Category Archives: gadgets

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Removing My Web Search from your Firefox navigation bar in Windows.

I hate this sucker and I know you do, too.


This is a bitch. I hate this extension. It displaces the Google search box in the Firefox navigation bar (upper right) with a crummy search (“powered by Google;” yeah right) that finds commercial sites instead of information. To use a real Google search you have to use put Google in your Bookmark toolbar and punch it everytime you want to google. And My Web Search slows down your searches and your computer. Where did it come from? You probably installed it without knowing it when you installed some funny face program that melts images. You want to get rid of it. I’ll show you how. These instructions are based on a 64 bit Windows computer, and I use Firefox and Windows 7 Home Premium.

Intro:
There are two or three places you have to go to remove this steaming mess from a Windows computer.
1) your computer’s “uninstall” program aka “add/remove programs” aka “programs and features”; takes two minutes.
2) about:config in Firefox: 5 minutes
3) regedit program on your computer; this step also will require finding, installing and running a free program called Spybot. May or may not be needed, takes 90-120 minutes

Let’s roll…
First, go to your uninstall program or “add or remove programs”, which you reach from the start button and control panel, depending on your version of Windows. Remove/uninstall anything that says My Web Search. That won’t complete the job.

Next, open Firefox and type about:config in the navigation space at the top left side of the browser and hit return/enter if it doesn’t go there automatically. When the page comes up, punch the consent button that says yes, I promise to be careful.
Find the filter space, and there type myweb (“filter” basically means “find” or “search.”)
Several entries should come up. Put your cursor over each item in turn, do a right click, and select reset on all of the items in the list.
Restart firefox. if My Web Search is still there, go back and do the same thing again; this time try filtering for Myweb or mywebsearch or myway or Myway etc etc until you find the last culprit. Reset it as before.
Close and restart Firefox.
If the search box is still showing My Web Search, you have another couple of hours of work ahead.

Third and last: regedit/Spybot
Go on the internet and find and download Spybot Search and Destroy (free) and install and run that. It will take 15 or 20 minutes; go do some pushups, brush your teeth, order a pizza. When it finishes, Spybot will show you the 30 or so registry keys associated with My Web Search. You have to expand the Spygot window and the partition of it so that the complete character sequence (‘string”) of each bad key/file can be seen. Do not close Spybot or this window. You will need this list to tell a program named regedit which keys/files to delete.

Finding regedit (REGistry EDIT, get it?): click the start button and enter regedit in the “find” box just above the start button, and then hitting return/enter. That will open regedit and show an enormous list of files/registry keys, each of which is identified by a “name” or “string” of about 20 characters. You are interested only in certain files/keys contained in a directory/folder named Hkeys_classes_root. Within that directory, you have to find the Interface subdirectory/folder. All of the My Web Search registry keys are in this subdirectory.

How do you know which files/keys?

You have to look at the bad key list you generated with Spybot, and then find each of these in regedit, one at a time. So you want to have two windows: one shows the list in Spybot, the other showing regedit, so you can easily go back and forth.

There is a trick to this. Regedit is not very good at searching. You have to help it by directing it where to search ie select the Interface directory/folder as previously indicated. Select that directory/folder each time you search for a key/name/string.

You don’t have to copy the entire name/string from Spybot into regedit to find each bad key; entering a string of any 6 consecutive characters from each entry on the Spybot list of bad keys, into the regedit search/filter box will be enough. Then regedit will highlight a file/key that has a matching 6 character string; it will PROBABLY be the file you are looking for but you have to verify carefully by crosschecking to see that it matches the one in Spybot’s list. Then delete it. It will ask you if you want to delete the key and all its subkeys. Click yes. To delete 36 bad keys will take you a good hour or more.

That should have eliminated My Web Search. Close Spybot. Restart your computer and your browser. If My Web Search is still there, run Spybot again to make sure you got all the keys. If Spybot shows that you missed one, go back to regedit and get rid of it. If they are all gone, but My Web Search is still in your Firefox navigation search box, then you missed something in about:config. Go back to that and try different strings in the filter box, using caps, etc. until you find the culprit. Reset it as you did with the others, close Firefox, and reboot your computer.

Keep at it. It’s worth it.

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Filed under blogging, gadgets, Googling Google, Smokey award finalist, Uncategorized

Stanford team improves capacity of lithium battery tenfold

link

This is potentially huge for laptops, but also for electric vehicles.

The electrical storage capacity of a Li-ion battery is limited by how much lithium can be held in the battery’s anode, which is typically made of carbon. Silicon has a much higher capacity than carbon, but also has a drawback.

Silicon placed in a battery swells as it absorbs positively charged lithium atoms during charging, then shrinks during use (i.e., when playing your iPod) as the lithium is drawn out of the silicon. This expand/shrink cycle typically causes the silicon (often in the form of particles or a thin film) to pulverize, degrading the performance of the battery.

Cui’s battery gets around this problem with nanotechnology. The lithium is stored in a forest of tiny silicon nanowires, each with a diameter one-thousandth the thickness of a sheet of paper. The nanowires inflate four times their normal size as they soak up lithium. But, unlike other silicon shapes, they do not fracture.

….”It’s not a small improvement,” Cui said. “It’s a revolutionary development.”

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Filed under Al Gore, economics, gadgets, global warming/environment

Nanosolar ships first utility-scale nano solar panel

This is an exciting product which has been in development for some time; previous technology has resulted in a cost of about $3/Watt, but coal fired power costs only a third of that; This new solar nanotechnology cuts production costs by 90%, which puts solar in competition with other power generation technologies.

Nanosolar Inc., a global leader in solar power innovation, and Beck Energy, a leading integrator of large-scale solar power systems, today announced that they have won a highly competitive public selection process for a solar power plant located on a former landfill owned by one of the largest waste management companies in Eastern Germany.

The project will employ the Nanosolar Utility Panel™ in combination with systems technology and services from Beck Energy. The initial size of the plant is 1MW, an amount sufficient to power approximately 400 homes. The Nanosolar Utility Panel™ is Nanosolar’s first product as part of its award-winning PowerSheet™ product line – recently named the Top Innovation of the Year 2007 by Popular Science Magazine – and the company’s solution for building solar power plants on free fields at the outskirts of towns and cities.   “This is the first time that a solar electricity cell and panel has been designed entirely and specifically for utility-scale power generation,” said Martin Roscheisen, CEO of Nanosolar. “It will set the standard for green power generation at utility scale.”

Visit their website and look around.  The founders of Google are investors.

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Filed under Al Gore, economics, gadgets, George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, global warming/environment, Googling Google

brain doesn’t work in slow motion….DUH!

this kind of stuff gives science a bad name.

US scientists lept off a 150-foot (45-meters) high platform in a hair-raising bid to test if time really does slow down in a crisis as film-makers like to show, a new study said Wednesday.

“People commonly report that time seemed to move in slow motion during a car accident,” said David Eagleman, assistant professor of neuroscience and pyschology at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas.
….participants were fitted with a special watch called a perceptual chronometer which showed flickering numbers. The idea was that if their perception of time really did slow down during their fall, then the participants would be able to decipher the digits.

But while the volunteers could read the numbers shown at normal speeds, they could not make out those which had been speeded up…

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Filed under gadgets, healthcare, science: not a very Republican thing to do

Googling Google: what are they up to now?

Those wild and crazy nerds in Mountain View are just bustin out all over; they’ve been Over the Line for a long time, yet OTLS! has not been giving them a damn bit of coverage. Meanwhile, we have been covering the insane Rapture Index guy. That’s all about to change. Rapture Guy may have humor value, but let’s face, how many ways can you ridicule madness? Google, on the other hand, has a certain geekness which will offer a myriad of opportunities for mirth. Not to mention stock tips.

This week, they announced that even as they seek to conquer the mobile-phone market and uphold their Internet dominance, they are going to try to solve the world’s energy problems.

Google calls it the Renewable Energy Cheaper Than Coal project.

Beginning with about two dozen clean-tech staff engineers, and investments in the “tens of millions” from the company’s philanthropic arm, google.org, the founders said they hope to produce low-cost clean energy – and do it soon.

“We really want to rapidly push forward, and our goal is really to produce one gigawatt of renewable energy capacity that’s cheaper than coal economically,” Page said on a conference call Tuesday.

A gigawatt is enough to power San Francisco.

First of all how geeky is

Renewable Energy Cheaper Than Coal;

I mean, is the acronym RETCH? [update: Tom Friedman clues me in: it’s RE < C; how opaque] Power San Francisco? More like power the peninsula or the South Bay; you know, Google already provides supposed internet to the entire city of Mountain View, and they have a little iGoogle homepage for anyone who enters. Except that the signal is so weak you have to walk up and down the streets trying to find even a “warm spot.” So you Google Guys, don’t scrimp on the RETCH megawatts, okay?

Link

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What is up with tasers, stun guns? is this torture? why are all these people dying?

Link

Since June 2001, more than 150 people have died in the United States
after being subdued with stun guns, according to Amnesty
International, which has called for police departments to suspend use
of the devices pending study of their possible risks.

The UN isn’t pulling any punches:

TASER electronic stun guns are a form of torture that can kill, a UN committee has declared after several recent deaths in North America.

“The use of these weapons causes acute pain, constituting a form of torture,” the UN’s Committee against Torture said.

“In certain cases, they can even cause death, as has been shown by reliable studies and recent real-life events,” the committee of 10 experts said.

Three men, all in their early 20s, were reported to have died in the United States this week, days after a Polish man died at Vancouver airport after being Tasered by Canadian police.

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Filed under gadgets, Torture: you're next

Sony: carry your camera in your TWA/T, “draw envious looks…”

I might have named it something other than a TWA/T, but what do I know? They say it will draw “envious looks.”

Will we see ads with “commando” Britney getting out of a limo, with a camera….well, showing?

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Filed under celebrities in the news, gadgets