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The most annoying pc noise makers (and what you can do about them)

Did you ever have the feeling that your computer is making to much noises when it is running ? A high noise level can be distracting to say the least reducing work effectiveness. The worst effect: it could make you ill. I'm going to identify the most annoying pc noise makers and suggest ways to reduce the overall noise level of your computer.

Update Windows without Microsoft

I recently received an email from one of my readers who asked if there would be a secure way to update a Windows XP installation that already had service pack 2 installed with the latest patches issues by Microsoft in the months after the second service pack was released. His main concerns were about WGA, Windows Genuine Advantage. He did not like the fact that data was sent from his computer to Microsoft.

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Retrieve Emails from other accounts using Gmail

There have been two drastic changes to Googles Gmail service in the last week. The first will probably make most users happy, gmail is not available to everyone. That is right, no more begging for invites, just visit the gmail site and signup for an account if you need one.

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Unknown Device Identifier

Did you ever try to identify devices in your device manager that have a yellow icon ? Devices with yellow icons are unknown devices that give you almost zero information about the type of the device. The freeware Unknown Device Identifier displays a list of unknown, disconnected or old devices with information about each of those devices.

Taskable RSS Feeds for your System Tray

Taskable is a great alternative for online or offline feedreaders, it is a RSS browser that places an icon in the windows system tray making it a very effective method of displaying those feeds. I really like the ease of use and space-saving nature of taskable, I mainly use it to display my most read feeds in the system tray and check on them periodically.

VirtualBox a Vmware alternative

You all know that you can run virtual operating systems using vmware. VirtualBox is a free open source alternative to vmware which currently runs on 32-bit versions of Windows and Linux and supports the following guest systems: FreeBSD, OpenBSD, Linux 2.4 / 2.6, Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 and Windows Vista.

Play Divx Movies on your Xbox 360

One of the flaws of the Xbox 360 is the inablity to playback divx movies on it. Microsoft might have left it out intenionally to push their own wmv format or avoid that the Xbox 360 would be used as the universal media center like the orginal Xbox with the (unofficial) Xbox media center was able to do.

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Record Sounds from any source

While Audacity is a great audio editing utility with the ability to record sounds and edit them afterwards it still felt a little bit overweight for the mere taks of recording sounds fast on a computer. I found a freeware utility that can record sounds from any incoming source in various formats including ogg vorbis, monkey audio, mp3 and acm.

Game for the Weekend Wing Commander Saga

Wing Commander back in the 90s was a phenomenal successful game franchise and is still considered one of the best - if not the best - space simulation game that was ever created. It spawned lots of sequels and included cinematic story telling. The Wing Commander series was developed by Origin which was later bought by EA where the game series found an abrupt ending.

Add Codecs to Windows Vista Media Center

If you use the Windows Vista Media Center you might have noticed that playback for various formats is not supported by default. You can't playback divx, xvid or h.264 movies or play mp3 or aac files by default which is really annoying if you want or have to use the media center.

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Thunderbird Birthday Reminder

Birthday Reminder is a sweet little add-on for Mozilla Thunderbird which does exactly what the name implies: It reminds you of upcoming birthdays of users that are in your address bock in Thunderbird. It is relatively easy to add new birthdays to the address bock which then get automatically picked up by the Birthday Reminder extension

Windows Vista Services Explained

Do you remember Blackvipers services recommendations for Windows XP ? The site helped me a lot when I started using Windows XP by explaining the services that were running on my system. I just the information on his site to disable services that I would never need which had the effect that it speed up my system and hardened its security at the same time.

Protect your Wireless Lan

More and more users use wireless connections to connect to the Internet, many do receive a wireless lan router by default from their internet provider and forget to protect the router and the connection properly. Insecure Wireless routers are a main target not only of hackers but also of neighbours in the vicinity who like to waste your bandwidth instead of their own.

Fix to remove Sony Ericsson Desktop Icon

A good friend of mine recently brought her mobile with her and connected it to my computer. The phone was the Sony Ericsson W810i and I had to install the software for the mobile that I downloaded from the official homepage. Everything worked fine until I uninstalled the software again and realized that the desktop icon was not removed during the uninstallation.

Configure tabbed browsing in Firefox

Firefox users can configure their tabbed browsing experience by using the about:config command in the address bar. An easier way than to change the settings directly using the above mentioned method is to use a extension that displays them neatly in the options for faster and better access.

The complete guide to optimizing Windows XP

Windows XP will be the dominant operating system for the next years even though Microsoft released the successor Windows Vista just a few days ago. The major disadvantage of Vista is that it is hardware hungry and poses problems to users of Windows XP who would like to change but can't because of the hardware of their computer.

How to Download Songs from Myspace

It seems that someone found out a way to create download links to the mp3 files that one can listen to on the profile pages of the bands that have a myspace website. The script to decode the myspace url and extract the mp3 links is working well and uses Ajax for ease of use.

It's All Text! Firefox Extension

I have not been posting new Firefox extensions for some time and I think it is mainly due to the fact that I got all the good ones covered and that only a few new ones come out after all. It's all Text is one of those extensions that could make a great impact for some Firefox users.