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

better performance

Speed up Hard Drives under Windows Vista

The following article describes two ways of speeding up hard drives in Windows Vista. The first tip describes a way to speed up SATA drives and the second to speed up USB drives. Both options can be easily configured in the Device Manager. Advanced write caching features are supported by Windows Vista but not enabled by default. I'm not sure why Microsoft decided to disable the feature by default but it surely helps system performance to enable it. Just make sure you have an SATA drive installed.

NiN upload some of their songs to the Piratebay

NiN - Nine Inch Nails - added a new announcement on their website stating: "As a reward for stealing Year Zero, We've prepared the next batch of multitrack audio files for you to download". Beneath the announcement are links to three of their songs, Capital G, My Violent Heart and Me, I'm not in Garageband / Logic Format for the Macintosh and a generic format for other applications. The interesting aspect of the generic format is that the links are actually torrent files that point to the Piratebay.

Educational Math Game Math Ninja

I was always a math freak in school and preferred math over most other classes such as English or Geography. I was especially proud of my mental arithmetic skills at that time and I can say that I'm still proud of them after playing around with Math Ninja for a while. The author of Math Ninja wrote it for his 8-year old son and his math skill improved in a couple of days of using the math software. The objective of the math game is to answer as many questions correctly as possible. You can define in the setup which mathematical operators should be included (Addition, Subtraction, Divisions, Multiplications and Negative Numbers) and select a difficulty level.

Running a Bittorrent client from a web server

Running a Bittorrent client from a web server is a good way for sites like Jamendo to seed the torrents that they offer on their sites. This is also an excellent opportunity for authors of Open-Source and Freeware applications to cut their bandwidth costs by sharing the bandwidth with the users who are downloading the software. If you run a bittorent client from a web server you are plattform independent which means that you can access the client from every computer with Internet access - even from work or school to add new torrents to the queue, check the current downloads or administrate the client.

Microsoft Vista Internet Connectivity Test

You can use the Internet Connectivity Evaluation Tool to test if your router supports various technologies that have been build into Microsoft's Windows Vista operating system. The test itself seems to be working only on Windows XP or Windows Vista and requires the Internet Explorer which is using Active X for the test. The following features and technologies are tested with the Internet Connectivity Evaluation Tool: Basic Internet Connectivity, Network Address Translator Type, Traffic Congestion, TCP High Performance, UPnP Support and Multiple Simultaneous Connection State.

Weekend Game World of Padman

World of Padman is a multiplayer ego shooter that is using the Quake 3 engine which is a very capable engine. Just imagine the game Quake 3 without the adult science fiction theme but a theme that resembles a game for children. Not saying that World of Padman is actually a children's game. Action is as fast paced as in Quake 3 and the game mode is still deathmatch. Frag the others before they frag you. Levels look really detailed and the style of the game is pretty unique as well. Before you begin you can select a character that you want to play and customize it a little bit.

Encrypt and sign all your Email traffic

If you want to make sure that no one is able to eavesdrop on your mail traffic you should use encryption. The problem with most encryption services is that setting them up and talking others into setting them up as well is a problematic task. Encryption only works if both the sender and the recipient use the same service to encrypt the emails. One of the easiest ways to setup a service that encrypts your emails is the encryption software Ciphire. Ciphire is a program that is available for Windows, Linux and Mac and can be downloaded for free from the developers homepage.

synergy

Use one mouse and keyboard on multiple computers

I prefer to use a mouse and a "real" keyboard over working with the touchpad and the keyboard of my Toshiba notebook. I do like slim keyboards but I'm not that used to keyboards from notebooks and have troubles typing as fast as with the keyboard on my desktop pc. I obviously have to use the keyboard and an external mouse when I'm travelling around with my Toshiba notebook but I thought that it would be nice if I could use the keyboard and mouse from my desktop pc for my notebook as well when I'm at home.

Create 360 Degree Panoramas from your Pictures

Holiday season is coming closer and I thought it would be nice to begin writing some articles that would fit nicely into that season. If you are using a digital camera to take pictures you might find the free software Autostitch worth a try. Autostitch creates a panoramic image from all the images that you load into the image manipulation software. This works of course only if the images are related to each other. If you took three pictures from different angles for instance that all show part of the same landscape. Everything is done automatically.

driver max

Import and Export all Windows Drivers

If you ever reinstalled Microsoft Windows you surely have encountered the following hassle. All the drivers that have been installed on your system are gone because of the new installation and you have to search the web to find the latest drivers and update your system with them. This is of course only valid if you do a clean install and do not install the operating system in the same folder as the old.

Tiny Menu Firefox Extension

I'm always looking for ways to reduce the toolbars and menus to have more space for the websites. I have already written about extensions such as Hide Menubar or the Firefox UI Tweaker that change the appearance of Firefox. The Tiny Menu Extension is another great add-on to this list. What it does is that it compresses all entries from the menu toolbar (File, Edit, View, History and so on) into one entry that lists the compressed items beneath each other. Take a look at the screenshot to get an impression of how this looks like.

change system restore size command-line

Change the System Restore Size in Windows Vista

It was possible to define the percentage that the System Restore feature in Windows XP allocated from a hard drive. Windows Vista has System Restore build in as well but no obvious way to define the percentage of the hard drive that System Restore allocated. Microsoft thought it would be a good idea to hide the setting well and allocate 15% of the hard drives capacity to System Restore. On a 300 Gigabyte drive System Restore would allocate 45 Gigabytes of space !

In their drive for a uncomplicated system they restrict user possibilities to create a system the way they like. It is becoming a closed system with the owner of the computer being a user instead of someone who can actively alter his system the way he wants. To change the System Restore size in Microsoft Windows Vista you have to rely on the command line utility vssadmin.

books should be free

Download free Audiobooks from these Internet resources

Audiobooks become increasingly popular and there are many pay sites that offer downloads of Audiobooks after you paid for them. It is however possible to download free Audiobooks from various sites from the Internet. The main problem with finding those free sites is that many pay sites offer free samples of the Audiobooks as well but you have to pay when you want to listen to the complete book.

Fix to copy large files in Vista faster

Maybe you have already encountered the strange behavior that it takes much longer to copy large files in Windows Vista than in Windows XP. You thought that the change from XP to Vista would at least be not a disadvantage speed wise but Vista somehow seems to have a problem copying large files. This happens especially with mapped drives but it could also be that you witness network disconnects.

The problem is caused by a new feature called Auto Tuning which is by default enabled in Microsoft Windows Vista. What Auto Tuning does is that it reacts on changes in the network by tuning the receive windows size. The solution would be of course to disable Auto Tuning in Vista. Some users reported that disabling Auto Tuning had a positive effect on their ability to connect to services such as Windows Live Messenger which did not work before.

Anti Mosquitoes

Anti Mosquitoes is a very unique software. The main purpose of Anti Mosquitoes is to prevent that mosquitoes come anywhere near your computer by using sounds that are barely audible by humans. This is at least what I think it does, the problem is that the developers homepage is in Thai only and the program itself has little information in English. I'm saying barely audible because it creates a noise that is audible and - at least for me - kinda annoying. The only way around this would be for me to wear a headset and listen to music while Anti Mosquitoes is running.

show winamp system tray

Move Winamp completely into System Tray

I like to move many applications that are currently running in the background into the system tray instead of the task bar to avoid that the task bar gets cluttered with applications that I do not need to access. One of the programs that I like in the system tray is Winamp. I listen to Internet radio most of the time which means I just let it play all day long without having to load playlists or song into Winamp. There is no need to have it open at all in the task bar.

The rotating house - a geeks dream

I have seen lots of weird gadgets in the past but this one tops them all. A house that can be rotated by 360° around a central core that contains all the plumbing and connections to the house ? Sounds a little bit futuristic don't you think ? You could apparently rotate the house in correlation with the moving sun for instance. It is also nice to get a fresh view out of the window by simply rotating the house a little bit. Take a look at the pictures..

Let Opera speak to you

Even many experienced Opera users do not know that it is possible to activate the so called "Voice" mode in Opera to use voice commands in Opera and also let Opera read text in websites for you. Before you can use any of the voice features in Opera you need to install the voice add-on package which can be downloaded right from withing Opera. Go to Tools > Preferences and select Voice from the left pane. Click on the button "Enable voice-controlled browsing" and follow the few steps that are self explanatory.

Never Publish your Phone Number on the Internet

Kids, let that be a lesson to all of you who are thinking about doing the same thing. A 20 year old unemployed man named Ryan Fitzgerald who is still living with his father had some time at his disposal and decided to help people who needed to talk to someone by publishing his phone number on the popular video portal Youtube. He received more than 5000 calls and text messages after uploading his video on Friday saying that he would be there for everyone who wanted to contact him.

automatic backups USB

Automatic Backups when USB Device is connected

I found a nice USB software called My Pen Drive which can be freely downloaded from the developers homepage. It is basically offering two great features: One is the ability to autostart applications from the USB drive when it gets connected to the computer, the other a automatic backup function which backups (pre-)selected folders that are saved on the USB drive when it connects to the computer.

Adobe Multi-touch Interface Presentation

If you thought that the last Multi-touch technology videos that I have been showing here at Ghacks have been cool then you should see this one. This one is a presentation by Jeff Han who is a research scientist for NYU's Media Research Lab during TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) 2006. Jeff Han describes his technique the following way: "Our technique is force-sensitive, and provides unprecedented resolution and scalability, allowing us to create sophisticated multi-point widgets for applications large enough to accommodate both hands and multiple users."

Weekend Fun Rooms

Rooms is an excellent puzzle game. The objective is to move the character from the start of the level to the door that exits it. This can be done by either moving the character himself if there is space to move or by moving the different rooms that make up the level. Take a look at the screenshot below to get a better impression of how a typical level looks like. Several rooms make up each level and you can only move the room that you are standing in at the moment.

A Sandbox for Applications

Sandboxie does what virtual machines such as VMware Player, Virtual Box and Microsoft Virtual Pc do with the difference that it works on the application level and not the operating system one. Instead of running a virtual operating system that makes it safe to try and test software it lets you run software in a sandbox on your current operating system with the same result. The normal process in an operating system is that applications can read and write date from the system.

Segatoys Homestar Home Planetarium

I should probably create a new category called Gadgets for Geeks or something like that for this Home Planetarium. It is a Japanese toy created by Segatoys. The device projects the night sky on the ceiling or a wall in your home. I know it is hard to imagine how this would look like but I guarantee you that it looks incredible if your room is darkened. Segatoys actually created several versions of the Home Planetarium which differ in functionality and price.

sysexporter

Export File Lists and more with SysExporter

SysExporter is a free software from one of my favorite software developers NirSoft that is able to explorer standard list-views, tree-views, list boxes, combo boxes, text-boxes, and WebBrowser / HTML controls from almost every application to text, HTML or XML files. I think an example would be great at this point to show you what it can do. When you start SysExporter you get a list of all applications and folders that are currently running on your system.

Nintendo Wii Unbiased Review

I bought the Nintendo Wii gaming system the first day it came out. Besides the system itself I bought a second pair of controllers, a classic controller, 2000 download points and the game Wii Play. After a while I added new games to the list including Red Steel, Rayman Raving Rabbits, Super Monkey Ball Banana Blitz and Korinpa. I purchased games from previous systems including Mario Kart 64 and Mario 64 and played an extensive list of Gamecube games including Resident Evil 4 and Mario Party 7.

I think that I have a good overview of what is currently going on in the Nintendo Wii "world" and would like to describe how I feel about the Nintendo Wii and what I expect of it in the future. I know that some of my friends already sold the Wii again because of the lack of good games following the launch - I personally think that this decision is understandable, the lack of games is obvious at this point.

Starcraft Origami

I still believe that Starcraft is the best real-time strategy game that was ever produced and hope that Blizzard will one day create a second part of at least a MMORPG out of it. Starcraft is part of my past, I used to meet with friends back then and play it in local lan games all night long. It was perfectly balanced and much better than Command and Conquer in my opinion. Someone - I suppose another fan - has created an unbelievable amount of Starcraft Origami and uploaded pictures of them to Flickr.

iptv guide

IPTV Guide

IPTV guides are rare on the Internet. You can access dozens of Internet TV guides which recommend services like Joost, Bablegum or those Asian P2P Internet TV clients such as Sopcast or TVUPlayer. The difference between IPTV and Internet TV is that IPTV is normally supplied by a broadband operator using a closed network structure. The most popular IPTV service that got worldwide coverage last year was ABC's IPTV service that streamed popular TV shows such as Lost or Alias to United States citizens.

thunderbird display message count size

Show message count of all folders in Thunderbird

Thunderbird displays only the message count of unread mails of every folder by default. I tried to find a way to display the count of all messages instead which would help me get a better overview of the amount of mails inside a folder. I wanted to make sure that the unread messages number would still be shown as well.

The option to activate the message count for all mails is kinda hidden in Thunderbird. You need to enable the "Show Expanded Columns" option first which can be done by going to Tools > Options, selecting the Advanced tab and checking "Show Expanded Columns in the Folder Pane".

BBC Opens up Archives. Looking for Testers

If you are living in the United Kingdom, have a broadband Internet connection and are at least 16 years of age you can apply to become a beta tester for the BBC Archive. The BBC is looking for 20000 testers that use the system for a period of six months exploring the vast archive that will be available for download (probably mean streaming). Testers will have to take surveys from time to time to improve the service during the test.

Thunderbird Email Client News Archive

If you are an early adopter and don't want to wait a few more days to download and install the email client Thunderbird you could head out to the Mozilla ftp and download it for your operating system and language right away. The Mozilla team is usually upping the latest version of either Thunderbird or Firefox on their ftp mirrors to ensure that they can serve the server load when they publish the links on the official program pages. This is indeed a good way to download Thunderbird 2 fast because the servers will not be that populated at this time.

firefox menu bar

Firefox Hide Menubar

Some users prefer to have as much space in Firefox for websites as possible. One way to get rid of some of the toolbars and menus temporarily would be to press F11 which removes the title, the bookmarks toolbar and the menubar. Another way would be to just remove the menubar which is not needed most of the time anyway. To do that you simply need the Firefox extension called Hide Menubar which removes the menubar once installed.

star wars character

Which Star Wars Personality are you?

I was very young when the first three Star Wars movies made their appearance in the cinemas of this world but was fascinated by the movies since then. This changed a little bit with the release of the last three movies which were a total disappointment in my opinion. Nevertheless I like Star Wars and everything that surrounds it. I'm not a die hard fan but someone who can watch the movies over and over again without getting bored.

how you say it

How to say it

If English is not your native language you might have encountered some words that you did not know how to pronounce correctly. How would you pronounce zealously or eligibility for instance if you never heard the words before ? Even in the English language family words are pronounced differently depending on the region of the speaker. A Scott pronounces word different than someone from San Francisco.

phrase express

Phrase Express - Paste frequently used text

I use many phrases over and over again. When I write someone an email, a business letter or reply to a private message in a forum. If you are tired of writing "Thank you for your email", "Yours sincerely" or a signature over and over again you might want to take a look at the free software Phrase Express. You can use Phrase Express to paste commonly used phrases into any text field using defined phrases. The program adds some of its own at the beginning but the real beauty is the flexibility of it. It is possible to create a folder and text structure that works best for you. You could for instance create folders for business, private and forums and add as much phrases as you want to those folders.

Sony DVD does not play on Sony DVD Player because of DRM

I knew that something like that was going to happen eventually and it did happen with the releases of "Stranger Than Fiction" and "The Holiday". Mick B posted the story on a new blog that he apparently created just for the purpose of bringing the news to the world. He rented the two DVD movies (from Sony Pictures) and tried to play them on his Sony DVP-CX995V DVD player. Both DVD movies did load until the splash screen was shown and stopped loading from that moment on. After 60 seconds the DVD player did turn itself off with no apparent reaso

Use any USB 2.0 Device for Readyboost in Vista

Readyboost is a disk caching system introduced in Windows Vista that relies on flash memory to boost system performance. The effect is not that noticeable but some users swear on it and I do not want to discuss the usefulness of Readyboost. The USB device has to meet some requirements before it can be used for Readyboost mainly that it needs to meet certain read speeds. Many older USB devices do not meet these requirements and refuse to be used as Readyboost devices in Windows Vista.

Enable region free mode on your DVD player

DVD region codes, how I hate them. I never quite understood why every player and dvd created had to have a region code implemented to prevent playback of DVDs from other regions. If I was to move from the United States to Germany or Britain I would have to import all DVDs for my US DVD player because I would not be able to play DVDs sold in Germany or Britain on that player. The other possibility would be to buy a European DVD player which would not play my US DVDs that I purchased back in the States.

Youtube obeys fake takedown request

Youtube Sunday it seems. We all know that Youtube likes to cooperate with everyone who looks a bit like authority and takes down videos pretty fast. It does not always have to be copyright infringement, it can also be original works of art that some authorities like the Turkish or Thai government want removed from Youtube pressuring the site with a countrywide ban. (man I love the Turkish interpretation of Democracy and free speech)

How Logistep catches file sharers

It is no secret that companies like Logistep are monitoring p2p networks to sue file sharers who are offering software from clients like Zuxxez, a German company who recently sued 500 British p2p users claiming that they illegally distributed the game Dream Pinball 3D. The website Torrentfreak got their hands on a copy of one of those letters that have been send out which details the process of how Logistep determines which users are illegally distributing the game.