Martin Brinkmann

martin photo

Martin Brinkmann is a journalist from Germany who founded Ghacks Technology News back in 2005. Martin started his career as a tech support representative at a large German financial corporation which he used to finance his college education in English, Information Technology and History.


He quit college and his job when Ghacks began to attract a large enough readership. He made the decision to become a full time blogger and webmaster, and has not looked back since.


Martin is interested in all things tech. His primary focus is on desktop operating systems, web browsers, Internet services, and privacy related topics.


He published the book The Complete Windows 10 Privacy Guide: Windows 10 Fall Creators Update version in 2017. Martin writes a weekly column for fellow tech site Betanews as well.


You can reach Martin on Facebook or on Twitter. Please use the contact form at the bottom of the page to contact the author directly.


Martin has been quoted or mentioned in many major online and print publications, including Forbes, Lifehacker.com, ComputerWorld, LinkedIn, Reddit, Betanews.com, Bleeping Computer, TechCrunch, PC World, Tom's Hardware, Slashdot, Hacker News, The Register, and more.


Martin's articles on Ghacks

DirectX 10 for Windows XP

We all know that Microsoft has decided to make the latest version of DirectX 10 Windows Vista only most likely to drive more sales to the new operating systems. Some independent developers have decided to create a working version of DirectX 10 for Windows XP with the goal to run any application that requires DirectX 10 also on that operating system.

The current release is a alpha release and probably only interesting for developers or coders. The plan is however to support the two games that have been released for Vista only. Halo 2 and Shadowrun are the two games that can only be installed and played using Windows Vista at the moment.

apple panorama photosynth

Future Technology Seadragon and Photosynth

Seadragon and Photosynth are two new technologies that have been presented at the TED 2007 conference by it's architect Blaise Aguera y Arcas. Seadragon is basically a way to navigate seamlessly through a very large amount of image data. He was giving three examples at the presentation.

First he introduced a 300 Megapixel image, then that he was able to zoom into a complete book and lastly that it was possible to create new types of ads that would allow to zoom in and reveal details that would not be possible otherwise.

Weekend Fun JRisk

When I was a child I played Risk many times with my friends. I could not get enough of this game. We even created our own house rules to make the game more exciting. I have been playing JRisk every now and then since it was released and think that it is a nice Risk clone with some great features.

What I really like about is that you have the choice to either download it or play it on the developers website. You do need Java to play the game but this should be installed on most computers anyway. The version that can be downloaded should be best suited for most users because it plays definitely faster and has an option to save and load games.

media coder

Using Media Coder to rip Audio from Videos

I would like to share a really nice and easy way to rip any kind of audio from videos and save the audio in mp3 format. This is a great way of adding music to your collection for instance or to get podcast like shows by ripping the audio from documentations or other videos.

divx plus software

Get Divx Pro for free

Genbeta are reporting that you can get a free version of the Divx Pro suite for a limited amount of time. All you need to do is go to Windows download or Mac download and download the divx pro software. You are asked for an email address during installation which will be used to send the Divx pro key to. You probably want to uncheck the "I would also like to receive" offers.

Recover Files with Handy Recovery

Handy Recovery is a file recovery software that is able to recover (accidentally) deleted files on your system. If you have read my blog in the past you probably know that deleting files does not really delete them immediately but only removes the reference to the file.

Handy Recovery is a file recovery software that is able to recover (accidentally) deleted files on your system. If you have read my blog in the past you probably know that deleting files does not really delete them immediately but only removes the reference to the file.

Anonymous Bittorrent with I2PSnark

I personally think that is is very important to use anonymizers whenever possible for most of the tasks on the Internet. All of your movement and actions are tracked and can be easily traced back to you which is probably something that most users on the Internet are either unaware of or do not like at all if they know that this is the case.

One major problem are P2P networks where anonymity is not that easily achieved. If you do lack the technical background you will face severe difficulties on the road to anonymity. There is however a great solution if you want to be anonymous while downloading and sharing files on Bittorrent.

Move new files automatically into another directory

A reader was asking me if I knew of a program that would observe selected folders and move new files automatically from those folders into different ones. It took a while until I found an universal software that is able to observe an unlimited amount of folders and move new files that are either moved or created in that folder into another one.

FileWarper is a German freeware which is fortunately not difficulty to use. I took the liberty and translated all buttons and explanations into English. You need to configure the tool once and keep it running in the background. Let me explain the various settings, don't worry, it is not much.

A collaborative Art Projekt

I'm normally not that easily fascinated by art, especially be the form of art found on the Internet. This art project however caught me by surprise. I found reference to the picture on Digg where it was advertised as "The Most Awesome Pic EVER". My first thought was of course that someone was again using the term awesome to draw attention to his article. This might have worked for the first post on Digg with the term awesome in it but Digg is flooded with it nowadays.

personal menu

Personal Menu for Firefox

There is no obvious way in Firefox to reduce the size of the menu toolbar. I always thought that it was a big waste of space to have this bar enabled all the time. I'm personally using the Tiny Menu Firefox extension which displays just a Menu item next to the usual buttons such as forward, back and reload. I added a screenshot of how my setup looks like at the end of the article.

I did find another interesting Firefox extension called Personal Menu which reduces the menu bar to three buttons that can be placed in the other toolbars. Two buttons are for the bookmarks and the history function while the third is fully customizable. You can add any kind of menu from the menu bar for instance to this personal menu.

Play the original Lemmings in your browser

I enjoyed the original Lemmings game on my Commodore Amiga 500 but lost interest when the series evolved. Let me explain the rules in case you never heard about Lemmings before. Your task is to complete all the levels of the game by directing enough Lemmings from the entrance of the level into the level exit.

data crow

Manage all your media collections with Data Crow

I found a great free software that is able to manage all of my media collections with ease. One of the greatest feature of Data Crow is that it is not only a software for managing DVDs, CDs or books but provides a way to manage all of them. To be precise it is able to manage Software, Movies, Music Albums, Audio CD's, Books and Images.

Anti-DRM T-Shirt Designs

The sites Torrentfreak and Beautiful Crime announced an Anti-DRM T-Shirt competition a while ago and all entries to the competition have been posted on the Torrentfreak website. All 46 T-Shirt designs can be seen and everyone may vote for their favorite T-Shirt design. Who would have thought that this competition would get such a large amount of entrants ?

You can find some really clever designs among the 46 and I would like to display the five designs that I liked the most here at Ghacks. Just head over to the Torrentfreak website to take a look at all of the designs. The winning design will receive a price of $250, the second one of $100 and the third a price of $50.

Knowledge Community Video Sites

People are crazy about watching videos on Youtube, Metacafe & Co. but the videos there are in most cases either entertaining or kinda crappy. In my opinion, it's a little hard to find really good or useful videos in this jungle if you're not searching for something specific or don't get a suggestion or link from another website.

You probably want to learn something new sometimes and in such case vivid video tutorials are many times more appreciated than written tutorials.

6200 high-res and widescreen wallpapers

Desktop Nexus is a site with a wide variety of high resolution and widescreen wallpapers. The wallpapers are divided into popular categories such as Entertainment, Video Games and Cars. Each category displays the most popular, the newest and a selection of random wallpapers from that category next to a tag cloud and sub categories that define the selection even further.

One main feature of Desktop Nexus is that wallpapers are available in a lot of different formats that suit full screen and widescreen monitors. Resolutions start at 800x600 for full screen monitors and end at 1600x1200 there. The widescreen wallpapers start at 1280x800 and 2560x1600.

change drive letter windows

Change all Drive Letters in Windows

Don't you think it is annoying that Windows assigns drive letters automatically to certain drives such as the floppy disk drives A: and B: ? The A: drive letter is assigned even if no floppy disk drive is installed on the system. There is a way to reassign all drive keys in Windows by manipulating the registry.

A word of advise before I'm going to explain how this is done. Do not try to change the assignment of the drive letter C: which has to stay the way it is. If you change it Windows will not boot anymore. So, what you need to do is to open the Windows registry by hitting Windows + R, typing regedit and pressing Enter afterwards.

firefox options block window

Make Firefox behave independent from its options

I really hate the behavior of Firefox in Windows when you open the options. The complete browser is not accessible anymore until you close the options again. This is extremely frustrating if you want to test a few settings. There is however a really nice way to change the behavior and make it that the options are independent from the Firefox browser.

To do this you only need change one setting in Firefox and restart the browser afterwards. Type about:config in the address bar and search for the string browser.preferences.instantApply and change the setting from false to true. This ensures that the options can be accessed and changed while it is still possible to surf the Internet.

Change how Firefox displays Websites

Did you know that it is possible to override the way a website is displayed by default in Firefox. This can be useful for instance if a webmaster decided to use CSS code to remove the underline of links, change the color for links that open in new windows or display additional information for certain file type downloads.

The first thing that you need to do is locate or create the file usercontent.css in your Mozilla Firefox profile directory. It can usually be located in %appdata%\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\\chrome in Windows where xxx is a random number and yyy the name of the profile (default for instance).

open subtitles

Biggest multi-language subtitle database

I prefer watching a foreign movie with subtitles over watching it synchronized. This has mainly two reasons. The first is that I feel that a lot of atmosphere is lost when you hear Bruce Willis or Brad Pitt speaking in a foreign language. The second reason is that I can use subtitles to view movies that are not officially available in my country.

I'am not speaking about movie downloads here - although that would be a possible application as well - but about legal purchases of movies that have been created in Asia and Scandinavia. Many of those movies have no synchronization and English subtitles which would mean that I would not be able to enjoy the movie.

secure login

Secure Login with Firefox

Secure Login is a Firefox extension that is similar to Opera's Wand feature. Instead of logging into a website by filling out the username and password form you login by clicking a button or using a shortcut. This is a great way to prevent the execution of malicious Javascript code that could "phish" your data.

Javascript will be temporarily disabled during login and the data is send right to the website that you want to login to. The Domain that you are currently on and that you want to login to are compared to ensure that you are indeed at the right website. A mismatch would result in a popup warning.

online music recorder

Online Music Recorder

Online Music Recorder is a web service brought to you by the team that also created the Online TV Recorder web application. The music service basically records songs from Internet radio stations for you which you can download once they are available. Due to legal concerns you can only download songs that have been recorded since you joined the service and actively stated that you want them to record songs for you.

This means that you create a large library of songs over time. Hundreds of songs are added daily to the list of recorded songs which are kept for an infinite amount of time. The music that you download from Online Music Recorder is encrypted and you need a special software that decrypts the music using your username and password that you use when logging into the website.

Weekend Fun Trackmania Nations

Trackmania Nations is a free racing game for Windows that distinguishes itself from normal racing games by introducing a number of additional elements to the tracks. Do you remember Stunt Car Racer for instance ? The game where you were driving through loopings and made big jumps across the screen.

This game introduces all those elements again to a racing game but provides normal tracks as well. You may start with the 90 solo missions that remind me a little bit of the Gran Turismo missions. They are divided into Beginner, Advanced and Expert Training missions and award medals if you beat the tracks in a certain amount of time. This alone is very challenging.

Scan downloads automatically in Firefox

I was looking for a way to automatically scan specific file types immediately after finishing the download instead of scanning them when unpacking or executing them. This way I could sort out malicious files immediately without having to worry about some files that contain viruses or other sorts of malware sitting on my hard drives for a longer period of time.

wise registry cleaner

Wise Registry Cleaner

Wise Registry Cleaner is probably the most comfortable registry cleaner that I installed on my system until now. The free software has a size of roughly one megabyte and the installation takes only a couple of seconds. The application reminds you to create a backup of your registry before you proceed which can be done right from the reminder window.

After this has been done a scan can be started by clicking on the scan button in the toolbar. The main window will be populated with the results displaying information about the keys, values, data and categories. The registry cleaner rates every entry with "safe to fix" or "Not fully safe to fix" and checks only the ones that are safe to fix.

DRM Free Music from iTunes hides account info

Many users were quite happy when Apple announced that they would be selling drm free music at their iTunes online store. It would finally be possible to make one purchase and be able to play the music in your car, mp3 player, computer and other devices. Prices for the drm free music were set higher than for music with drm which did not get the bad feedback that I expected it to get.

CD-Wow to pay £41m to British record companies

CD-Wow is a online CD, DVD and games shop that operates from Hong Kong. They ship free of charge worldwide and offer some of the lowest prices in the business. They achieve this by (legally) buying the media in countries like Hong Kong and selling them to Europeans and Americans who are happy to pay a lower price for the media while still being able to enjoy the English version of a CD, DVD or game.

CD-Wow for instance was the third largest online CD retailer in Great Britain in 2005 after Amazon and Play. The companies that produce the media sure love globalisation when it means that they can produce their goods in a country like China for a fraction of the costs that it would cost them in a European country or in America.

imgburn disc burning

Burn Image Files with ImgBurn

If you are looking for a versatile CD and DVD burning software that can be freely downloaded and that is supporting most known image formats you should take a closer look at ImgBurn. The program can either read a disc to an image file, build an image from files and folders or burn an image file from your hard drive to a new blank media.

Flickr Best of 2006 Voting

A collection of the best photos published on Flickr in 2006 with an option to vote for all of them in a voting process that reminds me of those hot or not type of sites.

Your first option is to take a look at how the photos have been rated by other users. Please be aware that all of the photos on the site are the best of 2006 and that the rating on this external site is only a rating of good photos. It can happen that a photo gets only 1 point which means that is is bad considered to a photo with a higher rating but still great if you consider all photos on Flickr for this year.

List of 20 Temporary Email Services

I'm currently tweaking the new theme which takes more time than I thought. I just want to apologize for the lack of articles in the last days. Once the new theme is published I will have more time to write articles again.

I have been writing about temporary (disposable) email services before which can be used to register to certain web services without revealing your true email address. This is great if you do not want to risk that the website is selling your email address.

This is however a security risk if you do register at a service that is sending passwords to the email again if you have forgotten them. Everyone who knows the email that you have registered with could use the forgotten password request to get your password.

msconfig

Remove old entries from MSConfig Startup

Some programs ask you if you want to start every time when Windows starts while others do not ask but still add an entry to an autostart location. This is most of the time not that useful unless you do use the software a lot. I can only think of security products that would fall into that category. Makes no sense to always start the antivirus software after Windows has loaded.

We all know that we can prevent autostarts by using the msconfig utility which ships with every Microsoft operating system. The problem that arises here is that although the programs are not autostarted anymore they still exist in the list which looks rather messy because it is growing over time. It does not make much sense to keep them in the list if you disabled them from the list.

auto login windows vista

Automatically log in during Vista startup

One of the most annoying features of Windows Vista is the login screen that displays all user accounts on the system. You have to click on one of the accounts and enter the password from that user to be able to login and use Windows Vista.

I don't think it makes that much sense to display this information if you login with the same user most of the time. Security should also be no concern because it is not that complicated to access the data even though you do not know the password of that specific user.

itunes store file validator

Autorate songs in iTunes (Mac and Windows)

Are you using the rating feature of iTunes and your iPod a lot ? I can only speak for myself but I never used that feature at all because it seems to be a lot of work to rate thousands of songs.

There is however a way to rate songs automatically using a free software called AutoRate (Macintosh) that rates track automatically according to how often they have been played and skipped. The ratings get synced with iTunes which means that you do not have to rate all of your songs by hand to achieve this goal.

Youloud Podcast Directory

It seems to me that Podcasts are popular amongst a certain (geeky) user group but ignored by the rest of the Internet. Honestly, when was the last time that you have listened to a Podcast ? I have to admit that I'm also not listening to Podcasts mainly because the lack of time but also because of the difficulty to find Podcasts that are interesting enough.

Youloud tries to make at least the second concern irrelevant. It lists a lot of Podcasts in their directory offering features, newest, most popular and top favorite Podcasts.

Transfer personal files and settings from XP to Windows Vista

If you are running Windows XP at the moment and want to make the switch to Windows Vista soon you might find the Windows Easy Transfer Tool of interest. The transfer tool work with both the 32-bit and the 64-bit version of Windows XP if they have the latest official service patch installed.

Weekend Fun Last Scenario Game

If you are looking for a great roleplaying game for the weekend you should definitely take a look at the excellent Last Scenario game. It reminds me a lot of those old SNES and Sega Genesis roleplaying games that were so much fun to play back then.

Last Scenario puts you in charge of a self proclaimed town protector named Hilbert who is nothing more than a boy at the beginning of the game who is soon to become the savior of the world. If this sounds a little bit to cliched for your taste you should wait and see how the story unfolds.

Gmail raises the maximum email attachment size to 20 Megabytes

You can bet that every tiny bit of new information about Google or one of their services will make headline news in a matter of minutes after it was discovered or announced. This time it was the discovery that the maximum attachment size for emails on gmail has been raised to 20 Megabytes.

While a 100% increase may seem nice it raises some questions about the usefulness of such an increase. Many mail servers will not accept emails of that size and bounce them back. It should also be noted that emails were never supposed to be used for large file transfers in the first place.

autopatcher updater

Autopatcher Vista and XP 64-bit May update

Autopatcher is a very convenient and easy way to patch your operating system with the latest patches, updates and security fixes without connecting to a Microsoft server at all. All that needs to be done is to download the latest release of Autopatcher and run it. You may then select the updates that you want to install and everything else is done automatically (that's the auto in autopatcher, hehe)

Cute little Ninja flash game

I was always a little bit obsessed with Ninjas since the first Shinobi game by Sega. This continued with Tenchu on the Playstation and numerous Ninja games and movies. It was always my childhood dream to become a stealthy deadly assassin, hehe. Well, I found a nice - but short - flash game that lets you play, I think you guessed it already, a Ninja.

You have to make it through ten levels to rescue a woman (princess, geisha ?). To do this you have to cross the levels and beat all the enemy guards who are defending the captured woman. You only have a limited assortment of techniques at your disposable. Amongst them are the infamous wallrun, the backflip and the quick short slash.

Fix for black screen in Nintendo Wii virtual console games

The following fix should help users who do have problems with some virtual console games for the Nintendo Wii that display only a black screen after starting them while the sound remains normal. This does not work in all occasions but should work if you get the Wii menu when you press Home and works only for games that received an update for the interlaced mode.

Try out the following to see if this fixes the issue. Start the game normally until you see the black screen. Connect the Nunchuck to the Wiimote and press Home to see the menu options. Now press A + 2 + Z together which should result in a short "ping-like" sound.

This should have activated the interlaced mode. Leave the menu and you should see the normal game screen and not the black screen anymore. To change the mode again press A + 1 + Z using the same method as above.

xmplay music player

XMPlay a lightweight audio player

I was looking very hard to find a replacement for my favorite audio player Winamp and found a ultra-lightweight alternative with an exceptional functionality called XMPlay. This audio player which has a size of only 300 Kilobytes does not have to be installed and can be run from any location.

It supports all major audio formats such as mp3 and ogg format, plays internet radio streams, supports playlists, compressed files, library functions, skins, plugins and a lot more. Did I mention that it is possible to save mp3 streams that are automatically named to your hard drive ?