Michaelwclark.com

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Firefox making a comeback?

English: Firefox word mark. Correct clear spac...

Image – Wikipedia

For a long time I let go of Firefox. When Firefox was young it was my go-to browser. But then it got bloated and seemed slow.

With only one half decent computer to my name, I spend a lot of time eeking out whatever I can from older computers.

I just enjoy that. I could afford to buy more new computers. But I don’t see why I would. I get a hit – that “new” feeling – from trying out new software. I don’t need to get new hardware to feel that way. Usually when I buy new hardware it’s almost traumatic. I have returned stuff to the superstore because something wasn’t right or wasn’t as advertised. So generally I don’t like buying big ticket items. Only when I really have to. And then it’s fun.

So that’s why I tried out Team Viewer. I now have two Windows XP dummy computers running that. One in the basement. So when I do laundry I’m not just wasting time but working down there. (Our basement contains the bulk of my library, and I like working with all my books around me). One in the dining room because I like the open space of the main floor. And then there’s the main computer in my bedroom, which the two dummies feed off.

Image via Flickr

Now that I always have speed at my fingertips, I thought I’d try out Firefox again. It runs fine on my bedroom computer and, as I say, using the two Windows XP computers as dummies, it runs fine from them too.

Second time around I’m happy to get back to Firefox. One new feature that really pleases me is its snip tool. Sure, Windows 10 has it in Edge. But Edge sucks. We all know that. And the Edge snip tool only allows you to upload your snip to the web. No easy downloading.

It seems the Microsoft marketing gurus want us to run out of cloud space so we’ll buy more. So cheesy.

Windows 7 also has a pretty good snip tool. But by far the best snip tool comes with the latest version of Firefox. It makes it easy to snip just what you want and also to download to your computer.

This was snipped with Firefox last night:

After importing my Chrome bookmarks into Firefox, it’s virtually good to go. Maybe I just like a change. I don’t know. I get bored with blogging. And even a little change, like a change of browser, can reinvigorate me.

Much cheaper than running out and buying bulky hardware every week!

 Here’s how you can watch Apple’s iPhone event(rappler.com)


 AdBlock Plus can now stop sites from mining cryptocurrencies on your PC(neowin.net)


 How to Add Mouse Gestures to Chrome and Firefox(maketecheasier.com)


 Creating Richer Content with Zemanta(sovrn.com)


 Off-Ramping Bad Traffic to Get to the Good Traffic(sovrn.com)


 Google Chrome says it will stop the autoplay video madness in January(fastcompany.com)


 Roamit for Windows 10 lets you share files, photos, and your clipboard across devices(windowscentral.com)


 Your next work laptop could run Android apps(mashable.com)


 How to watch a live stream of Apple’s big iPhone event(businessinsider.com)


 Skype’s new ‘Interviews’ feature lets you test candidates using a real-time code editor(feedproxy.google.com)


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WinDoc – My latest adventures in Geekery

Tonight I had fun trying out a free app called WinDoc. Basically, it makes doing split or multiple screens a bit easier. If you click on the image you should be able to read what I wrote in the notepad.

Before I did this screen capture I was watching TV and searching through my news feeds at the same time… all on one small screen. Quite nice because I get bored with TV and the web news alone can be a little sterile. So both together was more stimulating.


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Remote computing – New wine in old wine skins!

It’s a long weekend and most everyone is away, so I’ve been taking a little time familiarizing myself with Team Viewer.

This free and portable program has enabled me to press my favorite old laptop back into service. For someone who spends many hours at home, this is a real boon. I love my old laptop’s sturdy keyboard and large screen. Newer laptops just seem to be getting cheaper and cheaper, thinner and thinner. Pretty soon they’ll be making them out of tin foil!

Click on image for larger size

So what’s happening in this graphic? (made entirely by remote using my old laptop keyboard and monitor linked to newer computer upstairs)

Well it’s an interesting setup. The old laptop has only 512 MB RAM, but as you can see I’m listening to Spotify and it is only using 217 MB RAM and 30% CPU. That’s because the new computer is taking most of the load, doing the lion’s share of the work, using 1.8 GB RAM, 13% CPU.

The new computer’s CPU is showing a lower percentage (13%) because it’s a faster, more efficient chip. But again, it is doing most of the work.

Team Viewer simply sends data via WiFi from new to old (my favorite vintage laptop); the old displays/plays everything done by the new. And, of course, I can send data back (keyboard and mouse) to new from old. Otherwise, I couldn’t have done anything remotely at all.

That’s my non-technical way of understanding it! If I tried to listen to Spotify on the old laptop all by itself, it would probably work but stutter and pop. Also it would take eons to load. With this setup everything is fast because, again, the newer computer is doing most of the work.

Basically it’s almost as good as having two fast computers for the price of one!

Who says we shouldn’t put new wine in old wine skins? 🙂


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Maybe I spoke too soon – Team Viewer seems better than Google Chrome Remote

Image – Wikipedia

Last night… late last night I was pleased as punch with Google Chrome Remote Desktop. But this morning, with the host laptop upstairs and perhaps more Google or local server traffic (not sure which), there was a significant lag which rendered it practically useless.

Switching to the free Team Viewer, which I’m trying right now for the first time, it seems everything is okay—even with my host PC upstairs and it being a busy Saturday (internet) morning around 11 a.m.

Team Viewer uses only about 220mb ram on my dummy, no matter how many tabs etc. I open on my host. It also has finer control over color quality and other important features.

Later… just testing on old iPad that is almost useless by itself. Works great. Much better than Chrome mobile remote.


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Taking the Hardware Plunge

Image via Amazon.ca

Image via Amazon.ca

I can’t believe I finally did it. I ordered some RAM for a very old laptop that was (trying to) run on 512 mb ram. Up till now I’ve only extracted stuff from busted computers and juggled it around, hoping it would work and not blow up! So far I’ve been pretty lucky.

But last night I researched and scanned my old laptop system info with the free CPU-Z portable app, which I love. And I read and read and read. I also extracted the RAM and wrote down a whole bunch of numbers. Noted the slots. All that stuff.

Just hoping now I got it right. If this works, I got an amazing Hong Kong deal.

Will keep you posted. Low, low price means longer than usual delivery times.


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Well, I went back to Windows after all…

It was fun but it couldn’t last. I had to admit it. Even the fastest Linux software (Puppy Slacko) for my old PC ran slower than a clean install of Windows XP.

I’ve become a master at disabling unwanted plugins, resources, and startup items to get the RAM usage down to just over 100 mb. I’m not sure if Puppy Slacko was that low or not. The way the meter read the RAM was confusing to my untutored eyes.

Anyhow, I wrote the bulk of yesterday’s earthpages.ca article on my WinXP Pentium 4 computer, “Frankenstein.” But it gets slow when doing the final layout. So I switched to my Win 7 laptop, which is pretty average by today’s standards. Then I proofread again using the Win XP machine.

Looking at my writing on different systems gives me a fresh take. I can see inelegancies, errors and redundancies better. I then went BACK to XP and again to Win7 before finally finishing the thing at about 4:30 am.

Good thing I can sleep in a bit when I need to. I enjoy listening to music more than writing about it! 🙂


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Blind conformity

Image via Tumblr

I’ve been busy latetly. Earthpages is a few days behind. But I have been doing some R&D with Linux software. I like Linux. Now trying out a very light OS for older computers called Lubuntu. For me, it’s a bit snappier than Xubuntu.

If you’d like to try Linux, be warned. At the beginning it can be frustrating. Simple things like unzipping and installing need to be learned all over again. And it can be buggy. You gotta have a bit of a tech sense, I think. Still, it’s nice to get away from that fracking Microsoft hegemony. Free software might be the wave of the future. Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone could have access to computers, learning and creativity?

Here’s a little comic I did this morning. I’m posting it through Blogilo. On an older computer Blogilo seems nicer (faster) than the WordPress editor. Still testing it out though…