Tech, Tips, and Tutorials.
Reviews, News, and Rants.

Revo Uninstaller kills stubborn programs (featured freeware)

Use Revo Uninstaller to uninstall those pesky programs that just won’t leave. After using this, you’ll never find a need for the old, clunky default Add/Remove Programs tool in Control Panel.

Revo Uninstaller can remove all traces of a program’s existence, thus speeding up your computer and saving disk space. Even when programs uninstall correctly, they still leave traces of their existence in hard-to-reach places like the registry and your App-Data folder.

Hunter Mode

There’s also a super-useful mode called Hunter Mode. Simply drag the Hunter over an icon, an item on the taskbar, or even a System Tray icon, and Revo will work its magic.

There are plenty more features for you to try out.

Highly recommended!

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404 Design

Uh-oh. You’ve reach a web site’s 404 page. What is this? Is it the web site’s fault? Is it mine? Is this temporary or permanent?

What is a 404 page?

A 404 is a standard HTTP error code to signify that the web page you were looking for doesn’t exist. We also refer to them as dead-links.

Most of the time you’re met with an unfriendly error message that goes along something like this:

The requested URL was not found on this server. Additionally, a 404 Not Found error has occurred.

What would be the first thing you’d do when you see this? You would simply press the back button and be on your way, of course.

This is problematic for the site owners because they would have lost another visitor.

However all’s not lost. Web developers have to option to create a custom 404 error message. All they have to do is modify the “.htaccess” file and add the following line of code to the top:

ErrorDocument 404

Obviously, change the example URL to where you’ve hosted the custom HTML page. You can name it whatever you want.

Great 404 design

Designing beautiful, well-constructed and intuitive 404 error pages has always been tough work. We’ll now take a look at some examples of 404 pages, some good, some bad, and some great. Prepare to scroll…

(Disclaimer: The following sites were picked at random from my favourites list. I do not intend to pick on, insult, or defame any of the web sites listed here.)



Twitter’s 404 error page is pretty much superb. They’ve put in a very handy search bar and links to the home page, the help page, and even the support page. Kudos to Twitter then!


click to zoom in

Facebook’s 404 page is similar to Twitter’s however the layout of the page isn’t as intuitive and there’s no support page link. Overall though pretty serviceable.


gsm arena

GSMArena’s 404 page is horrible. No extra information given and definitely no friendly error messages here.


click to zoom in

dpreview’s page isn’t great either. They have no search box and a pretty unhelpful message. At least they put a link to the home page.


click to zoom in

TNTpixel’s 404 page is my all-time favourite. It’s got the familiar bright colouring associated with the site, it’s got a very friendly error message, and a very effective search box (try it out).

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Vista Design: Inconsistencies

While I really enjoy using Windows Vista, this is partly down to the many tweaks I’ve installed to make it less annoying, and less intrusive, and more fun. However there are some annoyances that you just can’t get over, no matter how many times a day you’re confronted with it.

I’m talking, of course, about the shutdown/sleep process.

Image: Start menu

To turn off the computer, you don’t press the red button on the start menu, as you’ve always done with Windows. Pressing that button (which actually looks like a power switch!), will put the computer to sleep. Great.

So for the future, when you want to turn off your computer: don’t bother pressing the big red button taking up that perfect position. Instead, ignore your instincts and follow Vista’s weird design decision – go to the side-menu and select “Shut Down” from the list.

This wouldn’t be so bad, if it weren’t for the Vista menu designers to program the exact opposite behavior on the logon screen’s corresponding button.

Anyone who's used Windows Vista would immediately recognise this button. To turn off the computer, press the big red button that also looks like a power switch. To put it to sleep, click the little upwards arrow and select "Sleep" from the list.

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Facebook interface: Good, but not good enough

Image: Facebook logoNote: This article is outdated, it was written before the big Facebook overhaul. Still, some points remain valid today...

Much as I enjoy the many novel features Facebook enjoys over other social networking sites, I don't appreciate its interface at all. Despite it having a user interface quite a bit better than its rivals, it still isn't good enough. Here are two of my biggest gripes…

Notifications shouldn’t be this painful

My biggest complaint is actually related to the way it handles email notifications by default. It will typically send you every notification it possibly could, immediately after it happens. This is what my gmail inbox looked like after 24 hours of joining: (click to zoom in)

At least, there is an easy way to at least reduce the amount of emails Facebook sends you. Click on the “Account” link on the top-right, and then go to the “Notifications” tab. Alternatively, here’s a direct link if you’re already signed in. You’ll find a list of options that enable you to easily reduce the level of clog in your inbox. Think about removing notifications for new friend additions.

Adding friends & the login barrier - why so many hoops?

When adding new friends, for example from the “People you may know” section, it’s reasonable to assume that before adding someone, you’d want to make sure it’s the right person. You’d want to look at their photos, etc. Sadly you need to be their friend to do these things.

I can understand why Facebook would want to stop users from visiting non-friend profiles; stopping spam, etc. However couldn’t they have implemented a privilege system, where only friends could view and comment on walls and see private contact info, but photos and a bio was accessible to everyone? (turns out they have - it's optional) I was extremely frustrated when a friend sent me a link to view their photos, but I was confronted with a login barrier. Since I didn’t have an account, I couldn’t do anything but turn back.

Room for improvement, but still pretty good

The heading pretty much sums up my experiences so far with Facebook. Did I mention how much I love the apps feature?

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Free High Quality Bullets

Image: Bullet Madness logoI decided it's time to give credit to the excellent set of bullets and icons that I've been using in the design of this blog. The set is called Bullet Madness, from Stylegala.

Here's a description:

Bullet madness is a list of 200 bullets, arrows and icons uploaded by our users. A handy collection of bullets for your webdesign needs - these icons can add that little extra to your design and make your site stand out from the crowd.

More bullet sets

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Easter Eggs in MS Word

Apparently, Microsoft Office Word is full of Easter Eggs (an "Easter Egg" is a small, undocumented procedure in a program that normally expresses interesting commentaries or gives credit to the people who labored over the program. Like their namesake, Easter Eggs normally take a while to find and can be quite elusive. )

Perhaps the most famous is the "rand" trick. Open up a new Office Word document and type the following exactly as it appears below, then press enter.

=rand(x, y)

Where 'x' is the number of paragraphs and 'y' is the number of sentences.

In the case of Office Word 2007 enter =rand.old(x, y) to get the same effect.

This will then display the pangram for x paragraphs and y sentences (The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog). A pangram is a sentence that contains all the letter in the alphabet. It's used for displaying fonts, etc.

More pangrams

  • =lorem() or =lorem(x, y) -- which will do the same thing but instead for Lorem Ipsum text.
  • =rand() or =rand(x, y) (only in Office Word 2007) -- displays some boilerplate text about the insert tab.
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