Archive for the ‘Geekery’ Category.

Sparkfun Illuminated Switch Schematic

I got these really nice illuminated switches from Sparkfun to control the Rubens’ Tube I built with a friend. Wiring them up was strangely non-obvious so I figured I’d post a schematic here.

How To Remove Words from the Google Chrome Dictionary

Here is how to edit the Google Chrome autocorrect dictionary. Just go to this web page:


(you have to copy-paste that line into your browser)

Strip Formatting Out of Text When Pasting with Puretext

Pasting text that already has formatting in it can be a bother.

The homebrew fix to strip formatting is: Copy the text, paste it into Notepad, Copy it again, paste it wherever.

There is a great program for it: Puretext
With the program: copy the text, hit WINDOWS+V (instead of the normal CTRL+V and the text is pasted with the formatting stripped out :-)

I use it all the time and it is a huge lifesaver.

Why You Should Not Install Norton Antivirus on your Computer

Short form: don’t buy Norton Antivirus. They are almost as ruthless about extracting money from people as the Russian scammers they are protecting you against. Instead get Microsoft Security Essentials and don’t click on offers that sound too good to be true.


Long form:
Years ago, having an antivirus program on your computer was an important part of keeping bad people off your computer. Today this generally is not generally the case. Here is why:

- Bad people don’t use “frontal attacks” to get onto your computer any more. Instead, they use social engineering. They won’t try to hack your IP address, instead, they will sneak their way into a product you will download willingly and when the antivirus program asks “Are you sure?” You’ll naively say “Sure!”
- Norton and Symantec, the two biggest antivirus companies, make products that do 1 thing well, scare you into thinking you need them. They are almost as bad as the scammers they are protecting you against, really.
- By far the best antivirus program out there is YOU. If an offer seems too good to be true and all you need to do is install a piece of free software, IT IS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE. It is a scam and you will get what you deserve.
- Remember, on the internet, you are literally 1 click away from the world’s best, highly paid, amoral Russian scammer professionals!
- There are FREE antivirus programs out there that work very well. Namely Microsoft Security Essentials or AVG Antivirus. Yes Microsoft Security Essentials is from Microsoft and yes it’s free.

Switching Users Easily in Windows 7

If you have several users on a Windows 7 computer, it is good to have several user accounts. But it is a bother switching between those accounts. You need to click Start | the tiny arrow next to the shutdown button | Switch user.

This program makes switching users a snap.
Fast User Switch

Pre-Download Gmail Images

Here is a suggestion I just sent the Android Gmail team:

If an email sender has been previously approved to display images, the images should be loaded when the email is downloaded to my phone.

Right now the images are loaded when the email is viewed for the first time. This means I have to wait for the images to download and depending on my internet connection that could be a while. If I’m checking my email where there is no service (on subways, elevators, about 1/2 of Berkeley CA) the experience totally sucks.

If images are pre-downloaded, it will break “web bug” functionality built into email images. But web bugs have never been a web standard, just a clever, if unreliable hack at gaining metrics. If you’re totally excited about it, you could build a new web standard for when web bugs get viewed. Also, nowadays, if a user cares enough to have emails go to their inbox (and not unsubscribing, or marking it as spam), they are probably interested in reading the email, so web bugs aren’t that important any more.

Thanks for your consideration!