Monday, October 24, 2005

Media key didn't wanna work no more

I was having a wierd issue with my Microsoft Wireless Natural Keyboard, where the Media key wouldn't start my media player, and I got a message saying that the customizable key was not available. Wierd...

Anyway, it seems that IntelliType determines the current media player by checking to see which program is used to play audio CDs. So if you get this message, or you want to change the default media player, simply associate it with the Play command of an audio CD.

Yeah, I know you can 'hard-wire' the media key to a specific program, but that seems like a messy idea to me coz you have to do it within IntelliType. The nice idea with this solution is that you can change it directly within the media player by checking the appropriate box to associate it with audio CDs.

And a related factoid which I only found out a few weeks ago: you have to check the Enabled box within the properties of the Global Hotkeys plugin in Winamp to use the media control keys on the keyboard to control Winamp. I don't know why this isn't enabled by default! And there's nothing in the properties page of the Global Hotkeys plugin to mention that it is designed to work with multimedia keyboards. I used to think it was for wierdos that wanted to hold down Ctrl-Alt-Insert to play a track...

While I'm on the subject of Winamp, if you have a TV tuner card, check out the Winamp TV plugin. Oh, and the Nullsoft Media Player 10 skin looks fantastic!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Most valuable Firefox extensions

Firefox is a great web browser, but the best thing about it is the way you can use extensions to change it's behaviour. Here are some of my favourites:

- AdBlock and the matching filterset updater
- Tabbrowser Preferences
- Forecast Fox
- FasterFox
- Web Developer Toolbar
- Image Zoom
- FoxyTunes
- Download Manager Tweak
- Tab Mix Plus
- GooglePreview
- SmoothWheel
- GreaseMonkey
- Resize Search Box

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Is your PC "Powered by Dilbert"?

It's suprising what silicon chips can do these days, they just keep getting smaller, faster and more complex. But what do the designers do with the small amounts of blank space left on the die? They add an image of their favourite cartoon character of course!

Dilbert, Waldo and Mickey Mouse all feature in some of the images that Michael Davidson has found at the Silicon Zoo.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Make the scroll wheel scroll

One of Windows 'features' is that a window must have focus before it will listen to messages from the scroll wheel. This means that you have to keep clicking on each window to give it focus before you can scroll it, a real pain when your desktop is covered in windows.

But there's a simple solution: KatMouse. KatMouse ensures that you can use the scroll wheel to scroll in any window under the cursor. (It also has the ability to reassign the scroll wheel button, but I find that to be a pain so I turn that option off).


Just spotted this on the Ascent Technology website here.

So you need an email client huh? Well, I've never used it or meet anybody that uses it, but you might want to take a look at QualComm's Eudora. Because they don't keep a regular supply of stock of Eudora, Ascent don't know whether it's possible to order it at the moment or how long it would take to arrive. So how do you find out if they can get it? Email them.

Well I would, but...

Friday, October 07, 2005

Xandros Desktop OS - Open Circulation Edition

"Linux, huh? Too hard."

Not anymore. Try Xandros Desktop (Open Circulation Edition), a great Linux distro with a full suite of applications on the disc. And best of all it's free!

Xandros is one of the most usable Linux distributions I've found, with a simple install process and a wizard that configures it to look similar to your old operating system (Windows, MacOS, etc).

And if you can't part with your Windows apps, check out the Deluxe or Business editions which feature CrossOver Office, which allow you to run Windows apps directly in Xandros.

Xandros Desktop OCE features include:
- Full support for Windows file and printer sharing
- office suite
- CD burning
- Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird (web browser and email client)
- Easy software update utility
- Trial version of CrossOver Office
- USB scanner support
- Skype internet calling

Yeah, I know that most of the applications listed here are free, but what do you expect from a free OS? The best bit is, you don't need to worry about compiling and installing them.

Although, if you want to install something else, you can do that too. Xandros supports both Redhat installer packages (RPM) and Debian packages. If you want to go hard out, bring up a console and compile it yourself.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Labour leads by two seats...

Well, at last, the special votes have been counted, and Labour has been announced the winner by only two seats.

Check out the official results here.