Friday, May 13, 2011 “Latest Hilarious Picks [Geeky Fun]” plus 12 more “Latest Hilarious Picks [Geeky Fun]” plus 12 more

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Latest Hilarious Picks [Geeky Fun]

Posted: 13 May 2011 12:50 AM PDT

Check out the top picks from MakeUseOf Geeky Fun during the last couple of days.

  1. Coming Soon To A Microsoft Store Near You (Pic)
  2. Your Phone Is Not As Cool As This Guy's (Pic)
  3. QWERTY shoes! (Pic)
  4. Not Evil, Just Hungry (Pic)
  5. Surprise Musical: Gotta Share (Video)
  6. Typical Internet Troll (Pic)
  7. Apple & Microsoft: 1998 Vs. 2011 (Pic)
  8. Ultimate Mouse Calibration Test

If you would like to keep up with all latest Geeky Fun additions, please subscribe to the Geeky Fun feed here. You can also subscribe and get the latest additions via email.

Download videos from the sites like YouTube, etc. Convert videos to almost any format.


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Cool Websites and Tools [May 12th]

Posted: 12 May 2011 08:31 PM PDT

Check out some of the latest MakeUseOf discoveries. Most of the listed websites are FREE or come with a decent free account option. If you want to have similar cool websites round-ups delivered to your email daily subscribe here.

Add Your Website Here! – Most people have different preferences regarding the way they prefer to communicate. Some like to meet face-to-face, others are more comfortable with email and some only respond to messages sent by Twitter or Facebook. provides an online “contact me” protocol that anyone can use. Read more: Tell Others The Best Ways To Contact You


Flickrholdr – Are you dead bored with stale placeholder images in your design? Then you should check out Flickholder. This tool replaces your usual random placeholder images with related pictures from Flickr. By using logical tags in your URLs, Flickholdr lets you call an image of any size from Flickr. Read more: Flickholdr: Pull Images From Flickr & Use As Placeholders In Your Design



Bhoogolvidya – How good is your knowledge of geography? Do you think you can play a friendly game that tests your geographical knowledge of the world? If yes, then head on over to a site called Bhoogolvidya, an entertaining browser-based game that scores you on the number of questions correctly answered. Read more: Bhoogolvidya: Take A Geography Quiz Online



Trakt – One thing that audio streaming services have over video streams is a solid recommendation service. A big reason is the fact that it is hard to track what you watch on your TV or media boxes. Trakt brings a fresh approach to movie recommendations by automatically tracking what you watch on your TV. Read more: Trakt: Social Recommendations For TV Shows & Movies



Agilewords – When you collaborate with many people on a single document, doing it the old-fashioned way by email becomes a daunting task – sending a document back and forth, dealing with multiple file versions, etc. Agilewords is a free online tool that simplifies and streamlines the whole document editing and review process. Read more: Agilewords: Collaborating On Word Documents Made Easy


These are just half of the websites that we discovered in the last couple of days. If you want us to send you daily round-ups of all cool websites we come across, leave your email here. Or follow us via RSS feed.

SuperTinTin – Skype Video Call Recorder
Record and save your audio and video conversations on Skype or MSN. Easy to use.


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Shortwave Numbers Stations & The Conet Project: An Online Education In Espionage

Posted: 12 May 2011 06:31 PM PDT

shortwave numbers stationsThere are some thought-provoking subjects that just don’t get enough attention from the offline media. Many such phenomena are picked up by enthusiasts, and documented in their spare time as a hobby (or the next stage; obsession).

Shortwave radio is known as the global band – despite poor sound quality (hiss, pop, crackle), it travels well and is still a popular choice in many countries around the world. So-called “numbers stations” have been heard on the shortwave radio band since the 1950s, leaving many to question their purpose and origin.

Of course the enthusiasts have well and truly done their research, and put most of it online. There is now an incredible amount of information, evidential audio and expert insight into the world of unlisted shortwave broadcasts. Read on to find out more, if you dare…

What Are Shortwave Numbers Stations?

A “numbers station” refers to a radio station usually broadcasting on a shortwave frequency of unknown origin. This is to say that numbers stations are generally referred to as unidentified broadcasts that do not fall under the category of commercial or public radio.

Over the years, the evidence has stacked up and many are convinced that these broadcasts are being used to send messages to spies and government agents around the world. This isn’t yesterday’s news either – many numbers stations are still alive and heard today.

shortwave numbers stations

As recently as 2009 the United States charged an individual – Walter Kendall Myers – with spying charges related to numbers stations. The US accused Myers of receiving and decoding messages from shortwave broadcasts believed to be operated by the Cuban Intelligence Service. Of course, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that the US is also playing the shortwave numbers stations game (just like everyone else).

Messages can be delivered by a synthesized or human voice, often preceded and followed by a distinct melody. Sometimes other methods are used, such as morse code or noise. There is evidence to suggest that many numbers stations are designed for use with a one-time pad, an unbreakable method of encryption (provided only the desired audience has the key).

conet project

Something’s going on – these broadcasts are clearly not intended for public consumption. Luckily there’s a great little collection of numbers stations broadcasts, available to download for free.

The Conet Project

Named after the misheard Czech word “konec” (meaning “end”) which would often mark the end of an Eastern European broadcast, The Conet Project is a swelling collection of questionable shortwave recordings.

conet project

There are more than 150 separate tracks, some of which could be heard 24 hours a day and others at regular intervals. The collection includes recordings in many languages, including the famous German “Swedish Rhapsody” station which delivered an encrypted message in a (chilling) female child’s voice.

The project is available for purchase, but is also available online from the record label and is hosted at The Internet Archive. The collection is an absolute must for anyone with an interest in numbers stations, espionage or radio transmissions.

Download: The Conet Project [Irdial: CD1/CD2/CD3/CD4 | The Internet Archive: Stream/Download ]

Further Reading

The Internet is full of additional resources for those of you itching to find out more, and here are a few online hotspots to get started:

The Conet Project Documentation [PDF]

As well as recordings, The Conet Project comes with some detailed documentation which is also available for free online. As well as an introduction to numbers stations, personal accounts and the founding of the project there are also logs of included recordings. A great place to start.

Numbers & Oddities

N&O is a monthly newsletter for those interested in numbers stations and other interesting bits and pieces heard on the airwaves. You can subscribe to the mailing list and have the newsletter delivered in a PDF document, which contains the past month’s findings. These include changes in broadcasts, new stations and disappearing frequencies in an easy to read format.

conet project

You can download fairly up-to-date logs here, as well as updated control lists in case you fancy checking out a few frequencies yourself. Be sure to check out N&O Links – a long list of smaller resources that are worth a look if you’re becoming obsessed!

Another great resource and home to a fantastic searchable database of numbers stations. SpyNumbers also has an auto-updating page that lists frequencies of current known broadcasts. If you’re scanning for stations, SpyNumbers makes it that much easier to drop in.

shortwave numbers stations

Message Boards: Enigma2000 / UDXF

Hobbyists and enthusiasts alike gather on both of these Yahoo boards to discuss, report, log and immerse themselves in the world of high frequency radio.

Enigma2000 is specifically aimed at numbers stations, whereas UDXF refers to "utility" frequencies. Members often find and report shortwave numbers stations, but also military and other sensitive intercepted transmissions (from ongoing conflicts, oh yes).


If you’ve got an old shortwave radio in the attic, then it might be time to dust it off. Remember you’ll need good reception, a well-designed custom antenna (or an expensive one) and some top notch scanning equipment to get the most out of shortwave radio.

If that sounds like too much money and effort then be sure to check out and follow the numbers station scene online. Don’t have nightmares…

Image Credits: Grundig Satellit 750, Shortwave Antenna

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Instantly Hide Active Program Windows & Disable Sound With Magic Boss Key

Posted: 12 May 2011 04:31 PM PDT

magic boss keyComputers are great tools that we use day in and day out for work and play. Often it’s hard to keep the two separate. So we end up checking Facebook at work, sneak in a little work email at home, and research the perfect birthday gift while the prospective recipient is watching TV right next to us. So what do you do when you suddenly find someone’s attention shifting to you, while you’re working on something you don’t want them to see? You need a quick way to hide the confidential material in an unsuspicious way! Magic Boss Key is your solution.

The tool can come in handy in a number of situations. You may use it to conceal extracurricular tasks at school, hide classified documents when a nosy colleague comes in to disturb, or keep generally keep your browsing habits private.

While you can use the [WINDOWS] + [D] keyboard shortcut to minimize everything and reveal only the desktop, Magic Boss Key actually hides only selected items. With the click of a single hot key, your choice of open windows disappears, for example running applications, browser windows, or open folders. At the same time, you can also hide desktop icons, the taskbar, and mute the sound.

magic boss key

The setup is straightforward. When you launch Magic Boss Key, you will see a list of currently open windows. Simply check all the ones you want to be hidden when you click the hot key and you are essentially done. The trick is to leave some harmless windows unchecked and hence open, so that your desktop will not be suspiciously blank in case of an emergency.

boss key

Remember to minimize the Magic Boss Key window, and then continue with your secret mission. Magic Boss Key automatically minimizes to the tray. Selecting the program window itself to be hidden doesn’t do too much or the behavior is buggy at best. The program remains visible in the tray, so it is recommended that you edit your system tray to hide this item.

Since some windows, although hidden, might still sit in the system tray, for example Magic Boss Key itself, or are pinned to the taskbar, you might want to hide the taskbar altogether. Click the > Options button and personalize the settings. Within the options window you can also pick your favorite hot key. You can choose between the [F12] button or the [Windows] button + left / right mouse button. Clicking the hot key again, will restore the hidden windows.

magic boss key

While you’re on your secret mission, you may open more windows that you will want to hide. To get a fresh list of open windows in Magic Boss Key, click the > Refresh button. Note that your previous selection will be lost, so you essentially start over.

Taken together, Magic Boss Key is an easy to use tool with a simple interface and plain options. It could be a little better if hiding the tray icon of the program itself would work and if it was possible to launch the program with some windows preset to be hidden, for example specific applications like the browser or an instant messenger. Overall, however, it simply works.

If Magic Boss Key sounds interesting, but is not quite what you are looking for, check out the following articles:

How do you conceal your secret computer missions from spying eyes?

Image credits: PashOK

SuperTinTin – Skype Video Call Recorder
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The Top 7 Reasons To Give The Vim Text Editor A Chance

Posted: 12 May 2011 03:31 PM PDT

vim text editorIf you do any sort of development work on your computer, you’re going to need a text editor every now and then (or all the time). And by “development” I don’t just mean programming; it can be Web development too, or even maintaining and tweaking an existing website.

For years, I’ve tried one text editor after another. You name it, I tried it – jEdit, Notepad++, SciTE, PSPad, Komodo Edit… I’m not just name-dropping here. I used each and every one of these editors for over two months as my primary day-to-day editor. I also had a brief stint with UltraEdit, a venerable (but non-free) editor. Somehow, I couldn’t find an editor that just worked right, and was customizable enough to fit my needs.

That all changed a couple of months ago, when I bit the bullet and started using Vim text editor full-time.  Here’s 6 reasons why you should consider giving it a go.

Reason 1: Vim Is Old

vim text editor

In software, we often cultivate the mindset that says “newer is better”. We’re always after the latest browser, the latest OS, the latest game. But there’s a lot to be said for ancient pieces of software that are still actively used by lots of people.

Did you know MS Office was first released in 1990? That’s 21 years ago, and look how far it has come. That’s about the time Vim was first released, too (1991). Only Vim is based on a much older editor, Vi, that got its start in 1976.

That alone should make you wonder; what makes such an ancient piece of software so compelling, that thousands of new users discover it year by year?

Reason 2: Vim Is Free & Has A Vibrant Community

Vim is actually defined as “charityware”, and is free to use and open-source. It does ask you to donate for orphans in Uganda, but there are no nags.

If you go to the Vim webpage, you will find lots of recent news items. I counted nine script updates in one day, for example. The site is constantly updated, and Vim’s main developer, Bram Moolenaar, personally posted an update on April 28.

Reason 3: Vim Is Very Customizable & Extensible

vim editor

Those scripts I just mentioned? They’re the key to much of Vim’s power. There are scripts for just about anything. In the screenshot above you can see FuzzyFinder, one of my all-time favorites. It’s a script that lets you type partial names of files, commands, help entries, etc. and searches for them incrementally, on-the-fly. You don’t have to type from the beginning of the name, and it’s got a lot of options – and that’s just one script!

Other notable scripts include NERD Tree that implements a file-system “tree”, SuperTab Continued for powerful tab-completion, and snipMate for replicating TextMate’s snippet functionality. There are lots, lots more.

Reason 4: Vim Works Over Telnet & SSH Connections

vim editor

I sometimes need to manually edit webpages that reside on remote servers. I used to use WinSCP to simulate local editing, but it broke every now and then. A few of the editors mentioned above also have built-in FTP clients, but navigating complex folder trees was always cumbersome and time-consuming.

With Vim Text Editor, I can just open an SSH connection to my Web server and run a remote instance of Vim right on the server. Vim is designed to work with slow terminals, so it actually feels fast. As you can see in the screenshot above, colors work just fine over SSH. Being able to work directly on the server has made a huge difference in my Web development work. Not only is it faster, but I can now search through files right on the server, and use Vim to jump between the results quickly and find exactly what I need to modify with pinpoint precision. Simply awesome.

Reason 5: Vim’s Configuration Is Portable

vim editor

As mentioned above, Vim is very customizable. That means I had to work quite a bit until I got it “just so” on my Windows system. Having to do all that on my remote server would have been a bit of a drag. Luckily, I simply needed to copy a few directories and one all-important “master configuration” file, called .vimrc.

This basically copied my entire configuration from my Windows computer to the remote Linux server. I then just edited my configuration file and modified a couple of things for the server, and I was basically done. Of course I couldn’t keep myself from tweaking things further, but that’s just me.

Reason 6: Vim Is Thoroughly Documented

Note that nowhere on this list does it say “Vim is intuitive”. That’s because it’s not, really. There is a learning curve when you first start using Vim, and it does require a bit of a commitment. But there are quite a few things that can help. Here are just three examples:

vim text editor

  • PeepCode’s Smash into Vim screencasts (shown in the screenshot above): These are actually not free; they cost $12 each (there are two), but are a very worthwhile investment. When I decided I wanted to give Vim a serious spin, I bought the first one and watched it. It was enough to get me started with confidence. It wasn’t boring, either.
  • Vim’s own *:help* command leads into a treasure trove of carefully-written documentation. Every script has its own documentations; default key bindings are carefully documented, all of the commands are explained, etc.
  • Vim also has a wiki with oodles of tips, tricks and helpful code snippets for you to copy and try.

Reason 7: It’s Way Better Than Emacs

OK, so maybe I’m not entirely serious about this last one. As you may have noticed in the introduction, I’ve never actually given Emacs much of a spin (not for two months, at least). According to the scientifically-minded $EDITORs Sucks-Rules-O-Meter, Vim seems to be in the lead in the Editor War, at least for now. But I’m willing to be convinced otherwise. You’re welcome to plead Emacs’ case in the comments.

Speaking of comments: if there are any Vim users in the audience who’d like to share tips or ask questions, I am all ears. I know I’ve barely scratched the surface on Vim in this post, so if you’d like to see more detailed posts about Vim, do share your ideas and wishes.

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How To Make Your Home Button Open Your Favourite App [Android]

Posted: 12 May 2011 02:31 PM PDT

android home launcherAre you an Android user who loves to mess around with your set-up to make sure it’s just right? Have you ever wanted to redirect your home button to an application of your choice? Well, now there’s a simple Android home launcher which lets you do just that.

It seems there is no limit to the amount of useful Android applications out there. With Android being an incredibly open phone operating system to write applications for, little apps to tweak and change the settings for just about anything seem to be popping up. Let’s take a look at this incredibly useful application to change the usage of your home button.

So You Want To Change Your Home Button?

The home button normally redirects users straight to the home screen. It’s handy and all but, with limited button choices on your phone, sometimes you want it to do something a little more useful.

Most applications which allow you to change your home button to be used for something else require you to nominate a particular Android home launcher to be used when the button is clicked. If you want to nominate an application instead, you should download and install Target Home Launcher from the Android marketplace (requires Android 1.5 or higher).

Start Using Target Home Launcher

Once installed, Target Home Launcher gets straight down to business. Your first and most important decision is to choose which application you wish to run when the home button is pressed.

android home launcher

Change Your Default Launcher

You’ll probably then see a message saying “App ‘Target Home Launcher’ is not the default home app. Please set it to be the default home app”. You’ll need to set “Target Home Launcher” as the default launcher. Press OK.

android open home

The next choice will be between your available Android home launcher, with the title “Complete Action Using“. Check the “Use by default for this action” option and choose “Target Home Launcher” and it will set your home button launcher correctly for you.

android open home

Changing Your Home Button Application

You’ll be directed back to the choice of applications and will need to make your application choice again. You should now see your desired application featured at the top of the list. If you ever want to change your choice, simply click on a different application and it will be automatically changed. Click on the home button and try it out!

Changing Your Home Button Back

If you decide to go back to your original home button arrangement, it’s pretty easy to do. Open the “Target Home Launcher” application, click the menu button and choose “Reset“. This removes your choice of application and launcher. When you next press the home button, you’ll be given a choice of launchers. Choose the default launcher for your phone and it will be back to normal.

android home launcher

More Android Modifications

Since you’re obviously keen to change your Android settings a little, you might like these posts:

What do you think of Target Home Launcher? Has it solved your problems?

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Hot Tech Deals – Flash Memory Cards and USB Drives Craze + more

Posted: 12 May 2011 01:30 PM PDT

Dying to get yourself one of those 32 GB USB drives? Well, today’s probably the best day to commit to a purchase because Newegg is having a sale of all flash memory cards and USB drives. We recommend the Patriot Supersonic 32GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive at just $51.49 after discount. A couple of years ago, who would have thought that you will be able to purchase a 32 GB USB drive for $50?

For more fresh hot deals, visit our Hot Tech Deals page, which is constantly updated.

  1. Patriot Xporter XT Boost 16GB USB Flash Drive $17.29AR Free Shipping via code EMCKEJH24 (Exp 5/13) and rebate and rebate
  2. Microsoft Kinect Sensor w/ Kinect Adventures Game $125.09 Free Shipping via code EMCKEJH29 (exp 5/13)
  3. Patriot Supersonic 32GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive $51.49AR Free Shipping via code EMCKEJH24 (Exp 5/13) and rebate and rebate
  4. Archos 24 Vision 8GB MP3/MP4 Player w/ Camera $50.99 Free Shipping via code EMCKEJH37 (Exp 5/18)
  5. SanDisk 4GB Encrypted USB 2.0 Flash Drive $7.19 Free Shipping via code EMCKEJH24 (Exp 5/13) and rebate and rebate
  6. TODAY ONLY Dell IN2020M 20in Widescreen LED LCD Monitor $99.99 Free Shipping via code XF5HVGGWW4K?LR (Exp 5/13)
  7. Patriot LX SDHC Card (Class 10) 8GB $6.49AR; 32GB $37.24AR Free Shipping via code EMCKEJH25 (Exp 5/14) and rebate
  8. Newegg has the 32GB Patriot LX SDHC Card (Class 10) for a low $37.24 Free Shipping via code EMCKEJH25 (Exp 5/14) and rebate

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BitDefender’s Traffic Light Helps Secure Your Browser Traffic

Posted: 12 May 2011 12:31 PM PDT

secure your browser trafficAn ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That’s the idea behind BitDefender’s beta TrafficLight service, which lets you know when a given website is a security risk before you open it. It also blocks the dangerous elements of a particular website, leaving you with access to the safe pages.

Some of the more expensive and bloated software suites on the market include browser plugins that let you know if a given website is safe or not. If you’ve completely removed Norton or McAfee from your computer you might miss the safe browsing feature. None of the best free antivirus programs include such a feature to secure your browser traffic.

It’s possible to use AdBlock Plus to protect yourself from malware, but some may prefer to get their protection from a company that specializes in security. TrafficLight is for just such people. Coming from BitDefender, the company that offers the best virus removal live CD, TrafficLight is built by a trusted team.

Even better, there are TrafficLight plugins for every major browser on the market (and at least one minor one) – Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome and Safari are all covered, and even Opera gets protection. Yes, I’m still making fun of Opera users. They post the funniest comments after being slighted.


Installing TrafficLight couldn’t be easier. Just head over to the TrafficLight download page. If you’re using Windows, the choice is easy – use the Windows installer. If you’re using Mac or Linux, just install the browser plugin that’s relevant for you.

The installation process is pretty simple, if you’re installing a browser plugin. If you’re installing the system-wide Windows software you’ve got another choice to make – whether you want to enable TrafficLight’s SSL protection.

secure your browser traffic

SSL is a secure mode of communicating with the web. Several sites, including Gmail, make use of this encryption protocol to protect information. Lately some malware and phishing schemes have been taking advantage of SSL to avoid detection, which is why TrafficLight offers protection. Some may have apprehensions about letting a piece of software access their SSL communications, so this feature is completely optional. Consider this option carefully.

You can also decide whether or not you want anonymous usage statistics sent to BitDefender. Again, this is up to you, but know that leaving this enabled will help increase the quality of protection TrafficLight offers for everyone.

Once you’re done installing everything should be in place. You are now protected.

Using TrafficLight

Honestly, there’s not a heck of a lot you need to do after installing TrafficLight; it’s pretty much up and running. At the top of every page you’ll notice a small button; click it to configure TrafficLight:

browsing security

You’ll be filled in that the page is safe, and then you can click a few buttons to bring up options. The configuration screen, for example, allows you to enable and disable certain parts of the program:

browsing security

You’ll most notice TrafficLight when you conduct a search. You’ll see familar orbs, like this:

secure your browser traffic

Green means safe; red means danger. Yellow is, of course, somewhere between the two. This search feature works with Google. If you’re some kind of freak, it also works with Bing. If you’re from 1999, it works with Yahoo.

Finally, when you attempt to enter a phishing site, you’ll be warned not to.

Superfluous features

There are a couple of features here you’ll probably never use. For example: there is a built-in URL shortener that examines all links for malware. Joy.

There’s also a “share TrafficLight with friends” button, which takes up space and is kind of annoying. An upcoming adblocker has potential, but we’ll see how it compares to AdBlock when its ready.


Overall, TrafficLight is a pretty good supplement to any antivirus program. It can’t scan your computer, but it can help prevent you from visiting harmful sites. Best of all, it seems pretty lightweight. Give it a shot and see for yourself.

When you do, be sure to leave us some comments below. We love hearing how you like a piece of software. Be sure to recommend a better program, if you know of one!

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Setting Up Multiple Portable XAMPP Web Servers On One USB Drive

Posted: 12 May 2011 11:31 AM PDT

setting up your own web serverFor some time now, I’ve been trying to develop a very fast and easy way to create a virtual web server (basically a local web server), on my portable hard drive. Not just one though. I wanted to have the ability to set up multiple web servers that I could just configure as my localhost web server with the click of a button.

For those of you that have been following along with my recent articles, I did do this with Server2Go. Many of you liked that approach. The one issue with Server2Go seems to be that it is really intended to be used as a clean web server test base every time you launch it. When you close down the server, it doesn’t really retain settings well.

There were a number of readers that suggested Xampp as the best solution for this. Xampp is a long time favorite. Aibek listed it in his compilation of 100 best portable apps, and Dave outlined how to set a Xampp server up on your PC.  Of course with XAMPP, you have to install it at the root drive – so one portable drive becomes your web server. Taking this approach, I decided to see if the “subst” DOS command might solve that problem – and sure enough it did!

Installing Multiple XAMPP Web Servers

The first thing you’re going to want to do is designate a specific folder on your portable hard drive (or portable USB drive, if it’s large enough) to hold your entire website. In my case, I created a root directory called “TopSecretWriters”.

setting up your own web server

All you have to do next is to tell Windows  that the directory on your portable hard drive is a root directory, using the SUBST command. In my case, in the DOS command screen I typed, “subst X: H:\TopSecretWriters“.

web server software

This makes root drive X: directly refer to the TopSecretWriters directory on your portable drive. You’ll need to note this, because any time you want to run your web server in the future, you’ll need to type this command, otherwise the Xampp installation won’t work.

Now, just download a copy of the Xampp ZIP archive (not the Windows installer), and extract the Xampp folder to the new directory you’ve created.

web server software

Go into the Xampp folder and double click on the “setup_xampp.bat” file.

web server software

Then, run “xampp-control.exe” and you’ll see the following screen:

web host server

Select both the Apache and the MySql service, and install (press start) both of them. Once they’re successfully installed and “running”, open up a web browser and go to “http://localhost/”. When you do, you’ll see the Xampp introduction screen. Click on “Status“, it should show most of the components as activated.

web host server

Installing A Full Backup Of A WordPress Website

At this point, you’re done setting up the one Xampp web server. Just copy your website into the HTDOCS folder and your site will come up when you go to “http://localhost/“.

Since most people like to have a local mirror of their WordPress blog or website, I’m also going to show how to install a full, local instance of your site.  You just need your blog’s MySQL database, username and password. Launch phpMyAdmin on your local Xampp install by going to “http://localhost/phpmyadmin/“. Type the name of your database in the “create new database” field and press “Create“.

web host server

Don’t forget to click on “Privileges” and add a new user with the username and password of your own site’s database, and make sure the host is “Localhost“.

Download and extract a copy of WordPress that matches the WordPress version of your site. Set up your local wp-config.php file with the correct database, username and password, and run “http://localhost/wp-admin/install.php“.  Finally, copy the entire wp-content folder from your actual WordPress website to the wp-content folder in your local web server WordPress install.

All you have to do now is export your website’s MySQL database to your local one, and you’re done – complete with all posts, comments and everything else. To do this, just go to your CpanelX control panel, click on “Backups” and select the database for your blog.

It’ll save your entire database as a .GZ zip file. Save this file as a backup. Now, go back into MyPhpAdmin of your local web server, select your database, and then click on the “Import” button. On this screen, all you have to do is click the Browse button and select the .gz file that you just downloaded.

setting up your own web server

This will import your entire database. Go to “http://localhost/” and you’ll see a perfect mirror replica of your live website! Now you can tweak your theme, new ads, or otherwise play around with the local version of your website before you decide to move the changes to your live site.

When you want to set all of this up for another website, just start at the very beginning of this article again, create a new directory on the root of your portable drive for this second website, and when you do the SUBST command, pick a different drive letter.

All of the subsequent steps are for setting up your own local web server. To launch a particular local web server, you just have to go to that directory and launch the “xampp_start.exe” file in that directory. “xampp_stop.exe” will stop that local webserver. This setup will work perfectly so long as you never try to launch two at once – you can only have one localhost webserver at a time!

Give this setup a try and let us know how it worked out for you? Do you have a need to run multiple local webservers at once? Does this solution make it work? Share your experiences and additional tips in the comments section below.

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How To Change The Settings Of Ubuntu Unity With CompizConfig Settings Manager

Posted: 12 May 2011 10:31 AM PDT

ubuntu unity settingsUbuntu‘s latest release, version 11.04, brings with it a completely new desktop interface called Unity. Its release has received mixed reviews, though honestly it comes down to taste. There is never a piece of software that literally everyone likes, and Unity is a good example of that. But if you do like it, congratulations! Aside from a functional desktop, you’ll have a number of configuration tools at your fingertips to modify Ubuntu Unity settings.

Installing CompizConfig Settings Manager

As Unity is actually an extension of the Compiz Window Manager, you’ll be able to find the Unity plugin in the CompizConfig Settings Manger. By default, however, it is not currently installed. For easy installation, just click here. The link will prompt the package manager to install the package for you. You can also fire up the Synaptic Package Manager and type in compizconfig-settings-manager. You’ll see it along with another package called “simple-ccsm“. You can install either of these packages; they are virtually identical.

If you wish to use the terminal, you can use the commands sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager or sudo apt-get install simple-ccsm to install the correct package.

ubuntu unity settings

Once that completes, you can launch the Dash and begin typing in “compiz“, and the settings manager will appear for you to select. Once that opens, you can scroll down to the “Desktop” section of plugins, where you will find the plugin for Unity. Click on it, and you’ll have some options that you can configure.

ubuntu unity configuration

Configuring Unity

In the Behaviour tab you’ll find a couple of options that pertain to, well, the behavior of Unity, specifically the dock on the left side. You can choose the Reveal Mode as well as when the Launcher (Dock) should hide itself. Below those options are configuration keyboard shortcuts for various tasks.

ubuntu unity configuration

When you click on the Experimental tab, you’ll find a couple more options than in the last tab. Although I find that the options you can configure in this tab wouldn’t be something drastic, there is most likely a reason why it’s the “Experimental” tab, so be cautioned with what you change here.

Except for one, all of the options in this tab affect the dock. Changing the Backlight Mode will change whether the background of the icons in the dock are colored all the time, only when the application is open, or never. The Launch Animation option can change what happens to the icon when you click on it. The Urgent Animation is when an application is trying to get your attention, such as when someone mentions your nick on XChat, a program for IRC. You can also change the Panel Opacity, Launcher icon size, and Hide Animation. The Dash Blur option lets you choose what kind of blur you want for the dash, which is the window that appears when you click on the Ubuntu logo in the top left corner.

ubuntu unity settings


Unity is a good desktop shell that is capable of letting you easily get your work done. With a nice selection of customization options, you can easily tune Unity to your liking so that it works how you want it to work. That way it can stay out of the way so you can get your work done efficiently.

For more information about the latest Ubuntu release and Unity, you can check out Justin’s post here.

What do you think about Unity? Are you using it or going to use it, or are you deferring to a different desktop shell or environment? Let us know in the comments!

Image Credit: Wikipedia

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Explore Space In Your Pocket With The NASA iPad App

Posted: 12 May 2011 09:31 AM PDT

nasa ipad appHave you ever stared at the starry night sky and wondered what’s out there? Outer space has been the object of human curiosity since the beginning of time. While we’re still eons behind the Star Trek age, we’ve already made quite a few steps in our journey into space. Spaceships and satellites have moved from the science fiction realm into the real world. Plus thanks to the modern technology, you don’t have to go to space to be able to explore the space. Now you can do it from your iOS device.

NASA, one of the pioneers in space exploration, has released a free NASA iPad app which:

“… collects, customizes, and delivers an extensive selection of dynamically updated mission information, images, videos, and Twitter feeds from various online NASA sources in a convenient mobile package.”

Start Exploring

Prior to releasing the iPad optimized app, NASA had already released the iPhone version of the app (check out Tim’s post from yesterday about this). However, thanks to the bigger screen size, you’ll have a better exploring experience with the iPad version.

First time users will get a notification saying that there will be links to standard webpages with Flash videos and features. Translation: some of the contents are not viewable from the iPad.

nasa ipad app

You’ll see our solar system on the main screen of the app. You can tap on one of the items to see a more detailed explanation of it. Knowing our solar system better is the first step towards space exploration.

nasa ipad

For example, I tapped on Earth and then I was presented with all the scientific facts and explanation about the blue planet. Aside from the Sun and the planets, there are also details about the moon, asteroids, comets, and meteors. Exploring our solar system alone will keep you busy for a very long time.

nasa ipad

If you are interested in the ISS – the International Space Station, you can tap on the globe icon to see the list of times for the best ISS sightings. The app will automatically detect your location on earth (although in my experience, it’s not really accurate) and give you the sighting list accordingly.

nasa ipad

You can tap on the phone icon to share the sighting list to fellow ISS enthusiasts via Twitter, Facebook and Email.

Next to the globe “ISS sighting” icon is the “News” icon. You can browse many kinds of news related to NASA and space exploration, from a specific topic like “Shuttle And Station” to the more vast topic like “Universe“.

nasa apps for ipad

If you have a plan to visit one (or more) “NASA Centers”, you can see a map of their locations by tapping the NASA Centers icon next to the News.

nasa apps for ipad

Beside “NASA Centers” is the “Shuttle And Rocket Launch Schedule“. We can see from the schedule that NASA is quite busy.

nasa apps for ipad

If you are a man-made space objects enthusiast, you will find the icon after “Launch Schedule” exciting. This is where you can see details about NASA satellites.

07a satellites

For example, there’s a story about Aquarius – a satellite that will be launched in June 2011. This satellite was built to measure global Sea Surface Salinity. You can see hundreds of photos about the satellite. There are also a few videos about it.

07b satellite details

You can also find more details, along with tens of thousands of pictures and a hundred videos, about the International Space Station. It’s amazing to see how far our space technology has come.

07c ISS

…And There’s More…

If all the things we’ve discussed above are not enough, there is more. At the lower part of the main screen, you can find menus to access other materials such as NASA’s image of the day.

09a image of the day

If you are a wallpaper lover, you should already know that along with National Geographic, NASA is one of the best sources to get beautiful images for your desktop wallpaper.

09b nebula

There is also NASA TV, videos, tweets, and featured articles that you can explore and enjoy.

nasa ipad app

So, if you are an iPad owner who loves the topic of space explorations, you have to download the free NASA iPad app. It provides you with a vast amount of information related to the world beyond our tiny blue planet, and our effort to study outer space.

Have you tried the Nasa iPad app? What do you think about it? Do you know of other sources to virtually explore outer space? Share your knowledge using the comments below.

Image credit: NASA

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3 Great Radar Storm Trackers For The Android Phone

Posted: 12 May 2011 08:31 AM PDT

radar storm trackerAs the recent tragic tornados in the American southeast once again proved – as well as the massive flooding across the midwest – weather is a force to be reckoned with. Even today, with all of our technology, we can do nothing more than get out of the way of nature’s wrath.

Before you do that however, you have to know there is reason to worry. Although the national weather services almost always catch dangerous situations as or before they develop, it’s not practical to carry a weather radio everywhere. You can however carry your Android – and load it up with useful radar storm tracker apps.

My-Cast Weather Lite

radar storm tracker

There are more weather gadgets, radar apps and forecast apps available on Android that you can shake a stick at. After going through all of them I could find, there was one that I kept coming back to – My-Cast Weather Lite.

This radar storm tracker app really does it all. It includes current conditions, forecasts, maps and alerts. There are plenty of apps on Android that provide local radar coverage, but only a handful of them provide radar coverage and local weather alerts and a clear, easy to read forecast.

As if that weren’t enough, My-Cast Weather Lite also provides an RSS weather news feed that can be found in the social section. This news feed isn’t meant to provide you with current weather news (that’s what alerts are for) but it does provide interesting information about recent weather events.

Local Weather Apps

storm tracker with gps

When it comes to weather, local information is always the most relevant. There’s always weather somewhere, but it’s only important to you if it’s where you are.

Often, local weather apps made by news organizations are a great choice for information. This caught me by surprise, at first – local news and high-tech don’t associate in my mind – but after trying out some local apps produced by various channels, I found that their quality is usually on par or better than your average Android weather app.

Better yet, these apps often provide the best local information, such as forecasts and weather alerts. The radar storm trackers in these apps usually do a better job of highlighting potential dangers than the radar you’ll find in an app that’s built to cover an entire country, continent or the world.

Rainy Days

radar storm tracker

I like My-Cast Weather Lite, but it is a full-fledged app, not just a radar storm tracker. Those who are looking for the radar and nothing more should consider Rainy Days.

There’s not much to this radar storm tracker app, really. It takes radar information and places it on Google Maps. There is a time-lapse available which covers an hour of time at once. The radar information available is detailed, and it’s possible to zoom in close and check out the weather above your home.

My biggest beef with this app is the lack of alerts. This decreases the usefulness of the app in dangerous situations, but if you just want a radar storm tracker to watch a line of storms you know is coming, Rainy Days will do well.


Talking about the weather is one of the most mundane topics in the world, but knowing about the weather can literally save your life. Storms don’t mess around, and they go where they want. Knowing that severe weather is headed your way means you can find shelter or move out of the way before you’re in danger.

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Facebook Launches Photo Tagging For Pages [News]

Posted: 12 May 2011 08:07 AM PDT

After sweeping yesterday’s massive potential data leak quietly under the carpet, Facebook has since launched photo tagging for pages. The change allows anyone on the social network to tag certain Facebook pages in images, as well as the usual contacts.

At the moment only products and brands are supported (which includes musicians and bands), though a post from the Facebook pages team expressed a willingness to extend the service beyond the current offering (for example; pages for places).

The change is bound to mean more to businesses and marketing firms than the average user, with some mixed responses from Facebook users.

Many business owners and those with their own pages have expressed gratitude, whereas others claim that the change will encourage spam and irrelevant tagging. Any photos that a Facebook page is tagged in appears on the appropriate page, much like a normal users’ profile.

To tag a page, view a photo in the new photo viewer (tested not working from the “old” image view) click Tag This Photo, choose what to tag and start typing. If the business, brand or artist you are trying to tag has a Facebook page you will be able to tag it – even if you haven’t clicked Like. The only exemption to this rule are photos that do not allow tagging at all, a setting which can be stipulated by the uploader.

What do you think of Facebook’s new tagging for pages? How about yesterday’s boo-boo? Have your say in the comments.


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