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.
Continue reading ‘Is There a 64-Bit Version?’ »
We’ve become aware of an issue that may affect your future receipt of the Alchemy Mindworks E-mail Update List, replies from our support staff, order confirmations and most other e-mail communication from us. It could also affect your receipt of e-mail from other on-line merchants you do business with, your physician, your bank and possibly your great-aunt Blothelda.
You’ve got to wonder who thinks this stuff up…
Continue reading ‘About Your E-mail…’ »
While you can create sophisticated banners and other complex animations using Alchemy Mindworks’ Animation Workshop – and nothing else – adding animated objects to Animation Workshop will unquestionably drop it into hyperspace. Alchemy Mindworks offers a suite of inexpensive, easy-to-master tools to build animations.
Animation Workshop will import animations from a number of popular formats. The two you’re most likely to get involved with are GIF and MNG. While conceptually similar, it’s important to understand the distinction between them.
Continue reading ‘Building Animation Objects for Animation Workshop’ »
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.
Continue reading ‘Windows Adjustments: Back Up your Windows Installation’ »
PNG/MNG Construction Set and the newly-updated animation plugins with alpha-channel support – the 3D Effects #1 plugin set, as of this writing – allow the creation of animations with sophisticated translucent shadows. Place such an animation over a textured surface or a photograph and its shadow will darken the details of its background, but not obscure them.
Continue reading ‘Building an Alpha-Shadow Animation’ »
Your system tray – the rightmost area of your Windows task bar, usually inhabited by small icons and the Windows clock – will probably start looking like an aerial photograph of unsold cars if you have a lot of stuff happening on your computer. As the real estate occupied by the system tray reduces the available breathing room for the rest of the task bar, it’s worth adjusting your system tray’s behavior to minimize its footprint.
Continue reading ‘Windows Adjustments: Thin Out Your System Tray’ »
Left to its own devices, Windows will present you with two relatively cumbersome ways to launch applications – you can select them from the Start menu or you can run the from icons on your desktop. The first typically entails a lot of clicking, ‘specially if you have a lot of toys installed on your system – and the second will mean minimizing anything you presently have running to drill down to your desktop.
Continue reading ‘Windows Adjustments: Applications Groups’ »
Microsoft maintains a regular program of security updates and bug fixes for Windows. If you have Automatic Updates enabled – as well you should – they’ll download and install automatically as they’re released.
Once they’re installed, Windows will automatically reboot your computer to complete the installation. If you happen to be in front of it when it tries to do so, it will allow you to defer the restart, but it will nag you incessantly thereafter until you allow it to restart your system.
Continue reading ‘Windows Adjustments: Preventing Automatic Restart after Windows Updates’ »
While an increasing number of Windows users browse the web with something other than Internet Explorer, Explorer certainly has its uses. Chief among these is a handy way to edit local HTML documents. Open the page in question on your hard drive, right-click on it and select View Source. The HTML document for your page will appear in Windows NotePad.
Continue reading ‘Windows Adjustments: Changing the View Source Application in Internet Explorer 8’ »
Having long ago lost count of the number of USB storage devices that litter our offices, we’ve learned how to manage the beasts. The list of these things list includes not only USB flash drives and external hard drives, but toys like iPods, which are also effectively USB storage.
One of the perennial issues surrounding these devices is the assignment of drive letters to them. Windows does this automatically, of course, which is why you’ll probably need to know to manually override its behavior in time.
Continue reading ‘Windows Adjustments: Changing a USB Device’s Drive Letter’ »