Thursday, June 5, 2008

Windows Recycle Bin Missing

So, the recycle bin is missing from your Windows Desktop. Where did it go? As you probably know, you cannot delete it from the desktop, so a setting must be screwed up in Windows that caused it to disappear. here's how to restore it.

Try right-clicking your desktop and selecting "properties." On the window that comes up, select the "desktop" tab, then click "customize desktop." On the next window, select "recycle bin (full)" and click "restore default," then repeat with "recycle bin (empty)."

if that does not work, download TweakUI (from Microsoft), install it. Run TweakUI from your Start Menu, In Tweak UI, just left-click "desktop" (not the + sign) and you'll see a list of desktop options. Make sure that Recycle Bin is checked.

Microsoft Extend Availability of XP for Nettops

The comptuter industry is seeing a huger growth in demand for ultra low cost computers, which some folks have dubbed "Nettops", as their primary function is to access Internet applications. These Nettops are generally built around alternative CPU designs that are not as powerful as the new high power processors from Intel and AMD, and they have less RAM than more traditional desktop machines.

But they do not need the horsepower, RAM and disk storage space, because they have a more casual use - browsing the web, listening to media, and using web applications. These devices are not capable of running the new Windows Vista, so their manufacturers have urged Microsoft to extend the availability of XP for these devices.

Microsoft had been resisting these requests, but has finally recognized that this trend towards Nettops is real, and that if they ignore the requests for XP, the vendors will switch to Linux. Many of the vendors already offer Linux versions of these devices,

Supposedly, Microsoft will limit the use of XP to these Nettop devices, and will not allow vendors to install XP on traditional desktops after the mid June 2008 cut-off date for sale of XP. It will be available on the Nettop until late 2010.

Low Cost Computer for Web Browsing

Looking for a simple device for browsing the Internet? Want one that consumes very little power? Check out the new trend in devices made just for web surfing and email. There are a few categories of products here:

  • thin client devices attached to your network
  • Net-top devices (ultra low-cost desktops)
  • low cost laptops
Thin Clients: A thin client is a special kind of computer that gets its resources from another computer. It has no hard drive, or other moving parts, consumes very little power, but works just like a full powered computer. Sound too good to be true? Well, it is true. What a thin client does, it talk to a terminal server and requests a desktop from the server. The server sends the desktop to the thin client, and the user on the thin client has the same desktop interface as one sitting at a regular computer. The thin client does need a monitor, mouse and keyboard attached to it.

Many thin client devices have enough of an operating system to work with printers, USB devices, and they can also load a web browser. I have a Compac EVO T30 that has Windows XP Embedded (a light version of Windows XP) running on it. If I connect it to my network via its built in network interface, it boots up, gets an IP address, and displays a Windows XP desktop. From there I can open up Internet Explorer and browse the web.

New thin clients run about $200-300 dollars (sans a monitor), but you can pick them up used for a fraction of the price. For example, there are several Wyse thin clients with (Windows CE embedded) on eBay for less than $100. Here is a spec sheet on the Wyse device.

The thin clients do not have other software installed, so you can't use it for word processing, spreadsheets, etc. I take that back--you can do all of those online using Google Docs, and save them in your Google file storage.

Ultra Low Cost PCs Manufacturers will be debuting low cost / low profile computers that resemble thin clients, but offer full blown operating systems that act like a regular PC. One such unit is the Eee Box. This little bugger is expected to cost about $300. It has a regular (albeit small) hard drive in it, so it will not be as quiet or power efficient as a thin client, but i will still have a pretty small load on the coal driven power plant.

Low Cost Laptops While Ultra Low Cost PCs are just beginning to be developed, the low cost notebook market is exploding. Asus started it out with the Eee PC, a small laptop with a 7" screen, running either Linux or XP, and has no moving parts. This little guy is available for $400 -$600. A version with a 9" display is also available. HP has a competitor to the Asus Eee PC called the HP MiniNote. It costs in the neighborhood of $750, but again, offers a small, power efficient design. Dell is getting into the ball game with its new Mini Inspiron. MSI (a prominent PC motherboard and component maker) is also releasing a small laptop called the MSI Wind.

Compare these low cost notebooks to the Mac Air which costs nearly $2,000. They all do the same basic functions, but the ones listed above cost from 1/4 to 1/3 the price of the Air.