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

true crypt traveller disk setup

Create a secure USB Data Safe

I'm going to show you how to create a secure usb data safe that can be used to store sensitive data. Secure means it is encrypted and will only be encrypted if you need the data that is saved on the stick. This method is also working with other removable media such as zip drives and hard disks.

Windows Vista Release Candidate 2 Download

Microsoft finally released the second release candidate of their upcoming Windows Vista operating system. Everyone is free to download the 32-bit or 64-bit version on the Microsoft Vista homepage. As always this version will only work 15 days if you do not have a key for Vista which you can get following this link, you need a windows live id - so signup to get one if you do not have it.

The ten most useful thunderbird add-ons

I've written a great deal about firefox and tons of extensions that have been developed for it but I've never done the same for thunderbird, the email client that is based on mozilla. I started using thunderbird about a week ago and imported all my emails from opera to it and I love this tool. It is fast, I can sort everything the way I like it and the spam mail recognition is awesome even without third party tools.

The industry fights some unnecessary battles

I watched the movie Crank last saturday in a cinema near my hometown, it was a great movie but something that happened before the film really annoyed the hell out of me. Why the hell are they showing clips that it is illegal to record the movie with cams and that you will face jail time for it before the movie starts ? How likely is it that someone who has the intention to record the movie is actually in there ? How much more likely is it that many visitors who paid lots of money to watch the movie are pretty annoyed by this message ?

Combimouse now that's an evil keyboard

Combimouse, a crossbread of keyboard and mouse looks pretty strange to say the least. On the one hand we have a patented and award winning design and on the other hand we have the users who will surely think twice before they give this a try. Let us see how this works. You can type normally and once you need to use the mouse you use your right hand to touch a certain spot on the right unit to activate mouse mode. This means there is no way to hit the keys accidentally while using mouse mode or move the cursor while typing.

Explorer Breadcrumbs

Those of you who got a glimpse at Windows Vista might remember the explorer breadcrumbs feature which it introduced. Explorer Breadcrumbs for XP takes this functionality to Windows XP. After you installed the free tool a new toolbar is added to the windows explorer showing breadcrumbs. Those breadcrumbs are identical to the navigation structure, if you are opening for example e:\apps\opera you see the breadcrumbs Desktop > My Computer > E: > Apps > Opera.

firefox tweak

Firefox UI Tweaker

While I was searching for a way to reduce the font size of my bookmarks toolbar I came across the extension UI Tweaker for Firefox. It felt strange that I've never heard about this extension before because it has some really nice features that change the appearance of firefox. The extension offers five tabs (Menu hacks, Toolbar hacks, Tab hacks, Findbar hacks and Miscellaneous hacks).

show profile folder

Change your bookmarks toolbar appearance in Firefox

I have more bookmarks in that toolbar than Firefox was able to display which lead to the unfortunate situation that the last ones were not shown in this toolbar anymore. I was only able to access them using the arrow on the right side of that toolbar that contained all bookmarks who could not be displayed anymore. This was not a great situation and the first thing that came to my mind was to change the text of the bookmarks - identify the site with less text and you have more space for sites.

Fade out everything but the active window

Jedi Concentrate is a very usefull application that fades out every part of the screen that does not belong to the active window. You can download it from the great website an app a day. The application is open source and uses only 44 Kb unpacked. All you need to do is unpack the application to any place on your hardrive and run it from there.

Ever wanted to have a keyless door? Here is one

You see keyless doors all the time on tv, in series like 24 and alias for instance and every movie in which the military plays a part. They never have normal doors, they use keyless doors that work either by using fingerprints to identify the person and grant / deny access or keycards to do the same. It still sounds a lot like science fiction and I bet you never seen something like this on your neighbors door - so, why not be the first one who has this kind of device ?

windows thumbnail previews

Change the Windows Thumbnail Preview Size

Well this is just a little registry hack that changes the size of the thumbnails of images that are displayed in windows explorer by default. The default size is relativly small and most people surely would like a bigger size for the thumbnails to get a better preview of the images. To do that you have to add a new entry called ThumbnailSize to the following registry key:

Who is hosting ghacks?

I recently received some emails asking about the kind of hosting that I was using for ghacks.net and I decided that it would be a nice idea to write about it in an article. Ghacks is running on a dedicated server provided by the German company Hetzner with the following details: AMD Athlon 64 3700+ cpu, 2 GB DDR 400 Ram, 2x 160 GB SATA hard drives, unlimited traffic and Suse 10.0 as its operating system.

Avoid Spam with One-Use-Emails

This topic has been covered before in my blog but I tend to take a look at older interesting topics from time to time and update them to reflect the changes that happened to the concept in the time between. One-Use-Emails, also known as Disposable Email Addresses and Throwaway Emails are really helpful when you do not want to give someone your real email address because you fear that they would abuse this information and probably sell the address to make a quick bug.

Top 10 Free Retro Games for your PC

I started my gaming "career" on an Atari 2600 system with stunning games like River Raid and Pitfall, bought a C-64 later, then an Amiga and finally a PC. If your history looks similar you've come across many unforgetable moments and games - that is why I'am going to post this retro game article. Every game mentioned is free to download and play. I know that a top 10 is probably not enough because there are many great remakes out there but I had to limit my post somehow, therefor, it is only a top 10.

Songbird the ultimate Media Player ?

Songbird is a relatively new open source media player that is build from Mozilla and aims to revolutionize the media player market the same way firefox did to the browser market. Songbird is currently available in revision 0.2 "test flight" and runs on Windows 2000+, Linux and Mac just like firefox. Songbird comes with pretty much the same functionality as iTunes and more, due to the fact that it is based on the same core as firefox you can easily use songbird to browse between websites of radio stations, podcasts and blogs. Which means you play the songs and at the same time read what they have written in the same program.

System Safety Monitor 2

System Safety Monitor 2 is available in a free version from the developers website. The tool basically works as a firewall preventing malicious software to be started automatically. The free version runs in paranoid mode which means you have to allow or disallow every process and get nagged quite a bit at the beginning. Once the majority of rules are established the software runs a lot smoother and seems to come forth only when you tend to install a new program or change existing ones.

opera-to-thunderbird

Importing mail from Opera to Thunderbird

I finally decided to make the switch from Operas M2 mail client to Thunderbird. The reason for the change was primary that the anti-spam combination Opera and Spamahilator was not working that well anymore and I thought that it would be better to have one single program to handle the spam and the mail. Thunderbird has a great working junk filter that seems to handle spam really well even after just a few days of working with the program.

Google Image Wallpaper Application

I found a pretty small and useful open source application that pulls images from google images in a given interval and displays them as the wallpaper on the pc the application is running. Once unrared you can run the application right from that location without installation; you will see a small icon in your system tray if the application is running. Right-click the icon and select options.

Windows Vista RC1 64-bit client download

Until yesterday it was only possible to download the 32-bit client version of the release candidate 1 of Windows Vista. Yesterday Microsoft added the Vista 64-bit client to the download list which can be downloaded through your browser by either using a direct download or Microsofts download manager. As usual this version is time limited and will stop working on June, 1st 2007. You will also need a product key for vista, I wrote a little article detailing the procedure to receive one.

Star Wars Stormtrooper Armor

Ever wondered where those guys in stormtrooper armor got their suits from ? Look no further, the Shepperton Design Studio is selling a complete Stormtropper armor for a very reasonable price. You can purchase the battle helmet for 299 British pounds and the suit (without helmet) for 999 British pounds. Both combined sell for 1299,95 pounds. The offers seems successful because currently all items are out of stock and will be available again in October.

process explorer malicious

Find out if a process is malicious

You see lots of processes when you start your taskmanager, svhost.exe, csrss.exe, winlogon.exe and many more. A user who never dealt with those executables before has a hard time figuring out which are safe and which could be malicious because normally you can't say which program is using those files. A question like "Is svhost.exe a virus, is it safe ?" is normal and can be answered using the methods described below.

teamspeak

Voice Chat with Teamspeak

I'am using Teamspeak for several years now and would like to introduce it to you. Teamspeak makes it possible to voice chat over the internet, just like skype but without its phone abilities. Everyone using it needs the Teamspeak client software which is available for free on the Teamspeak homepage. The client software is available for windows, linux and mac. You also need a teamspeak server that can either be setup on one of the computers that is also running a client version or on a dedicated /or virtual webserver.

logmein hamachi

Hamachi Virtual Private Network

Hamachi is a small freeware application that creates virtual private networks (vpn) on the fly without configuration at all - well almost. You can download the application from the hamachi homepage, once downloaded install and run the software. Versions for Windows, Linux (installation guide) and Macintosh OS X exist, means everyone should be happy although the linux and mac versions are console only while the windows one comes with a gui. Before I go into configuration details I want to describe the main advantage of Hamachi, it gives you LAN over the Internet.

The Desktop of the Future

This is a video from the dynamic graphics project at the University of Toronto named: Keeping it Real: Pushing the Desktop Metaphor with Physics, Piles and the Pen in BumpTop. Big title, ain't it ? What they did is project the concept of the normal desktop, the real one not the one from your computer to your computer by making it 3 dimensional. Files are shown as three dimensional items as well that can be placed on top of each other, sorted, deleted and manipulated manifold.

clavier windows keyboard shortcuts

Add PC Wide Keyboard Shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts make our lifes easier, hitting Win +M is nicer than to minimize every windows by hand. Windows XP already has a method of assigning new keyboard shortcuts to programs but this method is very limited. You are only allowed to assign shortcuts using a combination of at least two STRG, ALT and SHIFT keys plus one additional letter, number or symbol.

One Chip to track them down

What is wrong with those movie and music companies ? Why the heck are they increasing the pressure on people who are actually buying their overpriced items instead of those who copy them in large scale ? Their newest invention is apparently an embedded radio transmitter chip that can be remotely tracked by those companies making it possible to follow a DVD, Blue-Ray or HD-DVD from factory to consumer.

usb dumper

How to dump all USB files without the user knowing

USBdumper runs silently as a background process once started and copies the complete content of every connected usb device to the system without the knowledge of the user. It creates a directory with the current date and begins the background copying process. The user has no indication that his files are copied from his USB drive unless he does know that USBdumper is running on the system. (or accidentally find the directory with the copied files).

New Nintendo Wii Launch Details

Nintendo already held two of the three press conferences about the upcoming Wii launch in Japan, America and Europe. The press conferences in Japan and the United States revealed many information that should also be valid for the European launch, that is, if it is not delayed like the launch of the Playstation 3. The Nintendo Wii will launch on November 19. in the United States and sell for 250$ including a wireless Wiimote, a Nunchuck, and the game Wii Sports which includes tennis, baseball, golf, boxing and bowling.

Bypass Microsoft Software WGA Checks

I wrote an article some days ago about a way to download the latest Microsoft software from Microsoft.com without wga, windows genuine advantage, checks. Several users had problems installing the software afterwards because a second check was performed during the installation of the software. It did not install if the check failed and there was not way to prevent the check from happening. Until now..

How to get a product key for Vista RC1

Beta and release candidate versions of Windows Vista, Microsofts latest operating system, can be download from the official Microsoft Vista website but getting a product key did not seem to be that easy. Everyone was able to download Windows Vista but this did not mean that you would receive a product key to activate the beta or release candidate. Without a product key Vista would only work for 14 days.

virustotal

Free Online Security Scan Websites

Many sites offer to scan your computer for viruses online which should be seen as a last resort because this method has advantages but also disadvantages. If you scan your system online you can be sure that the latest virus definitions are used while scanning your system and that the script that is running was not compromised by a virus or trojan running on your system.

Week 37 Poll Results and New Poll

With Amazon unleashing its Unbox on the world and Apple close to start their movie paradise the question for the last poll was almost obvious: How much would you pay for a DVD download ? Amazon charges up to 19,99€ for a movie download and 1,99€ for TV Episodes. Looking at the poll results this seems highly overprized even if you do not take their license agreement into account.

sysmenusizing

Resize any window to predefined size

Sizer is a great freeware application that lets you resize any window to a predefined size. It is only 30k unpacked and can be started from any location on your computer. Once started a icon appears in the system tray that allows you to configure sizer. You are free to add exact pixel sizes to the configuration which appear when you right click any window that is open. You may also opt to reposition the window while resizing it, sizer offers some default locations like top left or bottom right but has another option that makes it possible to enter the coordinates yourself.

Free Geometry Wars Clones

It all began with Asteroids, navigating a small spaceship through space, avoiding and destryoing asteroids that flew by on its way. A game of passion using a minimalistic design to create maximum pleasure for the gamer. Geometry Wars, a highly successful game for the xbox 360, is an Asteroid clone. You have a spaceship, you can move it on the screen, you don't have asteroids but geometrical figures that you have to shoot. It's faster, more colorful and meaner than Asteroids.

x-mouse gizmo

Copy Paste with middle mouse button

I received an email some days ago from a reader who would like to know if there was a program for Microsoft windows that would replicate the middle mouse functionality of Linux systems, that is copy a text with the first click and paste the text with the second click. Lucky me had already a bookmark to the freeware true x-mouse gizmo for windows website so I send him that information and think it made him happy.

Tor Servers Seized in Germany

More than ten dedicated servers have been seized by the German police last Thursday. Some servers were running a version of the popular anonymising software Tor (The Onion Routing) which leads to the conclusion that those Tor Servers were most likely configured to run as Exit Nodes as well as normal nodes. As you may know a request runs through different Tor Servers with each only knowing the adjacent servers but not the starting node (you) and the destination. Only the last node in the chain knows the destination.

my computer taskbar

How to add My Computer to the Task Bar

This little tweak is really helpfull if you happen to have many windows open and would like to access a hard drive on your computer quickly. Sure, you could hit the left windows key and M and all windows become minimized but you still have to double click the my computer icon and the hard drive icon before you are there - that is if you have my computer on your desktop at all.

amazon instant video

Amazon Unbox and its absurd restrictions

Amazon Unbox, the new video download service provided by Amazon, went live yesterday offering users a free and easy way to download and view videos on their computer. Most tv series cost 1,99$ while movies begin at 3,99$ up to 19,99$ for new releases. Files are offered in .wmv and .amzn (for portable devices) format only and can't be burned on DVD to watch the movie at the television. The only way to do that would be to connect the computer to the televsion.

PS3 delayed in Europe

I suppose you already heard the news that Sonys new Ubermachine Playstation 3 will not have a worldwide launch because of production problems. Sony once again decided to smack every European who wanted to buy the system right into the face without caring much that Europe is indeed one of the biggest markets for Sony with more than 38 million Playstation 2 systems sold compared to 42 million in the United States and 23 million in Japan.

error zilla

Error Zilla Firefox Extension

The requested web page was not found. Errors. I hate them. Never know if the server is down because it was taken offline, because it is experiencing traffic spikes or the admin is tampering with the system. My normal solution would be to hit F5 a few times and see if the website loads fine. If it does not I tend to forget about it or save it in the bookmarks if it is worth trying again in a few hours.