Tuesday, July 26, 2011

YouTube Video Quality Manager

Is it possible to set a different default YouTube video quality for all videos hosted on the video hosting site? YouTube plays videos in 360p by default. Users who want a different video quality need to click on the 360p link on the video page to switch to another quality setting. And that needs to be done manually for every video. Lots of unnecessary clicking if you ask me.

If you look at the preferences you won’t find a switch or setting to change to a different default video quality. The only available option becomes available if you are currently logged in. You can click on your profile name and then settings to open the Account Settings. Click the Playback Setup link on the left sidebar.

There you see a Video Playback Quality parameter that you can set to “I have a slow connection. Never play higher-quality video” or “Always choose the best option for me based on my player size”. It is furthermore possible to enable HD when switching to fullscreen videos.

youtube account playback setup

But there is no control to select your preferred quality setting in the options. As always, we have to look for extensions to fill the gap.

YouTube Video Quality Manager is a Firefox add-on that has been specifically designed for setting a different default YouTube video quality. The extension adds an icon to the status bar of the Firefox browser. A left-click on the icon displays the various video quality settings available on YouTube. From 240p over 720hd to 1080p and high res. A click on one of the video qualities to make it the new default option

youtube default video quality

This quality setting is then automatically set on YouTube video pages provided that the desired video quality is available. The next best quality is used if it is not. The quality change is fluent on page load and should not have an impact on the viewing experience. It works both for logged in users and guests.

Firefox users who are looking for a simple extension to set their preferred video quality on YouTube should take a closer look at the YouTube Video Quality Manager add-on. The add-on can be directly installed at the Firefox add-on repository. Users on Beta, Aurora or Nightly channels may need to force quality to install the add-on.

Auslogics Benchtown, Windows Benchmark Software

One of the main purposes of computer benchmarks is to compare different systems, hardware devices or system configurations with each other. It can be interesting for over- or underclockers for instance to test the performance under specific parameters and settings, for users who purchase a new video card to to test the performance of the new and old card on the same computer system and for companies and organizations to find out which of their systems is best suited for a specific job or upgrade.

Benchmark software is used to make those comparisons. These programs usually run a series of taxing tests to calculate the performance of specific PC components. This includes components like the processor, RAM, hard drive or video card.

Auslogics Benchtown is a new benchmark for the Windows operating system that is currently available as a beta release. It is not clear at this point in time whether it will remain free after its final release.

auslogics benchtown benchmark

The program has been designed to rate the following PC components:

  • 2D Desktop Graphics

  • 3D Game Graphics

  • HDD Performance

  • Memory Speed

  • CPU Calculations

It is possible to customize the tests in the program settings. Here it is possible to remove subsystems from the test and to swap the hard drive that is used during tests. The selected hard drive needs to have at least 100 Megabytes of space.

You can run a test with a click on the Rate Now button under Benchmark. Tests take less than five minutes to complete and display progress information on screen all the time.

benchmark test

More important than the direct feedback during tests is the benchmark results page at the end. Auslogics Benchtown displays separate values for each subsystem that has been tested as well as an overall score on screen.

A compare with friends button is displayed, but that did not work on our test system. A short message about uploading data was displayed but nothing else happened afterwards.

Several of the menus at the top did not work as well. The all my benchmarks link for instance did not do anything after activation. This could be a beta issue or an incompatibility with our test system.

Auslogics Benchtown can be used to display detailed system information. A click on the menu opens environment and hardware information after a short scan.

The program is easy to use and to handle. That’s a big plus. As is the less than five minute benchmarking process. Windows users who are looking for a new benchmarking program should take a closer look at Auslogics Benchtown. Cautious users and those in productive environments should wait until the final version of the program gets released by the company. The application is compatible with all 32-bit and 64-bit editions of the Windows operating system. It can be downloaded from the developer website.

Use Exclusions when Antivirus Software is Slowing your PC

It is essential to protect your PC with reliable antivirus software. The drawback to this is that it often slows the PC down. In some cases it does so significantly. Some antivirus software can be very thorough and scan “potential invaders” that are part of your normal applications. Many of these programs do not need to be scanned. This takes up processor memory and slows down all programs and applications in use. By customizing exceptions, you take away much of the slowing effect by allowing the antivirus program to know what it needs to scan and what it does not. This frees the processor for other tasks at hand.

Many applications are writing to the hard drive perpetually. By excluding the files and folders they are writing to or reading from, assuming they are assuredly trusted and safe, you will speed up PC processes and still have sufficient antivirus protection. Which files to exclude?

  • Subversion / TortiseSVN Folders

  • Virtual Machine Directories

  • Personal Photo/Video folders

  • Windows Update Folders

  • Connected Mobile Devices

These are just some examples. You may choose anything appropriate to your configurations. It is difficult to specify what files and folders to exclude for any given PC, considering the myriad configurations, software combinations, and uses that PCs will have. It will be a different scenario for everyone, but the approach is basic. This will work with any antivirus software program. In the examples below, Microsoft Security Essentials is being used. Other software versions may be appropriate for users. This is just an easier way to show how to work with antivirus software exclusions settings in general:

microsoft security essentials

2. Here you can browse all files and locations and include them, once identified, by clicking “Add.” This is a one by one process, but its simplicity and tedium should not be taken for granted. This approach helps you ensure that you do not include files that may be unsafe. There are a variety of ways to use exclusions for each different antivirus software type and all involve going to a Settings option. You may be given a scroll list to choose from once you have built a significant list of exclusions and this will allow you to change any of those exclusions as necessitated. With Microsoft Security Essentials, you can click the Advanced option and gain more generalized options for situations that may require broad, more generalized exclusions.

microsoft security essentials scan rules

It is always best to create a System Restore point before making changes to any software, but especially antivirus software. Also take steps to backup the files that you are planning on excluding. There are no guarantees from software to software and system to system. With a set restore point, you can always go back and undo something undesirable. Secure your settings and files first, and then alter your security.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Watch 30 Years of the Space Shuttle In One Single Launch Video

Click here to read Watch 30 Years of the Space Shuttle In One Single Launch

The end. Today it's all over. Three decades of the Space Shuttle, with its many amazing successes and two horrible failures, are gone forever. This video shows those thirty years in one single launch. More »

Celebrate the Moon Landing with Apollo Training Photos Geek History


NASA didn’t just train the Apollo Astronauts to get to the moon; they trained them for every possible eventuality including landing in a jungle upon their return to Earth.

Wired magazine shares sixteen photos from the various training NASA put the Astronauts through:

Apollo astronauts practiced every second of their mission, even planting the flag (above), many times, indoors, outdoors, in space suits, underwater, in planes, in centrifuges, in pools, in the ocean and anywhere else NASA saw fit. They were prepared for every contingency and trained for water planned landings as well as desert and jungle survival in case their capsule missed the ocean and hit land. They learned geology, how to withstand g-forces, maneuver in low- and zero-gravity conditions, and how to drive electric rovers and land the lunar module.

Hit up the link below to check out the full gallery.

The Incredible Things NASA Did to Train Apollo Astronauts [Wired]

Windows on the Universe Wallpaper


blue [deviantART]


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Rush - Roll the Bones 24 Karat Gold CD released today

Roll the Bones Gold CD

Today Audio Fidelity releases a limited edition 24 Karat Gold CD version of Rush's Roll the Bones. This is the first Rush release from Audio Fidelity although another company - Mobile Fidelity - has previously released limited edition Gold CD versions of 4 other Rush albums; 2112, Moving Pictures, Signals and most recently Permanent Waves. Audio Fidelity has also indicated that there would be more Rush releases coming in the future. You can order your copy of the Roll the Bones Gold CD at this link.

Turn an Old Computer into a Networked Backup, Streaming, or Torrenting Machine with FreeNAS Video

Click here to read Turn an Old Computer into a Networked Backup, Streaming, or Torrenting Machine with FreeNAS

At it's most basic, Network attached storage, or NAS, is a great way to share files on your local network. But it's also a perfect solution for backing up your computers, streaming media across your home network, or even torrenting files to a central server. If you have an aging computer lying around, you can turn it into a NAS for for free with the open-source FreeNAS operating system. Here's how. More »

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Cable Map Is an Interactive Global Undersea Cable Map


The majority of intercontinental internet traffic flows through undersea cables; Cable Map is an interactive charting tool that lets you look at the state of undersea cabling today and in the past.

The map by itself is pretty neat but the coolest feature of Cable Map is the ability to plug in dates to see the cables that existed before, were constructed since, or were in place during that year. You can also hone in on specific cables like the Asian-American Gateway. Hit up the link below to play with the map.

Alienware M14x review roundup: a lovely blend of poise and power

Know what happens when you split the difference between an M18x and an M11x? The M14x, of course! We managed a bit of hands-on time with Alienware's middleman back in April, and now the web at large has had a chance to spit their opinions on it. By and large, critics were overwhelmingly pleased with performance, and hardly anyone could find too many griping points. Hot Hardware dished out an Editor's Choice badge, noting that the 14-incher exhibited a near-perfect blend of portability and power -- it's not often that a machine capable of running today's latest 3D titles can also get four hours of battery life. Having Optimus onboard is certainly a boon, but just about everyone also suggested springing for an SSD to really round things out. Folks also seemed to love the apparent lack of bloatware, and while the $2,000+ price tag was certainly steep, the top-tier numbers it delivered definitely helped soften the blow. The long and short of it? Folks looking for a nice balance of mobility and raw horsepower need look no further, but you can humor yourself anyway by digging into the links below.

Alienware M14x review roundup: a lovely blend of poise and power originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 16 Jul 2011 21:02:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | sourceLaptop, Hot Hardware, CNET, VR-Zone | Email this | Comments

Inhabitat's Week in Green: solar-powered Supertrees, hydrogen racecars and LED-studded shoes

The hot summer sun sparked blazing advances in solar energy this week as Inhabitat reported that a crop of incredible solar-powered Supertrees sprouted at Singapore's Gardens by the Bay conservatory. We also saw designers float plans for a series of gorgeous sun collecting water lily islands, and speaking of flowers, we learned that scientists are breeding cold-resistant super bees that can withstand mites and disease. Scotland made waves as well when it unveiled the next-generation Oyster 800 wave energy plant, and Japan's Prime Minister signaled a sea change as he called for a complete phase-out of nuclear power.

Several cities took steps away from car culture this week as a Spanish town offered residents lifetime tram passes in exchange for their cars, and JetBlue launched a set of dubious $4 flights to offset the closing of the 405 freeway in Los Angeles. We also took a look at the green technologies launched by NASA's soon to be extinct space shuttle program and we saw the unveiling of the world's first student-built hydrogen racecar.

In other news, we peered into the future of consumer tech as we counted down our six most desired green upgrades for the Phone 5 and we saw Jawbone launch an app-powered wristband that promotes healthy living. LED technology also lit up our lives as Philips rolled out a beautiful new breed of luminous wallpaper and Chanel kicked of its latest fashion show with a line of LED-studded shoes. Last but not least, we spotted a set of magnetic building blocks that help Honduran families, and this week gadget expert and Engadget founder Peter Rojas closed our Ask a Tech Geek column with a look at six great ways to charge your gadgets with renewable energy. If you're thirsting for more, don't miss Peter's posts about fine tuning your laptop to save energy, vanquishing vampire energy drain, and recycling your old cables and chargers!

Inhabitat's Week in Green: solar-powered Supertrees, hydrogen racecars and LED-studded shoes originally appeared on Engadget on Sun, 17 Jul 2011 18:19:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Digital art wallpapers


17 Amazing Sailboat Pictures

Harbors and the ocean create great backdrops for your next photo subject; sailboats! Here are 17 amazing pictures of sailboats to get you started.

Today is a Holiday. Let's go Cruising around Singapore!

Today is a Holiday. Let's go Cruising around Singapore! by William Cho


Marbles by Neil Kremer

Towers of Industry - Wall Street

Towers of Industry - Wall Street by joiseyshowaa

Living free

Living free by Nishanth Jois

Lorain lighthouse at sunset

Lorain lighthouse at sunset by Rona Proudfoot


Sailboat by Tim Briggs


Mozambique by Steve Evans

Sailing at Sunset

Sailing at Sunset by Paul David

eye / eye , cap'n

eye / eye , cap'n by Alan L

Not all who wander are lost

Not all who wander are lost by Brian murphy


flag, boat, moon by Toni

Sailing into the Sunset

Sailing into the Sunset by Johan J.Ingles-Le Nobel

At the harbor

At the harbor by Vincent Lock

Quick Process

Quick Process by Neil Kremer

St Barts Yachts and Sailboats

St Barts Yachts and Sailboats by tiarescott

Sepia Boats

Sepia Boats by Martin Cathrae


Untitled by jay1160

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