[sticky entry] Sticky: First post

Dec. 20th, 2009 04:17 pm
sally_maria: (Dreamsheep Electricsheep)
[personal profile] sally_maria
As I said on the profile page, in December 2009 I visited [personal profile] alitalf and he suggested making a web page for the various pieces of software, browser addons and websites that I've recommended to people.

I'm not quite ready to do that yet, but I thought I could make a first step by setting up a DW community.

So, this is a random collection of useful things that I've linked to or wanted to link to.

If anyone has a particular request for something they want to know about then please comment on this post, and I'll see what I can do.

Anyone can comment, but if you have an LJ account you can log in with OpenID and have replies to your comments emailed to you.
alitalf: Skiing in the 3 Valleys, France, 2008 (Default)
[personal profile] alitalf
After fitting a (relatively)( small SSD to my computer, I wanted to store most of my large files on a rotating drive, leaving the SSD for the system, programs, and work in progress.

It is possible to move your own folder locations by right clicking on, for example, my videos, selecting properties, clicking the location tab, and selecting move, then choosing the folder to use. Here is a techtip explaining this.

However, this doesn't work for the public folders because you don't have the required permissions.

The way around this is to open a command prompt by right clicking and selecting run as administrator.

Then you close down the shell, so that the desktop and taskbar are no longer displayed. To do that: Click the Start button. Hold the CTRL and SHIFT keys, and right-click on an empty area in the Start menu. Select "Exit Explorer" from the popup menu. Your start menu and task bar will disappear.

Then type explore.exe in the command window, and a shell with administrator privilege level will start. Then the procedure for moving your own folders will work with public folders as well.

It would be best to restart the computer without the shell running in elevated mode before doing anything else. Here is the tech tip explaining this.

The same thing can also be done using a directory junction which seems to be the windows equivalent of a symlink.
sally_maria: (Foxkeh)
[personal profile] sally_maria
For everyone who is thinking of upgrading to the new version of Firefox, some links that you might find useful.

To start with, some of the reasons why you might want to upgrade:
What's New and Awesome in Firefox 4

As great as it is, though, there are some changes you might prefer not to keep:
How to Fix Annoyances with Firefox 4's New Look

One of the advantage of the long beta period is that most extension authors have already had time to update to work with the new version. Still there are a couple of my must-have extensions that haven't been updated yet.

If you use Delicious, the lack of the full extension can be annoying, though you can use the bookmarklet to tag stuff. If you are happy editing config files, there are instructions on how to update the current version of the add-on yourself in this blog

On the other hand, if you just want a version that will work, I've uploaded my already edited version:
Delicious bookmarks add-on
Download it, and then install it either through the add-ons dialog or by drag and dropping it onto an empty tab.*

The other extension I find it hard to live without is LJHook - so much easier than typing all that HTML. Often it can be a while before it is updated, so I've edited that one as well - exactly the same as the method given for Delicious, but there's no META-INF folder.

Again, I've uploaded my already edited version:
LJ Hook add-on*

*Obviously this is at your own risk, installing add-ons from random people you don't know can mess up your computer. I've installed and used both of these for an hour or so, but haven't tested them long-term.
sally_maria: (Books)
[personal profile] sally_maria
I've noticed that ebook readers are becoming increasingly popular, both for reading new published fiction and also online text such as fanfiction. I bought mine a year or so ago, and have found it incredibly useful.

One vital piece of software I've found is Calibre, an open-source, multi-platform ebook management application. It's a lot more flexible that the one that came with my Sony Reader and has the advantage of not being tied to Windows.

I haven't got into using an ebook reader on my iPod, but for those of you who like to read on their phones/tablets [personal profile] alitalf recommends Aldiko for Android devices.

If you are looking for sources of things to read there are several sites offering public domain or other free ebooks to download. Try Feedbooks, ManyBooks.net and Project Gutenberg. If anyone has any other suggestions for free ebook sites, do comment with them.

There's also the MobileRead forums, to discuss readers, ebooks and software.

For those of us who also like to use our readers for fanfiction, there are some very useful sites for that as well under the cut. )
alitalf: Skiing in the 3 Valleys, France, 2008 (Default)
[personal profile] alitalf
Here is a Zdnet article about how to install iTunes on Windows with less bloat. It seems that even if you have an iPhone, some of the crapware extra software is not needed. AFAIK the Bonjour service has never done anything useful for me, nor have some of the startup programs, though they must lengthen the boot time.
alitalf: Skiing in the 3 Valleys, France, 2008 (Default)
[personal profile] alitalf
After building a new computer, I looked for a free or open source Windows file manager to replace Power Desk, which had worked well, but would require me to purchase a new version to work reliably with Windows 7.

I tried using Windows Explorer, but it is seemingly organised to hide from me the directory structure I am using. Free Commander seems very good so far. It can use two panes, optionally show a tree view, and incorporates a file viewer that shows the content of images and many other types of files, as you highlight them. There is FTP built in, are too many other useful functions to list - but I failed to find the directory synchroniser, in my hurry. (It is under the Folder menu - bet you never saw that coming!)

Luckily I found an open source synchroniser that seems to work at least as well as the one built in to Power Desk (and which I use to make backups), DirSyncPro. DirSync Pro is programmed completely in platform independent Java™ so it can be run under nearly every modern operating system including Windows™, Linux™ and Macintosh™.

I downloaded it because I needed to update my backup in a hurry. It got me out of trouble, and only updated the files in the existing backup that had changed since yesterday. We were still a bit late leaving for the barbecue, but that is more because Hibernia forgot to put out a saucer of milk for the printer fairy. The backup was intuitive to set up, and worked quickly. The only flaw was that it gave a ridiculously high estimate of the time to backup - it started with about 3 hours, but took just under 10 minutes to write quite a lot to a flash drive.
alitalf: Skiing in the 3 Valleys, France, 2008 (Default)
[personal profile] alitalf
If you have to re-install windows, but the number has rubbed off the sticky label that tells you the key, a program called magicjellybean promises to find it for you.
sally_maria: (Dreamsheep Electricsheep)
[personal profile] sally_maria
To start with I'd like to recommend a community, [community profile] style_system, which is great if you want to ask for advice on tweaking your layout. There are a lot of helpful people there who are willing to work with you to get the results you want.

You can see this post where [personal profile] foxfirefey helped me get the picture header set up on my journal. It doesn't work on all layouts, but it might be a good place to start.

.module-navlinks { top: 315px; }

#header { margin-top: 290px; }

#canvas {
background-image:url("where your image is hosted online");
background-position: center top;

Put it in the Custom CSS box on this page and tweak the top and margin-top numbers and hopefully you can get it to work - it definitely works on Crossroads and Basic Boxes, but not on Modish.

There's also this post where [personal profile] syntheid and [personal profile] jana helped me get my tags set up as a comma-separated list - see the sidebar for this community for an example.

This works for all the layouts, as far as I can tell.

Go to the module customisation tab and set the Tabs module to Cloud.

Then go to the Custom CSS box and paste

.module-tags_cloud .module-list-item { font-size: 12pt !important; }
.module-tags_cloud .module-list-item:after{content: ", "; }
.module-tags_cloud .module-list-item:last-child:after{content: " "; }

You can change the font-size to what ever looks best with your layout.

If you are looking for other cool things to do with Dreamwidth, you might want to watch the [site community profile] dw_nifty community, which people post all sorts of interesting things to. For example, the most recent post was on making a border round the text shown by the new dynamic cut tags.
muuranker: (Default)
[personal profile] muuranker
Sally_Maria's post on the ipod reminded me of this: http://www.carbsandcals.com/iphone.html (yeah, I do know an ipod isn't an iphone).

It's an app-in-development that will allow people who need to know how many calories and/or carbohydrates are in their diet (e.g. people on restricted calorie diets and diabetics who adjust insulin to meet the CHO) to both find-out and record (if recording is important).

I particularly like this approach (adds 'buy the book'to the to-do list) as it spots that most diabetics who are _good_ at matching insulin to CHO _don't_ weigh everything, but just 'guestimate' 'on the plate'.

They are wanting to know what other gadgets people might want the carbsandcals app on. So if the iphone doesn't do it for you, do let them know.
sally_maria: (Dreamsheep Electricsheep)
[personal profile] sally_maria
If you have one of the more recent iPods with a screen, you will know that while the video playback is pretty good, not many videos come in iPod format. If you are using Windows a useful solution is DVDVideoSoft's Video to iPod Converter. It'll convert a whole range of video formats to various different sizes and qualities of iPod .mp4 video.

It's freeware, and while you do have to tell it not to install the Ask toolbar while you are installing it, all it takes is unselecting a couple of tick boxes. After that it installs normally and works just fine.

If you prefer to read text, it's not quite so easy. For some reason, iPods don't have an easy way of uploading ebooks. On the other hand, it is possible, using the Notes function. The problem is that Notes can't be more than 4K in size, which even for text files is limiting, and so the solution is to use the ebookhood website. There's a slightly worrying message there these days, which implies it may be going away, but until it does it's by far the easiest way of splitting a text file into 4K chunks and building in the links so that you can navigate from one part to the next. Simply upload the file into the form on the page (go into advanced options to give the files a name, which will make it easier to work with) and the result is a zipped file for you to download, containing the separate Notes that make up the original file.

Make sure you've ticked the box on the Summary tab in iTunes that enables you to copy files directly to your iPod and it will appear as a hard disc in Explorer. Copy the unzipped contents of the file to the Notes folder (you can put each separate book in their own folder if you like) and then find them under Extras and then Notes on your player.

If podfic or other spoken word stuff is more your style, you may find listening to a string of long mp3s to be a pain. There is an iPod Audiobook format, which works much better - stored separately on the player and with a built in resume function on each file, even if you've listened to other things in the meantime. There's a really useful Windows MP3 to Audiobook converter here, which not only converts mp3s, but also combines them at the same time, so you can put a whole book into one file.
sally_maria: (Foxkeh)
[personal profile] sally_maria
I've been setting up Firefox on a number of different computers recently, and if, like me, you use a number of addons, it really is a pain to have to search them out every time.

I've found a very helpful solution on the Mozilla Addons site. Some of you may already know the Collections section, where you can browse sets of addons around a common theme - for example, extensions for web developers or sports fans.

Did you know, though, that if you create a log-in on the site (it just takes an email address and nickname) that you can create your own collections? If you set up a collection with all of the addons you will want to add to future installations of Firefox, you can see them from any computer with access to the internet and install them all from the same page. See my addon collection as an example.

Start out by clicking on Create A Collection, over on the right-hand side of the page, and it will prompt you to log in, if you haven't already.

Give your collection a name and a description and decide whether you want it to be public or private. Then click Create Collection.

Visit the main installation page for each addon you want in your collection and scroll down. On the right-hand side of the page there's the option to Add to a Collection. Click on the drop-down arrow and pick the collection you want to add it to from the list. Click on Publish.

Repeat, until you have a complete set and now you only need to visit one page to install all your addons.

I've set up a collection here for any extensions I link to from [community profile] shiny_things in future.
sally_maria: (Dreamsheep Electricsheep)
[personal profile] sally_maria
You may already have anti-malware included with your internet security package but if you haven't, or you are looking for a way of dealing with a nasty that your current software can't touch, there are two excellent free pieces of software to try.

Spybot - Search and Destroy is a long-established program that has many useful features, including the ability to immunize your PC against a range of malware, as well as an in-depth scanner to check for anything that may have got through the net. I've been using it for years and have never got anything worse that a few tracking cookies.

Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware is newer but it's cleared up problems that Spybot couldn't handle for a couple of people I know. Well worth keeping around, just in case.
alitalf: Skiing in the 3 Valleys, France, 2008 (Default)
[personal profile] alitalf
Marvs windows tips contains a lot of info about the registry.

Piriform, home of CCLEANER and Defraggler, to help keep your computer tidy and running well. A while ago, not long after an complete re-install of XP, the computer stopped being able to view shared directories on other computers. After following all the instructions on the microsoft webvsite, with no result, I ran a registry cleaner and the problem went away.

Priiform also have Recuva, which recovered some files that the Dangerous Balrog had lost, causing much smoke and flame. It did take all night to do a thorough scan, but it recovered the files.

If the Adobe PDF reader seems to have its tentacles everywhere in your computer, you might prefer Foxit. That works well on all my computers, thought I had to use the registry cleaner to sand all the bits of Adobe off the computer, after it had supposedly been uninstalled.

LJ Hook

Dec. 20th, 2009 05:04 pm
sally_maria: (Dreamsheep Electricsheep)
[personal profile] sally_maria
As I have to start somewhere, I thought I could begin with this wonderfully useful addon for the Firefox browser.

LiveJournal Hook

When you install it, it seems as if nothing has happened, no obvious menu entries or icons. The way to discover just what it can do is to right-click in an LJ text entry window - the ones you use for posting and making comments. Then you find a LJ Hook entry on the menu, which enables you to add user names, LJ cuts and all sorts of other general HTML and LJ specific markup.

If you prefer to post on Dreamwidth, then you can still use it. Go to Preferences and Clones Manager and add dreamwidth.org to the list. You can also use the Custom function to add the DW specific markup, so you don't have to keep looking those up either.

A god-send for anyone who doesn't always remember HTML tags, and wants to use the site entry page rather than a client.


shiny_things: (Default)
My recs for software, web sites, browser add-ons.

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