Most WiFi networks are setup with WPA or related security and you are able to connect to it from most devices. But connections in places like airports have special login pages which prevent some devices from being used. Also sometimes, you have a wired connection, but your other devices (phone etc) do not have a way to connect.
This is where the new tool called Connectify helps. Connectify creates a virtual wireless connection based on the network connection you have on your laptop/desktop. It just uses your existing Wireless Card and does not need any other hardware. The only caveat is that it will run only on Windows 7, as it uses technologies that are part of the Windows 7 stack.
So once you are connected to a network on your computer, you run the tool and you can then setup the properties of your WiFi connection, including the type of security setting you want, WPA2 or WEP, and the connection name.
Start your hotspot and there you have a new WiFi hotspot. Connectify is still in beta and the initial versions had a number of problems that would not allow me to even start the hotspot due to some IP problems with my router. But the current version seems to have solved most of these problems.
There are still a number of small problems and mostly it will tell you reset your wireless connection and restart, but this is still a cool tool and really useful in a number of scenarios.
Under the scenes this use the Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) built into Windows 7 to enable you to share the internet connection.
Once you connect to the access point, you are on the network, your laptop/desktop is on. The desktop app also shows the clients connected to this hotspot, so you can monitor to make sure there are no hop-ons.
Most us have used the small calendar that pops-up when when you click the clock running on the system tray. I don't know what this is officially called, so I am calling it the System Calendar (Not to be confused with Windows Calendar)
When you click on the clock a calendar comes up and I almost always use this when talking someone on a possible meeting date or appointment.
Last week when working with this calendar I came across a feature that I did not know existed and it was a surprisingly useful and cool feature (I am not sure if this a Vista feature or it existed in XP too and I don't have a XP machine now to check).
If you want to check the calendar of a different month, you can click those small arrows to move next or previous. Obviously this can become cumbersome if you need to move more than a couple of months.
So once I clicked on the month,year displayed in the top and I got this animation that collapses the calendar and shows all the months. This is a feature that I have used multiple times now (especially when looking for Microsoft event dates etc, which are usually 4-6 months away).
Continuing to click on the top display collapses the calendar away till you reach the decades level.
This is indeed a very useful feature hidden away and most probably 90% of the Vista users do not even know about this feature.
I was curious to see if this feature is available thru out the system or only in the system tray. The first area I tried was the Control Panel, Date and Time Setting. This was available there.
So I kind of curious to see if this was actually built into the control itself. The calendar is a common control available to the Windows developer. So if this feature is built into the common control, then everyone using the common control will actually get this feature.
So I tried writing a small .NET windows app.
This feature seems to be built into the Common Control set. So when I used the DateTimePicker in my WinForm application, I had the same feature available in my application too.
I was searching for something and decided to try Amazon. By mistake I typed Amamzon.com and as soon as I hit enter I realized I had the wrong address. So I hit Esc as I did not want one of those parked sites to come up, but was amazed to find that the domain converted to the right URL before the browser actually stopped.
That kind of made me curious and a check with betterwhois.com confirmed that Amamzon.com (also amaxon.com) was actually registered to Amazon.com (though not Amanzon.com).
So how many domains does Amazon actually own that are similar to its own?
Analyst Opinion - If you think about it, this will be a fascinating fourth quarter. Nintendo Wii, to pretty much the surprise of everyone, is the product to beat, Sony, the old champ, is on life support but getting a short term uplift, and last week even the Xbox Core unit (which has never sold well) sold very well.
From what I have seen the games in Wii look bad, but the cost and the interesting interface makes it very attractive. I would say Wii is priced exactly right for a impulse buy, especially during holiday season.
Anyway, I also read that last week the sales of Wii has come down drastically in Japan. But I think US and other countries, especially like India should be focus area for Nintendo now to boost sales and maybe somehow get atleast one really good game (a blockbuster like Halo maybe) out there..
MS has a new Malware center with information on the latest tests and links to the latest update files for Defender and Forefront.
The main thing I like is a single place to get all of the malware/virus information. But once you go one level down the whole thing dries up. You click on a virus/malware and you suddenly find there is not much information in the encyclopedia. In all entries I saw the Prevention tab just has a few general security recommendations like using a firewall etc.
A fellow MVP pointed out to a new article on MS UK site on the Top Ten Worst Presentation Moments. I was really in a conference room, just waiting for a meeting to start when I read it and I almost laughed out loud.
Though it it funny, it also gives a few pointers to how even with the best preparation, real life can be so unmanagable..;)