Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Thunderbird, Firefox, and Backups, October 10, 2007

Continuing from excerpts taken out of my "private journals" written back in October of 2007.

On the internet side of things, I've started taking advantage of Mozy, a free online backup tool that gives you 2 gigabytes and a program that automatically backs up certain file types and folders you specify. I'm not a huge fan of adding more background running programs, since I was already running google desktop, but I couldn't think of any other way to make sure the backups are made... I think I'd just forget. I might learn Windows Scheduler if I can use that somehow, but for the moment I need to start referring friends to it so I can get the free gig per referral.

With my being given a huge external hard drive for backups by [the production], hopefully the inevitable hard drive crash won't be nearly as overwhelming now, although there is a lot more data at stake the next time it happens.

On a related note, I researched remote desktop utilities on the hope that should I forget stuff at home, I can always connect to my home computer and look it up. Unfortunately for the moment I wasn't able to find a full featured freeware option that was also secure enough right out of the (digital) box. I'll have to shelf this idea for the moment until I can find the time to devote to it.

For Firefox, as with the others, it was all about tweaking the most performance out of it, uncluttering the desktop as much as possible, and using extensions that take those extra windows and mouseclicks down. I was also able to find a program that made backups of my extensions and tweaks, as by this point I'd made so many changes to the program that I wouldn't remember how to restore it in case I have to start over.

One extension [Searchwords] involved adding keyboard shortcuts as substitutes for using the search window. Now I can just install a search engine, give it a code letter like "g" for google or "y" for youtube, and just type "y jurassic park" into the address bar and it searches youtube for jurassic park clips. This took down the number of input bars on Firefox from 3 to 1, and gave it so much more room.

Online wise, I've started using iGoogle, which is a customizable home page portal where I was able to get notifications and previews of my email and yahoo mail, weather, and other gadgets like dontbreakthechain and a calendar.

(editor's note: Dontbreakthechain is the web application I used to keep track of my exercises and other daily routines, like making my bed)

Most importantly, though I was also about to put an RSS reader into the igoogle page, namely Google Reader. Now I'm able to keep up to date on all my favorite blogs in one place, saving me having to do a lot of typing and clicking. I'm excited whenever I get to bookmark yet another interesting blog, knowing that I'll never forget to check it in the future.

Thunderbird went through the same treatment of extensions and consolidation and purging of unnecessary buttons. Most importantly, though, I finally went super nuts on putting everything into categorized folders. I'd done this to my laptop back when I was in Jersey but importing the organization into my desktop did not handle very well. I still need to reinstitute all the filters I had to put them all in the right folders, along with probably having to create folders for the "Sent" folder as well.

Finally, I've started using Autohotkey, a batch process program to let me open and close multiple programs in one doubleclick. Eventually I'd like to learn to write batch programs myself, but for now this is an excellent choice.
The preceeding wasn't changed much from the original entry back in October, other than adding links to the respective applications. As such, many of these tweaks have become obsolete (upgraded or removed altogether).

Don't fret though, cause I plan on catching up real soon. I just wanted to really let you in on the process by which I got to my present configuration.

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