Chrome: app mode

If you want to open a chrome window without the tab bar and toolbars, you can start chrome in application mode:

Chrome.exe --app=http://www.netflix.com

You can run this from the Run dialog (Windows-R) or create a shortcut.  I use this mode for both MLB.tv and Netflix.

Changing Reddit link colors using Stylish

I really don’t like the link and visited link colors on reddit; they are too similar in appearance.  I prefer to have green links and red visited links.  I can get these link colors by installing the Stylish Addon and creating the following style:

@namespace url(http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml);

@-moz-document domain("reddit.com") {

.title a{color: #005500 !important;}
.title a:visited{color: #770000 !important;}
.title a:hover{color: #009900 !important;}

}

Firefox 3.5 Beta4

Since I’m running a Beta OS and since I’ll be reloading my machine within a week (go Win7 RC!), I decided to try the new beta for Firefox. I figure “what can it hurt?” (as long as I have backups, of course!) :)Here’s how I installed it (and fixed a cookie “feature”):

  1. Download the beta installer
  2. Go to Docs-Settings (or UsersYourLoginAppData) and backup your Mozilla directories in both Local and Roaming
  3. Install the new beta in a new location
  4. Start the beta for the first time. It will check your extensions and let you upgrade them if possible and then start running.
  5. CRITICAL: before you shut down the browser, go to Tools-Options-Privacy tab-Clear history when Firefox closes-Settings and uncheck cookies! If you do not do this, all of your saved cookies will be deleted when you shutdown Firefox. You shouldn’t be allowing any-and-all cookies to be stored on your machine anyways; I only allow certain “trusted” websites to store cookies using the Cookie-Safe Lite extension.

Not all extensions are ready for this version. You can use tools to force the extension install, but do so at your own risk. I used Nightly Tester Tools to enable Fire Gestures, GreaseMonkey and Tab Mix Plus and I’ve not see problems yet.

One problem I have noticed is that the Location Bar does not always show the current website address. I haven’t seen any other problems yet. Also, (not surprisingly) there are a few problems with incompatible extensions. Tab Mix Plus apparently does not remember the last selected tab, so closing a tab will show the tab to the left instead.

I should mention that this is an “upgraded” profile, so some of my problems may just be due to the upgrade. However, it’s working pretty well so I don’t feel the need to create a new profile. 🙂

This beta does seem a bit faster than 3.0 so far! 🙂

64-bit computing in Virtualbox

Since I’ve recently upgraded to a 64-bit capable processor, I’m considering running the 64-bit version of Windows 7.  I’ll probably wait until the RC becomes available (hopefully soon!) and then test the 64-bit version first.  The 32-bit Beta was incredibly stable; I’m hoping the 64-bit version will be as well.In order to test application compatibility, I decided to install the 64-bit Beta in Virtualbox.  The latest Virtualbox will run 64-bit guests in a 32-bit host (as long as your hardware supports it).  In order to get the 64-bit installed, I had to use the following settings:

  • ACPI: Enabled
  • IO APIC: Enabled
  • VT-x/AMD-V: Enabled
  • PAE/NX: Enabled

I also had to set the OS Type to “Windows 7 (64 bit)”.  At that point, I was able to install Win7 x64 normally!

We’ll see how the testing goes next.   🙂

ArcServe: Fun with barcodes!

I inherited a tape backup system a while back, and I’ve always wanted to use barcodes on the tapes. Both the tape changer and ArcServe supports barcodes, but I’ve never had time to figure out how they work.

What made it worse was that I priced “barcode tape labels” from Dell and they were astronomically pricey. So I didn’t put much effort into barcoding.

I recently had to integrate another 18 tapes into the rotation, so I thought this would be a good time to create my own tape labels using Word 2003.

I created a label sheet using a simple table with cells that measured 13/16″ x 2 3/16″ and then I experimented with different layouts. I finally settled on one that included the Media Pool Name, Tape Serial ID, and the date the tape was first formatted. Since I had some space left on the label, I thought I’d throw a barcode on it. So I added the Serial ID (surrounded by an asterix on each side) and then changed the font to a Code 39 font.

I put the labels on the tapes and reconfiged the tape changer to enable barcodes. After a quick restart of the changer, I was surprised to see that the changer was able to read the Serial ID from the barcode! So now when you page through the tapes, you can see the actual Serial ID in the LCD! Neat!

I checked ArcServe’s config for the changer and I saw that it was already set to check for barcodes, so I started the Tape Engine. I was quite happy to see that ArcServe received the Serial ID numbers from the changer and didn’t run the inventory process on tapes that had a barcode.

ArcServe still has to run the full inventory for tapes that have no barcodes, but that is only about 3 tapes instead of 16. It used to take between 45 minutes to an hour to inventory the full changer; now it’s down to less than 10 minutes! Woot!

The only strange thing I’ve noticed is that if you put a barcode with a new Serial ID on a tape that has a different Serial ID, ArcServe will never see nor use the old Serial ID. I think this is by design, at least what I’ve read online it is. But all I had to do was remove the old tape Serial ID from the appropriate Media Pool, erase the tape (including the old Serial ID) and reformat it to the proper Media Pool. Sweet!

Win7: Rhapsody

I was able to install Rhapsody in Windows 7 without any problems (surprisingly), but I did encounter a problem authorizing my machine. When I selected the “Authorize Computer” option in the “My Account”, it claimed it needed to restart to install the necessary DRM, but it restarted without authorizing the machine. I was able to go into “Manage my account” and authorize it there, and it appears to work normally.

Still, it has to be run as Administrator (just like in Vista) and it appears to be because of the “Auto Update Helper” app; come on, Rhapsody, when can we expect a true Vista version of the software? There should be no need to run a music app as administrator. I suspect the problem is that the program has to write to the Program Files area, something only the base Administrator can do in Vista (that “feature” bit us in our in-house apps at work). But surely they can release a version that can be installed elsewhere so that the helper app can run as a standard user…now that I think about it, I wonder if it would work if I installed it elsewhere? I don’t really want to try it, since it’s working now. 🙂

Firefox printing text too small

I’ve had a minor problem with Firefox for quite some time; when I print a page, the text appears tiny and very difficult to read. There is a simple solution: from the File menu, select Page Setup and change the Scale to a higher number (mine was set to 42% for some reason). I changed it to 100%, printed a test and it was a bit too big; changing it to 80% made it the perfect size.

Also, I would uncheck the Shrink to Fit Page Width option; that might make the text too small on pages that are too wide.

Freeware: AllSnap

I’ve found a neat little program for Windows that allows window borders to “snap” and align with each other, the default behavior for many Linux desktops and WinAmp on Windows. I’ve really missed this feature when I switched back to Windows, so I’m very glad to find this program.

The program is called AllSnap by Ivan Heckman. When windows reach a certain nearness to each other, they will snap together. You can also configure it so that windows will not move or appear off the screen, so you should never lose any windows if they open offscreen (at least with most programs; programs with non-traditional windows will not respond to standard window hooks — I’m looking at you Rhapsody!)

Workstation 2008 – Installing Rhapsody

I have a Sansa MP3 player and I’m a Rhapsody subscriber; it’s nice to be able to listen to most of the new albums as they come out.

Unfortunately, Rhapsody will not install on Windows Server 2008; it will fail during the installation of the Windows Media system. There is a solution:

  1. Download the Windows Media 11 SDK at http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/windowsmedia/bb190309.aspx and install it.
  2. In the Redist folder where you expanded the files, install the WMFDist11-WindowsXP-X86-ENU.exe file (it says it’s for WinXP, but it installs on Server 2008)
  3. Download and install Rhapsody.

That’s it!

Disable Firefox 3’s “awesome bar”

I really don’t care for the new address bar in Firefox 3. When I type in an address, I only want it to match the address and not look through my bookmarks and other page text. Here’s how you can disable the so called “awesome bar” in Firefox 3.

  • Type about:config in the address bar and set the browser.urlbar.matchOnlyTyped to True.
  • Install the OldBar extension to mimic the old firefox look.

I know that some people may like the new behavior, but I don’t. Each to their own, but I believe if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Some change is good (Windows Server 2008 as a workstation is pretty sweet), but change for the sake of change that adds functionality I don’t need is pointless.