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Firefox Second Search Bar July 3, 2009

Posted by ecomnomnom in Firefox, GUI, Technology.
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Ok. This post is actually useful for once. I finally figured out how to add a second search bar into firefox, and make it look exactly how I want it to:

Google and Wikipedia!

Google and Wikipedia!

I don’t know if there are any simpler ways of doing this, mine turned out rather difficult.

First, I used the old firefox add-on called thinger. Unfortunately, it has not been updated for the new version of firefox, so this is what must be done:

1) Download thinger by right-click>save-link-as on their link. For convinience, I have hotlinked it here.

2) Open the .xpi file using your favorite archive-manager. For me, it’s Winrar. You can use winzip, or 7-zip or whatever.

3) Inside, you will find a file called install.rdf. Open it with notepad. As you go through it, you will find the following code:
Replace the “3.0.a3” with “3.5”, so that it can run on newer firefox. Save it and close it all up.

4) Open up firefox. File >> Open >>toolbar-thinger-1.0-fx.xpi . Basically, open it from wherever you saved it. Firefox should then let you install the add-on.

5) Once you have the add-on, go to View >> Toolbars >> Customize , and there will be a new bar with a little search icon. Just drag it to wherever you want the new searchbar to be.

Thats that. However, if you want the second search bar to be right-aligned and the same size as the regular one like mine is, then you will need to add some extra code. Go to your userChrome.css file for your firefox. If you don’t know what that is, download the ChromEdit Plus extension (after you’ve installed it, go to Tools >> Chromedit Plus >> Chromedit).

Copy-paste this code I wrote into your userChrome.css file somewhere above the “namespace” code:

#searchbar {max-width: 250px !important;width: 250px !important}
#search-container{max-width: 250px !important;width: 250px !important}
.thinger-item {min-width: 250px !important;}
.search-proxy-button-dropmarker { display:none !important; }
.searchbar-dropmarker-image {display: none !important;}
#search-proxy-button { margin-top: 1px !important;
margin-left: -2px !important; margin-right: 2px !important; }

Then press save, then press restart. Firefox should then have your searchboxes done correct. If not, then play around with it or post a comment and I can help you out.


Hella BIOS adventures March 22, 2009

Posted by ecomnomnom in Hardware, Linux, Technology.
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I am waiting the two hours for my iphone to back-up and sync. Therefore, this will be a long blog post, with many pictures, so bear with me. I have noticed that my most visited post, by far, has been the one about the OSX themed linux, and I will devote more space to linux and technology. Today, I’ll recap my story about my Dell Latitude CPi.

Latitude CPi

Latitude CPi

So, I pulled out an old late 90’s Latitude c-series Pentium II notebook out of my basement, in order to install the new version of Backtrack 3 Linux on its tiny hard drive.

First, I inserted the BackTrack 3 LiveCD to see if it would work. Unfortunately, the computer wouldn’t let me boot off the CD, and instead tried to make me boot off of the non-existent floppy drive. Even worse, the BIOS was password protected.

Mark my words, Laptop manufacturers should never password protect their BIOSes. It does not stop the hard drive data from being stolen, and it does not deter theft. Criminals don’t carry around a list of difficult-to-crack BIOS passwords with them- they steal when the opportunity arises. Hella stupid.

So, I went to my computer to find latitude.exe, the program which cracks all latitude BIOS passwords, given their service code. Unfortunately, it usually doesn’t work for c-series computers, and definately did not work for mine.

Ram Chip

The Ram Chip

Ok. When a computer is off, the necessary functions (like the clock and BIOS data), are powered by the tiny CMOS battery. You can disconnect that, and after a while, the BIOS will reset itself. However, once again, the Latitude c-series is smarter than that. All the data is stored on an internal RAM-chip, which presents itself as an 8-inch pin on the motherboard.  You can disconnect the power all you want, but the data will be there.

I had heard that people had had sucess re-assembling the laptop so that the motherboard faced the other way, then shorting the RAM chip with a paper clip. Unfortunately, with the specific CPi model, that re-assembly would be impossible.

Russian Engineering

Russian Engineering

Things were getting more difficult. I dissasembled virtually every part of the laptop trying to figure out a way to start the laptop while shorting the chip, including the bitch-ass clamp holding the CPU down. Eventually, I went to my old soviet junior-electronics set and pulled out two standard wires. I tried to solder them onto the board, but ended up getting a really bad burn on one of my fingers from the iron. This is where Russian innovation came into play. I got out my scotch tape, and taped down the wires onto the chip, and hoped I wouldn’t start a fire.

BT3 in Flux

BT3 in Flux

After reasembling the laptop and holding down the power button while shorting the wires in my other hand, the bios erased itself on the third attempt. I changed the boot device to CD-rom, and hoped for the best. BackTrack 3 live-cd only ran in Fluxbox (couldn’t handle KDE), but I feel that I might be more sucessful replacing Windows 98 with a clean copy of BT3.

Moral of the story: never spend this much time trying to fix an insignificant thing. This laptop is a current hobby project of mine, though, and I will keep you posted as I gradually change this piece of the 90’s into a masterpiece.

Hella OSX Ubuntu March 7, 2009

Posted by ecomnomnom in GUI, Technology.
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So the image I stole from digg in the middle of my last blog post got removed, so I need to make a new blog entry to stop make the front page of my blog look better.

This blog entry, will of course, again be about GUI. This time, I want to discuss what OSX actually is. This wikipedia image demonstrates what happened to UNIX over the years. As you can see, Mac OSX and Linux are not far from eachother. The main pillar to Apple’s recent rise has clearly been image. Their GUI has been recognized as something significant. Therefore, I wondered, how easy would it be to mimic OSX’s GUI in Ubuntu. Here are three screenshots:

Ubuntu, made to look like OSX

Ubuntu, made to look like OSX

I used Avant-Window Navigator for the doc. These pictures might be a little blurry, so just click on them to see them on my flickr account.

Ubuntu OSX File Manager

Ubuntu OSX File Manager

As you can see, I have gone into such details as the black cursor, the scrollbars, and even making the buttons appear at the top left of the window navigator, instead of the top right.

Same Widgets as OSX.

Same Widgets as OSX.

Mac Fanboys often remark about their cool f4 widget feature. Here is that exact same widget feature, reproduced.

*    *    *

Anyway, for me this blog is just practice, to see what people respond to. From my last post, I have noticed a lot of views (and even one comment), from people I don’t know. This is really awesome, if you stumble across this blog, make sure to bookmark it and recommend it to friends. Something great will come of it.

Hella Piracy in China November 24, 2008

Posted by ecomnomnom in Economics, Technology.
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Recently, I’ve been noticing articles about Microsoft trying to enforce their intellectual property in China. This Guardian.co.uk story and this Wall Street Journal article have explained what the problem is: in an attempt to deter piracy, Microsoft has made the screen go black on all Chinese computers that don’t pass their ‘genuine advantage’ test every hour. This has, of course, caused massive retaliation in China.

Wall Street Journal image of Blacked Out Screen

Wall Street Journal image of Blacked Out Screen

The statistics go as follows. Over 90% of China, including their president, use Windows. About 74% of them are using a pirated copy of Windows. A legitimate copy of Windows in China costs 1000 RMB, which is about the monthly GDP per person. A pirated copy of Windows costs 5 RMB, which is less than 1 USD. Chinese people who were outraged about the new system have argued that Microsoft should target sellers, rather than the consumers.

Personally, I believe that Microsoft is doing the right thing by targeting consumers, because targeting sellers would undoubtedly have completely no impact. Also, the ‘Genuine Advantage’ tool that Microsoft has is an amazing advantage against pirates—and one argument would suggest that anyone who hasn’t found a way around it probably deserves to be buying Windows at full price.

The real question is: How is having your screen go black occasionally any different than regular Windows?