Wednesday, January 14, 2009

How To Use Your TV as a Computer Monitor

1. Identify your TV's input connections. Most TVs these days have three basic types of inputs. You have your coaxial cable input, the same as your cable box or satellite, an RCA composite input (the yellow, red and white inputs) and an S-video connector. Newer televisions might have Component Video, DVI, VGA or HDMI inputs but the ones listed above are more common.

2. Identify your computer's outputs. These days computer manufacturers are adding TV compatible outputs on their products so it's easy to hook it up quickly. The S-video in particular seems to be popping up on more and more computers. Mostly you will find the usual VGA output that the regular monitor hooks up to. The newer multi media computers of the near future will probably have all high definition outputs that connect directly to your TV, but for now we will deal with what most people have for both computers and televisions.

3. Find the appropriate adapter for your connections. You may need to get an adapter so you can hook up your computer to the TV. These have a VGA adapter on one end and (usually) a selection of hookups on the other (S-video, RCA composite and Component). The good thing about these is that you can take it from TV to TV and you'll be able to hook up to all of them. I highly recommend a wireless adapter. It costs a bit more but it's worth not having a big cable mess and not keeping your computer near your TV.

4. Connect your computer to your TV. If you have a TV compatible output on your computer, such as an S-video jack, just take an S-video cable and connect it to your computer and your TV. If you do not, then attach your VGA end of your adapter to your computer and use the RCA, S-video or Component Video cable to attach to your TV. After you've made all the connections, make sure you are on the correct TV video input. Press the input button on your TV or remote until you see your computer's signal.

Now, here is where you might get a little disappointed. Your TV's usual video signal is called NTSC (PAL if you live in Europe). This signal is different than the one generated by your computer. Computers use signals measured by pixels: 320x200, 320x240, 640x480, 800x600, 1024x768, 1280x1024 or 1600x1200. Most TV's can only get about 500 lines of resolution, in computers this is like 500 vertical pixels. The video amplifiers in televisions cannot handle higher resolutions either. So when you factor these things together you are left with a maximum resolution of 640x480.

This is not the worst thing in the world because you can play games and watch video in lower resolutions no problem. It's just that you will never get close to the resolution your computer monitor will give you. Beware of some adapters that claim to give you more than 640x480, they just reduce the quality of the original television signal to compensate.

You can get an adapter for an HDTV that will give you higher resolutions but you need an HDTV and an adapter that costs usually 2-3 times more than your standard adapter. Any way you choose, it is not hard to use your TV as a computer monitor if you follow the few steps above.
READ MORE - How To Use Your TV as a Computer Monitor

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Hidden Windows 7 Superbar Feature

By default, the Windows 7 superbar is similar to Apple’s dock in that each program is represented by one icon on the bar. When you hover over this icon, it displays the windows hidden underneath.

Icon has a stacked effect for programs with multiple windows.

Hovering over Firefox icon shows hidden windows allowing us to click one or even exit one right from the preview.

Hovering over Firefox icon shows hidden windows allowing us to click one or even exit one right from the preview.

It’s a very nice effect that I have found to be extremely functional and time saving.

One of the commenters on my original article has found an interesting registry hack that causes the superbar to emulate the Vista taskbar with a couple of variations. Windows that are from the same program are grouped in that they stay linked on the taskbar. Hovering over one of the buttons reveals all windows similar to the default superbar functionality.

Vista like superbar.

Vista like superbar.

To enable this feature (?) do the following:

  1. Open regedit.
  2. Find the key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced
  3. Add a DWORD named TaskbarGlomLevel.
  4. Set the value of this DWORD to 1 to enable the Vista functionality or 0 to disable. (Or just remove the entry.)
  5. Log off and back on.

Or, download Vista Superbar Registry Entry and double click it to add the entry automagically.

The standard disclaimers apply. Editing the registry is dangerous so don’t do it if you aren’t absolutely comfortable with doing so. If you jack up your computer or accidentally kill your gradmother or anything else, it’s not my fault.


READ MORE - Hidden Windows 7 Superbar Feature

Monday, January 12, 2009

4 Free Proxies To Block Ads in Google Chrome (or any browser)

So you've tested Google Chrome and decided that you like it. You say you'd switch, but there's no adblocker? Fortunately for you, there are several free, tiny filtering proxy applications available that can do the job.

The best part is, they'll help block ads in any browser - including Chrome.

Before I get into a list, it's important to know that several of these apps haven't been updated in ages. However, content filtering is a pretty straightforward operation, so even the old ones work just fine - and you can always tweak the blocking rules yourself.

CyberGuard WebWasher Classic
is another great option. It's small, fast, and very customizable. It's got additional capabilities to block popups, scripts, referrers, cookies, and prefixes. New filters are incredibly easy to set up, and there's no noticeable lag in load times. Of the apps I tested, WebWasher was my favorite.

Proxomitron has a god awful GUI, but it works well enough that its appearance can be overlooked (you can create your own bitmaps if you really hate it). It offers extremely flexible bloxing rules, and the default set is extrmely effective. Blocked ads are replaced with [red text in brackets], and pages load times weren't adversely affected.

iReject Trash is a tiny download (200k) and works extremely well. Its log view also gives you an interesting insight into the pages you're visiting., for example, had 33 items blocked. Out-of-the-box the blocking was very good, and the rules are fully customizable. You can block by host, pattern, or image dimensions. Page load times were a bit slower on certain sites.

Lifehacker suggests Privoxy
as an option (via GeekZone NZ). Privoxy is more low-fi: all your configuration tweaks are done by editing text files. It is, however, very easy on processor usage and it also does a very good job with no tweaking. I didn't notice any difference in page load times with Privoxy.

There are tons of other options for blocking ads (just check the Google Directory), so don't give up on Chrome just because there's no AdBlock. Grab one of these apps, and give it another try - then tell us how it went!
READ MORE - 4 Free Proxies To Block Ads in Google Chrome (or any browser)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Painting the curb

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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

CPU From Japan

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Mississippi has highest teen pregnancy rate

ATLANTA – Mississippi now has the nation's highest teen pregnancy rate, displacing Texas and New Mexico for that lamentable title, according to a new federal report released Wednesday.

Mississippi's rate was more than 60 percent higher than the national average in 2006, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Preventionsaid. The teen pregnancy rate in Texas and New Mexico was more than 50 percent higher.

The three states have large proportions of black and Hispanic teenagers — groups that traditionally have higher birth rates, experts noted.

The lowest teen birth rates continue to be in New England, where three states have teen birth rates at just half the national average.

It's not clear why Mississippi surged into first place. The state's one-year increase of nearly 1,000 teen births could be a statistical blip, said Ron Cossman, a Mississippi State University researcher who focuses on children's health statistics.

More than a year ago, a preliminary report on the 2006 data revealed that the U.S. teen birth rate had risen for the first time in about 15 years. But the new numbers provide the first state-by-state information on the increase.

The new report is based on a review of all the birth certificates in 2006. Significant increases in teen birth rates were noted in 26 states.

"It's pretty much across the board" nationally, said Brady Hamilton, a CDC statistician who worked on the report.

About 435,000 of the nation's 4.3 million births in 2006 were to mothers ages 15 through 19. That was about 21,000 more teen births than in 2005.

Numerically, the largest increases were in the states with the largest populations. California, Texas andFlorida together generated almost 30 percent of the nation's extra teen births in 2006.

Some experts have blamed the national increase on increased federal funding for abstinence-only health education that does not teach teens how to use condoms and other contraception. They said that would explain why teen birth rate increases have been detected across much of the country and not just in a few spots.

There is debate about that, however. Some conservative organizations have argued that contraceptive-focused sex education is still common, and that the new teen birth numbers reflect it is failing.

Other factors include the escalating cost of some types of birth control and their unavailability in some communities, said Stephanie Birch, who directs maternal and child health programs for the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services.

Glowing media portrayals of celebrity pregnancies don't help, either, she said. "They make it out to be very glamorous," said Birch, who cited a calculation by Alaska officials that teen pregnancies were up 6 percent in that state in 2006.

In Mississippi, there were about 68 births for every 1,000 women, ages 15 through 19 in 2006. The New Mexico rate was 64 per 1,000; Texas was 63.

The national birth rate for females in that age group was about 42 per 1,000. New Hampshire, with a rate of 19 per 1,000, was the nation's lowest.

A variety of factors influence teen pregnancy rates, including culture, poverty and racial demographics. For those and other reasons, kids in mostly white New England likely would delay child birth, said David Landry, a researcher at the Guttmacher Institute, a New York-based organization which supports abortion rights and gathers research on sexual and reproductive health.

"It's more costly for youth in the Northeast to have a teen birth than for youth in the South, in terms of opportunities they'll miss," he said.

READ MORE - Mississippi has highest teen pregnancy rate