Mozilla debuted Firefox 15 just a few days ago, and unlike most of the recent releases, version 15 includes some major changes. The most notable among them is an improvement in the way the browser uses and releases memory. Mozilla has been working to fix the memory leak problem that has been plaguing the browser for years, and although I won’t hold my breath, Firefox 15 is showing appreciable improvement. According to the organization, the developers have managed to patch Firefox 15 solving the most common add-on leaks. The best part is that add-on developers don't have to do anything as the fix applies to all add-ons.
Friday, August 31, 2012
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Microsoft removed the Start Menu from Windows 8 saying that nobody uses it and that everybody pins their favorite program to the taskbar. But anyone who has tried to pin files and folders to the taskbar will tell you how false the statement is. It is not possible to pin everything to the taskbar like you do on the Start Menu. The Taskbar is very stubborn in this regard. You can pin Windows Explorer, but it will open only to your Libraries and not your Computer. You can pin neither folders nor files, and Control Panel applets and system tools are off-limits too. So how does one bring the universal pinning functionality of the now defunct Start Menu to the taskbar?
Sunday, August 26, 2012
If you are trying to install Windows 8 in a virtual machine for testing purposes, no need to struggle with myriads of tweaks that is necessary to make it work on VirtualBox. Leading virtualisation developer VMware has just released VMWare Player 5 which makes installing Windows 8 as a guest operating system on Windows 7, Linux and Mac OS a breeze.
One Year Ago: TeraCopy Alternatives, Recover Deleted Registry Keys, Book Recommendation Sites and More
A hand-picked selection of articles published between August 12 and August 25 of previous years.
1 Year Ago
Saturday, August 25, 2012
Last week at the Kepard VPN giveaway, nearly one-third of those who participated said they want to use VPN to access geo-restricted websites, such as Hulu, BBC iPlayer and others. Indeed, the most commonly used and functional method to go around country blocks is to connect to a VPN server located in a country where the service is legally accessible. But there is another way to unlock these websites – by spoofing your location by tampering data packets and this is exactly what UnoDNS offers.
If you haven’t already noticed, Windows 8 no longer supports Sidebar and Gadgets. These were deprecated in favor of Start Screen apps and Live Tiles, even as users argue that both are different things. Gadgets were initially supported in Windows 8 Consumer Preview and Release Preview, but now that Windows 8 has been released via MSDN and Technet, users have discovered that they have been entirely removed. However, it is easy to bring back this functionality in Windows 8.
Friday, August 24, 2012
When you copy text or files in Windows, the data goes into the Windows clipboard from where it is made available (for pasting) in as many different data formats as possible. When data is pasted into another application, the format that is closest to that application's native format is used, preserving as much of the original data as possible. So you can copy text from a PDF document and paste it into a Word document, and never think twice. Similarly you can copy images from the web browser and paste it into Microsoft Paint. You can even copy an image file from Windows Explorer and paste it as an image in Microsoft Word.
Windows includes a number of interesting tools such as Narrator, Magnifier, On Screen Keyboard, and a host of others under the “Ease of Access” applet in Control Panel. A subset of these tools are also available directly on Windows logon/lock screen. These tools are largely targeted towards the elder generation of users with disabilities typical of old age such as poor eyesight. Since they make up only a small percentage of the Windows userbase, most users have learnt to completely ignore the “Ease of Access” tools. The “Ease of Access” button on the Windows logon and lock screen is hence mostly underutilized. If you are looking to replace “Ease of Access” tools with something you will actually find use for, check out Ease Of Access Replacer.
Thursday, August 23, 2012
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
All new web browsers utilizes the empty space on a new tab to display a row of thumbnails of your most recently and frequently visited web sites. Opera calls this the Speed Dial, after the speed dial feature found in most phones, while other browsers simply call it the ‘new tab page’. In Firefox and Chrome, the new tab page is not very customizable. The extent of customization that is allowed on the new tab page depends on the browser you are using. In Firefox you can arrange the order in which the thumbnails appear and pin select sites so that they are always available. In Chrome, you can arrange the thumbnails but you cannot pin sites. This is why third-party speed dial/new tab page extensions are very popular among Chrome and Firefox users. However, they still lack the ability synchronize your speed dial across all your computers and devices. Currently, the only speed dial extension that supports this is FVD Speed Dial.
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Windows Defender was introduced as an anti-spyware program in Windows Vista and remained thus in Windows 7. In Windows 8, Microsoft upgraded Defender into a full fledged antivirus software comparable to Microsoft Security Essentials. In fact, Windows Defender is Microsoft Security Essentials and is intended to function as the default anti-virus program on Windows 8 computers. Although not immediately apparent, because it doesn’t have an icon in the notification area, the antivirus program is indeed running and protecting you against malware infection.
Among the many radically different interface changes Microsoft introduced in Windows 8 is one called “hot corners”. If you're unfamiliar with the term, it’s a triggering system that actions by hovering the mouse pointer over the four corners of your screen. In Windows 8, the traditional Start Menu is gone and is replaced by these hot corner or hot edges.
When you move your mouse to the right edge of the screen, a an interface called the Charms menu is displayed. The Charms Bar provides icons to access Search, Share, Start Screen, Devices and Settings. It is from the Charms menu that you shutdown or power-off your computer.
Monday, August 20, 2012
You must have read countless articles that talk about possible uses for old computers. Aside from the most obvious ones (sell or donate), there are some interesting projects mostly revolving around servers – web server, file server, network attached storage device or a proxy to tunnel through from work. You can do the same with your old Android device that is gathering dust in the desk drawer.
Be careful of what you upload to your SkyDrive storage, for even a single stray image containing offensive material can make you lose your entire Microsoft account and all services associated with including Outlook/Hotmail, XBox 360, Zune and what not, as a German man recently found out the hard way.
Every cloud storage service has its own set of policies and restrictions that determine what you can or cannot store there. This is reasonable as long as the policies are restrictive only towards materials that infringe copyright or violate laws of the land, such as child pornography. But Windows Live code of conduct that governs SkyDrive are much more restrictive than that.
Saturday, August 18, 2012
DAEMON Tools USB is a new free program that lets users remotely share USB devices over LAN, WAN or the Internet. While it is possible to share USB storage devices such as Flash drives and external hard disk over a local network, DAEMON Tools USB makes the process easier. Additionally, using DAEMON Tools USB it is possible to share non-mass storage devices such as webcam, printers, USB speakers etc.
Friday, August 17, 2012
How protected are you when surfing the Internet? How often do you expose your sensitive information to spyware or malware? How often does the government see what you’re transferring? If you’re like most people, you really don’t know. The actual answer is pretty stunning – the amount of risk on the modern Internet is staggering. For 10 lucky readers, that won’t be a problem, though, thanks to Kepard’s awesome giveaway.
Last week, BitTorrent Inc, the company that bought uTorrent in 2006, announced that uTorrent will start displaying advertisements and sponsored torrents to generate revenue. Following this announcement, BitTorrent Inc. received huge backlash from the community who were already getting bitter with the bloat each update brought to this once lightweight torrent client. The negative feedback forced the company to back pedal on its decision; advertisements will stay but they can be turned off. This still makes uTorrent essentially an adware and the community is not happy about it. Several of them have already switched to alternative torrent clients, and if you are one who is looking to, let me offer you three choices.
Themes designed for Windows 8 comes with an auto-color feature that smoothly and automatically shift the Windows desktop title bar and taskbar color to match the dominant color in whichever background image is currently being displayed. While it is possible to install themes made for Windows 7 on Windows 8, this auto color feature becomes unavailable when you do so.
Will Microsoft ever give us tabbed functionality in Windows Explorer? They may eventually, but not until Windows 10 or beyond … or maybe never. Meanwhile people who desire more out of their file browsers can continue using third party tools like Total Commander or free alternatives like BExplorer. For people who can’t let go Windows Explorer, there is QTTabBar, a shell extension that adds tabs to Explorer.
Thursday, August 16, 2012
Windows 8 is Microsoft’s most controversial release. Right from inception, the new operating system has received flak from all sides, but if you look closely at these criticisms you will find that most of them are directed towards the start page and not the operating system in general. The desktop interface itself is not much different from previous versions, and Windows 8 does include some excellent features such as faster boot, Storage Spaces and File History to name a few.
Yesterday, Adobe pulled Flash Player for Android from Google Play Store orphaning millions of handsets that depends on the ubiquitous plugin to stream online videos on their devices. The decision to discontinue development of the Flash Player for mobile browsers came last November when Adobe announced that mobile Flash would no longer be supported on Android beyond version 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
If you were following the news the last couple of days, you may have heard about the Facebook fake accounts issue. Now a new controversy is brewing around fake Twitter followers.
Bill Rundle, who handles PR for Microsoft New Zealand, detailed an experiment in a blog post in which he bought 2,000 fake followers for just $12.50 per 1,000. While his blog post is mostly about ethics and how prominent personalities are inflating their Twitter follower numbers in this way to assert influence, he does point to an interesting service run by social media management software provider Status People.
Camtasia Studio might be one of the best screen recording software for Windows, but the hefty price tag of $299 means that only a few people can actually use the product, at least legally. The developers can afford to keep the product priced high because it succeeds where all other screen casting software fails and that is in post production. The purpose of this article is to break the elite status of Camtasia Studio and introduce a different product that does everything that Camtasia Studio does and even more.
Sunday, August 12, 2012
A hand-picked selection of articles published between August 5 and August 11 of previous years.
1 Year Ago
Friday, August 10, 2012
It’s very common and even natural for people to run their laptops on AC power whenever an AC source is available to conserve battery. The practice makes sense in regions where power supply is erratic and prone to prolonged power cuts. By making sure your battery is fully charged you can avoid disruption of work when the power fails. While some people prefer to keep their batteries full, doing so for extended periods of time everyday can weaken the battery and it’s ability to hold charge over time. At times, however, this cannot be avoided. There are some tasks that cannot be run off the battery. Windows, for example, refuses to run Windows Experience Index test unless connected to the AC power.
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Microsoft has just released Windows Essentials 2012 (formerly Windows Live Essentials) that includes updated versions of Windows Movie Maker and Photo Gallery, along with the new SkyDrive app for Windows 7 and Windows 8. Other applications included in the Essentials Pack are Mail, Family Safety, and Windows Live Writer. Microsoft has understandably decided to drop a few applications from the 2012 edition such as Bing Bar and Messenger Companion. But the major disappointment comes from the fact that after installing Windows Essentials 2012 you can no longer use Live Mesh.
Microsoft has released a new set of unified drivers for Microsoft mice and keyboards that allows owners of Microsoft hardware to personalize and customize their devices according to the way they use their PCs. The new software called Microsoft Mouse and Keyboard Center was developed to replace a large number of hardware specific drivers Microsoft issued under the IntelliPoint and IntelliType brand. One of the issues customers faced when using multiple Microsoft devices in the past was they had to install different IntelliPoint drivers for different Microsoft peripherals. But with Microsoft Mouse and Keyboard Center for Windows 7 and Windows 8, a single package will service the large majority of mice and keyboards, particularly the recent ones.
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Recently, a new indie-developed psychological horror game called Slender was released and it become immensely popular on the Internet. It received many positive reviews on gaming websites around the web, with phrases such as “pure horror” and “absolutely terrifying” being used to describe the game. Kotaku even has an amusing compilation of videos showing people getting scared when playing Slender. If you liked playing this game and want to re-live the experience, but with a different game, here I’ve compiled a list of games that all have the same terrifying and claustrophobic atmosphere similar to the one in Slender. They shouldn’t hurt your wallet either, because they’re all free.
Last week former Gizmodo writer Mat Honan found his iCloud account compromised which the hackers used to reset his Gmail password. They then gained control of his Twitter account and used it to broadcast racist and homophobic messages. The hackers also remotely erased all of the data on his iPhone, iPad, and MacBook from his Apple account. “In the space of one hour, my entire digital life was destroyed”, says Mat Honan.
The latest Chrome 22 Developer comes with a very handy new feature - configurable keyboard shortcuts for extensions buttons. What it allows you to do is assign keyboard shortcuts to different buttons added to the toolbar by installed extension. So instead of clicking on a button press the associated keyboard shortcut. This is a great way to get rid of buttons clogging up your toolbar as you can simulate button presses with a shortcut key.
Monday, August 6, 2012
Have you ever forgotten the password to a computer or an email account or some program you haven’t used for a while? Or maybe you have a PDF file or Word document or a ZIP file but don’t have the password. Rather than having different password recovery tools for different files, here is one password recovery software that rules them all.
Sunday, August 5, 2012
A hand-picked selection of articles published between July 22 and August 4 of previous years.
One Year Ago
I use Titanium Backup to keep a backup of all apps installed on my Android phone, so if I my phone gets factory reset or I have reinstall something I can do so from the backup without downloading them again from the PlayStore. But the phone isn’t a reliable place to keep backups and important data. Memory cards are cheap and can get corrupted easily. So I keep a backup of the backup copies of apps on my computer hard drive. These backups have been accumulating for quite sometime and with each new backup they become more and more of a mess. I have multiple copies (but different version) of the same app. I even have the APK files of apps I no longer have on my phone. Many of the APKs, I can’t recognize because the filenames doesn’t reflect the name of the app. If you are like me and have lots of APK files on your computer, here’s what you need - APK File Manager.
Kerbal Space Program is a fun and engrossing space simulation game that puts you in charge of an alien space program. Your job is to build rockets and help the aliens, called Kerbals, get off the planet and into space. The game is still under development, and as yet there are goals and objectives. It’s pretty much an open sandbox where you are free to build anything you want and fly it to anywhere.
Friday, August 3, 2012
Microsoft touts Windows 8 as a touch friendly operating system but this is only true for Metro apps. The rest of the OS, which is pretty much the entire thing, uses the same old classic UI with regular sized icons that aren’t optimized for touch.
Take Windows Explorer for instance – it doesn’t have a Metro version. So if want to manage files on your tablet or touch device you better not have thick fingers. Sure the addition of the ribbon into Windows Explorer should make things a tad easier on the tablet, but it isn't quite as good as Metro. Also remember that the ribbon UI was invented not to be touch friendly but rather as a mean to lay bare settings that were previously hidden inside menus. The ribbon is not an improvement over traditional UI as far as touch screen is concerned.
Thursday, August 2, 2012
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Beijing based software development company Kingsoft Corporation – the one responsible for two excellent products: Kingsoft PC Doctor and Kingsoft Office - has released a new free antivirus software Kingsoft Antivirus 2012. Previously Kingsoft Antivirus was part of the now defunct Kingsoft Internet Security package which also includes Kingsoft Firewall and Kingsoft Antispyware programs. The new antivirus is a standalone product and is available free of cost as opposed to Kingsoft Internet Security.
For those who have a fascination for ASCII art and at the same time love to loiter the virtual streets on Google Street view, here is your ultimate dream come true. Peter Nitsch of Teehan+Lax has developed Google Street View in ASCII that lets you explore any place on the planet where Google Street View is available in colored ASCII art. The rendering happens in real time and in your browser, so you will need one that supports WebGL textures such as Chrome or Firefox.
If you have a family PC that everyone uses and it’s your responsibility to keep it up and running, then you have to restrict the users from installing dubious programs, bloatware and unwarranted software. Your family members who aren’t familiar with the Internet can unknowingly download malicious programs and end up installing spyware, toolbars, tons of icons and other general crap bundled with programs from shady developers. As you may have previously experienced, verbally warning your family never works. You need to actively prevent them from installing software. InstallGuard allows you to do that.
Whenever the computer is lagging or some application is taking too long to respond, we usually fire up task manager and look under the Perfo...
A camera is a mechanical device, and just like any piece of mechanical equipment, it will eventually fail. The life of an SLR or Digital SLR...
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A watermark is any recognizable text, logo or pattern that appears over an image to identify the owner of the image and generally used to pr...
Are you running the same mouse cursor (pointer) that came with Windows XP or Vista? How boring! If you can change your desktop wallpaper and...
Search engines can pull up hundreds of recipes for any given dish. Which one will you choose? Surely, the one that doesn’t require you to ru...
A utility that handles compressed files like zip and rar is an essential requirement for every Windows PC. The softwares that are most popul...
Let’s say you and your friend are preparing for an all important exam that is going to decide the course the rest of your life takes. Your f...
Organizing your movie collection is much more than making a list of it. Apart from helping you to quickly browse through your personal co...
If you have changed the default Facebook profile picture and uploaded your own, it’s fine. But if not, then why not replace that boring pict...