Sunday, January 07, 2007

Tips, Transformations, Utilities, and Fun - Open for adoption

So here are the handful of sites that I collected, that I wasn't able to include in any of my previous week's post.

While I could spin a post on any of them, in their own week's focus primarily on Blogger and security topics has left them lonely.

So I figured I'd give 'em a bath and blow-dry, then put them out there together for adoption. Take a couple of them home with you...they're potty-trained.


Got Firefox 2? Having trouble getting to a favorite secure website? It may be running under SSL 2 Protocol...which doesn't appear to be enabled now by default. Fix it: Firefox Extension Guru’s Blog Firefox 2.0: SSL 2 Tweak

Still not working? Tweak it more! Firefox Extension Guru’s Blog: Fx Not Accessing Secure Sites

Did you hear about the 60 (or so) Gmail users who had all their on-line email deleted? Bummer. What can one do to protect oneself? DownloadSquad tips readers on setting up your local email client to back up your Gmail account. I've had mine set up that way, and it's good to know I've got a backup...just in case.

I know I break some grammatical writing rules. It's hard remembering all the finer points of English from high-school and college. I was too busy with, um, other pursuits... So with that in mind, Steve Rubel tips us to colleague Dan Santow's new blog: Word Wise. I hope it gets updated frequently as the current post list is light, but the content is wonderful.


I'm quite happy with using the new Zune Theme for Windows XP by Microsoft. I don't usually want anything other than a stable system with just a touch of eye-candy. However: if you want more from your XP themes, check out this great tutorial post: CyberNotes: How to Install Unsigned Themes in Windows XP

Ryan then thoughtfully provides some links to XP themes that mimic (to a better or lesser degree) Windows Vista.

Want to go up one notch on your XP transformation? Hope over to Windows X's Shrine and pickup their Vista Transformation Pack 6.0. It can provide an uncanny update to XP's look.

Want to go up to notches of XP transformation extreme? Get the Flyakite OX X pack. It is an amazing package of several applications that will transform your XP system into a visually (and behaviorally) functioning OS X skin. Wow! Even their website mimics an Apple OS X desktop experience.


Deploying a new image of Windows is always a pain. When I must, I get the system all configured, add in my Microsoft updates, delete unnecessary applications and overhead, then run Microsoft's Sysprep tool for XP or 2000 systems. Finally I take an image of the prepped system and get it burned on CD/DVD's for distribution.

Another solution is to use nLite - Windows Installation Customizer. It is very GUI based and very simple to use. Lots of options...and it can optionally make a book image ready for burning to CD or for testing on virtual machines.

The good folks have been hard at work and now also have a version called vLite - nLite for Windows if you are already planning Vista image deployments (you brave souls!) your work just got easier! It's still in beta, but with some work, they claim you can get the minimal Vista image down very close to a CD size. That's something!

I've posted before about backing up the drivers you currently have installed on your system. Nothing is a bigger pain then having to do a system restore from the original disks, then finding out you don't have all the updated drives you've accumulated over the years.

Driver Collector 1.2 has a simple interface to help you collect 'em up. Then save to a CD. When you need them...they will be there for you. (via Lifehacker)

More driver backup utilities. - via Grand Stream Dreams blog!

InstallPad is a little, customizable freeware utility that will allow you to make "software install lists." (Note: Requires the included Microsoft .NET 2.0 runtime)

Check the apps you want, and it will download from the source, and run the setups! Done.

You can go with the default list of offerings, or make custom lists (as many as you want) to use instead--say Games, or Utilities, or Productivity Software. In fact, the fine-folks at Lifehacker have already taken the time to put together some custom lists for you already!


I really liked the updated Solitaire game build in Vista. The cards are beautiful and the game-play smooth. The version in XP no longer satisfies. There are many good third-party solitaire software games out there, but I just haven't found one to make me happy...until now.

Check out David Mayne's freeware game Patience and prepare to be amazed. It comes with over 200 variations of the classic solitaire game, nice card themes, sounds, and scorekeeping. One set of of cards is "girlie" like your the deck your grand-dad kept in the wood-shop...nothing too scandalous--but be warned--you can/should delete that set out of the file set if you want to take the game to work (portable style) on your USB. even comes with a utility to use your own images to make card-decks! Now...which anime ladies should I pick........

GoogleX - What the classic Google search page should have looked like...if they weren't scared of Apple's lawyers for using a look-a-like Dock effect.

It works just fine so you can use it instead of the original if you want. I just can't say what privacy risk you may be taking--as the page is not hosted by Google (this is a mirror of their original hosted by Tech info Blog!), although the results are. See also:GoogleX 22 - not quite as smooth. Wikipedia post.

Find anything?


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