Martin Brinkmann

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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,, ComputerWorld, LinkedIn, Reddit,, Bleeping Computer, TechCrunch, PC World, Tom's Hardware, Slashdot, Hacker News, The Register, and more.

Martin's articles on Ghacks

ooutlook duplicate items remover

Remove Duplicate Mails in Microsoft Outlook

I'm not a big fan of Microsoft Outlook but I have to use it at work because of corporate policy. Next to the Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 Microsoft Outlook 2003 is having a top spot in my software that I do not want to use but have to list. Some guys at work like the Outlook software and use it at home as well while I'm happy to use Thunderbird at home feeling more at ease with this excellent email client.

Relakks makes a comeback

Relakks encrypts all traffic from your computer to the Internet by using a VPN connection which means that your real IP is not revealed on the Internet at all. The service had serious troubles in the beginning; users were unable to connect to Relakks at all, had slow connections and email support was terrible. Well, they apparently are making a comeback by emailing past users inviting them to freely test Relakks once again for seven days without charges.

I decided to try it out once again and was able to signup again with their service. You have to configure a new VPN connection in your operating system which is explained in the faq section of their website. Details are provided for Microsoft Windows XP, Vista and Mac OS X. Even beginners should be able to create a VPN connection this way. You can now choose to automatically use Relakks whenever you connect to the Internet or manually activate the service, I decided to use it manually but it does not make a difference as long as the service is running.

New Trend: Raise Music Prices by offering DRM Free Music

Now if that is not a clever idea. Force DRM on the users for several years with a pricing scheme straight out of hell and then use a huge publicity machine to make the customers believe that DRM free music is the future raising prices once more. If you thought that everything would be good now that many labels decided to offer drm free music albums as well you could not be more wrong. What is happening now is that the Music Industry once again fools the customers by offering overpriced products.

Weekend Fun Veck Special Edition

I forgot the weekend fun thread last Friday and promised myself that this would never happen again. Today I'm going to present a great arcade shooter called Veck Special Edition which looks and plays like a mix of many of the classic aracade games including Asteroids, Robotron 2084 and Smash Tv. This version is packed with 15 levels each lasting one minute. Every minute your spacecraft gets an weapon upgrade that makes it more powerful while at the same time more powerful enemies emerge that want to destroy you.

Private Torrent Sites are being infiltrated

I read an rather obvious article over at the TorrentFreak blog that was entitled "Piracy Investigators Infiltrate Private Torrent Sites" which confirmed that piracy investigators have been getting access to private torrent sites by either joining them when they were still open for registration or being invited from a man in the inside. It was always pretty obvious to me that private could not really mean private if the site owners did not know each of the users personally. This system was bound to fail right from the beginning and the article on TorrentFreak only confirms this.

VLC Media Player 0.86b Test 1

The VideoLan team has upped a first test version of VLC Media Player 0.86b which happens to be my favorite media player. The new version fixes some crashes, adds VP31 decoding to Windows platforms and Direct3D Video Output modifications for Vista compatibility. You can download this version right from the VideoLan ftp site; Simply select the version for your operating system (Win,Mac,Linux) and install it. I had no problems using the new version. If you experience crashes you might want to try this new version out.

usb device view

Check which usb devices have been connected to your computer

I have been writing a article about three months ago which detailed how to edit the registry to display previously connected usb devices in the device manager. While this method is still working I found a free software that has exactly the same function. The software is called USB Deview and was developed by one of my favorite software programmers NirSoft. Before I start and describe the security software I would like to point out its use. I work for a company in the financing sector and they have such a strict security protocol that everything has to be routinely checked from time to time.

Wiimote + Games + PC = Ultimate Fun

If you thought it would be fun to play games on the Nintendo Wii you should see the following Youtube videos to get an impression of what I consider ultimate fun. Developers have already been able to use basic applications like Google Earth in conjunction with the Wiimote and they finally managed to get some games working as well. All you need is a Wiimote, a Pc that has Bluetooth, some games that are supported and of course the software GlovePie.

internet explorer favorites

Share Bookmarks between IE and Firefox

Some users are switching between Firefox and Internet Explorer on their computer depending on the task at hand. It is for instance essential for webmasters to check their websites in the most commonly used web browsers. I thought it would be nice to share bookmarks between Firefox and Internet Explorer to use the same bookmarks in both browsers. This can be done easily with the Firefox extension Plain old Favorites which adds the favorites from Internet Explorer to Firefox. The favorites menu is placed next to the bookmarks menu in Firefox.

NEC Dew Camera Prototype

The world's largest computer expo Cebit which dated from 15. March to 21. March and held in Hannover, Germany saw some astonishingly creative gadget prototypes which were introduced to consumers and companies for the first time. One of the prototype gadgets caught my eye immediately. Nec called it the Dew Camera which is basically a wearable camera that constantly records moments in your daily experience.

Google Maps: Swim across the Atlantic Ocean

Now ain't that interesting ? You can use Google Maps to get directions from one location to another. It is most of the time pretty accurate displaying information about highways, signs, exits and so on to give you a good impression of the route that lies ahead. You can try it now and head over to the Google Maps website and use the Get Directions tab to enter a starting point and destination to see how the system works.

Advanced Firefox Configuration Tips

I'm still using Firefox and I thought it would be nice to share some advanced configuration tips that helped me a lot with you. This article was inspired by Lifehackers Top Firefox 2 config tweaks but adds advanced tips to the mix. Rest assured that the configuration tweaks will not list the same tips that you see on every other site nowadays, I promise new unseen tips.

The Compact Disk Eraser

Let me ask you a question: What do you do with old CDs and DVDs that have data on them ? Do you simply throw them away, recycle them ? What do you use to destroy the data on the disks ? If you never thought about this matter before and have a stash of used disks lying around you might want to take a look at the compact disk eraser. The disk eraser is a handy compact tool that wipes out CDs and DVDs environmentally friendly keeping the disks intact. You slide the disk once or more through the disk eraser creating a wide strip that can't be polished out.


Selling music on iTunes

Tunecore online service offers an incredible opportunity for everyone who is creating music. You can use Tunecore to upload your music to their site and publish it at well known online music stores such as Apple iTunes, eMusic, Sony Connect or Rhapsody. It is possible to upload single songs, albums, cover art and everything else that is related to the music. Tunecore gets non exclusive rights to submit the songs and albums to the stores that you selected and to collect the money from the music sales earnings. They have no other rights on the songs such as merchandise rights or master recording copyrights.

Money Makers: Tribalfusion CPM Ads

Tribalfusion is one of the few companies that thrive on CPM, that is Cost per Thousand, advertising campaigns which is not that hard to get into. It actually took only two weeks until I got accepted and could run a cpm banner campaign here on ghacks. The advantage of CPM ads is of course that you do not need to think much about ad placement and layout unlike CPC, that is cash per click, ads like Google Adsense or Yahoo Publisher Network. You do get paid a fix amount of money depending on the type of banner ads that are displayed on your website. The range usually is between $0.50 up to about $2 per 1000 impressions on your website which can sum up nicely if you have lots of traffic.

What is your Security Concept?

Many novice users use the software that comes preinstalled with their purchased computer and rely on these to be safe from the dangers that lurk on every corner in the Internet. Trojans, Malware, Spyware, Phishing and worse are threats that every user should know about and be able to deal with. It is pretty easy to detail my security concept, it is not the most secure on earth but even those are not secure at all. If you want security do not connect to the Internet at all, that is my advise.

google results per page

Show 100 Search Results on Google per page

Google displays 10 search results by default which is probably enough for most users who statistically use the first ten results most of the time ignoring the rest of the results. I on the other hand tend to view more than one page normally and was looking for a way to increase my productivity by displaying more than 10 results on a single search result page. I found a Greasemonkey script which changes the value from 10 to 100 for normal Google searches.

Wii outselling PS3 in Japan Three to One

Media Create published up to date figures for hardware sales in Japan and the figures demonstrate a astounding success for the Nintendo Wii in Japan. Nintendo sold 1.041.975 Wii systems this year while Sony managed to sell 353.823 Playstation 3 gaming systems. Not to forget Microsoft with 79.013 in this year with their Xbox 360. It should be noted that Sony is loosing money with every system produced and sold while Nintendo gains money.

Use WinSCP to securely copy files between two computers

A reader of my site asked which program I was using to transfer files between my local computer and my dedicated server. The question looks easy to answer at first glance but actually it is not that easy. I'm actually using two ways to connect to my dedicated server depending on the tasks at hand. I use Putty to connect to my dedicated server when I want to administrate it: create new virtual hosts, ftp accounts and the like. I do use WinSCP for all other tasks, mainly for opening a secure connection to my dedicated server which uses SSH.

spiderman paint

Paint is a real image editor

For the average user Microsoft Paint is just a basic image editor with limited functionality. It never occured to me that artists could great pro images even with such a basic image editor. I probably would never get in contact with works of those artists if video sites such as Youtube would not exist. Thankfully they do exist and I was able to select some handpicked images that have been created with the Microsoft Paint image editor.

object fix zip

Zip File Recovery with Object Fix Zip

It happened to me more than once that I was not able to unpack a zipped archive and recover the files within because the zip file was broken. Reasons for this can be numerous: Read errors, scratches on CDs or a system crash. Object Fix Zip is a zip tool that tries to repair corrupt and partially damaged zip files. It is possible to extract files from zip archives that have CRC errors or have only been partially downloaded. The free software creates a new zip archive while trying to recover the contents of the damaged zip archive.

Listen to and download free mp3 music

A reader of my blog recommended a great music download site with the name ElectroBel, a free underground electronic music community site. The mp3 music that can be found on Electrobel can be listened to online or downloaded as mp3 files to your own computer. Every single song has been created by a member of the music community and released under Creative Commons.

Enhance Windows Explorer

It is really painful to copy files using the Windows explorer. It only displays one folder at a time and it is often inevitable to open two explorer windows to copy files from one folder to another. This takes lots of time and is not very ergonomic. The software Folder Box is a windows explorer upgrade which adds another window to the windows explorer. This makes it very easy to transfer files from one folder to the other or perform other file operations that require two folders.

Say Goodbye to Joost and Bablegum, here comes Zattoo

My participation in both the Joost and Bablegum beta phase has taught me several things about those social TV over Internet clients: They do add interactivity to the TV experience. Users can chat about a TV show they are viewing at that moment or rate shows for instance. Both TV clients have one big disadvantage though that weighs much more than the new interactivity. Joost and Bablegum stream pre-recorded tv shows only, at least in this stage. There is absolutely no live content and the content that is currently offered is considered by many as B-Movie content.

Wallpapers for widescreen monitors

Widescreen monitors become more and more common these days which run on native resolutions like 1400 x 1050, 1680 x 1050 or 1920 x 1200. Many applications, especially games do not support the native resolutions of widescreen monitors and it is also extremely difficulty to find wallpapers that do not need to be stretched. I did find a resource that has a compilation of wallpapers for widescreen monitors offering the resolutions mentioned above

autozip email

Auto Zip Attachments for Thunderbird

I usually do not zip attachments that I send with Thunderbird, it is normally just to much work to zip the files locally and attach them to the mail afterwards. It happens sometimes that I do not zip a php file and send it to someone who gets only garbage because of the way the attachment is processed. I did find an extension for Thunderbird that is perfect for lazy people like me who do not want to go the extra mile just to zip attachments.

Apple Ipod Video Converter

The initial release of Apples Ipod Video Player seems to have encouraged hundreds of software developers to create a software that would convert video files into the format that the ipod video player is compatible with. I was using Super for that purpose for a long time which is a great converter, probably the best that is currently available for free. Super has the disadvantage that new users might be overwhelmed with all the options and I was looking for a easier solution to convert videos into a format that the ipod video player would be able to play

Karaoke Software for your Computer

Karaoke and Karaoke software is becoming more and more popular since Sony decided to release the first Singstar Playstation 2 Karaoke game. Even friends who never heard of the Playstation 2 before were fascinated by those Karaoke games and some even bought a Playstation 2 only for those games. In case you did not know, Karaoke means that someone sings the song while only the instruments play in the background. This is tremendous fun especially in conjunction with cold beer.

Looking for a new Computer Monitor? Try this one..

I thought my dual computer monitor lineup would be something spectacular, how wrong I was. Everton from Connected Internet posted an article today that has an image of an incredible looking computer monitor lineup. The linup consists of one 30'' center flat screen monitor and five 20.1'' perimeter flat screens that surround the center lcd monitor. This computer monitor setup needs special multi-monitor software of course that makes it possible to choose what you display on all the single flat screen monitors. Take a look at the image first to get a better impression.

Pimp up the Vista startmenu

We all know that Microsoft decided to add the search function to the Vista startmenu and get rid of the run box by default. You can add the run dialog again but there is a much better way to add functionality to the search box using a little great application called Start++. It adds new commands to the search box which define actions that are executed. Typing "g searchterm" for instance opens the default browser and opens Google search results with the searchterm that you have entered. Eight default commands are already defined and you can add new ones with ease.

AVG Anti Rootkit free

Rootkits received a publicity boost with Sony's rootkit infested CDs that was supposed to be some kind of copy protection. Since then rootkits have become an ever growing threat on the Internet in line with Viruses, Trojans, Phishing and Spam. The major problem with rootkits is that most users think that their virus scanner protects them from rootkits as well which is most of the time not the case. Rootkits are much harder to detect by normal means and software that can scan systems for rootkits should be used by inexperienced users to be able to detect at least the most common ones.

Echoes new game from Binary Zoo

Back then when I started writing articles for ghacks I was writing about a freeware game that blew my mind. The game was called Mono and had such an addictive fascinating gameplay that I played it for endless hours. The creators of Mono developed a new game which is called Echoes that uses many of the addicting elements that made Mono famous. Echoes is an Asteroids clone on steroids. That is probably the best way to explain the basic principle of the game. The developers put it that way when they describe Echoes: "Yeah, it's a bit like Asteroids hyperactive, drug crazed brother displayed in blur-o-vision© and viewed through psychedelic sunglasses in a cheap nightclub."

Check your programs for updates automatically

Keeping up with application updates can be a very tedious task even if you have only a handful of them installed on your system. If the software has no update reminder you have to manually visit the developers homepage and see if an update is available. Most users simply do not look for updates actively and use old versions that might have security holes or miss important features that have been implemented in later versions. But there is hope..

Natural Designer Wallpaper Exhibition

Since I'm running the wallpaper changer application non-stop on my computer I'm always on the lookout for more wallpapers that would fit nicely in my rotation. One site that I discovered reading the Donation Coders Blog is called Desktopography and describes itself as an exhibition of natural designer wallpapers. There have been exhibitions in the last three years with a total of 75 beautiful wallpapers. All wallpapers can be downloaded from the site free of charge and most are offered in different sizes.

When Unlimited means limited

Did you ever fell into the trap that you signed up for an supposedly unlimited service only to find out at a later time that the unlimited service did not really mean unlimited at all ? I fell into that trap with my first website which i hosted using an unlimited webhosting plan. No extra money for transfers over a certain amount of gigabytes, no worries about cpu and sql usage, everything was advertised as being unlimited. I started hosting some file mirros and ran some pretty resource demanding scripts and it did not took long until I was told to either upgrade my hosting account to a dedicated server or leave the company and look for hosting elsewhere.

Check the size of your folders

I was running the Folder Size open source program from sourceforge for some time which had a great functionality but stressed my system a lot during size calculations of all folders. This was extremely annoying when I was opening folders in explorer that were having many subfolders and files in them. It took some time and slowed down my system. I therefor uninstalled Folder Size again and decided to look out for a program that would display the folder size only if I would request the information.

Joost 0.9 is out

A new version of the Internet TV application Joost has been released yesterday. The first thing that struck me was that I had to uninstall Joost 0.85 before I could install the new Joost version. If that was not bad enough I had to create a new account because Joost changed to a new user system. Signup was hassle free though. There have not been many changes to the system as far as I can tell, one new feature seems to be the so called channel catalog which displays all the channels that can be added to view in Joost.

NullDC a new Dreamcast Emulator for PC

Many gamers think that the Dreamcast was the best gaming system of the last generation. It featured many unique games that never made an appearance on other systems. I sold my Dreamcast a while ago but still have a few games here that I did not sell with the system. Games like Samba de Amigo or the incredible Soul Calibur made a big impact on the gaming community. Yesterday NullDC was released which is a Dreamcast emulator for PC. It is supposed to be the emulator with the most playable titles running Dreamcast games at full speed.

DRM Free Songs come to iTunes

Apple and Emi announced today that the entire digital repertoire from Emi music can be purchased at Apples iTunes store without DRM. The songs will be offered at a higher quality which means an encoding quality of 256 Kbps instead of the usual 128 Kbps. There is however one downside: The DRM free songs cost $1.29 per song instead of the usual price of $0.99 per song. I'm a little bit concerned about the 30% increase which can not be explained rationally I think. Albums on the other side will not change in prices at all which makes the single song price increase a mystery to me.

Wiikey - Testing the Nintendo Wii Modchip

Wiikey is one of the modchips that are available for Nintendo's Wii gaming system. The modchip Wiikey is able to play backups from the same region which means Wiikey can play backed up PAL games on European systems and backed up NTSC games on Japanese and US Wii systems. It is possible to play Japanese games on US Wii systems and vice versa but it is currently not possible to play all NTSC games on European Wii systems with Wiikey. You can also play backed up and imported Gamecube games with Wiikey as well as Gamecube homebrew discs.