Archive for the ‘windows’ Tag

Self-censoring Facebook at work

If you feel Facebook is a tempting distraction at work, you’re not alone. Plus, most companies now track how much time their employees are spending on social networks. Hogwash? – check out the Time Doctor website to understand the sort of statistics you may be generating in the course of “harmless” Web browsing.

An easy solution to curtail your Facebook usage at work is to block the website at a “local” level on your computer’s operating system. Doing so is easy. Just follow the steps below for your OS.


  1. Navigate to C:\Windows and right-click notepad.exe. Select Run as administrator. When prompted, click Yes to allow Notepad to make changes to your computer.
  2. In Notepad, open the hosts file for editing. The file is usually located in the C:\Windows\System 32\drivers\etc folder on your computer.
  3. Add the following lines to the file:

  4. Save hosts.
  5. Repeat steps 1-4 for all your work computers.
  6. Try opening on each computer. You’ll be redirected to instead.

Mac OS X

  1. Open the Terminal.
  2. At the command prompt, run this command: sudo nano /etc/hosts.
  3. In Nano, add the following lines at the end of the hosts file:

  4. Press Control+X to save the hosts file. When prompted, type Y to confirm writing changes to the disk.
  5. Repeat steps 1-4 for all your work computers.
  6. Try opening on each computer. You’ll be redirected to instead.

That’s all. I first came across this useful method on the Hide Tools blog.

PS: I still remain a die-hard Facebook user, but at home. 🙂


Shut down the laptop or put it to sleep?

I’ve often wondered if it’s more efficient to put my laptop(s) to sleep rather than shut them down when I call it a day. It’s usually only a few hours of rest before I return to them.

Googling around, I stumbled upon a credible source that suggests putting the laptop to sleep is often better than shutting it down “if (the interval) is just a few hours or even overnight.” Check out If I’m not planning to use my computer for awhile, should I shut it down or put it to sleep? in the Microsoft knowledgebase.

Relevant excerpts:

If it’s just a few hours or even overnight, it’s usually more efficient to put your computer to sleep, either by clicking the Power button on the Start menu or by closing the lid on your mobile PC. (Some computers also have a dedicated sleep button on the computer case.)

There are several advantages to choosing sleep over shutting down:

  • All your work, including information about the programs you were using such as window location and size, is automatically saved.
  • When you awaken your machine from sleep, you don’t need to restart programs or reopen files as you would if you had shut down the computer.
  • While Windows does use some power in sleep mode, it’s very small: about one-tenth as much as it would need if you left the computer running. A mobile PC typically uses 1 to 2 percent of battery power per hour in sleep mode.
  • When Windows is asleep, it can still download and install updates and perform other routine maintenance tasks. For this reason, some companies require employees to put their computers to sleep rather than shut them down when going home for the evening.

But there are instances when you should shut down your computer fully—for example, when you install a new memory card or other hardware. If you don’t plan to use your computer for several days or more, you should also shut it down.

Installable clients for SaaS

The more I use smaller-screen devices, the more I get convinced that SaaS software and Web applications deliver the best user experience only when I’m using them through ‘installed’ frontends. Why else would I prefer using the Facebook app on my Android phone over browsing Facebook in a full browser window on my laptop? Or access Twitter using TweetDeck (an AIR application)?

The online-offline integration that such frontends offer takes user experience to a different level. That’s precisely why Picasa is such a pleasure to use on my laptop, as against just using it online. In fact, my mind doesn’t quite register an app running only in the browser as a bonafide app yet!

Why don’t we have more installable frontends for popular SaaS applications out there? Google Docs, for example? That the traditionally shrinkwrap software applications are Web integrated now is a different matter altogether. Adobe Reader and Microsoft Office, for example.

Food for thought, eh?

BTW, this blog post was written using the WordPress app on Android. 🙂

Easier offline install on Ubuntu…

In the course of a Google Buzz conversation, my friend Edgar D’Souza shared a less circuitous way of downloading Ubuntu packages on Windows than I had suggested in this blog post. Download scripts!

Here are the precise steps that he shared:

  1. Boot Ubuntu and run the Synaptic Package Manager.
  2. Search for the packages that you have determined you need (they will most likely already be in the main repositories). Mark the packages for installation.
  3. Accept the Also install prompts to mark their dependencies as well.
  4. Once you have marked all the required packages, select File > Generate download script. Save the download script to your USB thumb drive.
  5. Boot Windows.
  6. Install wget for Windows.
  7. Run the saved download script. If necessary, edit the file to make it more palatable to Windows.
  8. Copy the downloaded packages to the USB drive.
  9. Reboot into Ubuntu and go back to the Synaptic Package Manager.
  10. Select File > Add downloaded packages. Navigate to the USB drive and select the downloaded packages.
  11. Click Apply (to install).