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helpful tech and software tips

5 Ways To Surf Like a Complete Moron

Posted by Jason on October 8, 2008

I just can’t take it any more. I don’t understand how people actually use their computers like this, but they do. Just take a look at Kaspersky’s figures for August 2008. I look after a lot of computers for friends and family, and a dozen machines at work – and none are infected. Then again, all of them are well-protected and used responsibly.

Now, it’s not my intent that anyone actually follow this horrible, horrible advice. It’s just that so many people seem to think this type of behavior is perfectly normal computer use.

So here it is: my 5-point method for turning your computer into a quivering pile of malware-infested, hacker-friendly trash.

1. Don’t bother updating your software. Things like Java, Flash, and your web browser are constantly updating. How annoying is that? If your Flash games play, and the little Java thing is always near your system clock, it’s probably working just fine. Security holes in your outdated internet apps let the information move through faster.

2. Believe everything you see. If a pop up window tells you that Windows has found spyware on your computer or that you have 324 errors in your registry, you’d better click on it. That’s not the kind of thing you want to take a chance on. I mean, the registry is where stuff…registers. And spyware removal software that advertises Shamwow style must be trustworthy, right?

3. You need more free smilies and screensavers. Everyone loves smilies, especially the friends that “msg u bak n 4th @ myspace”. And screensavers? Shut up. I love having fancy animated crap displayed on my monitor when I’m nowhere near it – that’s how everyone walking past knows what a cool guy I am. None of the websites giving this stuff away want to piggyback any nasty BHOs or other malware anyways.

4. Use your main email address and the same password everywhere you register for an account. Why make things confusing? No one will ever figure out your password hint based on details from your Facebook page anyhow. Hackers have better things to do than try and get into someone’s dumb old Yahoo Mail account. Except for that guy that did it to Sarah Palin, I guess.

5. Everything on Limewire is a real video or song. Dude, it’s totally possible to cram Iron Man into a 72mb download, or squeeze Free Bird into a 540kb mp3. It’s called compression. Duh. As if someone could just rename a bogus file the same thing as a movie and hide a trojan inside it.

In closing, I’d like to offer my apologies to the monkey. He’s probably a damn sight smarter than tens of thousands of people surfing the Internet at this very moment.

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5 Ways To Search For Files Using The Terminal

Posted by Jason on October 6, 2008

1) find : To search for files on the command line you can use the command “find”. The following is syntax for the “find” command:

find path criteria action

“path” The section of the files system to search (the specific directories and all the sub directories). If nothing is specified the file system below the current directory is used.

“criteria” The file properties.

“action” Options that influence conditions or control the search as a whole, ie,
“–print”

find

find

2) locate : The command “locate” is an alternative to the command “find -name”. The command find must search through the selected part of the file system, a process that can be quite slow. On the other hand, locate searches through a database previously created for this purpose (/var/lib/locatedb), making it much faster. The database is automatically created and updated daily. But change made after the update has been performed are not taken into account by locate, unless the database is updated manually using the command updatedb.

locate

locate

3) whereis : The command “whereis” returns the binaries (option -b), manual pages (option -m), and the source code (option -s) of the specific command. If no options is used all the information is returned, if the information is available. This command is faster than “find” but is less thorough.

whereis

whereis

4) which : The “which” command searches all paths listed in the variable PATH for the specific command and returns the full path of the command. the command is specifically useful if several version of a command exist in different directories and you want to know which version is executed when entered without specifying a path.

which

which

5) type : The “type” command can be used to find out what kind of command is executed when command is entered – a shell built in command or an external command. The option -a delivers all instances of a command bearing this name in the file system.

type

type

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Ubuntu Intrepid dark theme on Hardy Heron

Posted by Jason on September 23, 2008

AS you may know, the alpha releases of Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex) have shown us a brand new theme. It’s called “New Human” and it’s a brown version of the Ubuntu Studio theme.
It’s very easy to update your stable-release Ubuntu to this theme. all you have to do is add this following lines to your “/etc/apt/sources.list”:

deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/kwwii/ubuntu hardy main
deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/kwwii/ubuntu hardy main

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Set Gmail as Default Mail Client in Ubuntu

Posted by Jason on September 16, 2008

Every Geek uses Gmail… it’s pretty much required. And now you can set Gmail as the default client in Ubuntu without any extra software. (Windows requires the Gmail notifier be installed)

Just go to System \ Preferences \ Preferred Applications

Ubunut 8.04

Ubunut 8.04

Under Mail Reader, select Custom, and then put this into the Command window, changing “geek” to your username.

/home/geek/open_mailto.sh %s

Next, you’ll need to save this shell script into your user directory ( /home/username ).

Download

For the curious, here’s the contents of the script:

#!/bin/sh

firefox https://mail.google.com/mail?view=cm&tf=0&to=`echo $1 | sed ‘s/mailto://’`

If you’d like to make the script open a new tab in an existing Firefox window, you can replace the firefox line in the script with the following:

firefox -remote “openurl(https://mail.google.com/mail?view=cm&tf=0&to=`echo $1 | sed ‘s/mailto://’`,new-tab)”

If you want to make the script file hidden by default, you can rename it with a . at the beginning of the file like this: .open_mailto.sh. You’ll have to change the path in the preferences, of course.

Open a terminal and type in the following command, to make the script executable:

chmod u+x ~/open_mailto.sh

Note that if you aren’t logged into Gmail you’ll be prompted to login to gmail… and you’ll have to click the email link again. Seems like Gmail’s login redirector won’t open the send mail page. But then again… why aren’t you logged into Gmail?

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5+1 Ways of Opening Tabs in Firefox

Posted by Jason on September 9, 2008

Firefox is equipped with tabbed browsing which is very useful and lets us do your work in a managed and clutter less way. Tabs in Firefox can be opened with 5(+1) ways. Read on.

1. The Simple File=>New Tab Option: The ol’ good way of opening tabs in any browser. Click File and select New tab

2. Ctrl+T: Press Ctrl+T keys on your keyboard to open a new tab. A quick and easy way of opening tabs.

3. Double Click on an empty space in the tab bar: When you double click on an empty space in the tab bar, a new tab gets opened.

4. Double Click under an already open tab: There is some little space under an already open tab where you can double click to open a new tab. Useful if you have your tab bar full without any empty space (if no empty space, then step 3 cannot be used, so this comes into action)

5. Right Click on an already open tab: And select new tab.

5+1. Use Middle Mouse Button: When opening several links on a web page, you can use the middle mouse button (wheel) to click on link. This way the links will be opened in new tabs. With the middle mouse button, you can also close tabs, just click on them with it.

Enjoy opening tabs

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Make Firefox 3 Faster

Posted by Jason on September 9, 2008

Firefox 3 as we all know is now super quick at loading pages. But there is always room for improvement and best of all since Firefox is open source software there is a lot of ways that you can mod the app.1. Type “about:config” into the address bar and hit enter. You will get a warning about changing settings but we are not doing anything too radical so it is OK. Scroll down and look for the following entries:

2. Alter the entries as follows:

Set “network.http.pipelining” to “true”

Set “network.http.proxy.pipelining” to “true”

Set “network.http.pipelining.maxrequests” to some number like 8. This means it will make 8 requests at once.

3. Lastly right-click anywhere and select New-> Integer. Name it “nglayout.initialpaint.delay” and set its value to “0″. This value is the amount of time the browser waits before it acts on information it receives.

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How-To: Convert DVD’s to PSP Format

Posted by Jason on August 28, 2008

If your like me you absolutely love your PSP and like watching movies on it’s great screen. Well by the time you finish reading this guide you’ll be a pro at converting your DVD collection to PSP format to watch on the go. Now, let’s get started.

I’ll start out by listing the needed hardware and software for this guide.

  • PSP (you knew this)
  • 1GB Memory Stick
  • USB Cable to connect your PSP to your PC
  • DVDFab (you can get a trial version here)
  • DVD drive on your PC
  • DVD movies

Let’s begin. If you don’t have DVDFab already let’s download and install it first. You can get the trial version here. After you install it double click the desktop icon to open it up. On the left hand panel you will see a button labeled PSP, click that. Next let’s put in the DVD that you are wanting to convert. DVDFab should automatically open the disc up and select the main title. After that is done you will see a checkbox on the right side to include subtitles or not. (I always uncheck all subtitles) After you do that click “Next” on the bottom right.

Now this is where we want to make our settings to get the best quality for our movie. Go ahead and click on the “Configure” button. What I am going to show you is how to optimize these settings for widescreen movies so they will be in high quality, full screen on your PSP. Here are the settings we will choose (I also included a screenshot with the settings):

  • Video Codec: AVC 768kbps
  • Audio Codec: AAC 128kbps
  • Sampling Frequency: 48.000kHz
  • Resolution: 480×272
  • 2-Pass Conversion (you can select 1-Pass but you will lose a lot of quality)

After you have all the settings set click the “Done” button and once that window closes click the “Start” button. Now we wait. I usually run this process while I’m at work or overnight while sleeping.

Once it has finished all we have to do is put it on out PSP. Connect your PSP to your PC via USB and put it in “USB Connection” mode under settings. If you are using Windows you will most likely see a pop up on the screen that says “Open Folder to View Files”, go ahead and select that. Now let’s go to our output movie file which will be here (My Documents\DVDFab\PSP\) if you installed DVDFab with default settings. Click on you movie file and drag it to your PSP’s “VIDEO” folder. That’s it! Enjoy watching your movie on the go.

If you have any questions regarding this process feel free to leave a comment and I’ll be sure to respond . Thanks for reading.

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Protect Your Logins and Passwords for Free

Posted by Jason on August 27, 2008

I’ve been reading alot about hackers and other internet baddies trying to hack into peoples accounts using brute force attacks. All that has gotten me a little worried so I have been looking around for password management software. I found a great piece of software called KeePass Password Safe. It’s 100% free and works great. Once you have installed it you will need to create a master password that will unlock all your other passwords. I recommend using the built in password creator to create new passwords for any important sites. (such as email, Ebay, Amazon, etc.) This program can also run from a USB flash drive so you can always have access to your passwords without worry.

You can get more information about it here and you can download the latest version here.

What is KeePass?
Today you need to remember many passwords. You need a password for the Windows network logon, your e-mail account, your homepage’s FTP password, online passwords (like website member account), etc. etc. etc. The list is endless. Also, you should use different passwords for each account. Because if you use only one password everywhere and someone gets this password you have a problem… A serious problem. The thief would have access to your e-mail account, homepage, etc. Unimaginable.

KeePass is a free/open-source password manager or safe which helps you to manage your passwords in a secure way. You can put all your passwords in one database, which is locked with one master key or a key file. So you only have to remember one single master password or select the key file to unlock the whole database. The databases are encrypted using the best and most secure encryption algorithms currently known (AES and Twofish). For more information, see the features page.

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Wow, Mozilla Labs Ubiquity!

Posted by Jason on August 27, 2008

What a great product this could turn out to be. just imagine instant information the way YOU want to view it! Heres is a quote from their post:

Ubiquity for Firefox from Aza Raskin on Vimeo.

It Doesn’t Have to be This Way

You’re writing an email to invite a friend to meet at a local San Francisco restaurant that neither of you has been to.  You’d like to include a map. Today, this involves the disjointed tasks of message composition on a web-mail service, mapping the address on a map site, searching for reviews on the restaurant on a search engine, and finally copying all links into the message being composed.  This familiar sequence is an awful lot of clicking, typing, searching, copying, and pasting in order to do a very simple task.  And you haven’t even really sent a map or useful reviews—only links to them.

This kind of clunky, time-consuming interaction is common on the Web. Mashups help in some cases but they are static, require Web development skills, and are largely site-centric rather than user-centric.

It’s even worse on mobile devices, where limited capability and fidelity makes this onerous or nearly impossible.

Most people do not have an easy way to manage the vast resources of the Web to simplify their task at hand. For the most part they are left trundling between web sites, performing common tasks resulting in frustration and wasted time.

Enter Ubiquity

Today we’re announcing the launch of Ubiquity, a Mozilla Labs experiment into connecting the Web with language in an attempt to find new user interfaces that could make it possible for everyone to do common Web tasks more quickly and easily.

The overall goals of Ubiquity are to explore how best to:

  • Empower users to control the web browser with language-based instructions. (With search, users type what they want to find. With Ubiquity, they type what they want to do.)
  • Enable on-demand, user-generated mashups with existing open Web APIs. (In other words, allowing everyone–not just Web developers–to remix the Web so it fits their needs, no matter what page they are on, or what they are doing.)
  • Use Trust networks and social constructs to balance security with ease of extensibility.
  • Extend the browser functionality easily.

The Initial Prototype

As part of this announcement, we’re also releasing an early experimental prototype to demonstrate some of the concepts of Ubiquity and the possibilities that it opens up. This release is meant as a illustration of a concept and mainly focuses on the platform. The next release will explore interfaces that are closer to features that might make it into Firefox.

Install the prototype and you’ll be presented with a tutorial to get you started.

Ubiquity 0.1

  • Lets you map and insert maps anywhere; translate on-page; search amazon, google, wikipedia, yahoo, youtube, etc.; digg and twitter; lookup and insert yelp review; get the weather; syntax highlight any code you find; and a lot more. Ubiquity “command list” to see them all.
  • Find and install new commands to extend your browser’s vocabulary through a simple subscription mechanism
  • Read about Ubiquity In Depth, or see a number of the commands in action (with screenshots) in the Ubiquity Tutorial.

All of the code underlying the Ubiquity experiment is being released as open source software under the the GPL/MPL/LGPL tri-license.

This is the goal of what kinds of language-based services Ubiquity hopes to inspire people to create:

This is a screenshot of Ubiquity’s current map functionality:

Download Ubiquity v0.1:

https://people.mozilla.com/~avarma/ubiquity-0.1.xpi

Info and Video on Ubiquity:

http://labs.mozilla.com/2008/08/introducing-ubiquity/

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