Zemanta

27 03 2008

Zemanta is an interesting little Firefox extension for blogger’s.

If you write a post in wordpress, blogger or typepad the Zemanta plugin lays out some relevant content (pictures and sites) based upon what you are typing in the post.

This seems like it would be very nice tool. Unfortunately I can’t bring myself to use the online editor in WordPress.

If they ever integrate it with Microsoft Live Writer I’ll definitely give it a go.

Zemanta Blogger integration from zemanta on Vimeo.





Sandboxie should be your next Windows app

14 07 2007

Sandboxie logo

Sandboxie is an incredible little, lightweight program that allows you to run an application sandboxed which means anything the sandboxed app would normally write to disk is instead written to transient storage which can be easily removed.

From the Sandboxie site

If you run Freecell inside the Sandboxie environment, Sandboxie reads the statistics data from the hard disk into the sandbox, to satisfy the read requested by Freecell. When the game later writes the statistics, Sandboxie intercepts this operation and directs the data to the sandbox.

If you then run Freecell without the aid of Sandboxie, the read operation would bypass the sandbox altogether, and the statistics would be retrieved from the hard disk.

The transient nature of the sandbox makes it is easy to get rid of everything in it. If you were to throw away the sandbox, by deleting everything in it, the sandboxed statistics would be gone for good, as if they had never been there in the first place.

This works great when installing new applications that you aren’t sure you are going to keep. I needed to do some testing with several video ripping apps and installed each of them sandboxed. I tested four separate apps and decided to keep one. When I was done testing I simply deleted the sandboxes and reinstalled the app I liked using the normal process. This meant I didn’t have to worry about malware or dirty uninstalls leaving files on the disk or registry entries. Awesome.

As the excerpt above indicates you can also run apps you have already installed in a sandbox. This is particularly helpful when browsing the internet as any files typically written to your cache will be written to the sandbox instead. Want to try a new browser toolbar but don’t want to commit to it? Install the toolbar while the browser is sandboxed.

While reading through the Sandboxie forum one individual commented that they had installed Sandboxie in a Terminal Server environment sandboxing the browser. Prior to installing sandbox their AV/malware scanners were picking up 200-400 malicious attempts a week. Sandboxie reportedly reduced the number of malicious attempts to 6 and those were done outside the sandbox. Incredibly impressive.

There really isn’t any reason you shouldn’t install Sandboxie. Go get it now.

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Edit Mp3 tags in Ubuntu with cowbell

14 07 2007

I posted here on what I liked for editing Mp3 tags in Windows. Unfortunately these apps don’t work in Ubuntu so I went looking for an alternative. While searching I wasn’t surprised to find several threads where people have been looking for the same type of thing. I ran across a few programs but none of them worked very well, IMHO, until I ran across a reference to cowbell someplace.

From the cowbell site

Do you ever pull your hair out trying to hand-edit all your tags with some arcane editor? Tell your inner OCD to take a hike because Cowbell is coming to town.

Cowbell is an elegant music organizer intended to make keeping your collection tidy both fun and easy.

Most of the editing I do is to podcasts so the album feature of Cowbell doesn’t fit in here. I need to edit each Mp3 individually which is easily done by simply dragging the file into cowbell and removing it when I’m done. Of course this could all be handled rather nicely if Podcast authors would simply tag their files in some consistent manner, but I guess this is where I need to tell my inner OCD to take a hike.

You need cowbell

Cowbell screenshot

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Ubuntu and Sprint EVDO

1 06 2007

As I move along in making my Ubuntu install my own, and keep from reverting back to Windows, I am reaching some personal milestones.
Today I was able to get a Sprint EVDO PanTech PX-500 connected. It was not as difficult as I thought it would be. I was able to follow the directions in the Sprint documentation here. The KPPP (GUI) option did not work for me but the terminal based WvDial worked just fine.

Kudos to Sprint for creating Linux documentation for getting their devices connected.





Google Gears – awesome

30 05 2007

Google Gears has been released and it seems to be a pretty pivotal application as the lines begin to blur between offline and online applications.
I tested Gears on Google Reader on Ubuntu and it worked without any hiccups.

I’ve also been following Dojo Offline and it appears they have been working to make Dojo offline work well with Google Gears.

This will be a very interesting space to watch.

ReadWrite Web wrote up a nice post, here.





Easy Print to PDF in Ubuntu

26 05 2007

I’m rarely connected to a printer with my laptop and had not dug into printing to PDF since moving to Ubuntu. I came across the following link to a tutorial for just such an operation and am happy to report that it works entirely as advertised. When you print to PDF you’ll find a PDF folder in your Home folder. The PDF folder will contain your printed page. Thanks ArsGeek and NewLinuxUser for the info.

ArsGeek – Free your inner geek » 5 steps to create a PDF printer (print to PDF) in Ubuntu

Ever wanted to print a document of just about any sort to a virtual printer that would then turn it into a PDF? It’s pretty easy to do in Ubuntu. In fact you’ll need just 5 steps and about as many minutes of your time to set this up.





Ubuntu Desktop Effects error

26 05 2007

Since installing Ubuntu 7.04 I have wanted to enable the desktop effects but have been unable to do so.
The error displayed is shown below.

A Google search shows that many other folks are having the same issue.

The answer ended up being a change in the xorg.conf file, which I learned about while reading this thread in the Ubuntu forums.
Now to install Beryl and learn how to use it.