Monday, April 30, 2007

Firefox: The Unoffical Firefox Keyboard Shortcuts Quick Reference Guide

Everyone loves keyboard shortcuts. Those little keyboard tricks that you can use to perform program operations quickly (such as: opening or closing tabs, finding text, etc.). The only problem with these shortcuts is memorizing them.

Below is my: Unofficial Firefox Keyboard Shortcuts Quick Reference Guide. I have tried to group the shortcuts into logical groups so that you can easily find them.

Page/Tab Navigation:
  • [Alt]+[Home]: Opens the Home page in the current tab
  • [Alt]+[Right Arrow]: Moves one page forward in cache
  • [Alt]+[Left Arrow]: Moves one page back in cache
  • [Backspace]: Moves one page back in cache
  • [Shift]+[Backspace]: Moves one page forward in cache
  • [Alt]+F4: Closes the active window
  • [Ctrl]+F4: Closes the active tab
  • [Ctrl]+1: Opens the first tab
  • [Ctrl]+2: Opens the second tab
  • [Ctrl]+3: Opens the third tab
  • [Ctrl]+4: Opens the forth tab
  • [Ctrl]+5: Opens the fifth tab
  • [Ctrl]+6: Opens the sixth tab
  • [Ctrl]+7: Opens the seventh tab
  • [Ctrl]+8: Opens the eigth tab
  • [Ctrl]+9: Opens the nineth tab
  • [Ctrl]+N: Opens a new window
  • [Ctrl]+T: Opens a new tab in the current window
  • [Ctrl]+W: Closes the active tab in the current window
  • [Ctrl]+[Tab] ([Ctrl]+[Page Down]): Selects the next tab within the current window
  • [Ctrl]+[Shift]+Tab ([Ctrl]+[Page Up]): Selects the previous tab within the current window
Page Shortcuts
  • Esc: Stops loading the current page
  • [Ctrl]+0 (zero): Restore normal text size
  • [Ctrl]+[+] (plus sign): Increases the font size
  • [Ctrl]+[-] (minus sign): Decreases the font size
  • [End]: Moves to the bottom of a page
  • [Home]: Moves to the top of a page
  • [Ctrl]+F: Find
  • [Ctrl]+G (or [F3]): Find again
  • [Shift]+[F3]: Find previous
  • [F5]: Refresh
  • [Ctrl]+[F5] ([Ctrl]+[Shift]+R): Refresh (overrides page cache)
  • [Ctrl]+A: Selects all object on the page
  • [Ctrl]+B: Opens/closes the Bookmarks pane
  • [Ctrl]+H: Opens/closes the History pane
  • [Ctrl]+I: Opens/closes the Bookmarks pane
  • [Ctrl]+J: Opens/closes the Downloads dialog box
  • [F6]: Selects the current Location bar text Move or moves to the next frame
  • [Shift]+[F6]: Moves to the previous frame
Miscellaneous Shortcuts
  • [Alt]+[Enter]: Opens a URL in a new tab
  • [Ctrl]+[Enter]: Adds "www." to the beginning and ".com" to the end of a domain name in the Location bar
  • [Ctrl]+[Shift]+[Enter]: Adds "www." to the beginning and ".org" to the end of a domain name in the Location bar
  • [Shift]+[Enter]: Adds "www." to the beginning and ".net" to the end of a domain name in the Location bar
  • [Ctrl]+D: Adds a bookmark
  • [Ctrl]+E (or [Ctrl]+K): Activates Web Search bar
  • [Ctrl]+Down Arrow: Selects the next search engine
  • [Ctrl]+Up Arrow: Selects the previous search engine
  • [Ctrl]+L: Select the current Location bar text
  • [Ctrl]+U: View source code for the current page
  • [F7]: Toggle on/off Caret Browsing
  • [F11]: Toggle full-screen/normal view
Common Shortcuts
  • [Ctrl]+C: Copy
  • [Ctrl]+O: Open a file
  • [Ctrl]+P: Print
  • [Ctrl]+R: Refresh
  • [Ctrl]+S: Save As
  • [Ctrl]+V: Paste
  • [Ctrl]+Y: Redo
  • [Ctrl]+X: Cut
  • [Ctrl]+Z: Undo
  • [F1]: Opens Help
Other keyboard shortcuts:

Friday, April 27, 2007

Software: Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer

If you run anti-malware scanners, a firewall and keep your OS and applications updated, you're going to be able to protect yourself from most types of infections that can attack your system. To help make your system more secure, consider running the Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer (MBSA).

The MBSA is a free standalone vulnerability assessment tool that can scan your Windows systems to identify common security mis-configurations and missing security updates. The MBSA also includes a graphical and command line interface that can perform scans on local or remote systems.

This version of MBSA works on Windows Server 2003, 2000, and XP systems. It also supports the following Microsoft technologies: Internet Information Server (IIS) (v4.0-6.0), SQL Server (v7.0, 2000), Internet Explorer (IE) (5.01 and later), and Office (v2000, 2002 and 2003).

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Software: Shortcuts to Web Browsing

A site called OpenDNS allows people to surf their favorite web sites by typing keywords that they create. For example, lets say you bank at 'Bank of America', you can create a shortcut called 'BOA' that would take you to their web site when you typed it.

To use this service, you have to do a few things:
  1. Log in to your account on the OpenDNS web site, if you don't have an account there then you can create one.
  2. Setup your computer to use the OpenDNS servers for DNS lookups.
    • See the site for detailed instructions.
  3. After you're logged in to your account you can start creating your keyword shortcuts.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Security: Does a program contain malware?

Downloading programs off the Internet is a pretty scary thing to do these days, you never know if it contains malware (i.e.: spyware, virus, etc.). Even if you used a program in the pass and it was perfectly safe to run, tomorrow it can be full of malware.

The only way to protect yourself is to use good judgment, and make sure you have good real-time anti-virus and anti-spyware scanners installed with up-to-date signature. I also helps to make sure that your computers OS is up-to-date, and you're running a good two-way firewall.

Before you download anything, you should always question the source of the program. If it comes from a seedy looking web site then I would think twice before running it. Even after I download the executable to my local computer, it and passes through my anti-malware scanners I still question if the program can contain viruses or spyware.

As an extra step, you can run a Google search on the executable's name ( i.e.: programname.exe), or the name of the program in quotes. Then I add the following words to the end of the query: spyware OR virus OR malware. For example, programname.exe spyware OR virus OR malware.

For those who want more information about computer viruses, worms, and botnets, check out the following video. They make it really easy to understand these topics for those who might need some help with this topic. There is also my free ebook that I released few months ago called "Defending Yourself in the Information Age".

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Video: How To Install Computer Memory

Operating systems like Windows XP or Vista run best on computers that have a lot of available RAM. Windows XP runs well with about 1GB of RAM, while Windows Vista I recommend 2GB.

Upgrading the RAM in your computer is pretty easy. By doing it yourself, you can save $50-100, or whatever a computer repair service will charge you for this procedure.
  • The first thing that you need to do before you buy the RAM is open your computer and find out how many of your DIMM slots are used and how many are available. The DIMM slots are where you add the RAM to your computer's motherboard. Depending on how many you have will determine if you can use your old memory or just replace it with new memory.
  • Watch the video first to get an idea on how to properly open your computer, and ground yourself.
  • Make sure that you unplug your computer's power supply before you start this upgrade.
  • Find the brand name and model of your computer/motherboard.
  • Check a site like Kingston to find and buy the memory for your computer/motherboard
  • Watch the video below to see how its done.
Note: This video only provides basic instructions for performing this procedure. The actual process will vary from computer to computer. Refer to your computer/motherboard's manual for specific instructions. And as always, proceed at your own risk.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Software: Mozilla Thunderbird 2

Mozilla recently released Thunderbird v2, a free open source e-mail client. Some of the new features of the program include: message tagging, refined folder controls, searching and customization (such as: designing message template). Thunderbird also has hundreds of plug-ins available for it to enhance its features and functionality.

TechRepublic has posted several screen shots of this new e-mail client and its new features so that you can see what it looks like before installing it.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Article: Make Your Own Font

PC Magazine has a great article on how to create your own fonts for your computer. Two warning don't expect it to be easy or free (the software is $80).

Although if you're motivate to do this kind of work, the article it provides a step-by-step overview of the process.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Software: Microsoft Silverlight

Microsoft just release Silverlight, which is basically a interactive media technology that is similar in functionality to Adobe's Flash. Here is a excerpt from the site: "Silverlight is a cross-browser, cross-platform plug-in for delivering the next generation of media experiences and rich interactive applications (RIAs) for the Web."

Silverlight is a browser plug-in for Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari. The plug-in will run on Windows XP SP2 & Vista (on IE and Firefox) or the Mac OS X (on Firefox and Safari). You can download the plug from this page.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Article: New DOE Energy-Assessment Software is Vital for Home Repair

AppScout: "The U.S. Department of Energy on Friday announced the release of EnergyPlus 2.0, the second generation of its free software tool to help homeowners and home builders 'model their energy flows' as the summer approaches."

This is very interesting software for home builders interested in modeling heating, cooling, lighting, ventilating, and more. For more information read the article.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Windows Vista: Advanced Disk Performance

Warning: This tip is only for computers that have a UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply) attached to it. Use this tip at your own risk.

If your computer has a SATA (Serial-ATA) hard drive, then Windows Vista includes a feature that utilizes aggressive write caching. This is where data is written to a RAM cache first before it's written to the hard drive. This speeds up your data write operations, although it can cause data lost if your power goes before all the data can be written to your hard drive.
  • From the Start menu, right-click on Computer, and select Manage.
  • Click on Device Manager
  • Expand the Disk Drives entry.
  • Right-click on your SATA hard drive and select Properties.
  • Click the Policies tab.
  • Check 'Enable Advanced Performance'.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Security: Microsoft Patch Tuesday (April)

The second Tuesday of the month has passed again, which means that Microsoft just published new round of security fixes for Windows and it's applications. This date is meant to be a predictable date so that companies only have to patch their computers and servers once a month. This month there are five patches that are marked as critical, and one patch that is marked as important.

For the average user, if you have Automatic Updates enabled your computer will download these updates for you in the background. Then when you shutdown your system these patches will be applied to your system. If you leave your computer on overnight they will automatically be installed and your system rebooted if necessary.

Warning: Before you leave your computer at night make sure you save all your work or it will be lost if your system has to be rebooted.

Enabling Automatic Update
If you don't have 'Automatic Updates' enabled I would suggest that you turn it on as soon as possible. If you don't want to enable Automatic Updates, you can always update your computer by visiting the Windows Update site and downloading and installing the patches manually.

To enable Automatic Updates:
  • From the Start menu, select the Control Panel folder.
  • Double-click the System applet in the control panel folder.
  • Click the 'Automatic Updates' tab.
  • Check the 'Automatic (recommended)' option. (optional: if you don't like this feature, you can set it to: 'download but not install the update', 'just notify you', or 'disable this feature altogether' [not recommended])
  • Press the OK button when done.

Note: For the latest Microsoft Security Bulletins, check out this site.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Windows XP: Putting Your Files into Groups

Windows XP allows you to organize your files and folders in to groups (such as: Name, Size, Type, or Modified). For example, you can arrange all the files by Type, which means that all the files of a particular type will be grouped together.

Follow the instructions below to organize your files by group:
  • Open the Windows Explorer, then open a folder (i.e.: My Documents, My Music, or My Pictures.) or drive that contains several types of folders and files.
  • Right-click an empty area of the window, select 'Arrange Icons By', and then select 'Show in Groups'.
  • Right-click an empty area of the window again, then select 'Arrange Icons By', and select: Name, Size, Type, or Modified.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Internet Explorer 7: Keyboard Shortcut Tricks

In a previous article I talked about some basic Internet Explorer 7 (IE7) keyboard shortcuts. What I didn't include in that article were some really lesser known keyboard shortcuts, that you might really like to use.

IE Tab Tricks
  • CTRL+T: Opens new tab in foreground.
  • CTRL+Q: Toggles the Quick Tabs view.
    • CTRL+SHIFT+Q: Displays list of tabs.
  • CTRL+TAB or CTRL+SHIFT+TAB (to reverse): Cycles between different tabs.
  • CTRL+W or CTRL+F4: Closes the current tab.
    • CTRL+ALT+F4: Closes all but the current tab.
  • CTRL+[1-8]: Jumps to specific tab (number 1 through 8).
    • CTRL+9: Jumps to the last tab.
  • CTRL+[Mouse Click]: Opens a link in tab in the background.
    • CTRL+SHIFT+[Mouse Click]: Opens a link in tab in the foreground.
URL Trick
  • CTRL+ENTER: Adds WWW and .COM to the domain name in to the Address bar.
  • SHIFT+ENTER: Adds WWW and .NET to the domain name in to the Address bar.
  • CTRL+SHIFT+ENTER: Adds WWW and .ORG to the domain name in to the Address bar.
  • ALT+ENTER: Opens a new tab from the Address bar or Search box.
Page Zoom
  • CTRL+[=]: Zooms in.
  • CTRL+[-]: Zooms out.
  • CTRL+0 (zero): Resets zoom to 100%.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Software: Yod'm 3D (Desktop Manager)

Yod'm 3D is a cool desktop manager with a great twist, literally. The name of this application stands for 'Yet anOther Desktop Manager 3D'.

Desktop managers are programs designed to allow you to organize your applications by assigning them to different virtual desktops and quickly switch between them. Desktop managers were popular in the days of single monitor computers and have since fallen out of favor. although some people still like them.

Yod'm 3D is different, it displays a rotating cube with images of your current desktop on it when you switch between desktops. Its a very cool effect the first time you see it. This is also a very cool way to impress your friends.

This programs runs on Windows 2000/XP/Vista, and requires DirectX 9 to be installed.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Windows Vista: Creating Virtual Folders

Windows Vista has a great new feature called 'Virtual Folders' that allows you to find documents that match a specific search pattern that you defined. Basically virtual folders are nothing more then a file that contains a saved search. When you open the file it opens like a folder and displays the files that match the results of your original search.

To create a virtual folder:
  • Press the WinKey+F, this brings up a search window.
  • In the Search field type the words that you want to search for.
  • When you have your search just the way you like it press the 'Save Search' button.
  • Give your saved search a name (such as: "Personal Receipts")
Your saved search will be placed in to the Search folder by default. Although you can save it anywhere you like. Personally I like to save them on the Desktop because they're easier to access.

Now all you have to do is open up the saved search and you have yourself a virtual folder. The file in this folder gets updated dynamically whenever it is open, which means any files that match your search get displayed.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Article: Inside Firefox 3.0, Alpha 3: Gran Paradiso

PC Magazine reports: "This past Monday, Mozilla unveiled the third alpha of Gran Paradiso, the code name for Firefox 3.0. If development goes according to plan, this will be the first version of Firefox—or of any browser, for that matter—to have the three key components needed to support offline Web applications: DOM Storage; an offline execution model; and synchronization. That critical foundation will let free or low-cost Web suites compete with Microsoft software and possibly break the company's decades-long domination in office productivity apps."

Firefox just shot the next volley in the new browser war between Internet Explorer and Firefox. In the last browser war I.E. won, but the Netscape Navigator was a pretty crappy browser towards the end.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Article: Microsoft Jumps Schedule to Patch ANI

eWeek reports: "Microsoft is jumping its regular monthly patch schedule to release a patch this Tuesday for the animated cursor attack that's been roughhousing Windows users since it was discovered last week."

The MS07-017 patch will correct the vulnerability in Windows Animated Cursor Handling system. As soon as this patch is available you should patch your system using WindowsUpdate.