Two excellent internet finds

Some days you can browse the internet for hours looking for that certain program or utility and never find it. Then, other days you find everything you need and more. Today I found a few things, but I’ll need to explain a little more before I tell you what they are.

I’m one of those people who are stubornly sticking with Windows XP. It does everything I need, so I see no need to swap to Vista. Why? I’ve tried Vista and it looked very pretty, but it kept nagging at me. “Do you want to do this? Are you really sure? Sure? Absolutely sure?” By the time I got past the screen nags I’d forgotten what I was doing. Sure, you can turn this off but then there’s the oh-so-painful networking stuff…


…were some of my comments after faffing about with it for minutes on end. After a week I uninstalled it. To me a few more GUI tweaks and an over-bearing OS just wasn’t worth it. Indeed, it seems that I’m not the only one who thinks this way – shops across the world are holding Windows XP on their shelves due to customer demand, months after Microsoft intended for them to be removed. This article describes the problem well. XP isn’t broke – so why fix it. XP works, it works well.

So what did I find today? Well, I found RocketDock, which is apparently “The single greatest piece of software. Ever”. Is it? Well, it is pretty damned close. I’ve never seen anything operate so smooth and it’ll make your Windows XP look like Vista in seconds. The software is best shown in a video, so have a look at this …

It’s a lovely clean interface and you can not only add your own shortcuts but also minimize stuff to it instead of your taskbar. Lovely stuff, and it’s completely free too – download it at

Secondly, I went and bought one of these the other day..

These cards go into your machine and let you plug video cameras into them. I bought one of these because, after looking at IP cameras, this DVR card seemed like the cheaper alternative. Since moving into our new home I’ve wanted to setup some sort of CCTV system so I can check the house is OK when we’re both at work, plus you can do monitoring and motion-sensor stuff. This was a cheap Hong Kong special from ebay with the standard lack of instructions and long delivery time. When it arrived I got a CD with drivers and a pirated piece of software called PICO 2000. This is actually dished out by a lot of DVR capture card sellers on eBay and will let you use the card to an extent, but there’s a problem – no other Windows apps will let you use the cameras as inputs.

After a bit of searching I found CCTV4 – WDM Video Capture Driver. This is an excellent product from Windows Marketplace for just $10 (about 5 quid) and will give you one WDM driver with four inputs. You just select which port you want and it’ll stream it. Job done. If you want more ports you just run the program twice with the additional input.

The cameras are cheap – any camera that gives a video input will wor and I’ve now got one working. :) Top stuff.

Links – rocketdock.comCCTV4 – WDM Video Capture