Monday, June 30, 2008

Email: Making Gmail Your Default Email Client

I was asked today how to make GMail the default email client so that when you send email it will be automatically opened up. You use to be able to do this with the GMail notifier, but it looks like Google stopped developing it (no updates since 3/2006).

You can now do this with Google Talk (Google's IM chat client). Open the Setting dialog under General, check the "Open GMail when I click on email links", press the OK button.

This will make Gmail as your default mailto: handler. Which means when you click a hyperlink email address, a Gmail compose window will be pre-populated with you email address in your default web browser.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Firefox 3 Has Been Released (Is it the Next-Generation Web Browser?)

I have been waiting for Firefox 3 for sometime now. Well last Tuesday (June 17) Mozilla finally released its next generation version of the browser. Version 3 of the Firefox browser contains many usability and feature enhancements.

Rather then trying to 'rewrite the wheel', I am going to post a link and excerpt from an eWeek article that reviews the browser: "At first glance, it doesn't look that different from previous versions of the browser. And while there are nice improvements from a usability standpoint, there's nothing radically different for Web users." Read the rest of the article here.

You can also download the browser and try it for yourself.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Internet Explorer: New Search Providers

In Internet Explorer you can change or add search engines that your browser can use to find information. To change the search engine used by the search field click the drop-down menu next to search field, then select any of the providers: MSN, Amazon, eBay, etc.

To add more providers, in the search drop-down (in the upper-right corner of the browser window) menu select 'Find More Providers...' Then select the search engine you want to use. After you make your selection, press the 'Add Provider' button.

To select a default provider, in the search drop-down menu select 'Change Search Defaults...'. Select the search provider you want to be your default, then press the 'Set Default' button.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Firefox: New Search Providers

In Firefox you can change or add search engines that your browser uses to search for the information. To change the search engine click the drop-down menu next to search field, then select any of the providers: Google, Yahoo, etc.

To add more providers, in the drop-down menu select 'Manage Search Engine..." Then click the link 'Get More Search Engines...' in the dialog. Press the Add to Firefox button next the search engine provider that you want to ask, then press the Add button in the dialog that displays.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Windows Vista: Removing Personal Data From Your Files

In Windows Vista you can add information to music and photo files such as titles, ratings, comments, and more. Although, if you don't want to share this personal data if you share these files with other people you can remove it.

Right-click a file, choose Properties, then click the Details tab. At the bottom of the window there is a link called 'Remove Properties and Personal Information.' From there you can remove the information from the file, or create a copy of the file with that data removed.

Window Vista: Using the On-Screen Keyboard

Windows Vista includes a virtual keyboard, this can come in handy in different situations. For example, if a critical key stops functioning on your real keyboard, you can use the virtual keyboard. To access this feature, from the Start menu in the Search field type OSK and then press the enter key.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Software: Great Silverlight Demo

I have talked about Microsoft's Silverlight in the past, but I have not seen many good demonstrations of the technology until now. Check out the Hard Rock Cafe's memorabilia section of their site. Using a feature called 'deep zoom' you can do perform some close examination the different objects in the collection.

To access the site you will need to install SilverLight Beta 2 (you will be prompted when you visit the page), but in my opinion its work the install. I was very impress with the controls and the detail of the objects that you can see. It's important to note that the scroll wheel allows you to increase or decrease the magnification of what you're looking at.
Note: If the site doesn't work after you install the plug-in close your browser, and open it back up again.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Software: Windows Search 4.0 is Now Available

Windows Search 4.0 is now available for download. Some of the features are: better indexing performance, support for the remote query of shared index locations, and more.

Windows Search 4.0 is available for following operating environments:

Friday, June 13, 2008

Windows Vista Complete PC Backup and Restore

TechNet Edge reports: "t’s been a while since I brought up a great feature in Windows Vista (not present in Windows XP) called Complete PC (CPC). Available in Windows Vista Business, Ultimate, and Enterprise editions, Windows Complete PC Backup and Restore is a image-based backup tool that will help you out of a tight spot if you need to recover your entire system." Read the rest of the article.

(Requires Microsoft Silverlight)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Software: Sysinternals Live (Updated)

Sysinternals is testing out a new feature that gives you quick access to all their free tools. These are some of best diagnostic and troubleshooting utilities available for Windows. Also, Mark Russinovich and his team are continuously updating the existing tools and creating new ones.

You can download any of the utilities without having to unzip them. All you have to do is remember the following URL to download them

You can also attach like any other network mounted drive, and run the utilities directly from the Internet.
  • Open a command prompt (type CMD in the search field under the Start menu)
  • Type: net use * \\\tools\
  • You will see a message like "Drive Z: is now connected to \\\tools\"
  • All you have to do is enter the drive letter it returns (i.e.: type Z: then press the Enter key)
  • Now type DIR and you will see all the utilities, or open the Windows Explorer and goto the Z: drive (or whatever drive letter the NET USE command gives you).

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Microsoft demonstrates Multi-touch

Windows Vista Team Blog reports: "Touch is quickly becoming a common way of directly interacting with software and devices. Touch-enabled surfaces are popping up everywhere including laptop touch pads, cell phones, remote controls, GPS devices, and more. What becomes even more compelling is when this experience is delivered to the PC -on a wide variety of Windows notebooks, in all-in-one PC's, as well as in external monitors. In working with our broad ecosystem of hardware and software manufactures, we're excited to be showing some of the great work and investments we are working on in Windows 7."

Goto the article to view a demo of this Windows 7 technology.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Windows XP: SP3 Compatibility Issues

Last month Microsoft released Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3). Since then, some people have experience certian issues with 3rd party software and some AMD CPUs. So, before installing SP3 for Windows XP there are some compatibility issues that you should be aware of:
  • On May 23, 2008 Computerworld reports on a problem with Symantec Norton security products: "Symantec Corp. on Thursday said it was Microsoft Corp.'s code that crippled some PCs after upgrades to Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) emptied Device Manager, deleted network connections and packed the registry with thousands of bogus entries." More information is available in Symantec's Norton forums.
  • HP is also working with Microsoft on a new patch to fix problems for customers with certain AMD-based PCs. To download the patch that corrects the problem, you will need to visit and enter the patch name SP37394 in the search box (or just click this link). From there you will get download and installation instructions.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Firefox 3: Quick Demo What's New

You might have been hearing about Firefox 3 for the past several months. You may have even tried out some of the beta and release candidates this application. For those who have not done this but may be fans of Firefox, check out this 4 minutes overview of some of the new features in the soon-to-be-released browser.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Windows Vista: SP1 UAC improvements

The following is a video from TechNet Edge in reference to Vista SP1 UAC improvements. Here is a description for this video from the site: "UAC is often maligned as over prompting for a single task. In this short and sharp clip I show a basic difference of Windows Vista RTM and Windows Vista SP1 and the reduction in UAC prompting to create a folder in a protected system location from four to one."

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Internet: Live Search Cashback

This is going to be a quick tip today. Microsoft Live Search introduced a new feature recently called Cashback that offers cashback savings when using Live Search to find deals on products.

For example here is an of a search using the keyword Laptop. If you use this site, please post feedback to let others know what you think of it.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

TransUnion offers free credit monitoring to 150 million

Computerworld reports: "In a class-action settlement that may be unprecedented in its size, Chicago-based credit-reporting bureau TransUnion LLC is offering up to nine months' worth of free credit-monitoring service to anyone in the U.S. who has ever held a credit card or a line of credit over the last 20 years."
Note: This is not a typical article that I would post in this blog, but I thought it would be worthwhile posting it here. I originally posted this article in my other blog.
Looking for a free credit report monitoring service. Well at least it will be free for six months. Check out the article to learn more.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Windows Vista: Setting Different Volumes Levels for Each Application

Did you know that you can set different volume levels for each running application in Windows Vista? Vista includes lots of cool new features, and one of them is the ability to set different volume levels for each program that you have open. For example if you have a music player, you can reduce that volume while increasing the volume of another application.

To change the volume levels:
  • Click the Volume icon in the Notification Area (looks like a speaker with sound waves coming out of it).
  • Click the Mixer link at the bottom of the little window that pops-up.
  • You can scroll through the different applications that are running on your computer. Then you can set different sound for each by adjusting the slider controls for each one individually or you can press the mute button to quiet that application.
Note: The master volume control which is labeled Device (the first slider) controls the total amount sound that can be outputted from the whole computer. Even if you have all the application sliders maxed out, they can't output more sound then is allowed by the master control slider.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Software: PC Decrapifier

Are you looking for an easy way to remove all that pre-installed blotware/crapware (i.e.: programs that you don't want, or trialware that you won't use) that comes on new PC. Check out a program called the PC Decrapifier it helps remove all that those useless programs. Here is a list of product that the applications can find and remove.

The PC Decrapifier is free for personal use, however If you have find the tool useful the author would like you to show your appreciation by making a $5 donation. This is not required to use the program, but you will receive releases before the general public as well as access to special forums (coming soon).