How to export your YouTube channels to a RSS feed reader

To help make my time more productive while online, I use QuiteRSS portable RSS feed reader. Get it here:  https://quiterss.org/en/download (I use the portable version but you can use fully installed version if you like. Or use any feed reader you’re comfortable or familiar with.)

I find it so much easier to check up on what I want to without getting squirrelled onto tangents by being able to have my preferred providers in one spot.
I actually have 50 subscriptions for news and such alone, not including all my YouTube channels.

Okay so how to get all your subscribed YouTube channels into your RSS reader..

Make sure you’re logged into your Google/Youtube account first of course:

Got to: https://www.youtube.com/subscription_manager
At the bottom look for the ‘Export to RSS Readers’ line and then Export Subscriptions.
This will save all your subscribed feeds (feeds NOT content obviously) to an OPML XML file (download and save somewhere) that can then be imported into your RSS reader of choice. Simply open you reader and ‘import feeds’ and BAM all your subscriptions will now be there.

Additional tip for those that actually want to download YouTube videos. (YouTube does not wish you to this and sometimes it’s said you’re not supposed to via copyright or some other T.O.S. – but I believe that for personal has been adjudicated in the positive for individuals)
These two addons allow for a button to ‘Download’ at the bottom of the video. I Simply right-click and choose ‘Open In New Tab’ and have the option to download the video to my HDD.

My default browser it Chrome (sometimes I switch to Firefox) but both have the Tamper Monkey Extension/Add on on both browsers and have these two scripts installed
https://greasyfork.org/en/scripts/371817-youtube-best-video-downloader-2
and
https://greasyfork.org/en/scripts/33219-fastest-youtube-downloader-video-or-mp3/code

Block a phone number or contact iPhone

Block a phone number or contact iPhone

There are a few ways that you can block a phone number or contact.

Phone

If you’re in the Phone app under Recents, tap  next to the phone number or contact that you want to block. Scroll to the bottom of your screen, then tap Block this Caller.

FaceTime

If you’re in the FaceTime app, tap  next to the phone number or contact that you want to block. Scroll to the bottom of your screen, then tap Block this Caller.

Messages

If you’re in Messages, open the conversation, tap , then tap the name or phone number. Scroll to the bottom of the Info screen, then tap Block this Caller.

When you block a phone number or contact, they can still leave a voicemail, but you won’t get a notification. Messages that are sent or received won’t be delivered. Also, the contact won’t get a notification that the call or message was blocked.

Manage your blocked phone numbers and contacts

To see the phone numbers and contacts that you’ve blocked from Phone, FaceTime, or Messages:

Phone

Go to Settings > Phone > Call Blocking & Identification.

FaceTime

Go to Settings > FaceTime > Blocked.

Messages

Go to Settings > Messages > Blocked.

From these screens, you can add or unblock contacts or unblock phone numbers.

To add a contact from Phone, go to Settings > Phone > Call Blocking & Identification > Block Contact. Then tap the contact that you want to block. To add a contact from Messages or FaceTime, go to Settings > Messages or Settings > FaceTime, scroll down and tap Blocked, tap Add New, then select the contact that you want to block. To unblock a contact or phone number, swipe left over the number, then tap Unblock.

Filter iMessages from unknown senders

You can filter iMessages from people who aren’t saved in your Contacts.

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To filter iMessages, go to Settings > Messages and turn on Filter Unknown Senders.

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In Messages, you’ll see a new tab for Unknown Senders but you won’t get notifications for these iMessages.

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Report spam or junk in the Messages app

You can report iMessages that look like spam or junk from the Messages app. If you get an iMessage from someone who’s not saved in your Contacts, you’ll see a Report Junk link under the message. Tap the link to forward the sender’s information and the message to Apple.

To report SMS and MMS messages, contact your carrier.

Meltdown And Spectre info

I’m sure many have heard of the recent MASSIVE security holes found in computer processors.

The threat is real so you should take notice. Here is a good description  form Stu Sjourwerman of what it is and what to do.:

"Computer researchers have recently found out that the main chip in most modern computers—the CPU—has a hardware bug. It’s really a design flaw in the hardware that has been there for years. This is a big deal because it affects almost every computer on our network, including your workstation and all our servers.

This hardware bug allows malicious programs to steal data that is being processed in your computer memory. Normally, applications are not able to do that because they are isolated from each other and the operating system. This hardware bug breaks that isolation.

So, if the bad guys are able to get malicious software running on your computer, they can get access to your passwords stored in a password manager or browser, your emails, instant messages and even business-critical documents. Not good.”

So, What Can We Doing About This?

You need to update and patch all machines on your network. This could to take some time, some of the patches are not even available yet.

In the meantime, we need you to be extra vigilant, with security top of mind and Think Before You Click.

Here is a good site with an FAQ and videos about this SNAFU, that you can refer people to if they want to know more. For instance, antivirus does not protect against this vulnerability.

Windows 8.1 news

If you are buying a new PC or laptop and you’ve been holding off because of the new Metro interface you might be in luck.

It looks like Microsoft is pulling a ‘New Coke’ here and admitting that the ‘Metro’ desktop and lack of ‘Start’ button was a VERY BAD MOVE. Especially for those in the business community.

I got this deal earlier this year and it’s still a great one. For those looking for a powerful Windows PC laptop that could easily replace an older high end workstation this is a pretty good choice.
I wrote an article about my original selection, purchasing and finally, my adventures in ‘downgrading’ it to Widows 7 Pro/Enterprise here. Many of the things I do with my system cannot be done efficiently, or at all, from the silly ‘Metro’ interface. And other applications simply wouldn’t run properly.

With Windows 8.1 (which it will release mid to late summer, it is said that Microsoft is going to bring back the traditional ‘Boot to Desktop’ feature along with the much missed ‘Start Button’. It looks like the start button will most likely look like the ‘Windows Charm’ in Windows 8.1 but it hopefully will be there. You can read about that here and here.

IF you are stuck with Window 8, don’t want to go through the hassle of downgrading it, and can’t wait for Microsoft to ‘fix it’, there is a fantastic solution to bring back the old Window 7 interface. It’s called Start 8 by Stardock Software It’s a great app and only costs $4.99 USD. It’s the first thing I install on clients Windows 8 machines when they tell me they can’t handle the Windows 8 Metro interface.

Peace, and be safe.

Cleanup or Refresh an iDevice and Properly Restore it.

I’ve recently had a few people who had some problems with their iPhones and asked for some help. They were all of a sudden unable to receive calls and texts reliably or at all and or were notified they were running out of space. All were instructed by Apple and/or their carrier (in all three cases it was AT&T but could easily have been others) that they needed to reset their phone to factory settings. Problem is that without properly backing up the device(s), settings, applications and files everything is wiped!

Fortunately it’s pretty easy to back up iDevices and reset them to factory settings then restore the user files and settings such as contacts, call logs and messages. However as I’ve mentioned before Media such as images/videos and other media can sometimes be wiped and lost.

iPhones also have this problem of ‘filling up’ with pictures and videos. The only way to get them off is to manually delete them individually from the phone – a real pain in the anus.

So back to my favorite iDevice backup tool – DiskAid. It has it’s own backup tool that can ‘override’ iTunes backup and works real well. I use it often but some people would rather just use DiskAid to ‘remove’ data from their phone and do their backups in iTunes. So I’ll show that here to show the steps I took.

Get DiskAid and install it on your PC or Mac. And please read my previous post in iDevice backups.

First I used DiskAid to copy all photos and data – Diskaid has the ability to actually ‘SEE’ your data and remove pictures, movies and other items taking up space on your phone.

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This copied off the images and movies to the PC.

Then I deleted a whole bunch of images and movies that were still on the phone to free up loads of space.

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Cleared up to

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The ran the iTunes Backup too.

1. Connect your iOS device to a computer with the latest version of iTunes installed

2. Select your iOS device in iTunes under Devices

3. Right-click (or Control-click) the device and select Back Up

The full iTunes backup can take a while be patient!

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Also make sure you ‘Transfer you purchased items to iTunes:

right-click (Windows or Mac) or Control-click (Mac only) your device in the iTunes Source list, then choose Transfer Purchases from the shortcut menu that appears.

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Then right-click after that is finished and run the ‘Sync “iPhone” one last time for good measure.

Now to ‘clear and restore’ the device.

Click on the ‘Restore’ radio button and choose the last backup you just created. You will be prompted:

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If you have completely backed up, transferred files and synced all should be OK.

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When the restore process has completed, the device restarts and displays the Apple logo while starting up:
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After a restore, the iOS device displays the “Connect to iTunes” screen. Keep your device connected until the “Connect to iTunes” screen goes away or you see “iPhone is activated.”
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Then to restore information from a backup connect your iOS device to the computer with which you normally sync then in iTunes:

Right-click (or Control-click) the device and choose Restore from Backup

Remember some of these steps can take some time – be patient!!

Your device should run much more smoothly after this.

Well hope this helps some. Peace out.

Mac Maintenance and HDD updates/upgrade

[Updated 06-26-2011]

I just spent a few days doing lots of maintenance on a few Mac’s.
Cleaning up, optimizing and replacing one HDD for a new larger one.
So I thought I’d share what I do with my Mac’s to keep them running happy and having my data safe should there be problems to those of you ‘Mac-ites’ out there.
1st. Let’s clean up.
I install and use Onyx on all my Macs and those I maintain. It makes maintenance a BREEZE.
With Onyx you can do just about everything you need to do on a regular basis to keep clutter down and errors away.
Get it here.

Check out the AppCleaner application to completely remove applications – often installs put files into many other directories than just the applications folder! A great tool for removing leftover ‘gunk’.

I was going to go into some of the other steps I do such as removing unnecessary start-up items and removing unused apps but it looks like the folks at LifeHacker.com have put together a very good article on just that.
So to save the time of me just re-stating what Gina Trapani, founder of LifeHacker, has already said just go here.
The folks at Tested.com also have a good in depth article on how to manually do nearly everything you can do in Onyx. But I find Onyx to be fantastic.
As always make sure you have a good backup before you start messing with system settings!

2nd. Let’s clone/copy.

For backups most know I believe in Images(Clones), alone with periodic ‘file backups’. That way I’m protected against full drive failures/loses AND stupidity – accidentally erasing or overwriting files. 🙂
Imaging or cloning is the procedure by which you create a backup that is identical to a bootable system either to another internal or external drive. This is the ultimate backup! Should your drive fail you can just ‘pop in’ your cloned drive or ‘restore’ that clone to a new drive and your are up and running.
Good description here

Now to backing up and/or updating of a hard drive. By cloning the drive to a new (or back up one) you are creating an exact bootable copy of the original.

This is actually a very simple process that can be done without any 3rd party software on OSX!
I’ll explain how to do that in a moment, but there are some 3rd party tools that make it a little easier for the novice

Whether you are installing a brand new larger hard rive like I just did or making a clone to and external drive the directions are the same. [except of course if it is just a back up clone you won’t be ‘changing the start up disk’]

For the two Easiest ways to Clone (and also backup – remember images rule!):
Use SuperDuper Mac Drive Cloner. Get it here,
The application is freeware/shareware. Meaning to use the clone function it’s free but to use the advance scheduling features you will have to purchase a license. The call is yours.
I have always found it very worthwhile to own and support great utility software.

Or use Carbon Copy Cloner. Get that here. Read about it here. The latest version is fantastic. It’s now my go to OS X disk tool.

Now the no 3rd party software route.
You can do as I have done many times use OS X’s own clone/restore utility!

You insert the MacOS X 10.x install disk, boot from it, select Disk Utility from the Start menu, and choose the volume of the new Mac.
Then use the Restore tab, drag and drop the old drive as the source, and the new one as the target, and press the button.
Et voila!
After copying, just make sure that your new hdd (the clone) is set to be the start up disk.

You can then boot the new Mac with an exact clone of the old one.

Here’s how to use Disk Utility to clone and backup your hard drive in a little more detail using an install disk:
* Fire the Mac OS X disk that came along with your Mac.
To do this, insert the CD or DVD into your Mac, and hold down the C key while your Mac restarts.

[if that doesn’t work try these options:
# Restart your computer and immediately press the Option key. Icons for all available startup volumes will appear. Click the one you want to boot from, and then click the right arrow button to complete the startup process.
# Restart your computer and immediately press Cmd-Option-Shift-Delete. You must press all the keys at once. The computer will start to boot from the CD or DVD drive. If there isn’t a bootable disc inside the drive when you begin the reboot, the computer will attempt to boot from another partition or drive. ]

* Go ahead select your language. Don’t worry: You’re not installing Mac OS X again – this is just what you have to do to get to Disk Utility. When the menu bar appears, select Disk Utility from the Utilities menu.
* When Disk Utility opens, you’ll want to select your source. This is the hard drive you want to clone and/or backup. After you have a source, select the Destination. This is the hard drive you want to save the backup image to. * Click Restore and you’ll end up with a perfect copy of your hard drive.


Restart your computer and you’re good to go!

That’s it……

For backups there is also the included Time Machine application that ships with the latest versions of OS X. It is much improved from previous versions. It allows the user to restore the whole system, multiple files, or a single file. It works within iWork, iLife, and several other compatible programs, making it possible to restore individual objects (e.g.: photos, contacts, calendar events) without leaving the application. Time Machine is a backup utility, not an archival utility, it is not intended as offline storage. Time Machine captures the most recent state of your data on your disk. As snapshots age, they are prioritized progressively lower compared to your more recent ones.

Carbon Copy Cloner, SuperDuper and Time Machine are complimentary. Think of SuperDuper or CCC as your backup against catastrophe (drive-failure or theft) while your TM volume is a hedge against stupidity (deleting/overwriting important files, contacts, etc.).

One last utility that I’d like to mention is AppleJack.

AppleJack is a user friendly troubleshooting assistant for Mac OS X. With AppleJack you can troubleshoot a computer even if you can’t load the GUI, or don’t have a startup CD handy. AppleJack runs in Single User Mode and is menu-based for ease of use. Their main page is here.

The AppleJack download is here.

Peace and happy computing…..

MacDefender trojan/malware is currently spreading on Mac systems – let’s kill it!

MacDefender, is the rogue antimalware trojan currently spreading on Mac systems. This malware is known by a variety of names, including "Mac Defender", "MacProtector", "Mac Security", "Apple Security", and "Apple Security Center".  It is a great example of how ‘social engineering’ can be used to trick people into harming themselves. Below are clear and easy procedures for removing it, read the quick summary or follow the links at the end for walk-throughs with loads of screen shots

I have written recently about this here, but it appears more people are being ‘snagged’.

Apple support is being of absolutely NO help either! In fact they are telling their people,"Do not attempt to remove malware.." Read about that BS here if you wish. So I thought I’d again provide some tips.

Here is the simple summary of what to do:

  1. In Safari under "Preferences", at the bottom of the "General" tab (the first tab), uncheck "Open safe files". This will prevent Safari from starting threats like MacDefender automatically after downloading them.
  2. Open up "Activity Monitor" (this is in your Utilities folder within Applications)
  3. Find "MacDefender" (or whatever the malware is being called, MacProtector, Mac Security, etc)
  4. Highlight it then click "Quit Process" which looks like a big red stop sign at the top right of the Activity Monitor screen.
  5. Next, open System Preferences, and go to "Accounts". When it appears click on the "Login Items" button, select the program, and then click the "minus" button to remove it from Login Items.
  6. Next, navigate to your Applications folder, find the program, drag it to the trashcan, and then empty the trashcan. Yes. It’s really that simple to remove.

Here are the two best links I could find for simple walk-throughs. I would rather not repeat the tutorials they have already taken the time to do.
Their work is much appreciated.

Now the super links with detailed screen shots and some additional tips:
The HowToGeek.com site has a great walk through here.

VRT-blog has some good information on this also, read that here.

Folks, if you use a Mac and you connect it to any systems – especially the internet, please realize that you are vulnerable to attacks and hacks. NO system is immune to attack! Although Mac’s and Linux systems have benefited by a more secure file system/OS structure (for the most part) than previous Windows systems AND the fact that their numbers were small – about 8% of all network connected desktop machines and presented a ‘low volume’ target they are now increasingly being attacked. This is especially true since many Apple uses have been lied to and told they are invulnerable to attacks.

BE SAFE FOLKS!

Improving productivity and fun with browser add-ons and scripts

I spend all day working online and managing information systems.
I was asked again how come I don’t have the same ‘bad experiences’ others do when browsing the internet. Why I don’t get things like getting ‘drive by Trojans’, bogus Anti-virus pop-ups, and obtrusive music or videos that play no matter what.
I mentioned that besides the obvious of keeping all of my systems AND applications(browsers, Acrobat etc.)up to date with the latest security patches, always making sure I have the latest Anti-Virus/anti-spyware updates and not going places I know I shouldn’t or clicking on suspicious links, the most likely reason beyond that is the web browser and add-ons I use that make my browsing more productive and fun. I also spend a great deal of time furthering my education, catching up with friends and family and just plane wasting what little free time I may have being entertained online.
I have put together many tools and configuration additions that make all of the things I do with my systems way simpler and easier.
I hope these may help some of you be more productive and provide for a more pleasurable internet experience.
I work with lot’s of different people with varied technical skill sets from absolute newbie’s all the way to the guys with lot’s of CC’s and MS’s after their names, and when they see how much I can ‘just do’ from the browser they are often just amazed.
I am a believer in ‘Kaizen’. Why not try to do everything better if you can. Work, play, rest, worship and just plain life in general. So I hope some will take the time and try and use some of these tools and tips and have some more fun and a more pleasant and rewarding internet experience.
First off I must start off with the ‘machine’ with which I connect to the internet with 90+% of the time.
That is Mozilla’s Firefox browser.
I use Firefox not because it is not any more secure than IE (compared to IE8 it is definitely not, but that is news for another post.), Safari, Chrome or Opera, but I use it because the ‘browser is the machine or portal’ that gets you to all of the ‘stuff out there’ and Firefox has ALL these custom tools and add-ons available to make just about everything I do easier, faster, funner and more efficient.
I use IE only when absolutely needed; usually with custom built applications that require some of IE’s more integrated Windows ‘hooks’. I actually like the way Internet Explorer renders pages better than Firefox. But the lack of add-ons stop me from using it.
Google’s Chrome is a fast simple browser but all of the extensions for Firefox have not been ported yet. AND I really dislike how the ‘Google updater’ is continuously running and connected to Google. As much as I like lots of things Google, especially Gmail and Google Docs, I try to restrict some of the information they are gathering on me.
[While I do love my Gmail, Google is getting more like big digital brother than imagined.]
I used to recommend the Google Toolbar for Firefox and IE but I have now removed it from ALL of my machines. I now recommend that everyone do the same. Seems Google is being even more sneaky and still tracking you even when you disable ‘sending of usage statistics’! I realize it is for ‘marketing’ – to provide you with targeted adds. People forget Google is in the ADVERTISING business; and they are very profitable at it. But I just don’t need that much data collected on me. Here is one article describing the issue. And here is another.]

I was recently asked about these tools and items so I just updated the links and information and added a few items. I hope you all enjoy.
Here are the Firefox Extensions I use:

After the Deadline
After the Deadline checks spelling, misused words, style, and grammar using artificial intelligence and natural language processing.
Now you can use it in your browser. Write better blog comments, tweet with correct grammar, and compose professional messages.

Better Gmail 2:
Developed by the founder of Lifehacker.com Better Gmail 2 compiles the best Greasemonkey user scripts for Gmail into a single package. Adds useful extra features to Gmail, like hierarchical labels, an unread message icon on your browser tab, file attachment icons, and more.

BetterPrivacy
Super-Cookie Safeguard (protects from LSO Flash Objects, DOM Storage Objects).

DownloadHelper:
I use this A LOT. Just surf the Web as you are used to, when DownloadHelper detects it can do something for you, the icon gets animated and a menu allows you to download files by simply clicking an item. It is also possible to capture all the images from a gallery in a single operation.

Adblock Plus:
Ever been annoyed by all those ads and banners on the internet that often take longer to download than everything else on the page? Install Adblock Plus now and get rid of them.

FaviconizeTab:
Alows you to right click on a tab and ‘Faviconize’ it.

FireFTP:
FireFTP is a free, secure, cross-platform FTP client for Mozilla Firefox which provides easy and intuitive access to FTP servers.

gui:conif:
Adds a graphical interface for Firefox about:config tweaking. Useful for the non-geek crowd.

Ghostery:
Ghostery allows you to detect trackers on the sites you visit, learn more about the companies behind them, and control their visibility into your online behavior.

Firesheep:
A Firefox extension that demonstrates HTTP session hijacking attacks. Nice to know if someone is ‘sniffing’ your wireless browsing!

IE Tab  2
Allows you to use IE to display web pages in a tab within FireFox. This updated version includes support for FireFox 3.6 and will continue to be updated with new features and enhancements.

MultirowBookmarksToolbar:
Multi Row Bookmarks Toolbar.

PDF Download:
Use PDF Download to do whatever you like with PDF files on the Web. Regain control and eliminate browser problems, view PDFs directly in Firefox as HTML, and use the all-new Web-to-PDF toolbar to save and share Web pages as high-quality PDF files.

Perspectives:
Perspectives is a new approach to help clients securely identify Internet servers in order to avoid "man-in-the-middle" attacks.

RightToClick:
Defeats a wide varity of javascript annoyances like disabled right click (contextmenu) , disabled text selection, disabled drag&drop and many more.
Enables right-click, text selection, context-menu, drag&drop and much more where it is disabled by Javascript.
Puts little ‘Arrow’ in bottom corner allowing you to enable, then highlight and right-click and/or copy text!

StopAutoplay:
Disable the autoplay of the embedded music and movies. User action (clicking on the play arrow) is then required to hear or see ‘active content’. Some people don’t like this because the want to click on a YouTube link and have it play right away. I DON’T. Being the control freak I am I want things to play ONLY when I choose them to. I would rather go to the page and use DownloadHelper add-on mentioned above, to download the file and view it with out all the buffering and such. Most web videos are ‘Flash’ video format, and can be played back via a freeware flash player like the one from Martijn de Visser his site is here and the actual player download is here.
I love this one! Stops that lousy music or videos from playing automatically playing on certain sites.

TinEye Reverse Image Search:
TinEye is a reverse image search engine. It finds out where an image came from, how it is being used, if modified versions of the image exist, or if there is a higher resolution version.

User Agent Switcher:
The User Agent Switcher extension adds a menu and a toolbar button to switch the user agent of a browser. The extension is available for Firefox and will run on any platform that this browser supports including Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. Helpful for sites that require specific browsers and versions.

Download Context Menu:
Shows the Explorer context (right click) menu of downloaded files in the Downloads list.

Open Bookmarks in New Tab
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/13784

Vacuum Places:
Defragments your Firefox "Places" database (history/bookmarks). This greatly reduces the lag while typing in the address bar and the start-up time.

BetterPrivacy:
Better Privacy serves to protect against not delete-able long-term cookies, a new generation of ‘Super-Cookie’, which silently conquered the internet.

VTzilla:
VTzilla is a Mozilla Firefox browser plugin that simplifies the process of scanning Internet resources with VirusTotal. It allows you to download files directly with VirusTotal’s web application prior to storing them in your PC. Moreover, it will not only scan files, but also URLs.

WiseStamp:
WiseStamp Email Apps enable users to bring social functionality in every email they send.

Greasemonkey:
Greasemonkey is a Firefox extension that allows you to customize the way webpages look and functions by adding additional scripts.
Hundreds of scripts are already available for free. And if you’re the tinkerer sort, you can also write your own.

[ultimate greasemonkey repository – if there is a script it is here:http://userscripts.org/ ]

Greasmonkey scripts I use. You can visit the authors pages to see more details:
Userscripts Updater:
http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/26062
YouTube HD Ultimate:
http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/31864
Gmail Favicon Alerts 3:
http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/24430
YouTube Enhancer:
http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/33042
Google Maps Zoom:
http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/7840
expertsExchange:
http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/37941
and
http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/37941
and
http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/59258

Remove Facebook Ads:
http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/46560

Greasemonkey scripts I don’t use but have heard good things about:
I don’t go on Facebook much but if I were a real ‘facebooker’ I would use this one too:
UnFuck Facebook:
http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/11992

Another one I don’t use but for people who would like to have ‘folders’ in Gmail:
Folders4Gmail:
http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/8810

Now to keep all tidy consistant in all places.
I use MS SyncToy to synchronize my Mozilla Firefox profiles from machine to machine too:
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID;=c26efa36-98e0-4ee9-a7c5-98d0592d8c52

Pretty good Tutorial:
http://www.pchell.com/support/synctoy.shtml

Location of your Firefox profiles for synching:
Windows/Mac/Linux:
http://support.mozilla.com/en-US/kb/Profiles#How_to_find_your_profile

Lastly even more geeky.
I have a portable version of Firefox on most of my usb flash drives so I can work on machines that might have had their browsers ‘compromised’ by maleware and virii.
To get more information on ‘Portable Firefox’go here:
http://portableapps.com/apps/internet/firefox_portable
Here the more technically savvy will find out how to install, configure and update your portable edition.

Mac vs Windows Personal Computers – PC’s

People very often ask me about the differences between Apple products and Microsoft’s.
My usual answer is this simple – one sells hardware (Apple) the other software (Microsoft). Both provide Operating systems that run PC’s (Personal Computers where the abbreviation PC really comes from!); Apple’s Operating system is OS X, Microsoft’s is Windows 7 (both latest). Both are fantastic. But there are many other distinct differences in the philosophies that drive each company.
I just spend another good bit of time trying to explain this to a few folks so I thought I’d pass on some of my points.

Microsoft does software primarily (yes there are some good hardware products by Microsoft like the Xbox and K’nect) – operating systems and applications and let’s just about anybody ‘build’ the hardware ‘around’ that software. In fact Microsoft was the premier software provider that helped Apple really get started in the 80’s.
Heck after Apple ousted Steve Job’s and nearly imploded, it was Microsoft that, along with the ‘re-hiring’ of Jobs literally saved the company with loads of cash and promises to continue software development for Apple!! Without Bill Gates, today’s Apple probably wouldn’t exist! Lets go back to Aug 6th, 1997 …Read here and Read here.

Apple is primarily a hardware seller. They tightly, and I mean very tightly, control the hardware that they allow their software (OS) to run on. In fact it is against the licensing agreement for OS X to run it on anything but Apple hardware! This helps Apple deliver hardware (with the associated software OS) that is usually of fairly good quality. But of course at a premium price.

Apple is great at ‘user interfaces’. The iPod and iPhone are simple and very easy to use, very intuitive. With such a large following the iPhone(and iPad now) also now have many great applications. The iPod took a technology that had existed for while and made it unbelievably user friendly Same with the iPad. Again simplicity of software interface to pretty hardware. Something that is sometimes missed is that ‘prettiness’ and the price people are willing to pay for it.
Apple has an awesome marketing department.
Apple ‘Fan-boys’ far out number any others.

My primary systems are MS Windows machines and servers of course. But I also run some Linux servers and a few Apple desktops. And I have been intimately working with all of them for decades (Linux being a ‘build/port’ of Unix that has been around for over 30 years). And my knowledge is simply not just web surfing or printing pictures. I have and do continue to use all of these in business production environments – digital pre-press, medical fields, financial fields, government and many other industries. [I also won’t even go into the ‘more stable’ argument I often here from some fan-boys because I’m sure they have never RIP’d a 300+MB file on a Mac vs a PC or had to crunch massive digital files. Suffice it to say all systems crash but in my personal experience it has been Mac’s that do so more than any other under heavy processing]

Before you jump on me; I have had apples since my first Apple IIe. I still have lots of Apple hardware. So don’t call me a hater. I just don’t like being ‘locked’ into items or forced to spend loads of cash for hardware upgrades just to keep my software up to date.
As an illustration of that point.
"If you took your car in for service and they welded your hood shut, you wouldn’t be very happy,"- Apple shutting owners out of their iPhones.
http://goo.gl/HDmNY

Another VERY important thing for many to consider is the cost of hardware of each system. Apple systems do and will cost you a HIGH premium over similar Windows based systems. AND Apple is very good at making sure you will have to replace your system every few years! I am not kidding. If you have an Apple machine that is over 3 or 4 years old there is most likely no way you could run the latest version of their OS (OS X Snow Leopard). If you have a ten year old Windows PC sitting around you could still put Windows 7 on it and also upgrade most of the hardware too!!

However please remember the best’ product is one that will do what you want it to (or minimum you will accept) and provides the user experience you desire.
That’s it!

Technology is only a tool, a means to an end. Not the end in and of itself.

I also won’t waste the space here to go over the VERY false argument that Mac’s are immune to being hacked or compromised. This is a statement NEVER made by anyone who deals with security on a regular basis such as myself and many of my colleagues! Mac’s have just had a much smaller ‘target’ on their head in the past but are still just as easily compromised as PCs.

If you have been using a Mac or Windows PC and it works for you stick with it unless you have some other overriding need to switch. The learning curve for Windows 7 and OS X is very short now days compared to the differences of even a decade ago.

If you are primarily just going to be browsing the web, looking at photos and some simple office type application work you will do OK with either one.

Now some entertaining illustrations:

mac-vs-pc

macpc

PC_Mac994

Great Simple How To & Tech Support videos from Google

These videos are from Google’s "Send Your Parents A Tech Support Package" site.

Basically it is a site that lets the techies (usually the younger generation) send some ‘canned support’ to their parents and elders. But these are also especially useful to those that are either new to computers and technology or just a little less tech savvy.

The short videos are actually very well thought out and clearly and quickly presented so that just about anyone can learn from them.

I believe that many folks who ‘think they know it all’ should just take a look anyways. In my line of work I am amazed that people who literally work for 8+ hours on a computer do not know how to do many of these simple tasks.
The reasons, I think, are that many people are afraid to ask for help, they think they can just ‘figure it out’, or truly don’t care to learn how to more efficiently or properly use technology. Some people refuse to learn out of some warped sense of ego or pride too.
Don’t be one of those. No one’s head has every exploded from learning how to do something new or more efficiently.

I am going to link to all the videos directly so you can peruse them at your leisure. This is very large post with LOADS of great information. I really hope many of you will take the time and view these very short helpful videos. If you wish to watch them full screen you can click on the ‘arrow’ below the YouTube icon on the lower right hand corner and choose ‘full screen modes’.

So let’s start with the first category – THE BASICS:

COPY & PASTE

ADJUST THE TIME ON YOUR CLOCK

CHANGE YOUR DESKTOP BACKROUND – MAC

CHANGE YOUR DESKTOP WALLPAPER – PC

MAKE TEXT BIGGER OR SMALLER

TAKE A SCREENSHOT

CHANGE YOUR SCREEN SAVER – MAC

CHANGE YOUR SCREEN SAVER – PC

Next – WORLD WIDE WEB (INTERNET)

CREATE A STRONG PASSWORD

MAKE BOOKMARKS

MAKE A BLOG

SHORTEN A LONG URL

CHANGE YOUR DEFAULT HOME PAGE

CREATE AN ONLINE CALENDAR

BROWSE THE WEB WITH TABS

Next – COMMUNICATION

SET UP AN EMAIL AUTO-RESPONDER

TRANSLATE TEXT

MAKE CALLS FROM YOUR COMPUTER

CHECK YOUR SPELLING

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=En8e79YvA0Y

CHAT

VIDEO CHAT

GET A NEW PHONE NUMBER

CREATE A MAILING LIST

CREATE AN EMAIL SIGNATURE

CHECK YOUR EMAIL ON YOUR PHONE

Next – MEDIA

RESIZE A PICTURE

SHARE A BIG FILE

ATTACH A FILE TO AN EMAIL

SHARE PHOTOS

CROP PHOTOS

SHARE VIDEOS

TRANSFER FILES BETWEEN COMPUTERS

KEEP TRACK OF FREQUENT FLIER MILES

Lastly – FINDING INFORMATION

FIND A PIZZA(OR OTHER) RESTAURANT NEAR YOU

GET MOVIE SHOWTIMES

FIND THE DEFINITION OF A WORD

GET DRIVING DIRECTIONS

TRACK A FLIGHT’S STATUS

CONVERT CURRENCY

USE GOOGLE AS A CALCULATOR

GET PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION DIRECTIONS

FIND A BUSINESS’S PHONE NUMBER

GET STOCK QUOTES

FIND RESTAURANT REVIEWS

VIEW LIVE TRAFFIC