Open Source, 100% Compatible ln for Windows (and Junction Point library)

We’ve been huge fans of symlinks for forever, and even posted about Windows Vista’s new mklink commandline utility with quite the passion back in 2006 when the ability to create soft-links from the commandline was first added to Windows.

However, there are a few things that have forever irked us about the ln lookalike called mklink.exe:

  • It’s called mklink and not ln. (I mean, you just get can’t get around that fact)
  • The arguments are switched around. `mklink something_doesnt_exist actual_file` is just…….. wrong!
  • By default, mklink will create softlinks and not hardlinks. ln requires the /h flag to create a hardlink.
  • mklink isn’t smart enough to distinguish between files and folders. You need explicitly tell it via the commandline.
  • Even then, mklink has two different switches depending on the type of directory link you want. /D for softlink’d directories, and /J for hardlink’d directories.
  • mklink can’t be used outside of cmd.exe (such as in PowerShell). (Hat tip: Jason)
  • And, of course,  mklink isn’t open source.

So we made our own.

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Contributing to the Open Source Community

A week ago, we tweeted a promise to contribute more to the open source community. As a Research & Development organization, there’s a lot of random code samples, small libraries, forks/modifications of popular scripts, and more that’s just lying around, begging to be open sourced.

While a lot of these may prove to have little to no value to anyone, given how easy it is to make things open source thanks to github, there’s no real drawback to throwing them out there for anyone that may benefit at some unknown point in the future.

We have a couple of hundred miniature projects, test code samples, and other such content across a number of drives to sort through, and whenever we find something useful, this is our promise to the community to share it. To that end, we’ve set up a github repository at http://github.com/neosmart where we’ll be uploading the code, and from where you’re all more than welcome to check it out and contribute back.

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Happy New Year!

To our dear members, readers, users, and beloved friends:

Happy New Year 2011 from everyone on the NeoSmart Team. On behalf of all the NeoSmart Staff, thank you for being here with us this year!

We’re looking forward to more great years to come, and thank you for being with us every step of the way.

Windows 7 Discontinues Ultimate Extras

Users attempting to upgrade from Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate Edition to Windows 7 Build 7100 (the unofficial RC1 release leak), are greeted with the following "compatibility warning" dialog:

Windows 7 has discontinued Vista's "Ultimate Extras"

Windows Vista Ultimate Edition’s "Ultimate Extras" have been a constant source of derision and anger from Vista users ever since its release 3 years ago. If the blog posts are to be believed, millions of users purchased Windows Vista Ultimate Edition in the hope that the added-value "Ultimate Extras" package – which was left un-described and of unknown worth at the time – would turn out to be a good investment.

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Excellent Customer Service Means A Lot

At a time when the human touch comes at a premium, it’s always a relief to find a company or two that reply quickly, politely, and efficiently to customer support requests.

And the two companies that have impressed us with their support? Pubmatic and Assembla – both excellent startups that we highly recommend in their individual fields. Pubmatic is an ad-revenue optimization service that intelligently chooses between different ad providers to maximize your ad impressions and CPM rates. Assembla provides quality hosting of SVN and other services that cover all aspects of the software development cycles for teams & small companies.

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Windows 7 Wallpapers Now Available for Download

NeoSmart Technologies’ gallery of Windows Vista wallpapers has been a huge hit over the past several years – despite what anyone might say about Vista itself, its collection of wallpapers and fonts is top-notch. And now it seems that Windows 7 isn’t going to be any different – from what we’ve seen, the wallpapers shipping with Windows 7 are pretty darn good.

The Official Windows 7 Wallpapers are now available for download from the NeoSmart Image Gallery. Only several wallpapers have been released accompanying various Windows 7 builds thus far, but we’ll keep adding new ones to the gallery as they’re shipped.

Here are some of our favorite new wallpapers:

 

  

You can see these and more at the gallery here, along with the old Windows Vista ones here and here.

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Google Abandons Standards, Forks OpenID

A couple of hours ago, the Google Security Team posted an article claiming that Google’s made the switch to OpenID, joining Yahoo! and Microsoft in the ranks OpenID providers.

But it looks like someone may have been a bit to hasty to pull that switch (perhaps itching to get some of the limelight Microsoft has been receiving for adding OpenID to all Live ID accounts just the day before yesterday)… because whatever it is that Google has released support for, it sure as hell isn’t OpenID, as they even so kindly point out in their OpenID developer documentation (that media outlets certainly won’t be reading):

  1. The web application asks the end user to log in by offering a set of log-in options, including Google.
  2. The user selects the "Sign in with Google" option.
  3. The web application sends a "discovery" request to Google to get information on the Google authentication endpoint. This is a departure from the process outlined in OpenID 1.0. [Emphasis added]
  4. Google returns an XRDS document, which contains endpoint address.
  5. The web application sends a login authentication request to the Google endpoint address.
  6. This action redirects the user to a Google Federated Login page.

As Google points out, this isn’t OpenID. This is something that Google cooked up that resembles OpenID masquerading as OpenID since that’s what people want to see – and that’s what Microsoft announced just the day before.

It’s not just a “departure” from OpenID, it’s a whole new standard.

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ToolTipFixer 2.0 Released!

NeoSmart Technologies first released ToolTipFixer to great acclaim last June, over a year ago now. Since then, the downloads have kept on pouring in – along with a number of suggestions that we’ve taken to heart and hopefully implemented in a way that will please our users.

You can now download ToolTipFixer 2.0 which has a number of changes and improvements based on the feedback we’ve received during the past year. First, for those of you that aren’t familiar with ToolTipFixer, it’s a nifty “patch” for a very frustrating bug in Windows which winds up rendering tooltips behind the taskbar, leaving them unreadable and generally annoying the user to no end:

ToolTipFixer sits silently and invisibly in the background, intercepting this problem and fixing it as it happens – letting you read those tooltips and use your PC the way you should be able to.

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Windows Isn’t For Gamers Anymore

For the past decade-and-a-half, “Windows” has been synonymous with “PC Gaming” – after all, no other PC platform has managed to satiate the undying hunger gamers are quite famous for. But now it seems that Windows is on the verge of losing its distinction as the gaming platform of choice – with nothing but Microsoft’s own machinations to blame.

Despite PC users’ widely-varying taste and preference in operating systems and platforms, gamers need Windows. In fact, one of the biggest reason people around the globe tend to dual-boot is their undying love for gaming and the fact that no other OS out there can boast the wide range of gaming titles and genres available for their platform like Windows can. The traditional choice faced by most non-Windows users has been to either install and dual-boot Windows or bite the built and buy a gaming console – ask us, we would know.

But this is all about to change, thanks to Microsoft’s reckless abandon for one of its few truly-loyal userbases.

When Microsoft first began its frenzied Vista marketing campaign in 2006, one of the points it focused on most and repeated over and over again was just how big of a gaming revolution Windows Vista was. Gaming was a large part of the Vista WOW campaign, but it has since failed to disappoint. But this isn’t an article about Vista, it’s about how Windows is poised to lose its gaming advantage if Microsoft doesn’t get its act together sometime soon.

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Request_URI For IIS Updated with ISAPI_Rewrite 3 Support

Request_URI for IIS, NeoSmart Technologies’ compatibility toolkit for IIS on Windows, has been updated to version 1.1, with support for Helicon’s ISAPI_Rewrite 3.x

With this update the installation process has been simplified somewhat, in particular the need modify HTTPD.INI to set the server variables has been eliminated – you just need to install ISAPI_Rewrite 3, configure php.ini to load up request_uri.inc, and you’re set.

Request_URI for Windows 1.1 retains backwards compatibility with ISAPI_Rewrite 2.x for those of you who’d rather not switch to the new (and much-improved) version 3.x.

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