Thursday, December 15, 2011

Tab Mix Plus for Chrome work around

*** UPDATE***  9/13/2013
Around August 2013 Google sent out a new version of Chrome that is no longer compatible with Chrome Toolbox.  So far there have been no indicators that the Google team will be updating the toolbox.  It's more abandonware from Google.

The main reason I have stuck with Firefox is Tab Mix Plus.  It is the must have extension.  But the developer of TMP to date has no interest in porting this gem to Google’s Chrome browser.  Lately I have become so frustrated with Firefox’s speed I gave Chrome another chance and spent a couple of days searching for something to match TMP’s features.

I finally made the transition to Chrome this week.  A whole week without Firefox!  I am still not 100% sold on Chrome, I still feel the extensions in Firefox are more robust but the sheer speed of Chrome has me sold.  I found that Google makes an extension for Chrome that has one key tab feature to make it one step closer to TMP’s treasure chest of tab extensions. 

Chrome Toolbox by Google has a few tab extensions that do make life easier.  The key feature is opening a new tab when typing anything on the URL line.  Since Chrome has no search window you type your URL or search request into the same area.  With Google’s Toolbox for Chrome there is an option labeled ‘When pressing enter in address bar with a URL in it, open the URL in a new tab”.  This is awesome, the most difficult part of the transition was losing my current tab every time I did a search and this solves that. 

Another option in the Google’s Toolbox is “When clicking on a link, always open in a new tab”.  It’s not exactly what I want.  What TMP does is only open a new link if the domain changes when clicking on a link.  I put a request into the Google dev team about enhancing this feature but from what I am reading they don’t seem to listen to us users!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Download Manager Tweak for Firefox

One thing that always annoyed me was the pop up window that appears whenever you download a file from Firefox.  I found this add-on the other day that puts your downloads into a tab.  It also won’t open new tabs for each download, it keeps all the downloads in one tab, exactly what I wanted. 

The add on has a few other functions and this one was especially nice, it will auto purge the download list by the number of days or count.  


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Crucial M4 SSD

I finally pulled the trigger on a SSD for my Windows PC.  I have been struggling with bad reviews on NewEgg’s site with many brands of SSD’s from OCZ, Kingston and other brands.  Most of the reviews start out fine but over a 3-6 month period there is an alarming amount of failures. I finally stopped looking at the cheaper SSD’s and went higher up the scale and then I saw the light.  I settled on the Crucial M4 because it supports the SATA III interface and had a lot of solid reviews.

Installation was easy.  My first step was to update the firmware.  I downloaded v0009 from Crucial and burned the boot image to an ISO using ImgBurn.  The instructions with the update clearly stated you must disable AHCI in the BIOS for the update to work.  It turned out my M4 was already running v0009. But the update process looked to be simple enough for anyone that would get an older version.

I put the BIOS back to AHCI and loaded Windows 7 x64 Ultimate from scratch. It took 15 minutes to install the OS with an Intel Core i7 SandyBridge system.  I read many articles about SSD alignment.  Alignment must be multiples of 64, 128, 256….  Disks that are not aligned will span two blocks for read/writes which causes a significant slowdown.  The sad part is most imaging software like Acronis will not work well if you image your current HD to the SSD.  The alignment will be wrong which will cause major performance issues with your SSD.  Also if you don’t use Windows 7 you have to manually align the SSD.  There are many articles out there to cover this process.

So loading Windows 7 and all my applications gave the Crucial M4 a good test.  I was amazed how fast everything installed.  My only issue with the Crucial M4 is they don’t provide any rail mounts for a 2.5 to 3.5 case.  Right now mine is just hanging from the bottom of the case, it’s so light the SATA cables make it float. 

I installed AS SSD benchmark 1.6.  I made no tweaks to Windows 7 except to disable indexing on drive C:  Numbers are below:

Sunday, October 2, 2011

SanDisk Cruzer 32gig keychain mount

I was hesitant to buy this drive after reading many user reviews that you cannot attach this drive to a keychain.  I saw a couple of comments that users did attach them which left me confused why most said you could not.  Well I decided to buy it and hope it worked.  I was able to finally attach it to my keychain.  My first attempt failed, I tried using a small metal ring from a LED flashlight.  The ring was too big to fit around the pin.  I than had an old lanyard lying around that uses a nylon string that fit perfectly around the metal pin.  In my opinion Sandisk blew it with the keychain mount.  The older Cruzers worked fine and they included the keychain ring. Why the later models do not is very bizarre.

When you first plug your new Cruzer into your Windows system you won’t be able to copy large files (>4gig) to the device.  Sandisk is still formatting these drives with FAT32.  I recommend reformatting the drive for NTFS.  It’s a much more stable file system to store our important files.

File transfers are still slow due to the USB 2.0 interface.  I copied a 4.7gig file in 14 minutes.  

What I have always liked about the Cruzer line is no cap is required to cover the USB plug.  The USB plug retracts into the drive using a slider control that is easily moved with your thumb.  The drive also has a light to indicate it’s on and blinks when data is being transferred to or from the drive.  

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Power Out Alarm from Reliance Controls

Since hurricane Irene I have become more worried about my sump pump not working without any power.  I also have a refrigerator that is on a circuit that pops the breaker two or three times a year.  I was looking for a cheap alarm to tell me when I have no power to the frig and an alarm to wake me during a storm so I can get my generator going to power my sump pump. 

I really like that the alarm also subs as a flashlight when the power goes out.  It has a built in rechargeable battery that powers several LED’s to make for an effective flashlight.  The flashlight turns on automatically when the power is disrupted.  The manual states the battery can run the flashlight for up to 6 hours.

The only negative is the alarm itself.  It is not very loud.  The manual says it is 78 dB. It is not nearly as loud as a home fire alarm for example.  I plan on using one in the bedroom which should wake me if the power goes out.  This alarm costs under $15 dollars.  It’s a decent solution for the price.  

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


A few months ago I bought a Sandy Bridge Intel motherboard that has onboard USB 3.0.  I finally decided to try a USB 3.0 SATA dock to take advantage of the USB 3.0 speeds.  The results are rather impressive if you are coming from a USB 2 SATA dock.  USB 3 even edges out an eSATA interface. 

Using Windows 7 x64 I copied a 16.4gig file from an internal hard drive to my new USB 3 dock in 173 seconds.  The same file using an eSATA dock took 199 seconds and using a USB 2 dock it took a whopping 963 seconds. To say the least I am happy with the transfer rate that USB 3 provides.

The USB 3 dock is from Rosewill, model RX-DU300.  I am using an ASUS P8H67-M EVO motherboard.  This motherboard uses an ASMEDIA USB 3.0 chipset.  Microsoft does not provide generic USB 3 drivers so you will need to install the drivers that are specific to your M/B.  In my case it’s the ASmedia drivers which are available on the ASUS site.  They are dated 12/29/2010.  I was a bit worried when I saw how old they are but they seem to be working fine.  Watch the video to help show you how to confirm if your USB 3 drivers are installed.

The dock comes with a 3’ foot USB 3 cable.  It’s a bit short in my opinion, but at least it came with a cable as you do need a special USB 3 cable to take advantage of the higher speeds that USB 3 provides.  Make sure the cable seats all the way on the back of your motherboard.  On my first attempt the cable was not in all the way and the speed was degraded.  

This dock will fit standard size sata or laptop sata drives.   The dock has a blue LED to indicate power and blinks when transferring data.  The eject button is hard to depress.  I would also hold the drive during the eject so it does not bounce. 

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Photoshop crashing Event ID 1000

I needed to get Photoshop CS5 running on my backup system and Photoshop was not too happy.  I updated all drivers and it would crash whenever I opened any file.  The Event Viewer said it was ID 1000.  After some searching on Google I got no fixes.  I finally just poked around the PS preferences and found a toggle to disable Open GL Drawing under the performance menu.  Presto, once I unchecked that box Photoshop works perfectly.