Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Setting up a PC Laptop

My sister just bought a laptop, and there are so many things that I do when I get it fresh out of the box.  When you buy a new Windows system, what do you do and install right off the bat?

I install this free software
  • Safari+Quicktime
  • Firefox (and extensions--I'll list those below)
  • Chrome (set to default and sync it so that all my favorite extensions auto-install)
  • Flash
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader
  • iTunes + Quicktime
  • CoolTimer
  • MW Snap (screencapture)
  • Antivirus
  • GomPlayer  (and set so that it doesn't check for updates and automatically goes to fullscreen)
  • MagicDisk (if you have kids' software that is CD-dependent)
  • Picasa
  • Skype
  • Photostory
  • eSword Bible software
  • Scratch and Alice (if you have middle/high school kids who want to program)
  • Silverlight
  • Handbrake (ripping DVDs to MP4) + libdvdcss.dll
  • PDF995 (to make pdfs or docs into jpgs for printing at Costco)
  • Printer Driver

Firefox Extensions
  • Video DownloadHelper
  • Pixlr Grabber
  • Diigo
  • Evernote
  • Scrapbook Plus

To Do List
  • Adjust mouse/touchpad preferences
  • Pin programs to quicklaunch, first removing everything that came pre-pinned
  • Pin programs to start bar and customize start button listing: delete games, add download and video as links
  • Set admin password
  • Set Windows security settings
  • Update Windows (several times)
  • Delete bloatware and bundled antivirus
  • Change desktop image
  • Install software, then defrag and create restore point
  • Move data files (into D: if you change the user directory location first)

Friday, July 13, 2012

Video Converter of Choice

My head is bleeding from where I've been beating it against the wall trying to convert a ripped MKV file (ripped with Handbrake to maintain closed captioning) into a MP4 file that maintains the captions in a hard-burn.  

The solution I finally found, freemake.com, is worth sharing.  It is a clean and easy piece of software that is full-featured donation-ware.  If I were a dog my whole body would be wagging, I'm that happy to have stumbled on it.  I installed no fewer than 8 converters trying to find this one!


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Publishing to PDF

I'm creating worksheets for an upcoming conference, and since I usually use the website for our working area, the worksheets are nothing more than screenshots of the first page of the session webpage.  On a Mac, it's easy to print to PDF, however each browser prints the page a little differently.  They're trying to be helpful, but the graphics and text are always messed up to some degree. On a PC, there's no easy way to print directly to PDF without installation of other software.

But I found http://www.digitalcoding.com/tools/capture-webpage-to-image.html and I really like it.  It makes a great PDF representation of my webpage and I can download the PDF super easy.  For free.  Like!

Embedded objects like videos leave a hole no matter what you're using to print, so I take a screenshot of the embedded video with the built-in Windows 7 Snipping Tool and temporarily replace the video with the picture.  Then I revert changes later.  Good times.