Jag  har alltid tänkt att skapa mig ett blogg på svenska. Medan jag redan har den här bloggen och det är min första seriös blogg, jag tänkte mig att prova skriva här på svenska.

Jag är säkert att jag kommer att läsa denna poster senare och känna mig skamsen för att jag har skrivit så dåligt eller på nybörjare nivå, men det är bättre att försöka skriva iaf. Ny kommer jag skriva ett presentation om mig och mina intresser om sverige och svenska.

Jag bodde i Cypern för många år sedan, där hade jag en vän som var halv svenskt halv libanesisk. Efter några år när de flyttade därifrån och till Luleå, ville jag följa med de men det gick inte. Då på året 1998 bestämde jag mig att jag skulle komma till Sverige och lära mig svenska, kanske även plugga i Sverige eftersom jag hade stoppat mina högskolestudier på Cypern.

När jag gick till hemlandet, hållade jag i kontakt med min kompis och hans familj i Luleå och försökte hitta något kandidatexamen på engelska inom IT/ingenjörsvetenskap men lyckade inte hitta någonting. Där fanns många magisterexamen på engelska men inget kandidatexamen på engelska, då tänkte jag att lära mig svenska så kunde jag plugga i Sverige.

Jag köpte några bok “Svenska i resan”, “Svenska på en vecka” eller något liknade och försökte lära mig. Problemmet var att det hade nästan inga grammatik, inget bra uttal och man måste påminna långa meningar utan att lära sig hur man kan skapa en mening på svenska.

Då försökte jag hitta någon svenska lärare och hittade ett bra “language institute” som hade, bland annat, svenska lärare.

Första gången jag gick till klassen tog jag alla bok med mig och blev tvungen att kasta dem i papperskogen, jag var inte nöjd jag kan säga ! Då började vi lektionerna med “Mål 1″ boken från Natur och Kultur. På början hade jag synpunkt att svenska var precis engelska med lite ö, ä och å här och där !

Tyvärr efter några månader stoppade jag lära mig eftersom jag blev anmäld att universitet kom inte att acceptera min Cypriotisk diplom som giltig och jag hade inte chans att plugga vidare i Sverige :(  Då tappade jag motivationen om att plugga fullt fart framåt och stoppade studera vidare. Men eftersom jag hade ett intress i svenska, började jag det igen och igen.

Det är svårt att plugga på något språk i ett land var ingen pratar på denna språket. Först tänker man varför måste jag plugga ett språk som blir talad av bara 9 milioner människor, och då kommer man tänka att spanska, tyska eller rysska kan bli mycket mer användbart än svenska. Det var lättare att hitta några magaziner eller tidningar på spanska eller tyska än svenska ! Jag försökte få hjälp på irc internet chat men tyvärr är svenskar inte den mest hjälpsamma på nätet! Det var ändå rolig när jag blev frågat vad gör jag och när jag sagt “studerar språket” alla tänkte “språket” betyder engelska och svarade “men jag tänkte du var duktig på engelska, eller ?”.

Jag hade en laminerad ordlist och ett par A4 papper med massor av verb i olika former som jag tittade på när jag var i traffik och ibland lyssnade jag på “Mål ett, textband ett/två” Jag kan komma ihåg meningarna “Josefin var på realisation och tänkte det var kalabalik. Hon köpte några skivor för her gramafon !” Ja, min bok var från 1978 och jag lärde mig några ord som varje gång jag använder de jag hörs som ett gubbe :) Hur ofta hör du någon säga “det var kalabalik ute” ? Jag kanske måste använda den nyare formen: Det var full av rörelse/kaos ute.

På 2008 fick jag chans att komma till sverige när jag på slut hittade något program som passade jag bra och accepterade mig! De flesta ingenjörvetenskap programmer hade haft fördringar som matte, fysik och kemi. Jag hade gjört kemi på gymnasie utom sista året men de “behövde” jag att ha klarat den på sista året av gymnasium. Tror de (universitetet) att jag kommer att komma ihåg någonting av mina studier som jag har klarat nästan 15 år sedan, när jag fick min diplom? Det ses så.

Så fick jag chans att plugga på IT-ekonomi (Business Informatics) på engelska i en högskola i sverige.

 

Overnight Success ?!

Reading an article about the failures and successes of companies, for the average person is not obvious that companies go through a lot of change and failures before finding that winning formula. We all would rather do as little as possible, be as optimized as possible and have 100% success in everything, but who will fail then ? If everyone succeeds, then would success be success or it would be labeled as an everyday thing, going by, just the usual. It’s like having it sunny for all the year, the weather girl gets bored: yes, yet another day of sunshine, just like yesterday, the week before and …. but if success ensues after a few failures, wouldn’t that be more interesting ?

Here are my favourite quotes from the page about business success:

Below text is copied from above link.

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Angry Birds, the incredibly popular game, was software maker Rovio’s 52nd attempt. They spent eight years and nearly went bankrupt before finally creating their massive hit.
James Dyson failed in 5,126 prototypes before perfecting his revolutionary vacuum cleaner. Groupon was put on life support and nearly shut down at one point in its meteoric rise.

When looking at the most successful people and organizations, we often imagine geniuses with a smooth journey straight to the promised land. But when you really examine nearly every success story, they are filled with crushing defeats, near-death experiences, and countless setbacks. We often celebrate companies and individuals once they’ve achieved undeniable success, but shun their disruptive thinking before reaching such a pinnacle.

Before Oprah was Oprah, before Jobs was Jobs, they were labeled as misguided dreamers rather than future captains of industry.

In your life, you’ve probably had a setback or two. When you stumble, it’s tempting the throw in the towel and accept defeat. There’s always an attractive excuse waiting eagerly, hoping you’ll take the easy way out. But the most successful people forge ahead. They realize that mistakes are simply data, providing new information to adjust your approach going forward.

The ubiquitous WD-40 lubricant got its name because the first 39 experiments failed. WD-40 literally stands for “Water Displacement–40th Attempt.” If they gave up early on like most of us do, we’d sure have a lot more squeaky hinges in the world.

You have a mission to accomplish and an enormous impact to make. You will inevitably endure some “failures” along your journey, but you must realize that persistence and determination have always been primary ingredients in accomplishment.

Don’t cave to your mistakes, embrace them. In fact, mistakes are simply to the portals of discovery. There’s an old saying that “every bull’s-eye is the result of a hundred misses.” So the next time you feel the sting of failure, just realize you’re likely one shot closer to hitting your target.
And who knows? Maybe after a few dozen failures and months or years of hard work, you might just be that next “overnight” success.

 

  • Failure is one of those words that is not understood. Most people think of failure as final.
  • Nothing worth while comes easy. Or said another way, that which cost nothing is worth nothing!
  • One should first Identify his/her true self,set a goal in lines with his passion and then go for the goal with full strength and zeal! As they say in Swedish: Fullt fart framåt.

 

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In the last post I wrote about the history of music on the computer and internet. This post shall be dedicated on the art of obtaining your music collection. You may have to check with your own ethics if you plan to copy copyrighted material into your computer. For me, this is not black and white as the copyright holders will want to let us consumers believe. I have a theory, it is that if I do not particularly like a band/song/album and would like to listen to it every once in a while, like once every 2-3 years, then I am definitely NOT going to go out and pay for the music. It’s like I could wait for it to be played on the radio. These days you can go to libraries and borrow music CD’s. It’s like me going to my local library, borrowing that CD, bringing it home and listening to it. This in no way is going to generate more cash flow for the music copyright holders, and certainly not for the original artist. If you do not already know, artists in many cases do not receive any money in the first couple of years, and some even in the many years to come. All who is benefiting from this affair is the music label. I think Abbey Road Studios or SONY already has enough money. Sorry, I do not help make the multi-billion-dollar corporations even richer.

On the other hand I am all up for supporting talented new artists who set a  reasonable price on their music per track and enable multiple fail-safe methods of payment. One such artist is the talented Per Byhring from Norway. Per is one of those talented young artists who not only has his music up for sale on Amazon, but also has it up for grabs in multiple high-quality formats for free download. This is the sort of artist I would like to support. His whole album cost me 80 SEK, or about $9. Worth every öre. However it was a bit of a struggle to try to buy the album. At first I was given the link to the USA Amazon site, that didn’t work since it’s a crime to be in Sweden and trying to buy music in US, so I tried the UK version of Amazon. Same problem, if you don’t live in the UK, you cannot buy music online. CDbaby had similar problem until in the end, I tried iTunes and curiously, it worked !

The problem is that most websites have still not gotten their heads around the Global Community that internet is. Most of their CEO’s still think as if there’s a border around every country and things are in black and white. Are you in US/UK ? You can buy the music and support your favourite artist. Are you not from those countries ? You shouldn’t listen to that music. Period. It’s not as simple as that though. You have to decide whether music is replaceable product or not. I can understand that certain cars are not going to be available in certain countries, but these products are replaceable. You need a car for its offered safety, price, comfort and so on. If you do not find that specific brand or model, you can settle for something else. But music, can you really say OK I am not able to buy my favourite album, I’ll just go and buy something else and listen to that instead ! What if Per Byhring did not offer his music for free ? Music like A Shell in the Pit is a good example. Only one Canadian dollar to buy in multiple formats, it’s also available in complete and in high quality for listening to. If you want to keep it, then you may have to pay the reasonable price of $1. Payments from Sweden also accepted. Simple, easy and effective.

Music should be easy to download and pay for. At least as easy as finding it on pirate websites because after all, if “I” for one cannot pay for my favourite music, I will get it through other means. Huge FAIL for those companies restricting access and purchase from other countries. What do they think they are doing ? They help the illegal downloading/piracy, indirectly.

I believe all music should be freely accessible, just like the example of A Shell in the Pit. If you want to just listen to it, then here you go, if you want to have it, then pay a little bit of money. Fortunately, services like Grooveshark and Spotify allow users to listen to the song without paying for it. However if you still insist on downloading the music, here is a list of the methods I use to download:

beemp3: Bee Mp3 contains millions of tracks. Downloading is as easy as searching for the music, entering the three-character capcha and clicking save-as on the mp3. It’s effective if you are trying to download that difficult-to-get track, but not ideal for albums.

Mp3Skull: Same as above, great search function and you can even play mp3 as streaming, just give it a try !

MusicJunk: This is an Android app that enables users to search for music and find many alternative versions of the same file, different bitrate, remixes and so on. It’s simple and effective. I actually download most of my single track mp3’s on this little app then share it with my PC through DropBox app on Android.

ThePirateBay: The most popular and oldest torrent sites, here you can search for album names, or browse for music genres.  If you don’t know what torrents are and how you can use them, please refer to this article.

Google: One of the easiest ways to download mp3’s. There are thousands of web pages in Google’s index which contains millions of mp3 tracks. You just have to search for them the right way. Searching for name and .mp3 is the simplest way, but it may land you on many spam websites. You can try refining your search by  typing “index of” + inurl:mp3 + “artist” “album” -txt -pls -m3u in google and replacing artist and album with your desired names. This webpage explains things in more detail and shows you many ways to download music off the good old web.

IRC: The old IRC is showing its age and what once was my main source of finding online friends, chatting, exchanging mp3, ideas, and messaging friends has become almost obsolete with the introduction of web forums, Wiki’s, messengers, bittorrent and file-sharing. Nevertheless, you can still download music via IRC. Just download mIRC and install, make a username and join a random Undernet Server. Then Join #MusicPassion channel and start downloading different lists (@nickname), once you found a song you would like, you can download it by typing !Nickname Musicname.mp3 it’s as easy as that. Although this method has its down sides too, namely, you cannot search for music, you can just download what the person has on their computer. There’s more action happening on Undernet servers than Efnet, which also used to be one of the most popular servers back in 1996-1999

USB Flash Disk: In this method you take what you like from a friend’s computer with a USB drive. Advantages are quick and effective search. If your friend has thousands of tracks and Windows search is too slow, I recommend installing Everything. This gem searches for files in lightning fast speed on any windows. While you’re at it, download and run Space Sniffer which will show you how much space folders and sub folders take, so that you can fit as much as you can on your USB drive.

Streaming music downloads: Streaming music are specifically made so that you cannot download and save them. However if the streaming music is of mp3 format, it is easier to download than other formats. Websites such as Digitally Imported or SomaFM offer a wide selection of different music genres in mp3, windows media and aac format. You can use programs such as Stream Ripper 32 and Station Ripper. These will download the streaming music into different tracks. Although they would work better on certain channels than others.

Obsolete: IRC is almost obsolete, there are several other technologies such as DC++ or BearShare which were once popular and have long lost their momentum. You can of course try these methods but as time goes on, newer methods will inevitably replace the older ones due to better support or more effective search services.

The choice of downloading or paying for music is left up to your own ethics and finances. If you can afford paying for music, then go ahead and pay for it. After all, it is us who should support the artists.

I have been on the internet since 1996. Back then, there was no possibility to download music. You could at best stream music with Real Audio. At modem speeds of 14.4 kbps and 28.8 kbps, that meant (14400/8 = 1800 / 1024 = 1.75 KB/s or 3.51 KB/s which translated to a 3 MB music file would have taken a good 15 minutes to download with the faster 28.8 modems. So basically that time I used to copy music from multimedia or game CDs and play them on my 486… until I discovered the world of music trackers !

Music trackers were programs that talented demo-scene musicians used to create music. These music files would be around 100-700 KB and could play for around 3-8 minutes. The beauty of these files was that not only they were much smaller than .ra (Real Audio) files, but also they would have sounded better than the down-sampled real audio files and you did not need a fast computer to play them. The most famous tracker program of the time was Fast Tracker 2, which had its own .xm format. Another tracker filetype was S3m which represented ScreamTracker 3. Fast Tracker was a great program because you could run it from DOS, it could open lots of different filetypes and you could manipulate the music files in a lot of ways: change their tempo, replace sound bits and so on. Tracker files were made by sampling different instruments at different sampling rates, then combining them by looping and playing different samples, up to 32 simultaneously to create a rich, full music experience.

The beauty of this music was that it was free, and the musicians were talented and made great music. However, with the increase in speed of internet we saw the demise of tracker music.

Then I stumbled across the latest technology: mpeg layer 3 (mp3). Back in 1997 mp3’s were still widely unknown and you could not find any mp3 download sites. I had an AMD 486, which although was supposedly a DX 133 MHz, it was slower than a Pentium 60 MHz. The 60 MHz was the magic number, as it was possible to play mp3s in stereo in Windows 95. On my 486 the music would stutter unless I changed the sampling rate or played it on mono (one channel instead of two). Then I discovered Damp, a DOS mp3 player which was so well written that I could play stereo high sample mp3s on my 486 without any stutter.

I remember “borrowing” music CDs from the restaurant I was working as a waiter back in 1997-99 and using WinDAC ripped (copied) audio CDs to my 486 computer. I then would use a windows program called “Fraunhoffer Mp3 Encoder” to encode 3 or 4 tracks into mp3 per night. I would leave the computer on for 8-9 hours and sometimes it would still be encoding when I came home at 2 AM ! Back then, I had a 33.6 modem and would be trading mp3s on IRC channels such as #mp3warez. It was a hit and miss thing because you had to go to multiple IRC channels on each server (ie: Undernet, EfNet, FidoNet and so on) and beg people to send you their files. Sometimes you had to set up an exchange, so you would give your list of mp3s and she/he would choose one. You then had to send your file to her/him for anything from 15 minutes to a couple of hours before you could even have the option of downloading it from her/him.

With CDs becoming more popular, less expensive and gaining popularities of mp3s, around 2000 to 2005 I was mainly getting my mp3s by trading with friends and their friends. I would take my CDs to their house and after copying what they wanted, I would make a selection of mp3’s and burn them to one or more CDs. As for downloading, I ditched IRC for BearShare, LimeWire, WinMX, eDonkey, eMule and then DC++ before moving to BitTorrent. Torrents do not make sense if you want to search for files. Whereas you can search for specific files on any of the above filesharing apps. DC++ has the advantage of being able to download the files list of any user and browsing through their list. You could discover new music especially if the person specializes in a specific music type, such as Techno or Rock.

Back in 2006-7 I discovered I could download mp3s right off google by searching for specific filetypes. With the string (“Music Name or Album Name” “Index of” filetype:mp3), this however no longer works and you have to be more creative to search for mp3s via google. You could search using the string: (“MusicName” intitle:index.of mp3 -html -htm -php -asp -txt -pls) or (“parent directory” mp3 OR wma OR ogg OR wav “MusicName” -html -htm -download -links).

Then there are the websites which act as mp3 search engines, one of the best websites is beeMp3. Here users voluntarily add their own mp3s which are normally hidden from google’s spiders. The website uses simple 3 letter captcha to authenticate real users from download bots, and the variety is very good.

Then there are the websites and programs which offer streaming mp3s. Last.fm, Pandora, GrooveShark and Spotify are some of the most famous ones. Since Pandora is no longer available outside US (what happened to free speech ? If they want to offer content according to country, where does it stop ?) I am not going to cover it here. GrooveShark offers great music experience: you simply search for music and add to your playlist; it plays right off your web browser. Most of the music files on Grooveshark are of high bitrate (192 Kbps or higher). There is however one small problem with GrooveShark: buffering is slow and seldom it times out. Spotify is very popular in Europe. It is a Swedish program that offers streaming music with advertisements every 3-4 songs. Back in 2008 when I learned about Spotify there was two ways you could access it: either pay for it 100 sek per month, or use an “invitation code” to get free user access and listen to music with advertisements. Every paying user got 2 invitation codes. So I was without Spotify account until I found out several websites that offered free invitation codes. These codes were given out to the public, one invitation per IP. This I used to make usernames for myself, my family and friends. Then it became impossible to find any invitation codes, however users in UK and France could create users without any invitation code. This was unfair to users in other parts of EU. So I found out it was possible to access spotify’s website via France or UK proxy servers, create users giving a fake French or British post code, then logging off and logging in without the proxy and changing the location to match your own location. This was 2009 and I was offering everyone Spotify accounts :)

This was all until early 2010 where Spotify offered everyone ability to create usernames, although now you are only limited to 20 hours of free music per month, and no radio mode. Fortunately old users still have the ability to listen to unlimited amount of music per month plus they have the radio mode. Today Spotify runs on multiple platforms: Windows, Mac and mobile. There are also two price options, one for just listening on computer and one for playing on your mobile phone. However it still means that you are bound to their proprietary program to be able to access music.

For me, downloading pure mp3 is desirable. You can play it on any system, and in 10 years time when all today’s programs are obsolete, you know that you will still have programs that are backwards compatible with it. There is no security layer, so you will be able to listen to your mp3 without any authentication, and the quality is relatively high (up to 320 kbps). The next format is OGG. It is an open format available for a few years which offers better sound quality than mp3 at same bitrate. However unfortunately even today it is not supported natively by Windows Media Player. Most games encode their music and audio to OGG. There are no licensing they have to worry about and the higher sound quality means the games sound better than before.

For me, it is important to have my music on my computer. Sure I may have online lists and will today listen to most of my music through Spotify, however it should not mean that I should completely rely on Spotify. I do not want to put all my eggs in one basket, so I do not want to completely rely on one program. Experience has shown that companies go down under, or merge and services become unavailable. I want to be able to take my music with me without being connected to fast GPRS. I want to sit in a plane and listen to music on my mobile phone. I want to download. I want to have it offline, not that I have been offline much for the past 3 years.

This means that I will never buy music on iTunes. I do not like iPod anyway. Its stupid that you buy an iPod, then you have to “install” a 70 MB program that its sole job is to transfer files to your supposedly mp3 player. iPod is not an mp3 player. Or at least it did not used to be. When I worked with it a few times, I noticed a few major flaws:

  • You had to create a playlist and synchronize the music with your iPod
  • You could not just copy mp3s to your iPod and play, you had to convert them via iTunes
  • You go to a friend’s house and want to share one of your songs, the song names have been converted to random characters and finding the specific song becomes almost impossible. You now have to use iPod ripper program to transfer YOUR OWN music back to your or someone else’s computer
  • Say you go to a friend who has some music on his computer, you synchronize your iPod so you could take his music on your iPod too, result: you will lose all your mp3s and have the new mp3 playlist on your iPod ! Imagine you have 30 GB mp3s and you synchronize for 100 MB of mp3s, you will LOSE all that 30 GB and keep his 100 MB. You come home and synchronise back, losing his 100 MB and copying your own 30 GB back, if you still have it !

I believe playing mp3s should be easy: copy to your player and play. Just like Creative or Nokia have been doing for the past few years. Why should I have to convert my mp3s to m4a, wma or any other inferior file format which could jeopardize the “playability” of that file a few years into the future ? Remember VQF format anyone ? It was supposedly better quality than mp3, but you can now only play it via VLC. No, thank you.

Next post, I will explain the current methods of mp3 download. This turned out to be a long post ! 1828 words :P

Rapidshare is being difficult now.

The most famous file-hosting website has the infamous “Currently a lot of users are downloading files” message everytime I visit it. No matter what time of the day, which day of the week. Either they have suddenly become very popular, or they are trying out a new strategy to push users to pay for their service. Either way, I don’t think this is going to make help them reach their goal. With the emergence of other file-sharing sites which are better, faster and some even without ads (www.4shared.com for example offers 10 GB space with 350+ kbps download speeds) they need to offer beter and more competitive service than “currently a lot of users are downloading files”.

For those of you who like me have no option but to download files from Rapidshare, you can use this wonderful little utility Rapidshare-Auto-Downloader which lets you add multiple links and downloads them in the background. It works pretty well especially if you leave your computer on for several hours per day.

According to this link, google is now offering their own DNS server. They claim that it speeds up your internet browsing experience extensively. I wonder if that is all the truth or they want to use the information (about your browsing habits, along with cookies and IP tracking) to gather further information on individuals. It may be a good thing, but google may also be trying to over analyze everyone and pry into people’s privacy. Is google the next Microsoft ?

Every now and then you come across an old computer or hardware that you need to install and you cannot find drivers, either for that particular Windows version or no driver at all.

Re-installing same version of Windows

If you are re-installing the same version of Windows, you can save yourself a LOT of trouble by backing up the already-installed drivers and using them later. There are several “driver backup” software out there, I like using MyDrivers v3 and/or DriverBackup! which is freeware and works like a charm. You’ll need mscomctl.dll which you can download from here. After running the program, you can choose List –> Options –> List other providers’ drivers which only backs up non-Microsoft drivers since Windows already contains other drivers.

Finding updated drivers for your hardware

There is a program called Version Tracker that will look for newer versions of your drivers (especially useful for laptop drivers) and downloads them for you.

Finding out the real make/model for unknown hardware

Sometimes, you install windows and it cannot recognize the hardware. You are presented with a yellow exclamation mark in Device Manager and you do not know where to start. There are a few utilities that can help shed some light into what you should be searching for. If it’s a PC hardware, your best bet is to take out the hardware (for example you have no sound installed and you are pretty sure the computer has a sound card) and look for any brand/model or any useful information that you can search on google to find more information about the hardware and related drivers. If you are installing a laptop or cannot access the computer’s internals (ie, locked computer), UnknownDevices is currently the best software out there for this job. Version 1.4 beta supports all windows versions from 95 to Vista (no NT4). Unknown Device Identifier is a freeware from a commercial company (which also created MyDrivers) and tries to push you to buy their driver backup software. Just take the name and search on your own !

Hunting down drivers for known hardware

Now that you know what to look for, or if you already knew the name/brand and model of your hardware, I hope you have a LOT of patience, time and a bit of luck hunting down your driver. The problem is that most manufacturers stop hosting or even listing old drivers and hardware on their website. I do not know why any manufacturer would want to subject their loyal customers to abandon their hardware and go out to buy another version of the same hardware just because they (the manufacturer) do not care to host a small driver on their website. If they expect you to go out and buy another product from the same manufacturer, would you want to be cheated again ? I remember having to chuck my perfectly good Creative Webcam out because it was only supported on Windows 98 and not Windows2000. I have never bought any Creative webcams anymore (currently use Logitech which has Windows XP/Vista support).

There are hundreds of spam filled websites claiming they have your driver, only to find that it’s their useless “driver finder” software which may or may not be bundled with spyware and junk. Currently there are just a handful of sites that actually host the files you need. Unfortunately most, if not all require you to create a login before you can download any of their drivers. They want to send you spam you see ! I would recommend using temporary mailboxes to create usernames for such websites. Remember, never ever ever use your personal email address for registering on such websites. Although every website that requires registration will promise you that they are not going to use your email address to send spam, and at best, will send you selected mail from their sponsors, that selection is very large and in a short time you’ll find lots of spam in your mailbox. You can for example make up a name like driverzzz@tempinbox.com and go to http://www.tempinbox.com and type in driverzzz to view mail sent for it. Sometimes it takes a few minutes for these registration mails to be sent

Here are a few driver websites and temporary-inbox sites:


What is your favourite Firefox plugins you really really have to install ? You know, those which add functionality and should have really been part of Firefox ?

For me they are Adblock and Personas

Adblock plus blocks those annoying ads. After restart you must choose one subscription that matches your country. The first one works fine for me.

Personas adds a nice “theme” to firefox. Firefox themes are usually limited to firefox buttons whereas Personas change the background of Firefox window from that boring grey to something exciting.

Leave comments on what plugins you find useful for all and I will update my list.

One of the perks of studying in my University as Business and IT management is that we can download all Microsoft’s modern OS’s with valid serial numbers. Certainly beats having to track cracks for Windows 2008 and such if you just want to try it out.

Since we have Windows 7 Professional, I was wondering what I was missing from Ultimate. Except for Bitlocker which I cannot care more about, there’s the 35 or so MUI language packs. So I installed Ultimate on a test computer and got the Dutch and Swedish language packs installed…. pretty good. It looks like the whole windows is Swedish or Dutch, it transforms everything into those languages. The nice thing about it was that you could create 3 users which would have different language installed for each ! You just log in and use a different language :)

It’s a pitty that one must get the Ultimate version of Windows 7 just to use some language packs. Nowadays you can download most programs’ language packs and install them, without paying anything or much trouble.

Microsoft however wants to charge for everything. A bit unfair in my opinion. So I set out to find if it was possible to download those language packs (which are only available on Windows Update in Windows 7 Ultimate) and trick Windows 7 Professional into installing them.

Yes, it’s possible:

Vistalizator

Supports all versions of Vista (RTM, SP1, SP2) and Win7 (RTM at the moment) and both 32 and 64 bit versions.

Here, you can even find LIP (Language Interface Packs) in even more languages for Vista, 55 of them ! LIPs convert Windows Vista partially (about 80%) and require English MUI to be installed.

Happy installing

There are several small programs I install on every Windows XP system. They add more functionality or make it look nicer. Here I try to list them with link to their pages so you could also enjoy them.

Royale Theme This will make your WindowsXP look like MediaCenter Edition 2005. It’s a Microsoft software so no theme hacking is needed. If your windows is installed on D: drive, make sure you change it in the software because it will always install to C:\Windows by default.

Zune Theme Sleek black taskbar and bright orange start button. Also from Microsoft so no theme hacking needed again.

Vista Drive Icon This will make your hard drive partitions look like Vista

VisualTask Tips Shows a thumbnail preview image of your running applications when you move your mouse over them on the task bar.

Yz Shadow Creates nice shadow around programs and open windows, like Vista

More to be added later:

3dClip, SpaceSniffer, Defraggler, OEM Info, Cacheman 5.5, RegCompressor 4, DosShellEx, Move-to, Copy-to, doPDF, RegClean, NeroShowRealRecordingSpeed, Unlocker, User Profile Hive Cleaner, WinXP AVI Fix, Sandboxie, XP power toys: Alt-Tab, ImageResizer, ClearType, TweakUI

Please leave comments for anything you might have found very useful so I could complete this list.

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