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Deep Firefox SQL optimization

I was looking deeper into Firefox optimization, and I found Adventures in Firefox-places.sqlite. It’s a pretty intense analysis that goes beyond the usual simple, in-browser SQL vacuum that I’ve mentioned in the past. It was written with Mac OS X and Linux in mind, which is fine, but if you run Windows, you might want to do the same thing.

It has two benefits. It speeds up Firefox, and it reduces the amount of disk space your Firefox profile occupies. The two things are related; smaller databases are quicker and easier to navigate than large ones. As for why you should care about the amount of disk space it takes up, well, on an SSD every megabyte counts.

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Don’t use software firewalls: Good advice or bad?

A common piece of good-meaning advice you’ll hear is that you should never use software firewalls. But is that good advice, or bad?

On the surface, it’s good advice. It’s much better to use the firewall built into a cable/DSL router. But the software firewall built into Windows XP, Vista, 7, and (presumably) 8 makes for a good second line of defense, so I don’t recommend disabling it.

I’ll explain further.

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How to slipstream IE9 and hotfixes into Windows 7, step by step

Normally, after you install any version of Windows, you have a ton of patching to do. And that patching takes as long, or longer, than the installation takes, while leaving the system vulnerable to exploits in the meantime. Slipstreaming your hotfixes into your installation media sidesteps those issues, and reduces fragmentation. You get a faster performing system, you get the system up and running a lot sooner, and you save a lot of unnecessary writes to your SSD.

So I wholeheartedly recommend slipstreaming.

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What to do when you need to clean-install Windows 7 and all you have is a restore disc

Many brand-name PCs, rather than giving you a regular Windows CD, give you a restore disc, which returns the laptop to factory configuration–junkware and all.

Just about the best thing you can do to pep up a brand-name PC’s performance is to do a clean Windows install. So here’s how to download a regular Windows CD so you can do just that, when needed.

And there’s one other situation where you’ll need this. If your PC came with 32-bit Windows and you want to upgrade to 64-bit, or it came with 64-bit and you need to downgrade to 32-bit for compatibility reasons, you can download the other version. The CD key for one will work with the other.

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Run DD-WRT on an old PC

DD-WRT is an extremely popular firmware upgrade for wireless routers, and for good reason. It’s extremely powerful, and allows you to use a cheap wireless router to perform the function of costlier hardware.

A commercial wireless router takes up a lot less space and consumes a lot less power than a PC, but sometimes you might find yourself needing a router for a short period of time. You could go spend $50 on a router, but if you have an obsolete PC and a pile of NICs laying around, why not just press that pile of junk into duty to get the job done and save 50 bucks?

That’s what DD-WRT x86 lets you do.
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Windows, ARM, emulation, misconceptions and misremembered history

I keep reading stuff about Windows and ARM and, well, I think people just aren’t remembering history.

I’m not saying that Windows 8 on ARM will save the world, or even change it substantially. It probably won’t, since Microsoft tends not to get things right the first time. But will I automatically write off the project? No. It could prove useful for something other than what it was originally intended. That happens a lot.

But I’m more interested in clearing up the misinformation than in trying to predict the future.
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What will you do with your Freedom Box?

Columbia Law Professor Eben Moglen has a great idea. He wants every household to have a server on the Internet.

It’s not as outrageous as you might think. The hardware exists today. and I’ve talked about it before. The Pogoplug is based on it. Right now it costs about $100. The trouble is making the software easy enough that anyone can plug it in and use it. But that can happen too, and that’s the part he wants to get done.

I can’t wait.
Read More »What will you do with your Freedom Box?