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Friday, February 27, 2009

A ComputerBoom.com 2-Day Chance to Win Some GREAT Prizes (Offer Applies February 27 & 28, 2009 ONLY)

 

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Hello Everyone!

I believe in Win-Win situations! DO YOU?

I am currently in the running to win a computer helpathlon. This is a competition among computer experts that provide help and support for fixing computers online all around the world. The competition ends on February 28th, 2009 (in 2 days) and I am very close to the finish-line… However, I would appreciate any BOOST that the ComputerBoom.com readers can provide me with.

How Can You HELP Me? Well, if you or your friends need help with fixing problems on their computers or simply super optimizing their computers to make them work FASTER than they ever have, then please email them THIS opportunity:

http://support.computerboom.com

How Do You Get a Chance to Win a GREAT Prize? All it takes is a referral to your friends who may have computer needs, and their hiring me to repair or optimize their computer. They must give me your name and email address, therefore make sure when you forward this information to them, add your name and email address at the top so that they won’t forget who sent this great opportunity to them. Your name will then be added to a Draw.

You can find all information on how to contact me here:

http://support.computerboom.com

So, it is simple! The more customers you refer me to, and then they initiate in a monitary transaction with me to address their computer needs, the more CHANCES you have to win the GREAT Prizes below:

SO! Find me at least ONE paying customer during Feb 27 and 28 and your name will entered into the Draw that will win any ONE of the items below or a PayPal Cash Certificate (you choose what you want)!

Choose ONE of these two (2) items OR receive PAYPAL CASH!

Item #1) READYBOOST PRO VERSION Software License (Retail Value: $39)

This small program will BOOST your PC significantly! I use it myself and I will be presenting it in a future ComputerBoom.com review. This program REALLY works, especially for XP machines. As long as you have more than 512 mb ram, it can use the extra ram to boost the performance of your computer! (Compatible with XP and Vista Operating Systems). READ ABOUT THIS SOFTWARE HERE.

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OR

Item #2) True Launch Bar License (worth $19).

This program is also one that I use EVERYDAY and is a part of my desktop experience! I highly recommend it, so I am giving it as a prize, as well. It boosts your TASK BAR QUICKLAUNCH to do almost ANYTHING imaginable! Read more about this software here.

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OR

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PayPal Gift Certificate:

$35 Will be Credited to Your PayPal Account!
(The winner will need to have a PayPal account in order to receive this prize, however an account can be created at no charge to the winner, should they not have an account.)

I realize that you might not want on of the above programs, but would love having some extra cash to get what YOU want. Who can say no to some extra $$ ? So i will send you $ 35 as a gift certificate in your paypal account!

www.paypal.com

Please Note: This Draw ONLY Applies to Those Who ‘Qualify’.

As Stated on the Top of This Page, Anyone that Refers Me to a New Client and that New Client Hires My Services Online To Repair Their Computer Between February 27 & 28th, 2009 Becomes Eligible to Win One of the Prizes Listed Above.

You can find all information on how to contact me here:

http://support.computerboom.com

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Hotmail Live is updated at last!

 

I just went to log into hotmail today and I saw this new message below. Also for those in USA heads up because hotmail now has POP3 access! Woweeee!!!  After a decade of requests :-) Better late then never.. heh…

Our latest improvements

Here's some new stuff that we're adding because of feedback from people like you. If you don't see these changes immediately, you will soon. We hope you like them.

  • More room for messages. We moved the banner ad to the side so you can see more messages listed in your inbox.
  • Ever-growing storage. Our storage grows with you, so you don't have to worry about whether to save a message or delete it.
  • Info at your fingertips. One click while you're writing a message adds videos and pictures from the web.
Capture

Freeware of the Day: Partition Manager 9.0 Express

 

Paragon partition manager is the best software after partition magic was gobbled up by Norton… and all development of that great software was ceased. Norton bought partition magic, but they did not continue developing it. Its a shame because it was very intuitive.. now in my opinion PARAGON is the best!

Partition Magic IS NOT compatible with Vista!

[ Also worth mentioning while I'm talking about partitioning programs is Parted Magic (to not be confused with Partition Magic) a free Linux based bootable CD, get it here: http://partedmagic.com/ ]

I was amazed to hear of a FREE version of paragon called paragon express!

Here is info from the site:

Discover why we hold a global market share in data safety technology with our latest Free Partitioning Software.

Partitioning is not for amateurs. That is why millions of people have trusted our safe, stable technology and professional software solutions for over 14 years. Our newest Express Edition easily organizes your hard drive and redistributes free space to enhance system performance. Best of all, you can now enjoy the benefits for free!

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Express Key Features
    • Redistribute Unused Disk Space-

      Gain additional space in an your existing partitions by easily resizing and moving partitions with through the smart Resize Wizard

    • Organize and optimize your hard drive-

      Add partitions with the highly intuitive Create Partition Wizard. Leave a core partition to host Windows and automatically create a new partition for work and data files in a logical, intuitive place.

    • Prepare your hard drive for backup-

      Simplify the backup process by separating your data from your Operating System. A structured approach allows you to have a separate location for your OS, your data, and your backups.  

    • Dual boot user systems-

      Many applications still don't work with Vista, so why not keep a copy of Windows XP? With separate drive partitions, you can install several operating systems and have a choice on startup.

Info / Download:

http://www.paragon-software.com/home/pm-express/



Thursday, February 19, 2009

Tips and Tricks: How can I minimize the Vista or XP Magnifier?

 

NOTE: The magnifying glass tool is a small tool built into windows and enables you to magnify the screen in order to see details better. Many people with eyesight problems needs this tool.

Its located in windows XP :
Start > All Programs> Accessories> Accessibility

While in Vista its located at:
Start > All Programs> Accessories> Ease of Access

Question: How can I minimize the Vista or XP Magnifier and then bring it back up on the desktop?

Answer: Good question, since Vista or XP doesn't seem to allow this by default. But we wont let that stop us right?

Here is how:

1) Download the free Power menu http://www.abstractpath.com/powermenu/

2) There is an installer version, for the first version just do run the setup, for the installer-less version, Unzip it and place it in a folder on your hard drive, then create a shortcut to it, in your windows startup folder so that it starts with windows all the time. Run it.

3) Un-dock the magnifier from the screen top or side (or any side for that matter) so you can see its title bar as show below. You do this by grabbing it with your mouse, keeping the mouse button down and dragging it until it snaps off the side of the screen and looks like the image below:

4) Vista: Now when you right click on the title bar you will see some extra options (due to powermenu that is running). From those select MINIMIZE TO TRAY
On XP: You right click the button on the TASKBAR and select MINIMIZE TO TRAY.

minimizemagnifier

5) You will see that the magnifier has vanished from the screen and you will notice a small icon in the tray that is actually the magnifier tool! Click on that and its back on your screen!

See image below> (the windows tray or notification area – next to the time, showing the now minimized magnifier icon:

tray

That's it!

Please leave comments below!


FIX: Windows Internet Explorer (Not Responding)

QUESTION:

Windows Internet Explorer (Not Responding). I get this message fifty times a
day, every time I try to switch programs or follow a link (or at least 20% of
the time). Eventually all I can do is click the red X then it will offer to
restart the program, which is really my only option, and what I have to do.
Is there anything I can do? Should I switch to FireFox?

ANSWER: Its some addon creating the problem most probably

Here is the solution in 2 steps:

step 1

go to start > all programs> accessories>system tools> internet explorer (no addons)

and see if using that for a while makes your browsing stable..

If its stable go to step 2

step 2

download autoruns from the link below, unzip it and run the autoruns.exe (no installation needed)

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb963902.aspx

Go to the internet explorer tab, and uncheck most of the items accept java

autoruns

TIP: Also make sure you have the latest flash version

you can go download it here:

http://www.adobe.com/products/flashplayer


Tip and Tricks: Make Vista Remember the Folder View Settings Like XP

 

Vista doesn't remember the view you set for the folders and keeps rearranging the view as it likes (for example the columns). Here is the fix for this that makes its behavior more XP-Like.

 

  1. Copy the reg file to desktop and and merge it to the registry.
  2. Close all windows before merging
  3. Open folder options and apply the view settings to all like you do in XP.

Comments are welcome!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Freeware of the day: Avira gives a FREE data recovery rescue CD!


Sometimes your computer may be infected so badly that your regular antivirus and antispyware cannot clean the system because all the viruses are loaded into the memory. Thats why avira is giving a free boot disk, which you create a CD or DVD and you start your computer with it, and it boots up to the virus scanner without going inside windows. From there you scan and clean. Then you can reboot into windows and scan with your normal antivirus again.

http://www.avira.com/en/company_news/rescue_cd_.html

Direct download [ Download Avira AntiVir Rescue System ]

Get same file in ISO format DOWNLOAD

All PC users can equip image themselves with a free Rescue System on the website of the German IT security expert Avira. The emergency program enables access to PCs that cannot be started anymore due to a disk crash. The software runs on all modern computer systems and supports current hard drive technology. Write access to all NTFS partitions allows users to perform their own data recovery . The Avira AntiVir Rescue System is permanently updated with the state-of-the-art detection samples and can be downloaded


Avira’s Rescue System includes burning software that can automatically create a bootable CD or DVD. It can boot the computer in an absolutely clean and safe operating system environment if a virus or other malware has caused a system crash. The current virus definition file will detect the current malicious programs and remove them. During the installation and use of the Rescue CD Avira does not require an Internet connection, this keeps the computer safe even if the network card or other online mechanisms are not working.
The offline scan of the Avira AntiVir Rescue CD can also be used to examine an infected computer. This helps to detect malware before it gets active or before it is difficult to remove once the operating system is active. Stealth viruses no longer remain hidden: The Rescue System blocks the disguised harmful programs providing a clean operating system.
About Avira
Avira is a worldwide leading supplier of self-developed security solutions for professional and private use. With more than twenty years of experience, the company is one of the pioneers in this field.
The security expert has several locations in Germany and partnerships in Europe, Asia and America. At its headquarters in Tettnang near Lake Constance, Avira is one of the region’s largest employers with more than 180 employees. Worldwide more than 250 persons are employed and their work regularly wins awards. Avira AntiVir Personal, used by millions of private users, represents a significant contribution to security.
Avira’s national and international customers include renowned corporations listed on the stock exchange but also educational institutions and public authorities. In addition to protection of the virtual environment, Avira also provides for more protection and security in the real world by supporting the Auerbach Foundation. Established by the founder of the company, the Auerbach Foundation promotes charitable and social projects as well as the arts, culture and science.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Change the amount of space used by System Restore

 

System Restore is a very useful feature of Windows Vista but it has one main drawback. After running for a few weeks, it can use a lot of your hard disk space. With the default settings turned on, System Restore might use up to 15 percent of the space on each disk. For example, if you have a 250GB hard disk drive, System Restore might end up using 37,5GB of it. That is a lot of space.

In order to clean up the space see my tutorial here (video)

How to Clean up lost space in windows Vista
Also take a look at this (related)
RESTORE DELETED ITEMS IN VISTA with Previous Versions FOR ALL VERSIONS OF VISTA!!!!

What can we do to limit the amount of space used by System Restore? In Windows XP making this kind of configuration was pretty easy. You had a slider in the System Properties window that you could move left or right to the desired percentage. Unfortunately this slider was removed from Windows Vista.

In order to configure the amount of space used by System Restore, you need to use a tool called Volume Shadow Copy Administrative Command-Line Tool (or vssadmin.exe).

To access vssadmin.exe we will have to open the command prompt with administrative rights. In order to do that, type "cmd" or "command" in the Start Menu search field. The first result should be cmd.exe or the Command Prompt. If you have UAC turned on, right click on it and select Run as administrator.

Start Menu

The Command Prompt will open. The Volume Shadow Copy Service offers several configuration option. Type vssadmin /? and press Enter to see the list of available options.

If you want to know how much space has been allocated and the maximum amount of space that can be used by System Restore, type vssadmin list shadowstorage and then hit the Enter key.

vssadmin

If you want to change the amount of space used by System Restore, you should use the following command:

vssadmin resize shadowstorage /on=[drive letter]: /For=[drive letter]: /Maxsize=[maximum size]

MaxSizeSpec must be 300MB or greater and accepts the following suffixes: KB (for kilobytes), MB (for megabytes), GB (for gigabytes), TB (for terabytes), PB (for petabytes) and EB (for exabytes). If a suffix is not supplied, MaxSizeSpec is in bytes. If MaxSizeSpec is not specified, then there will be no limit to the amount of space it may use.

For example, if you want System Restore to use a maximum of 1GB of space for the restore points on drive "C:", you should type the following:

vssadmin resize shadowstorage /On=C: /For=C: /Maxsize=1GB

vssadmin

The maximum space used by System Restore has now been resized.


Shift-Right Click to Reveal Classic Context Menu (Restore, Move, Maximize, Minimize) on Windows 7 Taskbar App

When right clicking on an application program (its icon) on the Windows 7 Superbar (Taskbar), he or she will be presented with a Jump Lists, which show contextual menu items

which related to the particular program, such as listing recently used documents and files, ability to run another instance of the program, option to pin or unpin the application on the Taskbar and click to close (all) windows.
In previous older version of Windows operating system, such as Windows XP and Windows Vista, user normally will have access to ability to “Restore”, “Move”, “Size”, Maximize”, “Minimize” and “Close”, which deal with the running window represented by the button on the Taskbar.

image

In order to reveal, show and  get back the old classic right click context menu when right clicking on an icon on the Taskbar which the program is running, user has to press and hold down the Shift key, and then right click on the Taskbar’s application’s icon. For the non-running application pinned to Taskbar, Shift+Right Click will reveal the complete right click menu for the shortcut, as when right click on Start Menu items, but with full set of command items such as Open file location, Copy as path and Run as different user.


In the US 491 stations will end broadcast of their analog signal today

In the US 491 stations will end broadcast of their analog signal today at 11:59pm. More stations are due to end their signal, up to 641 stations across America will do so this week or have already 0022ended their broadcast.
President Brarack Obama has asked that more than 100 stations delay until the new cut off date of June 12, 2009 so that American viewers still not fully converted will lose all their favorite stations.
It is still unclear how many homes are still not ready to handle the switch over from analog to a digital signal, requiring consumers to purchase a new TV or upgrade their existing one to include a digital converter box. An estimate 5.8 million people (5.1 percent of America) have not converted or do not know about the change over, even with previous warnings across TV broadcasts.
As of tomorrow morning, some Americans will officially be in the dark on their favourite stations as their analog signal will fail to broadcast.


The ALL NEW YAHOO MAIL!

 

It seems that Yahoo mail! just went through a big overhaul and now its more streamlined and has added some very interesting new features as you can see below.

What does it lack?

Well GMAIL and now HOTMAIL offer POP (gmail also offers IMAP access), while yahoo still gives this feature if you pay for the PLUS version (see here http://overview.mail.yahoo.com/enhancements/mailplus)

TIP: Some localized versions of yahoo mail YOU CAN have pop access for free!
for example yahoo.co.uk has pop mail for free! And you DONT need to live in the UK to get one of those!

Just in case you dont know this yet, now the LIVE MESSENGER and YAHOO CONTACTS can talk to each other. This means that if you have yahoo messenger you can talk to live messenger chat contacts and vise versus. These chat features are now part of the yahoo mail.

you can check it out here: http://mail.yahoo.com

Some of the new stuff of the New Yahoo Mail!:

Easier—And More Fun!—To Be In Touch

Get more done in less time, in style! Now you can make messages more personal with stationery, see photos in our brand-new slideshow viewer, check local news in a click—and more.

Introducing Free Email Stationery!

Have fun choosing the perfect background for an email. Stationery adds a splash of color and helps you to turn an ordinary message into an extraordinary one.

Now View Photo Slideshows in Mail

It's easy, and the pictures look great! On any email that's got photos attached, click Show Images, then click any of the images to start the show.

New Local News Tab

Find out what's going on right out your back door by clicking the Local news tab. It's now one of the news choices on Mail's Home page. To see another area's headlines, click Change Location.

Now Download All Attachments at Once

We've all faced this endurance test: 10 attachments to download! Why can't there just be a button? Now there is: Download All.

Introducing Safari 3 Support

For us, making Yahoo! Mail easy to use includes making it available to people on all types of systems. See other browsers that the All-New Yahoo! Mail supports.

 

screenshot

Chat and text from your inbox

Get a hold of your on-the-go friends. The All-New Yahoo! Mail lets you chat and text right from the comfort of your Inbox.

screenshot

Time-saving email experience

Peek inside any message with the reading pane. Or open it up and quickly toggle back and forth between messages.

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Unlimited storage

It's your mail. Keep it all. With unlimited storage, you can save every email you receive in Yahoo! Mail.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Freeware of the day: TweakUAC for Windows Vista.

 

DOWNLOAD: http://www.tweakuac.com/download/


TweakUAC is a free software tool that you can use to quickly turn UAC (User Account Control of Windows Vista) on or off, or to make UAC operate in the quiet mode. This software is FREE, no strings attached.

 

More information about TweakUAC

Am I at risk if I disable UAC?

To understand the ramifications of disabling UAC (User Account Control of Windows Vista), let's consider the threats it is supposed to protect us from. Here is what Microsoft has to say about it on their User Account Control Overview page:

"The main goal of User Account Control is to reduce the exposure and attack surface of the operating system by requiring that all users run in standard user mode. This limitation minimizes the ability for users to make changes that could destabilize their computers or inadvertently expose the network to viruses through undetected malware that has infected their computer."

In other words, if a virus infects your computer, UAC is designed to reduce the impact of it on the operating system. While that's a good thing, note that UAC does not prevent your computer from being infected with the viruses in the first place, it can only reduce the possible damage caused by the infection. It means that we still have to have anti-virus and anti-spyware software running on our computers (and keep them up to date!) And let's not forget about the firewall, it's just as important as antivirus for keeping your computer out of reach of the bad guys.

How do I install and use this software?

TweakUAC does not require installation, it is ready for use as it is! Just download the file and save it to your computer's hard drive. By default Vista saves the files you download into the Downloads folder. After that, whenever you need to use TweakUAC, just run its file that you've downloaded. If you use it frequently, you may want to create a shortcut to it on your Desktop.

How do I remove this software from my computer?

If you no longer want this software, delete its file from your hard drive (see above), and that will completely remove the software from your computer.

How much is it?

TweakUAC is FREE!

DOWNLOAD: http://www.tweakuac.com/download/


Thursday, February 12, 2009

What are Defragmenters? Freeware, History and other info.

 

Why do we need a defragmenter in the first place?

Simple one line explanation: When files are being rewritten on your disk, with time the data is scattered on the disk and not in one location, thus in order to read the data the disk must revolve more times than before. A defragmenter puts all these files in order.

Do all hard drives need defragmenting?
No! The new next generation SSD (solid state drives) do not need defragmentation.

Should I defragment?
YES! If you keep in mind that the hard disk is the SLOWEST component in your computer, having it working as best as possible is important, but defragmenting ALL THE TIME puts too much stress on your hard drive. Once an a while is fine (depends on use of computer).

The defragmenter in XP was a simple tool, that you had to run manually. It gave you visual feedback and could only defragment one drive at a time. Now with vista they changed that.

With vista the defragmenter works as a background service, this means that if you leave your pc running and its not doing anything else, the defragmenter kicks in and starts sorting the data on the drives of your computer in order for them to work faster.

Of course one can run this defragmenter manually on vista, but there is no visual feedback of what it is doing, and not even a “time of completion” estimate!

This of course has irritated lots of people and it led them to seek out other 3rd party defragmenters some of which are free and DO provide visual feedback.

Microsoft for their own reasons wanted people to ignore the defragmenting problem (by the way linux file systems get far less fragmented!). By hiding the problem they hoped people would forget about it!

From the outcry against this dumbed down vista defragmenter, Microsoft in the latest beta of windows 7 has changed that and added a percentage indication.



See this page on how to do a manual deframgentation on Vista! This method DOES show a percantage of completion
http://computerboom.blogspot.com/2008/02/how-to-perform-full-manual.html

Historical “evolution” of the windows defragmenter

Windows 98




win98

 

Windows XP – I liked this one the best!

windowsxp

 

Windows Vista (and the cryptic message with only a rotating cursor showing that its working)

vista

 

Windows 7 beta 1 – They added back a percentage!

windows7defrag   

Some free defragmenters that work with XP and vista:

http://www.kessels.com/Jkdefrag/

http://www.auslogics.com/en/software/disk-defrag

http://www.defraggler.com/

http://www.iobit.com/iobitsmartdefrag.html (this one also has defragmenting as a service) See comparison Chart from the iobit site>

image

 

So what about the paid defragmenters? What else do they do?
Some files on your hard disk cannot be easily defragmented, like the PAGE FILE for example. So some of the paid defragmenters do that as well.

Also some feature a “smart re-ordering” of files putting less frequent accessed files to a slow part of the drive and frequent accessed files to the fast part of the disk (outer region).

drive

Some also run as a service.

Does a simple user need a paid version? My opinion NO.

 

Comments are welcome!


“Reserved Domain” message when creating a new Live ID

 

This article was originally posted here by John B

I wanted to share this with you as it really hacked me off that I couldn’t find a good reason for things to be acting the way they were!

I was creating a new Windows Live ID for my girl using one of my own domains, and was getting the error

“ The portion of your e-mail address that follows the @ symbol is part of a “reserved domain” such as live.com, hotmail.com, msn.com or passport.com. Please type a different e-mail address. ”

Now this got me initially confused, but then really annoyed. After all it’s my domain, why should Live tell me that I can’t use it?!

I did the usual Googleing of the error and discovered not a solution, but a raft of others seeing the same problems. Admittedly most of these folks were trying to use Gmail or Verizon email addresses but there were a few trying to use their own domains the same as I was, along with what seems to be the standard response form the Live support team of “You can always sign up with a Hotmail or Live email address”! This, as a few others pointed out, is no real answer as what a lot of folks want to do (me included) is to reduce the number of different email accounts we have in place to a more manageable level.

But I was not going to let this this beat me. What is a reserved domain? What can I do to use my domain for Live ID’s? How is this Live thing all supposed to work anyway?? - Oh as an aside here.. if you try to get a new Live ID from www.live.com they only give you a choice of their domains. If you want to use your own email address use the “Sign up” option from the MSN sign-in page.

The resolution - It worked for me, it might work for you!

I already had a Live ID on my domain so I logged into that and went to my account page to see if there was anything in there that would let me ’switch on’ the ability for other IDs to be created, there wasn’t anything obvious.. Child Accounts are simply that.. accounts for children, not what I wanted.

But in the Settings section there is an innocuous link entitled “Administration Center” I clicked on this and was informed that this is the new name for the previous Live Domains product - the idea being that you effectively re-sell Live-based email addresses which appear to be on your domain - Hmmm I thought, perhaps… yes we’ll give this a go. I filled in the confirmation process, added a CNAME to my DNS zone file (this proves you own the domain I guess) and was then presented with an admin screen where I could add new accounts to my domain. Following the tenuous logic and taking a leap of faith I did just that and whaddya know! It created a new Live ID for the new account on my domain YAY!

The new account was able to log in to Live, log in to MSN Messenger (the whole point of the exercise) and everything works.

So… the bottom line here is that if you own your domain and are getting the “Reserved domain” message when you try to add a new ID, dig dig dig into your existing Live account service settings and you should be able to get what you need.

Why this has to be quite so complicated I’m not sure. Why the support folks are not able to identify what needs to be done, again is unclear to me. Why I can’t access my Live account from my MSN page <shrugs> beggars belief, but these things are truisms and that’s it.

I’m sorry this isn’t going to help those with Gmail or Verizon or other generic ISP email addresses, but I guess that Microsoft’s point here.. “Don’t use their generic email system, use ours!”. I know not everyone wants to have the cost and admin overhead of having their own domain, but I’ll bet if you shop around there are some pretty easy places where you could get one with a nice control panel to manage it through, I use Daily.co.uk for mine.

Hope this provides a little insight for some, and that the hoops we have to jump through are seen by Microsoft/Live/MSN as hurdles to the levels of service adoption they seek.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Listen to thousands of online streaming radio stations for free with WINAMP!

 

This is one of my “tutorials in a image” its also a freeware of the day article.

Go grab winamp (free) from www.winamp.com, install it and then follow the red arrows in the following picture to select one of thousands of very high quality music stations that stream music from the internet for free! The means that the station is actually “broadcasting” worldwide via the internet. The great thing with this is that you will find that there are many different “genres” of radio stations that play continuously the same type of music. For example if  you love 80’s pop music, you will find a radio station that plays only that type of music.

If you are music lover, you will LOVE this tip!

 

winamp-radio

 

Comments are welcome!


Saturday, February 7, 2009

New GMAIL feature: Multiple Inboxes

 

From the official Gmail Blog:

( Posted by Octavian "Vivi" Costache, Software Engineer )


I'm seriously into filters and labels. All the email I get related to Flash goes under my "flash" label, everything about paragliding goes under "flying," and they all skip my inbox because that's how I like to stay organized. But when new email arrives I have to switch to the "flash" label first, then click on "paragliding," etc. I wanted a way to see it all at once.

So when I heard about Gmail Labs, I started implementing a Labs feature in my 20% time that would help me (and you!) spend less time monitoring important messages that may end up getting filtered away. Starting today, you can try Multiple Inboxes, a Labs experiment which makes it possible to have more than one 'inbox' in your default Gmail view.

An image is worth a thousand words, so here's what my inbox looks like:



In addition to a quick view of my important labels, I also like to keep all my starred and draft messages in separate panels.
After you turn on Multiple Inboxes from the Labs tab under Settings, you can configure what you want to see, as well as set the number of messages displayed and the positioning of your panels from the Multiple Inboxes section under Settings.
However you choose to use it, let us know how we can improve the Multiple Inboxes experiment -- all feedback is welcome.

Permalink


FreeWare: bitRipper, the most simple DVD ripper in the Galaxy!

 

bitRipper is FREE DVD to AVI software that allows you to back-up your DVD's as AVI files on the hard drive. It can be used for one-click ripping as good as for advanced modes. You are free to choose whether to use default configuration values or to set them manually. There are all necessary settings available:

  • Video and audio codecs configuration
  • Video resolution and aspect ratio
  • Sound track language and sound value normalization
  • Variety of actions to be performed after the copying process is completed
  • Includes 3rd party decryption module for CSS protected DVDs
bitRipper does not require gigabytes of space to copy all DVD content to the hard drive before converting to AVI. It converts video on-the-fly, copying data and writing it to AVI file at the same time.

Commercial product quality

When bitRipper was a commercial application, we constantly worked to improve it. So now, when it became free, you can be sure that you get a commercial quality product at no cost. Here is the list of the most important updates and added features since the first version was released:
  • Ability to control the ripping process system priority
  • Internal video bitrate calculator to fine-tune the compression level
  • Authorization support for protected discs
  • Episodical discs support (multiple DVD tracks containing multiple parts)
  • Support of the most of video export formats including AVI, MPEG, DivX
  • Reduced installation package, maximized stability and reliablity

The only thing we haven't modified is bitRipper's perfectly clean and simple interface.
Follow this link to download the latest version of bitRipper, the most simple and user friendly DVD to AVI tool.

 

DOWNLOAD: http://bitripper.com/download.html

 

See screenshots:

Here we have some screenshots of the bitRipper, just to let you make sure that it has really THE MOST simple interface among all DVD ripping and converting tools you've ever seen.

bitRipper's main window
The main window. You start the program, put the disc into your DVD drive and hit Start ripping... And that's all of it!

bitRipper's main window during ripping
Here is what's going on after you have clicked the Start ripping button. The process of conversion. You see all necessary information about the conversion progress. In addition to Stop and Pause buttons, you are able to control the system priority of the conversion process. You can switch it to a higher value if you need to get the results as soon as possible or set the low priority if you need to perform other tasks at the same time as bitRipper works.

bitRipper's settings window
Okay, here it is, the most complicated window of the bitRipper. Settings window if the place where you can choose which codecs to use for video and audio compression, choose the proper bitrate using internal calculator, fine-tune the video/audio parameters and set actions to be performed after the job is done.

bitRipper supports Windows XP autoplay feature, and you can start it right from the menu that appears when you put a disc into your DVD drive: bitRipper appears in Windows XP autoplay menu

Comments are Welcome


Can Color Boost your productivity or enhance your creativity?

 

I read about the astonishing effects of color PINK on humans some while ago, to decrease aggressiveness and strength. They even used it in cells of prisoners to calm them down.

Read about this here http://www.colormatters.com/body_pink.html

But more studies are being done on how color can affect humans.

Perhaps reading the article below you will find a nice blue and a nice red wallpaper to use on occasion!

The following article is from the New York Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/06/science/06color.html?_r=1

Trying to improve your performance at work or write that novel? Maybe it’s time to consider the color of your walls or your computer screen.

If a new study is any guide, the color red can make people’s work more accurate, and blue can make people more creative.

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In the study, published Thursday on the Web site of the journal Science, researchers at the University of British Columbia conducted tests with 600 people to determine whether cognitive performance varied when people saw red or blue. Participants performed tasks with words or images displayed against red, blue or neutral backgrounds on computer screens.

Red groups did better on tests of recall and attention to detail, like remembering words or checking spelling and punctuation. Blue groups did better on tests requiring imagination, like inventing creative uses for a brick or creating toys from shapes.

“If you’re talking about wanting enhanced memory for something like proofreading skills, then a red color should be used,” said Juliet Zhu, an assistant professor of marketing at the business school at the University of British Columbia, who conducted the study with Ravi Mehta, a doctoral student.

But for “a brainstorming session for a new product or coming up with a new solution to fight child obesity or teenage smoking,” Dr. Zhu said, “then you should get people into a blue room.”

The question of whether color can color performance or emotions has fascinated scientists, not to mention advertisers, sports teams and restaurateurs.

In a study on Olympic uniforms, anthropologists at Durham University in England found that evenly matched athletes in the 2004 Games who wore red in boxing, tae kwon do, Greco-Roman wrestling and freestyle wrestling defeated those wearing blue 60 percent of the time. The researchers suggested that red, for athletes as for animals, subconsciously symbolizes dominance.

Effects that were perhaps similarly primal were revealed in a 2008 study led by Andrew Elliot of the University of Rochester. Men considered women shown in photographs with red backgrounds or wearing red shirts more attractive than women with other colors, although not necessarily more likeable or intelligent.

Then there was the cocktail party study, in which a group of interior designers, architects and corporate color scientists built model rooms decorated as bars in red, blue or yellow. They found that more people chose the yellow and red rooms, but that partygoers in the blue room stayed longer. Red and yellow guests were more social and active. And while red guests reported feeling hungrier and thirstier than others, yellow guests ate twice as much.

Experts say colors may affect cognitive performance because of the moods they engender.

“When you feel that the situation you are in is problematic,” said Norbert Schwarz, a psychology professor at the University of Michigan, “you are more likely to pay attention to detail, which helps you with processing tasks but interferes with creative types of things.”

By contrast, Dr. Schwarz said, “people in a happy mood are more creative and less analytic.”

Many people link red to problematic things, like emergencies or X’s on failing tests, experts say. Such “associations to red — stop, fire, alarm, warning — can be activated without a person’s awareness, and then influence what they are thinking about or doing,” said John A. Bargh, a psychology professor at Yale University. “Blue seems a weaker effect than red, but blue skies, blue water are calm and positive, and so that effect makes sense too.”

Still, Dr. Schwarz cautioned, color effects may be unreliable or inconsequential. “In some contexts red is a dangerous thing, and in some contexts red is a nice thing,” he said. “If you’re walking across a frozen river, blue is a dangerous thing.”

Indeed, Dr. Elliot of the University of Rochester said blue’s positive emotional associations were considered less consistent than red’s negative ones.

It might also matter whether the color dominates someone’s view, as on a computer screen, or is only part of what is seen. Dr. Elliot said that in the Science study, brightness or intensity of color — not just the color itself — might have had an effect.

Some previous cognitive studies found no effect from color, although some used mostly pastels or less distinctive tasks. One found that students taking tests did better on blue paper than on red, but Dr. Schwarz said the study used depressing blue and upbeat red.

The Science study’s conclusion that red makes people more cautious and detail-oriented coincides with Dr. Elliot’s finding that people shown red test covers before I.Q. tests did worse than those shown green or neutral colors. And on a different test, people with red covers also chose easier questions. I.Q. tests require more problem-solving than Dr. Zhu’s memory and proofreading questions.

When Dr. Zhu’s subjects were asked what red or blue made them think of, most said that red represented caution, danger or mistakes, and that blue symbolized peace and openness. Subjects were quicker to unscramble anagrams of “avoidance related” words like “danger” when the anagrams were on red backgrounds, and quicker with anagrams of positive, “approach related” words like “adventure” when they were on blue backgrounds.

The study also tested responses to advertising, finding that advertisements listing product details or emphasizing “avoidance” actions like cavity prevention held greater appeal on red backgrounds, while ones using creative designs or emphasizing positive actions like “tooth whitening” held more appeal on blue.

When the participants were asked if they believed red or blue would improve performance, most said blue for both detail-oriented and creative tasks. Maybe, Dr. Zhu said, that is because more people prefer blue.

The study did not involve different cultures, like China, where red symbolizes prosperity and luck. And it said nothing about mixing red and blue to make purple.

For what it’s worth, many newsroom walls at The New York Times are bright tomato-soup red. The newspaper’s facilities department says there are no blue rooms in the place.


Hotmail is being revamped, less advertisements, POP 3, more space and more!

 

From the hotmail blog:

It’s that time again! The Hotmail team has been hard at work since our last release in the fall, and we’ve got a bunch of new features coming out… and we’re rolling them out now! Your Hotmail account has seen a number of awesome changes in the past few months - we’ve introduced a great new look and we’ve made everything faster and easier to use. The new stuff we’ve added came from the feedback you sent in, and we hope you like what you see so far.

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If you haven’t se en any changes yet, you will soon! Until then, here’s a quick preview of just a few things to expect: 1

More room for messages. We’ve moved the banner ad from the top of the screen to the side so you can see more messages listed in your inbox.

Ever growing storage. Our storage grows with you – You start with 5 GB of storage, and it automatically increases as you need it. So you don’t have to worry about whether to keep a message or delete it. 2

Info at your fingertips. Making plans with friends and family is easy. When you’re writing a message, it’s just one click to add local maps, direction, movie times, and more. We’re trying this out in the US and the UK to get feedback for now, but more places are on the way.

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A little more social. Open your Hotmail to the Today page to see what's new with the people you know, like the latest stuff they’ve posted on blogs, Twitter or Flikr.

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A new way to get Hotmail on your phone. POP3 technology is available to Hotmail users in a bunch of countries for free now, so it’s easy to add Hotmail to the e-mail program on your phone. Check out this blog to find out more.

More style. Choose from more themes (and some that change based on things like time of day or weather) and edit your email signature in HTML.

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Don’t forget to drop us a message to let us know what you think - we love getting feedback on how to make Hotmail even better. Or if you have any questions, mosey on over to the new Hotmail Online Solutions Center and get answers from our agents, fast.

Thanks for using Windows Live Hotmail!

Sincerely,

The Hotmail team

1 Some of these features are still making their way out. If you don't see one of these features yet inside your Hotmail account, you will over the coming weeks.

2 We've designed Hotmail storage to grow with you, but at a reasonable pace. That means you should have plenty of storage unless you suddenly want to store the planet Jupiter on Hotmail, in which case we'll send you a nice e-mail asking you to please not try to store planets on Hotmail (although gradual storage of planets, moons, and asteroids is ok).


Freeware of the Day: Live messenger improvement package!

 

 I thought I would share with cyberspace some of the tools that I use with Live messenger to improve it.

First of all if you don't know what live messenger is go here and read my blog posts.

You can download live messenger here : http://download.live.com

or grab the full installer here

Tool 1: A-Patch the messenger customization tool! (free). I am a minimalist, so flashing banners of live messenger are not my thing. They distract me, so I like to reduce the clutter of the UI of messenger. Using A-Patch you can do numerous tweaks (including removing the advertising banners) of live messenger  image

Download: http://apatch.org/downloads.php

A-Patch for Windows Live Messenger 9.0 Wave 3 RC

Version: 1.43 (build 1)
Compatibility: Windows Live Messenger 9.0 (14.0.8050.1202)
Downloads: 447,476

What it can do:  http://apatch.org/features.php

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Tool 2: Messenger PLUS! – free - (updated to work with live messenger 2009 final version)

msgpluslive-logo

This live messenger extender program can do a LARGE amount of things to improve and extend messenger, including: skinning, multi-tab chat interface, messenger contact icons on the desktop, auto accept file transfers and other requests, a MUCH BETTER history of chats, and much much much more since apart from all the built in stuff, it also supports scripts that you can see here

Download: http://www.msgpluslive.net/download/

Read about all the features: http://www.msgpluslive.net/features/

Browse the skins: http://www.msgpluslive.net/skins/

See the scripts: http://www.msgpluslive.net/scripts/

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Tool 3: Not freeware but worth mentioning:  IMSpellchecker XP ($19.90)

You know how you are embarrassed all the time when your friends laugh with your bad spelling mistakes while text messaging, or you are talking with a business associate and you come across like an uneducated blundering fool? Well here is your solution!

IMSpellchecker XP adds spell check and autocorrecting features to your favorite Instant Messenger. It is a powerful while ease-to-use application for improving your typing abilities.


Program runs silently in the background. It checks spelling and corrects misspellings or typos automatically as you type.


Autocorrecting technology replaces common known typos on-the-fly, increasing your typing performance

Spell check add-on currently works with:

Windows Live Messenger Windows Live Messenger
MSN Messenger MSN Messenger
Yahoo Messenger Yahoo Messenger
Skype Skype
Miranda IM Miranda IM

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Home page http://www.interactivegt.com/index.htm

features: http://www.interactivegt.com/spellcheck_ss.htm

Download: http://www.interactivegt.com/spellcheck_downloads.htm

 

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