Tag Archive for: tip

Java: Suppress Sponsor Offers

25 Aug 2014
August 25, 2014

While it is popular and common to suggest that we should avoid installing Java if we’re security conscious – or at least not enable it in our browsers – sometimes that’s just not an option. For instance, the web application that I spend my days in needs Java to be fully functional.

Java upgrades are a drag. One of the worst aspects has been to remember to uncheck the current sponsor stuff. Nope, I don’t need an Ask Toolbar and I really don’t want MacAfee Security Center installed. Ever!

If you feel the same way, you will love this new option at the bottom of the Advanced tab in the Java Control Panel:

Suppress sponsor offers when installing or updating Java

That’s pretty great.  You can find the Java Control Panel in your Windows Control Panel. If running Windows 8 or 8.1 just hit the windows key and type Java Control and search will turn it up as well.


Windows 8: Finally Made the Leap

11 Nov 2012
November 11, 2012

WindowsI have been messing around with Windows 8 since early this year. Never real seriously, but enough to keep an eye on it and play a bit. Last month I installed an evaluation version of my laptop (the VHD method) and exercised it a bit more. Enough to get to the point where I wanted to spend more time with it. However, since that was the eval version I didn’t really want to spend the time getting it all configured and then lose it after 6 months.

So this weekend I made the leap and and installed a non-eval version on my work laptop. I’m still using the VHD method (Scott Hanselman has a great walkthrough that I followed (but I skipped his boot from USB steps since I had a DVD…)). I then set it up with all of my work applications and have been in it ever since. Should I determine that I love it I will make a system image, then re-deploy it to my “real” hard drive to get a little boost by moving away from the VHD method.

The modern UI (formerly known as “metro”) take some getting used to, but if you’re more of a typer than a clicker you’re not going to have any issues. With Windows 7 I’ve always been in the habit of hitting the Windows Key (Winkey) and starting to type to find programs. That works great with Windows 8. However, if you always drag the mouse over to the start button, *click* and then scroll through all the programs you may find this a bit different… perhaps better though once you get the hang of customizing your Start page. Or perhaps your cheese has been moved too far. I’ll let you decide…

For me? I’m digging it. So far I have had no issues getting all setup with my normal work apps and configurations.

What follows are some stream of consciousness observations, tips and discoveries from the past two days. Maybe something in there will be found helpful to someone.

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7” Eee Screen Resolution Tip

30 Jul 2011
July 30, 2011

I have a “classic” old Asus Eee 701 4G netbook that I like to dust off from time to time and monkey with. The size is definitely ultra-portable, and so is the keyboard which is, to be honest, why I don’t use it more often..

The biggest challenge with this thing though is screen resolution (well, and a 4GB SSD drive gets tight!). To that end, I did a bit of research and believe I finally have a solution that I’m happy with. Linux only though, Ubuntu NBR 10.04 in my case.

I’ve created two little scripts that both feature xrandr. The first is named “big” and contains one line:

xrandr --output LVDS1 --scale 1.28x1.28

The second is called “small” and looks rather similar:

xrandr --output LVDS1 --scale 1.00x1.00

I just keep ‘em in my home directory, but I did use the menu editor to add them to Accessories and then, from there, short-cuts up to Favorites for quick one-click access.

Big just makes things bigger. Basically scales the display from the default 800×480 to 1024×614’ish. I might squint a bit, but this is a much more usable resolution! Small just resets it back to the default.

Note, if you don’t want to squint, you could try the panning route instead. Try a script named “big-pan” with the following:

xrandr --output LVDS1 –panning 1024x600

Now stuff stays the original size, but you can pan around to get more effective screen size.

I have not had much luck combining scaling and scanning. Yet.

Firefox 4 and Two Quick Tips

24 Mar 2011
March 24, 2011

By now you’ve no doubt heard that Firefox 4 was released last week. I had used it through a few beta and release candidate releases and like it a lot. Here are a couple small tips that I thought I’d share. One specific to XP and the other to Windows 7 (and Vista?).

Firefox 4 on XP tip

At first, I wasn’t a huge fan of the redesigned menu but I’ve grown to like it, especially the amount of space it doesn’t take up. Here’s what it looks like on a Windows 7 machine:

Firefox 4 Menu on Windows 7

When I first installed it on my little XP laptop I was initially appalled. The bar was gone! Blah, it looked like the previous release:

Firefox 4 on XP -- old style menu

Fortunately, this is easily fixed. To get the snazzier menu, just go to View –> Toolbars and uncheck the “Menu Bar” option. Presto – problem fixed.

Firefox 4 on XP -- new style menu

Windows 7

When hovering over Firefox in the task bar, wouldn’t it be nice if it would show a thumbnail of all tabs, not just the current one? I sure thought so – and turns out it is just a checkbox away (assuming, of course, your operating system supports it).

Just go to Options and then the Tabs tab. Check the bottom option:

Firefox 4 - Show tab previews

Now hover over Firefox in the task bar:

Firefox 4 tab previews

From there you can click the tab you want to go to or even close them by hitting the little red “x”.

Search from the Address Bar

Bonus tip!

I’m not sure if this is a published feature or not, but I’ve noticed that I can type keyword searches straight into the address bar – instead of the search box – and it takes me to a Google search for those words. You know, like Chrome?

This doesn’t seem to be specifically listed on the Firefox Features page, but I sure like it. Also makes me think I could probably remove the search box altogether…