VPN+VNC = Remobo

Recently I discovered an interesting piece of software, Remobo. A combination of Virtual Private Network (sort of like creating a LAN over the internet) and Virtual Network Computing (remotely controlling computers) technology, Remobo looks to make remote computing easier by combining mutiple tools into one convenient program. Up until now, I have been using Hamachi for VPN and tightVNC for VNC, and have had no problems, even during cross platform connections (Linux to Windows). I decided to give Remobo a test drive, and see what it could do.

The installation went smoothly, and no restart was required, so I got to testing right away. On first start, I was asked to create a Remobo account, which was very easy, all done direclty in the program. I then logged in with my account, specifiing a location (e.g. Desktop). After logging in at my desktop, I used the same account and password to login on my Laptop, entering my location as “Laptop”. Now, I could see the Laptop user from my Desktop, and Desktop user from my Laptop. Via context menu, I remotely connected to my Desktop to test out the VNC capabilities. It connected with little trouble, using the Remobo account password when prompted. Unfortunately this is where Remobo started to fall short. You are unable to change the image quality, and so, VNC is extremely sluggish to refresh, making control difficult. This is something I hope gets changed in the near future with updates.

Although VNC did not work great, Remobo also has an interesting file sharing feature. It uses bittorent technology to transfer files from peer to peer. Unfortunately, when I tested the file sharing, the Remobo tracker was not working, a problem which is hopefully only temporary. I think that the file sharing feature via torrents would be great, once it works.

Overall, I have to say that Remobo looks promising if it can work out the bugs, and improve the VNC integration. For now, at least the VPN feature works flawlessly, which means competition for Hamachi.

Photoshop vs GIMP

Photoshop is one of the most popular, and powerful photo editors available today. It is also one of the most expensive. With a license for Photoshop CS3 Extended costing around $250, some users may not be willing, or able, to buy a license. That’s where GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Project) comes in. Open source, completely free, and feature rich, GIMP provides some competition for Photoshop. The interface of GIMP is very similar to that of Photoshop, and many of the tools available in Photoshop are also in GIMP. One difference that I found however was the lack of “Selective Color” tool in GIMP. Which is useful for sprucing up the sky, as seen in the comparison below (click for full size view):

Comparison

While GIMP may not have every feature of Photoshop, you can’t argue with the pricetag. So, if you are looking for an advanced photo editor, and are on a budget, give GIMP a try.

ATI Radeon 4850 Released

The Raden 4850 is now avaliable for $200. Benchmarks show that this card could help bring competition back to the graphics card market. Hopefully we will see prices begin to rapidly drop on all graphics cards these next couple months. The card itself looks to be a large improvement over the previous generation of cards from ATI. Pictured below is a Sapphire Radeon 4850, very similiar to the Radeon 3850 in appearance:

Radeon 4850

PicLens

From Cooliris, developers of the popular Cooliris Previews browser add-on, comes the amazing 3D media browsing add-on PicLens*. With PicLens, users can search, and then browse results from sites such as Facebook, Youtube, flickr, Google, and deviantART all in a stunning (and easy to use) 3D environment. Below you can view a video I made of the add-on, and its capabilities (music by Winterwind-NS):



No video? Get the DivX Web Player for Windows or Mac

*Update: the addon is now referred to as simply “Cooliris”

Theming

One of my hobbies is to tweak the GUI (graphical user interface) of computers, to make them more appealing. Below you can see screenshots of some of my favorite themes, click for full size view. If interested, you can patch a file called uxtheme.dll in Windows XP  (located in C:\Windows\system32) to enable use of third party visual styles. To do this you must use a program called replacer, and a patched version of the uxtheme.dll file. For a great collection of Windows visual styles, check out deviantART. For the widgets on the side I use the popular Yahoo Widgets program. For some awesome wallpapers, check out interfacelift. Happy themeing!

Windows XP (mimicking Vista):

Vista Type Beach

Vista Type

Nature Desktop:

Green Desktop

Intro Page

I created an intro page, done in flash, I started with a great flash template (free!) from a website called flashmo. From there I applied a few tweaks to make it personal, and now you see it on the front page. Of course, I’m the kind of person who loathes flash intros, so if you are too, then make sure you bookmark this page (as in the one your on right now), that way you don’t have to agonize through hitting that “skip movie” button again!  Feel free to leave a comment about what you think, but only if what you think is something along the lines of “man that is awesome”, “boy that is cool”, or “yo, dog, that is off the chain”.

Update: You can view the intro page here. Tell me what you think of having it as the main page.