Computer Stuff: August 2004 Archives

KlipFolio On A Stick


Okay let's go through the steps needed to install Klipfolio on a thumb drive. This is the easiest way I can think of.

After you have installed Klipfolio (or with your current installation):

1) Copy the KlipFolio directory to your desktop (for example). Do not just drag and drop, copy and paste.

2) Uninstall Klipfolio from Control Panel-Add and Remove programs. You can remove everything since everything you need is in the Klipfolio directory.

3) Create this batch file in your Klipfolio folder:

start klipfolio.exe /NOINSTALL

or just download the attachment from my guide here.

4) Execute the batch file (klipfolio.bat) whenever you want to run klipfolio. If you want, you can create a shortcut to klipfolio.bat and send it to your desktop. Similarly you can put the shortcut in your startup folder so that KF starts every time you start up (as long as your thumb drive is there that is).

5) The directory you created on your desktop (or whereever) is now your harddisk copy of klipfolio. If you want to run it from your thumb drive, just copy the directory to your thumb drive and run the batch file when you want to start klipfolio.

Easy as Pie.

If you want your OS to recognise klips, follow the suggestions provided here by jscott. The easiest way is to just use "save as" when clicking on new klips, and then putting the files into your "myklips" directory yourself.


People who use Google News (even if they really wish they didn't sometimes) will be interested in this. It's a database of usernames and passwords that allow you to log-in to news sites without registering - absolute genius. Another thing to add to my search.ini.

Users of Firefox will be interested in a very nice extension to automate the process found here.



I am currently becoming far too enamoured of my thumb drive. Personally I feel I should have followed the very sage advice of the people at, but unfortunately, M-Systems' DiskOnKey devices, and the people that brand them for the retail market (Kingston, Iomega, Fuji etc.) don't feel as if the highest performing drive on the market would penetrate here. Probably in no small part due to the fact that DOK drives (at least the classic fast ones) are huge, and the size of highlighters rather than the more de rigeur stick of chewing gum.

Of course I could have paid about double the price to get a Sony drive, but they're not *that* nice, and the key chain thingy apparently breaks off, and while the performance is supposed to be pretty stellar, it doesn't beat DOK (though it is much smaller) and there have been complaints in the forum. Data loss is not funny to anyone.

Hence I now have a very workmanlike Kingston drive, a proper USB 2.0 one, though obviously not the aforementioned DOK OEM'd one. It's not too ugly, and it's not too big that it's unwieldy as a keychaing. The cap is a bit snug, to make up for the fact that there's a cap to lose, and the benchmarks are not exactly stellar (esp for small files), but it works, and it was only $56 thanks to shopping around and, and Kingston gives it a 5 year warranty, which makes it an industry leader in that regard.

I also now have a nice bit of filesync software that isn't fantastic, but will do, it's not the easiest thing to find, but it's filesync 1.0.

I still haven't been able to run Opera off it without a whole lot of disk activity, and hopefully I'll bother to post about it soon. Firefox works like a charm after I discovered Free the Fox. I suppose in a pinch, that's what will do. If only klipfolio were so amenable.



I know I'm really late coming to the party, but Proxomitron rocks big time. Basically it's ad filtering on steroids, but it's meant to be thought of under the larger umbrella of content control. Long story short, it means that PC World is no longer stubborn in having empty boxes where ads were, and Yahoo news is similarly no longer having empty gaps, so less scrolling involved. It also miraculously fixes the broken-ness of AMG.

I tried the sidki config set, but it really is pretty hardcore - so I'm now using jd5000 extra, with the pc world and block ad tables bits from sidki. Happy bunnies. Sidki did bad things to chicago reader, amongst others and was a bit zealous in blocking flash. The only thing that looks broken is the menus on CDFreaks, but then I just go there to view the articles, so I'm living with it.

Just by the by, limited bandwidth connections are a waste of money. I've blown through in a couple of days what would be nearly a months worth of alloted transfer, and that's without downloading anything above 2-3 meg, and mostly smurfing.

And I must have been really high when I thought the MS Natural Multimedia keyboards were worth anything, because they are sucking ass as we speak. The keys are so firm and sticky I'm considering getting another Benq just to travel with. And it *creaks*.

Klipfolio 2.6


Be still my beating heart :P. Klipfolio is another one of those applications for which I will pimp indiscriminately to whomever will listen.

2.6 adds a whole bunch of features, including viewing your hotmail inbox, pop3 mail, google news searches etc. You can now also minimise it so that it fits on the window bar so you can have it visible and unobtrusive at all times. Most importantly, they've finally implemented the best feature Klipfolio could ever have, which is a global "Dismiss all items"!!! I've been requesting it for ages, and they've finally come through, bless their geeky little hearts.

In case you don't already know, Klipfolio is an application that reads RSS feeds, so you can view headlines of news sites, view weather, stock quotes etc. Extremely handy.

You can find it at

It seemed like a good idea at the time. I installed to test out the new drivers by MS for their mice. OMFG. Not only does it screw up the new (clickless) scroll wheels by making them much less sensitive, if you have another mouse connected that isn't clickless, it makes scrolling horrendously slow.

And obviously that's not the worst of it. I have an article I wrote about Microsoft Mice and how good they are if you can be bothered to search for it. There's a section on the horrendous implementation of program specific functions for the 4th/5th mouse buttons. MS must have read it and decided to reimplement all the features they took out from 4.x to 5.x - and not bother to fix anything. Options still bleed between applications, the results of which are often unpredictable. In particular it did peculiar things to Outlook, closed explorer windows without asking, and it doesn't work with Klipfolio.

Seriously, it's like they took all the buggy code they took out of 4.x to make 5.x good, and then plunked it all back in. Fucking Idiots. Thank god I still have 5.0 - which does many good things (ie has useful functions forwhat I need) for Opera - and doesn't fuck up scrolling. Doom has given me a penchant for shotguns - this is where I'd use it.

If you own MS mice, prepare to be astounded by how badly they can fuck things up with nice hardware - stick to 5.0 if you know what's good for you.


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Someone on MyOpera asked, with reference to my professed belief in the free market, how I could concievably support Mozilla - hence -

I suppose that's a fair enough question. But it seems pretty simple to me - I'm a consumer in this equation, so I simply choose the product from which I gain the most marginal utility. But cost is not simply derived from money spent, but from effort. If I have to do all the configuration and troubleshooting for a particular browser that I do not enjoy, that is a cost to me. This may not seem to be the most logical of decisions but in many ways consumers are eerily teetering between being rational and irrational. In certain ways I can claim utility from being a professed Opera Fanboy.

On the other hand, there is not a zero cost to the production of Mozilla. Sure there is an aspect to which it is un-economic, in that no profit is directly derived from the "sale" of the browser and its developers aren't directly paid (mostly). But even then it is not so much an alternative to capitalism as a "parasite upon capitalsim" (search the for the quote). Without discussing that in too much length, it seems simple enough to say that just as I get utility from being a Fanboy, people who contribute code to OSS projects get utility from being Geeks. And again, while the Mozilla foundation might not be founded on an instinct for profit, it is not *unsustainable* - it intends to be a well run public service, which sustains itself by selling support/installation CD's, and recieving donations from big companies (in both time of their paid employees who work on the OSS and money). Those companies in turn are motivated by profit and do not support Mozilla out of the kindness of their hearts - they get an okay browser to bundle with their linux distributions etc. They also gain mindshare against a competitor: Microsoft.

Long story short, Mozilla is well within the realm of economic action. The wonder of Economics as a religion is very clear: "When the facts change, I change my mind, would you that it were otherwise?"

That said, the reason I mercilessly whale on Gecko based products (giving some kudos where due) is that I simply find that OSS has a deficit in creating really smooth and innovative UI - for some reason development for "Geeks" is more about feature addition and (often pointless) proliferation of skins than it is about (wait for it) *polish* - something that proprietary companies can tend to have in spades - Opera, MS, and, for instance, Elby, who develop CloneDVD - I nearly fell off my chair and pissed myself when I saw those animated sheep.

Opera Needs to Step Up

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People who know me know that I'm a card carrying Opera supporter and evangelist. I am, however, also a believer in the free market and competition, and not just when it suits me, and not in a fanboy manner.

Opera has very rightly been making noise the past years on how IE has dominated the market to the point where IE development has stagnated. But now IE has implemented its first significant improvements in years and has announced plans (whether that means anything or not) for more to come. Similarly, Mozilla has been doing well in putting together Firefox, which has made the choice of browsers more and more interesting.

In particular, open source has very good at adding features to their apps, and making those features work well (just think of eMule vs eDonkey), regardless of what I think of the polish they can sometimes lack. For instance, the latest versions of Firefox have added to their extended search functions to the point where they can readily compete with Opera. Now you can do in Firefox what you used to do with the Opera Search.ini Editor - add searches. The only point at which Firefox lags is in the breadth of searches (soon remedied) and having more than one search box (which Opera's Personal Bar excels at). But really 2 things stand out as reasons why I'm sitting up and taking notice of "alternative" browsers, by which I mean browsers other than Opera: ad blocking and pop-up blocking.

The most convincing thing about Firefox is the implementation of CSS based ad-blocking. With this, the majority of ads on web pages are eliminated - and very elegantly so, since in most cases you don't get blank space where the ad used to be. Opera can do this, but only by combining a rather more rudimentary CSS blocking with the use of filter.ini - 2 steps to Firefox's one, and not as well implemented. The only way in which Opera is still slightly ahead is that CSS blocking can be turned off more easily by switching between user and author modes - but admittedly this only seems necessary because the ad blocking style sheet in Opera sometimes blocks useful images.

What IE excels at is what Mozilla needs to learn the most from - elegance. Either there really is stuff Microsoft knows that allows it to write better software for its own platform or their developers just have a more developed sense of taste - whatever the case, the new pop-up blocker in IE convincingly raises the bar. Both Opera and Firefox allow you to "block unwanted pop-ups" which has been a pretty good way of getting rid of those that aren't manually initiated by a click. IE goes one step further and provides a nice subtle (though perhaps not subtle enough) notification that pop-ups have been blocked (you can turn it off if you don't like it) and better yet you can allow pop-ups for those sites that require it, such as (conspiracy theorists get ready) with the new web based version of MSN Messenger. In Opera, this has to be got around each time by pressing F12.

Moral of the story is this, when the gods wish to punish us, they grant us our wishes. People have been complaining about lack of competition, well, competition's a-comin'. Probably the clearest sign of this was when I was trying to demonstrate the superior caching in Opera to someone, I embarassedly noticed that IE seems to have caught on to it, just as Firefox has (though neither is *quite* as instantaneous).

That said, there are just those things that Opera still does fantastically that serve as examples of how it's been able to implement my much vaunted praise of elegance. Opera definitely wins out in having a very light and responsive GUI - when I open a new page it is instantaneous and smooth. Similarly, Presto is still my favorite rendering engine - IE's is much too chunky and Gecko is far too bleah. For those that don't understand me, IE waits till the page loads to show you anything and just makes you wait before it plunks things on you, and Gecko is just poky. Opera does well in loading the html and then the css, so that you see the content first and gradually see how it gets positioned, so slow loading pages can still be used for navigation before the page loads completely.

So while I'm not saying that I'm switching browsers, I am looking at the other side, and some of the grass really is greener. If Opera wants to convincingly retain users and recruit more besides, it needs to take a look at what's going on and react appropriately. As Microsoft has shown with this round of improvements, it's not a crime to copy the features off others, especially when you do it better than the original. So yes, innovate and provide more and better useful features, but things definitely need to be done to make the browsing experience in Opera a more elegant and less stressful experience.



And so that's what happens with euphoria. The windows maximising came back after I started using Optool again, get the feeling I should file a bug report, but problem is it never caused problems on my laptop.

Also the firewall isn't completely stealthed, says it responds to pings, which is annoying. I'll see how it works with another computer on the network before shuffling the settings around too much.

Good news is that WMP 10 beta now doesn't prompt the firewall to open ports every time, so at least one annoyance sqashed. And it's nice that there is now application based filtering rather than just ports.

Mule seems to be opening fewer connections, wonder what that's about. Regardless, download speeds aren't much different, if at all, so we'll see how it pans out.

Oh, and I've discovered the wonder of the ABC web interface - and the php web interface to go along with it. There's more info on ABC's FAQ pages. Nice to be able to remotely administer both Mule and torrents remotely.

Mad Props


I can't say I'm that nuts about it all, but I did download SP2 off, so I guess I just lack self-control. Before I get into that, I'd just like to give a shout out to Benq for manufacturing my lovely new keyboard, that now allows my mousing hand to be more ergonomically placed. It's a nice mini keyboard, so my mouse pad can move nearer to the center of my body, so my arm isn't at an odd angle due to silly things like the number pads on full-size keyboards. And as I was telling peishan, this keyboard is a sure demonstration that Benq is so a subsidiary of Acer - the keyboard is basically a repackaged notebook keyboard - like those used the more recent Acer notebooks - how do you like *them* apples?

But much as I wish I was Mary Louise Parker, and before I return to SP2, I'd also like to mention one of the things that Opera still does superbly better than any other browser - allowing me to customise my personal bar with searches up the ying-yang. IMDB is to be expected, but Chicago Reader's brief reviews is woo-hoo, and All Music would be better if they fixed their site, and ShareConnector are great, and I'm getting lots of mileage out of, Wikipedia and TV Tome. How do you like *them* apples?

So yes, Service Pack 2 for Windows XP. I've already slipstreamed a copy for those who would desire it, and was vaguely contemplating using it to accomplish all manner of minor bug squashing. Miraculously though, installing SP2 has fixed that for me. Even my annoying maximise bug is gone :). I'm actually in awe of the new Windows Firewall, since it does have outbound protection of sorts, since it prompts you when you run a program potentially as a server - so you get a notice when you start eMule, ABC, Yahoo Messenger etc. Lovely. Only issue is this - that the firewall acts globally, so I'm not sure file sharing will be as easy as before - hopefully they worked out the kinks before RTM. Anyway I can't check it out till Winston gets back from Tibet, unless I want to disturb chinese neighbour :P.

Having recently auditioned a whole bunch of firewalls, Kerio, Sygate, ZoneAlarm, etc. the new firewall is all the more impressive. Mad Props.

MS have also seen it fit to reinstate the click sounds that accompany opening of folders/links, which is not a bad thing.

And as I admit that the ad blocking in Firefox is amazing compared to Opera's more patchwork approach, I have to give much credit to IE's implementation of a pop-up blocker - the execution of it is flawless, with all the right prompts and a fantastically easy way of excluding certain sites, such as Opera's got a lot of work to do for its next version. The competition really is hotting up.

Oh, and the alarms I sent to people about non-640 PID's being blacklisted turned out to be just another MS bait and switch. They seem to have mastered their PR moves around this - threatening in the betas to keep people guessing and encouraging legal migration, but being lenient for such a huge security update - for the benefit of Mr. Kite. Much deftness there to do and not do at the same time. Many masterful.

On top of all this - and this might just be a placebo effect - but the responsiveness of my system seems to have gone up, especially with things like explorer launching etc. Good stuff.

Oh, and shame on Louis for only now figuring out how to emulate in Opera the automatic switching on and off of the page bar.

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This page is a archive of entries in the Computer Stuff category from August 2004.

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