I did the easy part now you do the hard part; follow dot points.
* * * 80 Thank you comments * * *

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Moving Firefox and Thunderbird profile

I just moved the profiles of the two software to my swap file disk. I had once detected that it had contributed to fragmentation, it may have been a once off, an edit of bookmarks or whatever but i have moved it now anyway.

To move profile to a new location you have to open the profile manager (firefox -P) and then created a new profile, open up the default profile, copy and paste over the new profile in new location and then delete default profile if you don't want it no more. Same procedure with Thunderbird except replace firefox with Thunderbird.
With Thunderbird i moved the folder to my data drive so it gets included into back ups as i don't usually save all my e-mails that i want to keep, doing what i have done will save all the e-mails without you working, just the back up software. With Firefox i choose to keep it in the swap file disk as I think more things change (therefore fragmentation) and also cause i use Backupfox.exe to back up my Firefox without cache which i don't usually need a back up of.

Troubleshooting on the net

I really hate it when you go online and can't find the solution to a computer problem you have but you get a heap of results on the problem but just people describing the problem, no solutions.

I can't really remember all my error messages and solutions so i can't do a really good recount but if it ever come across one I'll post it for this frustration of troubleshooting online isn't long lived ;)

  • Win98se OS crashes or deaths = me deleting system files in system folder, the solution, don't delete anything from system folder, in fact, just right click, properties, hidden to hide the dam folder so you never screw up something. Then tools, folder options, view, show hidden folders to access the folder if you need to tweak something.
  • Cold boot on computer, one long and two short beeps, finally cracked and just didn't boot not even when it was warm boot. The solutions, replace psu. You have to find out my specs. first before you can find out if your mobo, computer etc. is using the same signals as error alerts.

Friday, November 23, 2007

My tool set for hardware

My tools box would look something like this:

  • Soft tip paint brushes, small, medium and large ones
  • Anti-static wrist band grounder
  • A set of precision screwdrivers (or otherwise sometimes known as jeweller screwdrivers) which is useful as they are more solid than normal screwdrivers and come in small sizes which is excellent for computers and electronics.

Better way to move files

Sometimes people use copy and paste and then delete the original file when moving files.
Instead you can chop all this up into a one step procedure.
Cut and paste (Ctrl + X) (Ctrl + V)

Almost instant boot up time

If you want your desktop to be ready to use in almost an instant (compared to usual full boot time) you can use the hibernate feature, which is a form of stand by (like seen in Win98) but Hibernation fully powers off and all data is saved on the hard drive like data and do not get cleared when there is no power to the computer. This allows you to do a full power off. With stand by there is still power that runs RAM etc to store your data.

Some believe that doing so doesn't allow your computer to get refreshed and boot settings from scratch. In my experience I have used hibernation with not much problems but i do believe that if you over rely on hibernation you can get sluggish performance.

My routine is usually 2-3 boots before i do a proper shut down, if i just go on the net I can hibernate, if i install a program or do something major i will do a proper shut down just so everything works out (some actions such as installing new software or updates require actions to be taken during your first start up after installation)

If you find you get problems then don't use the method, i know sometimes my graphics card doesn't get woken up for some reason and i have to reboot.

By default hibernation is hidden behind the face of Stand By so to choose hibernation,
Click Start > Turn Off Computer > Hold Shift and click where Stand By is which should now be Hibernate when you press Shift.

If hibernation is disabled then contact your admin of the comouter, if your the admin account then you can enable it by:
Control Panel > Power Options Properties > Hibernate > Check enable Hibernation (provided your control panel is set out in classic view and not category view.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Laptops up to 1/2 price with rebates

It is election time tomorrow and one of the parties (not mentioning name) will be giving rebates on laptops and desktops in the form of tax cuts. The purpose is to make sure every child in Australia has a computer to advance their computer skills and to bridge the digital divide.

The way i see it is people already have computers and this will only benefit 2% of the people who probably don't have a computer or working computer at home. If you ass the people who don't have a working computer maybe benefit 8% of the students.

As most people already have computers and change them so often this offer will even further encourage people to trash their older systems for newer ones with less opportunity costs. Most if not all Australian councils do not have a proper computer and electronic waste recycling system install so this will just increase our land fills like if our current speed of throwing away slow computers isn't already fast enough.

I was planning to get a laptop myself soon and this will benefit me a bit but i do not like the thought of computers becoming more expensive (despite the rebate) as we throw away gold and other elements in computers that are not renewable.

Another view is that prices will rise due to the increased demand and willingness to purchase at a higher price.

It is funny now that since i have started my blog i no longer get ideas. I use to get ideas of new technology and then they would become true products in about 9 months after i tell someone, my theory was that someone was following me and selling my ideas, lol. Must be Deja Ju

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Anti-Virus check list

My check list would look something like this:

  • Real time protection (actively scans your running files)
  • Manual scans (can choose folders to scan, useful for newly downloaded files)
  • Updates (if your looking for freeware make sure it isn't shareware by requiring to buy the pro version to update definitions.)
  • High detection rate
  • Low system resources usage
  • Auto-update (if your lazy)
  • Boot scans (if you don't mind the extra boot up time)
  • Password protected or not easily closed by other programs or viruses.


Great place to download freeware, shareware and demo of games and applications.
They also provide helpful comments on the software and evaluate the usefulness of the product and evaluate their marketing claims.

I also comment on the software and games i download from there. My posting name is GecSoft but i post about the best software here anyway.

Changing FF default cache location

config pref.


value=new location for cache

Monday, November 19, 2007

Digital Camera check list

My check list for pre-purchase of a digital camera.


  • Digital or optical zoom (optical is physical move zoom, digital is photoshop enlarge image style)
  • CCD size or resolution of photos (4 mega pixels is minimum, 7 is good for serious photos)
  • Lens (camera brand lens or dedicated lens from famous lens makers)
  • Physical size (make sure it can fit in your pocket, you'll want to do that later on)
  • Memory size (how much internal and slots for expandable memory, all modern cameras have slots)
  • LCD size (find to suit your personal needs)
  • Battery life (you'll want to find out how long your camera can last on a full charge, you may even want to find out how much extra batteries cost if you go on holidays a lot or if you do a lot of photos away from home.


Things you will have to go online and read reviews to find out

  • Image quality and clarity

  • Problems or bugs in camera or software
  • Price comparison
  • General product review (usually identifies some weak spots of the camera and some competitive features but you have to decide how important or creditable the reviews are)

and I think that's about it

System Snapshot

This is a great tool if you tweak or edit your system's vital parts (registry etc) or even if you install dodgy software for what ever reason you would do that.

This software allows you to make a system snapshot (with Windows XPs own system restore) at your will with a quick click of the system tray icon. I set mine up to make a snapshot at every start up instead of when Windows decides that something critical is going to be performed. This helps me prevent dodgy installs of game demos etc. saved me last time from Sonys SonicStage which screwed up the computer good. Some installers don't cause Windows to do a sys restore point.

Win XP only

You'll have to Google this one, i forgot where it is from and i can't find a site with screenshots. The program i used was a hand holding a blue video recorder. There are a few different programs with the same name by the looks it.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Google Fight


This is a cool website for challenging popularity of things on the Internet.
Celeb fan websites, games etc.

Keys on keyboard

Last time when i was cleaning my laptop the vacuum cleaner sucked up one of my keyboard keys.
Today I am ripping apart the very same laptop as the Mobo had died. My recommendation is to keep the keyboard from old laptops because if you ever lose a key on your new laptop you don't have to go on ebay or pay $60 for a new set of keys.

Provided the keys are designed the same in both new and old laptops.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Avast Anti-Virus

Norton had a problem one random day when i started up Windows and asked me to uninstall and reinstall it.

So i did, I hit uninstall and restarted the computer, after that i hit firefox and went online to download Avast Anti Virus.

Strong Points:

  • On first boot up scan it picked up 4 viruses that Norton didn't and the files had been there for ages but luckily i have not had the time to open the files.
  • Norton's Live Update had always had problems i i never once got a rapid update since first installing it, my definition downloads were 16-18Mb each week. Avast AV did an auto update at every start up and with files less than 100KB, sometimes less than 10KB depending on how often it updated.
  • Freeware! the personal addition costs nothing but you do need to register to help their marketing for commercial users (i think).
  • A amazing and unique feature is their Avast screensaver scan, when your screensaver is on it can do AV scans whilst your not using the computer!
Weaker Points:

  • Interface is a bit confusing and certain options can only be access in one way. Norton had everything on one page and was laid out nicely. Avast gives you lots of options which might be confusing if your not a new user.

Upgrading to Broadband or changing ISP?

There are many things to check for when changing ISP or upgrading to broadband.

My check list would look something like this:

  • Price
  • Usage cap
  • Hours cap
  • Price of excess downloads
  • Contract length
  • Migration costs (cost of moving to a different ISP)
  • Is uploads counted as downloads
  • download and upload speeds
  • Set up & hardware costs
  • Technical support
  • Ease of cancellation of contract
  • Reliability and reputation of the ISP
Many ISPs try to alternate between the items above to make their ads look good.
for example they may advertise super cheap "Price" and fast "download and upload speeds" but give you a super small "Usage cap" and charge you a "Price of excess downloads" to cover the cheap initial price of the broadband package. So read the find prints carefully.

Promotions such as "whooping super fast broadband at dial up costs" usually have a 200MB usage limit which would mean you'll hit 200Mb super fast with whooping speeds and your wallet will get a whooping slap in the gut.

Is E-mail safe?

Here is my thought of the day:

If the ads in free E-mail services such as Yahoo Mail are tailored to your messages content, that means they have to scan for keywords and that means a computer has to read your message and decide what ad is the most appropriate and most likely to attract your attention.

What does that mean for security and privacy?

Unless of course ads are just randomly generated.

Hidden contacts of E-mail

I have just too many E-mail addresses and not enough e-mails, why can't all my e-mail go to one account. I have converted many of my contacts to my new e-mail address but still can't close my other e-mail accounts.

It is a simple step to close them, just stop using and logging in for a period of X number of days or click a close account link set up by the e-mail service and not use it for a while.

Unfortunately it is not that simple, there are hidden invisible contracts that force you to stay and keep the e-mail account active. The contact is not enforced by law, as it is not a formal contract.
The way it works is if you want to use one of their services you have open an account with them.
In my case it is:

Hotmail = MSN messanger

Yahoo Mail = Yahoo Groups

So as you can see, i have to log in every now and then to see if i got any e-mail or spam in my accounts just so i can continue to use their other services.

Gmail, for Blogger at least is better as you can choose to subscribe to Gmail and open an account. As long as you have an Google account you can choose what services you want and don't want which frees up much more names available for use in e-mail accounts instead of names being hogged by people who want to use the services and not the e-mail.

It is sometimes a good idea to keep more than one e-mail account in case one gets bombed by SPAM for what ever reason but if you don't or can't be bothered to check all the accounts daily then you might miss an urgent e-mail and make someone wait a long time for a reply.

New face for E-mail

Has anyone noticed that Yahooo! Mail and Hotmail has a new interface?
It might just be intertia or what not but i still prefer the old face of E-mail.

They usually give you a choice to choose new look or classic look but i reckon that that is only a way to test the acceptance of the new look and they will remove the classic option when most people don't use it after a while.

This is their new marketing tactic to pull new users and keep old users from moving to other E-mail services but you've got to decide for yourself, is the new look balanced with practical use?

So far i have found it better in Yahoo Mail as the interface is based on Outlook style where you don't have to wait and load each message one after another.

Hotmail to me is just the same practical use as there isn't any areas where real improvements have been made and I am still like in the past getting a lot of promotional e-mail from Hotmail.
Really it is just a new pretty face.

Now Gmail has the most simplistic interface.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Lifetime Warranty

Many electronics and hardware sometimes gives you lifetime warranties, you'll most likely find that they give you planned obsolescence instead but in some rare cases you will find lifetime warranty but how long does it really mean?

Well the word lifetime would assume it's your whole life so as long as your the person who brought and is using the product you should be able to ask for a replacement when it fails on you during your early years of retirement.

This however is not always the case. Sometimes they say the lifetime of the product, well when a product stops working it is therefore dead and therefore has operated up to its lifetime, so this works well .... Usually you have to read the fine print and they will say the lifetime of the product is 5 years, so really it is a 5 year warranty but re-phrased to catch those who do not like to read ant-like sized fonts. This is usually rare because there are standards and laws that should prevent this kind of a assumed condition that does not exist.

With a proper lifetime warranty you should still read the fine text as they always have some kind of a condition that protects them such as physical damage voids the warranty as the product was mistreated or was abused and not operated under designed usage.
I have seen a special condition that i found interesting, for a certain product that I won't mention, if you live in Canada the lifetime warranty is only limited to something like 8 years.

Really with technology and the speed that hardware become out of date, lifetime warranties is the least of your worries. You should think about that before buying some hardware as many brands that offer the lifetime warranty will have an increased price to cover the cost of replacements.
If it did break and it was outdated, what would you do with the brand new replacement of hardware X that you don't use any more and can't be used in new systems? You might as well save that $10 extra for lifetime warranty and invest it into the next upgrade.
Do a Goggle search with product name and model and type in a word like problem, error, etc. to see if it has a high fail rate.

Normal people get better Google results?

When your Google-ing something do you ever think how the author of the site would have phrased his or her speech? Getting similar sentences could increase the relevance of your search results and therefore the chances of finding the site you wanted earlier.

This is especially important when trying to find information in forum sites for computing help.

e.g. My files broke when i put Microsoft Office 2000 on my computer

is different to say

e.g. My files got deleted when installing MS office 2000

It is sometimes hard especially when pros use jargon and abbreviations.
The level of depth the language used also has an affect.

e.g. if your too smart and search "complimentary music available for downloading here" opposed to more commonly used terms "free mp3 downloads" your search results can be largely hurt.

My tip would be to use common and simple language but keep in mind that in some cases especially computers, you may need to search for hdd (instead of hard disk), MS (instead of Microsoft) as some people who are more technical like to shorten their posts but it never hurts to try both long and short forms.

That's just my view anyway, so experiment, it may or may not work the same for you.

Long Live Windows

Windows has a higher death rate than uncoordinated and clumsy arsonist with a tank of petrol and too many matches, right?

Maybe so, I health diet for Windows is usually seen as:

* Defrag
* Scan Disk
* Back Up
* Disk Cleanup

This may be shaped from the fact that under the properties on each hard drive these are the main utilities to run for your hard drive and Windows and is usually advertised as being able to boost performance and speed. I am not denying the advantages of running each.

Some believe that excessive running of these utilities will wear out the disk, what doesn't get worn by use? some think that it may reduce the life of their hardware by years. My view is that most well known brand name hardware manufacturers design their products to last longer than than their obsolete period (i.e. should last long enough to see the day when they are out-dated technology) of course excessive use and the way you use it can make the statement above not so true to you. So i run defrag (only) when i suffer from high loading times and disk access times.

The recommended amount is once a month.

Some people believe that the messy state of the hard rive can wear them out more than the process of reorganising the data on the disk and some software companies even make defrag software that are designed to run constantly to give you a defraged hard drive 24/7

Running all these utilities can take a long time especially scan disk and defrag and especially if you have a large hard drive or have use a large portion of your hard drive.

To save time you can run:

* Defrag -> Auslogic, is faster than Win XP defrag and free too

* Scan Disk -> Only when you suspect that hard disk has an error, data curruption, constant crashes, never ending loading times.

* Back Up -> Use a back up software that compares and synchronises your data to save time because it only has to write data that has been changed. {}

* Disk Cleanup -> Run only once a month or even two months if you don't save much space on each run.

{} For personal use and general purposes of backup which don't involve life changing data, I would recommend using compare and sync backup software as it is much quicker and provides a good enough data backup if done right. If your corporate (which i highly doubt, as you should have your own IT support department to take care of backup) then you may want to use Full and partial back ups for safer measures but if the amount of data that is changes is low then compare and sync will do fine. E.g. if you have 6 Gb of data changed and or created then of course you should use more professional backup measure but if you only need to back up 8MB of changed data and maybe 30Mb of new mp3 song and 40Mb of new digital photos then why bother with difficult back up? just compare for changes, make changes and add the new files to backup disk easy. your done!

My diet is a bit different as i go further than the hard disk utilities:

* Defrag
* Backup
* Reg defrag
* Swap defrag
* Reg repair
* AV and spyware scan
* Security software updates
* Physical clean and layout adjustments

My method can corrupt data or Windows if done incorrectly so i won't entice anyone to try it by explaining how and what to do.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

XXL LCD for Photoshop? (con't)

I found out that Photoshop can load much slower if you just place a whole CD worth of Plugins and brushes into the default folder (i.e. Program files/adobe/photoshop/preset/brushes) Instead you can put it in a different location, for me i choose to place it on my data hard drive so i can always have my brushes set the way i like it even when reinstalling Windows or Photoshop, provided i can restore the data disk of data.

A problem with this method is that because the brushes are not in the default folder Photoshop will not load them automatically and you will need to manually load each brush each time you use it which will be very annoying.

My solution, just a good guess really, i moved all the brushes to a different folder and then placed a shortcut to the folder in the default folder and everything loads automatically !!! yay!, I never really measured the loading speeds but if loading them at start up will even out the loading time advantage, but you still benefit from the back up and reinstall advantages.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Sony brand loyalty

I am usually a big fan of Sony products but I am really going to be a selective fan now. Today i was trying to get my Sony DVD+RW disc to work again but still another fail. I've just about given up on them despite the fact that I have only used them for 2 write cycles.

SonicStage, the software used for the Sony Walkman mp3 player is also still mucking up on Win 98se and XP so i think ill just find an alternative freeware.

Sony Cameras are so far the only Sony branded product you can bring within 1 metre of your PC without it screwing something up and my rule is Sony PC products are a no go with the expection of Sony digital cameras and memory products, i wouldn't connect anything Sony product to my computer, not one i actually used anyway, maybe an enemies computer.

I am planning to get a laptop and this Anti-PC theory with Sony is making me look at other brands. Sony electronics such as TV and entertainment goods are fine if not excellent.

Some people are against Sony all together as they had rootkit viruses in their product a while back, you can Google it if you want to know more.

Use of search feature

As my blog gets bigger it may become harder to find the posts you want so you can use the search box at the top of this page and search for specific posts.

You can also use the labels to find similar topics but I might not have allocated labels very efficiently so keep in mind you can use the search box.

Free Gmail account

In the past you had to get invited to get a free Gmail account but recently i asked my sister to join together on another blog i have and she had to sign up for blogger and i realised that you don't need an invite, you could alternatively:

Sign up for blogger > Sign up for Gmail serivce > Unsubscribe from blogger service

In the past it wasn't a bother anyway, many people on the net had a website set up and were inviting anyone who e-mailed them (that's how i got my Gmail)

I don't know if this is a known flaw to Google or what but I am quite sure they wouldn't mind more people joining up. If you want you can ask me and provide me with your (non-gmail) e-mail and I'll invite you. Most of you reading should have a blogger account anyway or if not, you could use my above method anyway.


This allows you to tweak some options that you can't do in windows unless you know how to program in the registry.

I mainly only use this program to hide and show certain items in Windows and really is an advanced user program as changes made can affect the users productivity and may be hard to recover if you don't know what you did.
Some of my posts describe how to use this software to perform certain tasks, so if your not an advanced user you can still download this software and only use it following my posts. TweakUI has a proper graphical interface so it is easy to use if you know what your changing.

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/downloads/powertoys/xppowertoys.mspx > Scroll down half way and on your right hand side you should see a link "TweakUI.exe"

Windows XP only, i think

Impulse to kill files?

Interesting title, i know.
Do you ever suffer from searching your computer and going "crap, crap, carp, rubbish, useless, space waster etc. etc.", finding random files you really don't want and sending them to the recycle bin, then to find no, i need that file, dam it, and then trying to spend hours on the net finding a recovery software?

Well, you could try this freeware, not!, why don't you just prevent this impulse!

I actually suffer from this too, i was obsessed to empty the recycle bin as soon as the icon changed from empty to having something in it.

A. I moved the recycle bin to under my documents instead of the bottom right corner which was its default position. This increased the view of it, so if you did that too, place it back in the corner.

B. Use a a recycle bin instead of a trash bin (what I am trying to say is set your bin so it just holds the files until you empty it instead of deleting it as soon as click delete) this will also prevent accidental deletions. To do this:

*Open up the recycle bin > Right click > Properties > Make sure "Do not move files to Recycle Bin. Remove files immediately when deleted" is unchecked. This should be the default i think, if you can see files you deleted in the recycle bin then this is obviously off.

C. Use of "Pre-Delete" folder, make a folder on the desktop and call it what ever you like, then when ever you have an urge to delete something throw it in there instead and if you decide that you really don't need it you can send it to the recycle bin. This is especially useful when deleting program or system files because moving it to a different location will show you if the program can run properly without that file.

D. Only have the recycle bin in the quick launch bar, less vision and smaller icon will make you only empty the bin when you need more space or when your not busy and have time to realise that there are a lot of files in your bin. To do so:

* Go the desktop > Drag recycle bin into taskbar until you see a black line divider and then drop. This will place the recycle bin in your taskbar, i think it might already be in there in some default set outs by Windows. If it is already there precede to the next step.

* This step removes the recycle bin from the desktop. There should be other ways to do it but i did it the easy way and downloaded TweakUI (read next post for download info) and then went to the desktop item and unchecked recycle bin.

Busy Ext. Hard Drives?

I use my ext. hard drive mainly for backing up my data disk so i only need it plugged in once a week to catch up on updated data on my computer. An annoyance that happens a lot is that some program (probably not the back up software as it was long closed) is holding the ext hard drive from being unplugged (software wise) I could always look at the light on my hard drive and say well it's not blinking therefore it is not reading or writing to disk so it could be safe enough to unplug (physically) but there has always been the myth that doing so before Windows says "it is now safe to unplug the device" will damage the device or lose data. I have done this before but i don't want to make a habit of it.

The other day, something, i don't know what, made me do an anti-virus scan (Avast AV) on the ext- hard drive (i actually started it for a few files and then stopped it rather than doing a complete scan) believing that the AV scanner would release the files from what ever program is using it and it worked! only tried it once but why not try that next time you get locked up? My theory is that the AV stops all other applications from accessing the disk or files so it can prevent viruses or bugs from sending data or spreading if it needed to remove it. My theory about the lock up is that Windows is access it, maybe system restore or something but like you might have noticed i used the word theory, i barely know how AV or Windows software works.

By the way i use Avast AV in my ext. hard drive scenario so i don't know if it will work with others.

WMP on the taskbar

You can place WMP on the taskbar (i.e next to your quick launch short-cuts or next to your system clock))

This tip is handy for my last post (WMP - Random Playlist) as it places WMP away in a neater place and also allows you to have access to the next song button, which is really useful if you don't got that button on your keyboard. Not to mention it allows you to pause the music to hear others talk to you if you've got your music on too loud.

1. Right click on an empty part of the taskbar

2. Toolbars > Windows Media Player (make it ticked)

3. Open WMP > Minimise the window and it should automatically be placed into the taskbar

WMP - Random Playlist Short-Cut

WMP = Windows Media Player by the way.

The story, With my holiday at home, I listen to music more often and play songs at random from my collection. I usually use MPC (Media Player Classics) for single mp3 playback as it consumes less computing resources. For lots of songs and random playing I need to use WMP as it has that ability. Today i developed a way to speed up the process of me opening WMP and playing my songs at random.
I usually open my music folder (I have short cuts in Start menu) and right click on one of my songs and click "Play with media player" as the default launch program is MPC. I would then go to library and in the search box type "eastern" as i have organised my music in eastern (asian music) and western (english music) and non-vocal music. I would then have to click one of the songs in the search results and play it and then all the search results songs (ie asian music) would be loaded into the now playing list and random song selection would be performed.

The methods, read the above paragraph first, I was going to divide the method and story apart but i have mentioned what the long way is in the story and to make the short-cut you need to perform the long way first.

Note: My scenario is assuming you divide your music into folders if not, just load your library and play any song you like.

Do the long way and play a song from the search results or just your library so songs load in the now playing playlist (the right hand side column)

Set playing to random,
In WMP > Play > Shuffle (Ctrl+H)

Save Play List,
In WMP > File > Save Now Playing List As > (Type in file name and save to desktop)

The result, now your music is just one click away and you've got your ipod shuffle on your PC! If you don't like shuffle music you can always uncheck Shuffle and just have your music playlist on your desktop to speed up finding a song or clicking the WMP icon to start up WMP.

More tips,
If you don't like the song in shuffle you can always use the next song button on your keyboard or in WMP to skip to next random song. The button likes something like this (>>|) = Next song . (|<<) = Last played song

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Smoother YouTube playback

If the video your playing stops and loads some more before it plays again and does this quite often it is most likely that your Internet connection is not fast enough to load the video before playback.

The solution, press pause when you first open the video. Watch the playback line (seek like) you will see a grey line go toward the right side (the end of the video). Wait for the line to go all the way to the right, this means the whole video is finished loading and now press play, this will load the whole video before you play it so you will never have to sit there in the middle of a climax to wait for the video to load more.

This tip is especially useful for dial up users, that's right, dial up users can watch YouTube too, just takes a while to load a long video.

Process Explorer

Allows you to pause, prioritise, kill, restart and monitor processes on Windows XP (also works on most Windows 98 up).

www.systeminternals.com > Process Utilities > Process Explorer > Download Process Explorer

Explorer Lags or delays

Today i set a full virus scan on and left my computer, i came back and it was still going so i paused it and then opened some applications, too many apparently as my computer just went into big time lag period which never fixed itself.

The solution, download ProcessExplorer from www.systeminternals.com. This little application allows you to see how much CPU each process is using and it showed that Explorer was using 94%+ so the only way to fix this is the either close many applications (which i did with no result) or right click on explorer (you can also try this with other processes) and click restart. This will kill explorer so make sure you save all important work first. Sometimes explorer will refresh and most except open folders will usually show up again with your work untouched but there is a good chance that it won't and you will only have the wallpaper and maybe one or two applications left open. This means you can't really use windows anyway so you might as well of restarted yes? no! if you have a Microsoft keyboard or other keyboard with the Windows key or My Documents (My Music, My Pictures etc.) press one of those buttons to launch an application or folder and this will most of the time bring back explorer for you to continue using your computer.

Saturday, November 10, 2007


LOL, I just realised what labels are for and how to use them.

Sooo, I will probably group my posts from now on into label categories. Check previous post for description of labels.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Web Masters

So far in my holiday I've done some photoshop banners for my blogger sites and i think I am now going to fix my up web sites. I have a few websites, they're not great but they are ok but i think it is time to try and shed the armature web programmer look so I will try to improve some things or just re-design the whole thing!

In the course of doing so I will post about some of the free online services I use that are excellent and also give some tips and ideas for beginner web creator want to bes.

In my holiday if i don't waste all of my time, I also want to as I've mentioned before upgrade my PC and i hope i can blog about that too, what to be careful of, how to find the right parts etc.

First I've really been shredding my notes from school and packing up my good notes so i can pack it up in a box and put it in the garage to create more room in my room: the purpose -> to create better air flow of course. With my newer and more powerful computer in my small room it overheats on excessive usage but still survives but in summer when the room temp is 32 degrees C without the computer being on it will crash if i overdo the graphics a little or even process video, which is inconvenient. I have already moved things i rarely use into boxes and place them onto of my wardrobe but i think i may move the boxes into the garage to free up even more air flow. My only concerns are insects in the garage and pest that will eat anything so for now I've only place notes in there and packaging and boxes of my technology but if things work out i may even place some of my old hardware there, old ball mouses etc.

To free up air flow originally i move the tower further up. It use to be in a special place on the desk designed for tower like most desks so when you press the CD tray you could place the CD in at arms length but now i have moved the tower to even with the monitor (i now need to get up before placing DVDs into tray) and now the scanner goes where the tower was therefore i just swapped them around really.
To make even more air i have move my desk a little forward from the wall to give some air flow behind the desk and also moved the tower closer the the front of the desk. I have also opened the side panels of the tower by 1 cm so the panels are still on but there is a gap at the back where the panel is suspose to tightly touch, this allows air to be sucked in from the back.

There has been a lot of debate about whether taking the panels off completely is better than leaving them on in terms of cooling affects. The computer fans are suspose to suck in air from the room to cool the computer down because the air inside the computer is warmed up by the heating parts of the computer (hard disk, CPU etc.) so if you remove the panels you get an immediate room temperature inside the computer tower, a contrasting view is that maybe the fans are designed to direct cool air to certain parts or areas of the computer and that by opening the case it distorts the direction and flow of the sir produced by the fans.

In my experience, when it gets hot in summer, open windows, open case and place a desk fan aimed at hard drive if you downloading, cpu and graphics card if you playing a game or using an application. You could use a bigger fan but for me i think a desk fan will provide more desk space, less noise and less force which might be a better idea for fragile parts on on the computer board (to my experience and industry technology standards no computer parts will be damaged by a strong home fan but desk fans I feel are better but larger fan (especially those square ones) are better for all round cooling but if you only need to cool specific components then a desk fan will do.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Is my computer short or hight performance based

Recently this year I have tried to put my computer in the most healthy condition as possible and put it back into shape.

To do so I do internal dust cleaning, fan and heatsink cleaning using a large soft paintbrush and a vacuum cleaner. I also try to keep my desk as clean as possible and remove dust around it.

After I have physically cleansed the computer i have to move on to spiritual cleaning, not technically i really mean software as it is intangible.
I do a defrag on my hard drives using Auslogic
Do a registry repair and untangle with Regpair

and to keep my computer's ethics clean i do a Avast AV scan, Spyboy S&D scan, Ad-aware scan and finally and occasionally a Noadware3 scan. A firewall shouldn't be a cleaning process it should be on when ever electricity is running through your computer (excludes power off state) fine, when every your screen has the ability to display some sort of picture (hence cancelling out power off).

Check back often and i will do reviews on the software i have just mentioned above and i will also tell you where you can download them safely and free.

Recently i have planned to upgrade the memory and now with school out of the way, i really want to put some more muscle into the computer.
Maybe it is my computer craving for me RAM as it knows i am planning to put more in or maybe it is being runned down, my theory is that maybe i have set the swap files on partitions and is causing some sort of a hard drive slow down, occasionally i get a high CPU usage reading when loading something big and when the spike hits max i get a stutter of mind blank from my computer, I am not crossing the possibility of viruses (by the way you should really read my up coming review on Avast, you might be surprised)

Like anything though i can't really expect my computer to run like when it was brand new at least not after 2 years of servicing me, just like cars you can't really expect it to be as good as it was when it was brand new.

As schools out i have been playing games again and have noticed games under perform even on my AMD 64??? my IBM (P3 600mhz) didn't even do that bad but i am comparing different games. So i think i will get some more RAM and see how it goes, trouble is, it is almost Christmas so i hope they still have stocks.

I could probably reinstall Windows XP Pro but that is why i disliked the IBM, it always required a reinstall and i lost all my data continuously but luckily it wasn't too hard or long to install Win98se compared to XP. A problem was for some reason i always had problems getting Win98se to detect my printer, modem and scanner and that really bugged me when a reinstall had to happen.
If you learn something here on my blog, let it be do not delete system files from Windows 98se or your just asking for a reinstall, yep that's why in the past when i first started using Windows i had so many re-installs: trying to save space by deleting Windows, a Mac and Linux user would say your brilliant!! your a genius but if your a Windows users don't use that dam delete key unless you know the file your deleting is an ugly photo of yourself else don't delete it just cause you can.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Partition Magic (Gparted)

I've talked about Partition Magic before and it did seem to work quiet efficiently but recently i have had to partition my hard drive to fit Ubuntu (a Linux distribution), I had had create a partition for Linux it self and a swap file for it too. I also tried to rearrange my swap file partition for Windows.

The result was it took a very very long time, maybe even up to 6 hours if I remembered right. A reason for this too was because i had shrunk and then grew my partition when changing my mind and forgot that it was recorded in the "to do" tasks list which made it re-size and then contradict the operations. But still it takes about 2 to 3 hours to work on 150Gb hard drive which some people may say is outrageous and decide to use an alternative software but I think that if it the long wait can ensure a safer partition then I would stick with this software but because i have not tried any faster partition alternative software I can not say if the faster partition times are due to better programming or as a result of checking less and hence increasing risk level of losing data.

What was of concern to me was that there was a thunderstorm and hail warning in my area of the time of partitioning and I knew that if I were to stop the software with 2 hours to do it would screw up my hard drive fore sure and if a surge or back out happened it would have the same effect so I just hoped very hard that there was still electricity until it was done.
My suggestion for those attempting to partition a hard drive using this software would be to use a UPS to ensure power in the case of lightning (UPS won't last 6 hours in most of the models I've seen and you can't simple save and resume after power is back up) so alternatively i would have a look at the weather and ensure a fine day ahead. This still doesn't solve the problem if you had a black out due to excessive energy consumption in summer or winter due to heating and cooling demands and a PSU would still not save you (I think) so really a faster partitioning software may be worth your investment of time if you wish to partition large hard drives or many (for what ever reason you have so many) or simple just connect up a bike with electricity generating functions and power your PC the healthy way.

In summary, back up your data before trying to partition and have a Windows install CD near-by for the worst of situations.


Vodafone is a telecommunication company.

I just got a SIM card today, yes, 18 years old and finally decided to purchase a SIM card, my friends probably won't believe this for a while. They always knew that the only way to contact me was on my 24 hour hotline otherwise known as E-mail and MSN as I am always in front of the computer.

I had a phone before but let the SIM card go out of service as i didn't top up with credit for ages, I felt it was a financial burden, yes $30 for 6 months is a financial burden for me, I am a student!

Because I am planning to travel a little probably for I might be getting a licence soon (fingers crossed) I figured better get some form of phone to call for help at least if I get lost of have car problems. I liked Vodafone because my sister has it and can use a 365 day plan which means $30 for 356 days which means my financial burden has halved, woo hoo! I don't know how long this will last though, if too many people use this Vodafone may decrease the time in order to stimulate more top ups.

As a tech savvy person i really liked Vodafone's activation process, i got to talk to a robotic computer (who had a female voice rather than stupid MS text to word style tone) and it was really cool to see how precise the system was a "yes" was always detected and never interpreted as a no, that's the best voice recognition software i have ever experienced (have you ever tried to use the mic for MS word to speak type an essay? you might as well be drunk and type an essay) Things like phone number, birth dates were precisely detected. What i still reckon is that it may be recorded and real person listens to the voice recording and adds it to a database.
A problem i found was when reading a number i read ahead and read the 4 5 instead of 54, so i don't know why they accepted it anyway, probably a flaw soon to be exploited.

I tried to activate my SIM over the Internet like they first suggested on the packaging but when i completed the process it just returned to the home page with no answer, i tried to do the whole form again but it wouldn't even load this time so i just assumed it was activated and tried to call some friends and then it told me i wasn't activated and i was being directed to Laura (the computer) and she did the job.

Activation via web, crap and waste of time
Activation over phone with Laura, excellent except that I felt confused about how to correct my 45 54 error.

XXL LCD for Photoshop?

My computer desk is too large for my liking but is actually probably too small to fit two monitors on, which is exactly what I need right now.

As I am finished school for now, I have been playing around with Photoshop to create web content and images to make my sites look flashier. Maybe even learn flash web sites during this holiday but for now Photoshop is my new toy and i have always hated the layers window on the right cause I usually make banners that spread over across the whole screen so yesterday I moved it to the bottom right corner and that didn't seem to create a huge inconvenience but I also tried to move the tools pallet and that screwed up my working habits good so I decided to keep it there.

My problem right now is that i have added a CD of add on to Photoshop ranging from brushes to plug-ins and now when i click on those buttons it fills up my screen with the pop up menu. I am hoping on finding a way to create folders and group like items together.

HSC finished

Yay! I finished, now for the nerve racking experience of waiting for the results.

I have so much to catch up, I've amazingly or some may say unfortunately did lots of computer and technology stuff during the period of pressurised and hectic study.

I really want to learn to touch type, I've been having to may typos i can't see that i have to fix up when I've finished blogging.


Hey guys,

Just finished doing my maths test, i think i totally bombed out. I have my IP&T test tomorrow, see how that goes, so far it doesn't look like I've excelled in any subject.

I'll see if i can fit in some blogging after all the dramas and hectic exams. I'll need a cool off period and also have some post-exam events to attend to.

Again, doesn't look like things are all too well (maybe i have high standards or maybe this is just a harder exam than i thought) anyhow lets see how we can make the best of this ugly situation, did someone say Photoshop? lol

Is your e-mail provider compatible with E-mail clients?

I one who is lazy and i like to use e-mail client software such as Outlook 2003, well i did until one day it tried to install a missing feature and couldn't be fixed so instead of trying to trouble shoot it i decided to convert to ThunderBird all together, lucky TB had an import feature so i could just add all my addresses and e-mails from Outlook.

One bad thing with ThunderBird is when you open hyper links it doesn't open at all unless if you install ThunderBrowse which is currently the only problem i have found.

One of the annoying things is many services don't support pop and SMTP services no more, that is, the services needed to grab and send mail from your e-mail client. Hotmail and Yahoo do not support it, Yahoo.com.au or .com.something else will usually work but not .com which is what i have. I don't know what i did but i have registered as Australia twice and i have always only gotten .com and could never get .com.au

Gmail (Google's e-mail service) does provide this feature currently. Others stop this service because when you log in to your account on the Internet you will see adverts on the same screen as your e-mail and this generates revenue for the companies that provide you this service, using TB or Outlook doesn't as the adverts are not sent to you or viewed by you in any way. I have a feeling that Gmail will change in the future but for now if you need to be lazy and need an e-mail account i would say e-mail me or send me a message and i will get you an invitation (currently only invited peoples can join Gmail)

If you already have the other accounts like me (i have Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail) then i could only recommend using a TB plugin called WebMail or install a software called freepops of which both i have not been able to successfully use at this time of posting.

Please note, you have to Google keywords i post such as "thunderbird plugin webmail" because i don't want post the link to actual software or what not unless i feel you can not search for it. This is slightly due to the fact that links can sometimes change or be outdated so it is always better to search for the latest versions of my suggested software to avoid missing features and compatibility issues that may arise.

My first computer mod

I posted about cooling my computer more with an extra cooling fan i had lying around. I've done it, the computer seems to be a bit more louder but now that I've closed up my case and bay covers it seems to be ignorable but a noisy computer is much better than a non-working one i guess.
I opened up the front cover of the tower first (didn't know i could do that) and not really surprising, there was groups of cotton ball like balls of dust from two years of operations. I also found that there is a place for my fan at the front of the computer on the bottom and that fan is ducted to the bottom of the tower. The problem i had with that idea was that there was a secondary hard disk in the way, i could work around it but didn't want to fiddle around with that in the future when it comes to cleaning time so i decided to use 2 5.5" bays to hold the fan. I could screw the fans to the metal plate that was there at the front but because the fan would be too close to the holes in the metal plates which it made it loud, i decided to place the fan a bit further back, there was no design for that so there was no holes but i managed to work-around this limitation by using ordinary string and string it trough the holes in the fan and the hold on the side of that bay which are used to screw CD drives in place, i did this on both sides to hold the fan in place in case if i need to move or shake my tower. I hope this design will bring me better cleaning procedures, more efficient cooling and better noise control. You'll hear me whine in future posts if my deign doesn't meet it's perfect intention.

On a different note, I have done something i though was very risky and dangerous. I re-sized my hard disk partitions so i can create a section of my disk to be dedicated to Spooling, Cache of browsers and virtual memory or swap file. These types of files are usually temporary and cause lots of fragmentation (wiki this word if you don't understand) if i can partition this type of data to a certain PHYSICAL area of the disk it can make defraging hard disk easier because the fragmentation is located in one place of the disk rather than all over the disk. Less fragmentation and especially less fragmentation all over the disk will cause faster and healthier hard disk operations which is important on the operating system (OS) disk (i.e. hard drive where Windows is installed) as programs and the OS performance will be affected by time lags of having to seach all over the disk for the other parts of a file stored on the disk.
I used Pmagic 1.8 as a bootable CD by downloading the ISO, the software was one of the best Linux based live CDs, previously when i tested out Linux operating systems it had bad loading times and response times but this software was fast and had excellent image and graphics, way beyond my expectations for a bootable program.
It was also fairly simple to use, which is really good for me as i am new to Linux and their graphical user interfaces. This program allows to you shrink the size of an existing hard drive and use that extra free space as a new partition. I have only used it once so i do recommend it but i also even strongly recommend that you back up ALL your data first ( i used an external hard drive ~ 1:1 size worth my computer but only backed up data, i.e. excluded OS and programs installed) as i can't say that nothing bad will or can happen to your case of using this software, what i also did before using the software was defraged my disks (with AusLogics Disk Defrag, which i am still trailing but so far provided faster results than Windows but lacked features like what files are defragmented and analysing if the disk needs to defrag but why do you need it? just use Windows defrag and then to actually defrag the disk use AusLogics)

After partiting my hard disks i decided to rename my partitoned disks, they use to be called 128, 74 and Gec Soft because the disls were 74GB, 128GB and Gec Soft data disk but now as i have partitioned as new disk the disk is no longer 128GB so i decided to rename all my disks to be more meaningful and now they are Win OS, Data Disk, Achieve and Vram (or virtual RAM as this new partition is intended for RAM or temporary data)

I am a clean freak inside and outside of my computer so now it is really eye sore, a dam Vram disk is showing in "My Computer" and cause i am impulsive and clumsy i know i will click on it so many times and waste time as i am use to Gec Soft disk being the last disk in the list of hard drives. A quick Google search and surely the use of Tweak UI from Microsoft's power tools can help me tweak the computer to hide the nasty icon that i won't need as the data in there should be written by software and deleted automatically when it is not needed or when the program closes.

By the way I use Google instead of Yahoo! because i dislike their business methods and social values, Google search "Yahoo communist" or along those lines to read about their law suits with revealing democratic activities on the net to the government of China which caused democratic fighters and freedom of speech practice-ees to be locked up in jail for 10+ years which i personally think is too much, not even a thief would be locked of for 10 years and they are actually doing damage to the community (not that they should be locked up in the first place). Anyway that's another chapter in this book.


Cool, Tweak UI can also get rid of MSN's stupid sharing folder in My Computer which is annoying cause i only send single files and don't need sharing folders, the program also allows me to remove Saved Files on this computer from My Computer "menu" (it is not actually deleted only the shortcut in my computer is removed) which is alos good because i didn't like Gecsoft's documents (shortcut to my documents) and all the other users documents showing in my computer. It kinds looks hollow now but i guess it is neater.

Re-use old speakers thanks to standard audio cables

Recently (in this school holidays) i have decided to get a stereo set, and two not very powerful old speaker boxes in the garage which was really only sitting there waiting for me to find a place where i can recycle my technology and electronics at no cost to me, i got a cable (audio cable, one black to one black and one red) that i brought a while back which i intended to use for recording LPs for my dad as he has moved on to digital and didn't want to listen to LPs no more. I found out that my LP recording plan didn't go so well because i didn't have an amplifier that had an output to my computer and the amp only had all inputs so i really couldn't get anything to my computer. So again ~$10 wasted on a cable.

In summary i re-used some old technology and a cable that i brought but didn't use to connect up my old computer (which is now the family computer), the PC is located in a rhombus room so it echos and the original IBM speakers that came with was weak and had bad quality and low volume. So i connected the speakers to the stereo set and connected the stereo set to the output of the computer and now i have loud and clear sound on the family computer which is really good as i just recently discovered online radio as i just recently had broadband.
I am fairly happy with the results because i can re-used the old stuff (I am a green supporter) and it really does a really good job, i can hear my sister listening to her music outside of the house (probably not good for health but it is now louder than my 5.1 surround sound set up in my own computer and it costed me nothing)

Its fairly hot today, i just opened up the cover of my 5.5" bay cover (the piece of plastic that covers up the empty space where a CD or DVD drive can be installed on a PC) i have a spare fan so i am hoping that i can make a big difference in cooling of the computer.s

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Set Out

This is how I am planning to set out my posts:

Info: Help and discussion on how i will operate my blog

Event: Means an event or scenario in my life

Idea: Something i have done with technology that you could try too

View: My view point on things, corporate tactics of sales of technology, false advertising, predictions on technology, tricky conditions, warranties and promises etc.

Tips: Tips for software, hardware and general computer usage

Tutorial: This tag means my post will have some directions and instructions that you could try to follow to do something i have done, computer mod, problem solving etc. (most likely in basic detail)

Review: I am going to post personal reviews about Internet services, software and technology that I have used and what I think about them

Links: Useful websites or interesting sties i have come across

Resources: This is most likely going to be the same as "Link:" but if this label is on a post it means that the link goes to a site that provides a service or good (such as software) and will be more likely useful to developers such as web masters.

Misc: I am just going to use this label to cover my random posts


Hey, welcome to my first post on this blog.

I am planning to log all my experiences, ideas, problems and solutions that arise from living a lifestyle that integrates technology.