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

peerblock

Block IP addresses with Peer Guardian

Why would you need another program to block IP addresses if you already have a firewall ? A good question that can be answered easily. Peer Guardian uses a database of bad IP addresses and blocks them automatically as soon as the IP is added to the database of blocklist.org. A single user would have to know that a new IP (range) poses a thread and add it manually to his firewall.

duplicate images

Find and remove duplicate images

Have you ever tried to manually check a image collection for duplicates ? It would take ages to find the duplicates in my image collection and I was looking for another program that would specially work with images only. Similar Images was mentioned in my article that was describing a program that was finding all duplicate files and I decided to give it a try by letting it scan my image collection.

join split mp4 mov 3gp files

How to join, split and create mp4, mov and 3gp files

A long timer reader asked in the forum if I knew of a program that would be able to join mp4 files. I was not able to give the answer immediately but after a short research I found a program called Yamb which is able to join, split and create mp4, mov and 3gp files. You do need the mpeg 4 converter mp4 box because Yamb uses it for the conversions. Yamb is mainly a gui for mp4 box, the hardcore users could simply use the command line to work with mp4 box, all others should better use Yamb.

show hidden devices windows

Find out which devices have been connected to your pc

Normally you do not see which devices have been connected to your computer in the past. It could be interesting to say the least to find out if someone else connected a device to your computer in your absence. You have to change a value in windows using the command prompt.

Fake Torrent Finder

Fake torrents are spread into the system by organizations for two reasons. The first and in my opinion dominant one is to unsettle the torrent users by lowering the rate of successful downloads. Nothing is more discouraging than downloading the latest blockbuster for days only to see that you downloaded only garbarge in that time. In addition to this the trackers that spread the fake torrents are recording every bit of information they can get their hands on.

doublekiller duplicates

Remove duplicate files with Doublekiller

Doublekiller scans the selected folders and hardrives for duplicate files that are detected by comparing at least one of the following filters: identical names, identical files sizes, identical dates and identical CRC-32 checksums. Subdirectories are automatically included in the scan, additional filters can be defined to narrow down the scan.

idiary

Keep a Daily Diary

It was only a matter of time until someone create a software that would function as a virtual diary. I do know many people that keep a diary and all of them are using the usual notebook to write their daily entries. Another method for the virtual generation would be to use a software like iDaily Diary to keep a diary on your computer. Software diaries have some advantages over notebooks.

firefox profile

Protect your Firefox Profile

A Firefox profile stores all personal information such as bookmarks and passwords in it. Everyone who is starting up Firefox with that profile is able to use your saved passwords and cookies as well which is a security risk if you ask me. One way to overcome this would be to protect the Firefox profile folder by moving it to a location that is not accessible to anyone except you.

undelete plus review

Recover Deleted Files with Undelete Plus

I delete files most of the time by pressing down the shift key which will delete them immediately without moving them to the trashbin first. It happens from time to time that I deleted a file that I want to recover, sometimes it is because another file depents on the deleted one or it could be that I need to access the information again that was contained in the file. There is unfortunately no direct way to recover the files in windows which means that we have to rely on third party tools to recover lost files.

itunes sharing preferences

Share the iTunes Library on a network

I don't like the iTunes software that much - it is slow and big and the only reason for me to use it is that it is the offical software that comes with the iPod. I recently ran into a problem which was fixed pretty fast by a quick tip that I found at one tip a day. I assume that iTunes is already installed at least on your main computer and you want to access the same library of songs that are stored on the main computer.

Game for the Weekend Bloodmasters

I write an article every Friday about a new great game that could entertain you during your weekend. The game for this weekend is called Bloodmasters - a top down multiplayer old school arcade game that I enjoy playing regularly for a couple of days. All the known game modes like capture the flag and team deathmatch are available and add to the fast paced game experience. The maps are filled with weapons, armors, health packs and munition to fight the other players / team.

Microsoft admits to a 1% false positive WGA check ratio

Microsoft recently published updated figures about their Windows Genuine Advantage protection that tries to hinder users of illegal versions of Microsoft Windows to update their system with some of the software that can be downloaded from the microsoft homepage. Software like the new Internet Explorer 7 or the Windows Media Player can only be downloaded after a successful WGA check. The download and installation will be denied if a check fails.

Play your MP3 collection remotely

If you are using different computers to work with you might have experienced the problem that you can't listen to your mp3 collection on all of them. I have my mp3 files on my computer at home and not on my notebook for instance unless I would copy all the music to the hard drive of the notebook or find a online solution to store my mp3 files. (like mp3tunes)

Add Transparency to your windows

Glass 2k is a little freeware application for Windows 2000 and Xp which makes it easy to add a transparency effect to any window on your system. A great feature of Glass 2k is that it is able to remember the transparency settings that you set in a previous session. The default keyboard shortcut to add transparency is CTRL + SHIFT + a key between 1 and 0 with 1 being transparent and 0 not. Click on the image below to load a bigger image see some effects that I enabled on my desktop.

Open Source Video Editing with Jahshaka

Not many free or open source video editing software suits exist and many people rely on commercial programs like Adobe Premiere to transfer videos from a camcorder for instance and edit / convert the video. Jahshaka is a open source video editing program that offers its users a huge functionality that can almost be compared to those commercial programs.

thunderbird attachment extractor

Attachment Extractor for Thunderbird

I had a situation recently where I had to extract about forty emails with attachments in Thunderbird. Doing this manually wastes so much time and I was looking for a way to extract all the attachments automatically. Thankfully genbeta posted a reference to the Thunderbird Attachment Extractor extension which does exactly what I was looking for.

Add a bigger hard drive to your PS3

I always wondered why Microsoft and Sony added hard drives with such low capacities to their gaming systems. HD Movies, game trailers for instance, use so much space that the hard drive will sooner or later be filled to the rim with the only solution to delete files to free up space. Someone on myspace posted a solution on how to add at least one 3,5" SATA drive to your Playstation 3. The 3,5" will not fit into the PS3 obviously because it is using a 2,5" internally.

windows explorer context menu

Add Context Tools to Windows XP

Windows XP and previous versions such as Windows ME or Windows 98 lack some important context menu entries that make it easier to work with the operating system. If you want to copy files from one folder to another one you normally have to open two explorer windows to move the files. The Camtech Context Tools add many functions to the context menu to make such operations easier. The Copy to Folder menu entry would do the job in this case.

url-fixer

Url Fixer Extension for Firefox

I'm a fast typer and it occasionally happens that I make errors when entering urls. I always hate it when I have to edit the url because i typed ghacks.nez instead of ghacks.net for instance. I'm lazy and always looking for ways to keep being lazy. Url Fixer is one of those nice little extensions for Firefox that helps me a lot when I'm using Firefox.

Babo Violent 2 Fast Paced Multiplayer Game

Fun Fun Fun ! That is exactly what Babe Violent 2 is all about. It is a free multiplayer top down shooter. Players are armed balls that carry one of six weapons and try to beat the opposite site in exciting game modes such as capture the flag, deathmatch and team deathmatch. It is currently possible to play on 13 different maps with 2 to 32 players that fight it out. Just add a name and connect to one of the servers that are available. Then choose a weapon like submachine gun or bazooka and enter the battle.

Autostart programs when a usb drive is connected

USB Virus Scan is a nice little command line utility that performs predefined operations if a usb drive is connected to your computer. It is able to distinguish between various drives which means that you can add custom operations for the drives that you own and a general option for drives that are not recognized. The tool uses the volume serial number of the drives to identify them and perform the operation.

userassist

Windows stores information about the programs that you use

I really had troubles finding an appropriate title for this article. Windows XP displays a list of the most recent programs that you have accessed by default in the start menu. Did you know that those information are continuously updated even though the option to show them has been disabled ? A check on my personal account revealed that Windows stored information from 2005 until today.

Google Reader vs. Netvibes

I have been using Netvibes to subscribe to and read feeds from other websites and recently decided to give Google Reader a try to see if the hype that it created was justified at all. I really like the options to customize the feeds into different windows and tabs in netvibes, I added some on different subjects such as tech and software and can switch between those tabs for fast access. Drag and Drop is used to move feeds around which makes this feature very fast.

screamer radio

Record MP3 Streams with Screamer Radio

I recommended Phonostar some days ago to record mp3 streams of more than 4000 radio stations which had the big disadvantage that it would not add the real filename, title and artist but use a generic name for the saved mp3 stream. Screamer Radio on the other hand uses the meta data that is sent by some radio stations to add those information to the name of the saved mp3 file which makes it easier to get an overview over all downloads.

Free Wallpaper Changer

I found the freeware wallpaper changer at one tip a day a great blog that posts a useful tip every day. The wallpaper changer changes the current wallpaper in an interval between 15 minutes and 24 hours. It already has six nice wallpapers to in an album and it is easy to add new ones to it. You do not have to configure the program at all, just add some more wallpapers, delete some and set the interval, that is all.

Manage your Tasks with Task Coach

The older I grow the more I have to rely on notes to remember due tasks. It is not that bad at the moment but I do seem to forget tasks more often than a few years back. A software like Task Coach comes in handy to aid me and everyone else who needs to write down certain tasks to remember them. Task Coach can be used as simple reminder of tasks to come (birthdays, events) or for business projects adding budgets and start, due and completion dates.

Zune does not allow to share all songs

Microsoft's answer to Apple's iPod is getting some bad feedback lately. It turned out some months ago that shared songs, e.g. songs that you send another Zune user to his Zune, would only be playable for 3 days / times before they became useless. It did not even matter if the song contained DRM or not, all songs, even your own produced ones, would be limited to this.

Change all the icons that you want in windows

The freeware IconX makes it possible to change any icon that you can get your hands on in Windows. It takes care of file type and specific files, folders and even drives. The installation is pretty simple. Download the IconX software and right-click IconX.inf and select install to install the shell extension. Please note that you need to write the author to receive a validation code because the software was shareware and is now freeware.

Colonization makes a free comeback

Colonization was one of those games that made Sid Meier, the creator of wonderful games such as Pirates and Civilization famous. Colonization was one of the best games that I ever played, it was highly addictive and had some resemblance to Civilization. You picked one of four nations and set out to colonize the new world. You had to deal with the Indians and the other powers and in the later stages with your own European motherland.

dvd flick

Create Custom DVD's with DVD Flick

When I'm looking at my video collection I see different formats, file sizes, resolutions, bitrates, audio formats and codecs. It normally takes some time to create a DVD from this mess. What would you do if you wanted to create a DVD from various .mov, .avi and .mpg files ? Convert them, load them into a program that is able to create DVD`s and burn them afterwards ? How much time would that take, what would you say ?

Game for the Weekend Toblo

Fast Paced Multiplayer CTF action, that's what Toblo is about. Two teams, the read and the blue team try to capture the flags of the other team and reach the own home base with it. The only weapon that exists in the game are the cubes that compose every structure in the game. Every player may pick up those cubes and either throw them at the enemy or destroy structures for better access to the enemy base. The flags themselves are located on top of structures at the beginning which have to be destroyed as well to reach them.

Backup your DVD's

Why would someone want to backup his DVD`s ? The Movie Industry apparently thinks that no one should be able to backup his own, bought, DVD movies because of the build in copy protection of almost all new movie DVD`s. We, who pay money for the DVD`s, want to have the right to make a backup of a DVD that cost $20 or more. Some users don't want to have scratches on their DVD`s, some want to use the DVD in their cars or Notebooks without fearing to lose or damage the original one.

phonostar record internet radio

Record more than 4000 internet radio stations

If you are looking for an easy way to record internet radio stations look no further. Phonostar is a free radio player and recorder that comes preconfigured with more than 4000 radio stations. Phonostar tries to automatically determine the audio source that can be used to record songs and loads the interface afterwards. Top stations are selected and a double-click starts the playback of that station. Please note that all top stations seem to be in German, conduct a search for English stations.

Bittorrent client Bitthief spies on users

Bitthief, as the name already implies, is a bittorrent client that leeches from the community without giving something back to it. It basically reminds me of those leecher mods for emule that have been popular a few years ago. Bitthief accomplishes this by reducing the upload speed to 0. The developer of Bitthief, the Distributed Computing Group at ETH Zurich puts it this way:

YubNub a social internet command line

The first time I saw the yubnub website I was thinking that no one would need this website at all but after some testing it became clear that it offers an easy way to access many services very fast without depending on bookmarks or links. If you do work with the command line in Windows or Linux you feel right at home, you enter a command and some parameters and yubnub does the rest.

iconoid

Beautify your desktop icons

It does not make much sense to have the prettiest background image if it is cluttered with shortcuts and other icons, especially the way windows handles them. Shortcuts come with an arrow in the icons and the background text that is displayed beneath the icons is not transparent. We are going to change this with a few short fixes.

Wii Sports Fitness Training

We all made our jokes when Nintendo's new system Wii emerged about how the fat video gaming kids would lose weight while playing video games. Well, someone decided to give it a try and use see if a daily Wii workout would reduce his weight and body fat. He called it the Wii Sports Experiment and had some astonishing results.

Bang Howdy Free Strategic Multiplayer Game

I seldom come upon a great freeware game with stunning graphics, gameplayer and multiplayer action. Bang Howdy has all of that and much more featuring fast based turn based action with a twist. The excellent tutorial covers all basic game elements and describes the various game modes that are available when playing online. All players choose a number of units before the game starts who all have advantages and disadvantages against certain types of units for example.

Migrate from Bitcomet to uTorrent

I finally decided to give uTorrent another try and switch from my favorite client Bitcomet to it. It seemed to me lately that Bitcomet was using more system resources than it was expected to use which is the main reason for the switch. Others are that the torrent community frowns upon Bitcomet naming it bandwidth stealer.

How to clone your hard drives

A recent forum post from ffolke at the ghacks forum asked about a free method to clone a hard drive to another one. There are actually several freeware tools out there that can do this and they distinguish each other mostly by ease of use and interface. The one tool that I would use for such a purpose is called DriveImage XML which supports SATA drivesn external hard drives and flash memory such as that of my iPod Nano.