stuff and restart a few times and then everything should be working!

For some people, it reverts everything and cancels the service pack installation. For other people, the service pack installation completes. Either result is fine...

This little gem fixed my situation, and Windows 7 Service Pack 1 installed successfully after all.
It appears that this fix just tells Windows to skip the offending update, and the rest of the installation then continues as normal.

Hope this works for you as well as it did for me!
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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Hawaii's Kilauea volcano erupts...

In a stunning show of nature's power, Mount Kilauea on the island of Hawaii has been spewing out masses of lava over the past few days.
Kilauea is one of the most active volcanoes on Earth, and it is an invaluable resource for volcanologists due to its effusive (non-violent) eruptions - effusive eruptions are characterized by the outpouring of lava onto the ground, enabling the volcanoes to be studied up close in (relative) safety.

Check out this awesome spectacle (all images courtesy of

You can even check out a live webcam of the volcano in action - it refreshes every few minutes so keep checking back:

For example, when I first checked it out, all I saw was a black square... and then I realised that it is currently night-time in Hawaii, and the volcano was chilling at that precise moment :)
One refresh later there was a whole lot of fire going on, so it is well worth the wait.
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Thursday, March 3, 2011

A 360° Full Moon view of Cape Town from Signal Hill - click and scroll your mouse around to explore...

Whether you appreciate Cape Town or not, you should do yourself a favour and head over to this website right now:

Lee Casalena is a panoramic photographer. 
Not sure what that means? Well go take a peek, and you will be treated to a beautiful 360° full moon view of Cape Town from Signal Hill.

If you are an avid astronomer with a keen eye, you can even spot the constellation of Scorpius just above the moon.
Give the page time to load though, then click and scroll around a bit - explore!

Then once you are done, go to the main site at to see more of these amazing panoramic photographs.
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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

So the iPad 2 is finally out of the bag... I wonder when we will be getting it?

Just a few hours ago, Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the long-awaited iPad 2, and I followed it live at Engadget over here.

I won't bore you with the awesome specs, just head on over there - it is well worth taking a look at. 
New features abound, and I must say that while I originally had my doubts, the iPad 2 certainly does look like it is set to give the competition a good whipping, at least for now!

Apple are shipping this device from 11 March 2011, just over a week from now, and by the 25th March it will be shipping to at least 26 countries.
I did not see South Africa on that list though... (duh!)

I guess that the local agents (Core) will be flooded with calls tomorrow, from eager Apple fans :)

Did you buy an iPad when it launched here, and if so are you just a little peeved that the replacement is already out?
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Tourist space travel will soon be a reality... for anybody who can cough up R 626 000 per ticket :)

Have you ever heard of a company called Orbital Horizon?

Well now you have, because they are a Durban-based space tourism agent who can now offer tickets for a flight aboard a new suborbital spaceship... at a mere R 626 000 per ticket!
Space tourism agent? First time I have heard that term... :)

According to the owner of the company, the tickets are "affordable" when compared to the likes of Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic, which offers tickets at R 2 million each.
Sure, that's affordable - I mean it's chump change, if you can spare an odd million here and there... :)

The spaceship (named the "Lynx" - approximately the size of a small aircraft) will look something like this:

Signing up to become a space traveller will mean first having to head to the USA for medical testing, before a week long training session in Phoenix, Arizona.

Then it's back to sunny South Africa where you will await a call to confirm your flight date.
Hmmmm... so what if you do the testing and training and then they just never call you back...? ;)
Well assuming that they do call back and book your flight, liftoff will happen from somewhere the USA, and within 3 minutes of liftoff you will be in suborbital space...

What can one expect when in suborbital space?
Well this quote from Wikipedia gives us a good idea of just what it might be like...:

"The spacecraft will probably shut off its engines well before reaching maximum altitude, and then coast up to its highest point. During a few minutes, from the point when the engines are shut off to the point where the atmosphere begins to slow down the downward acceleration, the passengers will experience weightlessness."

So if you are one of the elite who has a Ferrari FF parked in your garage, right next your Veyron and your Lamborghini Aventador (your daily runabout), then maybe this is just the thing for you...

Currently there is not a whole lot happening over at the company website, but there are contact details there if you seriously want to get in touch, or maybe just want to find out more info.

...and if you are one of the lucky ones who gets to go into space - fly (and land) safely, and have the time of your life!
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