The Planet Datacenter is on fire, all servers are down

The Planet Datacenter has caught fire today, taking thousands of websites down.

ASE Adnet, the sole advertisement provider for Wordplop, is one of the many websites that are down because of the fire that happened less than an hour ago.

The phone number on The Planet’s website leads to an auto recording stating that a transformer caught fire. The fire department has told them to shut down all power, including all generators and backup power. The Planet says no networking gear was harmed, so it sounds like all the servers should be fine unless the smoke got to them.

There is no ETA on when the entire datacenter, which is located in Houston, Texas, will be back up.

UPDATE: The Planet has confirmed that no servers were damaged. The cause of the fire appears to be an explosion that was caused by a short in some electrical equipment. The explosion took out 3 walls in the building. The Planet says some servers will be back up by tomorrow afternoon.

UPDATE 2: Entrecard is down because of the outage.

UPDATE 6-1-08 10PM PST: Servers still down, The Planet now says they will try to bring back service by Monday night. Conspiracy theories are already on the rise, and some believe this is a cover up for a government search of the servers. Refer to the comments below. Websites continue to lose thousands of dollars.

UPDATE 6-2-08 12PM PST: Looks like most servers are back up now, even though some are having problems. So I guess all servers will be back up in a few hours. This will be the last update then.

Download Firefox 3 on Firefox Download Day 2008

Download Day 2008

Mozilla wants to break the Guinness World Record for Most Software Downloaded in 24 hours. You can help by downloading Firefox 3 on the Firefox Download Day of 2008.

You can make a pledge to download Firefox 3 on the Download Day if you wish to help Firefox achieve this record. The official release date of Firefox 3 will also be posted on that page.

Firefox 3 is the latest installment of the Firefox browser from Mozilla. Firefox 3 will have more than 14,000 improvements.

Multi-touch in Windows 7 – a Useless Feature

At the All Things Digital conference today, Microsoft demonstrated some Windows 7 features. Supposedly the main feature of Windows 7 will be multi-touch capabilities, as already seen in the Microsoft Surface demos. While multi-touch might be useful for a table interface, I fail to see how it will ever be useful in a Windows operating system.

First, here is the video of the short demonstration:

Video: Multi-Touch in Windows 7

Now, first of all, only tablet laptops and touch-screen LCD’s will be able to make use of multi-touch. However, almost no one has a tablet, and only stores have touch screen LCD’s for customer interaction. There will be a very small amount of consumers who will be able to even use multi-touch.

Second, what’s the point? How often do people really want to drag a couple photos around the screen and rotate them? Are you really going to use a multi-touch piano? You might for ten minutes just to play with the technology, but that’s it. Most people aren’t going to use it to draw in paint. And again, how often do you use Google Maps?

Multi-touch might be useful for graphic artists, but most already have external touch pads for the job. For consumers, I just don’t see the application of multi-touch in everyday computing. For companies who use touch screen displays in the workplace, they already have the technology for it.

I see no purpose for multi-touch. It’s cool to use it for some demonstrations, but that’s it. Most people won’t even have the hardware for it, yet alone the use for it. And with Gizmodo saying multi-touch is the biggest feature of Windows 7, I’m starting to doubt whether this version of Windows will live up to the hype.

Photoshop CS4 in October, with GPU Acceleration

When Adobe Photoshop CS4 comes out this October, it will feature GPU and Physics acceleration, as well as 64 bit processing.

This means Photoshop CS4 will not only be the first version of Photoshop to come in a 64 bit version, but also the first version to feature graphics and physics processor acceleration. This will make Photoshop CS4 faster than any previous versions, and it will let you manipulate 3D graphics. The physics acceleration might be able to generate particle and lighting effects dynamically and in 3D.

The GPU acceleration alone will increase the speed of Photoshop CS4 in certain tasks up to 100 times. At a recent Nvidia demo, “the presenter playing with a 2 GB, 442 megapixel image like it was a 5 megapixel image on an 8-core Skulltrail system. Changes made through image zoom and through a new rotate canvas tool were applied almost instantly.”

There is no word yet on whether CS4 will only take advantage of workstation GPU’s such as the Nvidia Quadro series. I am hoping that it will be able to use any GPU for an extra speed and power boost.

More information should be available as the October 1st release date approaches.

Why you should never do an upgrade install of Windows

While an upgrade install disc for any version of Windows costs less than a full install disc, you should still still get the full install version. If you want to upgrade your install of Windows, do not choose the “upgrade” option from the installation disc. A clean install will be much better.

You might think that upgrading your installation will save time since you won’t have to reinstall programs and back up all your files. This is false, as it will only save time in the short run – but in the long run it will make your operating system slower and buggier.

Not all upgrades go wrong, but most do. If it doesn’t look like anything is wrong, there might still be some problems. An upgrade install can slow down your system a lot, but you might not notice it since you don’t have a clean install to compare to. Windows features and some programs might get buggier or just stop working like they’re supposed to. Individual features of programs might stop working.

The best thing to do when upgrading to a new version of Windows is to do a clean install and reformat. This means you need to back up all your files, and reinstall all your programs onto the new install. You need to completely wipe your hard drive, doing a hard reformat, not a “quick reformat”.

A clean install of any version of Windows will have a significantly higher chance of having no bugs or system slow downs. If you want to save money on a Windows OS upgrade, go with an OEM disc instead of an upgrade disc.

8 Ways to Make Your Windows Desktop More Productive

If you have a messy and disorganized (Windows) desktop, you are probably taking longer than you should to do basic tasks. Follow these simple tips to make it easier to find shortcuts, launch frequently used applications faster, and make your Windows desktop a more productive environment.

click to enlarge

1. Group Your Desktop Shortcuts

If you have at least 20 different shortcuts on your desktop, you will find that separating them into groups will make it easier to find a particular shortcut. For example, you can put your internet browser and IM apps in the top left, your games on the bottom, and productivity apps on the top. This not only gives your desktop a neater look and lets you see the wallpaper better, but it also makes it easier to find applications.

2. Delete Shortcuts You Never Use

It’s very likely that your computer came with a lot of crapware preinstalled. You should delete shortcuts such as “Sign up with X Company” and “Register with …”. Also remove shortcuts to things you never use, like antivirus. Your antivirus runs in the background and most come with automatically scheduled scans. You will most likely never need to open the main screen of your antivirus program, so why keep the icon on the desktop?

3. Customize Your Quick Launch Toolbar

When you install a lot of apps, some come with the “Add shortcut to quick launch” pre-checked. If you don’t uncheck it, you will have a lot of shortcuts in your quick launch toolbar that are useless. Remove the shortcuts you don’t need, and add ones that you do need. Add programs that you tend to open a lot while another window is open. I recommend having no more than 10 shortcuts, depending on your screen resolution.

4. Get a Clean Wallpaper

If you have a graphic-heavy wallpaper, you might find it hard to find some shortcuts. A multi-color wallpaper might look cool, but your icons will blend in and you will take longer than you should to find them. This doesn’t mean you should use a single color as your wallpaper, but make it something smooth with a specific color scheme, so you can read shortcut names easier.

5. Rename Your Desktop Shortcuts

Your shortcuts shouldn’t be so long that they get cut off with “…” at the end. For example, you can rename “Mozilla Firefox 3.0 RC1” to “Firefox”, “Adobe Photoshop CS3 Extended” to “Photoshop”, etc. One line names are even better since they take up less space, which makes your desktop look neater overall.

6. Customize Individual Folders

Make your music folder sort by “title”, and make your pictures folder sort by “date modified”. This is just an example, but I find this useful because if I’m adding new pics from my digital camera, they are titled with random letters and numbers, so sorting by title here wouldn’t work. Date modified will make newer photos show up on top or on bottom. You can customize any folder with different icon sizes, sort orders, and other options.

7. Firefox – Customize the Bookmarks Toolbar

If you use Firefox, you should customize the bookmarks toolbar. I have never seen anyone with a customized toolbar, so I guess many people don’t know you can customize it. You can right click on individual shortcuts and click “Properties”, and change the name of the shortcut. If you have a lot of shortcuts this will make them all appear on one line of the toolbar. For example, you can rename “Gmail – Inbox” to “Gmail”, “YouTube – Broadcast Yourself” to “YouTube”, etc. This will save a huge amount of space on the toolbar. You can also drag the bookmarks toolbar anywhere to save space.

8. Set a Quick Loading Home Page

If you want to get to a certain URL right after opening your browser, you need a quick-loading home page. I recommend iGoogle. If you’ve never heard of iGoogle, go to Google and log in (or create an account), and on the top right click the “iGoogle” link. You can customize iGoogle with different themes and gadgets. The reason I recommend iGoogle is because it loads incredibly fast, even with lots of gadgets. And the gadgets are very useful.

Be sure to comment with your own tips for a better desktop below.