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  • Sql order by within a group by with aggregate

    - by NG
    Say I have Team/Name/Some number Cardinals Jason 8 Cardinals Chris 5 Yankees Joba 6 Cubs Carlos 6 Cardinals Chris 6 And I want Cardinals Jason 8 Cardinals Chris 11 Cubs Carlos 6 Yankees Joba 6 So, what I'm doing is grouping by team, grouping by name, summing by some number However, within cardinals I want to make sure the names are in a particular order. If I just do an "order by name desc" for example then the the whole grouping gets ignored. So how can I order within a group.

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  • Ask How-To Geek: Learning the Office Ribbon, Booting to USB with an Old BIOS, and Snapping Windows

    - by Jason Fitzpatrick
    You’ve got questions and we’ve got answers. Today we highlight how to master the new Office interface, USB boot a computer with outdated BIOS, and snap windows to preset locations. Learning the New Office Ribbon Dear How-To Geek, I feel silly asking this (in light of how long the new Office interface has been out) but my company finally got around to upgrading from Windows XP and Office 2000 so the new interface it totally new to me. Can you recommend any resources for quickly learning the Office ribbon and the new changes? I feel completely lost after two decades of the old Office interface. Help! Sincerely, Where the Hell is Everything? Dear Where the Hell, We think most people were with you at some point in the last few years. “Where the hell is…” could possibly be the slogan for the new ribbon interface. You could browse through some of the dry tutorials online or even get a weighty book on the topic but the best way to learn something new is to get hands on. Ribbon Hero turns learning the new Office features and ribbon layout into a game. It’s no vigorous round of Team Fortress mind you, but it’s significantly more fun than reading a training document. Check out how to install and configure Ribbon Hero here. You’ll be teaching your coworkers new tricks in no time. Boot via USB with an Old BIOS Dear How-To Geek, I’m trying to repurpose some old computers by updating them with lightweight Linux distros but the BIOS on most of the machines is ancient and creaky. How ancient? It doesn’t even support booting from a USB device! I have a large flash drive that I’ve turned into a master installation tool for jobs like this but I can’t use it. The computers in question have USB ports; they just aren’t recognized during the boot process. What can I do? USB Bootin’ in Boise Dear USB Bootin’, It’s great you’re working to breathe life into old hardware! You’ve run into one of the limitations of older BIOSes, USB was around but nobody was thinking about booting off of it. Fortunately if you have a computer old enough to have that kind of BIOS it’s likely to also has a floppy drive or a CDROM drive. While you could make a bootable CDROM for your application we understand that you want to keep using the master USB installer you’ve made. In light of that we recommend PLoP Boot Manager. Think of it like a boot manager for your boot manager. Using it you can create a bootable floppy or CDROM that will enable USB booting of your master USB drive. Make a CD and a floppy version and you’ll have everything in your toolkit you need for future computer refurbishing projects. Read up on creating bootable media with PLoP Boot Manager here. Snapping Windows to Preset Coordinates Dear How-To Geek, Once upon a time I had a company laptop that came with a little utility that snapped windows to preset areas of the screen. This was long before the snap-to-side features in Windows 7. You could essentially configure your screen into a grid pattern of your choosing and then windows would neatly snap into those grids. I have no idea what it was called or if was anymore than a gimmick from the computer manufacturer, but I’d really like to have it on my new computer! Bend and Snap in San Francisco, Dear Bend and Snap, If we had to guess, we’d guess your company must have had a set of laptops from Acer as the program you’re describing sounds exactly like Acer GridVista. Fortunately for you the application was extremely popular and Acer released it independently of their hardware. If, by chance, you’ve since upgraded to a multiple monitor setup the app even supports multiple monitors—many of the configurations are handy for arranging IM windows and other auxiliary communication tools. Check out our guide to installing and configuring Acer GridVista here for more information. Have a question you want to put before the How-To Geek staff? Shoot us an email at [email protected] and then keep an eye out for a solution in the Ask How-To Geek column. Latest Features How-To Geek ETC How to Upgrade Windows 7 Easily (And Understand Whether You Should) The How-To Geek Guide to Audio Editing: Basic Noise Removal Install a Wii Game Loader for Easy Backups and Fast Load Times The Best of CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in 2011 The Worst of CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in 2011 HTG Projects: How to Create Your Own Custom Papercraft Toy Download the New Year in Japan Windows 7 Theme from Microsoft Once More Unto the Breach – Facebook Apps Can Now Access Your Address and Phone Number Dial Zero Speeds You Through Annoying Customer Service Menus Complete Dropquest 2011 and Receive Free Dropbox Storage Desktop Computer versus Laptop Wallpaper The Kids Have No Idea What Old Tech Is [Video]

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  • Video Games from the Bad Guys’ Perspective [Video]

    - by Jason Fitzpatrick
    We’re so used to seeing video games from our perspective–the hero with the endless power ups and do-overs–but how does the video game world look from the perspective of the bad guys? Rather grim and confusing, as the video above highlights. [via Geekosystem] How to Banish Duplicate Photos with VisiPic How to Make Your Laptop Choose a Wired Connection Instead of Wireless HTG Explains: What Is Two-Factor Authentication and Should I Be Using It?

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  • HTG Reviews the CODE Keyboard: Old School Construction Meets Modern Amenities

    - by Jason Fitzpatrick
    There’s nothing quite as satisfying as the smooth and crisp action of a well built keyboard. If you’re tired of  mushy keys and cheap feeling keyboards, a well-constructed mechanical keyboard is a welcome respite from the $10 keyboard that came with your computer. Read on as we put the CODE mechanical keyboard through the paces. What is the CODE Keyboard? The CODE keyboard is a collaboration between manufacturer WASD Keyboards and Jeff Atwood of Coding Horror (the guy behind the Stack Exchange network and Discourse forum software). Atwood’s focus was incorporating the best of traditional mechanical keyboards and the best of modern keyboard usability improvements. In his own words: The world is awash in terrible, crappy, no name how-cheap-can-we-make-it keyboards. There are a few dozen better mechanical keyboard options out there. I’ve owned and used at least six different expensive mechanical keyboards, but I wasn’t satisfied with any of them, either: they didn’t have backlighting, were ugly, had terrible design, or were missing basic functions like media keys. That’s why I originally contacted Weyman Kwong of WASD Keyboards way back in early 2012. I told him that the state of keyboards was unacceptable to me as a geek, and I proposed a partnership wherein I was willing to work with him to do whatever it takes to produce a truly great mechanical keyboard. Even the ardent skeptic who questions whether Atwood has indeed created a truly great mechanical keyboard certainly can’t argue with the position he starts from: there are so many agonizingly crappy keyboards out there. Even worse, in our opinion, is that unless you’re a typist of a certain vintage there’s a good chance you’ve never actually typed on a really nice keyboard. Those that didn’t start using computers until the mid-to-late 1990s most likely have always typed on modern mushy-key keyboards and never known the joy of typing on a really responsive and crisp mechanical keyboard. Is our preference for and love of mechanical keyboards shining through here? Good. We’re not even going to try and hide it. So where does the CODE keyboard stack up in pantheon of keyboards? Read on as we walk you through the simple setup and our experience using the CODE. Setting Up the CODE Keyboard Although the setup of the CODE keyboard is essentially plug and play, there are two distinct setup steps that you likely haven’t had to perform on a previous keyboard. Both highlight the degree of care put into the keyboard and the amount of customization available. Inside the box you’ll find the keyboard, a micro USB cable, a USB-to-PS2 adapter, and a tool which you may be unfamiliar with: a key puller. We’ll return to the key puller in a moment. Unlike the majority of keyboards on the market, the cord isn’t permanently affixed to the keyboard. What does this mean for you? Aside from the obvious need to plug it in yourself, it makes it dead simple to repair your own keyboard cord if it gets attacked by a pet, mangled in a mechanism on your desk, or otherwise damaged. It also makes it easy to take advantage of the cable routing channels in on the underside of the keyboard to  route your cable exactly where you want it. While we’re staring at the underside of the keyboard, check out those beefy rubber feet. By peripherals standards they’re huge (and there is six instead of the usual four). Once you plunk the keyboard down where you want it, it might as well be glued down the rubber feet work so well. After you’ve secured the cable and adjusted it to your liking, there is one more task  before plug the keyboard into the computer. On the bottom left-hand side of the keyboard, you’ll find a small recess in the plastic with some dip switches inside: The dip switches are there to switch hardware functions for various operating systems, keyboard layouts, and to enable/disable function keys. By toggling the dip switches you can change the keyboard from QWERTY mode to Dvorak mode and Colemak mode, the two most popular alternative keyboard configurations. You can also use the switches to enable Mac-functionality (for Command/Option keys). One of our favorite little toggles is the SW3 dip switch: you can disable the Caps Lock key; goodbye accidentally pressing Caps when you mean to press Shift. You can review the entire dip switch configuration chart here. The quick-start for Windows users is simple: double check that all the switches are in the off position (as seen in the photo above) and then simply toggle SW6 on to enable the media and backlighting function keys (this turns the menu key on the keyboard into a function key as typically found on laptop keyboards). After adjusting the dip switches to your liking, plug the keyboard into an open USB port on your computer (or into your PS/2 port using the included adapter). Design, Layout, and Backlighting The CODE keyboard comes in two flavors, a traditional 87-key layout (no number pad) and a traditional 104-key layout (number pad on the right hand side). We identify the layout as traditional because, despite some modern trapping and sneaky shortcuts, the actual form factor of the keyboard from the shape of the keys to the spacing and position is as classic as it comes. You won’t have to learn a new keyboard layout and spend weeks conditioning yourself to a smaller than normal backspace key or a PgUp/PgDn pair in an unconventional location. Just because the keyboard is very conventional in layout, however, doesn’t mean you’ll be missing modern amenities like media-control keys. The following additional functions are hidden in the F11, F12, Pause button, and the 2×6 grid formed by the Insert and Delete rows: keyboard illumination brightness, keyboard illumination on/off, mute, and then the typical play/pause, forward/backward, stop, and volume +/- in Insert and Delete rows, respectively. While we weren’t sure what we’d think of the function-key system at first (especially after retiring a Microsoft Sidewinder keyboard with a huge and easily accessible volume knob on it), it took less than a day for us to adapt to using the Fn key, located next to the right Ctrl key, to adjust our media playback on the fly. Keyboard backlighting is a largely hit-or-miss undertaking but the CODE keyboard nails it. Not only does it have pleasant and easily adjustable through-the-keys lighting but the key switches the keys themselves are attached to are mounted to a steel plate with white paint. Enough of the light reflects off the interior cavity of the keys and then diffuses across the white plate to provide nice even illumination in between the keys. Highlighting the steel plate beneath the keys brings us to the actual construction of the keyboard. It’s rock solid. The 87-key model, the one we tested, is 2.0 pounds. The 104-key is nearly a half pound heavier at 2.42 pounds. Between the steel plate, the extra-thick PCB board beneath the steel plate, and the thick ABS plastic housing, the keyboard has very solid feel to it. Combine that heft with the previously mentioned thick rubber feet and you have a tank-like keyboard that won’t budge a millimeter during normal use. Examining The Keys This is the section of the review the hardcore typists and keyboard ninjas have been waiting for. We’ve looked at the layout of the keyboard, we’ve looked at the general construction of it, but what about the actual keys? There are a wide variety of keyboard construction techniques but the vast majority of modern keyboards use a rubber-dome construction. The key is floated in a plastic frame over a rubber membrane that has a little rubber dome for each key. The press of the physical key compresses the rubber dome downwards and a little bit of conductive material on the inside of the dome’s apex connects with the circuit board. Despite the near ubiquity of the design, many people dislike it. The principal complaint is that dome keyboards require a complete compression to register a keystroke; keyboard designers and enthusiasts refer to this as “bottoming out”. In other words, the register the “b” key, you need to completely press that key down. As such it slows you down and requires additional pressure and movement that, over the course of tens of thousands of keystrokes, adds up to a whole lot of wasted time and fatigue. The CODE keyboard features key switches manufactured by Cherry, a company that has manufactured key switches since the 1960s. Specifically the CODE features Cherry MX Clear switches. These switches feature the same classic design of the other Cherry switches (such as the MX Blue and Brown switch lineups) but they are significantly quieter (yes this is a mechanical keyboard, but no, your neighbors won’t think you’re firing off a machine gun) as they lack the audible click found in most Cherry switches. This isn’t to say that they keyboard doesn’t have a nice audible key press sound when the key is fully depressed, but that the key mechanism isn’t doesn’t create a loud click sound when triggered. One of the great features of the Cherry MX clear is a tactile “bump” that indicates the key has been compressed enough to register the stroke. For touch typists the very subtle tactile feedback is a great indicator that you can move on to the next stroke and provides a welcome speed boost. Even if you’re not trying to break any word-per-minute records, that little bump when pressing the key is satisfying. The Cherry key switches, in addition to providing a much more pleasant typing experience, are also significantly more durable than dome-style key switch. Rubber dome switch membrane keyboards are typically rated for 5-10 million contacts whereas the Cherry mechanical switches are rated for 50 million contacts. You’d have to write the next War and Peace  and follow that up with A Tale of Two Cities: Zombie Edition, and then turn around and transcribe them both into a dozen different languages to even begin putting a tiny dent in the lifecycle of this keyboard. So what do the switches look like under the classicly styled keys? You can take a look yourself with the included key puller. Slide the loop between the keys and then gently beneath the key you wish to remove: Wiggle the key puller gently back and forth while exerting a gentle upward pressure to pop the key off; You can repeat the process for every key, if you ever find yourself needing to extract piles of cat hair, Cheeto dust, or other foreign objects from your keyboard. There it is, the naked switch, the source of that wonderful crisp action with the tactile bump on each keystroke. The last feature worthy of a mention is the N-key rollover functionality of the keyboard. This is a feature you simply won’t find on non-mechanical keyboards and even gaming keyboards typically only have any sort of key roller on the high-frequency keys like WASD. So what is N-key rollover and why do you care? On a typical mass-produced rubber-dome keyboard you cannot simultaneously press more than two keys as the third one doesn’t register. PS/2 keyboards allow for unlimited rollover (in other words you can’t out type the keyboard as all of your keystrokes, no matter how fast, will register); if you use the CODE keyboard with the PS/2 adapter you gain this ability. If you don’t use the PS/2 adapter and use the native USB, you still get 6-key rollover (and the CTRL, ALT, and SHIFT don’t count towards the 6) so realistically you still won’t be able to out type the computer as even the more finger twisting keyboard combos and high speed typing will still fall well within the 6-key rollover. The rollover absolutely doesn’t matter if you’re a slow hunt-and-peck typist, but if you’ve read this far into a keyboard review there’s a good chance that you’re a serious typist and that kind of quality construction and high-number key rollover is a fantastic feature.  The Good, The Bad, and the Verdict We’ve put the CODE keyboard through the paces, we’ve played games with it, typed articles with it, left lengthy comments on Reddit, and otherwise used and abused it like we would any other keyboard. The Good: The construction is rock solid. In an emergency, we’re confident we could use the keyboard as a blunt weapon (and then resume using it later in the day with no ill effect on the keyboard). The Cherry switches are an absolute pleasure to type on; the Clear variety found in the CODE keyboard offer a really nice middle-ground between the gun-shot clack of a louder mechanical switch and the quietness of a lesser-quality dome keyboard without sacrificing quality. Touch typists will love the subtle tactile bump feedback. Dip switch system makes it very easy for users on different systems and with different keyboard layout needs to switch between operating system and keyboard layouts. If you’re investing a chunk of change in a keyboard it’s nice to know you can take it with you to a different operating system or “upgrade” it to a new layout if you decide to take up Dvorak-style typing. The backlighting is perfect. You can adjust it from a barely-visible glow to a blazing light-up-the-room brightness. Whatever your intesity preference, the white-coated steel backplate does a great job diffusing the light between the keys. You can easily remove the keys for cleaning (or to rearrange the letters to support a new keyboard layout). The weight of the unit combined with the extra thick rubber feet keep it planted exactly where you place it on the desk. The Bad: While you’re getting your money’s worth, the $150 price tag is a shock when compared to the $20-60 price tags you find on lower-end keyboards. People used to large dedicated media keys independent of the traditional key layout (such as the large buttons and volume controls found on many modern keyboards) might be off put by the Fn-key style media controls on the CODE. The Verdict: The keyboard is clearly and heavily influenced by the needs of serious typists. Whether you’re a programmer, transcriptionist, or just somebody that wants to leave the lengthiest article comments the Internet has ever seen, the CODE keyboard offers a rock solid typing experience. Yes, $150 isn’t pocket change, but the quality of the CODE keyboard is so high and the typing experience is so enjoyable, you’re easily getting ten times the value you’d get out of purchasing a lesser keyboard. Even compared to other mechanical keyboards on the market, like the Das Keyboard, you’re still getting more for your money as other mechanical keyboards don’t come with the lovely-to-type-on Cherry MX Clear switches, back lighting, and hardware-based operating system keyboard layout switching. If it’s in your budget to upgrade your keyboard (especially if you’ve been slogging along with a low-end rubber-dome keyboard) there’s no good reason to not pickup a CODE keyboard. Key animation courtesy of Geekhack.org user Lethal Squirrel.       

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  • Ask How-To Geek: Dropbox in the Start Menu, Understanding Symlinks, and Ripping TV Series DVDs

    - by Jason Fitzpatrick
    This week we take a look at how to incorporate Dropbox into your Windows Start Menu, understanding and using symbolic links, and how to rip your TV series DVDs right to unique and high-quality episode files. Once a week we dip into our reader mailbag and help readers solve their problems, sharing the useful solutions with you in the process. Read on to see our fixes for this week’s reader dilemmas. Add Drobox to Your Start Menu Dear How-To Geek, I use Dropbox all the time and would like to add it right onto my start menu along side the other major shortcuts like Documents, Pictures, etc. It seems like adding Dropbox into the menu should be part of the Dropbox installation package! Sincerely, Dropboxing in Des Moines Dear Dropboxing, We agree, it would be a nice installation option. As it stands you’re going to have to do a little simple hacking to get Dropbox nestled neatly into your start menu. The hack isn’t super elegant but when you’re done you’ll have the link you want and it’ll look like it was there all along. Check out this step-by-step guide here in order to take an existing Library shortcut and rework it to be a Dropbox link. Understanding and Using Symbolic Links Dear How-To Geek, I was talking to a coworker the other day about an issue I’d been having with a media center application I’m running. He suggested using symbolic links to better organize my media and make it easier for the application to access my collection. I had no idea what he was talking about and never got a chance to bug him about it later. Can you clear up this whole symbolic links business for me? I’ve been using computers for years and I’ve never even heard of it! Sincerely, Symbolic Who? Dear Symbolic, Symbolic links aren’t commonly used by many Windows users which is why you likely haven’t run into the concept. Symbolic links are essentially supercharged shortcuts—the newly introduced Windows library system is really just a type of symbolic link system. You can use symbolic links to do all sorts of neat stuff like link folders to your Dropbox folder, organize media, and more. The concept of symbolic links is pretty simple but the execution can be really tricky. We’d suggest reading over our guide to creating symbolic links in Windows 7, Windows XP, and Ubunutu to get a clearer idea what you’re getting into. Rip Your TV DVDs into Handy Episode Files Dear How-To Geek, My wife got me an iPod for Christmas and I still haven’t got around to filling it up. I have tons of entire TV show seasons on DVD and would like to get them on the iPod but I have absolutely no idea where to start. How do I get the shows off the discs? I thought it would be as easy to import the TV shows into iTunes as it is to import tracks off a CD but I was totally wrong. I tried downloading some applications to rip them but those didn’t work at all. Very frustrating! Surely there is an easy and/or automated way to do this, right? Sincerely, Free My DVDs Dear DVDs, Oh man is this a frustration we can relate to. It’s inordinately difficult to get movies and TV shows off physical media and into digital (and portable media player-friendly) formats. There are a multitude of ways to rip DVDs and quite a few applications out there (some good, some mediocre, and some outright malware). We’d recommend a two-part punch to solve your ripping woes. You’ll need a copy of DVDFab to strip away the protections on the discs and rip the disc and Handbrake to load the disc image and convert the files. It’s not quite as smooth as the CD-to-iTunes workflow but it’s still pretty easy. Check out all the steps and settings you’ll want to toggle here. Have a question you want to put before the How-To Geek staff? Shoot us an email at [email protected] and then keep an eye out for a solution in the Ask How-To Geek column. Latest Features How-To Geek ETC Internet Explorer 9 RC Now Available: Here’s the Most Interesting New Stuff Here’s a Super Simple Trick to Defeating Fake Anti-Virus Malware How to Change the Default Application for Android Tasks Stop Believing TV’s Lies: The Real Truth About "Enhancing" Images The How-To Geek Valentine’s Day Gift Guide Inspire Geek Love with These Hilarious Geek Valentines Google’s New Personal Blocklist Extension Kills Search Engine Spam KeyCounter Tracks Your Keystrokes and Mouse Clicks Add Custom LED Ambient Lighting to Your PC or Media Center The Trackor Monitors Amazon Prices; Integrates with Chrome, Firefox, and Safari Four Awesome TRON Legacy Themes for Chrome and Iron Anger is Illogical – Old School Style Instructional Video [Star Trek Mashup]

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  • From the Tips Box: Halting Autorun, Android’s Power Strip, and Secure DVD Wiping

    - by Jason Fitzpatrick
    This week we’re kicking off a new series here at How-To Geek focused on awesome reader tips. This week we’re exploring Windows shortcuts, Android widgets, and sparktacular ways to erase digital media. Latest Features How-To Geek ETC Learn To Adjust Contrast Like a Pro in Photoshop, GIMP, and Paint.NET Have You Ever Wondered How Your Operating System Got Its Name? Should You Delete Windows 7 Service Pack Backup Files to Save Space? What Can Super Mario Teach Us About Graphics Technology? Windows 7 Service Pack 1 is Released: But Should You Install It? How To Make Hundreds of Complex Photo Edits in Seconds With Photoshop Actions Access and Manage Your Ubuntu One Account in Chrome and Iron Mouse Over YouTube Previews YouTube Videos in Chrome Watch a Machine Get Upgraded from MS-DOS to Windows 7 [Video] Bring the Whole Ubuntu Gang Home to Your Desktop with this Mascots Wallpaper Hack Apart a Highlighter to Create UV-Reactive Flowers [Science] Add a “Textmate Style” Lightweight Text Editor with Dropbox Syncing to Chrome and Iron

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  • No-Weld Multi-Monitor Stand Crafted From Sturdy Metal Framing

    - by Jason Fitzpatrick
    As far as DIY stands for multiple monitors go, this design has to be the sturdiest and least difficult to construct model we’ve seen in some time. Read on to see how one DIYer cleverly crafted a solid metal triple monitor stand with no welding involved. Tinker and gamer Opteced wanted a new stand for his Eyefinity setup but wasn’t in a hurry to spend a pile of cash on a custom stand. His DIY solution is just as sturdy as a commercial metal stand but is made out of inexpensive hardware store parts–the main supports and base are made from Unistrut, a simple metal framing material. Unlike many DIY stands made from metal rods and piping, this build doesn’t require any sort of welding or custom pipe threading. In fact, the metal struts are so over engineered for the task of holding up flat-panel monitors he was able to simply partially saw through them and bend them to the shape he wanted. Hit up the link below for additional pictures of the build. Unistrut Monitor Stand [via Hack A Day] 8 Deadly Commands You Should Never Run on Linux 14 Special Google Searches That Show Instant Answers How To Create a Customized Windows 7 Installation Disc With Integrated Updates

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  • This Week in Geek History: Morse Code, Mars Rovers, J.R.R. Tolkien’s Birthday

    - by Jason Fitzpatrick
    Every week we bring you interesting facts from the history of Geekdom. This week in Geek History witnessed the first successful demonstration of the electric telegraph, the safe landing of the Spirit rover on the surface of Mars, and the birth of famed fantasy author J.R.R. Tolkien. Latest Features How-To Geek ETC How To Boot 10 Different Live CDs From 1 USB Flash Drive The 20 Best How-To Geek Linux Articles of 2010 The 50 Best How-To Geek Windows Articles of 2010 The 20 Best How-To Geek Explainer Topics for 2010 How to Disable Caps Lock Key in Windows 7 or Vista How to Use the Avira Rescue CD to Clean Your Infected PC The Deep – Awesome Use of Metal Objects as Deep Sea Creatures [Video] Convert or View Documents Online Easily with Zoho, No Account Required Build a Floor Scrubbing Robot out of Computer Fans and a Frisbee Serene Blue Windows Wallpaper for Your Desktop 2011 International Space Station Calendar Available for Download (Free) Ultimate Elimination – Lego Black Ops [Video]

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  • Pumpktris: The Tetris-Enabled Jack-o’-Lantern [Video]

    - by Jason Fitzpatrick
    You can carve a pumpkin, you might even go high-tech and wire it up with a few LEDs, but can you play Tetris on it? Check out this fully functional Tetris clone built into a jack-o’-lantern. The build comes to us courtesy of tinker Nathan at HaHaBird, who writes: One of my habits is to write down all the crazy, fleeting ideas I have, then go back to review later rather than judging right off the bat, or even worse, forgetting them. Earlier in the month I was looking through that idea notepad and found “Make Tetris Pumpkins” from sometime last year. My original plan had been to make forms to shape pumpkins into Tetris pieces as they grew, then stack them together for Halloween. Since Halloween was only a few weeks away and it was too late to start growing pumpkins, I thought “Why not make a pumpkin you can play Tetris on instead?” Watch the Pumpktris in action via the video above or hit up the link below to see exactly how he went about building it. Pumpktris [via Geek News Central] 6 Start Menu Replacements for Windows 8 What Is the Purpose of the “Do Not Cover This Hole” Hole on Hard Drives? How To Log Into The Desktop, Add a Start Menu, and Disable Hot Corners in Windows 8

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  • Soluto’s New Quick Question Button Makes Family Tech Support Simple

    - by Jason Fitzpatrick
    Soluto, a computer and boot management tool, now features a Quick Question button that allows the people you help out to easily click a button and send you both a short message and a screenshot of the problem. Any time your friend or family member presses F8, Soluto will take a screenshot of the screen, the Task Manager history, and a note from the user highlighting what issue they’re experiencing, and then email it all to you. After reviewing the email you can easily login to Soluto to remotely manage your friend’s computer and help with the problem. For more information about Soluto you can check out our previous reviews of the service here and here, or just hit up the link below to read more and take Soluto for a test drive. Soluto is a free service (for the first 5 computers), Windows only. Introducing Quick Question [The Soluto Blog] Java is Insecure and Awful, It’s Time to Disable It, and Here’s How What Are the Windows A: and B: Drives Used For? HTG Explains: What is DNS?

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  • From the Tips Box: Comics on the iPad, Android’s Power Bar, and Limiting Spotlight Search on the iPad

    - by Jason Fitzpatrick
    Once a week we dump out our tips box and share some of the great reader submitted tips with you. This week we’re looking at reading comic strips on the iPad, quick access via the Android Power Bar, and limiting the spotlight search on the iPad. Amazon’s New Kindle Fire Tablet: the How-To Geek Review HTG Explains: How Hackers Take Over Web Sites with SQL Injection / DDoS Use Your Android Phone to Comparison Shop: 4 Scanner Apps Reviewed

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  • Smithsonian Showcases Video Game History with The Art of Video Games [Video]

    - by Jason Fitzpatrick
    The Art of Video Games is the Smithsonian’s look at the history of video games; check out this video trailer to see what the exhibition is all about and hear from some notable folks. From the Smithsonian listing for the exhibition: The Art of Video Games is one of the first exhibitions to explore the forty-year evolution of video games as an artistic medium, with a focus on striking visual effects and the creative use of new technologies. It features some of the most influential artists and designers during five eras of game technology, from early pioneers to contemporary designers. The exhibition focuses on the interplay of graphics, technology and storytelling through some of the best games for twenty gaming systems ranging from the Atari VCS to the PlayStation 3. The exhibit will be at the Smithsonian until the end of September and will then begin touring the country. Hit up the link below for more information. The Art of Video Games Tour [via Neatorama] How To Properly Scan a Photograph (And Get An Even Better Image) The HTG Guide to Hiding Your Data in a TrueCrypt Hidden Volume Make Your Own Windows 8 Start Button with Zero Memory Usage

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  • This Week in Geek History: Gmail Goes Public, Deep Blue Wins at Chess, and the Birth of Thomas Edison

    - by Jason Fitzpatrick
    Every week we bring you a snapshot of the week in Geek History. This week we’re taking a peek at the public release of Gmail, the first time a computer won against a chess champion, and the birth of prolific inventor Thomas Edison. Gmail Goes Public It’s hard to believe that Gmail has only been around for seven years and that for the first three years of its life it was invite only. In 2007 Gmail dropped the invite only requirement (although they would hold onto the “beta” tag for another two years) and opened its doors for anyone to grab a username @gmail. For what seemed like an entire epoch in internet history Gmail had the slickest web-based email around with constant innovations and features rolling out from Gmail Labs. Only in the last year or so have major overhauls at competitors like Hotmail and Yahoo! Mail brought other services up to speed. Can’t stand reading a Week in Geek History entry without a random fact? Here you go: gmail.com was originally owned by the Garfield franchise and ran a service that delivered Garfield comics to your email inbox. No, we’re not kidding. Deep Blue Proves Itself a Chess Master Deep Blue was a super computer constructed by IBM with the sole purpose of winning chess matches. In 2011 with the all seeing eye of Google and the amazing computational abilities of engines like Wolfram Alpha we simply take powerful computers immersed in our daily lives for granted. The 1996 match against reigning world chest champion Garry Kasparov where in Deep Blue held its own, but ultimately lost, in a  4-2 match shook a lot of people up. What did it mean if something that was considered such an elegant and quintessentially human endeavor such as chess was so easy for a machine? A series of upgrades helped Deep Blue outright win a match against Kasparov in 1997 (seen in the photo above). After the win Deep Blue was retired and disassembled. Parts of Deep Blue are housed in the National Museum of History and the Computer History Museum. Birth of Thomas Edison Thomas Alva Edison was one of the most prolific inventors in history and holds an astounding 1,093 US Patents. He is responsible for outright inventing or greatly refining major innovations in the history of world culture including the phonograph, the movie camera, the carbon microphone used in nearly every telephone well into the 1980s, batteries for electric cars (a notion we’d take over a century to take seriously), voting machines, and of course his enormous contribution to electric distribution systems. Despite the role of scientist and inventor being largely unglamorous, Thomas Edison and his tumultuous relationship with fellow inventor Nikola Tesla have been fodder for everything from books, to comics, to movies, and video games. Other Notable Moments from This Week in Geek History Although we only shine the spotlight on three interesting facts a week in our Geek History column, that doesn’t mean we don’t have space to highlight a few more in passing. This week in Geek History: 1971 – Apollo 14 returns to Earth after third Lunar mission. 1974 – Birth of Robot Chicken creator Seth Green. 1986 – Death of Dune creator Frank Herbert. Goodnight Dune. 1997 – Simpsons becomes longest running animated show on television. Have an interesting bit of geek trivia to share? Shoot us an email to [email protected] with “history” in the subject line and we’ll be sure to add it to our list of trivia. Latest Features How-To Geek ETC Here’s a Super Simple Trick to Defeating Fake Anti-Virus Malware How to Change the Default Application for Android Tasks Stop Believing TV’s Lies: The Real Truth About "Enhancing" Images The How-To Geek Valentine’s Day Gift Guide Inspire Geek Love with These Hilarious Geek Valentines RGB? CMYK? Alpha? What Are Image Channels and What Do They Mean? Clean Up Google Calendar’s Interface in Chrome and Iron The Rise and Fall of Kramerica? [Seinfeld Video] GNOME Shell 3 Live CDs for OpenSUSE and Fedora Available for Testing Picplz Offers Special FX, Sharing, and Backup of Your Smartphone Pics BUILD! An Epic LEGO Stop Motion Film [VIDEO] The Lingering Glow of Sunset over a Winter Landscape Wallpaper

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  • Dropbox’s Great Space Race Delivers Additional Space to Students

    - by Jason Fitzpatrick
    If you’re a student or faculty member (or still have an active .edu email account) now’s the time to cash in on some free cloud storage courtesy of Dropbox’s Great Space Race. Just by linking your .edu address with your Dropbox account you’ll get an extra 3GB of storage for the next two years. The more people from your school that sign up, the higher the total climbs–up to an extra 25GB for two years. The Space Race lasts for the next eight weeks, you can read more about the details here or just jump to the signup page at the link below. The Great Space Race [Dropbox] Why Enabling “Do Not Track” Doesn’t Stop You From Being Tracked HTG Explains: What is the Windows Page File and Should You Disable It? How To Get a Better Wireless Signal and Reduce Wireless Network Interference

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  • DIY Super Mario “Kite” Lights Up the Sky [Video]

    - by Jason Fitzpatrick
    Throw some LEDs in helium balloons, string them together in a pixel-style grid, and you’ve got yourself a massive and glowing 8-bit sprite (in this case, a giant Super Mario). Read on to watch the video and see how you can build your own. Check out the video notes for more information on constructing it or, hit up the link below for more projects by Mark Rober. Mark Rober’s Project Blog [Make] HTG Explains: What Is RSS and How Can I Benefit From Using It? HTG Explains: Why You Only Have to Wipe a Disk Once to Erase It HTG Explains: Learn How Websites Are Tracking You Online

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  • Evolution of Apple: A Fan Spliced Mega Tribute to the Apple Product Lineup

    - by Jason Fitzpatrick
    Whether you’re an Apple fan or not, this 3.5 minute tribute to the evolution of Apple products is a neat look back at decades of computing history and iconic design. Put together by Apple fan August Brandels, the video splices together Apple commercials and promotional footage from the last 30 years (remixed against the catchy background tune Silhouettes by Avicii) into a mega tribute to the computer giant. If nothing else they should hire the guy to do motivational videos for annual employee meetings. [via Tech Crunch] HTG Explains: How Antivirus Software Works HTG Explains: Why Deleted Files Can Be Recovered and How You Can Prevent It HTG Explains: What Are the Sys Rq, Scroll Lock, and Pause/Break Keys on My Keyboard?

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  • Remove a Digital Camera’s IR Filter for IR Photography on the Cheap

    - by Jason Fitzpatrick
    Whether you have a DSLR or a point-and-shoot, this simple hack allows you to shoot awesome IR photographs without the expense of a high-quality IR filter (or the accompanying loss of light that comes with using it). How does it work? You’ll need to take apart your camera and remove a single fragile layer of IR blocking glass from the CCD inside the camera body. After doing so, you’ll have a camera that sees infrared light by default, no special add-on filters necessary. Because it sees the IR light without the filters you’ll also skip out on the light loss that occurs with the addition of the add-on IR filter. The downside? You’re altering the camera in permanent and warranty-voiding way. This is most definitely not a hack for your brand new $2,000 DSLR, but it is a really fun hack to try out on an old point and shoot camera or your circa-2004 depreciated DSLR. Hit up the link below to see the process performed on an old Canon point and shoot–we’d strongly recommend searching for a break down guide for your specific camera model before attempting the trick on your own gear. Are You Brave Enough to IR-ize Your Camera [DIY Photography] HTG Explains: How Windows Uses The Task Scheduler for System Tasks HTG Explains: Why Do Hard Drives Show the Wrong Capacity in Windows? Java is Insecure and Awful, It’s Time to Disable It, and Here’s How

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  • This Week in Geek History: Birth of Linux Creator, FM Radio Appears, and Q*Bert Released

    - by Jason Fitzpatrick
    Every week we bring you interesting trivia from the annuals of geekdom. This week in Geek History witnessed the birth of Linux creator Linus Torvalds, the patent for FM radio, and the release of wildly popular 80s arcade game Q*Bert. Read on to learn more about each event. Latest Features How-To Geek ETC The 20 Best How-To Geek Explainer Topics for 2010 How to Disable Caps Lock Key in Windows 7 or Vista How to Use the Avira Rescue CD to Clean Your Infected PC The Complete List of iPad Tips, Tricks, and Tutorials Is Your Desktop Printer More Expensive Than Printing Services? 20 OS X Keyboard Shortcuts You Might Not Know Classic Super Mario Brothers Theme for Chrome and Iron Experimental Firefox Builds Put Tabs on the Title Bar (Available for Download) Android Trojan Found in the Wild Chaos, Panic, and Disorder Wallpaper Enjoy Christmas Beyond the Holiday with Christmas Eve Crisis Parrotfish Extends the Number of Services Accessible in Twitter Previews

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  • Watch a Tesla Coil Zap in “Bullet Time” [Video]

    - by Jason Fitzpatrick
    What happens when you take 10 cameras, hack their firmware, and rig them up in a Matrix-style “Bullet Time” array to capture a Tesla Coil blasting energy bolts? Pure video magic. Over at Hacker Friendly they took ten Canon A470s, hacked the firmware with the Canon CHDK firmware, and wired them all together into an arc to capture a Tesla coil in action. Watch the video below to see the results: Impressed? You can hit up the link below to see more photos and check out their code and schematics. Bullet Time Lightning [Hacker Friendly via Laughing Squid] How To Encrypt Your Cloud-Based Drive with BoxcryptorHTG Explains: Photography with Film-Based CamerasHow to Clean Your Dirty Smartphone (Without Breaking Something)

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  • This Week In Geek History: The Hitchhiker’s Guide, Compact Discs, and Whirlwind Foreshadows Operating Systems

    - by Jason Fitzpatrick
    Every week we look at fascinating facts and trivia from the history of Geekdom. This week we’re taking a look at The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Compact Discs, and Whirlwind, the first computer to foreshadow modern operating systems. Latest Features How-To Geek ETC How To Make Disposable Sleeves for Your In-Ear Monitors Macs Don’t Make You Creative! So Why Do Artists Really Love Apple? MacX DVD Ripper Pro is Free for How-To Geek Readers (Time Limited!) HTG Explains: What’s a Solid State Drive and What Do I Need to Know? How to Get Amazing Color from Photos in Photoshop, GIMP, and Paint.NET Learn To Adjust Contrast Like a Pro in Photoshop, GIMP, and Paint.NET Bring the Grid to Your Desktop with the TRON Legacy Theme for Windows 7 The Dark Knight and Team Fortress 2 Mashup Movie Trailer [Video] Dirt Cheap DSLR Viewfinder Improves Outdoor DSLR LCD Visibility Lakeside Sunset in the Mountains [Wallpaper] Taskbar Meters Turn Your Taskbar into a System Resource Monitor Create Shortcuts for Your Favorite or Most Used Folders in Ubuntu

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  • Earth’s Radiation Belt Sounds like Whale Song [Video]

    - by Jason Fitzpatrick
    The radio frequencies of Earth’s radiation belt have uncanny resemblance to a sort of whale/bird song remix. Check out this video to learn more about NASA’s efforts to explore the belts and listen to the Earth’s song. When we hear the “song” of the Earth, exactly what are we hearing? [email protected] explains: Chorus is an electromagnetic phenomenon caused by plasma waves in Earth’s radiation belts. For years, ham radio operators on Earth have been listening to them from afar. Now, NASA’s twin Radiation Belt Storm Probes are traveling through the region of space where chorus actually comes from–and the recordings are out of this world. “This is what the radiation belts would sound like to a human being if we had radio antennas for ears,” says Kletzing, whose team at the University of Iowa built the “EMFISIS” (Electric and Magnetic Field Instrument Suite and Integrated Science) receiver used to pick up the signals. He’s careful to point out that these are not acoustic waves of the kind that travel through the air of our planet. Chorus is made of radio waves that oscillate at acoustic frequencies, between 0 and 10 kHz. The magnetic search coil antennas of the Radiation Belt Storm Probes are designed to detect these kinds of waves. HTG Explains: How Antivirus Software Works HTG Explains: Why Deleted Files Can Be Recovered and How You Can Prevent It HTG Explains: What Are the Sys Rq, Scroll Lock, and Pause/Break Keys on My Keyboard?

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  • Link’s Yard Sale; Artifacts Up For Sale [Video]

    - by Jason Fitzpatrick
    Link, of the Legend of Zelda fame, has adventured far and wide–so far and wide, in fact, that it’s time to dump out the inventory screen and make room for new things. Masks, boots, a rudder off a trusty ship, it’s all up for grabs at Link’s yard sale. We’d put in an offer on the Double Hookshot–what bit of Legend of Zelda gear would you snatch up at the sale? Dorkly Bits: Link’s Yard Sale How to See What Web Sites Your Computer is Secretly Connecting To HTG Explains: When Do You Need to Update Your Drivers? How to Make the Kindle Fire Silk Browser *Actually* Fast!

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  • SpaceX’s Dragon Spacecraft Docks with the ISS [Video]

    - by Jason Fitzpatrick
    This weekend was the first time a commercial space craft successfully rendezvoused with the International Space Station. Check out this video to see the opening of the hatch. From the notes on NASA’s video release: Aboard the International Space Station, Expedition 31 Flight Engineer Don Pettit and Joe Acaba of NASA and European Space Agency Flight Engineer Andre Kuipers opened the hatch to SpaceX’s Dragon cargo craft and entered the vehicle May 26, one day after the world’s first commercial cargo spacecraft was berthed to the Earth-facing port of the Harmony module. Dragon will remain berthed to Harmony until May 31, enabling the crew to unload supplies for the station’s residents before it is re-grappled and released to return to Earth for a parachute-assisted splashdown in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of southern California. If you’re interested in learning more about the SpaceX program, hit up the link below. SpaceX How To Customize Your Wallpaper with Google Image Searches, RSS Feeds, and More 47 Keyboard Shortcuts That Work in All Web Browsers How To Hide Passwords in an Encrypted Drive Even the FBI Can’t Get Into

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  • Super Computer Built from Raspberry Pi Boards and LEGO Bricks

    - by Jason Fitzpatrick
    It was only a matter of time before someone chained together dozens of Raspberry Pi boards into a serviceable super computer; read on to see how a team of Southampton scientists built a 64-core machine using them. Image courtesy of Simon Cox and the University of Southampton. From the University of South Hampton press release: Professor Cox comments: “As soon as we were able to source sufficient Raspberry Pi computers we wanted to see if it was possible to link them together into a supercomputer. We installed and built all of the necessary software on the Pi starting from a standard Debian Wheezy system image and we have published a guide so you can build your own supercomputer.” The racking was built using Lego with a design developed by Simon and James, who has also been testing the Raspberry Pi by programming it using free computer programming software Python and Scratch over the summer. The machine, named “Iridis-Pi” after the University’s Iridis supercomputer, runs off a single 13 Amp mains socket and uses MPI (Message Passing Interface) to communicate between nodes using Ethernet. The whole system cost under £2,500 (excluding switches) and has a total of 64 processors and 1Tb of memory (16Gb SD cards for each Raspberry Pi). Professor Cox uses the free plug-in ‘Python Tools for Visual Studio’ to develop code for the Raspberry Pi. How to Get Pro Features in Windows Home Versions with Third Party Tools HTG Explains: Is ReadyBoost Worth Using? HTG Explains: What The Windows Event Viewer Is and How You Can Use It

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