Adriano Chiaretta

Pink — not always the best choice of color

Apparently the color pink is not a great choice when it comes to usb flash drives, at least accordingly to what I spotted a few days ago on amazon.

Pictures above speak pretty much for themselves — same identical flash drive — the one in pink discounted over 60% the MSRP. No discount for the one in black. Either Amazon decided to be really nice and run a no-particular-reason markdown on the one in pink, or everyone is going for the back / blue ones and Amazon is ending up with an overstock of pinks.

Previously Viewed DVDs won’t be around for long…

Some sad news hit my mailbox a few days ago from Netflix. Apparently they decided to discontinue their “Previously Viewed DVDs” program, for rather foggy reasons. Too bad cause it’s a great way to get super recent DVDs at prices as low as $5.99 — and I must say I got quite a few movies this way.

Never had a problem with a previously viewed dvd received, most of them in pristine condition, with no scratch or sign of use at all. If you don’t know what this Netflix program is, here’s a nice rundown of how it works. And unfortunately it’s going to end November 30.

Looks like I’m not the only one unhappy about this decision, at least looking over at the comments on the netflix blog post announcing the discontinuation of the program. Still hoping they’ll change their mind about this.

4GB on a Mac Mini? Better than expected outcome

Recently got myself a mac mini, with 1 GB of RAM — figured to save $100 on the 2GB apple option, and instead go for 4GB at $60. I know seems nonsense how come one additional gig is $100, and 4 gigs are $60? Well that’s the strange math of the DIY world.

4 gigs GSkill memory for notebooks over at newegg for a little over $50 as of this writing. Retail package btw.

Despite reading around various blogs / howtos I had the impression the mac mini was only going to “see” a little over 3 gigs, I was plesantly surprised when the system info tool showed the whole 4 available to the operating system.

Replacing anything in a mac mini is not exactly a walk in the park. Mostly because of the really tight spaces you’ll find yourself having to deal with. But with a bit of carefulness and patience, things came apart easily, and just as easily got back together without scratches or marks on the outer casing.

Now this little toy totally flies — I can see why they often say a tweaked up mac mini can get pretty close performance-wise to entry level mac pros, at a fraction of the price.

Saving… on the box

Looks like Dell recently decided to save on shipping charges, by cutting down on packaging. More than cutting down… by eliminating the packaging in its whole.

Too bad cause the mini9 box is actually rather nice, but with packing slip on the back and shipping label on the front there’s not much surface left to the eye.

Not to mention that some extra cushioning might help reducing DOA returns. On the positive notes though, the one I got at my doorstep despite the lack of packaging, was in perfect condition and booted up like a charm 🙂

forgetting the start menu with launchy

Just a quick blurb here about a little tool that recently entered my “never leave home without” folder: Launchy — a free, “lookup” sort of application which will index any directory of choice (by default the start menu one) and bring up a list of matching keywords as you go typing the name of the application you want to launch.

Additionally, it also supports passing command line parameters to executables, as well as customizing search strings handed over to any url.

Download, unzip, launch, double check the folders set to be indexed, assign your favorite key combo (mine’s ALT + L) to bring up the lookup window, and you’re good to go.

From then on, no more start -> fiddling around to find what you’re trying to reach -> enter program folder -> some more fiddling around -> finally start the app.

Launchy is actually rather smart and as you go, it starts keeping a list of your most frequently invoked apps which will present topmost in its results,  as long as of course they are relevant to the text typed in so far.

More info, download, documentation, etc. at

Oh and did I mention it’s free?

Though a little donation to the developer is almost a must given the time it will save you in a day / week / month usage.

How can I take off this huge blue thing in Skype 4?

Well more than an how-to, this is a request for an how-to, assuming someone figured it out, and/or it’s even possible.

In a nutshell — I haven’t upgraded to Skype4 yet. Because of the annoying (and useless) huge window that the skype main screen has become 🙁

There is a workaround out there, with a tip suggesting how to get the conversation window out of the main screen, and then minimize (!) the main screen, but that doesn’t really solve the problem.

See for yourself what you get in terms of eaten up screen estate by upgrading from skype 3 to skype 4… if anyone knows how to get this huge blue thing off that would surely be of help 🙂

Skype 3 main screen. Nice and lean.
Skype 3 main screen. Nice and lean.
Skype 4 Main Screen - total waste of space.
Skype 4 Main Screen - total waste of space.

How to save time and get things done with Firefox — Part 1

Since I recently switched to Firefox I’m going to write-up a few short articles about my experience so far, and how I got it to become a great time saving and getting-things-done tool.

Just a little heads up here before we start — I don’t make any guarantee that by reading and/or implementing what here you’ll better enjoy Firefox, or you’ll find yourself actually saving time. This worked for me, though as with anything I do it’s in a bit in a constant state of evolution and adaptation. Oh, and needless to say, what below are my own personal opinions which you might or might not agree with. 🙂

First off, why did I switch from Internet Explorer to Firefox? Because driven by a very specific need: getting my Google Bookmarks under control.

I’ve been using Google Bookmarks as an easy and straightforward way to have my IE Favorites available anywhere, in conjunction with the Google Toolbar / Notebook. Trouble started when I realized I had 900+ items in my Favorites, and ending up hardly ever looking at them, I though “OK let’s do some spring cleaning now”.

Unfortunately, at least at the time of this writing, managing bookmarks online through is quite a nightmare especially for mass-modifications. Same applies when trying to manage them through the Google toolbar’s “bookmarks” button.

Continue reading…