Monthly Archives: July 2007

web developers toolbar messes with gmail in firefox

Recently I have been having a problem with my gmail account in firefox. When I clicked on a link in an email it would try and open the new url in a new tab unsuccessfully. What was happening was when I would click on the link www.facebook.com/n/?reqs.php  it would change the abilify on line without prescription domain name – so it would try and open http://gmail.google.com/mail/n/?reqs.php and would never find anything.

This was getting very iritating and so I figured I would start disabling my Addons and then one by one putting them back on. It turns out that it was the Web Developers Toolbar that was messing up the url – so once that was disabled the links worked perfectly.
I am going to investigate a little as to why this happens and if I reach a conclusion I will post it here.

On a side note this is the only problem I have had with the web developers toolbar – and it is still a quality tool and I use frequently in my work!

Windows Power Toys – Resizing photos

Sometimes you just want to quickly resize a photo to send on an email, post on a blog or share on your instant messaging programme like MSN. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a simple tool that let’s you right-click on a photo and have the option to resize it? Well there is such tool. Microsoft has a bunch of interesting little applications that can do lots of little jobs for you called Microsoft PowerToys.

The Image Resizer is one I find very useful. It’s easy to install, it doesn’t require a restart and you can use from a single right-click.

Download the Image Resizer from the Microsoft website (click here)

After installation just select one or more photos (hold CTRL and click once on each photo to select more than one) and then right-click to see a menu where you can select the option “Resize Image” (if you have selected more than one photo remember to release the CTRL key before doing the right-click). A small window will open with set sizes but if you click on Advanced you can set you own parameters for the resizing. By default the Image Resizer will not change the original file, it will instead create a resized copy of the desired photo/s with the words (medium) or (small) next to it, under the advanced mode that can be changed so the original pic can be modified.

For more Microsoft PowerToys go to: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/downloads/powertoys/xppowertoys.mspx

OpenMoko – OpenSource based phone

OpenMoko is the World’s First Integrated Open Source Mobile. I came across this project at the begining of the year and have been following it’s development since.

OpenMoko is a GNU / Linux based open software development platform. Developers have full access to OpenMoko source and they can tailor their implementations to underlying hardware platforms.

The Design of the NEO1973 might not be everyone’s choice but there’s history behind this choice of design as I’ve just found out. The name Neo1973 is a reference to Dr. Martin Cooper, who made the first mobile phone call in 1973, but there’s a nice description of the concept behind the design at http://openmoko.com/products-neo-base-01-pictures.html

The handset is manufactured by FIC (First International Computer, Inc.), a Taiwanese OEM that makes notebooks for HP and Gateway.

The developer’s version has been launched and the consumer version is to be available in October, acording to openmoko.com.

The hardware specs:

FIC Neo1973:
* 120.7 x 62 x 18.5 (mm)
* 2.8″ VGA (480×640) TFT Screen
* Samsung s3c2410 SoC @ 266 MHz
* Global Locate AGPS chip
* Ti GPRS (2.5G not EDGE)
* Unpowered USB 1.1
* Touchscreen
* micro-sd slot
* 2.5mm audio jack
* 2 additional buttons
* 1200 mAh battery (charged over USB)
* 128 MB SDRAM
* 64 MB NAND Flash
* Bluetooth (2.0)

OpenMoko.org (Wiki, projects, Bugzilla, Lists)
openmoko.com – News and Shop

One laptop per child project underway

The One Laptop Per Child project (www.laptop.org) appears to be gathering momentum, with production under way and orders starting to come in. Nicknamed the $100 laptop – at the moment the actual price will be around $175. The hope is, however, that as orders increase, so economies of scale will kick in and the price will come down to the original price of $100.

From all accounts so far the laptop is of unexpected high quality. With 256mb of memory and 1GB of flash memory, the specs are not breath-taking by any means, but if most of us took the music and video junk from our laptops – the amount of productive space we would need for word processing and ebooks is not that much. The screen has a resolution of 1200 × 900, but the piece de resistance of this display is that it is very good in direct sunshine so that the children can read their school work or books in bright conditions. The laptops will also have wifi as well as a camera, mic and speakers built in thus allowing for Skype type telephony – and given a good internet connection could be used for video conferencing.

Having worked in East Africa I think that the communications capabilities will be an important feature for people adopting these laptops. A lot of the nations that these laptops will be going to are very relational cultures, for whom the family and community side of life is vastly more important than it is to the average westerner. So to have the ability to stay in touch with people without the extreme cost of using the national telecommunications infrastructure will potentially be a huge benefit.

For my degree, one aspect I studied was communications in developing nations (and specifically the digital divide). Hopefully this one laptop per child project will seek to lessen that gap. But more importantly I think it could have the potential to empower different people groups to choose how they want to educate themselves. Giving children a laptop and an internet connection is giving them a world of possibilities and potential, more so than has ever been possible before.
However, I wonder if the ethical and moral implications of this new power to all of the children has been looked at. When someone has the internet available to them personally you open, not only a world of knowledge but also you can potentially expose cultures and people groups to things they have never seen before, such as pornography or violent videos etc… Although this project is a great opportunity (and I support it whole heartedly), I think the charities and governments that are taking this on should seriously look at the cultural and ethical effects of this on the children and how they can steer them away from the more unsavoury side of modern communications.

On a technical side I hope some of the power saving innovations from this laptop are seen in more and more ‘normal’ laptops – I mean I would not complain about a screen that I could read outside in sunshine – although here in the UK that is only useful for about 8% of the year!

All specs taken from www.laptop.org

Removing Programs from Windows Startup

Users often notice that after a few weeks of buying a new computer it starts to run slower and the boot process takes a lot longer than when it was turned on for the first time. There are programs like Apple QuickTIme, Realplayer, JavaRT and various others that automatically add themselves to your windows startup during instalation. Also trojans and hijackers can and will add themselves to the WIndows Start up if they are not caught by the antivirus.The easiest way to clear your windows startup is runing a little application called MSCONFIG which is part of windows.

1. click on START
2. click on RUN
3. type MSCONFIG

The application has a few tabs (depending on your version of Windows), the last tab is called STARTUP. You will see that there are a lot of programs there, some of tose are really important and should not be removed from there, but some are just using you resources. Here is a short list of those you could remove from there.

* qttask – QuickTime update chacker
* iTunesHelper – iTunes Helper
* GoogleToolbarNotifier – do you really need that?
* Adobe Reader Speed Launcher – it doesn’t make a lot of difference in my experience
* Adobe Update – Acrobat Reader checks for updates anyway once it starts up
* Realsch – Real Player update chacker and pops up that annoying window on the right-hand-corner

I normally go even further, as I don’t like to be on Skype or MSN as soon as I startup my computer I normaly remove those applications from the startup. There are other applications like printer monitors, webcam software that you maight want to remove from your startup but it’s up to you.

Once finished unchecking the boxes select OK and the computer will ask you to restart (it’s a windows trademark).

Wireless Router connection problems

One of the things that I get called about frequently here at my job (despite not really being in technical support), is people saying that their internet is down and can I help them get back on. The main complaints are that either ‘I cannot connect to my wireless router – the computer finds it but does not connect or get an IP address’. or ‘I can connect but then there is no internet‘ .

The solution to this (about half the time in my experience), is very simple. All that is required in some cases is to just reboot the router. It is amazing that by simply turning of the router and turning on again, about half of the connection problems I have dealt with are solved.
A good rule in IT before you try anything (there are occasionally exceptions) is to turn your equipment off and then turn it on again – I have found this can work with laptops, macs, routers, printers and mobile phones.