17 August 2007

Windows Games Mysteriously Halting

My son found a problem with his computer. Sometimes, the game he was playing would halt after it started. Then he said that if he defragmented the hard disk, the game would start running again. I didn't think too much about it until the problem occurred yesterday evening. When I examined his computer, I realised that it had run out of disk space. The game didn't crash; it was waiting for some spare disk space to write its files. When he defragmented the hard disk, some space was freed up, so the game could continue running. I freed up about a third of the hard disk and there's no problems running games again.

16 August 2007

Firefox Custom CSS Styles For Sites

The Stylish add-on for Firefox is really, really neat. Create your own custom CSS stylesheets or install pre-defined ones in userstyles.org. Stylish will apply the style sheet based on a URL pattern.

I've installed …

  • Bright Focus because it's hard to see which button or link has the focus by default. Read the users' comments on the page to find out how to customize the focus colour or style.
  • Gmail - display keyboard shortcuts.
  • 18-Aug-07: Slim down Firefox GUI so that I have slightly more space for web pages. Customized this style so that the Edit and History menus remain displayed.

See Also

15 August 2007

Synaptics Touchpad Sketch Utility

Tried drawing with the Synaptics touchpad; after all, there should be a way to map your finger's position to an absolute location in a window or on the screen. Found a little Synaptics Sketch utility for doodling, but it was pretty useless because it doesn't show your finger's position before you make a mark and you can only save your image in a proprietary "SKE" format. Oh, well.

13 August 2007

More Asus Synaptics Touchpad Settings

Set up the following Tap Zones (in the four corners) on my touchpad:

  • Bottom Left Action: Browse forward one web page.
  • Bottom Right Action: Context menu.
  • Top Left Action: Browse backward one web page.
  • Top Right Action: Context menu.

16-Aug-07: Found a better configuration. Changed Bottom Right Action to Middle Click. In Firefox, this opens a link under the pointer in a new tab.

11 August 2007

GIMP Transparent Backgrounds

Steps for making a transparent GIF layer in GIMP.

  1. Open your GIF image file.
  2. Open the Channels tab. You should see a single Indexed channel.
  3. Add Alpha Channel (Layer / Transparency / Add Alpha Channel). You should see a new Alpha channel added in the Channels tab.
  4. Make a selection by selecting a colour (Select / By Color then click on the area with the required colour).
  5. Optionally, enlarge the selection (Select / Grow, then enter the number of pixels in the Grow Selection dialog). See note below.
  6. Clear the selection (Edit / Clear).
  7. Save your GIF image file.

When making a transparent GIF with GIMP, sometimes the borders of the image can be a little ragged, especially next to a curve with antialiasing. One solution is to "grow" the selection by one pixel (Select / Grow) before clearing all the pixels for the transparent layer.

05 August 2007

ATI Catalyst Control Center Rotate Display

Added some notes on how to use the ATI Catalyst Control Center to turn computer display 90° clockwise and anti-clockwise. Sort-of useful for reading on-line documents, such as webcomics, in portrait format.

9-Aug-07: This feature isn't available on another Asus laptop with Windows XP. Maybe it's just a Vista feature?