Tag Archives: Windows 7

Windows – Turn off your screen NOW

One thing I always wished I was able to do is issue a command to turn off my laptop screen, but leave the computer running.  If I’m going to leave my computer for a while, it doesn’t really make sense to leave the screen on wasting power, but the computer might be busy working on something, so I’d like to be able to leave it on.

Windows, of course, lets you specify some amount of time to wait before turning off your screen.  But, here’s a utility you can use to turn off your screen right away.

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Use Windows 7’s built-in h.264 decoder in Media Player Classic Homecinema

On Windows, I always install the CCCP to get all of the codecs I need.  It’s a nice pack of mostly open source software.  Most of the audio and video decoding functionality it provides is provided by libavcodec from the FFmpeg project — this library also powers the decoding of VLC, Perian, and most notable media players on Linux.  With the CCCP, this is provided in the form of FFDShow, a set of DirectShow filters that can be used by any Windows application that supports DirectShow.  The CCCP also includes Media Player Classic, a nice, light player, pre-configured to just play everything right.  No thinking involved, just install the CCCP.

However, I find that libavcodec is not fast enough to decode high-bitrate h.264 content in real-time on my machine (2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo) — say, for example, the h.264 content that you would find on a Blu-ray disc.  So, I set out looking for alternatives.

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Windows 7 – First impressions

The Good

Windows 7 seems to me to be, more or less, Windows Vista done right.  They could have easily called this something like “Windows Vista Second Edition” (if not for the negative association a lot of people seem to have with “Vista”).  Most of the improvements are behind the scenes, with more optimal use of memory, less stuff running in the background, and performance optimizations across the board making your computer seem much snappier.  If you are familiar with Windows Vista, moving to Windows 7 will not be a problem for you at all.  From the surface, it looks mostly the same.

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