Archive for the ‘Windows’ Category.

Version Six Upgrades

pictureThe 2015 major upgrade for Alchemy Mindworks’ software – stepping up to version 6 – will initially embody most of its changes “under the hood.” We’ve devised an improved software architecture to allow our applications to make better use of contemporary multi-core microprocessors, larger memory footprints and Windows 7, 8 and 10.

The most notable feature of this upgrade for most users will be full Windows 10 compatibility.

You can’t really see a new architecture unless you work here and read the source code, but it will enhance the performance of the upgraded software – the version six applications should run faster, and consume fewer system resources while they’re doing so.

The updated architecture will also allow us to add new features to Graphic Workshop, GIF Construction Set, Presentation Wizard and the other Alchemy Mindworks applications that were impractical or genuinely impossible under version 5.

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Error Creating the Specified File during Version 6 Validation

pictureWhile it’s thankfully uncommon, we have encountered instances of the version 6 Alchemy Mindworks software refusing to validate, and displaying a message that says “There has been an error creating the specified file.” We’ve yet to reproduce the beast in house.

Contrary to rumors and innuendo in this matter, this problem does not lie with either frenzied weasels creeping into our offices late at night in search of leftover pizza, or with the depredations and treachery of left-wing politicians… although you can never be entirely certain of the latter.

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Windows Adjustments: Moving a Windows Hard Drive to a New Computer

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Neither words, elaborate hand gestures nor emotive cave paintings can adequately describe the existential horror of having to reinstall Windows and all the applications that run under it on a new computer. Shopping for and subsequently paying for a new system is as nothing compared to actually populating the beast.

If you have an existing computer that’s currently running Windows 7 or better and you’ve decided to spring for a newer machine to get hardware that’s quicker, roomier or less funky, chances are that your Windows installation is working fine. While the procedure for doing so isn’t widely used, it’s shockingly easy to uproot the hard drive from an old machine, bolt it into a new computer and have Windows carry on running all your stuff, never having really appreciated that it has changed digs.

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Classic Windows Paint for Windows 7 and Windows 8

pictureEarlier releases of Windows – most notably the much-beloved Windows XP, now something of a fond memory – included the elegantly simple and occasionally berated Windows Paint application. For the most part, it was about as useful as a left-leaning politician in a riding with absolutely no bribable voters – but there were situations in which its childlike simplicity and twentieth-century dearth of features made it the ideal software for manipulating a few pixels.

By comparison, Windows Paint under Windows 7 and Windows 8 resembles the drooling idiot offspring of a cheap date in which neither participant was demonstrably human. It’s just sophisticated enough to allow its imperfect antialiasing, questionable drawing tools and counter-intuitive user interface to get in the way.

Long-time users of Paint from a bygone era can often be heard mourning its loss.

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The Norton / Symantec WS.Reputation.1 False Positive

pictureSystem security – keeping your computer adequately defended against viruses, malware and other barbarians at the gate – is a complex and oftentimes bedeviling problem. Too little security will find you part of a botnet, or providing your credit card information to every hacker in Afghanistan. Too much security will make your computer excessively paranoid, to the point of your not getting anything useful done with it.

You can render your system wholly impervious to infection by software viruses by the simple expedient of switching it off and leaving it that way – but this is hardly a workable resolution to the issue for most of us.

If you use Norton Antivirus to defend your computer against the machinations of cybercretins, you may have encountered a particularly intractable issue upon installing new software or updates, such as the ones made available for our products. Norton might alert you to a threat it refers to as WS.Reputation.1 when you download the installers in question… and then delete or quarantine your downloads.

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A Word About Updates

Most of the Alchemy Mindworks applications are updated several times a year. A few of the more active ones – Graphic Workshop, GIF Construction Set, PNG MNG Construction Set and so on – have seen upgrades once a month.

Users of these products have at times inquired whether it’s necessary to install all the updates, and how important these updates really are to the functioning of the great cosmic clockwork that drives the universe as we know it.

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Windows Adjustments: The Incredible Expanding Hard Drive

Upgrade your hard drive to a larger device without re-installing Windows or any of your applications – we too were shocked when this worked.

pictureWith the benefit of flawless hindsight, some of the computers at the offices of Alchemy Mindworks might have been configured with slightly larger hard drives when they were originally purchased. What seemed like enough storage to encompass the sum of human knowledge with room left over for a modest library of MP3s a few years ago has grown increasingly claustrophobic with time.

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Version 4 Updates in 30 Seconds

The process of installing updates to Alchemy Mindworks’ version 4 applications is somewhat more involved than was the case for their ancestors. While doing so will unquestionably entail more clicking than users of our products may be used to – for which we’re suitably contrite – you can minimize the additional work required if you understand what the little man behind the curtain is up to.

Earlier releases of our software used a custom installer that we wrote, and as such, that we were able to nuance into being a fairly effortless installation experience. It was typically done with an installation so quickly as to make describing its activities as an “experience” just this side of pretentious.

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Is There a 64-Bit Version?

The transition from 16-bit Windows software to 32-bit Windows software over a decade ago was an event that future archeologists will no doubt write papers about and bore people at parties with until they all make up excuses about having forgotten to hypnotize their ferrets and leave. Admittedly, archeologists get excited about the damnedest things.

It’s been our experience that neither archeologists nor most of the people who use Windows software actually know why 32-bit applications are preferable. This is arguably as it should be – well-written software should allow its users to do whatever they bought the beast for and never concern themselves with that’s going on under the hood.

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Windows Adjustments: Back Up your Windows Installation

The hard drive in your computer is easily its most valuable component – although its worth probably can’t be measured entirely by the damage it did to your credit card. Installing Windows, and subsequently installing all the applications that will run under Windows, can take days.

While you can back up important files on your hard drive, there’s no way to back up an entire Windows hard drive in a form that would allow you to subsequently restore it and get back on line immediately, should your current hard drive get nuked by a virus, or wiped accidentally, or just die.

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