To-Do List After Reinstalling Windows

Tech

For me it is pretty chaotic after formatting my laptop and I usually end up installing a lot more applications than I need and often forget some more important stuff.

So here is a comprehensive list I compiled that shows all the steps you should take after a clean install of Windows. Don’t forget to install these when reinstalling Windows.

  1. Change resolution: Right click on desktop and select Screen Resolution to switch to a higher resolution.
  2. Add desktop icons: Right click on desktop and select Personalize. Then add your most used desktop icons, such as My Computer or Network. I also add a shortcut to Add & Remove Programs that resides in Control Panel.
  3. Folder Options: Go to My Computer, Press Alt+T and select Options. Customize the settings in view tab. I change settings here to show hidden files and folders and show extensions for known file types.
  4. Disable UAC: Type UAC in the Start Menu and select User Account Control. In this screen, bring the slider all the way down to disable the annoying confirmation messages.
  5. Taskbar and Start Menu properties: Customize it to remove Default Programs, Games, Help shortcuts in Start Menu. Also uncheck Highlight newly installed programs, add Network, Run, System administrative tools shortcuts. Finally, uncheck Use Large Icons and increase the number of recent programs to 20. These are up to personal preference.
  6. Set up Wireless/Internet Connection: Configure your internet connection. In my case, I’ve set up the wireless connection during the Windows installation.
  7. Windows Update: Type Windows Update in Start Menu and start Windows Update. In the following screen you can select the update settings, which I change to “Ask me before downloading and installing updates”. Afterwards, select the updates to install and let Windows do its job.
  8. Google Chrome: Go get your browser. Alternatively, download Firefox. Download plugins/extensions later.
  9. AVG Antivirus: This is up to personal preference. Some people like Avast, NOD32 or Kaspersky instead. Don’t forget to update it.
  10. Driver updates: Download latest drivers from your hardware vendors.
  11. Add/Customize Users: Type Add User Accounts in Start Menu if you need to add more users to your system – I only change my user picture here.
  12. Restart: Finish updating Windows by restarting your PC as many times as needed. I continue this process at least until I have Windows 7 Service Pack 1.
  13. Change power settings: If you wish to have your own power settings, open Power Options and customize. I usually disable screen dimming.
  14. 7-Zip: I used to have WinRAR as a data compression utility. However after seeing a few reviews comparing the two, I decided to go with 7-Zip. It has better compression rate when compressing uncompressed file formats and it also doesn’t clutter your right-click menu as much. And it’s free.
  15. µTorrent: My go-to application for torrents. Light, fast, reliable and free.
  16. Ad-aware: Great tool for spyware removal. Also update it. You can also have Spybot S&D.
  17. CCleaner: A very efficient utility that deletes temporary files, fixes registry and more.
  18. Daemon Tools: Get this to be able to mount ISO files. Make sure you do an advanced install otherwise it will install a toolbar to your browser, among other stuff. You can also have PowerISO instead if you prefer.
  19. Foxit Reader: Great lightweight PDF Reader. Alternatively get Adobe Acrobat.
  20. Notepad++: My favorite text editor. Great for programmers.
  21. Java Runtime Edition: Needed for Java applications. Programmers can get the JDK version instead (which includes JRE, yay for us)
  22. Pidgin: For your instant messaging needs. Alternatively get MSN Messenger, Skype, X-Fire, Meebo (browser-based), Trillian etc.
  23. DirectX: Needed for most games and even for some video playbacks.
  24. Irfanview: Lightweight graphic viewer that is better than Windows Photo Viewer. Associate it with image files.
  25. CCCP: I used to have VLC Media Player but decided to give CCCP a try, which includes Media Player Classic – Home Cinema and ffdshow.
  26. Customize notification icons: Right click to right part of taskbar to customize which icons will be visible. You can also make all icons visible.
  27. Indexing: Search for Indexing in Start Menu to open Indexing Options. You might want to disable file indexing if your system is slow. However having indexing leads to faster search times for files and folders. You can also modify which folders to index.
  28. Disable sounds: Type Change system sounds in Start Menu to change Windows sounds to your liking. I disable them.
  29. Disable sticky keys: Type Make your keyboard easier to use to open the Ease of Access center and uncheck the single checked option.
  30. Customize page file: If you are an advanced user and you know how big your page file should be, you can configure this.
  31. Disable error reporting: Type gpedit in Start Menu to open gpedit.msc. Then Navigate to Computer Configuration – Administrative Templates – Systems – Internet Communication Management – Internet Communication Settings and enable Turn Off Windows Error Reporting.
  32. Disable system restore: You can set up how much space Windows can have for this feature. I disable it since I never use it.
  33. Change Default Folder Locations: You can change the locations of folders under your user folders such as Downloads to another partition by right clicking the folder and choosing the Location tab.
  34. Office: Install OpenOffice or Microsoft Office: Up to personal preference and situation.

At this point you can install some extra programs that you often use such as image editors. You can also make a backup image of your system to an external hard disk using Acronis True Image. Here is an additional optional list of programs you might need:

  • FTP Client (Filezilla)
  • Photo editing software (Gimp, Inkspace, Photoshop)
  • Download manager (I use none)
  • CD Burner (ImgBurn)
  • Defraggler: A good alternative to Disk Defragmenter.
  • Folder Size: Shows folder sizes in Windows Explorer.
  • Process Explorer: Replacement for Task Manager
  • Music Player (FooBar, Winamp)
  • Everything (lightning fast file searcher)
  • Screen capture (Greenshot)

You can also disable the Windows Features that you do not use through Add or Remove Programs such as Games, Windows Media Player or even Internet Explorer and save space.

What other steps do you take after reinstalling Windows? Do you prefer other programs? Let me know.

Best 33 Songs I Rediscovered in my Old Music Collection

Music

I rediscovered my old music archive when I was backing up my files to my external drive preparing my laptop for a format. So I went through all the music and decided to make a list of some of the better songs that I haven’t been listening to for a long time. I included music from a lot of genres so chances are you will like some of the songs, but also it is less likely that you will like all of the songs.

  1. 311 – Amber
  2. Al Di Meola – Rio Ancho
  3. Black Box Recorder – England Made Me
  4. Blackmore’s Night – Breton Dance
  5. Dark Tranquillity – Lethe
  6. David Gilmour – On an Island
  7. Demons & Wizards – Fiddler on the Green
  8. Dominic Miller – Lullaby to an Anxious Child
  9. Esbjörn Svensson Trio – Goldwrap
  10. Empyrium – Die Schwäne Im Schilf
  11. Entwine – Closer
  12. Goran Bregovic – Bubamara
  13. Katatonia – Day
  14. Lacrimosa – Alleine Zu Zweit
  15. Let It Flow – Dirge
  16. Lily Allen – Oh My God
  17. Lisa Ekdahl – Benen I Kors
  18. Melissa Ferrick – Drive
  19. Melody Gardot – Quiet Fire
  20. Mike Oldfield – Introduction
  21. Mr. Bungle – Pink Cigarette
  22. Neil Young – My My, Hey Hey
  23. Nightwish – Lappi
  24. Nirvana – Oh Me
  25. Ozzie Fudd – Kill The Wabbit
  26. Paris Combo – Living Room
  27. Ralph Towner – Jamaica Stopover
  28. The Dø – On My Shoulders
  29. Therion – Clavicula Nox
  30. UFO – Belladonna
  31. United Future Organization – Spy’s Spice
  32. Yes – Mood for a Day
  33. Yngwie Malmsteen – Evil Eye

Hope you found some songs to your liking. I will be formatting my laptop pretty soon so I’ll probably be installing lots of programs today and tomorrow.

The 10 Quickest Ways to Get 1 from 0

Fun

We do typing errors everyday. Some you notice while you are typing and some remain to haunt you until you realize they are there.

Suppose you accidentally wrote 0 instead of 1 while you were coding or writing a mathematical equation and the like. Here are the things you could do to overcome this situation.

  1. Addition:
    0 + 1
  2. Post-Increment:
    0++
  3. Pre-Increment:
    ++0
  4. Factorial function:
    0!
  5. Negation operator:
    !0
  6. Exponential function:
    e(0)
  7. OR with 1:
    0 | 1
  8. XOR with 0:
    0 ^ 1
  9. Fibonacci:
    f(0)
  10. Trash 0 and type 1 instead:
    1

My New WordPress Blog, As Exported from Blogger

Blog

I have written on Blogger for a few weeks now, and although my posts weren’t so often, it was lots of fun. So then why am I here on WordPress? Did Blogger have insufficient templates or widgets or did “blogspot” looked bad in the address bar? Or did managing even my small blog get unnecessarily complicated? Probably not and maybe.

However after my Followers widget in Blogger stopped working and not showing, it was only a matter of time before I checked out other options for blogging. Even though Google Engineering was working hard on the widget problem (which seems to have affected many blogs and which I started having after trying out the Disconnect extension for Chrome) I decided to go ahead and find a good theme for this blog.

It was hard to find a template that looked different enough for me to use until I had the idea to have a really custom header. After I went through loads of templates, I decided to have the Twenty Ten template for the moment. Then I went through my pictures and uploaded a nice lake shot that I took and cropped it. So I’m happy with how the page looks, at least for now.

Then it was the business of importing all the posts and comments. It was almost too easy, except having to remove all images for now since they mostly had wrong sizes. I also made use of the Proofread Writing feature in WordPress and I saw that I use way too many complicated expressions and passive form, which the feature somewhat urges you to correct (No, I don’t want to change “nearly empty” with “empty”. But sure, I’ll write “almost empty”). I changed most detected sentences with more human friendly versions.

So here it is as is stands. Since I’ve established some categories for posts, I’ll try to write some of each in the following days, since some are almost empty at the moment. And I might also add all the images again, however they weren’t very crucial so I might pass that.

All the readers from my old blog, be sure to subscribe here instead :)

Also, I’ve set up Bloglovin’: Follow my blog with bloglovin

Awesome Screenshot, Great Chrome Extension

Tech

Awesome Screenshot is a Chrome extension that I discovered today when I was browsing the Chrome Web Store. With this extension you get a small button to the right of your address bar. When you click the button and choose to capture the entire page among the options, a new tab appears that includes an interface that enables you to crop the captured image or add annotations (in the form of rectangles, lines, text and more). You can also blur out parts of the image.

After you’ve cropped and edited the screenshot to your liking, you can either save the image as a local file in your computer or you can easily upload it to the plugin’s own website and receive a temporary or a permanent link to access or share it. Awesome Screenshot is available in Chrome, Firefox and Safari.

My GrooveWalrus Playlist; of All Things Groovy

Music

Here is a GrooveWalrus playlist that I’ve put together in the last few days. It works with the latest version (3.4.2) and probably with some earlier and later versions. You need the GrooveWalrus application to play this playlist. It is in XML format.

Link to google sites: GrooveWalrus playlist

You can add the playlist to your GrooveWalrus application through File->Open… file dialog. As a side note, GrooveWalrus also allows you to open m3u files this way.

GrooveWalrus, Great Spotify Alternative with Last.fm Support

Tech

The new Spotify limitations meant that I’d be looking for a good and free streaming music player to meet my music needs. At first I tried a few browser-based alternatives, such as Grooveshark and Fizy, but later I realized that this wasn’t exactly what I was looking for in a music player that I would be listening to all day. I needed to have a desktop application that also had Last.fm support, basically something more like Spotify’s application.

GrooveWalrus, a great streaming music player

GrooveWalrus, a great streaming music player with good ease of use.

After a quick search in Google, I found out that what I had in my mind actually existed. And it was awesome. GrooveWalrus is pretty much an application to play songs from the two music databases and from your local hard drive. In addition to sharing the love for walruses, it can save and export playlists, import playlists from Grooveshark (and therefore import playlists from Spotify if you convert them to Grooveshark playlists first, though a little trickier) and scrobble your tracks to Last.fm.

A part of GrooveWalrus' Last.fm interface

GrooveWalrus offers a great amount of Last.fm integration. Wait until you see the next tab.

GrooveWalrus also has a number of already installed useful plugins that enable you to assign global hotkeys (even to your media keys, so you could pretty much minimize GrooveWalrus and only access it with shortcuts after creating a decent playlist), fetch lyrics for your tracks while they are playing (just like Winamp plugins), access and control the music player through a web remote, see the history of previously played songs and even put those songs into a two-dimensional coordinate system with axises of your choice!

Search results in GrooveWalrus

Lots of search results for most artists guaranteed. Click to maximize.

Other great things GrooveWalrus can do include getting charts from Last.fm such as the list of similar songs (or artists) to the currently played song, lists of the top songs, albums of the artist and the associated Last.fm tags for the song played. You can also get the tracks that have a particular tag in an instant.

Furthermore, you can view what your friends and neighbors in Last.fm are listening to and even what songs they loved while using Last.fm and then add those to your playlists (a great way to populate your playlists). You can also see associated album and artist data for the song. And so many other great features.

All in all, GrooveWalrus is a great streaming music player that brings the best of two worlds and puts it on your desktop for your convenience. It is written in Phyton and it is available for both Windows and Linux (you might want to try Wine to get it running for Linux) You can get it here for free.

Some More Running and There Goes 4km

Blog

As you can make out from the title, I ran some more today, particularly because it was a warm and sunny day, just like the last few days. I already ran a few times since I last wrote about running, however today I had a special goal in mind: to run/jog as slowly as I can so that I could go around the lake without slowing down to a walk, which would have been around 4.5 km. Instead, after meeting with the mosquitoes that I met during the last walk around the lake again, I decided to change my course and took the beach route back home instead, only walking to cross some streets, which amounted to around a little over 4 km combined.

But let’s face it, it’s hard to just preemptively go out and start running and actually run a few kilometers without complaining, even with the promise of your favorite candy when you arrive home. So here’s a list of the stuff you’ll need when you want to run on a warm sunny day like this:

  1. Running shoes: Might be the most important, be sure to get a running shoe that fits your feet well. Your feet might be over or underpronated. Wrong shoes will make you want to stop running. I’ve had no such issues after getting a nice pair of Adidas shoes.
  2. Running route: Decide on a good running route with nice scenery to keep you occupied. Don’t start running with the decision to return when you’ll feel tired, otherwise you won’t even break a sweat. Parks and beach routes are good bets. You can also use some websites such as MapMyRun to save your favorite running routes and keep track of your activities (instead of blogging about them)
  3. Music: You might want to bring along a music player with you. Just make sure you got deep pockets or a good way to clasp it to your clothes. Take care when crossing streets, if there are any on your running route. Make sure your music matches your planned running tempo (i.e. no Rammstein for a slow jog under the sun, Louis XIV is more suitable)
  4. Running t-shirt: For those that want to show off their hard-earned sweat, have a generic light-colored t-shirt with summer related text on it.

Fizy: Streaming Music Website with a Simple Design

Tech

Fizy, with the tagline “easy way to find songs and music videos” is a powerful and simple browser-based music search engine with many awards. Having much in common with Grooveshark and other similar streaming music services, it also has some shortcomings which might not annoy you so much depending on your habits. It is currently displayed in Intel AppUp and it is available in 30 different languages. So here is a short review and comparison of Fizy with other similar services.

First off, the positive points:

  1. It is simple: It has such a simple design that it looks like it was designed for mobile browsing. This minimalistic approach is a safe refuge from some lots-of-images-and ads-on-your-face websites (cough, Grooveshark, cough). It is also ad-free with no pop ups.
  2. It is lightning fast: Fizy can pull music from 50 different APIs (including Grooveshark and YouTube) which gives it access to over 75 billion mp3’s almost instantaneously which really separates it from tons of other similar services. Additionally, it consumes a lot less resources at the browser level, thanks to its simple design.
  3. It is easy to use: All the stuff you’ll ever need is there in one page. You don’t even have to refresh the page for actions like registration or last.fm integration takes mere seconds. Fizy also makes it fairly easy to create playlists, you only need to find a good quality version of the song you’ve just searched. Sharing your playlists is also almost effortless.
  4. Last.fm integration: For people who love scrobbling like myself, this point is a necessity in any streaming or non-streaming music player. Fortunately, Fizy has been scrobbling each track for me. People who are yet unaware of Last.fm might want to consider getting acquainted with it for the wonderful music discovery tool it is.
  5. It is accessible: You don’t need to be registered or logged in to play any song or playlist as long as you have the link to the playlist. This makes it easy for you to access to your music while using any computer without logging in. The link for the playlists aren’t gibberish either, and very easy to remember, such as slithzerai.fizy.com/p/default, slithzerai being the username and default being the name of the playlist.

And now, the negative points:

  1. No keyboard shortcuts: Throughout my experimentation with Fizy, I couldn’t come across any keyboard shortcuts. This is the case with most browser-based streaming music players and can be solved if a desktop extension for Fizy were to be developed.
  2. No artist/album/track information: Not being able to even simply view the albums of an artist makes it somewhat hard to use Fizy to discover new music. Also there are no tags associated with tracks or artists. Fortunately you can use Last.fm or even Spotify for this purpose.

Even with these shortcomings, Fizy is an online jukebox that was made to be simple and easy to use. So if these are the things you are looking for in a streaming music player, Fizy might be a good choice for you. And it looks good too! The only thing you’ll be pondering on is which artists or tracks to search for. So just remember to use another service to discover new music.