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

Monitor Websites for Updates with Firefox

If you want to make sure that you never miss a change on your favorite website again and stay ahead of the crowd by always knowing when the website has been updated you do need the Update Scanner Firefox extension. It basically monitors any website that you have added to it and informs you whenever a change has been made on the website. You may alter the change threshold so that you are not informed about minor changes on the website.

Finally an iPod update for Windows Vista

Users with Microsoft Windows Vista and an iPod might have encountered the problem that under certain circumstances the data on the iPod could become corrupted after removing it from the computer that was running Windows Vista. According to Microsoft the problem could arise under two circumstances which I pasted below:

Make Files Unrecoverable with Eraser Verify

I have been writing about a program called Eraser some days ago which I used to delete all file information that existed on the unused space of my hard drives. I verified the results with a recovery program and found out, that Eraser was indeed deleting all file information of files that had been previously deleted on my computer. The recovery software was not able to detect any files after using Eraser on the hard drive.

giganews accelerator

Giganews Accelerator Review

The world's best Usenet provider Giganews has managed it once again to set another milestone by creating a software called Giganews Accelerator which uses header download compression to download the headers of the newsgroup up to 10 times faster. Header downloads are the most annoying part when it comes to using the Usenet. It sometimes takes longer to download the headers of a popular newsgroup than to download a 700 Megabytes file with my 16 Mbit connection.

eBay Lastminute Auctions

I think it has become incredible hard to find bargains these days on eBay and I reduced the time I spend on eBay a lot over the last two years. Actually, I'm only visiting eBay when I know what I'm looking for and can't find it at a local retailer or online shop. The Lastminute Auction service might make me spend more time again on eBay though. It lists auctions that are running out in an hour or less and have a maximum price of $1. Various categories like computer, business and books make it easy to navigate the website and find what you are looking for. It is also nice to just look around and see if you can find something interesting.

send-with-thunderbird

Add Send Email Attachment to Windows Explorer context menu

I have added a "send attachment" entry to my right-click context menu when I perform that action on files. Adding attachments to emails was always sort of a burden for me because it was really uncomfortable to open the mail program, click on the attachment button and browse to the file on the hard drive of the computer. A far better way is to right-click the file and select an entry that would automatically open the email program. All that was left to do from this point on was to fill out the email address and write the mail.

Ultra Hal Personal Assistant

Please note that the following article is a paid review. You can be sure that I'm only accepting reviews of products or services that I think are interesting enough to be mentioned on my website and that I would consider using myself. The Ultra Hal Assistant is a personal assistant that increases your productivity. It is possible to chat or speak with the artificial intelligence to let it do a number of things for you. This includes starting programs, reading text, reminding you of appointments, look up local news and weather, define words, dictate text and many more.

tor vidalia

Opera, Tor and Privoxy combined

OperaTor is a combination of Opera, the anonymization service Tor and Privoxy similar to Foxtor which offers the same functionality for Firefox. I don't want to bore you with a lengthy technical description of how Tor is providing anonymity, just that much: Tor uses a layered approach sending your request through a series of servers that only know the server before and after them. This means that the destination server does not know that you requested the package, it only knows the IP of the server before that made the request.

Imo.im a Meebo alternative

Like Meebo Imo.im offers any users the possibility to connect to various instant messengers using a simple web interface. Imo.im lets you connect to the following four popular instant messengers: AIM, Yahoo, MSN and Google Talk. The free service that Imo.im offers is free and easy to use. Just enter your username and password and select the service that you want to log in to. It is possible to sign on into more than one account at a time. By using the Link Accounts feature you can link those accounts which would have the results that once you log into one account all other accounts will be available as well without logging into them separately.

delphish-anti-phishing

Free Phishing Protection with Delphish

Many Internet users do not realize how dangerous Phishing can be. They receive a email which claims to be from their bank and they blindly trust everything that is written in that mail and will click on any links that are displayed in that mail to "update" their security software or passwords. They are usually redirected to sites that password fish their passwords and use them to make online transactions. I'm always astonished by the amount of users that want to do online banking for instance on the Internet but lack basic security knowledge.

Check a system for rootkits with Gmer

Gmer is primary a free rootkit scanner which offers additional functionality such as offering an Intrusion Prevention System and a Firewall. The interface looks very user friendly but the settings, options and the results require at last basic knowledge of rootkits and other means of harming the system to apply and interpretate them in the correct way. Gmer does notify the user if it spots something suspicious and displays those results in red in the main window. The two screenshots below show two typical scan results after performing a scan of your computer with Gmer.

Monitor a room with Grabmotion

If you are looking for a cheap and reliable way to monitor a room you could take a look at the freeware Grabmotion which uses webcams to monitor rooms. Grabmotion constantly monitors the room and starts default processes once a motion was detected. Processes that can be defined include sending an email with an attached image showing the room during the time the motion was detected, sending an sms through a gateway, saving an image to the hard drive or playing a sound alarm.

ICE ECC

Protect your important files against corruption

Files do not last forever. Corruption can be caused by hard drive failures or unreadable compact disks for instance. The files might be partially readable but this does not help much if it is corrupted. There are some ways of preparing yourself against data loss. One obvious way is of course to make regular backups of your important files. But it could of course happen that backups get corrupted as well which most of the time happens in the worst moments possible.

iTunes Visualizer Magnetosphere

I'm usually not using iTunes at all because I think the software slow and overloaded like the Windows Media Player. If I want to play music I use Winamp and to transfer songs to and from my iPod I use Floola. I still have iTunes installed but as I said it is only used very seldom. To be honest, I did not even knew that there were visualizations for iTunes available. You can think of them like the ones on Winamp for instance. I found this amazing visualization for iTunes and decided to write an article about it. I think it would be best to walk you through the installation and activation although it is nothing complicated. Download and install Magnetosphere and start iTunes afterwards.

Disclose.tv X-Files sharing community

If you like to think about the unexplainable, the mysterious, the paranormal you are one of the users who might find Disclose.tv very interesting. Like Mulder and Scully from X-Files you can delve into this site and take a look at the videos that they offer. On the technical site Disclose.tv is a pretty good Youtube clone serving only their niche. The site does offer videos and pictures as well as a forum and other ways to communicate with the community. The biggest video category so far is the Aliens & Ufology category with 234 videos followed by Paranormal with 80 videos and Spirituality with 31.

flash player settings manager

Flash Cookies explained

Flash cookies are a new way of tracing your movement and storing a lot more information about you than with normal cookies. One major disadvantage of flash cookies is that you can't locate them in your browser. They are not shown in the list of cookies that you can see when you take a look at the cookies that are currently saved in your web browser. Normal HTTP cookies can't save more than 4 Kilobyte of data while Flash cookies can save up to 100 Kilobyte. If you want to try out how they work you could do the following.

Windows XP Zune Theme

I was never that of a theme fanatic and used the windows classic setting on all of my previous computers because I thought it would speed up my system. I feel a little bit old fashioned to defend this stance against my friends who love to use themes for their windows operating system. It is not anymore a question of speeding up the system, with dual core cpus and gigabytes of ram available for most computers that are sold these days.

Weekend Fun Bontago

I'm presenting a new game as usual on Fridays and this time it is Bontago. Bontago is a real time strategy game that can be played against computers or human opponents. Players start evenly on the area and can place blocks to expand their reach from their current position. The task of the game is to encompass all flags that are placed in the level. The initial area of control for a player can be expanded by adding new blocks to the territory under control. The height of the blocks that you can place on top of each others determines how far the influence is expanded.

Par2 Files Explained

Par2 Files are common on the Usenet today.They are not that common on the Internet in general and I can't think of a location where I encountered them except for the Usenet. Par2 Files can be used to repair broken archives. That is the basic explanation of course, the technical is a little bit more complicated. Lets use a example to make it clearer. Let us assume that you have downloaded a number of rar files (.rar, r01, r02 and so on) that can be unpacked to create the file test.avi which has a size of 700 Megabytes.

startup control panel

Control which Programs start for Beginners

The best software to control every program that is loaded automatically when Windows starts is Autoruns by Sysinternals. While this is an excellent software it requires some knowledge to use it the way it was meant to be used. A similar free software that is way better suited for novice computer users is the program Startup Control Panel by Mike Lin. It looks like a crippled version of Autoruns and concentrates on the most used locations where programs are added to be started with Windows.

How to erase file information on unused disk space

We all know that it is important to securely delete all files on a hard drive before giving it to someone else. This holds especially true if you plan on selling the hard drive on Internet sites such as eBay. I know that some users buy used hard drives on eBay purely for the thrill of trying to find data that was deleted on that drive. This could get you in a world of trouble if you think of the private information that you save on your computer.

Pandora stopped International Streaming

Pandora.com made the decision to stop streaming music to users who are not living in the United States. To be able to do this they implemented a script that checks the IP address of every user connecting to the server and if that IP happens to be located outside of the United Stats of America you will not be able to connect to the streaming client anymore. Pandora already updated their FAQ section to reflect this changes, here is what the entry said:

Automatically add new videos to your iPod

How are you normally transferring new videos to your Apple iPod Video player ? You create or download them, transcode them into a format that your iPod video understands, add them to iTunes and sync iTunes with your iPod Video again. What if there was a way to automate every single step of this procedure after creating or downloading new videos ? Yeah, I thought that you would like that. To automatically add new videos to your iPod Video you need the free iPod software Ipodifier. Just download iPodifier which has a size of about 8 megabytes and install it on your system.

Mix Audio Files with Mixere

Mixere is a great open-source audio application that lets you mix different audio tracks. It supports many formats including mp3, ogg and wav and can be used at parties for instance to mix the music live. It is possible to fade in, fade out of tracks, loop and auto-trigger audio and change the volume of the audio on the fly. All songs are loaded right into the main interface of Mixere with each audio file filling one track in the software. Any number of audio files can be then played simultaneously as well limited only by the operating system and sound device.

image copyright

Create visible copyright notices for images

CopyRightLeft is a Open-Source application that has two processing modes. The first is an image by image mode that manipulates one image at a time. You can use the tool to open […]

dell linux

Dell to finally ship PCs with Linux

First Dell PCs with AMD chips and now Dell PCs with Linux preinstalled. It seems that Dell finally managed to see that giving its customers a choice is the way to go in this matter. Linux has some advantages over PCs that ship with Windows Vista or Microsoft Windows XP. The first and most prominent one is of course the price tag. Dell can reduce the costs that customers have to pay for a PC even further and advertise this properly.

querycat faq search

Querycat a FAQ Database

Frequently Asked Questions are a good way of reducing support inquiries at business sites or for reducing the tenth post about a similar topic in a popular forum. FAQ's are a great way of answering questions from users before they have been asked.The developers of Querycat decided to create a database of FAQ entries from all over the Internet and make it searchable at their homepage. They claim to have more than four million FAQ entries in their ever growing database.

Manipulating Digg

Digg.com is one of the most important social news sites on the Internet. It is not completely user driven but comes close to that. Every registered user may submit as many links to interesting articles and websites as he likes. Those links - with a title and short description - stay in the upcoming stories section for no more than 24 hours. Every user may also vote on as many links to stories as he likes which is seen as a indicator for a stories popularity. The more votes the more users voted in favor of the story.

music recommendations

Find Similar Songs with Audiobaba

Music recommendation services like Audiobaba exist for a while now. Some like Pandora search and stream music using Internet radio, others like Musicovery use a interactive website to play music of a certain period in time. Both are great services and I'm still using them from time to time to find new songs and artists that I never heard of before. I used to get my recommendations from terrestrial radio before but since they began to only play the same top 100 songs over and over again I had to shift my attention to a new medium that was better suited to discover new music.

Jumpcut online video editing and publishing

Most video editing programs are rather complex and it takes a while until one is able to work with the video editing software without the fear of doing something wrong or missing a crucial step in the editing process. This is a huge problem for amateurs who would like to cut a video that they created without having to learn a complex software. There is however a possibility for them. Jumpcut is a online video editing website that lets you upload videos from your computer and edit them online on their website.

09 F9 11 02 T-Shirt

Did you know that you could get into really big trouble if you post the code 09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0 on your website ? It is very likely that a takedown notice will be send to the owner of the website as soon as the RIAA, the AACS or some of their lawyers find your website. You might be wondering why they are making such a big deal about this code which only some users might identify as the code to rule them all.. aka the processing key that unlocks the content of every HD-DVD available up to this point.

Sync files between computers with Auto Ftp

I found the reference to Auto Ftp 2 at the Donation Coder blog. The free software can be used to copy or synchronize files between one local and multiple remote computers. You configure so called sessions in Auto Ftp 2 that have certain variables set such as local and remote path, the operations that should commence and the login details for the remote computer. Everything is looking pretty straight forward and I would like to explain only some of the options available.

Save Unlimited Websites as Images

There are several reasons why someone would want to save websites as images. I'm mainly thinking about saving them for documentation purposes such as presentations or for displaying changes in a website over time similar to what archive.org does with their snapshots of websites. The major advantage of Webswoon over other products that are capable of creating a screenshot of a website is that Webswoon may process an unlimited number of websites that have been added to the queue and that it is highly configurable.

Replaced Xbox 360 Troubles

Every now and then a shiny Microsoft Xbox 360 gaming system will stop working and has to be send in for repair and eventual replacement. Replacing the old Xbox 360 with a new one sounds great on first glance but you have to consider something before you make up your mind on this. If you did download arcade games and other stuff from the Xbox 360 Marketplace you are in for a nasty surprise.

internet explorer connection limit

More Simultaneous Downloads in IE7

Microsoft's Internet Explorer 7 has that strange limitation that you can only download two files simultaneously. This might not bother casual downloaders but what if you have to download many files in a short time ? Sure, you could use a download manager to download all the files and forget about the limit in Internet Explorer. A nice download manager would be for instance Orbit, which I reviewed earlier this year.

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.