For decades, I’ve been tackling this question.  Note that I’m not a professional programmer, but have done some level of coding as a professional for testing purposes, and various programs just for fun as a hobby.  My programming experience goes back to when I was in high school where I was introduced to BASIC and Z80 machine programming.  Then in college, I learned FORTRAN.  When I worked on my masters, I learned ADA and C.If you’ve seen the evolution of computers, you can probably guess my rough age. Along the way, I also learned PASCAL and JAVA on my own.  A couple of years ago I started playing around with web technology which introduced me to HTML, CSS, PHP, and JAVASCRIPT.  I also messed around with PYTHON.

As you can see, I’ve dabbled with several languages, but never really became very proficient in any of them.  Today, I started to look back into this and have decided that I wanted to go back to learning JAVA.

Without realizing it, JAVA turned out to be the most popular programming language out there (see TIOBE Index for May 2017).  As of May 2017, JAVA sits at #1 getting a popularity rating of 14.639%.  Second is C at 7.002%, and thirs is C++ at 4.751.  As you can see, JAVA is way out in front in terms of language popularity.  See table below which I extracted from the reference link.

JAVA is most popular

JAVA is most popular (reference:  TIOBE Index for May 2017)

 

I believe the reasons are as follows:

  1. Apps in Android are developed using JAVA.
  2. JAVA is platform independent, meaning if you write code on one platform, say Windows, you can run it on another, like Mac OS, or Linux.
  3. JAVA is also the language used to develop apps embedded in various network devices (like Amazon’s Fire stick).
  4. Lastly, it is a general purpose language that is used in various industries, and if you are looking to get employed as a software developer/engineer, you’ll have a higher chance at landing one if you are good in JAVA.

If you are trying to figure out which language to learn, check into JAVA.

I’ve recently found many books out there, but they are so old.  I did find one the is a suitable one for beginners or someone trying to get a refresher on it.  It is Java Programming 24-Hour Trainer by Yakov Fain.  It is set up like a workbook with exercises at the end, and its contents cover all aspect of JAVA from being a desktop application to being a server solution.  I was published in 2015 which is pretty recent considering a lot of books out there on JAVA are over a decade old.

If you have any opinions about this, please comment below.

Today, Wednesday, 10 May 2017, I happen to see Amazon’s ad for the new Echo Show.  It really looks like something from a science fiction movie…except it isn’t.  If you watch the video, you’ll see what I mean.

Note that this will actually become available on 28 Jun 2017 for $229.  It’s actually not bad considering the original echo was introduced at a price of $199–no video, just audio.

I was really tempted to buy one, but I thought…”Do I really need one?”  I suppose right now I don’t, but maybe this will go on sale come black Friday in November.

If you buy one, please share with a comment below.  Let us know what you think.


May 2, 2017, Microsoft introduced their Google App for Education (GAFE) ecosystem killer–Windows 10S, Minecraft Edu, Insight, and Office 365 Teams.

Having seen how Microsoft missed the boat back in 2012 when GAFE in combination with inexpensive Chromebooks were on the verge of taking over the education market, I can honestly say that today’s announcement has put Microsoft ahead of Google in terms of their offerings–starting with Windows 10 S, on platforms with a base price of $189.

Nevertheless, Microsoft has a big challenge ahead of itself.  For the past 5 years, Google has grown its roots deep into the education market with the abundance of inexpensive Chromebook device alternatives.  That’s because many school districts in the US have adopted the Chromebook as their standard platform for assessment testing and web-based curricular programs.  At the district where I work, the number of Chromebook devices has skyrocketed to around 26,000 units with another 9,000 on order soon.  The teachers like them because they boot up in a matter of around 6 to 10 seconds compared to the older Windows-based laptops that would take around 30 seconds to 2 minutes to completely boot up.  Technicians like them because they are easy to re-image, and there isn’t much to fix.  Through Google’s management console, all these Chromebooks are easy to manage.

The solutions announced by Microsoft today has met and exceeded the capabilities of Google.  From what I see, the fact that Windows 10 S can boot up in 5 seconds is a major plus.  The base price of $189 is also a major plus.  Where they will beat google are in these areas:

  1. Availability of Minecraft.edu.
  2. Applications that are mostly non-internet dependent
  3. Ease of image deployment in small scale environment–through the use of a flash drive.
  4. Ease of device management in large scale through Insight
  5. Free Windows 10 S on genuine Windows Pro PCs
  6. Integration with next generation technology like 3D and augmented reality applications
Windows 10 S

Windows 10 S

All these are supposed to be available to schools this summer.  Unfortunately and realistically, it may be two to three years before they make deep inroads into schools that are already using Chromebooks.  This is assuming that they are able to maintain their technological edge.

What say you Google?

Background

I recently purchased a Seagate 1TB Gaming SSHD SATA 8GB NAND SATA 6Gb/s 2.5-Inch Internal Bare Drive (ST1000LM014) (FYI:  this is an Amazon affiliate link) in hopes to provide my wife’s old Gateway NV79 laptop a new lease on life.

Here’s some background:

  1. The existing drive was still functional and served as the root drive (drive C).
  2. It had a capacity of 500GB but was short on space due to the massive amount of photos my wife was saving on her existing desktop.
  3. These photos are priceless.  I can’t imagine losing these pictures as they are irreplaceable.

Here’s what I planned in order to get the new drive to take over without having to redo everything (from re-installing the operating system and re-installing all her existing applications):

  1. Do a backup of her profile, along with all her files, create a recovery image of the system, and create a system repair disk
  2. Remove the old disk drive, then install the new larger disk drive
  3. Boot of the recovery/repair disk and restore the system image
  4. Done

Backing Up User Profile/Create System Image/Create System Repair disk

Using Windows 7’s built-in backup and restore utility, I proceeded to do three things:

  1. Backup my wife’s user files
  2. Create a System Image
  3. Create a System Repair Disk

Backup My Wife’s User Files

Of utmost importance is to first ensure my wife’s priceless photographs are safe.  To do this, I purchased a Seagate Expansion 5TB Desktop External Hard Drive USB 3.0 (STEB5000100) (FYI:  This is an Amazon.com affiliate link).  This should serve me well for storing file backups as well as the system image I will be creating in the next section.

To launch Windows 7 Backup and Restore utility, click START, then in the search field enter “backup and restore” and this will show the Backup and Restore utility.  Select it to open.  You should see this simple utility interface pop up:

Backup and Restore Utility

Backup and Restore Utility

Now click Set up backup and follow the prompts.  You should see a screen just like below.  In the image, you see arrows pointing to potential backup destinations.  In this particular example, my 5TB USB drive isn’t connected, but if it was, it would show up as another disk drive with over 4.5 TB of free space.  That was the drive I actually selected for my backup destination.

Target Backup Destination Drive

Target Backup Destination Drive

In general, you will want to select the target drive with sufficient space to take on large backups.  After you select the destination drive, click Next and follow the prompts.  At a certain point, you will have the opportunity to change any default settings, but in general, unless you really know what you are doing, you can leave default settings as they are.  Then invoke the backup now.  Depending how much data you have, it could take anywhere from several minutes to a few hours.  Mine took a few hours (around 3 hours I think).

Create a System Image

During the backup process, you will have the option to select to have a system image made.  Make sure to set that.  I did this to save myself a lot of time doing software and driver re-installs.  Believe me, it is worth it.

Note that I had problems creating a system image.  I figured that this was due to not having enough disk space left on the root drive (drive C) as my wife’s photos used up most of the disk drive space.  Having backed up the photos, I proceeded to delete all her photo folders.  This was a scary thing because at this point, I am putting my trust in Microsoft’s backup utility to save me should something go south with this process.  After doing this, I was able to build a system image.

Create a System Repair Disk

When the system finishes creating both the user file backups and the system image, it will prompt you about creating a system repair disk.  I opted to do this.  I readied my DVD-R disc; it takes one.

Remove Old Disk Drive and Install New One

At this point in time, I turned off the computer and removed the old disk drive and placed the new one.

Use System Repair Disk to Restore the Saved System Image

This is where the actual recovery process begins.  Before I using the system repair disk, I configured the system BIOS to seek the DVD drive first as the boot device, then pressed F10 to save and exit the BIOS setup. I placed my system repair disk in the DVD drive my Gateway NV79, then restarted the computer by simply turning it OFF then turning it ON.

The laptop began to boot from the DVD and determined that I will be doing an image restore.  At this point, I still had my 5TB external USB drive connected to the laptop.  After the utility gets started, you will opt to restore from an image.

It was at this point that I encountered the error that the system could not restore the image because the system repair disk says “No disk that can be used for recovering the system disk can be found.”  After seeing this, I thought perhaps I needed to match the partition configuration of the original drive, so I ran diskpart.exe and tried this.  It didn’t work.  After trying a few things that didn’t work, I finally gave in by doing a search on google.  I found the answer at answers.microsoft.com.  It turns out, all I needed to do on the disk drive was to run diskpart.exe, select the drive, and invoke CLEAR on it.

After I did this, the image restore process worked as it should have in the first place.

Everything that was on the original disk drive was restored, less the photos.

To fix this, I simply invoked the file/folder restore within the backup and restore utility and selected the photo folders to be restored.

Conclusion

What I thought was going to be a routine process turned out to be one heck of an effort.  What really screwed me up was Windows 7 image restore now working the way it should in the first place without having to execute the DISKPART utility’s CLEAR command on the new drive.

 

In the process of updating my grandson’s new computer (an Acer Nitro V15 laptop) from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10, I ran into the error C1900101-20017—some error about Windows failing to update.

I tried to update it again, but I ended up with the same result–Windows 10 upgrade failed.

Finally, I realized that there is a UEFI firmware interface option called Secure Boot, an operating system protection mechanism against root kits, which could probably be blocking the update.  To get to this, I needed to get to UEFI by pressing F2 (your computer may have a different means to get to this) while the computer is powering up.

Once in UEFI, I disabled the Secure Boot option in the Boot tab, saved the settings, and restarted.  I again attempted a Windows 10 upgrade, and this time it worked!

If this worked for you, let me know by commenting below.

 

I’ve been looking for a nice but cost effective gaming laptop for some time now.  After over a month of searching, I found  the ASUS ROG G751JL-DS71 17.3-Inch Gaming Laptop which my wife purchased for me at Amazon.com.  At the time of purchase, the unit cost $1199.  For this price I got an awesome ASUS gaming laptop with the following specs:

  • 17.3″ display screen
  • 1TB of 7400 RPM hard disk drive
  • 16GB of RAM
  • Intel i7 processor
  • NVIDIA 965M with 2GB of video RAM

At the time of this writing, I’ve had the laptop for a period of over one month.  To date, I’ve used it to play awesome games like Guild Wars 2, The Witcher: Wild Hunt, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Minecraft, and Grand Theft Auto V.  My experience with the unit and the games has been great to say the least.

The laptop performed extremely well.  Specifically, I didn’t perceive any lag in any of the games I’ve played.  Even with the graphics settings set to maximum, the laptop ran and displayed the games smoothly.  In addition, the fast 7400 RPM 1TB hard disk drive really showed off ASUS ROG G751JS’s speed in terms of boot time.  I could really perceive its fast boot speed having used a solid state drive on a work laptop.

I could easily run a benchmark test on the unit, but my own senses really could really tell that this unit is a computing and gaming workhorse.  At the price my wife purchased this for, $1199 is well worth the price.  Depending on supply and demand, the price for this awesome gaming laptop could go up or down.

I highly recommend this laptop, especially if you are looking for a cost effective entry level gaming laptop.  Note that the only “entry level” about this laptop is its price.

If you have the same laptop, please share your experience by commenting below.

For the last several weeks, I thought that Windows 10 had a problem with detecting mobile devices when connected via a USB cable.  First I thought it had something to do with Windows 10 not having the latest driver for mobile devices.  But when I connected the same mobile devices on my Windows 7 machines, the same error message popped up.

I’ve never seen this problem before, but one thing for sure…the common denominator between the Windows 10 and Windows 7 computers is the USB cable.  Fortunately, I had another USB cable to try out.  Low and behold, all my mobile devices started to connect with all my computer!

As it turns out, the issue wasn’t driver related, but was the USB cable.

I was starting to lose hope until today, trying different things to somehow get the driver working.

The moral of the story…don’t miscount anything, even when it doesn’t look broken.

If you found this article useful and helpful, please share it and make sure to let us know by commenting below.

Thanks!

On July 29, 2015, Microsoft released the long awaited Windows 10.  Anyone who has Windows  7 or higher gets the upgrade for free.  This is a great move for Microsoft in order to quickly get the masses to move over to their supposedly last main Windows version.  From here on, Windows 10 users will get updates much like apps get updates.

Anyway, overall the update from Windows 7 to 10 on my computer went pretty smooth.  The main hiccup during the update was mainly to the process of switching to an online Microsoft account as the computer login.  I followed the steps as prompted, yet the process would just take me around in circles, always coming back to asking me for the my Microsoft account, my password and looking like it was going to work.

I got tired of trying to make it work, so I just cancelled out of it and restarted my computer. Then it happened.  It prompted me to login using my online Microsoft account.  I typed my password and was able to get into my desktop.

S0 far all the programs I use on it are working except for the PC version of Minecraft.  After the upgrade launching Minecraft causes the error “The application was unable to start correctly (0xc0000018).”

At first I thought that I needed to update my version of JAVA.  I did that but the error continued.  Then I did a search on the web for that error message and I found my answer at http://goo.gl/0iUKo2.  I asked that you delete the Windows registry entry APPINIT_DLLS located at:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\­Microsoft\WindowsNT\CurrentVersion\Windo­­ws

After I deleted that entry and restarted Windows, I was again able to run the PC version of Minecraft on my computer.  Note that I’m not 100% sure if this issue was caused by the update to Windows 10 because I installed the BETA version of Minecraft for Windows 10 before trying to run the PC version.  Regardless, if you happen to run into this issue, the solution requires the deletion of the APPINIT_DLLS parameter located at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\­Microsoft\WindowsNT\CurrentVersion\Windo­­ws.

Thanks for reading.  Let me know by commenting below when you started experiencing this issue when launching the PC version of Minecraft.

ViewHD 2 Port 1x2 Powered HDMI Mini Splitter

ViewHD 2 Port 1×2 Powered HDMI Mini Splitter

Recently I encountered a problem with trying to do a video capture of a game I was playing on an Android device.  The device in question happens to  be a RCA tablet, and I was using an Elgato Game Capture HD device.

On the Elgato game capture program I noticed that although the signal was being detected, it wasn’t showing the screen.  It stated something about disabling HDCP in order for it to work.  Upon doing some Internet research, I discovered that HDCP–which stands for high-bandwidth digital content protection–was a content protection scheme implemented on connection like the one I was working on.

I thought that I just wasted about $7 buying this HDMI A type (standard size) to C type (mini size) cable (a BlueRigger high speed mini HDMI to HDMI cable, 6 ft — http://amzn.to/1dDQ4Y8) because the connection is blocked by this HDCP protection scheme.

Upon doing a bit of checking around on the web, I found that purchasing a certain HDMI splitter can get around the issue.  I found the ViewHD 2 Port 1×2 Powered HDMI Mini Splitter (http://amzn.to/1KDlloV) for about $24.  I received and tried it, and low and behold, I can do video screen capture!  Problem solved.