E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

Knowledge Snippets

Am I Imagining Things or Has It Finally Catched Up?

(Migrated weblog post from LSR)

I mean, FireFox. Just by one of those knowledge accidents you bump into every now and then (in this case a weblog post from one of my work colleagues) I just find out that FireFox seems to have a zoom feature available. Well, it is not using that name for the feature itself but it would have the same effect, or pretty close. Indeed, if you load a web site with FF and you find out that the font size is far too small for you to read anything on it, you could just use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + ‘+’ (the plus sign) or Ctrl + ‘-‘ (minus sign) and it will increase / decrease the font size which will give that zoom effect.

I must say that it is not as clean and smooth as you would expect, specially if you have tried Opera‘s zoom effect, but still it would provide you with the desired results, which is basically see larger font sizes. One thing though where it may not be surpassing Opera is the fact that as you zoom in / out in a web site the information displayed would still be a lot clearer in Opera than in FF, and this is probably where there seems to be plenty of room for improvement.

However, for some basic functionality it would do the trick. With Opera though, it is state of the art and certainly what some other web browsers have been trying to innovate for quite some time now and have failed, to date, to come up with such a good feature as that one in Opera.

Nevertheless, it is still a handy keyboard shortcut to know about although I am still not sure why it has not been added into the FireFox Keyboard Shortcuts web site yet. Maybe they are waiting for the next marketing wave saying they have invented and incorporated zooming in a web broser. Who knows.

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Skype – Free Internet Telephony That Just Works

(Migrated weblog post from LSR)

How many times have you heard that sentence before ? I am sure quite a few and if that is the case you probably are, by now, one of the above 109 million people who are using Skype worldwide in order to get in touch with family, friends or work colleagues. I am sure that most of us are using one, or multiple, IM clients to just keep in touch with folks. Be it MSN, AIM, ICQ, Yahoo!, Jabber, whatever, we are mostly forced to use different IM clients in order to start chatting with one another.

And since I got tired a little bit of just using multiple IM clients or integrated IM clients like Trillian, GAIM, Miranda, etc. etc. to keep in touch with people I have decided to step over to Skype and give it a go. And ever since I have done that, a few months back now, I have been a very happy Skype user. So much so that I have managed to convert most of my friends, family members and some work colleagues into using this application.

And they all love it ! As much as I do, not only because of its ease of use, or how easy it is to set up and get it running but also because of the huge amount of $$$ they save, instead of just picking up the phone and making that phone call. Maybe at a later time I will weblog about my overall experience on Skype. However, the reason why I wanted to create this weblog entry today was basically because of a problem I have encountered quite often when trying to convert people into using Skype.

Installation and setup normally works really well and very smooth, but as soon as people start searching for me and start a conversation they can hear me very well with plenty of good quality but whenever they talk they would come to me with some very low sound, as if they were thousands of miles away. Well, after searching on the Skype Forums apparently this is a well known problem that has been documented already.

There are a couple of different instructions that people would need to carry out:

  • First, go to Skype and click on Tools > Options > Sound Devices and untick the option Enable Automating Sound Device Adjusment Settings. Then click on Save.

    After having done that people would need to follow this second set of instructions:

  • First make sure you select “Show Hidden Files” under folder options. Then go to C:\Documents and Settings\USERNAME\Application Data\Skype\SkypeUSERNAME\ and locate the file config.xml.

    Right click on it and go to Send To… and open it up with Notepad (or your default editor). Once the document is open people will be able to find a whole bunch of different entries. Just scroll down till you locate a similar entry to the following one:

    “< MicVolume >255< / MicVolume >
    255 is max volume /// 0 AND 255 = 0 = low”

    (Notice the spaces on the first line).

    After you have found that entry make sure that there is a value there which does not match 255 but something else rather smaller. My setting, for instance, is setup on 31. After that save the changes, restart Skype, and the problem will be gone. You will be able to hear and be heard with the same quality as ever before. So from now on whenever I convert one other friend, family member or work colleague I can just refer them to this weblog entry and they can follow the instructions from here. And then they say that weblogging is not powerful, huh ? Well, this tip will prove them wrong.

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    GMail Tips – The Complete Collection

    (Migrated weblog post from LSR)

    Earlier on today I mentioned how I am currently using my GMail account in combination with Opera’s M2 as a very effective way of handling e-mail and escaping all those unsolicited e-mails I tend to receive on a regular basis. However, there are times when I am travelling and just cannot take my notebook(s) with me, therefore I cannot use Opera to store my mail, but I would still like to check e-mail every now and then to see what is happening with friends and family. So for those times where I need to have access to mail regardless of the browser I may be using I tend to use GMail to process the e-mails and it is then when web sites like this one become really helpful.

    Gmail Tips – The Complete Collection is just basically that. A very good introduction on how you can get the most out of your GMail account, whether you are using Opera, Internet Explorer, whatever. So if you are travelling around and do not have access to your own computers and cannot afford taking with you any other gadget to access your POP mail it will certainly become handy.

    Then when you get back and you fire GM2ail you know that all the e-mails you have processed will now be stored in your local machine and therefore ready to be searched and revisited in combination with the mails already existing in your hard drive. Pretty neat I would say, so for those folks out there who may have a GMail account and who would like to know a little bit more of how they can best use the account check out the Gmail Tips – The Complete Collection.

    I am sure there will be a chance you will learn something new you did not know before. And if not, it is equally good as a refresher, for certain. At least, it was for me.

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    Handling E-Mail with GM2ail

    (Migrated weblog post from LSR)

    Over at 30 Days to becoming an Opera8 Lover Tim has been talking on Day 11 about Opera Mail (M2) and I thought I would comment on it for a few minutes. I am not sure what is the obsession that everybody seems to be having to just use one e-mail client for everything in order to process mail. For example, for Opera users it would be M2, for IE users M$ Outlook and for FireFox users Thunderbird. I can understand that people would want to just use a single approach towards handling e-mail. But what would you do if you would have the possibility of handing e-mail in a very efficient and effective way using multiple e-mail components to process your e-mail with a single user interface? Wouldn’t you go for it ?

    I did. I am using GM2ail. A combination of M2 and GMail. I have been using M2 all along for as long as I have been using Opera and I love it ! But I can tell you (and this would be no surprise to anybody out there) that there is nothing more that I hate than getting unsolicited e-mails (a.k.a. SPAM) on a hourly basis. Thank goodness Opera has got some really good filters available that will make your e-mail experience a lot more enjoyable.

    However, every now and then there are still some unsolicited e-mails that get through and that I need to handle still in my M2 inbox. So after a long wait (Remember when Opera did not work very good with GMail? Or when GMail did not offer POP access?) I was really looking forward to trying out GMail now that both issues were fixed once and for all. And from that moment onwards I have yet to see the first unsolicited e-mail that hits my Opera M2 client.

    On top of the filters I am using in M2 I am also using the Spam options within GMail, in order to reduce drastically the huge amount of spam I get on a daily basis. And believe or not it just works. As I said I no longer get any spam messages and all the e-mail that comes through is the e-mail I need to handle. So I am thinking, why do people insist in just using the best of one world, when you can use the best of both worlds: Opera’s M2 and GMail. That is, GM2ail.

    I wouldn’t change this method in handling e-mail for nothing else at the moment. So much so that all the other private e-mail accounts I used to have are now forwarding the e-mail to my GMail account. Then I configure M2 with the POP details from my main account and off it goes. E-mails are coming through just fine, but only those e-mails I need, everything else is left out. So instead of just utilising the best of one world I decided to utilise the best of both worlds and so far it has worked so well that my original aversion to e-mail is almost gone. I am sure that as things improve even more those issues I had against e-mail will be gone for good. And all that thanks to GM2ail.

    Oh, I nearly forgot, if there is anybody out there who hasn’t got a GMail account but would love to have one to give it a try just drop a comment here or send me an e-mail and I will send over an invite. Or, alternatively, you could check out isnoop.net gmail invite spooler, where you just need to key in a code, place the e-mail address you would want to receive the invite in and click on Request Invite. Within minutes the invitation will be in your inbox, ready to go and set up your own account. Have fun !

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    How To Sit at a Computer

    (Migrated weblog post from LSR)

    If you are one of those folks who is sitting in front of the computer more than what you would want, rather be it for work or just in your own personal time, I am sure you are very well aware of the risks you are taking w.r.t. your health and been able to sit down in the right position while you are having fun with your computer(s) or not. Throughout the years I have come across a few of my friends having encountered numerous problems with RSI or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome to a degree where some of them, specially the ones who have been using a computer quite heavily, are no longer able to play with it for longer periods than 15 to 20 minutes before having to take a break.

    I am sure you may have seen or read about it already and how serious it can get. However, and before that happens, that is why web sites like this one (How to sit at a computer) are really handy to have a look at and do some checks about how we are currently sitting in front of our computer(s). With this web site and in just 4 easy steps:

  • Your Chair
  • Your Keyboard
  • Monitor, Document and Telephone
  • Pause and Breaks

    you will be able to find out if you are using your computer in the right way or not so that you can prevent future cases of RSI. If you have never paid attention to such issues I can only recommend it even more that you check out the web site and see how well you are keeping yourself healthy by something so important as knowing how to sit at a computer. So if you value your health enough spend the next 10 minutes going through the site and make adjustments as you may see fit. Your body and later on, yourself, will be grateful you did stop over. At least, mine did.

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    Learning Something New Everyday

    (Migrated weblog post from LSR)

    I meant to create a weblog entry on this subject a few days ago but I just couldn’t get my hands on it till today, so I thought I would share it over here now. As you well know I have been using Opera for a number of years and to me, without any doubt, it is one of the best Internet experiences around. However, what amazes me the most about using this web browser is not the lovely user interface, nor the speed, nor the security features, not the Internet Suite flavour, etc. etc. It is just that simply there is always something new to learn on a daily basis about what it can do.

    I am sure most of us, Opera lovers, have been following up 30 Days to becoming an Opera8 Lover for a number of days already and every time there is something else to learn about our favourite browser. However, I noticed something that I am sure is not new for anybody who has used this browser already but I just thought I would weblog about it because I really like this feature. Have you tried the keystroke combination Ctrl + F?

    That keystroke brings you the Find window to search for information while you are on a specific page. And while before it used to be a pop-up window it is now very nicely embedded in the browser itself so that when you press those keys the cursor will jump into the search option on the top right and you can start typing. the great beauty of this feature is that when you start typing it will highlight any text in that specific page and will scroll down for you, if needed. And that is really nice, specially if you need to look for a quick term in a long page with lots of text. Now you would just need to do Ctrl + F and off it goes, and all that without being as intrusive and annoying as it is with Internet Explorer, huh?

    Indeed, and by the looks of it FireFox, at least, in version 1.0.3, has incorporate this feature as well, except that it is not embedded in the browser as such as it will eat up some space but it would still highlight the word(s) you may be looking for as you start typing the first character(s). Then you can close the window if you like. However, with Opera it stays there nicely and ready available to continue with some further searches whenever you need them. Pretty neat, eh? I know. And this is one of the things I really like about this web browser. There is always an interesting and innovative way of and finding and digesting through information and the way most things have been put together only contribute to make our Internet experience a lot more enjoyable ! So, way to go, folks !!! (whoever had that brilliant idea of integrating the Ctrl + F search with the browser user interface).

    (Update) Thanks to Louis, over at subtitles, who just indicated on the attached set of comments that I should note that this feature is not turned on by default so if you would want to have it up and running in your Opera browser you would need to go to Tools > Preferences, then go to the Advanced tab and click on Search. From there onwards place a tick on the Use inline find in page option and click on Ok. No need to restart the browser, it will work straight out of the box. Thanks again, Louis ! Appreciated the feedback !

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