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Sun, Jan 29, 2012 10:03 pm

Customizing the Start Menu on a Windows 7 System

To change the items that appear when you click on the Start button Start button on a Windows 7 system, take the following steps:
  1. Right-click on the Start button.
  2. Select the Start Menu tab.

    Start Menu tab

  3. Click on the Customize button.
  4. You can then select which items, such as "Computer", "Documents", etc. that you wish to be displayed.

    Customize Start Menu

    If you want to use the default settings, click on the button labeled Use Default Settings. E.g., you might want to choose that option if some items have disappeared from the Start Menu. The default settings are listed below:

    Computer (default: "Display as a link)
    Connect To (default: checked)
    Control Panel (default: "Display as a link")
    Default Programs (default: checked)
    Devices and Printers (default: checked)
    Documents (default: "Display as a link)
    Downloads (default: "Don't display this item")
    Help (default: checked)
    Highlight newly installed programs (default: checked)
    Homegroup (default: unchecked)
    Music (default: "Display as a link")
    Network (default: unchecked)
    Personal folder (default: "Display as a link")
    Pictures (default: "Display as a link")
    Recent Items (default: unchecked)
    Recorded TV (default: "Don't display this item)
    Run command (default: unchecked)
    Search other files and libraries (default: "Search with public folders")
    Search All Programs menu by name (default: checked)
    System administrative tools (default: unchecked)
    Use large icons (default: checked)
    Videos (default: "Don't display this item)

    Start menu size

    Number of recent programs to display (default: 10)
    Number of recent items to display in Jump Lists (default: 10)

  5. When you are finished click on OK then OK again.

[/os/windows/win7] permanent link

Sun, Jan 29, 2012 7:59 pm

Redirection to Rogue Site

While searching for a power adapter, I found a link for the part number of the power adapter for which I was searching that redirected me to That site displayed a fake virus scan (see image), which reportedly was finding malware on the system from which I was searching, but was really just a ruse to try to lure unsuspecting users into buying rogue antivirus software, i.e., scareware. If I tried to navigate away from the site, I would receive a "Are you sure you want to navigate away from this page?" message.

Scareware - are you sure

No matter which option I selected from "OK" or "Cancel", I was left at the scareware webpage. After finally getting back to a prior Google search page, I checked the site's reputation at Norton™ Safe Web. It did not list the site, stating it had not been tested yet, but it did list

Norton Safe Web reported the following for the site:


Computer Threats:
Identity Threats:
Annoyance factors:
Total threats on this site:
Community Reviews:

Norton Safe Web listed "Drive-By Downloads" as the threat from the site.

After I was able to navigate away from the site, I added an entry to the /Windows/system32/drivers/etc/hosts file to ensure that the system would not be able to contact the site again. I put the following 2 lines at the bottom of that file:

# Inserted on 2012-01-29. Site is attempting to download rogue antivirus software

When a Windows system attempts to find an IP address for a website name, such as, it will first check the hosts file to see if an IP address is listed there for the fully qualified domain name. If not, then it will perform a Domain Name System (DNS) query to obtain the IP address associated with the name. By associating the name with, which is the loopback address for the local system, you can ensure that a system on which the entry has been put in the hosts file will see the name as pointing to its own address and thus will never be able to reach the actual site.

Note: if you edit the hosts file with the Windows Notepad editor, be sure you save the file as hosts, not hosts.txt. The file may be marked as read-only, also, so in order to save the file. you will need to take off the read-only attribute temporarily and put the attribute back on after you have saved the file. You can do so by right-clicking on the hosts file, choosing Properties and unchecking the read-only attribute. Or you can use the following two commands from the command line to take the attribute off the file and put it back on after you've edited the file.

attrib -r C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\hosts
attrib +r C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\hosts

You will need to run the commands from an administrator account to do so. You will also need to run Notepad from an administrator account to edit the file. If you are logged in as another user, you can use the "runas" command from the command line to run Notepad or the attrib command from the administrator account.

E.g., you can use runas /user:administrator cmd to open another command prompt under the administrator account to run the attrib commands or runas /user:administrator notepad to run Notepad from the administrator account. Alternatively, for the attrib command you could use runas /user:administrator "attrib -r C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\hosts". If you are using a domain administrator account you would use runas /user:domainname\administrator.

[/security/malware] permanent link

Mon, Jan 16, 2012 12:59 pm

Floating Left and Right Columns Within a Div

I wanted to have two columns on one section of a web page where the fist column was all left-aligned on the page, but the second column was aligned to the right of the page.

I used the DIV tag to create the two columns. I used <div style="float: left;"> for the left columan and <div style="float: right;"> for the right column. I enclosed both of them in an outer DIV. Since I wanted to have a top margin of 75 pixels for the outer DIV to separate it from the material above, I used <div style="margin-top: 75px;"> for it. But when I viewed the page, the material in the two columns wasn't appearing the way I wanted it to appear. I then tried adding overflow: auto to the outer DIV as shown below.

<div style="margin-top: 75px; overflow: auto;">

<div style="float: left;">
Stuff in left column

<div style="float: right;">
Stuff in right column


<p>Stuff below</p>

That looked fine when viewed in Firefox, but Internet Explorer showed the "stuff below" between the two columns.

I was able to resolve the problem by inserting a complete "cleared" element last in the container as explained at How To Clear Floats Without Structural Markup By adding another DIV below the two column DIVs but within the outer DIV, I was able to get the results I wanted in both Internet Explorer and Firefox. That DIV was just <div style="clear: both;"></div>.

So I then had the following HTML code for the page.

<div style="margin-top: 75px; overflow: auto;">

<div style="float: left;">
Stuff in left column

<div style="float: right;">
Stuff in right column

<div style="clear: both;"></div>


<p>Stuff below</p>


  1. 2 Column Div float right and left child divs outside parent
    Date: August 31, 2010
    Stack Overflow
  2. How To Clear Floats Without Structural Markup
    By: Big John
    Created May 14, 2004
    Last updated: July 2, 2008
    Position Is Everything

[/network/web/html] permanent link

Sun, Jan 08, 2012 6:34 pm

MySQL Field Types

I can't remember the ranges for various MySQL numberic data types, such as TINYINT, SMALLINT, MEDIUMINT, INT, etc. nor how many characters a TEXT field hods versus a MEDIUMTEXT field and when I need the information it sometimes takes me a little while to find it again, so I've placed a page listing those values on this site for ready reference.

[ More Info ]

[/software/database/mysql] permanent link

Sat, Jan 07, 2012 9:54 pm

Displaying Data from a MySQL Database with PHP

If you have data stored in a MySQL database that you wish to include on a webpage, PHP provides a mechansim to query a MySQL database to extract and dispaly the data on a webpage.

[ More Info ]

[/languages/php] permanent link

Thu, Jan 05, 2012 6:40 pm

Google Chrome for the Mac

Google Chrome is available for Mac OS X systems at It is available in Apple Disk Image format, i.e., .dmg format as googlechrome.dmg.

The following window opens when you click on the .dmg file.

Running Google Chrome from dmg file
Create your own custom iPad case

If you double-click on the folder icon in the window, you will have the option of selecting where Chrome should be insalled. The default location is the Applications folder where applications are normally stored. When you then double-click on the "Google Chrome" icon in the window, you will have the option of installing the software or running it from the disk image.

Running Google Chrome from dmg file

If you don't want to intall it, you can simply run it from the disk image, since it will then be "mounted" as a drive within the Finder

Google Chrome browser under Mac OS X

[/network/web/browser/chrome/os-x] permanent link

Wed, Jan 04, 2012 11:05 pm

Removing Specific Cookies from Firefox

Firefox allows you to remove all HTTP cookies, cookies for one particular site, or even individual cookies associated with a particular site which may have placed multiple cookies on your system. To remove cookies, follow the process below.

Note: this procedure was written for Firefox 3.6, but may apply to other versions as well.

  1. Open Firefox.
  2. Click on Tools and select Options.
  3. Click on Privacy.
  4. There will be a "remove individual cookies" link in the middle of the Options window; click on it.

    Firefox Remove Individual Cookies

  5. Search or scroll through the list until you find the relevant website. You can search on a domain name, e.g.,
  6. If you want to delete all cookies for a particular website, highlight its entry by clicking on it, then click on the Remove Cookies button. If yo wish to remove only certain cookies for a website, click on the rightward pointing triangle next to it or double-click on the entry to reveal the individual cookies associated with the website. Click on one you want removed to highlight it, then click on the Remove Cookie button.
  7. Click on the Close button when you have removed all the cookies you wish to remove.
  8. Click on the OK button to close the Options window.

[/network/web/browser/firefox] permanent link

Sun, Jan 01, 2012 1:55 pm

Resizing an image from the command line

If you have the ImageMagick package installed on a Linux system or Mac OS X, you can use the convert tool that comes with it to resize an image from a shell prompt. ImageMagick is also available for Microsoft Windows systems, but I haven't tried it on a Microsoft Windows system.

To resize an image, one uses the -sample option for the convert tool as in the example below, which resizes an image, input.jpg, to 80 pixels wide and 40 pixels high, storing the result in output.jpg.

$ convert -sample 80x40 input.jpg output.jpg

You can also specify percentages of the original file size rather than a size in pixels.

convert -sample 25%x25% input.jpg output.jpg

Note: when you use the -sample option to specify the size of the output image in pixels, you may not get the exact sizes you specified for the width and height of the image. This is because ImageMagick considers the aspect ratio of the two sides of the image when it is resizing, keeping the aspect ratio of the new image the same as that of the previous image. So one of the values may not be the same as the number you put on the command line.

You can use the identify utility that comes with ImageMagick to obtain the width and height of an image (the width value is displayed first followed by the height).

$ identify example.png
example.png PNG 100x89 100x89+0+0 DirectClass 11kb

In the example above, the image is 100 pixels wide by 89 pixels high.

You can determine if ImageMagick and these associated tools are on the system by using the which command.

$ which identify
$ which convert


  1. Graphics from the command line
    Flip, size, rotate, and more with ImageMagick
    By: Michael Still, Senior software engineer, Tower Software
    Date: July 16, 2003
    Linux - Technical resources for Linux programmers and system administrators

[/software/graphics/imagemagick] permanent link

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