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Tips & Tricks

RecommendationsTips & Tricks
January 9, 2011

Video Wallpapers With VLC Media Player

When I originally bought Windows Vista, I was really excited about the DreamScene feature. It allowed videos to be used as wallpapers in Windows, something that I had never seen before. To use it, you had to buy Windows Vista Ultimate, the most expensive edition. I was happy to do this, given that Windows was the foundation of all the work I did in my career. Unfortunately, the extras included with Ultimate weren't really worth the extra money, in the end. I'm sure they had their applications, but they really didn't enrich my life, personally. DreamScene, in particular, turned out to be a disappointment. It was an interesting idea, but I found that if I played a game, and returned to Windows, the video wallpaper…
Tips & Tricks
January 7, 2011

Open Command Window Here in Windows 7

Despite the numerous graphical¬†advancements introduced in Windows 7, the Command Prompt has remained largely unchanged. Yet, it has always remained a useful, lightweight tool for interacting with the file system. I remember using it often in Windows XP, which was really when I was getting serious about Computer Science. In fact, I looked for ways to improve the command prompt experience. I eventually discovered a power toy for Windows XP titled "Open Command Window Here". When installed, it would add an extra option to the context menu, which simply said "Open Command Window Here". It would typically be visible when you right-clicked a folder, and, once selected, would make a new Command Prompt window would appear. This new window would have current location automatically set…
Tips & Tricks
January 6, 2011

Google’s Cache Feature Improved By User Script

When looking at search results in Google, you may have noticed a link titled "Cached" that appears alongside most results. Here's how Google¬†explains the feature: Google takes a snapshot of each page examined as it crawls the web and caches these as a back-up in case the original page is unavailable. If you click on the "Cached" link, you will see the web page as it looked when we indexed it. The cached content is the content Google uses to judge whether this page is a relevant match for your query. Whenever I encounter a search result that isn't loading when clicked, I try using the "Cached" link. As Google warns, it isn't necessarily up to date, but it usually reveals what I need: the…
RecommendationsTips & Tricks
December 23, 2010

How Fear Can Keep You Writing

As I was searching for tools to help me with my general writing process, I found one that was particularly interesting, and worth sharing. Write or Die is an application that uses negative reinforcement to keep you typing. As long as you continue writing, you'll be fine... but if you stop, Write or Die starts to get aggressive. As a first step, it will start changing the background color of the window to red. As time passes, the red gets more intense. If you don't keep typing, and you let it get totally demonic, you will face one of three possible punishments, depending on your settings. The mildest of these punishments involves a simple pop-up, reminding you to type. Not really significant, as you just…
Tips & Tricks
December 13, 2010

Tab Management Shortcuts in Google Chrome

When I use a browser, I typically focus on using keyboard shortcuts, rather than the user interface. Since I've been using Google Chrome so often, I thought I would reveal the shortcuts that I've been using. Most of these shortcuts should work in other browsers as well, whether natively, or through the use of extensions. CTRL + T Opens a new tab in the current window. CTRL + SHIFT + T Opens the most recently closed tab. Chrome will actually remember the last ten tabs you closed, and work its way back in time with repeated keypresses. CTRL + W or CTRL + F4 Closes a tab in the current window. If you close the last remaining tab, the window will close as well. CTRL…