Random Bits and Bytes

helpful tech and software tips

You Know Your A Nerd When…

Posted by Jason on November 9, 2008

* Going to bed early is 1:59 am

* You have to move your Coke cans out of the way to get out of your “office”

* You can’t wait for the next copy of “Wired” to come out

* You haven’t met any of your friends “in person”

* Your family and friends always come to you for their computer help

* You know Linux isn’t Snoopy’s friend

* When your wife calls you to see if you want to go out for dinner and you reply that you’ll have to check your BlackBerry and get back to her

* You list Klingon as your second language on your census form

* Your signature includes an @ sign

* You can recite pi past 3.14

* You’re constantly correcting people about the difference between hard and floppy disks

* One of your kids is named: Egon, Riker, Anikin or Neo

* You can watch your favourite TV show on your way to work on a portable device you own

* You’ve uttered the word “n00b” in anger and with no one around

* Sleep always loses out to a fatal system error

* ipconfig /renew is still resident in the F3 buffer on your keyboard

* You know what the F3 buffer on your keyboard is

* If checking your email requires you to log into 4 or more websites

* You wake up with an earache and a broken Bluetooth earpiece between your pillows

* The combined output of the LEDs glowing under your desk exceeds 3 LUX

* You know how much electricity it costs to run your home server per second

* Your monthly ISP bill has a section for bandwidth overcharges every month

* You can post a blog entry while sitting on the bus

* A wipe and reload seems like a fun idea!

* Your friends only invite you to a barbeque when their computer is stuck

* Your computer is worth more that your wife’s engagement ring

* You can’t do without at least two computers at home

* When your girlfriend feels you are cheating on her with your computer

* When you want to finish your World of Warcraft dungeon raid instead of going to bed with your wife

* You read hardware catalogues to relax

* Everyone immediately turns to you when their computer acts up

* You spend more time with your computer than with your best bud

* You go shopping for something for your computer

* Your main concern when on vacation is whether 3G is available

* A mouse is a human created utility, not an organic form of life

* Relaxation = Sitting on a couch trying out beta software

* One of your greatest forms of joy is to see your newly built PC boot into your favourite OS

* You take an ordinary can of air and turn it into a musical instrument

* “Flashing your RAM” is not an obscene gesture

* You get BlackBerry thumb

* You’ve memorized BIOS beep codes

* Someone mentions root, you don’t think of a plant

* You can code in more languages than you speak

Posted in lists, rants | Tagged: , , , | 9 Comments »

Time Magazines Top 50 Inventions 2008

Posted by Jason on October 31, 2008

1. The Retail DNA Test
2. The Tesla Roadster
3. The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter
4. Hulu.com
5. The Large Hadron Collider
6. The Global Seed Vault
7. The Chevy Volt
8. Bullets That Shoot Bullets
9. The Orbital Internet
10. The World’s Fastest Computer
11. Green Crude
12. Housing Funds
13. The Memristor
14. The Bionic Hand
15. The Direct-to-Web Supervilian Musical
16. The Dynamic Tower
17. The Mobile, Dexterous, Social Robot
18. The New Mars Rover
19. Montreal’s Public Bike System
20. The Everything Game
21. The Synthetic Organism
22. The Shadowless Skyscraper
23. The Branded Candidate
24. Bionic Contacts
25. Thin-Film Solar Panels
26. The Speedo LZR Racer
27. Bubble Photography
28. The Invisibility Cloak
29. The 46th Mersenne Prime
30. The Internet of Things
31. Einstein’s Fridge
32. Facebook for Spies
33. Biochemical Energy Harvester
34. Made-in-Transit Packaging
35. Airborne Wind Power
36. The New Ping-Pong Serve
37. Smog-Eating Cement
38. The Baseball Instant Replay
39. Enhanced Fingerprints
40. The Seven New Deadly Sins
41. The Peraves MonoTracer
42. Disenvoweling
43. High-Tech Running Shoes
44. Sunscreen for Plants
45. The Short Refinance
46. Aptera Electric Car
47. Google’s Floating Data Center
48. The Time Eater Clock
49. Sound-Enhanced Food
50. A Camera for the Blind

Posted in lists | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Sony Releases PSP Media Manager 3.0 for Free!

Posted by Jason on October 28, 2008

Now we can browse the PSN Store and backup our downloaded content quick and easily. Here is the email that was sent out.

And here is the page where it can be downloaded from.

Sony PSP Media Manager 3.0

Posted in playstation, psp | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

27 Great Firefox Tweaks

Posted by Jason on October 28, 2008

1) Adjust the Smart Location Bar’s Number of Suggestions

In Firefox 3, when you start typing in the location bar, a drop-down list of suggestion URLs will be shown. If you want it to show more than 12 suggestions (12 is the default), you can adjust the browser.urlbar.maxRichResults keys and get it to show the number you want.

Config name: browser.urlbar.maxRichResults
Default: 12
Modified value: Set to your desired number of suggestion. If you want to disable it all together, set it to -1

2) Disable the Session Restore Function

Firefox 3 automatically saves your session every 10 seconds so that whenever it crashes, it can restore all your tabs. While this is a useful feature, some of you might find it irritating. To disable this function, toggle the value of browser.sessionstore.enabled to False

Config name: browser.sessionstore.enabled
Default: True
Modified value: False if you want to disable the session restore function

3) Adjust the Session Restore Saving Frequency

Same as above, if you decided to keep the session restore feature on, but want to reduce the session saving frequency, change the value of browser.sessionstore.interval so that Firefox will save the session at a longer interval.

Config name: browser.sessionstore.interval
Default: 10000 (in msecs, equivalent to 10secs)
Modified value: Set it to your desired value. 1000 means 1 sec and 60000 means 1 minute.

4) Enable Advanced Color Profile Support

Firefox has this advanced color profile features that display higher image quality. It is not enabled by default as it has a negative effect on the performance of the browser. If you are concern with the image quality rather than the performance, you can activated it via the gfx.color_management.enabled setting

Config name: gfx.color_management.enabled
Default: False
Modified value: True (if you want to activate the color profile support feature)

5) Disable Antivirus Scanning

This is mainly for Windows users. By default, Firefox 3 automatically scans the downloaded file with the default anti-virus application to make sure it is free of viruses. If you download a big file, it could take a long time for the whole scanning process to complete. To increase the performance of the browser, you might want to consider disabling the anti-virus scanning via the browser.download.manager.scanWhenDone key.

Config name: browser.download.manager.scanWhenDone
Default: True
Modified value: False (if you want to disable it)

6) Configuring the Scrolling Tabs

When you opened many tabs, Firefox will not keep on reducing the tab width. Instead, it shows a scrolling bar so that the min width (100px) is conserved and you can scroll to find your tabs. If you are those who don’t like the scrolling tab function and prefer Firefox to show all the tabs, regardless how small it is, you can set the value of browser.tabs.tabMinWidth to 0 to disable it. Similarly, if you want Firefox to display more tabs before showing the scrolling button, you can reduce the default value to a lower value, say 75 pixels.

Config name: browser.tabs.tabMinWidth
Default: 100
Modified value: 0 if you want to disable the scrolling functions, other values to set the min width value

7) Show/Disable Close button on Tabs

Some people love to see the Close (the red X) button on every tabs, but some hate it. Whatever is it, you can configure it to your preferences via the browser.tabs.closeButtons setting.

Config name: browser.tabs.closeButtons
Default: 1
Modified values:

  • 0 – display a close button on the active tab only
  • 1- display close buttons on all tabs
  • 2- don’t display any close buttons
  • 3- display a single close button at the end of the tab strip

8.) Extend Scripts Execution Time

In Firefox 3, a script is only given 10 seconds to respond, after which it will issue an unresponsive script warning. If you are hooked on a slow network connection, you might want to increase the script execution time via dom.max_script_run_time to cut down on the frequency of the no script warning.

Config name: dom.max_script_run_time
Default: 10 (in secs)
Modified value: 20, or any values greater than 10

9) Handling JavaScript Popups

When you come across a site that executes a JavaScript open new window function, and if the popup window is without all the usual window features, i.e. back/forward/reload buttons, status bar etc, Firefox will automatically treat it as a popup and will not open it as a new tab. However, if you find this to be a nuisance and wanted to open all new windows in new tabs, you can specify it via the browser.link.open_newwindow.restriction setting.

Config name: browser.link.open_newwindow.restriction
Default: 2 – Open all JavaScript windows the same way as you have Firefox handle new windows unless the JavaScript call specifies how to display the window
Modified values:

  • 0 – open all links as how you have Firefox handle new windows
  • 1 – do not open any new windows
  • 2- open all links as how you have Firefox handle new windows unless the JavaScript specify how to display the window

10) Enable Spell Checking In All Text Fields

The default spell checking function only checks for multi-line text boxes. You can get it to spell-check for single line text box as well.

Config name: layout.spellcheckDefault
Default: 1 (spell checker for multi-lines text boxes only)
Modified values:

  • 0 – disable the spell checker
  • 2 – enable the spell checker for all text boxes

11) Open Search Box Results in New Tab

When you search using the search box at the top right hand corner of the browser, it will display the search results in the current tab. If you don’t want the search to interfere with your current tab, you can tweak the browser.search.openintab to make it open in a new tab.

Config Name: browser.search.openintab
Default: False
Modified value: True (open search box results in new tab)

12) Lower the Physical Memory Used When Minimized

This tweak is mainly for Windows users. When you minimize Firefox, it will send Firefox to your virtual memory and free up your physical memory for other programs to use. Firefox will reduce its physical memory usage, when minimized, to approximately 10MB (give or take some) and when you maximize Firefox it will take back the memory that it needs.

The preference name does not exist and needs to be created.

Right click on the background and select New->Boolean.

Enter the name when prompted: config.trim_on_minimize
Enter the values: True

13) Increase/Decrease the Amount of Disk Cache

When a page is loaded, Firefox will cache it into the hard disk so that it doesn’t need to be downloaded again for redisplaying. The bigger the storage size you cater for Firefox, the more pages it can cache.

Before you increase the disk cache size, make sure that browser.cache.disk.enabled is set to True.

Config name: browser.cache.disk.capacity
Default: 50000 (in KB)
Modified value:

  • 0 – disable disk caching
  • any value lower than 50000 reduces the disk cache
  • any value higher than 50000 increases the disk cache.

14) Select All Text When You Click On the URL Bar

In Windows and Mac, Firefox highlights all text when you click on the URL bar. In Linux, it does not select all the text. Instead, it places the cursor at the insertion point. Regardless which platform you are using, you can now tweak it to either select all or place cursor at insertion point.

Config name: browser.urlbar.clickSelectsAll
Modified value:

  • False – place cursor at insertion point
  • True – select all text on click

15) Autofill Address in URL Bar

Other than the smart location feature, you can also get your URL bar to autofill the address as you type the URL.

Config name: browser.urlbar.autofill
Default: False
Modified value: True (Have Firefox autofill the address as you type in the URL bar)

16) Same Zoom Level for Every Site

Firefox remembers your zoom preference for each site and set it to your preferences whenever you load the page. If you want the zoom level to be consistent from site to site, you can toggle the value of browser.zoom.siteSpecific from True to False.

Config name: browser.zoom.siteSpecific
Default: True
Modified value: False (enable same zoom preferences for every sites)

17) Setting Your Zoom Limit

If you find that the max/min zoom level is still not sufficient for your viewing, you can change the zoom limit to suit your viewing habits.

Config name: zoom.maxPercent
Default: 300 (percent)
Modified value: any value higher than 300

Config name: zoom.minPercent
Default: 30 (percent)
value: any value

18) Configure Your Backspace Button

In Firefox, you can set your backspace to better use by getting it to either go back to the previous page or act as page up function.

Config name: browser.backspace_action
Default: 2 (does nothing)
Modified value:

  • 0 – go back previous page
  • 1- page up

19) Increase Offline Cache

If you do not have access to Internet most of the time, you might want to increase the offline cache so that you can continue to work offline. By default, Firefox 3 caches 500MB of data from supported offline Web apps. You can change that value to whatever amount of your choice.

Config name: browser.cache.offline.capacity
Default: 512000 (in KB)
Modified value: any value higher than 512000 will increase the cache value

20) Auto Export Firefox 3 Bookmarks to Bookmarks.html

Unlike the previous version, Firefox 3 backup the bookmarks file in places.sqlite rather than the usual bookmarks.html. Since bookmarks.html allows us to export and sync our bookmarks with other browser, it will be very useful if Firefox 3 can backup the bookmark to the bookmarks.html as well.

Config name: browser.bookmarks.autoExportHTML
Default: False
Modified value: True (auto export bookmarks file to bookmarks.html)

21) Disable Extension Compatibility Checks

This is useful if you want to use an extension that is not supported by your version of Firefox badly. It is not recommended, but you can still do it at your own risk.

Right click and select New->Boolean. Enter extensions.checkCompatibility in the field. Enter False in the next field.

Right click again and select New->Boolean. Enter extensions.checkUpdateSecurity into the field and enter False into the next field.

22) Disable Delay Time When Installing Add-on

Every time you want to install a Firefox add-on, you will have to wait for several seconds before the actual installation starts. If you are tired of waiting, you can turn the function security.dialog_enable_delay off so that the installation will start immediately upon clicking.

Config name: security.dialog_enable_delay
Default: 2000 (in msec)
Modified value:

  • 0 – start installation immediately
  • any other value (in msec)

23) View Source in Your Favorite Editor

This is very useful for developers who are always using the “view source” function. This tweak allows you to view the source code in an external editor.

There are two configuration need to be made:
Config name: view_source.editor.external
Default: False
Modified value: True ( enable view source using external text editor)

Config name: view_source.editor.path
Default: blank
Modified value: insert the file path to your editor here.

24) Increasing “Save Link as…” Timeout Value

When you right click and select “Save Link as…” the browser will request the content disposition header from the URL so as to determine the filename. If the URL did not deliver the header within 1 sec, Firefox will issue a timeout value. This could happen very frequently in a slow network connection environment. To prevent this issue from happening frequently, you can increase the timeout value so as to reduce the possibility of a timeout.

Config name: Browser.download.saveLinkAsFilenameTimeout
Default: 1000 (1 sec)
Modified value: any value higher than 1000 (value is in msec)

25) Animate Fullscreen Toolbar Collapse mode

In Firefox’s fullscreen mode, toolbars and the tab strip are hidden at the top of the screen and only shown on mouseover. To draw attention to this, there is an animation of the toolbar sliding upwards and off-screen when fullscreen mode is toggled on. For performance issues, the animation of the collapse of the toolbar only appears for the first time. For some reason that you may love/hate the animation, you can adjust Browser.fullscreen.animateUp to switch it on/off for every collapse.

Config name: Browser.fullscreen.animateUp
Default: 1 (animate the toolbar collapse only the first time)
Modified value:

  • 0 -disable the animation
  • 2- enable the animation for every collapse

26) Autohide Toolbar in Fullscreen mode

In fullscreen mode, the toolbar is set to autohide and appear upon mouseover. If you have a need to view the toolbar at all time, you can toggle the value of browser.fullscreen.autohide to False to always show the toolbar.

Config name: browser.fullscreen.autohide
Default: True (always autohide)
Modified value: False (always show the toolbar)

27) Increase Add-On Search Results

If you go to Tools->Add-ons->Get Add-ons and perform a search there, Firefox will only fetch and display 5 matching results. If you want Firefox to show more than 5 results (say 10), you can adjust extensions.getAddons.maxResults to get it to display more results.

Config name: extensions.getAddons.maxResults
Default: 5

Modified value: any value more than 5

Posted in firefox | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Denied By Reign – Severed Fifth

Posted by Jason on October 21, 2008

Denied By Reign

Severed Fifth’s debut album is finally released. Eight tracks of pounding metal, grinding guitars and machine-gun double bass drumming, sealed with a ripping vocal performance. The album was written, performed, recorded and produced entirely by Jono Bacon. Denied By Reign was mastered by Paul Wilkinson.

This album is free. It is released under a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike license which means that you can share, copy, remix, mash-upand sell Denied By Reign, just make sure you give credit to Severed Fifth. For more help about what you can do with Denied By Reign and other Severed Fifth content, see the Licensing Page.

You can get more info and download it here. Why are you still reading! Go get this album and get ready to rock your ass off!

Posted in music, torrent | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

The 7 hidden pages within Firefox

Posted by Jason on October 21, 2008

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.

Posted in firefox | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

20 Editions of Microsoft Windows 7!

Posted by Jason on October 20, 2008

Just ran across this on the net and found it very humerous. Here is the full article via.

Earlier today, Microsoft confirmed that its next operating system, codenamed Windows 7, would in fact be called just that when it hits shelves at some point in the next few years. Good on ’em, I say: a simple, no-nonsense name suggests they’re approaching it with a clearer eye than they had cooking up the hypefest that was Vista.

But if there’s an instinct that Microsoft will find hard to put to bed, it’s the one that led to more versions of Vista than can be counted on one hand. The place is run by a sales guy, after all! Click through for our exclusive leaked ad covering the 20 separate editions of Windows 7, straight from our anonymous sauce.

Windows 7

Windows 7

Posted in microsoft | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Socom: Confrontation – Desert Glory

Posted by Jason on October 14, 2008

SWEET!!!

Posted in playstation | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

AC/DC Electrify Torrent Album Downloads

Posted by Jason on October 13, 2008

AC/DC will release its new album ‘Black Ice’ worldwide on October 20th, in physical format only since the band doesn’t sell its music online. However, the upcoming album has already been digitized by pirates, as it leaked to BitTorrent five days ago. In that time it has taken the trackers by storm, racking up a staggering 400,000 downloads.

BlackIceA big name band releasing their first album in 8 years is important, so when AC/DC’s forthcoming album ‘Black Ice‘ leaked onto the Internet last week, it felt like it should’ve been a newsworthy event. But there seemed little to get worked up about because let’s face it, everything leaks these days and this particular leak initially seemed to offer little new.

Then, just one day after the October 7th leak, Undercover ran a story, claiming that Sony was flooding BitTorrent sites with fakes in an attempt to frustrate potential downloader’s of ‘Black Ice’. TorrentFreak investigated these claims and couldn’t find any fakes on the most commonly used BitTorrent trackers and it’s pretty certain that fakes wouldn’t exist on any private trackers either. Calls for Undercover to clarify the basis for the claim have gone unanswered.

However, there is something exciting to report in respect of this leak. During the last 5 years when most recording artists have experienced a drop in CD sales, AC/DC have been flourishing, last year selling 1.3 million CDs in the US alone. For a band that hasn’t released any new music for 8 years, never releases a ‘greatest hits’ album and does not sell any of its music online in digital format, this is pretty impressive.

Of course, AC/DC might not want to distribute their music online, but there are plenty of other people who are happy to do so. Since the album leaked to BitTorrent on October 7th, a full 13 days in advance of its worldwide release date, ‘Black Ice’ has been downloaded an incredible 400,000 times, which is a pretty clear indicator that AC/DC fans would like the band’s music in digital format rather than just CD. On Mininova, one of the world’s most popular BitTorrent download locations, four of the top five most downloaded music torrents in the last week are AC/DC.

Other ‘winners’ in the BitTorrent music download charts this week were Keane, coming in at #3 with 80,000 downloads of their album ‘Perfect Symmetry‘ (due to be released officially tomorrow) and Oasis in second position with 100,000 downloads of ‘Dig Out Your Soul‘.

Just this week, Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher said he believes that the music industry loses around 25% of its profits to piracy. “That’s what was spent on champagne and limos,” he said, adding, “It’s good when record companies panic. They need to streamline. Just like these big banks going under, and those Wall Street idiots driving Ferraris. What about people who had a hurricane rip apart their community? That’s real pressure, my friend.”

Whether artists actually lose money from ‘illegal’ downloads is something that can be debated. However, it is clear that refusing to make music available online will boost pirated downloads significantly. In just a few days the downloads of ‘Black Ice’ on BitTorrent equal a third of all AC/DC’s physical album sales last year. Quite a shocker.

Posted in music, torrent | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Firefox + Google = Free Music

Posted by Jason on October 8, 2008

There’s a lot you can do with Google if you can take advantage of it’s advanced search features.

Expanding on this tip which shows you how to find music in open directories, here’s a step-by-step walkthrough on how to use Firefox Smart Keyword searches to speed up the process.

All you need to do is:

  1. Create a bookmark in Firefox
  2. Use the URLs in this doc file as the bookmark location in your Firefox bookmarks (like in the pic above)
  3. Assign a keyword to it – eg. music
  4. Type the keyword (eg. music) followed by the search term (eg. beatles) directly into the address bar (NOT the search box). For example… type in music beatles , and Google will search open directories for Beatles music files that you can download.

You can modify the code in this doc file to change file extensions, which opens a whole window for you. For example, you can even change it to PDF and DOC to look to e-books, or AVI and MPG to look for movies.

By the way, I’m assuming you already own the media you will be downloading …

Posted in firefox, google | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »