Efficient ways to use Prism

Due to lectures and some teacher training courses I’ve been related to lately, I feel really uncomfortable without my laptop. Sure, sometimes teacher don’t need one and even shouldn’t use it while listening students reflections, for example. But when I need a computer, I need my own.

Why? Because I can’t stand workstations, where the only installed browser is IE6 or Firefox full of “useful”  toolbars and I can’t be sure what happens, when I click on the link to the PDF file. These situations are… well… a bit annoying and definitely very disturbing. And a funny thing is that the web browser is the only piece of software I’m so afraid of. These are most used by the computer users and that’s why usually the most personalised too. Like mine Firefox too, can’t deny.

In case you feel same as I do, check out Prism. Prism web is based on a concept called Site Specific Browsers (SSB):

An SSB is an application with an embedded browser designed to work exclusively with a single web application. It doesn’t have the menus, toolbars and accoutrements of a normal web browser. Some people have called it a “distraction free browser” because none of the typical browser chrome is used. An SSB also has a tighter integration with the OS and desktop than a typical web application running through a web browser.


Simple as that, and it really works – for Google Docs, for Twitter, for Gmail.. you name it. That means I can use my laptop for Google Prensentation slideshows without worrying about bookmarks toolbar or what addresses appears when I start entering a new one.


And I can share those web-apps as easily as email attachments. Basically all apps are small files containing definitions for appropriate running, which makes file size very small and handy (for example my is 125kb).


Something special

Is waiting for me at home.

I’m coming.


How can you trust free antivirus software?

… asked my own brother on saturday. And moments later he continued: you can’t be sure that free software is better than the paid one just because its free, how can you claim that AVG is more effective than Norton, for example?

OK, I can’t be sure. You can’t be sure for everything, to be precice but over those years, I’ve been using AVG (free version), there has been no viruses in my desktop computer which it hasn’t been able to remove. And I’ve been so sure about it’s goodness that I’ve installed it on every new computer, which has been bought by my friends. And still no complaints.

“How can you be sure?”

This question poped up after he saw suspiciuos warning window on my parents computer after he attached his USB memory stick. After short scan on his stick AVG reported about 5 different viruses and malware on it. Norton Antivirus on my brother Lenovo showed zero.

Thats why I still trust free antivirus.


Sometimes I love porn!

And porn it is! My Mac is running the latest Windows on Parallels for few hours now. For a testing purposes only, of course, no real working solution for me. Even for me.

Thinking back for few years now, Windows Vista has just reached to the market and there was like millions of discussions on the topics like “Vista sucks”, “Vista is even worse than ME” and etc. Somehow I managed to pass the Vista period on PC-s, I still installed XP for my friends and parents. There was no need for the newer OS.

I actually waited it, the new version of our old friend. Beta status is promising and I admit that using it with Parallels can’t give me the whole picture, it still runs even a bit better that XP SP2 does. At least I want to believe that.

Because its time to move on. And the 7th Windows might now be the real rival for the XP.


One more reason to love Songbird

My personal favorite music player, Songbird, looks pretty much similar to the Mac’s native one, iTunes. But that’s only by a default, because tens of add-ons makes it as personal as I need. Without extra installable applications.

I’m an average music listener, claims that I’ve listened 4000 tracks during the last two years, which isn’t too much. But these are the track i’ve listened not heard and probably I don’t have time for bigger number.

Back to the headline. Cover art for the track i listen to is crucial. It can be compared to the visual aesthetics of the records shelf above my desk where unlabeled CDs hidden for the publicity and CDs with the covers are sitting in the most noticeable area.

Managing cover arts in the iTunes is pain, even when I used additional software for finding and downloading them. Too much work is needed there where there’s shouldn’t. Solution that is provided by the Songbird and one small add-on called Album Art is much more comfortable. It simply displays album cover art whenever its available on the database or is described in the metadata of the mp3 file. And that’s it.

That is the reason I love Songbird :]


Christmas trip to Riga

I’ve been growing up with the knowledge that all the countries which are located in south are warmer than those which are in the north. For example Latvia. Or Turkey.

A week ago I packed my family into our car and started to move towards Baltic’s capital, Riga. Almost traditional Christmas trip couldn’t be canceled at any chance but as our smallest part of the family is too small for flying, we decided to try something more comfortable for her – traveling by car.

It’s almost 400 km driving to Riga from our home, which means, that no stops are needed and we maneged to arrive to the hotel just before the darkness. Luckyly we choosed a hotel which is located next to the main street and there was no troubles for finding it.

I can’t talk about Riga while not comparing it to the Tallinn. It’s bigger, there’s more noise, more people, more shops, more snow (at least on those two days) and bigger shopping centers. Short walk in the older part of the town convinced us that Tallinn beats Riga in this point. Old town in the Riga is expensive, full on construction works and cars which makes decent walking in there really challenging.


On the way back from the Latvia next day, we forgot to turn away from the highway A2 on the correct place and soon found ourselves in beautiful Sigulda and Turaida.

So do I return to the Riga for spending a holiday, for example? Rather not. Haapsalu sounds more tempting in this context.

Further reading: Latvija @


Elgg, showing more latest updates (discussions) on group page

By default, Elgg’s group page shows 4 latest discussions from the group forum. For getting better overview about actions in forum it might be good idea to increase the number from 4 to…50, for example:

Navigate to Elgg installation folder / mod / groups / views / default / groups / forum_latest.php on line 5, where stands:
$forum = get_entities_from_annotations("object", "groupforumtopic", "group_topic_post", "", 0, $vars[‘entity’]->guid, 50, 0, "asc", false);[/php]

Number 50 is the one.


Good morning!

“Are you going to design something today?”

Answer is inside of the article by Luke Wroblewski.

And yes, I’ve heard this question few times IRL.


Songbird does some singing

And it does it very well, in fact. Songbird is a fine replacement for the well known music players like WinAmp or iTunes which are still usable and being developed but sometimes it seems that this process has taken them too close to the perfectionism. There is still no stable, I mean 1.0 version of the Songbird but Release Candidate is running smoothly on my MacBook.

Songbird has been built on the XULRunner platform, which makes it running on Windows, OS X and Linux as well. Basically it’s a Firefox for music.

There is a one small problem as well. Once in a while I listen to my iPod Shuffle (2nd gen) and there has been no problems while transfering the songs via iTunes. Songbird (0.7 and even 1.0RC1) don’t see device, although when I try to quit the program, it warns me about the connected device.

I did some searching (Google, as usual) and find quite easy hack for repairing situation. All I need to do is to delete one directory (iPod_Control), unmount the iPod and mount it again. It works!


Fixing the Atom feed issue in Pageflakes

It seems that widely used blogging platform Blogger and feed aggregator Pageflakes are not co-operating so good by default. Blogger blogs are offering their feeds in two format, Atom and RSS. Atom, which is not so widely known as RSS is set to be default and RSS feed is set to be the second option.

Here’s a small BUT: Pageflakes doesn’t like this particular Atom feed offered by Blogger. In fact, Pageflakes recognises Blogger blog posts Atom feed as comments feed. I’m still able to see the feeds in Pageflakes but I’m not able to click them in order to follow the full story or entry.

Quick fix for the problem is simple: change the default Atom feed to the RSS feed in Pageflakes aggregator. To do this, click on the edit button of the blog widget and locate the feed address (something like and add this line to the end:


So the final result should be seen something like this:

Save your changes and the feeds are working as they should be in a first place.