Category Archive for Tips

Tip

How to Change Your Firefox Release Channel

Currently Mozilla has three release channels for Firefox: stable, beta and aurora.

Each of these release channels has something to offer, the stable channel offering stability and reliability (of course), while the beta channel offers new features for the upcoming release. There may be some bugs and stability issues, but it will certainly be more stable than the aurora channel.

But after you’ve had your fun with the beta or aurora channel and wish to go back to back to the stable release or go from stable to a beta channel, how do you change it?

Previously you could change your channel by selecting the desired release channel in the About box, but Mozilla removed that ability recently for reasons I cannot find.

Change Your Firefox Release Channel

Alright, enough gibber-jabber, let’s get to it.

If you wish to change your release channel, all you need to do is download the proper release and install it, which will take you through an upgrade process instead of a full-on installation.

Change to Firefox stable – Download the stable release at www.getfirefox.com.

Change to Firefox beta – Download the beta release at http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/all-beta.html.

Change to Firefox aurora – Download the aurora release at http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/all-aurora.html.

So there may no longer be a way to change your release channel within Firefox, it is still pretty easy to do without that capability.

Tip

How To Run ASP.NET on XAMPP

Due to the fact that the forums are now gone, I figured I should make a new tutorial on how to run ASP on XAMPP – especially since I can see many are still interested in this topic.

Step 1: Download & Install XAMPP

XAMPP Installer

I think you saw this coming: If you haven’t yet done so, you will need to download and install XAMPP.

XAMPP for Windows Installer can be downloaded here: http://www.apachefriends.org/en/xampp-windows.html.

Step 2: Download & Install mod_aspdotnet

Next you will need to download and install mod_aspdotnet, which will allow ASP.NET pages to be ran under XAMPP.

You can download the latest version of mod_aspdotnet here: http://sourceforge.net/project/platformdownload.php?group_id=175077.

When running the installer, it may take a few minutes before you can click “Next,” so be patient.

Once you can proceed you will be asked where you want to install mod_aspdotnet. The installer was able to automatically detect my Apache directory, but if it couldn’t – or if it didn’t select the one under XAMPP – use C:\xampp\apache assuming you did not change the installation directory in step #1.

Now sit back while the installer does its thing – which can also take awhile.

Step 3: Editing Configuration Files

Now you will need the help of Notepad (or my favorite, Notepad2) to open up the following configuration file: C:\xampp\htdocs\apache\conf\extra\httpd-xampp.conf

Once open, find <IfModule alias_module>, and place the following text between the aforementioned <IfModule> tag, but before the </IfModule> tag.

# ASP.NET on XAMPP
LoadModule aspdotnet_module “modules/mod_aspdotnet.so”
AddHandler asp.net asax ascx ashx asmx aspx axd config cs csproj licx rem resources resx soap vb vbproj vsdisco webinfo
<IfModule mod_aspdotnet.cpp>
AspNetMount /aspdocs “c:/xampp/aspdocs”
Alias /aspdocs “c:/xampp/aspdocs”
<Directory “c:/xampp/aspdocs”>
Options FollowSymlinks ExecCGI
Order allow,deny
Allow from all
DirectoryIndex index.htm index.aspx index.asp
</Directory>
AliasMatch /aspnet_client/system_web/(\d+)_(\d+)_(\d+)_(\d+)/(.*) “C:/Windows/Microsoft.NET/Framework/v$1.$2.$3/ASP.NETClientFiles/$4″
<Directory “C:/Windows/Microsoft.NET/Framework/v*/ASP.NETClientFiles”>
Options FollowSymlinks
Order allow,deny
Allow from all
</Directory>
</IfModule>
# /ASP.NET on XAMPP

Now save the file and create the C:\xampp\aspdocs directory (or whichever directory you used on the AspNetMount and other related configuration options).

Note: The font used on this website may convert the double quotes into curly quotes, so when copying and pasting this you will need to replace the curly quotes with the straight quotes — thanks to crdunst who pointed this out in the comments.

Step 4: Restart Apache

Finally, restart Apache via the XAMPP Control Panel (it may be hidden in the task bar in the notifications area) by stopping and then starting Apache.

Congratulations, you can now run ASP.NET pages on XAMPP!

However, you cannot run ASP.NET pages just anywhere. In order to view these types of pages (or at least actually run them) you will need to place them all in C:\xampp\aspdocs and point your browser to http://localhost/aspdocs.

Test Drive

If you want to make sure it is working as it should be, try out the following test page:

<%@ Page Language=”C#”%>
<html>
<head>
<title>ASP.NET Test Page</title>
</head>
<body>
<%
for(int fontSize = 1; fontSize < 7; fontSize++)
{
Response.Write(“<p style=\”font-size: ” + (fontSize * 10) + “pt; text-align: center;\”>It Works!</p>”);
}
%>
</body>
</html>

This should output seven “It Works!” messages, each bigger than the last.

Troubleshooting

I did receive comment pertaining to issues with this tutorial, which caused Apache to hang when trying to restart it – but I never had this issue.

Someone on the forums said in order to fix the hang issue you need to supply the direct path to the mod_aspdotnet.so file in the configuration edits I detailed above. In other words, replace modules/mod_aspdotnet.so with C:/xampp/apache/modules/mod_aspdotnet.so.

If you have any other problems, please leave a comment and I will try to help as best as I can!

I cannot take all the credit for this tutorial, you can find my original source here: How to make Apache run ASP.NET / ASP.NET 2.0.

Tip

Computer of the Week for May: Intel Economy

As promised, we bring you the second-ever installment of Computer of the Week today: our Intel economy parts list. The parts in this list attempt to bring you the latest technologies possible while keeping the price as low as possible, usually around the $400 sweet spot. Note that this is only a parts list: although we do our very best to make sure all of the parts are compatible with each other, we can’t be 100% sure, as we don’t have the cash to build them ourselves.

This particular build hits $400.94 US dollars at the time this article was written. Intel builds tend to cost more than AMD builds, but consume less power and often provide more performance. I might be biased, though, as all my builds are Intel. Let’s kick this list off already before the awkward silence gets worse.

For this week’s motherboard, we have a MicroATX ASRock motherboard with an Intel H67 chipset. It adds features I couldn’t find on other H67 mobos, mainly USB 3.0. Boards with the H67 chipset are currently the only ones to support the new on-die Intel integrated graphics, available when used in combination with a 2nd-generation Core series processor. This new graphics technology is said to be capable of displaying 1080p without missing a beat, which is fantastic when compared to older GMA-series integrated graphics, who would stutter on 720p content. The ASRock H67M has a 2-year warranty, and is being reviewed well on Newegg.

Next comes the Intel Core i3-2100 processor, a little 3.1GHz dual-core powerhouse on the bleeding edge of technology. It’s built on Intel’s new 32nm manufacturing process, and sips power at 65W, barely more than the average lightbulb. The main spotlight in this generation of Core processors is the new Intel HD Graphics discussed above. The graphics chip is actually on the CPU, allowing the two to share resources that would normally be separate. The big upside to getting an Intel processor is knowing that they’re very overclockable: on air cooling, you can usually push one to over 1GHz its stock speed, without upping the voltage, and keep it cool and stable.

(Note: because the rest of the parts in today’s list are identical to the ones used in last week’s AMD economy list, we’re just going to republish them here. You understand, right?)

The rest of the parts are rather trivial, so I’ll list them off quickly. We have a Rosewill Ultra-High Gloss MicroATX case with a 400W power supply, chosen purely for its typical big-box store look and its inclusion of a power supply for a cheap price. Feel free to choose any MicroATX case you like, but remember to get a PSU if it doesn’t have one.

We also have 4GB (2x2GB) of DDR3 1333 Mushkin Enhanced Essentials RAM, an OEM 1TB Samsung Spinpoint hard drive (model HD103SJ), and a retail Lite-On 24X SATA DVD burner with LightScribe support. I can attest to the quality of Mushkin RAM, and the quality of that particular hard drive, which I recently installed in my Intel desktop. I chose the Lite-On drive because it was cheap, unmarked, and had LightScribe. Oh, how I love LightScribe. For $4 extra dollars, getting a drive with LightScribe built in is worth it. Trust me.

And so our list comes to an end. If you disagree with my decisions, notice any errors, or just want to thank me, feel free to sound off in the comments below. You can find a link to the Newegg.com wish list with these parts directly below, and we’ll back next Saturday with our business workstation parts list!

Check out the list here: http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx?WishListNumber=11662069

Tip

Computer of the Week for May: AMD Economy

The team here at Today in Windows has decided we’re going to start a new series called ‘Computer of the Week’, starting today. We’ll be posting a new parts list every week, for different types of computers. This week we’re doing the AMD economy computer; next week, we’ll do Intel economy, then HTPC, then gaming. All of these attempt to maximize the price/performance ratio, and demonstrate how Windows PCs are much more versatile and customizable than your JobsBook. :)

To kick off today’s parts list, we’ll start with the motherboard. We have here a MicroATX MSI motherboard (model 890GXM-G65) with an AMD 890GX northbridge, SB850 southbridge, and integrated ATI Radeon HD 4290 video chipset. It sports the expected ports for today’s mobos: eSATA, USB 3.0, HDMI, VGA, and DVI. Reviewers have praised its rock-solid stability, often-updated BIOS, and Mosfet chipset cooling system.

Next up, our processor: an AMD Athlon II X3 450 triple-core processor clocked at 3.2GHz. If you’re new to AMD chips, that ‘triple-core’ part may have left you confused. AMD’s triple-core processors are actually quad-core processors in which one of the cores failed the test battery. Rather than just toss the CPU out for having only one faulty core, AMD came up with this novel idea to create a middleground between dual-core and quad-core processors, in price and performance. I don’t actually have much experience with AMD chips, as my builds are always Intel, but it’s been reviewed well.

The rest of the parts are rather trivial, so I’ll list them off quickly. We have a Rosewill Ultra-High Gloss MicroATX case with a 400W power supply, chosen purely for its typical big-box store look and its inclusion of a power supply for a cheap price. Feel free to choose any MicroATX case you like, but remember to get a PSU if it doesn’t have one.

We also have 4GB (2x2GB) of DDR3 1333 Mushkin Enhanced Essentials RAM, an OEM 1TB Samsung Spinpoint hard drive (model HD103SJ), and a retail Lite-On 24X SATA DVD burner with LightScribe support. I can attest to the quality of Mushkin RAM, and the quality of that particular hard drive, which I recently installed in my Intel desktop. I chose the Lite-On drive because it was cheap, unmarked, and came with a SATA cable, which was necessary because the mobo only came with one SATA cable (which you’ll need for connecting the hard drive.)

And so that brings us to the end of today’s parts list. If you disagree with my decisions, notice any errors, or just want to thank me, feel free to sound off in the comments below. You can find a link to the Newegg.com wish list with these parts directly below, and we’ll back next Saturday with our Intel economy parts list!

Check out the list here: http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx?WishListNumber=16025265

Tip

Don’t Let it Happen to You: Tips for Staying Safe on Xbox LIVE, and What’s Being Done to Protect You

With the recent occurrence of the PlayStation Network breach, it has left others asking whether or not Xbox LIVE could suffer from the same fate. While Sony has yet to explain what happened, they have left it at a “criminal cyber-attack on the company’s data-center located in San Diego, California.” It is unlikely that Sony will ever detail what actually occurred, but they assured their users that they have “implemented a variety of new security measures to provide greater protection of personal information.”

To see what Microsoft is doing to proactively protect their some 30 million Xbox LIVE users, I asked how safe Xbox LIVE was in terms of security. “The security around our Xbox LIVE service and member information is our highest priority,” replied a Microsoft spokesperson. “While we don’t share specific details, we invest considerable resources to preserve network safety and ensure customer information remains secure.”

Online Safety Tips for Xbox LIVE

While it sounds as though Microsoft is making sure their Xbox LIVE network is as safe as can be, there are still those who will always remain worried as to whether or not their information could be stolen online. The Microsoft spokesperson detailed some steps that any, and all, Xbox LIVE users can, and should, take to protect their information online.

  1. Use a strong password – As always, be sure to use a strong password that contains a mixture of uppercase and lowercase letters, along with numbers and special characters (such as: #, $, %, ^, &, and *).
  2. Change your password and secret question often – Be sure to change your password and your secret question and answer often. The spokesperson notes that you can choose to make your password expire every 72 days.
  3. Never share your password – Never share your Windows Live ID password with anyone, ever, under any circumstance!
  4. Only share your Windows Live ID with those you know – It is not recommended that you share your Windows Live ID with anyone except people you know personally, like friends and business contacts.
  5. A good secret question – Be sure to use a secret question and a secret answer that only you know. There always seems to be a secret question option of “Where were you born?” which is probably not a very good choice.
  6. Keep your Windows Live ID safe – This coincides with #4, which is to not supply your Windows Live ID to unknown websites, businesses, or forums.
  7. Beware of impersonators – There are always people ready to con others into sharing personal information, such as passwords, by impersonating a customer support agent or some other person affiliated with Xbox or Microsoft. If you are worried as to whether or not they are legitimate, you are asked to directly contact Xbox Support by calling 800-4-MY-XBOX (800-469-9269) in the U.S. For those that are in other parts of the world, visit www.xbox.com/contactinfo for the appropriate contacts.

If that’s not enough for you, there are even more security precautions you can take by visiting the Account security for Xbox LIVE page.

Removing Credit Card Information from Xbox LIVE

Some 10 million credit card numbers could have been compromised during the PlayStation Network breach, according to Kotaku. Xbox LIVE can also store credit card information as well, which may leave people uneasy storing the information online in case of an attack on Microsoft’s Xbox LIVE network, to which the Microsoft spokesperson said the same thing: “The security around our Xbox LIVE service and member information is our highest priority. While we don’t share specific details, we invest considerable resources to preserve network safety and ensure customer information remains secure.”

As mentioned, Xbox LIVE can store credit card information, but you can choose not to. This of course will require you to manually repurchase your subscription or enter your credit card information whenever required, but it can add peace of mind.

To get your credit card information removed from your account you can call 800-4-MY-XBOX, or visit www.xbox.com/contactinfo for those that are outside of the U.S., for no charge.

There is no definitive answer as to whether or not Xbox LIVE could fall to a “criminal cyber-attack” such as the PlayStation Network, but we do know that Microsoft is making sure they are doing everything they can to keep member information safe and secure.