Archive for the ‘Software’ Category

Firefox CAN be faster – 4 easy tricks

Tuesday, February 6th, 2007

Now that we all know the hidden pages in Firefox, it’s time to go a bit deeper into tweaking your browser for optimal use. All of the operations will be made in the about:config page, so save your important stuff, open up a new tab, write about:config in the address bar and be prepared. I have gathered four tricks that will improve your Firefox experience, and here they are.

1. Fetch only pages that you click
Firefox mostly resembles to Google from this point of view. It has a built-in feature (enabled by default) that will pre-download the pages behind the links it thinks you MIGHT click. Google anticipates you might click the first result from the page, but how in the world can Firefox anticipate the link you’re going to click? Anyway, in my opinion this is just useless bandwidth usage, CPU power and HDD space. You’re practically downloading and storing pages you are not viewing. Here’s how you stop that in three simple steps.

In the about:config list, filter up your search after ‘network’ so it would be easier for you. Then, find through the remaining list options the key that says network.prefetch-next. It should be set to TRUE. Double click it, and it will turn to false. There we go, now Firefox will stop acting creepy and will only fetch what you click ;)

Tips and tricks: Convert anything to just about anything

Monday, February 5th, 2007

Converting files from one format to another is a necessity and you don’t need me to tell you that. A few years ago, software programs that were converting WAVs to MP3s, AVIs to MPEGs,were pretty much popular, although their abilities were limited to just a few features and not to mention the low format support.

Today, they do have some serious competition, and I am going to present you the most reliable options. The main advantage of what I’m going to present is that you do not need to download nor buy any software. They’re mostly free and accessible via your web browser. Some projects may be still in the beta stage of development, but I can assure you that everything goes safe and sound. Try them out yourself, and feel free to share opinions.

Bill Gates: Vista is so secure it could run life support systems.

Thursday, February 1st, 2007

While on a visit in Romania, where Bill Gates participated in the celebration of 10 years since the Microsoft branch has been running there, and the launch of Vista, Microsoft’s president declared that, with the right amount of administration, the new Vista could run life support systems in hospitals. Here is a fragment from the interview:

Journalist: Let’s imagine a hospital where life support systems are running Vista. Would you trust it with your life?

Bill Gates: Security has been the top priority for Microsoft for quite some time and that’s why I put out a key call for us to focus on that in a very big way over three years ago, and that’s why we’ve made investments like having people from Gecad ( Romanian company ) join on the security action from Microsoft. The answer to your question is that, absolutely, Vista is the most secure operating system we’ve ever done, and if it’s administred properly, absolutely, it can be used to run a hospital or any kind of mission crytical thing. But it’s not as simple as saying “If you use Vista, that happens automatically”. The issues about patient records and who should be able to see them, the issue about setting up a network, so that authorized people can connect up to that hospital network, the issue about having backup power, so that the computer systems can run even if the generators go down. There are a lot of issues to properly set up that system, so that you have the redundancy and the security walls to make sure it fullfils that very crytical function. So we are working with partners to raise their skills to make sure that when get involved in an installation like that they can make it secure. So I feel better about Vista than any other operating system, but there’s a lot of things that need to be done well, and we’re certaintly committed to step up and make sure these security issues are ieasier and better understood.

This could be the truth or it could be one man’s opinion. You can download the above segment of the interview here. (Big thanks to Alex Radescu for the recording)

But the real question that I must ask is this: Would YOU put your life in Vista’s hands? Do you trust it enough?


This would really give a new meaning to the “Blue Screen of Death

Cool trick to rename your Start button

Saturday, January 20th, 2007

I remember the first book I read about Windows ’95. They were beginning proudly to present the differences between it and it’s predecessor, Windows 3.11, and the first thing they mentioned was the Start button.
Now here’s an interesting trick if you’re tired of that green little button in the lower left corner of your screen. It’s quite simple and it doesn’t take more than 2-3 minutes.

If you wonder how come you missed it so far, I’ll tell you. It’s actually hidden, as in not available, and we’re going to have to tweak your computer up a bit.

The process consists in a single step and that would be editing explorer.exe. For this, we will need a simple tool, that I provided for you for a quick download here. It’s called Resource Hack and it’s just about everything we need. So, download the ZIP archive, extract it and run “ResHacker.exe” from inside the archive. Click File, then OPEN, then point out your ‘explorer.exe’ in your Windows directory.

A browsing tree should open with the menus on the left. Click on String Table and you will see some numbers. Expand 37 (or 38) and click on “1033”. You should see a quoted line in the right window, that says: 578,”start”. You can make the desired change for 37 and 38 as well. So, replace the “start” between the quotes with whatever you want it to display, then click “Compile script”.

Now, all you have to do is restart your computer, or simply log off and back on. The start button will display the chosen text. Here are sample results below. Enjoy the trick.

startbuttonbefore startbuttonafter

UPDATE: Due user comments, I’ve considered the following trick. If you can’t overwrite explorer.exe, save the file to “explorer2.exe” for example, in C:\Windows (or whatever your Windows directory is), then you’ll have to tweak up the Registry to accept the settings.

Go to Start, click Run and enter “regedit” in the text box. Push Enter, then browse through the tree up to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE -> SOFTWARE -> Microsoft -> Windows NT -> CurrentVersion ->Winlogon. Check out the list, and you’ll have a “Shell” entry mentioning “explorer.exe”. Change it to “explorer2.exe” and reboot/logoff.

This should be it for good ;)

The 7 hidden pages within your Firefox browser

Thursday, January 18th, 2007

I found myself staring at the “about:blank” parameter for an IE installation today, and that got me thinking if it works in other browsers too. It did. I’m using Firefox, and that cleared the address bar to a blank. And then I figured the developers HAD to include some more address bar commands and started looking them up. Here’s what I found:

about: A simple prompt without any parameter will display the Mozilla “about” information. Since it’s accessible from the top menus as well, it’s not quite a hidden feature.

about:buildconfig Obviously, it will show the build platform configuration and parameters

about:cache Will display info and statistics regarding your disk’s cache, including the name of your cache’s directory and a list of the entries you can find there. By default, Firefox doesn’t allow you to view the cached webpages, so this can be an useful option.

about:config Oh look, many many info. Indeed, it’s the most complex and meaningful of them all. Careful on what you plan to change here, your browser won’t run properly after if you play with the wrong things.

about:plugins Of course, what is Firefox without it’s powerful extensions? This option will display detailed information about all the plugins installed for Mozilla Firefox.

about:credits It’s time to give the credit to whoever deserves it. There’s an alphabetically sorted list of all the people that gave their contribution to the development of Firefox.

about:Mozilla This is a weird thing. It will display the so-called “Book of Mozilla”. Something similar was present in Netscape too. There’s actually no real book although the quotations might give you that impression.

Have fun browsing through your browser’s internal features.

Microsoft’s staff in 1978

Friday, January 5th, 2007

Microsoft Staff 1978

That is a photo taken on December 7th, 1978 and it represents the Microsoft staff. In case you’re wondering, Bill Gates is located in the lower left corner of the picture. The rest of them are as it follows, left to right.

Top row: Steve Wood, Bob Wallace, Jim Lane.
Middle row: Bob O’Rear, Bob Greenberg, Marc McDonald, Gordon Letwin.
Bottom row: Bill Gates, Andrea Lewis, Marla Wood, Paul Allen.

Who would have thought those geek-ish people would help Microsoft become the great corporation it is today?

Firefox Problem – Vanishing toolbar settings

Friday, December 8th, 2006


They’re all sorts of online bookmark websites, such as, and others. I, personally, use, but for only for important links that I need to save when I’m not at my desk.

That’s why I’m almost addicted to Firefox, where I had most of my bookmarks. I spent a while organizing them into a few categories, not to mention the time I spent to save all the bookmarks. (more…)