Gadget fest!

January 9th, 2007

Here’s some exciting news, well for me anyway!  I’m taking over Total Gadgets which is one of the founding B3H3 blogs and the only blog in our network to have fallen by the wayside.  (Not bad going for the first year really as most blog networks have a much higher loss rate than that, especially at the start.)

So I’m looking forward to getting started on some gadget reviews very soon!!

Family History destroyed by flooding!

January 9th, 2007

Remember chromatography in high school?  I got a wet surprise when I reached for a pile of papers on my desk … Adrian’s water-cooled PC has spung a leak.  Everything’s soggy, and it’s not just water either; it’s coolant, which is so much better at leaching out every last drop of ink from every sheet of paper leaving only a giant blue smear.  Unfortunately it was a pile of mixed paperwork, containing everything from contracts to website design plans. Never mind, at least I have an excuse not to do any work now!

The only downer is that my entire family history back to 1776 has returned to the murky smudge it was before I started my research. (And to my second cousin twice removed, sorry Neil I’ve only got your email address after the @ now …  )

Oh well.  At least his PC didn’t catch fire… I have had my concerns about the sense in putting liquid inside a PC so it's nice to know that the only thing that resulted from a leak was only a rather icky mess to clear up (the stuff feels horrible on your fingers).

Right, I’m back to work building a little dam out of modelling clay in case there’s another high tide any time soon ...

IE7 – drag images to view

December 27th, 2006

When I posted about how to drag off links to the desktop in IE7 I promised to post any more differences that came to my attention. Here's one ...

Sometimes it's handy as a web designer to be able to see an image outside of the webpage in which it is displayed and one of the easiest ways to do this was to click on the image and drag it to the address bar (which works just fine in previous IE versions, provided there is no link around the image).

Once again in IE7 it works, but with the subtle difference that instead of the address bar you need to drag it to the Title Bar (eg the blue bar at the top of the browser window).

(While my holiday snow flakes are falling on the website, why not see if you can catch one and drag it into the title bar to view it on its own!)

Holiday Cheer

December 22nd, 2006

Here’s a little holiday cheer to get you in the spirit of things!

  Happy holidays to everyone!

Uninstalling Bitdefender 10

December 13th, 2006

Since I’ve posted a couple of times about my Bitdefender problems, lots of other people are emailing me tell me about theirs.  One thing I’ve noticed is that a lot of people are having trouble uninstalling it and have even resorted to manually deleting hunks of their registry to try and get rid of it.  All without success. 

Luckily I myself didn’t have that problem because I used the uninstall tool.  Nearly all antivirus and firewall software applications don’t like uninstalling themselves properly through the uninstall shortcut or Add/Remove Programs in Control Panel.  I don’t know why this is … but it’s always best whenever you’ve installed a program of this kind, possibly on a trial, and decided that you want rid of it always hunt for the full uninstall tool.  That way you can be sure it’s well and truly gone.

Here’s a link to the Bitdefender Uninstall Tool.

It's easy to use:

  • Download!
  • Run it
  • Click Uninstall
  • Wait until it's done
  • Reboot!  (Important last step. Don’t forget!)


Adrian wants an iPod

December 5th, 2006

Apple 8 GB iPod Nano BlackOh my God, Adrian asked for an iPod for Christmas! He even put it in his ZDNet blog …  after he’s been so anti all things Apple for so long.  Our daughter wanted to get an iPod a while back but he talked her out of it (she got an Archos XS202S instead that died after a few weeks).  I never thought he’d be a convert.  I can see his reasoning though wanting it to work with audio books from Audible.  I’m still angry that my Creative Zen Touch doesn’t support books.  And I still don’t know why they don’t support it as they support other Zens.  Even the online petition didn’t help to convince them.

I’ve been asked several times whether Adrian will get his iPod for Christmas … well I’d like to tell you but that would spoil the surpise!  (But all the referrals from ZDNet are certainly helping my cursor towards ‘Add to cart’! )

Happy Christmas shopping everyone – only twenty online shopping days left!

 Amazon Add to Shopping Cart


Hide Norton Phishing Filter in IE7

December 5th, 2006

Since I’ve been trialing Norton Internet Security 2007 I've run with the phishing filter part of it switched off because it put a big banner across the top of my browser.
Norton's phishing filter banner in IE7

The banner takes up a lot of screen real estate plus I don’t think I really need it.  (I don’t tend to click on links in email and its only function is to check that the site I think is is not really a known fake phishing site pretending to be Amazon. It doesn’t for example check that really resolves out to Amazon’s IP address. Also it tends to throw up false positives with some advertisers with embedded links within web pages.)  But I think the main reason for disabling the phishing filter is because I prefer to start my browser with a blank home page and the phishing filter’s opinion of Internet Explorer’s ‘About:blank’ page makes an unwelcoming start to the day:
Norton Phishing Filter alert banner in IE7

Norton Protection Center - At riskThat is just annoying!  The only solution I’d found was to disable the Phishing Filter in the settings, but running with it disabled has the drawback that Norton shows the alert icon Norton System Tray Alert in the system tray and the big scary alert shown at left in the progam’s control panel. 

Also I occasionally need to switch off parts of the program in the course of my work, and I do rely on the alert in the system tray to remind me to switch it back on again when I’m finished.  But running without the entire package enabled means that this is always showing red and hence I’ve caught myself out a few times now without antivirus running. 

Luckily it is possible to have the phishing filter enabled but hide the Norton toolbar showing in Internet Exporer 7. Here's how:

Click the Internet Explorer 7 Tools Tools button, then select ‘Toolbars’ and check ‘Show Norton Toolbar’. 

Internet Explorer 7 | Tools | Toolbars | uncheck Show Norton Toolbar

This lets you get rid of the phishing filter from the top of the page as well as showing the green Norton Protection Center icon in the system tray.

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Javascript fun – make your images go nuts!

November 23rd, 2006

Here’s some fun thanks to Alex Eckelberry – navigate your browser to a page with images in.  Now drop the following into the address bar:

javascript:R=0; x1=.1; y1=.05; x2=.25; y2=.24; x3=1.6; y3=.24; x4=300; y4=200; x5=300;y5=200; DI= document.getElementsByTagName("img"); DIL=DI.length; function A(){for(i=0; i-DIL;i++){DIS=DI[ i ].style; DIS.position='absolute'; DIS.left=(Math.sin(R*x1+i*x2+x3)*x4+x5)+"px";*y1+i*y2+y3)*y4+y5)+"px"}R++} setInterval('A()',50); void(0);

And watch your images swirl all over the screen!

Screenshot of images swirling in the browser

Works in Opera, Firefox and Internet Explorer. 

Have fun! 

Happy Thanksgiving to all!!

Office 2007 Tools Options and File Properties

November 22nd, 2006

I’m getting a lot of questions about Office 12 from people who are desperate and in a hurry to find some aspect of Office that’s mysteriously moved in the new version. I’ve experienced this myself.  As I get them in I thought I’d post them up as help for others…  I’ll add to them as I get more in, so if you need help let me know!

“Where is tools options?”

If you wanted to change settings in Word, it was simple before .. you clicked on Tools | Options, so where is it now? 

2007 Office ButtonClick the Office Button (big round button in the top left corner)  and you’ll find Word options at the bottom, which contains most of what was under "Tools | Options" in previous versions.  It’s not all under the same headings as before so you may need to dig about a bit.  Let me know if you can find what you need and I’ll do my best to locate it for you...

Word 2007 - Where is tools options button?

Where is file properties?

In previous versions this was on the File menu, and gave you such information as Title and Author names, as well as the location of the document. To find this information in Word 2007,  click the round Office Button and click Prepare. From there you’ll see Properties, which displays some but not all of the info that was available in previous versions.  To see the full Document Properties dialog box click the down arrow and choose Advanced Properties.

Office 2007 - Where is File Properties?

Office 2007 Bring up Advanced Document Properties Dialog

If you need to find something in new Office email me with this form.

Question: Click to run an ActiveX control??

November 17th, 2006

A lot of people seem to be wondering what it means when they see "Click to run an ActiveX control on this webpage" or "Click to activate and use this control" being displayed by Internet Explorer on certain web pages:

Activating ActiveX

Activating ActiveX

Most people believe that this is a security warning. And when we're confused about what to do on the Web, we've been told time and again to hit cancel or escape. The web equivalent of just say no. But with this box there isn't an option to get out of it - you have to click OK. And this is a worry. And an annoyance. What is it all about?

It's important to note that this ISN'T a problem with your PC or your browser.  It was done by design as it was introduced as a response to a court case between Microsoft and another company called EOLAS which held a patent on browser plug-in technology (for more information, visit Wikipedia). The button is just the settlement of that case in that it makes you the user switch it on, rather than the browser switching it on itself.

So what do you do with it? You click it. Next time you're feeling mildly irritated at this button, just think how much the lawyers got paid and you'll find you're mildly annoyed instead! Unless you're a lawyer ... in which case you'll find you're mildly salivating and wondering if anyone ever patented the word blog! 😉

What do you do with an interactive control? To activate an interactive control, either click it or use the TAB key to set focus on it and then press the SPACEBAR or the ENTER key.  Interactive controls loaded from external script files immediately respond to user interaction and do not need to be activated. (And don't forget to think about all the salivating lawyers!)

The reason that you see this problem is because the webmaster of the site you are visiting hasn't made the necessary changes to their code to prevent this from happening.  (If you're here looking for workarounds, here are a couple of sites offering potential solutions.)

Worried about spyware?

If you're concerned about spyware infecting your computer when you click a link or button on the web one of the best solutions available is Spyware Doctor, which will block spyware and adware threats, as well as detecting and removing them if your PC is already infected. It's very simple to use. No fuss (which is the main thing I like!)

For 10% discount (Hurry! Offer limited to first 500 customers!) enter coupon code VEX-M5QH.

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