An Extremely Simple and Fully Customizable Launcher for Windows

October 31, 2010

When I get on a kick for something I seem to always stick with it for awhile. Here of late I have been kicking around and testing program launchers. My most recent article, ‘A Fun and Animated Program Launcher’ is just an example of myself feeding my obsession for these types of applications. Today I spent some time revisiting one of my favorites, called MouseExtender.

MouseExtender

The last time I reviewed MouseExtender (over a year ago) it was in the early stages of development. Since that review, MouseExtender has matured quite nicely and it is nice to see this application moving forward in its’ development. As a matter of fact, I was so impressed I continued working with it, completely customizing it for my personal use; and, decided to make it my main program launcher on my PC. You can setup MouseExtender to launch just about anything, from software applications to web sites. Once you start using it, the Windows Start Menu becomes a thing of the past.

Below is a sampling of my creation, complete with (7)-seven categories, that lead me to the programs that I mainly use.

MouseExtender

I think the main thing I like about MouseExtender over many of the other launchers I have tested, is that you can assign a hotkey, in combination with a mouse button, to unhide or hide the MouseExtender interface. When you use the hotkey combination, MouseExtender will show itself wherever your mouse pointer is positioned. In my case I took this even further.  I have a Logitech Mouse with additional side buttons where you can assign key combinations to the buttons. I can now toggle MouseExtender on and off via one of the side buttons. In essence I can rapidly pull up the MouseExtender menu and launch an application wherever the mouse pointer is located.

Since my last review of MouseExtender, some fine tuning has occurred that makes this application a top contender in program launchers. The feature list reflected below was copied directly from the developer’s website. You can click on any of the links to get further information and more insight on how MouseExtender functions.

Now that I am locked into using MouseExtender, and convinced that there will be continued development, I will be heading to the developer’s main website [ HERE ] and will also be visiting their coding website [ HERE ] .

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What does the “G” represent in 3G and 4G?

October 31, 2010

If you are a mobile web user of the cellular phone systems, you may have heard the terms, 3G and 4G. I recently had someone ask me, “What does the “G” stand for?”.  Ironically, the answer to that question fell right into my lap while working on my blog.

Below is a clip from a PC Magazine Article, “What is 4G, And Do I Need It?” , that answers the “G” questions for us.

A “G” is a generation of wireless technology. Each generation offers significantly faster Internet access than the previous generation, but it’s incompatible with the previous generation—you have to upgrade your phone to use it, and carriers usually have to install new hardware.

The first G was the old analog cellular systems. 2G systems are digital, but slow. Many phones still use 2G. Internet speeds on 2G phones range from 9.6 Kbits/s to about 200 Kbps. 3G systems run from about 384 Kbps to—well, we’ll get to that.

4G systems such as LTE and WiMAX claim to have real-life speeds of 5 Mbits/s or greater, much like a home cable connection. The most recent versions of these technologies promise speeds in the hundreds of Mbits/s, faster than any home Internet connection available right now. 4G systems are also “all-IP.” Down the road, they’ll be able to replace the old circuit-switched voice phone calling with voice-over-IP systems. [SOURCE: PC MAGAZINE]

2/26/2012 – Also see another article on this same topic: What Is All This 2G, 3G and 4G Talk?

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Cyberbullying – A Negative Result of Technology

October 29, 2010

I know I am from a generation of past; however, I have been fortunate enough to keep up to speed with technology and all the good and bad that is associated with it.

Today, I happened across a site called the Cyberbullying Research Institute that is dedicated to providing up-to-date information about the nature, extent, causes, and consequences of cyberbullying among adolescents.

Cyberbullying Research Center

If you are in the know, the term of the year for 2010 has to be the word “bullying”. Bullying is nothing new, and if you are from my generation (and prior), then you may have experienced it yourself at one point or another when you were an adolescent. Bullying is someone that persistently tries to dominant (and abuse) another through fear, threats and sometimes violence.

The reason I crafted this article is to inform people, especially those from my generation (and prior), that there is a new bully in town and he (or she) is called the Cyberbully. The Cyberbully is different in that the Cyberbully uses current technology to bully the victim in an attempt to gain power and control. The Cyberbullying Research Institute defines cyberbullying as this:

“willful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices.”

Today’s technology makes it easy for the bully to harass others, due to the fact that the bully does not have to be physically in the  presence of the victim. With the wide reach of today’s technology, such as computers, cell phones, webcams, voice recorders, cameras, etc…,  incidents are occurring where adolescents are using these devices to harass, threaten, embarrass, intimidate, and humiliate others. For example, most cell phones today have the ability to record video and take pictures. There have been cases where bullying adolescents have taken pictures and videos of their peers in very compromising situations such as in a bedroom, a bathroom or other areas where privacy is typically expected; then posting the result on the internet.  Even something as simple as spreading rumors via text, instant, or email messaging can have devastating affects.

Again, my main purpose of this blog post is to make people aware that handing a cell phone, computer, or any electronic device over to a teenager, without rules and guidance, is a recipe for disaster that can lead to devastating affects.

If you would like to learn more about Cyberbullying, I encourage you to visit the Cyberbullying Research Center, a research group dedicated to tracking bullying behaviors online among youth.

Addendum:

  1. A fellow blogger, at 404 Tech Support, has an excellent article on this topic as well, titled ‘A Rant on Cyber-Bullying or ‘They’re 11. You, the Parent, Take Responsibility!’
  2. Parents, in this “digital age”, are faced with questions and challenges new to us humans. Tech, and the World-wide Web have changed the landscape. Tech Paul (at Tech-for Everyone) has assembled  ‘Some Tips for Parents’ that is a must read article.

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The Debate Continues – Should You Leave Your Computer “ON” or Turn it “OFF”

October 28, 2010

There has been a lot of debate over the years whether you should power down your computer daily or just leave it “on” all of the time. I’ve always been a firm believer of powering the computer”off” when finished using it at the end of the day. When I was managing a computer network, the standard I had in place required all users to power down their PC’s prior to going home. If I found a PC “on”, then I remotely powered it “off”. I still use this same practice at home. During the day, I turn the computer “on”, and all peripheral components (i.e. drives, router, etc…), via a power strip (surge protector); then, I power the computer “off” at the end of the day (prior to going to bed) or if I leave the house for an extended period of time. My theories and reasonings for this practice are as follows:

  1. A computer that is left “on” all the time, is a potential security risk and is an open invitation internally (by other people) and externally (by hackers and such). (Especially when your network is connected to the outside world AND due to the fact the majority of people, and businesses, do not keep their security software up to date.)
  2. Extends the life of the computer. (A common debate is that turning the PC “on” and “off” promotes a negative impact on the “service life” of the computer. I personally can attest that most computers, with today’s advanced technology, will reach the end of their “useful life” prior to their actual “service life”, even if you turn them “on” and “off” multiple times.);
  3. Could be a potential fire hazard. (I’ve seen computers and monitors go up in smoke.);
  4. Can save electricity. (See U.S. Department of Energy – “When To Turn Off Personal Computers“);
  5. Refreshes the memory and the memory resident programs and services in the computer when you completely do a “cold restart” of the computer. (Many people let their PC’s go into a “sleep/standy mode” or “hibernate” mode. I still prefer what is called a “cold” restart.);
  6. Will keep the internal components of the computer cleaner. (When a computer is “on”, the fans are pushing and pulling air to keep components cool; however, this air flow is a dust magnet.); AND FINALLY,
  7. Your icons on the computer screen, over the life of the computer, will start to war with each other. (Watch what actually can happen – click on the graphic, “Icon’s Story” for a demo. The demo is in Adobe Flash.)

DEMO – Watch What Happens to Your Icons At Night If You Leave Your Computer “ON”
(click on the logo, then wait for it to load)

Icon's Story

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Geek Squeaks’ of the Week (#83)

October 27, 2010

Welcome to another great round of Geek Squeaks’. This week is no exception; the articles reflected are simply awesome. Take a moment to check them out and do not be afraid to let the authors know that you paid them a visit.

Geek Squeaks'

Bill Mullins’ Tech Blog – Tech Thoughts
Boost Your Productivity With Free Right-Click Context Menu Extender

Bookmarks4Techs
Featured Tech Site – InformationWeek

Canadian Tech Blogger
Google Admits To Accidently Harvesting Full Emails and Passwords

Mrintech
Grab avast! Anti-Virus Free 1 Year License Now!

thePC Security
Cloud Based Antivirus – Free Anti Virus Malware Security from KingSoft

Right On Technology
Apple’s New MacBook Air, FaceTime for Mac, OS X Lion, and iLife 11

Evilfantasy’s Blog
Free Internet safety calendar

Plato On-Line
Wikileaks’ Assange Walks Out of CNN Interview

Faster PC! Clean! Clean!
How to Remove Tazinga Redirect Virus

RGdot
Freeware Quick Cliq Is An Innovative Launcher And More

Laptop’s Review Central
A look at HP’s Slate 500

Paul’s Home Computing Blog
Internet Security: Protect Yourself While Shopping Online

TuneUp Blog about Windows
Give Your Windows Media Center a Facelift:
How To Change the Default Style!

Lifehacker
TabCloud Syncs Your Browser Tabs
Across Chrome Installations [Video]

Rarst.net
Photovisi.com – easy multi-photo collages

Tech-for Everyone
Protect your computer from cybercrime..

Free PC Security
Malicious Sites October 26

Tied Up in the (World Wide) Web
You’re a creature of habit who needs to stop.

Chicago Mac/PC Support
Microsoft vs. Apple: Whos winning? The numbers dont lie ZDNet

AKSGEEK Live
Lumigon T1 Mobile Phone Unveiled

Online Storage Reviews
Is USB Storage Appropriate for Business Use?

Malware Removal Instructions
How to remove System Tool (Uninstall Guide)

Netbook Freeware
KeePass Password Safe: Securely Store And Manage Passwords

I Love Free Software
Download CrystalWolf Audio Player Free

Worthy Tips
McAfee SiteAdvisor Plus with Free 1 Year Subscription License

404 Tech Support
Remember The Good, Old MTV? Recreate It With This Mashup of YouTube and Last.fm

I Want Ice Water
The Trouble With Sheep

TTC Shelbyville
Windows 7 has Cloud features built in

Snakebytez
Search and Download MP3 songs for free with Songr

My Technology Guide
Repair MBR To Restore Windows 7 To Your Multiboot Options [How To]

Awesome Wallpapers
Windows Se7en Wallpaper Set 33

What’s On My PC
When Windows 7 Will Not Boot

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A Fun and Animated Program Launcher

October 25, 2010

I have always had an interest in finding ways to make navigating the computer easier. As a result of that interest I became a fan, and expert of sorts, of menus and program launchers. From the early days of MS-DOS, there is probably not one that I have not tested or tried.

Even when computers was my full time job, I would customize (and standardize) the Windows Start Menu to make launching applications an easy task for the end-user. The advantage to this was that it kept the sticky fingers of the end user out of many areas of the computer, plus it made my job easier when it came to maintaining numerous systems. Many system admins, very seldom, will go to that trouble.

Today, when customizing the appearance of my computers, my goal is to find ways to avoid the Windows Start Menu altogether, by using  third party program launchers. Of  all of the program launchers I have tried and tested, I keep going back to one. That “one”, is the very popular Stardock’s Objectdock.

ObjectDock

If you are into customizing the look of your computer and want to making getting to your most used programs easier, then ObjectDock is the way to go. ObjectDock is a featured enriched dock type program launcher that can be made to look 3D, with mirroring and translucent effects; AND, with numerous themes to select from. Version 2.0 of ObjectDock was recently released and it is awesome. There is a FREE version and a paid version available.

ObjectDock

With the FREE version [ CLICK HERE ], you can:

  • Put shortcuts on your dock
  • Display running applications on your dock
  • Put docklets on your dock
  • Icons zoom on mouse-over
  • Optional swinging icons on mouse-over
  • Skinnable backgrounds with reflections
  • Change the appearance of the icons of running tasks and shortcuts
  • Position dock on any edge of the screen
  • Optionally hide Windows taskbar
  • Optionally represent running programs by snapshot of their window
  • Ability to autohide dock for maximized applications

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Perform A Search Times Two With Goog-A-WHO?

October 24, 2010

If you are someone that is a search engine junkie and knows how to use the top search engines to get results, then you are going to like “Goog-A-WHO?” .

Goog-A-Who

“Goog-A-WHO?” is a web based search tool (not a search engine) that allows you to enter your query (or search term) one time, just like a search engine; however, once you click the button to “double your search” the end result is phenomenal. Your search results are presented instantly from Google and another search engine at random, side-by-side (in a dual pane interface). If you are like me, and have a widescreen monitor, this type of dual pane interface really takes advantage of my widescreen monitor by using the entire space of the monitor to present me with more information.

For example, to see “Goog-A-Who?” in action, with a search for, What’s On My PC, click [ HERE ] .

Googawho does its best to provide you with the fastest way to compare ALL of the internet’s top search engines with just one search on just one page!

Goog-A-WHO? does not stop there. Once your search results are up, you can now manipulate your search results by viewing results from eight other top search engines (Google, Yahoo!, Bing, Ask, InfoSpace, AltaVista, Lycos, and Dogpile). Now how cool is that! Plus, you can go full screen with any of the search engines by clicking on the small “load engine full screen” button.

Screenshot - Goog-A-Who

“Goog-A-WHO?” also takes advantage of the tabbed browser interface with a button called a “Tabulizer”.  Click on the Tabulizer and your search results will be opened by all eight search engines in their own separate tabs.

My opinion, this web based search tool, “Goog-A-WHO?”,  is a keeper and a must for anyone who is a search engine junkie.

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