June 23, 2008
After using the Vertigo theme for the last 7 months I've decided that it's time to freshen things up a little bit around here. My biggest problem with my previous theme was the poor page navigation. I have too many pages, and listing them all on the right-hand sidebar was getting a bit unwieldy. This time, I have settled on a theme called Fresh News. It condenses the navigation into drop-down menus along the top of the page, which leaves the right-hand sidebar much cleaner.
The new theme is the first step to creating consistency across all of my applications. I have also picked up a fantastic icon set called Icon Experience: V-Collections which will be used in all future application releases. I will slowly be re-releasing all of my applications with numerous bug fixes, new icons and fully signed executables for full Windows Vista support. This is not a small undertaking, but I am hoping to release 1 application per week.
As always, if you find any problems, or if you have any suggestions please contact me. I welcome any feedback you might have.
June 19, 2008
For those of you who are still running Windows XP on at least one of their computers (like me) and have upgraded to the latest version of Firefox, you may have noticed how ugly the default theme has become. It has a mix of green, red, yellow and blue buttons and seriously lacks consistency. Yuck! Well, courtesy of LifeHacker, I discovered a theme called Vista on XP. The theme is marked as experimental so you will need to login, but that's a small price to pay for this glorious eye candy. You can go from this abomination:
June 15, 2008
I would like to send out a big thanks to about a dozen people that found DisplayFusion included in the July 2008 issue of Maximum PC. As a result, they all received shiny new DisplayFusion Pro licenses. If you would like to find out how you can take advantage of this great offer, just visit the In the News page for more information.
June 4, 2008
Yesterday on Slashdot I came across an article that claimed "Firefox Appears Ready to Crack 20% Share Next Month". It links to a ComputerWorld article that talks about how Firefox has been gaining web browser market share, and how it is poised to pass 20%. I have a real problem with these metrics though, as they really don't tell the whole story. A site like Slashdot is probably already around the 50% mark, while other sites that cater to a less technical audience are probably well below the 20% mark. So which numbers are correct? Should you just take them both and average them? I don't think there's a right answer, but in the interest of putting fuel on the fire I thought I would share my browser usage numbers. Here's a spiffy chart that shows browser usage for BinaryFortress.com in May 2008.
As you can see, Firefox has already surpassed Internet Explorer with Opera and Safari trailing well behind. Take the numbers with a grain of salt though, every site out there will have different percentages.
May 28, 2008
I would like to send a big thanks out to Rolf Beev from Norway. He discovered DisplayFusion in the May 2008 issue of PC World Norge. He was able to send me scans of the cover and article, and in exchange I sent him a shiny new DisplayFusion Pro license. If you would like to find out how you can take advantage of this great offer, just visit the In the News page for more information.
May 16, 2008
Why don't all cars have aux ports? Seriously, our car was made in 2004, I'm pretty sure that MP3 players were pretty standard back then. Why can't I plug anything into the car stereo? Something needed to be done. But first a bit of back-story. Our car's CD player is pretty much crap, and always has been. It's just a plain factory deck and has always struggled with burned CDs. So, my wife and I had two choices. We could either buy a new aftermarket deck with an aux port, or we could buy and iPod and a 3rd party aux port kit. We chose option number two. We recently purchased an iPod, and both of our kids have their own small MP3 players, so we thought it would be best for everyone if we could just add an aux port to the factory deck. After much too Googling I came across a company called "PIE" who specializes in aftermarket aux port kits. Perfect! The kit for my car cost around $50 and simply plugs into the CD changer port on the back of the deck.
It is such a simple idea, and the instruction page had just 6 steps. What could possible go wrong! Here's a quick picture of the Neon's factory deck.
I'm not sure what that gap below the deck is for, I'm assuming it's where the tape player would go if we had one. But, luckily for us, it's almost the perfect size to fit this aux port adapter. Step one was to pry the bezel off from around all the dials and knobs. I thought this would be easy until I discovered 2 hidden screws behind the 2 vent covers at the top. Once I discovered this (and luckily didn't break anything) it popped right off.
Once the bezel was off, the radio and the plugs below it came out very easily and I could see what I was up against. I discovered that I would need drill a big hole in the back of that little tray thing for the wires to feed through. Easy enough, and it worked like a champ.
Unfortunately the aux kit adapter (with it's big cable on the back) was a bit too big for this little tray thing, and it sticks out a bit. Not a big deal though, it's only out about 1cm.
Once everything was screwed back together and the wires were all connected it was time for a test drive.
Success! I'd like to thank my lovely hand model, Mrs. Wife. The sounds quality is as perfect as you can get from an iPod and I'll never have to fiddle around with any of those FM transmitters. I also got a 2m cable that stretches to the back seat for the kids to use. This will work well for road trips, as they will be able to control their own music without bugging us every two minutes. Win-win for everyone. Overall, I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to install this kit. It only costs a little more than an FM transmitter but the price difference is well worth it. I can't wait for our road trip to Ottawa next weekend to give the whole system a try.
May 13, 2008
Do you love hashes? I do! Well, they're helpful when it comes to checking the integrity of a file. That's the reason I created HashTools back in January of 2007, over 1 year ago. This latest release clears up some long-standing issues and adds some much needed features. The new feature I find most useful is the ability to drag and drop files into the HashTools interface. Another new feature that I find myself using quite frequently is the ability for HashTools to automatically load and compare a hash when checking a file. For example, if you are generating an MD5 hash for a file called "MyFile.iso", HashTools will check for a file called "MyFile.md5". If this file exists, it will be loaded and HashTools will compare the hash contained in this file against the generated hash. Maybe this is a feature that only I will find useful, but I hope at least one other person will too.
Check out HashTools today!
May 13, 2008
I would like to send a big shout out to Ian for finding DisplayFusion in the May 2008 issue of PC Pro in the UK. It's always exciting to see my software being published, especially outside of North America. Ian was able to send me scans of the cover and article and for his effort I was more than happy to send a DisplayFusion Pro license his way. If you would like to find out how you can take advantage of this great offer, just visit the In the News page for more information.
Update: An observant reader (Keith) pointed out that this is the same article that appeared in the PC Authority magazine. I'm guessing that David has his column published in more than magazine. But, that's cool with me as it was published in the UK and Australia, both places I have never been published in.
May 10, 2008
Two savvy DisplayFusion users have informed me that they discovered DisplayFusion while reading the June 2008 issue of PC Authority in Australia. Both were able to send me copies of the article and both received free DisplayFusion Pro licenses. I'd like to send out a big thanks to Ian Neale and Tim Burns for making this discovery, and I hope both are enjoying their complimentary licenses. If you would like to find out how you can take advantage of this great offer, just visit the In the News page for more information.
May 8, 2008
Hey, that rhymes! Seriously though, how many of you have ever had to edit a file using Notepad? You know, that tiny little featureless text editor that comes with Windows? Don't get me wrong, it's super-fast and sometimes I'm glad that it's so lightweight. But what if you could replace the default Notepad application with one that is just as lightweight, but has syntax highlighting and a bucket-full of other features? Well, the future is now. Let me introduce you to Notepad2 by Florian Balmer. Notepad2 is pure gold. There is no installation - it's just 1 executable. Just rename "Notepad2.exe" to "Notepad.exe" and copy it overtop of the built-in Windows Notepad. Voila! Now you're rocking a slimmed down, feature rich text editing application. It handles the different line endings between Linux and Windows like a champ (unlike Notepad) and the syntax highlighting makes HTML, PHP, CSS or XML file editing seem less like work, and more like an adventure in fun-land. If you haven't replaced Notepad with one of the many great alternatives, what are you waiting for? Get editing!