HDD LLF: how to low level format the Hard Disk

HDD Low Level Format is a free software tool ( for personal / home use only ) that allows the Low-Level Format (LLF) of hard disks (and mass storage devices in general).
What is LLF
"Typically this involved subdividing each track on the disk into one or more blocks which would contain the user data and associated control information. Different computers used different block sizes and IBM notably used variable block sizes but the popularity of the IBM PC caused the industry to adopt a standard of 512 user data bytes per block by the middle 1980s. " Source Wikipedia English

HDD- LLF has the following characteristics :
  • Supported interfaces: S-ATA (SATA), IDE (E-IDE), SCSI, SAS, USB, FIREWIRE.
  • Big drives (LBA-48) are supported.
  • Supported Manufacturers: Maxtor, Hitachi, Seagate, Samsung, Toshiba, Fujitsu, IBM, Quantum, Western Digital, and almost any other not listed here.
  • The program also supports low-level formatting of FLASH cards (SD, MMC, MemoryStick and CompactFlash) using a card-reader.

HDD- LLF can also work with external drives connected via USB, and Firewire as well as with supports SD , MMC, MemoryStick and CompactFlash .
There is also an option to quickly delete the partitions and the sector MBR (Master Boot Record) of HDDs .
The utility is available in two versions: can be installed on Windows or directly executed ( portable).

WARNING: After running this low level format tool, the whole disk surface will be erased.
Data restoration is impossible after using this utility!

I used HDD- LLF for low-level format an external drive connected with USB no longer wanted to learn to operate and above who do not " want to be" formatted by Windows. With both Windows XP and Seven, the format utility (which try to format only high-level) returned an error message and did not proceed . With HDD- LLF I managed to break the deadlock and then, through the utility of Windows XP " DISK MANAGEMENT " , I was able to format ( high-level) disk with the NTFS file system and now it works !


Skype Phone without a PC? Choose a RTX DUALPHONE 4088 Cordless Phone

The latest model of the Cordless Phone RTX is currently the DUALPHONE 4088. It can be simultaneously connected to two phone lines: 1 terrestrial analogue PSTN telephone line cable with RJ-11 and 1 VOIP (SKYPE) line through a RJ-45 cable and an internet connection. In this way, you can choose at any time which line is more convenient to use between the available for outgoing calls and you can be reached on two contemporary lines  with a single incoming phone.


One of the most important features of DUALPHONE 4088 is that to use, simply connect it with an ethernet cable (RJ-45) to a modem / router with ADSL internet connection FLAT broadband, so it is not necessary the connection to a PC (as required, for example, by the previous model DUALPHONE RTX-3045 ). 
The DUALPHONE 4088 allows you to receive automatically updates of the phone software (firmware) so it can be corrected and improved by the manufacturer if SKYPE modifies some functions! 
It also has a color LCD to better appreciate the characteristics of SKYPE (status icons, photos and pictures of the account) and allows you to manage 2 SKYPE account on the same phone!

As previously said, I find it very useful and advantageous to have a cordless phone that can also use SKYPE without being connected to a PC, and this is precisely the DUALPHONE 4088! Furthermore it uses standard AAA batteries (not proprietary batteries) 
The Dualphone RTX 4088 is a good product but beware of the firmware versions you have on your phone or you may encounter some problems in configuring it. In fact, the phone works fine if the router / modem that handles the connection to the internet has preset the DHCP . 
To check it go to menu -> settings -> advanced -> internet settings 
check if  the way IP is set to Dynamic or Static 
The phone usually is preset to use the 'dynamic addressing' using just DHCP, but if you need to change the address from dynamic to static (you have to assign static IP addresses on your phone, the primary and secondary DNS, and default gateway) you have to keep in mind that with the firmware version 141 ... simply DOES NOT WORK! The phone accepts the input data (IP address, sub mask, primary dns, secondary dns, default gateway) but after saving everything the static IP address appears again and a "network not connected" message is displayed! Unfortunately I lost several hours to try and try again, searching on the internet and calling for service, but there is nothing to do! However, it has been illuminating a telephone interview with the Italian seller (who was already awared of the problem but not of the solution). Several weeks later the confirmation came to me directly from the technical support of RTX, which confirmed the presence of the bug and its correction took effect in the fimware version 167 and later. 
The solution is to update the firmware to the latest available firmware version (currently version 171BEFORE and to do so you have to leave the dynamic addressing and connect the phone to a router with an enabled DHCP service. Only AFTER the update of the firmware to version 171, you can configure static IP addressing  of the phone, and then ... yes it works! 
A small gem: by pressing the menu button of the phone and typing the key sequence 1-3-9-7-5  a new menu with all the available firmware versions (beta included) is shown.  

Finally here is the list of steps to do if you wish to reset the phone to the factory settings

1) Base: Power on the base station and place a network cable in the base
2) Base: Press the reset button for 15 sec. ( the LED should flash shortly at 10 sec, but just be sure to press it for 15 sec. )
3) Base: Wait 10 min until the base station lights
4) Handset: Reset Handset – Menu –settings – advanced –reset
5) Base: Press the reset button (1 sec) again on the base station to enable the registration mode
6) Handset: Place the handset on charger, now it starts searching for open base station (if the handset still cannot find the base station, please try again from step 4 – 6 and put the handset on charger immediately after the base station enters to registration mode on step 5)
7) When the base station is found – follow the instructions described on the screen.

ATTENTION: due to a firmware or software (skype) upgrade is possible at times that some menus of the phone get stuck and not be able to access some functions. In these cases, prior to the RESET of the phone you can groped a less busy street just off the equipment. For example, on a phone that has always worked correctly, at one point, I happened to click on the CONTACT menu and instead of seeing the list of phone numbers, was shown the message "Download Contacts" forever! Probably in that case the phone was unable to communicate properly with its main base to retrieve the list of contacts, even though it was still possible to make and receive calls and access other menus without any problems. It was enough to turn off the phone AND EVEN the main base for a few minutes. Then the phone has started to function properly, allowing me to access the menu CONTACTS.



How to access and control a remote PC? Software and services to access a computer remotely

In a company, the 'system administrator' often needs (for maintenance or assistance) the access to one computer (host) or more PC which are physically located far from where he works (e.g. remote servers). 
Some software companies and computer services use Virtual Network Computing (VNC) technology to provide remote tele-assistance to its customers via Internet. 
Moreover, a home user can benefit from 'remote access' as such he can works on his office PC from the comfort of his own home PC (work from home or tele-working)! 
To fulfill all these tasks there are specific software and services (both free and with fee) suitable for the purpose. 

But what are the most suitable services and software to access and controlPC remotely ?

1) Software with remote access via the local area network (LAN)
On Microsoft's Operative Systems Windows XP Professional and latest there is the function "Remote Desktop Connection"   
You must first enable the Windows host PC: e.g. on Windows 7, click on the Windows Start button and select Computer voice with the right button of the mouse, then click the Properties option. In the opening window, click on the item Remote settings. Click the radio button "Allow Remote Assistance connections to the computer and select" either "Allow connections from computers running any version of Remote Desktop" (less secure) and "Allow connections only from computers running Remote Desktop with Network Level Authentication" (more secure). The first is less secure but allows you to receive remote assistance from any version of Windows, the second is more secure but allows you to receive remote assistance only from other computers with Windows 7.
At this point you can remotely control the PC via another PC on the same local area network LAN. You just have to launch the Microsoft Windows Remote Desktop Connection client software (start -> all programs -> accessories), enter the name or IP address of the PC you want to control and then the access credentials (username and password). 

There are other VNC softwares free or with fee, for Windows, Linux, Apple   which, once installed on the host PC, allow you to remotely take control of it. Here are some examples: 

2) Software and Services with remote access via the Internet.  
In essence are websites that offer limited services for free or unlimited services but with fee that allow you to register an account and assign it to one or more host PC. Usually to "assign" the PC account you need to download and install a special software. Finally, to use the service you have to authenticate via web browser and access to a Remote Desktop Manager page, and you can choose which PC to activate and use it remotely. 
Some of these services are available in:
In other cases it is sufficient to download a software (client / server) to run both on the PC by remote control, and on the PC that you use to log in and control. 
For example, in telecare enough that the customer notifies the operator login code and password shown on your screen when the application software, and from that moment on, the operator can access the client PC and work quietly in remotely to provide the requested assistance. 
With some types of software you can also permanently install the application on the PC (host) and immediately access to the remote PC without typing the password and without the presence of a user for authentication (PC unattended). 
Here are some examples of software:
As a system administrator it is helpful to have more access doors, so you might want to enable Remote Desktop on any PC on the network, and activate a service such as LogMein for access from the outside via the Internet. For those not satisfied and wanting to further access to the PC via a local network, you can also install UltraVNC VNC software and related services on a PC on the LAN.

These softwares and / or remote access services, often have additional features specially designed for tele-working, tele-assistance and for the management and maintenance of computer systems such as some of the following functions: 
  • Chat to communicate with the client by exchanging short text messages.
  • VOIP function to communicate by voice with the customer.
  • File Transfer to copy or synchronize files from your local PC to the remote one (and vice versa).
  • Remote Printing to print files from a remote computer to a local printer.
  • Remote Management to display the events, and to start and stop the services of the remote PC.
  • Sharing the Desktop to show the others what you are viewing on your Desktop.
  • the ability to access remotely using your smartphone.
  • Optimization features to improve the quality of the connection or the speed of the connection,
  • Update function and remote monitoring to keep track of all the hardware and software of the host PC and update the O.S. remotely.
  • Remote Desktop Manager that shows all PC remotely available.



DUALphone RTX-3045 and the "Skype is not connected" problem?

The Du@lphone RTX 3045 is a cordless phone for SKYPE able to work with a standard analog phone line. In fact it is a product that has a bit dated, but that can still be used if appropriately updated.
Du@lphone RTX 3045

To use the DUALphone in analog mode, simply connect the base of the telephone, to the phone jack with a telephone cable (RJ11). Instead, for use it with SKYPE you must connect the base via USB to a PC on which you must also install the DUALphone Suite software and the Skype software.

[Link] Dualphone

Du@lphone RTX 3045 is now a product outdated and no longer in production so after  you have installed the software, it is possible that DUALphone Suite software (eg version 2.08) is not sufficiently updated to work with the latest version of SKYPE (currently version 6.7). Usually appears the message "Skype is not connected" and the DualPhone does not work with Skype. 
However, I verified that the DUALphone Suite software version 2.39 instead works with Skype! You can find it here. It also rewrite your phone's firmware updating to version 0.151.

See also: Skype Phone without a PC? Choose a RTX DUALPHONE 4088 Cordless Phone


How to migrate Google Apps accounts from one domain to another?

The e-mail domain administrator at some point in the time, may need to migrate a Google Apps account to another account managed with Gooole Apps, in the same domain (eg from pippo@esempio.COM to pluto@esempio.COM), or belonging to a different domain (eg from pippo@esempio.COM  to  pippo@esempio.IT)

There are at least two solutions to solve this problem:

1) use an e-mail client
For example with Thunderbird, you can create links to two accounts (source and destination) by choosing IMAP access. Then you can move all the emails from one account to another working on a folder at a time.
The process can be very long in terms of time (and boring) especially if your internet connection is slow and you have many mails to be move! In addition, calendars, address book, contacts and documents in Google Drive must be migrated by other processes.

2) use a third-party software
Specifically, it is Backupify MIGRATOR for Google Apps that may transfer all safely and automaticallyGmail Messages, Google Drive Docs, Contacts address book and calendars from one account of  Google Apps to another. 
It 'a paid service but to prove you have available 1 FREE migration!
Simply login with domain administrator credentials, and if you must have access to a second domain you must use its administrative account. Then you choose the source account and the destination account, so you begin the process!

[Source Link] Backupify MIGRATOR

The advantage of Backupify Migrator is that once you start the process does it all without the need to have your PC switched on or to check their work.


2013: Kingsoft Office Free / Professional

I had already written about this product for the office, and even then I was very excited, (see this post: New: "Kingsoft Office Suite Free 2012", but the new 2013 version has exceeded improvements in the previous !

Kingsoft Office 2013 has totally changed its graphical interface to align with the new standards of similar products competitors, so it looks very much like the so-called "Ribbon"  interface of Microsoft Office 2007/2010. However, you can also set the old interface similar to Microsoft Office 2003.
The software has a built-in PDF converter and an automatic spell check!

The compatibility with Microsoft products is always the first place:
Kingsoft Writer Professional 2013 is fully compatible with Microsoft Word 2007/2010.
Input file format: (97/2000/2003/2007/2010) doc, docx & dot.
Output file format: (97/2000/2003) doc & dot.

Kingsoft Office 2013 exists in two versions: totally Free fo personal use, and Professional ($ 69.95). In this table you can see the differences between the editions.

[Source LinkKingsoft Office 2013 Free
[Source Link] Release History

Updated 18/10/2013
Kingsoft Office exists in a "reduced" version for Android systems, and is an alternative to Microsoft Office for Tablet.
[Link] Kingsoft Office for Android Free

Updated 3/11/2013
There is also free Kingsoft Office for LINUX (in alpha).
[Link] Kingsoft Office for Linux Alpha version 12 patch 2 - Free.

In my opinion the compatibility with Microsoft products has increased. In particular, examining some Excel files I noticed that some features such as Macro, notes and graphics, in the 2012 version were still partly incompatible, while in this 2013 version were fully compatible! Some Powerpoint files very large (with many photos and effects) are now handled correctly.
In addition to compatibility with read and write files to DOC and DOCX, I point out the extreme compatibility with RTF (Rich Text Format)
An other peculiarity is thas the suite is smaller (50 MB) and faster than most other office suites. 
The only downside now is always the same, or the lack of the other language (non english)!
However, there is the possibility of including a spelling dictionary ! To download and install it, follow the instructions (in Italian) provided by Kingsoft hereof other languages.
There is a support with questions and answers in English on the website of Kingsoft. Also on this web page are available some user guides  of all the products of the office suite (both in PDF and browsable online).


FreeSpace allow to respect the max space limit of GMAIL

FreeSpace of BACKUPIFY is a free APP for Google GMAIL that identify all attachment too large, present in the email account. FreeSpace allow to delete or archive by downloading the mail. So is possible to reduce drastically the amount of space occuped by the emails before they reach the maximum limit of quota. The user can decide easily what mail securely download among the most large, then he can delete the copy of message present in GMAIL, freeing up storage space

The feature, in my opinion, most interesting is that FreeSpace is a tool for single email user and for all email user of an email domain. So the Google Apps Administrator of an email domain can use FreeSpace to identify who are the user that occupy more space and can show them what are the emails that have attachments heavier to delete. FreeSpace is a tool useful to prevent reaching the maximum storage quota for all the accounts of a domain (the quota limit is:  free 10 GB, and paid 25 GB).


iPad online emulators

Who needs to surf on internet with an iPad (for business or curiosity) can takes advantage of some special free web services that act as simulators / emulators of an iPad and allow to work on a virtual iPad without having it really available.
For example, developers of websites can test if a site is correctly displayed, if it is readable, etc..

There is the iPad simulator (perhaps the best) present on http://alexw.me/ipad2 showing some applications such as: iPod, iMovie, Clock, Safari, etc..

Or there is an online emulator of an iPad suitable only to view websites!
See the: http://ipadpeek.com and http://ipad-emulator.org by which you can surf internet perceiving the same perspective you would have using a real iPad (with them you can rotate vertically or horizontally the virtual iPad).
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Artensoft Tilt Shift Generator for miniature scene

Artensoft Tilt Shift Generator is a software that permit to Re-create the tilt-shift effects (Wikipedia) by using your PC 
So is not required tilt-shift lens ! 
With Tilt-Shift Generator you can reproduce the appearance of a miniature scale model in post processing without restricting yourself to a certain angle at the time of shooting and obviously without investing in expensive tilt-shift glass.

Tilting the lens simulates a macro shot or a miniature scene. 
This one effect is easy to reproduce in the post. You don’t lose anything by doing the tilt-shift effect in post-processing, and you won’t gain anything by using a real tilt-shift lens to capture the same scene. In fact, by using a real tilt-shift lens, you lose much of the convenience provided by modern autofocus cameras, sacrificing the AF and automatic aperture control. Check out today’s tilt-shift lenses: they cost an arm and a leg, yet they’re all manual focus, and some of them still require you to set aperture manually and use stop-down metering, slowing down your shooting a great deal.
Only Today (08 january 2013) and only for Giveaway of the Day users is possible to download FREE.