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

Martin's articles on Ghacks


Remotely Access your Music Collection with Winamp Remote Plugin

If you ever wanted to access your mp3 collection remotely the Winamp Remote Plugin which is currently in beta status might be exactly what you are looking for. Once setup you can access your music collection from any web browser using a normal Internet connection. The computer with the music collection that streams the content has to be connected to the Internet as well. Just download and install the Winamp Remote Plugin and create a new account. This is important that only you, and everyone who is having the username and password, is able to connect and listen to your music collection.

tails gear

Weekend Fun Tails Gear

Tails Gear is one of those Japanese arcade shooters that make it pretty difficulty for average gamers to see more of the game than just a few levels. If you ever played games like Ikaruga you know what I mean, they live of extreme amounts of enemies and bullets that they send your way and you have to move the ship more than carefully to avoid death. Graphics are excellent as is the gameplay, you always see some kind of sequences when you finish a level and move on to the next. One of the interesting features of the game are the satellites of your ship that shoot on their own and can stay in a place for tactical reasons.

dm2 windows enhancement

DM2 Windows Enhancements

DM2 is a pretty interesting windows enhancements open source program for Windows 2K and XP. The application can be downloaded from Sourceforge and does not need to be installed at all and can be run from any location of your hard drive. Once installed it adds a small icon to your system tray which can be clicked to configure the functionality. It adds by default several interesting new ways to interact with open windows in the operating systems. The minimize, maximize and close buttons get new functionality when you right-click them. A right-click on minimize sends the window into the system tray even windows that can normally not be minimized to the system tray.

Taking a look at Microsofts Anti Spam Solution

Microsoft advertises its Anti Spam program Windows Defender with the slogan spyware protection for free but is it really a good alternative to other anti spam and spyware programs like ad-aware and spybot search and destroy. It is only fair to compare Microsoft's anti spyware software which is available free to other free solutions that can be used and downloaded for free as well. Microsoft's Windows Defender came under heavy fire recently as two competitors released studies that were supposed to prove that Windows Defender had - by far - the weakest spyware and spam detection rate.

10 Tips to speed up Opera 9

Opera is already a very fast browser, but if you would have the choice between fast and faster than fast, what would you choose ? I took the liberty to compile a list of 10 great tips that speed up Opera in several unique ways. Many of the settings can be changed by simply going to Tools > Preferences in Opera but some can only be used by accessing not so obvious ways like ini files.

Please note that everything that I'm describing here worked fine on my computer. It speed up Opera and increased my browsing experience with it tremendously. While most tips will work for any users no matter their connection to the Internet some tips might only increase performance for broadband users.

Disable Balloon Tips in Windows Vista

This article explains how to disable Balloon Tips in Windows Vista. I thought it would be a nice follow up article on the one that described how to make the balloon tips transparent. I personally think that Balloon Tips have no right to be there at all, they look awful and most do not contain information that are important in any way. I disabled them the first day I started using Windows XP and I did the same on my Windows Vista notebook. Balloon Tips are a waste of time in my opinion. Let me explain how you can disable balloon tips in Windows Vista.

Transparent Balloon Tips in Windows Vista

The Balloon Tips in Windows Vista look like the ones in Windows XP. While it was not a problem in XP Vista comes with a nicer more shiny interface that makes the balloon tips look out of place. Longhorn had transparent balloon tips for a while but Microsoft removed it for unknown reasons and the feature did not make it into Windows Vista. Glass Toast is a little freeware application that steps in and makes transparent balloon tips available again under Windows Vista. The application does not need to be installed at all and can be run from any location on your hard drive.

Yahoo to offer unlimited Email Storage

It seems that the big three, that is Google, Yahoo and Microsoft, always have to compete against each other. When someone introduces a new feature the others are surely going to announce a similar feature that is just a tad better than the feature of the other company. We are witnessing the race for Email storage at the moment. Microsoft has a storage limit of 2 Gigabytes for their users while Google has currently a limit of 2,8 Gigabytes. Yahoo decided to accept the challenge and give the others something to choke on, they announced today that they will offer unlimited Email storage to all of its users in the near future.

true crypt encryption

Create a secure data safe with True Crypt

This article is going to show everyone, even the inexperienced, how to create a data safe that can store as much personal information and files as you want using the open source program True Crypt. True Crypt makes it very easy to encrypt almost every piece of hardware including partitions, hard drives, usb keys and other storage devices. Once everything is setup you would mount the True Crypt container using the password that you have selected while creating the encrypted container. This is actually the only password that you have to remember, everything else can be kept in the encrypted container for safety reasons.

Jamendo distributed one million albums

The free social music networking site Jamendo announced today that they have distributed more than one million downloads of albums that are freely available using bittorrent technology. Only albums that have been fully distributed have been counted or as they put it: "this figure is the minimum indicative number of the total of complete albums we have distributed so far". This is a huge success for sites that believe that drm free music sites can and will succeed in the long run. Jamendo has an incredible download rate of more than 200000 albums every month and the figure is increasing with each passing month.

Jabbits Ask Questions Get Answers

Jabbits is a interesting new interactive website that is supposed to be the worlds first interactive video website. It could be described as some type of video answers website where one user posts a question and all others reply to it. The major difference to normal written conversations is that everything is recorded on video and can be accessed through Jabbits. There are actually three types of questions on Jabbits: Public, Research and Private questions. Public questions come from normal visitors who would like an answer to a question whereas research questions are added by companies who pay the users that answer the question that they ask. Private questions can only be answered by users who have been invited by the creator of the question to answer it.

About Weak Passwords

I came upon the article "How I would hack your weak passwords" yesterday and pondered if I should write an article about it. I decided that it would be worth it. The author of the article details how he would try and find out your passwords and get access to all of your accounts in the end. His first approach would be to use the most common used passwords by users on the net. He needs information about your personal life for some passwords but those information can be obtained pretty fast through social engineering. Trying those "top 10" passwords would already cover a large percentage of online users, statistically speaking that is.

Youtube Video Awards 2006 Winners

You might know that Youtube held a video awards voting on their site for the last five days were everyone was able to vote for their favorite videos that Youtube preselected. Ten entries were shown and you could assign spots from 1 to 10 to them. Now, after all votes have been cast Youtube presents the Winners of the 2006 Video Awards in the categories Most Creative, Best Comedy, Best Commentary, Best Series, Best Music Video, Most Inspirational and Most Adorable. The videos below are in the same order in case you are wondering.

media checker

Check the integrity of backups with Media Checker

Nothing is more frustrating than to realize that some files of a backup are corrupted. This happens of course right at the time when you need the backup. One way to prevent this scenario from happening would be to use different locations for your backups, for example CDs, external hard drives and USB drives. Even though you store the backup in different places it is not guaranteed that the files on those devices are not corrupted. The probability that it will happen is simply reduced.

20 essential Freeware and Open Source programs

Since I started blogging two years ago I came upon thousands of essential, ultimate and top freeware lists but only few really had a lasting impact on the internet community. Most are forgotten the next day and everyone heads on to the next list in line. It does not make sense to simply write another essential list, it does however make sense when I'm concentrating this list on freeware and Open source that I have reviewed here at ghacks. I reviewed more than 360 freeware and Open Source products which could be seen as a preselection.

vista free drivers

Windows Vista Drivers

It is rather unfortunate that Windows Vista has problems to provide correct drivers for many "not so popular" devices. This could lead to the problem that a device will not be recognized correctly under Windows Vista reducing its functionality or that the device is not working at all. The usual search the web for drivers option was bad in Windows XP and is bad in Windows Vista as well. You could of course head out and search the internet for drivers to make them work in Windows Vista but this takes lots of time and knowledge.

Detect and Delete Duplicate Bookmarks in Firefox

If you have hundreds of bookmarks in different folders like I do you might know the problem that bookmarks are added from time to time that already exist in your list. It is not that easy to manage the bookmarks and keep an overview over them all. A complicated folder structure with many subfolders is adding to the problem. It really does not help to check your bookmarks manually every know and then, this takes to long and does not prevent that duplicate bookmarks are added at a later date again. The Firefox extension Bookmark Duplicate Detector is helpful for users with a lot of bookmarks.

wma to mp3 converter

Free WMA to MP3 Converter

Several software music players and mp3 players do not support WMA files at all. Wma, Windows Media Audio, is a format that was developed by Microsoft and initially designed to compete with the popular mp3 format. WMA however never received the popularity of the mp3 format and many users don't like WMA at all because of its DRM capabilities. Converting WMA to MP3 is one solution to get rid of WMA files and make them playable in your software and mp3 players. One way to convert wma audio files to mp3 is to use the software Free WMA to MP3 Converter.

Forget the Windows Start Menu: use Toolbox instead

The Windows start menu is not really excellent when you want to find something fast. It always takes some clicks to reach the destination - be it a program, the control panel or a drive that is connected to your computer. Toolbox was designed as a application launcher that makes it easier to access drives, folders and applications in Windows. It uses an intuitive way to display toolboxes that contain links to everything that you can think off. You can link to drives and display their size, launch applications with one click and open folders with another. Access to those elements can't be faster in Windows.

Photoshop MultiTouch Image Editing

I do like futuristic looking demonstrations of technologies that will play a big role in the coming years. One demonstration that I found absolutely fascinating is a Photoshop multitouch image editing one. Working with small screens and a mouse plus keyboard combination is the current state of the art when it comes to image editing. It becomes problematic in a number of way including working in a team. It is also not natural to use a mouse to draw and edit images. Multitouch image editing uses a natural flow and offers a bigger detailed view of the image at hand.

Create tiny cool looking wallpapers

Many users tend to use wallpapers to customize the look and feel of their operating system. Wallpapers come in all sizes and shapes but have one thing in common, they are normally image files that have a size of 100K and more. This is probably not a problem for most new computers but when you have a old machine you might want to fight for every byte that you can save somewhere. The alternative to those wallpapers are tiny wallpapers that have the exact same effect. Sure, they do not show objects or people but they are still nice to look at.

encrypt url

Website banned? Try the encrypted url to bypass it

There are many ways to ban a website from a network. You can ban its domain name, the IP address where it is hosted, or through a keyword check might check the content in real time and decide not to display it. This makes it extremely hard to show how to bypass the ban and access the website that you want to access. It is however still usual to only ban the domain name - the url - of a website which leaves us some outs to access it without using proxies and the like.

10 must-see Opera Widgets

Firefox has its extensions, Internet Explorer its plugins and Opera has Widgets. They basically mean the same: addons for your browser of choice that add functionality to it. I don't think that Opera deserves to take the third place in the ongoing browser war, it's fast and resource friendly and many users who rely on Firefox or Internet Explorer should at least take a look at it and evaluate it for themselves. They might be surprised about Opera after all.Widgets for Opera come in all colors and shapes and you can compare them pretty much to the excellent list of extensions that are available for Firefox.

Weekend Game Naac

Naac reminds me a little bit of Smash Tv. It is a pretty straightforward top down shooter that can be downloaded from the developers homepage. You start with a handgun and have to defeat all aliens that emerge from different sides of the screen. The game would be incredibly boring if it would not feature power ups, better weapons, different types of aliens and even boss aliens that require strategy to defeat. It is absolutely crucial that you pick up the power ups and better weapons when they emerge randomly on the screen. It would otherwise become impossible to defeat the hordes of aliens at later stages.

recover files

Recover accidentally deleted files

I disabled my trashbin by default which means that deleted items bypass the trashbin and are deleted immediately. This works fine most of the time but it happens that I occasionally delete a file that I need later on again. There is no obvious way to get those files back and you will face serious troubles if want to get them back but used something like defragmentation on that hard drive after the deletion.

The question that some might ask is why one could recover deleted files at all. This is actually a very good question. Windows does not delete the file at all when you press the delete button. It simply deleted the reference to that file and makes the space the file occupied writable again. This means that you can recover most files if you are just fast enough. One freeware that can do the job is Recuva which is supposed to be pronounced recover.

nzb leecher

NZB Leecher

Newsgroup indexing sites such as and make it easier to search for files that have been posted to the Usenet by allowing searches in all groups. If you are familiar with the Usenet you might know that you can only search one group at a time which does not help much if you do not know if the file(s) that you are looking for have been posted in that group.

image batch downloader

Firefox Image Batch Downloader

It is not that easy to download all images from a page with many images in Firefox. It would be possible to use a download manager or wget to get all the images but this would mean that you would have to rely on external tools and know how to use them. A far easier method is to use the Firefox extension Batch Downloader. It does exactly what the name suggests, it downloads all images that have a resolution of 200x200 or more in one batch to your hard drive.

Search for and download mp3 with Clickster

Using p2p networks such as Emule or Bittorrent to download mp3 files is not as dangerous as the Music Industry tries to make it appear but there is still the chance that you might face consequences if you share copyrighted music. A much easier and safer way would be to simply use Google to find and download the music that you like. The Music Industry somehow does not seem to care that Google indexes more copyrighted mp3 files than the total number that is available on all p2p networks combined.

bittorrent connection speed-calculator

Optimal Bittorent Settings

If you search the internet for tips to improve your download speeds with bittorrent clients such as Azureus and uTorrent you do find many tips that have one thing in common, all suggest different settings for maximum performance. There are several things that can influence download speeds in bittorrent including bad Seeds to Peer ratio and firewall settings. I would only change settings in my bittorrent client if I thought that my download speeds would be really bad, say 2K with a torrent that has 10+ seeders.

European Playstation 3 compatibility list

Europeans get a weaker software emulation of Playstation 2 and Playstation 1 titles compared to the hardware emulation that Japanese and American Playstation 3 owners enjoyed. It was not known - until now - how good, or shall I say bad, the software emulation worked and how many games could be played at all. Sony wants to cut down on manufacturing costs and Europeans are the first to witness the ill effects. The Playstation 3 costs more and plays less, would not call that a bargain but the crazy Brits will surely buy the PS3 nevertheless.


Free Audiobooks from the Gutenberg Project

Gutenberg was a German inventor most famous for inventing movable type printing around 1450 in Germany revolutionizing European print-making. Project Gutenberg offers more than 20000 free Ebooks for download and has a audiobook section as well. The audiobook section of Project Gutenberg offers a great list of free audiobooks in various languages with the emphasize on English audiobooks. Please note that all audiobooks are read by humans, some audiobook sites offer books read by computers instead. Human read audiobooks are of a higher quality.

movie downloads

EZTakes DRM Free DVD Downloads

EzTakes is a movie store that offers DRM free DVD downloads. You may watch and burn the downloaded DVD movies as often as you want without restrictions or additional payments. The format of the movies is the standard DVD format with a VIDEO_TS folder. DVD Covers and prints will be downloaded automatically as well completing the movie download process. Most other movie stores, like Amazon Unbox, restrict usage of the downloaded movie files and make it impossible to burn the movies on DVDs that can be watched using a standalone DVD player.

Free Version Tracking with File Hamster

Version tracking is extremely useful if you work with files that change very often. This is mostly interesting for coders and website owners but also for users who write large text files and artists that work with graphics or music for instance. In short; File Hamster keeps backups of all old versions of files that you specify making it incredibly easy to revert back to a previous version or take a look at the changes between different versions.

web speed wordpress

Optimize WordPress loading times

I'm using Wordpress as the blogging software of choice for Ghacks and all of my other blogs. After reading Paul Stamatious article on optimizing CSS for Wordpress I decided to give it a try and see if page loading times would benefit at all from it. I also had to check if the optimization would change the way my blog would be displayed or would throw up errors. I began by analyzing the page loading times of my blog without any optimization. The result for the frontpage was that my blog used 166K and that users with ISDN (128 Kbit) would have to wait 18.55 seconds before my site was fully loaded.

Partypoker Windows Vista Fix

One of the first programs that I installed on my new notebook that is running Windows Vista is the Partypoker application. The first start of the Partypoker application went fine and I was able to login into Partypoker and play Poker games. The next time I tried to start the Partypoker application I witnessed something that left me puzzled for a while. The application would not start.

look it up

Look it up userscript opens Wikipedia pages in the browser right away

I'm currently taking a look at Greasemonkey scripts in general. I always thought that it would be to complicated to install and use them which is absolutely not the case to my astonishment.Look it up is another Greasemonkey script that can be installed like any other Firefox extension. It becomes active once you reboot Firefox and works twofold. First you mark a word or phrase in Firefox and hit a key afterwards to send a request to a dictionary site such as wikipedia.

superfast shutdown

Superfast Shutdown for Windows

It sometimes takes ages to shutdown Windows XP and Windows Vista, most of the time when you are in a hurry. This can be caused by processes that are still open or not reacting. Windows tries to close those processes which can take a long time. If you don't have the time or patience to wait for the shutdown you might want to try the excellent freeware Superfast Shutdown which does exactly what the name suggests.

Display websites next to each other in Firefox

Did you ever have the problem that you needed information from two websites at once and had to switch between them all the time to access them ? I usually have the problem when I write a new article for Ghacks and have to take a look at another website to find the information that I need for my article. This gets extremely irritating if many tabs are open at once and I miss the tab that I want. To much clicks in my opinion, that is why I was searching for a way to display two websites next to each other in Firefox.

vlc set video wallpaper

Video Wallpapers for all Windows Vista editions

Vista Ultimate has a feature called Dreamscene that can be downloaded as a preview version including a Dreamscene content package which was released just a few days ago. Dreamscene makes it possible to use Videos as wallpapers in Windows Vista. The Dreamscene content package added four new videos that could be used as wallpapers in Windows Vista but you can also use other videos to use as a wallpaper.

Monitor your traffic

If you want to monitor your network traffic either because you have an account that gives you only a limited amount of bandwidth each month or because you simply want to analyze the traffic that is sent over your connection during a special period. Netmeter starts in a small window immediately starting to record outgoing and incoming traffic as well as other data such as peak upload and download speed. You can adjust the transparency level of that window or move Netmeter into the system tray. You can also adjust the colors of the graph if you like but the default values can be nicely distinguished.