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Lowell Heddings

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

The market seems to be full of OS X Expose clones, but this is the first one that I’ve found that not only works really well, but has a ton of customization options. It’s called Switcher, and you might already be familiar since it’s been out for a while.

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From the unsure why you’d want to do this department comes this tip on how to completely disable tabbed browsing in Firefox. I’ve gotten quite a number of requests for this over the last few months, so I’m finally breaking down and writing an article about it.

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Let’s say you have a directory with hundreds of files with the wrong file names, and you’d like to replace every filename containing test with prod. (this is a contrived example). We can easily do this with the “for” command in bash, combined with a little bit of bash goodness. Today we’ll learn how to replace text in a variable in a for loop.

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If you’ve looked in Task Manager and wondered what on earth the jusched.exe process is and if you can turn it off, then you are in luck. This process is the Java Update scheduler, which is a process that wastes memory all the time just to check once a month whether there are new updates to Java.

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Why does every single application insist on installing a completely useless icon into the system tray? It would be one thing if it performed some function, but it doesn’t do anything that you can’t do from your control panel. The least they could have done is have a dialog during the setup process that says “Would you like a useless icon in your system tray?” 

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Quite a few people have written in asking me if it’s possible to turn off Aero when on battery power to save a few precious minutes of battery life. While I dispute the claim that Aero drains the battery life, there is now a utility that will automatically turn off Aero when in battery mode so you can test it for yourself.

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It only took two days for somebody to come through on my offer of a bounty. Reader Shawn wrote in with a link to Vista Thumbnail Sizer, a utility written by Andreas Verhoeven, that performs exactly the features I was looking for.

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Reader Jeffrey wrote in with a problem – The New Contact Group button wasn’t showing up when he went into his Vista Contacts folder. After checking, I noticed I had the same exact problem.

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Ever since Windows Vista came out, I’ve been trying to figure out how to increase the size of the tiny Windows Vista taskbar preview windows. I’ve scoured the registry, used process monitor to try and find hidden registry keys, and looked at every setting I could find anywhere with no luck.

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In honor of hitting the 10k subscriber mark here at How-To Geek, I’ve decided to deviate from the normal how-to articles and write up a short list of the smaller geek sites I read the most frequently that you might not have heard of.

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If you’ve become addicted to using keyboard launchers like I have, you might have encountered the scenario where Katapult became extremely slow for no apparent reason. The problem is most likely because you’ve got a big music library in Amarok, and Katapult starts searching your music library by default after you type a single character.

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Most people familiar with Linux have used the top command line utility to see what process is taking the most CPU or memory. There’s a similar utility called htop that is much easier to use for normal tasks.

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So you’ve started using Katapult, but your distro doesn’t show the Katapult icon in the system tray by default. How do you get to the configure dialog? For that matter, how do you bring back the system tray icon?

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One of the greatest mysteries to me is why most file managers don’t have tabs - it makes performing tasks so much simpler. I’ve found a lightweight file manager for Ubuntu called PCMan that gives you most of the functionality from Nautilus, but also has tabs.

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If you’ve been experiencing the problem where you can’t add files to Windows Media Player’s library no matter what you do, then you probably have a corrupted database, and you’ll need to delete it and then re-add all of your media to the library.

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I recently set my Kubuntu box to use seamless Microsoft application integration so I can use Windows applications that look like they are natively running in Linux, although they are really running in a hidden virtual machine. Really a very sweet option, similar to running Parallels with Coherence on a Mac.

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Did you know that you can drag sidebar gadgets to the desktop, and then Close the sidebar? This tip might be obvious to many of you, but judging from all the emails I get on the subject, I felt that I should write an article about it anyway.

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One of the more irritating things about Windows Vista is that you can’t easily get to your Network Connections list – at least not without clicking through half a dozen links in the control panel. I’ve previously written about how to make a shortcut to the Network connections list, but how about just adding them to the built-in start menu search?

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Note: This is the first edition of the Geek Comic, which will be a weekly comic featuring the Geek and a number of other interesting characters. Subscribe to the RSS feed for the latest comic as well as your daily dose of How-To articles. Suggestions for new comics are welcome.

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Having switched from Ubuntu to Kubuntu recently, the first thing that irritated me beyond all reason was that single-clicking on a file or folder immediately opens the file instead of selecting it. Since I use Windows and Ubuntu on a daily basis, it’s just frustrating that it works differently in KDE.

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If you are a Firefox power user like I am, then you probably have dozens of tabs open all the time. After trying a number of different options, I’ve finally settled on using multiple rows of tabs as the best option.

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One of my friends contacted me a while back asking why the default setting in Outlook 2007 is to not mark items as read until you switch to a different email, which leaves the new mail notification sitting in the system tray even though you’ve clearly read the email.

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You have a directory full of log files that you want to import into Excel or a database so you can do some processing on them… but there are hundreds of files… how do you make them into a single file?

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If you receive an error saying “Tunepimp (MusicBrainz tagging library) returned the following error: “Fingerprinting of .mp3 files is not supported” when you are attempting to fill in the tags on your mp3 files using Amarok’s MusicBrainz plugin, then you’ve come to the right place.

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One of the best new features in Outlook 2007 is the To-Do bar, where you have quick access to your calendar as well as your task list. Unfortunately, the default setting of showing all of your tasks regardless of date can be overwhelming for anybody that has a lot of tasks, and just isn’t all that helpful.

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