Tag Archive for windows7

Browse internet faster and save power using a smart HOSTS file

Internet is full of flash ads nowadays that make page load slower, render slower and consumes more CPU, thus power. If you can browse without having any flash ads or in fact any ads loaded and without any of the tracking scripts – you can browse much faster, scroll through pages much smoother and have more hours from your battery. Nowadays, most websites use scripts from various analytics sites that track your browsing habit, use IFRAME to load tracking and social networking widgets. All of these add considerable delay to page loading and make browser consume more CPU and bandwidth. If you can turn all of them off, browsing internet feels a lot smoother, faster and you get more work hours while running on battery.

Moreover, you don’t get distracted by the flashy ads and save your children and young family members from looking at foul things.

If we could get 10% of the total internet users (2bn as of Jan 2011) to save 10% CPU, power and bandwidth while browsing everyday, we could save mega watts of power everyday throughout the world!

Using this solution, you can prevent ads and tracking scripts, prevent malicious and porn websites.

How bad is it?

Let’s take an example on a popular website. The red boxes are Flash Ads (read power suckers).

image

Once we disable all ads and tracking scripts, here’s how it looks:

image

Statistics:

  Before After
Total Requests 111 100
Total Download Size 1.2 MB 0.98 MB
Page load time 4.34s 3.64

 

Not just during page loading, while you are on the page, doing nothing, just reading, browser continuously consumes CPU.

Before:

image

After:

image

Before disabling the ads and tracking scripts, CPU is always around 20-25%. After disabling it is around 8-10%. The more CPU works, the more power it consumes. If you are running on battery, you can get at least 20% more time from your battery. If you have many tabs open all the time, you can save more.

Here’s how to save CPU, bandwidth and power

Go to this website and download the HOSTS file:

http://winhelp2002.mvps.org/hosts.htm

Follow the instruction to put the HOSTS file in your C:WindowsSystem32Driversetc folder.

Now go to Start Menu, type Notepad but do not hit enter. Right click on Notepad and select Run As Administrator.

image

Go to File menu and click Open.

Copy and paste this into the File Name and click OK.

c:windowssystem32driversetcHOSTS

image

Now go to Edit menu and select Replace. Put 127.0.0.1 in Find box and put 255.255.255.0 in Replace box. Click Replace All.

image

Once done, you need to type back 127.0.0.1 for the first entry localhost.

image

Remember, localhost cannot be 255.255.255.0.

When you have done this correctly, it will look like this.

image

Save the file and exit Notepad.

Then go to Start menu and type: services.msc

From the service list, double click on “DNS Client”.

image

First click “Stop” to stop the service.

Then from the Startup Type dropdown, select Disabled.

Click OK.

image

Close all your browsers and reopen them. I highly recommend restarting your PC.

You are ready to browse faster, smarter, cheaper! 

I also highly recommend everyone to use OpenDNS. You can save yourself from getting into malicious sites and being ripped off your bank balance, property, spouse and children. Just go to www.opendns.com and follow the instruction. It is the best thing happened on the internet after Wikipedia!

How does the HOSTS file trick work?

Here’s how internet works. You type www.something.com and it goes and finds out what is the IP address for this domain. First Windows checks a file called HOSTS. If it is not defined there, it will ask the DNS Server configured for your network to give it the IP for the domain so that it can connect to the webserver. If you put fake IP in HOSTS file, Windows will hand over fake IP to the browser and browser will connect to the fake IP. Thus by putting an invalid IP, we prevent browser or any application running on your PC from reaching the ads, tracker, malicious and porn websites.

Don’t forget to share this with your friends and families!

Windows 7 64bit, Outlook 2010 64bit, Conferencing Addin 64bit, Macbook Pro 64bit

I am a 64bit freak. I got Windows 7, Outlook 2010, Conferencing
Addin all 64 bit versions to work on a Macbook pro. Those who are
thinking about moving to 64bit and hesitating whether something
will break, GO AHEAD! Macbook Pro hardware and Microsoft’s
software are the best combination out there. You will enjoy every
moment you spend with your laptop. Moreover, I have tried these
combinations on HP tablet PC, Sony VAIO, Dell Inspiron and Dell
Vostro. HP works best. Others are struggling with driver
issues.

I will give you positive and negative feedback with the apps I
have tried so far:

Outlook 2010 64 bit:

"/wp-content/images/499A425344A319DDEA8BE0D0DF2C0306.png">
"border-right-width:0px;display:inline;border-top-width:0px;border-bottom-width:0px;border-left-width:0px;"
title="image" border="0" alt="image" src=
"/wp-content/images/07B7525ECC012AF4A3ED52F239110DE7.png"
width="404" height="267">

Here are my negative feedback. Outlook Product Manager, please
read this. I am a hardcore Outlook customer of you.

  • All my Outlook COM addins are dead. Outlook 2010 64bit does not
    support them. Looks like not so good backward compatibility.
  • Not so significant improvement with Exchange 2007. The startup
    time has improved from about 5 secs to 2 secs. But the startup time
    saving is not really a big saver since I start outlook and it keeps
    running for days until my PC is so screwed that I need a
    restart.
  • Office Communicator 2005 does not work.
  • The beta Office 2010 applications are CPU hungry. I see 30% to
    40% CPU most of the time.
  • It took me over 30 hours until Outlook 2010 started to perform
    well. All this time, it was indexing and indexing and indexing and
    burning CPU.
  • There’s nothing so ground breaking and productivity
    enhancing in Outlook 2010 yet. After upgrading and using it for
    couple of days, I don’t see something so attractive that
    justifies the time spent in upgrading for busy professional.
    It’s not upgrade at this stage so far. You have to uninstall
    all Office 2007 or earlier products, addins etc and then install
    Outlook 2010.
  • Outlook Keyboard shortcuts are changed, having hard time
    adjusting. My precious Alt+L for Reply to All is gone. Now
    it’s Ctrl+Shift+R. Come on guys, when do you just Reply and
    not to Reply to All? I barely remember ever using Reply only.
    It’s always Reply to All. Can’t you make a easier
    shortcut for this?
  • Keyboard focus gets lost to some weird place sometimes and my
    navigation using cursor gets broken. I have to click using mouse to
    get into track.
  • Quick Tasks are kind of limited. For ex, “Reply &
    Delete”, who would want to press CTRL+SHIFT+1 to do reply and
    delete? It’s more natural to press Ctrl+R to reply and then
    send it and hit DEL. The choices on Quick Tasks are limited as
    well. I was hoping I would be able to chain multiple commands like
    – open a new message window, select a specific account to
    send mail using, select a specific signature and after the mail is
    sent, show move dialog box to move the conversation to a specific
    folder. Nope, it does not work this way. First of all there are
    limited commands which does not even support this. Secondly, all
    the actions are performed instantly one after another without
    waiting for the first action to complete.
  • Quick Steps cannot be added to Quick Access Toolbar. Go
    figure!

"/wp-content/images/2EE2B31FF17AEDEA746788C161F2FC20.png">
"border-right-width:0px;display:inline;border-top-width:0px;border-bottom-width:0px;border-left-width:0px;"
title="image" border="0" alt="image" src=
"/wp-content/images/595DE1515B48E67CE4CA29A3ADF9153C.png"
width="404" height="266">

Now the good things:

  • Overall Outlook experience is smooth. Opening new mail, typing
    address, doing search, moving messages, viewing a folder on
    conversation view mode are all significantly faster, even with
    Exchange. It’s hard to say if it’s due to fully 64 bit
    environment or due to the fact that none of my COM addins are
    working.
  • Outlook exits. Finally! None of the previous Outlook would
    terminate the process if I exited Outlook. It remains in memory
    forever unless I kill it from task manager. Now the Outlook really
    closes, or at least kills itself when I exit. Whenever I exit
    Outlook and start again, I see it doing some Data Integrity check.
    This means it is not really closing itself properly, but killing
    itself. I assume that’s bad and my data in Outlook are slowly
    getting messed up.
  • The conversation view is great!
  • Inline appointment viewer is a life saver. When I get an
    appointment invite, the email preview shows a small view of the
    calendar around the meeting time. I can see if I am occupied or if
    there’s an available time before or after the meeting. This
    saves me a lot of time everyday as rescheduling meeting is a
    tedious job in my company and it takes around 4 to 7 reschedules
    attempts to get a suitable time slot in everyone’s diary for every
    darn meeting.
  • Quick Steps is more or less useful. I am getting used to using
    CTRL+SHIFT+1 to “reply to all and delete” and
    CTRL+SHIFT+2 for “reply to all and move to folder”. You
    just have to configure the quick steps to make it suit you.
    Previously I used to use QuickFile addin, which was a super useful
    tool, worth paying 39.95.

Onenote 2010 64 bit

The UI is certainly much slicker. It really looks and feels like
a notebook now. Sketching performance is improved.

However, a big bug. I was sketching and suddenly my pointer
switched to selection mode from pen. All pen options are disabled.
I tried exiting and coming back. Nope. Can’t go back to pen
mode at all. I am using a Genius Tablet. Looks like Onenote is
Tablet PC friendly only. Hope Apple makes a Tablet Macbook Pro
soon.

Word 2010 64 bit

Haven’t used it much. Ribbons are as confusing as before.
The File menu is even more confusing now. No new shape styles that
makes word documents stand out from the rest. No new Smart Art
worth mentioning. Overall – disappointing.

The print features are much improved!

Powerpoint 2010 64 bit

I did not notice any significant new feature in Powerpoint,
sadly. The ribbon has been made more useful than before.
There’s a “Transition” and
“Animations” ribbon bar which is very useful to use and
saves time putting animations in slides. But that’s all I
could see from my limited trial. This is disappointing. I was
expecting there would be richer collection of shapes which are
really cool to look and makes presentations look like Web 2.0
sites, a lot of new Smart Arts, but nothing.

"/wp-content/images/0B345BA3F7FDA73DBD1AEA1BC6A8F88B.png">
"border-right-width:0px;display:inline;border-top-width:0px;border-bottom-width:0px;border-left-width:0px;"
title="image" border="0" alt="image" src=
"/wp-content/images/C32CC3B6ED84530C15EBEE274ED2FE2D.png"
width="404" height="258">

Visio 2010 64 bit

The UML Diagram designer is as crappy as ever. Come on
Microsoft, watch the other UML designers and learn from them.
Currently Visio is my last choice for UML design and makes my job
life unhappy because my company forces me to use it. I use "http://plantuml.sourceforge.net">PlantUML wherever I can.

I don’t see any new amazingly cool diagram either. I was
hoping the Detailed Network Diagram stencil would be much improved
with smooth round glossy servers, amazingly cool looking router
icons etc. But no luck. The new ribbon interface is as confusing as
other Office applications.

Conclusion

So far I can see significant improvement in Outlook only. Other
apps do not have anything that stands out.

Windows 7 64bit works!

Windows 7 64bit finally works! This is the first 64bit OS I
could really use in my daily acitvities. I tried Vista 64bit, it
was unreliable. It would show blue screen right when I am about to
make a presentation to the CEO. Until Microsoft released SP1, Vista
64 bit was not usable at all. Then came Windows 7 beta. I
immediately tried the 64bit version of Windows 7 beta. It was even
worse than Vista. It would crash every now and then – waking
up from standby, trying to do livemeeting share, switching screens,
plugging in external USB drives and what not. So, I patiently
waited for the final version to come out before I get on installing
it on all my laptops. Happy to say, the final version works
perfectly on HP tx2000 Tablet PC, DELL Vostro 1500, DELL Inspiron
1520. Once you do a full windows update and install some drivers
here and there, it all works perfectly. And let me say, Windows 7
is beautiful. I found back the joy of working on computers
again!

Working on 64bit Operating System is challenging. You
don’t always find the right printer driver. Your cool
external USB speakers won’t work – even if it is made
by Microsoft. And above all, there’s that C:WindowsWinsxs
folder which keeps increasing forever. By the time I was done with
Vista 64bit (two years approx in business), my Winsxs folder was
staggering 26 GB eating up every bit out of my C: partition. I had
no choice but to format and start over. It seems like this folder
keeps copy of every single DLL version it ever sees. The more
windows update I do, the larger it gets. Now on a fresh new Windows
7 installation, after installing VS 2008, Office Applications,
Windows Live applications and some handy tools, the Winsxs folder
is 5.62 GB. Let’s see how it keeps growing over the year. A
useful information for 64bit wannabes, make sure your C partition
is at least 60 GB. I just installed Windows 7 64bit 3 days back and
it has already taken 31 GB space.

"/wp-content/images/033812F3B0B6081A0D777302954A1D45.png">
"border-right-width:0px;display:inline;border-top-width:0px;border-bottom-width:0px;border-left-width:0px;"
title="image" border="0" alt="image" src=
"/wp-content/images/9478832FCB0FBBA6CA3543FC8DD097FF.png"
width="600" height="375">

Since I am doing a totally useless post, let me sprinkle some
productivity tips on it before you lose interest reading my
blog.

I realized I do a lot of context swiching. I get over 200 mails
per day, so I pretty much switch focus from Visual Studio/Browser
to Outlook once every minute, which is big cencentration killer.
So, I tried the above setup on my 25” screen and it works
great!

The left half of the screen is visual studio and the right half
screen shows Outlook and my todolist. As you see, I can see the
emails coming up on Outlook without ever switching. The Visual
Studio screen width is the right size to read code without
horizontally scrolling. The right bottom half of the screen shows
my toodlist so that I am always doing the right task from my
todolist and not wondering around heedless. If I browse, I bring up
the browser on top of the Visual Studio and keep the right half
same so that while browsing I am not missing important mails and I
still have an eye on my next actions.

I have been using Toodledo for a year. I love it! It has a geat
iPhone app which is the only reason I use Toodledo and not other
alternatives. The ajax interface is slick, especially when you use
Google Chrome to make an application out of it on your desktop. You
can turn on keyboard shortcuts and then the toodledo inside Google
Chrome’s application like view becomes the best web based
todolist application out there. Whenever I file a task, I hit
‘n’, enter the task title, press tab, 1/2 for priority,
hit enter and I am done. How convenient! Especially when I read
mails and file actionable tasks at least 40 to 60 times per
day.