June 20, 2009

Worse than Hotmail was in 2000: Web.de

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:11 am by gloriouscomputing

Living in Germany, I’ve had my reasons for wanting a German email address. Many email providers here (that people actually use) still ask you to pay for them (ex. ~GMX.de).

Web.de was one of the free options, so I figured why not. Well, it certainly is better than nothing, and I was happy that there was a way to retrieve email via POP3, because this meant I didn’t have to use their atrocious web interface.

Boy was I wrong. You see, while there is POP3 access, this doesn’t actually give you your email. Instead, their POP3 feeds your email client fake email “Summaries”. These email summaries just give you a list of emails… inside an email. While this would already be a huge pain by itself, these “Summary” emails only give you the subjects of the emails. You then have to go to their ad-gated turtle-speed web-interface to read the actual emails.

Besides the POP3 feeding you these BS Summary emails, it also spams you with a weekly “newsletter”, which you have no way of opting out of. Today’s spam-letter advertised Internet Explorer 8 as a revolutionary browser. I’m sure it is to them, considering WEB.de’s masochistic users, like the site owners, must live in 2000, and are all using IE6.

Side node: For anyone living in Germany, I highly recommend installing this Greasemonkey script, so you are able to go to gmail.com and actually get to Gmail.

If anyone has any idea on another .de email provider that doesn’t suck, or any ways of configuring web.de to be less horrible, please let me know in the comments.


June 14, 2009

Find any file on your hard drive instantly – Everything

Posted in Beginner, Intermediate at 10:19 am by gloriouscomputing

There are a variety of solutions for searching your hard drive. If you are running Windows XP, you will definitely want to install one of these right now.

However, the same goes for Windows Vista and Windows 7. Even though their “Windows Key + Just Type to Search” and “Windows Key + F” are pretty good, they are not as good as a little program called “Everything”.

It runs at start-up (if you wish), and goes to your tray. When it starts, it indexes every file on your local hard drives (NTFS only) extremely quickly. I have over 1 TB in space, and it takes maybe 1 minute.

Now here’s the cool part. When you invoke Everything (click tray, press Hotkey) and start typing, it will find file names matching what you type virtually instantly. I don’t think it takes more than 1 second.

Purely theoretical example: “Hm, I’ve been downloading a lot of Daily Show episodes, and I’ve moved them between different hard drives…”
Invoke Everything, type “Daily Show”, bam, list of all Daily Show episodes.

“Everything” also has the ability to host a web server interface, which lets you remotely search your PC in the same way, and then download the files you find. For quickly getting a file from my PC to my Laptop, this has replaced my need for hosting a separate FTP server (although the latter still gets used for heavy duty folder moving).

I would recommend this only for your LAN, as there is no encryption.

Enjoy! Everything

PS: I’ve also tried Locate32, which has the major difference of storing the content of your hard drives in a database (on your hard drive, vs just in memory) and supporting non-NTFS partitions, but if I can choose, I prefer Everything.

Encrypt your Gmail with Firefox extension using PGP (GPG)

Posted in Intermediate at 10:00 am by gloriouscomputing

In this age of digital surveillance, simple steps to protect your privacy should not be ignored.

If you are using Firefox and Gmail (OS-Independent, I believe), you have no excuse not to use PGP encryption when emailing with friends.

With the help of the FirePGP Firefox extension, encrypting your email in a way that only your intended recipient can read is just another button in Gmail.

Ideally, PGP should be a standard that everyone uses by default, but with internet innovation spreading to the masses coming mostly from those who profit from data collection (Google), I don’t see that becoming a reality in the foreseeable future. So, unfortunately, you won’t be able to encrypt all your email; Only those that are going to people who also use PGP.

Well, it’s time we increase the number of PGP users then! Step-by-step tutorial here: http://www.instructables.com/id/Encrypt-your-Gmail-Email/

Update: On Windows, for Step 2 of this guide, just download GPG from http://gpg4win.org