Display Multiple Time Zones in the XP System Tray

microsoft-time-zone-icon I was very happy when I found a feature in Windows 7 that allowed me to see the current time in cities across the world by hovering the mouse over the system tray clock.

win7-clocks-time-date

As you can see in the image, you can display up to three time zones, including the one you are using. If you didn’t know how to set that up in Vista or Win7, you can use these instructions at Microsoft.

I have several PCs at home and at work that are running Windows XP, so I decided to find out if there was a way to add a similar feature.

I found several applications that give you fairly quick access to views of multiple time zones, but I wanted one that resided in the system tray. Finally, I found my answer: Microsoft Time Zone.

Normally the time is displayed in the system tray in XP, showing only the time itself. Hovering your mouse over it displays the day and date as shown here.

system-tray-show-date-time

Microsoft Time Zone allows you to see up to 5 different times zones. However, it requires a left click on the system tray icon to display them.

system-tray-show-multiple-time-zones

Right clicking on it gives you access to the settings and options. It also allows you to find the current times of anyplace else in the world.

ms-time-zone-right-click

I found out that installing Microsoft Time Zone wasn’t exactly trouble-free. This little program requires .NET Framework 1.1 to be installed. Even if you have later versions of .NET installed, Time Zone won’t let you install until you add .NET 1.1. This has always been the main reason I don’t like .NET Framework.

Download Microsoft Time Zone

Download Microsoft .NET Framework 1.1

Be sure to take a look at some of the other articles we’ve written about Time Zones and other system tray utilities.

Techie Buzz Verdict:

I really enjoy having Microsoft Time Zone in Windows XP. Since many of the people I chat with online are in other time zones, it’s a big help to know what time it is where they live. As I mentioned above, the major drawback to this application is it’s reliance on .NET Framework.

Techie Buzz Rating: 3/5

Create Custom Windows 7 Setups with RT Se7en Lite

You may be wondering why anyone would take the trouble of creating his or her own Windows setup when the default installer works just fine. To be honest, creating custom setups is not something every user would need to do. The default Windows setup is designed to provide a balanced experience to everyone. However, an installation fine-tuned for an individual or an organizations needs would obviously perform better under certain circumstances. Sure, you can tweak the system after installation. However, this is not the ideal solution for a computer administrator or a user who frequently formats his computer.

RT-Se7en-Lite

RT Seven Lite is quite similar to nLite (for Windows XP) and vLite (for Windows 7). It allows users to remove unnecessary Windows utilities and integrate system updates, drivers, third party applications, tweaks, wallpapers and themes into Windows installations. The entire interface is wizard based and is designed to ensure that the process is as simple as possible.

Techie Buzz Verdict

RT Se7en LiteAlthough, vLite works reasonably well with Windows 7 there are several issues since it does not officially support Windows 7. This makes RT Seven Lite a must have for anyone looking to create their custom Windows 7 setup. Even if you have not tried customizing your Windows setup earlier, give it a try. Benefits such as unattended installation and integrated security updates make it work the effort.

Techie Buzz Rating: 4/5 (Excellent)

[ Download RT Se7en Lite ]

Free GPS on Your Laptop – Geosense for Windows

I have a GPS unit to keep me from getting lost while I’m driving, but it doesn’t hook up to my computer. If I wanted to use geolocation applications to show online friends where I was at the moment, I couldn’t do it.   Until now ….

Sathya Bhat sent me an email yesterday telling me about a new geo-location solution. Two crazy programmers named Long Zeng and Rafael Rivera have created a program that identifies where you are by using either your IP address, or Wifi triangulation. The application is called Geosense for Windows, but, it only works in Windows 7. Apparently Windows 7 has a built in location sensing API that nobody else is taking advantage of yet.

Here’s how to set it up:

First, go to the home page and download Geosense and install it.

To enable Geosense, go to your Start Menu and type location(without quotes) into the search box. Then click on Enable location and other sensors.

control-panel-location-search

Next place a check-mark in the check-box to enable Geosense.

control-panel-enable-location-sensor

Once you’ve clicked Apply, you won’t notice anything new. However, you’ll find that any location aware application you run, will now automatically know where you are.

The Geosense website offers a nice Google Maps test application to try out. You can also run the Windows Weather Gadget to find your local weather. Here you can see both of these running on my laptop.

google-maps-applet

They also mention that there’s a Twitter application called MahTweets which can grab the location and put it into your tweets.

Here’s the Geosense homepage: Check it out.

Techie Buzz Verdict:

Geosense is not going to be able to replace my car’s GPS unit, but if I’m on the road, at least I’ll know about where I am, even when I’m away from the car. I did notice that it was only able to give an approximate location, within half a kilometer, so it’s not perfect. It’s a free app that makes excellent use of a previously hidden feature in Windows 7. I love it.

techie-buzz-recommended-software

Techie Buzz Rating: 4/5 (Excellent)

Backup Your Device Drivers with Double Driver

IN A WINDOWS PC, the drivers are some of the most important files you need to keep everything working as it should. The drivers control all of the hardware devices in your PC. So when they don’t work, your display, or sound, or CD/DVD drives, or networking cards may not be working.

Usually, this happens when you are setting up a new PC that you don’t have the original install disks for. I’ve had it happen many times and the only solution is to search the internet for the correct drivers, then install them.

If you have all of your required drivers, re-installing Windows will most likely be a trouble free experience. The best place to get the drivers is off of the PC that’s going to need them. Over the years, I’ve gotten a little smarter. After a successful install of Windows, one of the first things I do is back up all of the system drivers someplace safe. I’ve found one of the best ways to do this is to use a driver backup utility.

double-driver-icon Double Driver is a good freeware driver backup solution. It’s not a large download and it’s also a portable application, meaning, you can take the program with you on a flash card or USB drive. There’s no need to install it since it will run right from the portable drive.

double-driver-files

Installation is easy. Download the zip file, extract it to a folder, then double click the dd.exe file to start Double Driver.

Once it’s running, click the Scan button to make Double Driver scan your PC for all of the driver files.

By default, the drivers you need to back up will already be selected. However, it never hurts to back them all up. You can select all of the drivers from the Select menu.

double-driver-scanned

Once you’ve selected all the drivers you wish to back up, then you only need to hit the Backup button to start the process. You’ll have an option to change the backup settings at this point.

double-driver-backup

The default options are fine unless you need to compress the files because of limited space in your backup location. The default option to Include Double Driveris a bonus that’s worthy of praise. After all, it’s likely you’ll only need to restore the drivers to a system which doesn’t already have Double Driver on it.

Restoring the drivers on a PC is also very easy. Navigate to the folder where you have the backup drivers stored, then double click the dd.exe file.

double-driver-restore

Once Double Driver is running, hit the Restore button and you’ll see your drivers listed, selected, and ready for you to hit the Restore button once again.

Download Double Driver

Techie Buzz Verdict:

Double Driver meets almost every good point that I use to judge software. It’s freeware, portable, useful, easy to use, bug free and runs on most versions of Windows. I have no problem recommending it as a must have.

techie-buzz-recommended-software

Techie Buzz Rating: 4/5 (Excellent)

Recover Saved Passwords in Opera

One thing I like about Firefox as opposed to other browsers is the fact that you can recover passwords in Firefox using the password manager. Now, don’t get me wrong, it is a security hazard, but not if you set a master password, however, none of the other browsers I use provide users with an option to do that.

If you are using , you could do it with the Chrome Password Recovery tool, however, the developers of the Chrome password software have also released a similar software for Opera called OperaPassView.

View or Recover Opera Passwords 

OperaPassView will allow you to fetch the stored passwords for websites which you have stored them for in . In my tests the passwords were displayed to me for all the sites I have them stored for (the screenshot above is default from the software site) and was even able to export them to an external file.

Definitely handy if you have forgotten your password and want to access a site in a different browser, read the rest of the security hazards in my verdict below.

Techie Buzz Verdict

If an external software can crack the algorithms of these browsers and fetch the passwords, it would definitely be good if they can provide an option to set a master password and access the stored passwords, rather than having a algorithm which can be cracked easily.

That said, OperaPassView is a really handy software to have, but again it exposes the vulnerabilities of a browser. What if your laptop is lost? Anyone could use software like these and get access to your passwords.

Are you listening Google Chrome and Opera?

Ratings: 4/5 (Very Good)

Download OperaPassView [via Life Rocks]

Check Feedburner Feed Statistics From Your Desktop

Feedburner is one of the most popular services for publishing RSS feeds and email updates. If you login to your Feedburner account you would be able to view statistics such as clicks, subscribers and so on.

Now, what if you can view all this information from the comfort of your desktop? RSS Feed counter is a desktop application which will display the statistics for any Feedburner feed on your desktop, allowing you to analyze the data without having to visit the Feedburner website.

desktop_feedburner_stats

RSS Feed counter will allow you to fetch the data for any feed, including one’s not owned by you (please see note below). The application works by pulling data from the Awareness API and displaying it to you in a neat format. You can also poll data for a date range, which will then allow you to compare data between different days.

Note: To use this tool, the feed in question will have to have the "Awareness API" enabled. If you want to enable it for your feed, visit Publicize -> Awareness API in your feed dashboard and activate the service.

Techie Buzz Verdict

This tool could be used to quickly analyze data on the desktop and know your feed count, reach and hits. Also the app is a bit rough around the edges, you might need to use the "Clear All" button quite often when you are trying to check on different feeds.

However, the bad thing is that you need to activate the Awareness API, which would then make the data available to your feed to everyone. If you decide to not turn on the Awareness API, this app will do no good to you.

Coming to think of it, it would be great if Feedburner could fine tune the Awareness API, by adding an API key for accessing the data. It would then make more sense, rather than having to make the data public to everyone. Are you reading Feedburner?

Download RSS Feed Counter [via Shout Me Loud]

How to Restore Default File Types in Vista and Windows 7

registry iconA few weeks ago, I told you how to repair the default image file types in Windows XP. At the time, I wasn’t aware of any utilities that could help you restore file types in Vista or Windows 7. I should have guessed that Ramesh Srinivasan would make good on his word. I had seen an old post which said he’d be working on something to help out.

Why would you need to restore a default file type?

You probably already know that a file type is controlled by the last letters after the dot in a file name. When you install new applications, sometimes the new app takes over the opening of some file types automatically. If you installed a new music player, you might discover that all .MP3 files now open up in the new player. That’s fine if you like the new player, but what if you don’t? You can re-assign the MP3 file type to another player by using the Open Withmenu when you right click on an MP3.

If you want Windows to use the default player that Microsoft had originally chosen for MP3 files, you might have trouble figuring out how to do that. I have found that it’s also sometimes tricky to get the defaults back on image file types. Fortunately, there are a few scripts and utilities that can help.

Using .REG Scripts

Ramesh has a page on his site that helps you restore a few Windows 7 file types to their defaults. He also has a page that lets you restore Vista file types to their defaults. Read the instructions on those pages to use REG (registry) scripts to make the changes.

Here’s a list of the file types that can be changed there:

AUDIOCD, AVI, BAT, BMP, CHM, CMD, COM, DVR-MS, EXE, GIF, HTM, HTML, ICO, INF, IMG, JPE, JPEG, JPG, JS, LNK, MP3, MPE, MPG, MSC, MPEG, REG, SCR, TIF, TIFF, TXT, VBS, WMA, WMV, WSF, XML, XPS, ZIP, FOLDER, DIRECTORY, DRIVE

Using the Unassoc Utility

Can You Hide Your Web Browser While Surfing at Work or School?

If you have to sneak around, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it. You could get fired or expelled. However, there is one way to hide your surfing from other people as they walk past your computer. GhostZilla was designed to help with this exact problem.

ghost-from-clif What is GhostZilla? It’s a web browser that behaves like a scared chameleon. It blends into your desktop windows so well that anyone who’s more than 2 feet away won’t even see it at first. If someone is looking, a single mouse movement causes GhostZilla to disappear completely.

GhostZilla is a modified version of the Mozilla web browser, which is no longer supported. The Mozilla and Netscape browsers are the parents of the modern Firefox browser. You could say GhostZilla is an aging uncle to Firefox. The main feature of GhostZilla is that it appears inside the window frame of any application window that’s on top at the time.

Here’s what it looks like before you launch –

ghostzilla-word-0-large

– and after you launch GhostZilla, you see this.

ghostzilla-word-1-large

While you are surfing, you’ll notice that the text is displayed in a low contrast mode, and gray images will only appear as you hover your mouse over them.

monochrome-image-google

When you want GhostZilla to disappear, just move the mouse out of the window and it disappears, leaving behind the original window.

ghost-zilla-mouse-moves

To get GhostZilla back, you need to move your mouse all the way to the left edge of the display screen, then back to the right edge, and finally back to the left edge once again. Suddenly, GhostZilla should re-appear in the current active window.

There are a few problems with GhostZilla as it currently stands.
• It’s an abandoned project
• The original website is no longer there
• It doesn’t work as well in Vista/Win7 (XP is fine)
• It’s pretty big – 26mb

GhostZilla is a free and open source (FOSS) portable app. You can download it, unzip it and run it from a folder, flash memory stick, USB thumb drive or CD. To start GhostZilla, double click the Start-Ghostzilla-CD.exe file.

There is a current add-on project, named GhostFox, which is trying to duplicate the features of GhostZilla in the Firefox browser. However, I have not been able to get it to work because of add-on compatibilities. Once this add-on is working, it should be the ideal way to go.

If anyone out there has the time, I’d like to see a portable version of Firefox with the GhostFox add-on enabled and running by default. Be sure to let us know if you succeed.

Download GhostZilla:

http://www.portablefreeware.com/?id=681

Techie Buzz Verdict:

GhostZilla is a great idea that isn’t great for everyone at this time. It’s old, it’s big and it’s no longer supported. However, some of you may find it useful. Remember that I warned you not to secretly do your web surfing at work or school.

Techie Buzz Rating: 2.5/5 (Average)

How to Speed Up Windows Disk Cleanup

disk-cleanup-icon Cleaning out the junk files on your PC is something you should do on a regular basis. Microsoft has included a file cleaning utility in Windows, and it’s called Disk Cleanup. Running Disk Cleanup will often make your system a little snappier and you can also free up a large amount of used disk space.

You can find the Disk Cleanup utility in the following locations:

WinXP: Start > Program Files > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Cleanup

Vista/Win7: Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Cleanup

disk-cleanup

If you occasionally clean out your unwanted system files using Windows “Disk Cleanup”, you may have seen that the Disk Cleanup utility takes a long time scanning for “Compressed Folders”. I have seen this many times and it makes me impatient every time.

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine at work (Bill M), told me that there’s a registry hack to make Cleanup skip the long wait. He was right, I found it using a simple Google search.

Here’s the registry hack (works in XP, so far – have not seen this work in Vista and Win7):

WinXP: Open up the registry editor by clicking the Start Button, then choose Run, type in “regedit” and press the OK button.

Vista/Win7: Hit the Start button and type regeditin the quick search.

Once you have regedit running, find the following location:
“HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows
\CurrentVersion\Explorer
\VolumeCaches\System error memory dump files”

The “Flags” value must be set to “0”.

For 64-bit Windows only:

“HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows
\CurrentVersion\Explorer
\VolumeCaches\System error memory dump files”

The “Flags” value must be set to “0”.

You may not   notice any difference until you reboot, but the next time you use Disk Cleanup, you should notice a substantial decrease in the amount of time it takes.

How to Keep the Same Notes Everywhere – Synchronizing Tomboy with Dropbox

dropbox-icon The other day, I wrote about a free note taking application called Tomboy. As I mentioned there, Tomboy is now available for Linux, Mac and Windows. Since I frequently move between machines and jump in and out of Linux and Windows, I wanted to have the same notes in all places.

After some research, I found out that I could set Tomboy to use a local folder to synchronize notes. I am an enthusiastic Dropbox user and I have it installed on every PC that I use. To me, the next logical step was to point my Tomboy sync at Dropbox so that I was getting the same notes on all my PCs, no matter what system was running.

Here’s how it’s done.

If Tomboy is running, you can access the preferences by a right click to it’s system tray, or from the Search All Noteswindows under Edit – Preferences.

tomboy-right-click-systray

Make sure the pull-down menu is showing Local Folder, then hit the Browsebutton to choose a folder on your PC. Naturally, in this case, we will choose a folder inside of the Dropbox folder so that the files will get synchronized by Dropbox.

tomboy-preferences

Once you have the folder selected, be sure to hit the Savebutton to save the folder path.

Now you only need to do this on every PC that you have Tomboy installed on and you’re ready to go. Whenever you need to update your notes, you can find the Synchronize Notescommand in the systray icon right click or in any note window under Tools.

tomboy-sync-menu

That’s it. Have fun taking notes in Tomboy.