Tag Archives: Software

Firefox 10 Aurora Add On Compatibility

So Firefox 8 has been released meaning Firefox 9 is now in beta and Firefox 10 is now on the Aurora channel. Trouble is, even if you are using compatibility reporter from the add ons site, most of your add ons will now be disabled. This is because compatibility reporter only supported up to Firefox 9. Anyway the fix is simple.

  1. Open a new tab
  2. Type about:config in the url bar and press enter
  3. Click the I’ll be careful, I promise! button
  4. Right click anywhere on the list that appears and select New then Boolean.
  5. For the preference name put extensions.checkCompatibility.10.0a and click OK
  6. Now select false and click OK
  7. Now do the same again but this time name it extensions.checkCompatibility.10.0
  8. Again set it to false.

Now close Firefox and when you restart all your extensions should be working again.

Zuma Blitz on IE9

OK I’ve noticed a few people a searching for information about Zuma Blitz on IE9. I did notice this issue myself when I first tried IE9. The main problem is the hardware acceleration that comes turned on by default in IE9 which results in Zuma, and anything else Flash intensive, being really jerky and laggy unless you are on a pretty powerful computer. This is because both Flash and the web browser are using hardware acceleration and competing for your graphic cards processor. This also applies to Firefox 4. Anyway you can try to improve things by disabling the hardware acceleration in either the browser or in Flash.

To disable it in the browser go to Internet options by either clicking the gear cog on the right hand side of IE9s toolbar or go to your control panel. Once open click on the Advanced tab. The very first option is Use software rendering instead of GPU rendering* so tick that. You will then have to restart IE9. Hopefully Zuma Blitz will be a bit more tolerable now.

To disable it in Flash simply go to a web page that has Flash in it and right click on the flash. From the menu that appears select Settings… and then deselect the Enable hardware acceleration option.

So first try disabling one. If that doesn’t work re-enable the one you disabled and disable the other one. If it’s still jerky try disabling them both.

If all else fails you can always just uninstall IE9 and go back to IE8 or try one of the other browsers such as Firefox, Chrome or Opera.

Play MKV on Xbox 360

OK so I downloaded the first two episodes of Pioneer One which is a free to download mini series made for VoDo, which is a free video site. Unfortunately, like a lot of high definition (HD) video, it came in the MKV format which, unfortunately, the Xbox 360 does not support. Now the first thing you need to understand is that the video format is just a container. The actual video and audio inside the container can be exactly the same in a different container. Orange juice is still orange juice whether it’s in a glass or a cup. Anyway what we need to do is take the audio and video out of the MKV container and put it in to a container that the 360 can play such as mp4. I did a search for instructions on how to do this by searching for play MKV on Xbox 360 but the one I found required about 10 different programs. Admittedly the instructions on that page are from 2008. Mine is a lot simpler and requires just a single, portable, program called XMedia Recode. The site is in German but just click Download under where it says XMedia Recode Portable. Extract the contents of the zip file and run XMedia Recode.

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Internet Explorer 9

So Microsoft has finally unleashed Internet Explorer 9 on the world. It comes with a faster JavaScript engine that can actually compete with the likes of Chrome and Firefox 4. It is also the first released browser to have hardware acceleration. Firefox, Chrome and Opera also have browsers with this but they are still either in alpha, beta or release candidate. It also has HTML 5 and CSS 3. Brand new user interface as well that I think will get a lot of complaints from the usual “we don’t like change” people.

Now on to the downsides.

Their video tag will only play .h264 files. Originally the specifications stated that the video tag would use the open source OGG codec but then Apple complained and so any codec could be used. Not that the fact both Apple and Microsoft own parts of the .h264 licences or anything. Now Google has purchased a company that was working on a new codec called WebM and has made it freely available with Firefox already supporting it as well as Chrome. Microsoft say they refuse to support WebM until Google can guarantee there will be no patent claims against WebM in the future. This is typical MS hypocrisy since their own licence for letting you use .h264 clearly states they offer no such guarantee themselves.

No support for the text-shadow CSS despite the fact Internet Explorer has offered text shadow as one of it’s filters since IE5.5.

Flash can be very laggy. My current favourite game, Zuma Blitz, is damn near impossible to play due to it being so jerky. This is possibly down to the hardware acceleration as Firefox 4 also suffers from this.


Still I think for most people who only use IE this will be a major breath of fresh air.

Trillian 5 beta

Cerulean Studios have just made a beta version of Trillian 5 available for the public to download. I have to say that after the ugly mess that was Trillian Astra it’s a relief to see the new clean interface. Because they’ve been doing this for ten years you know that the messenger protocols they use are the latest versions and their code is stable.

They have seriously improved how they handle newfeeds such as Facebook and Twitter now giving them their own tray icons if you wish as well as their own windows. It also has a very small memory footprint and usually uses around 10MB. It’s email handling has also been improved but it still lacks Digsby’s ability to delete emails from Yahoo, Hotmail etc as I only seem able to delete emails sent to my Gmail account.

You can get more information as well as see screenshots and download the beta it’s self from http://www.trillian.im/learn/tour-trillian5.html

Spyware Block Lists

For years now I have used both SpywareBlaster and SpyBot to immunise my web browsers against malware. They both do this by adding a list of known malware sites to the blocked list of your web browser and, in the case of Spybot, also adding them to the hosts file. They also help to stop tracking cookies which are used to log what type of websites you visited.

Anyway I was updating them both today and I got to thinking, "How often do they check that the sites in their block lists are still active?" At present SpyBot is saying it has immunised me against 130712 sites and SpywareBlaster says 13138 sites. So I decided to test a random selection of 20 sites they have blocked. Out of the 20 all the domains had now expired and pointed to nothing (resulting in a oops message in the browser) or they were now a domain landing page. That’s one of these stupid pages you sometimes end up on when you mistype a web address which has a list of links loosely based upon the domain name.

I know both of these programs are free but would it be to hard for them to write a program that checks their list every so often to remove dead domains? The reason I say this is because Internet Explorers block list is stored in the registry and this can slow down your computers boot up time. Also the more sites are blocked the slower your web browser may become. SO come on programmers. Just write a program that runs through your list once a month and see if they are still active or not.

Another Day, Another Internet Explorer Exploit

When Internet Explorer 8 came out Microsoft said they had seriously improved security and that it was now one of the safest web browsers to use. Apparently they were wrong. According to the Guardian newspaper here in the UK an exploit in Internet Explorer was used in the recent attack on Google’s systems in China.


So why keep using it? There are plenty of excellent alternatives these days. Firefox, Opera, Chrome, Flock and you could even use Apple’s Safari although it uses a stupid amount of memory on Windows.

Install Several Programs With One Installer

Some of the software Ninite offers

Some of the software Ninite offers

Have you just installed/reinstalled Xp, Vista or Windows 7? Need to install programs but don’t want to sit there manually installing them? Then try Ninite Easy PC Setup. Ninite makes installing multiple applications simple. You just go to their site, select the applications you want to install and then click Get Installer at the bottom. It will then download a small program which you will need to run as administrator so it can install the programs. The installer then downloads the install packages for your chosen programs and silently installs them. You can even suggest other programs for them to add to their list. They promise they only install the chosen program and not any of the rubbish a lot of the program installers try to add such as toolbars.

“We install apps with default settings and say “no” to browser toolbars and other junk.”

So basically you
1 – Go to the Ninite Easy PC Setup site.
2 – Select the programs you want to install.
3 – Download their installer.
4 – Run the installr as administrator.
5 – Go do something less boring whilst their installer does all the work for you.

Just to add you will need cookies enabled to be able to download the instaler.

Chrome OS now in beta

Fancy trying the new OS that Google is working on? Well you’re out of luck but in the meantime you can try the Chrome OS that for some bizarre reason Suse has made and released on a Google hosted site http://sites.google.com/site/chromeoslinux/ (Google has taken the site down). What’s really funny is the amount of people that have been Tweeting about how either this is Google’s new OS or the rest that are calling it a fake. It’s not a fake as it really is an OS called Chrome OS it’s just people have been fooled by the sites design and hosting in to believing it is Google’s OS.

From the site:

2009-10-21: New Chrome OS 0.4.223 beta is available now!

Chrome OS is a brand new free operating system built around the revolutionary Google Chrome browser.
The project aim is to provide a lightweight Linux distribution for the best web browsing experience.
Featured software in Chrome OS:
  • GNOME 2.24 desktop environment
  • Google Chrome 4.0.223 web browser
  • Google Picasa 2.7 photo manager New!
  • OpenOffice.org 3.0 office suite
  • GIMP 2.6 image editor
  • Flash Player 10.0 plugin
  • and much more!
System requirements of Chrome OS:
  • Processor: Intel Pentium, Xeon or newer; AMD Duron, Athlon, Sempron, Opteron or newer
  • RAM: min. 256 MB
  • Hard disk: min. 1 GB
  • Graphics card: supports most modern graphics cards

Why they would try to make people believe this was Googles forthcoming OS I don’t know.

Digsby Multi Messenger

There’s a new boy on the multi messenger scene and his name is Digsby (OK maybe her name).

Digsby is not just a cool multi messenger program but it is also a brilliant email checker for both web based email accounts and the traditional POP/IMAP accounts. And on top of that Digsby also lets you keep track of your accounts on the big four social networking sites in real time.

Go to the Digsby site
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