Tagged With customisations

Predicting the future is near impossible -- but that doesn‘t stop us all from having a red hot go. Human beings have been predicting the future since the beginning of history and the results range from the hilarious to the downright uncanny.

One thing all future predictions have in common: they‘re rooted in our current understanding of how the world works. It‘s difficult to escape that mindset. We have no idea how technology will evolve, so our ideas are connected to the technology of today.


Firefox with Greasmonkey (and other browsers): The Helvetireader theme for Google Reader strips away the bells and whistles and offers a minimal interface redesign for keyboard shortcut users. Install Helvetireader in Firefox with the Greasemonkey extension, Opera, a Chromium nightly build, or Safari with Greasekit. With Helvetireader enabled, GReader uses red and black Helvetica font and white background with a light grey gradient. Especially suited to work in Reader as a Fluid or Prism standalone app, Helvetireader is a free download.



Windows XP only: When you right-click on your desktop or on a file, do you have to go through two dozen useless menu items before you hit the one you want? Free utility Mmm offers an easy interface for hiding and organizing context menu items—into a "Rarely used" subfolder, for example. With Mmm running, hit the coloured button it adds to the top left of the menu to see the configuration area, shown here. Check out the before and after photos of my context menu using Mmm.


Firefox user Asian Angel loves Portable Firefox for projects like creating a Google Chrome clone, but you can also use it to run multiple, sandboxed instances of the browser at the same time. What's the point? Well, it lets you log into multiple accounts at the same service (like Gmail) in different windows, and run certain extensions and styles in one browser instance but not another. Using Portable Firefox you can easily back up your customised installations and run them anywhere. Reader Asian Angel explains how she assembled a colorful "Firefox six pack" using the portable app.


Next time you wipe your PC's hard drive clean and reinstall Windows with that old installation disc, you don't want to connect your fresh, unpatched and vulnerable system to the internet only to download 176 new updates from Microsoft. If your XP installation CD is older than 2004, once your system is online, you'll have to wait for hefty service packs to download, chained to your mouse while pushing the Next button, watching progress bars, and rebooting multiple times. Wouldn't it be better to start your installation, head out to run errands or grab coffee, and come back to an up-to-date system before your system gets online? It's possible, using some free software and a blank disc. After the jump, I'll show you how to create an automated, customised XP installation CD or DVD, that includes Microsoft's official-but-not-released Service Pack 3 for Windows XP.


Windows only: Free customisation utility XNeat adds a few unique functions to the rich library of tweaking utilities, and some might become must-installs for Windows power-users. The most notable are the additions to the standard "Save As" dialog: an option to create a numbered "clone" file when you're about to save over an existing document (i.e. "Paper(1).doc"), and a time-stamping utility that adds numbered dates to filenames automatically. XNeat also lets you enable drag-and-drop taskbar re-ordering, giving you your preference of left-to-right app layout, and a full set of windows management tools, including transparency and system tray docking. XNeat is a free download for Windows XP and Vista only.



Mac users: You already know how to customise shortcut arrows on your Windows PC, and you can do the same on aliased folders and files on the Mac (which include a small black arrow on the lower left by default). To remove aliased item arrows entirely, a simple Terminal command plus a killall Finder does the trick. Otherwise you can create a custom icon and copy it deep in the bowels of OS X to overwrite the default. Looks like another nice Finder customisation for those of you who use aliases often.

Remove or modify alias arrows