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  • 17 September, 2013

    How To Disable Auto-Updates for Opera 12

    The new Opera update has so far has been a bit of a disaster.  Part Chrome, part something else.
    It's more machine now than man.  Don't get me wrong, I love Opera, it's the browser I use for most of my work online.  The decision to remove certain features has a lot of us baffled and searching for a logical explanation.

    Let's have a quick look at the new features:

    1.  Looks pretty

    And now for the missing features in Opera 15:

    1.  No "key" icon for passwords.  The most useful feature in Opera is now gone.  Happy times.

    2.  Bookmark import is nightmarish.

    So what is the solution?  Go back to Opera 12.15!  You can find the download on sites such as filehippo and oldapps.com

    The only problem is the "Updates are available, do you want to download" nag screen.

    After the 15th nag, it gets a bit ridiculous.

    So here's what to do.

    In Opera 12.15:

    Go to Settings - Preferences - Advanced - Security - "Do not check for updates"

    If this does not solve your problem, then go to your "temp" folder (in XP - look in local settings for user), and find any "Opera updates" files.

    Delete them.

    Your nag screen should be gone.

    04 August, 2013

    Why Yahoo needs to switch back to Classic Mail - Pronto

    In this changing world of upgrades, upscaling, choice, moving forward and early-adopting, you would think it might be counter-intuitive to go "backwards" when it comes to email platforms.

    In the case of Yahoo mail, the exception to the rule of upgrading is plain for all to see.

    As a Yahoo mail user, you may have noticed the following points when trying to use the "New, Improved Yahoo Mail Interface":

    1.  It's buggy.  That is a general comment.  Let's be more specific - it refreshes unnecessarily and hangs for too long when trying to do simple things like "Open Email".

    2.  It hates Opera.  No kidding, it really does.  There are quite a few of us out there who like to use the small footprint, unobtrusive nifty little browser called Opera.  Yahoo appears to have declared war on this little browser and has ensured that nothing in the new Yahoo Mail has a chance of working properly in Opera.

    3.  If someone hacks into your account, or if your password suddenly doesn't work, good luck retrieving it.  Yahoo Mail shows a captcha, refreshes and then gives you another captcha to get your password.  Then it refreshes and gives you another captcha.  The cycle continues until someone dies.

    4.  It doesn't just hate Opera.  It also hates Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari. If I try out some new obscure browsers, I'll let you know how badly Yahoo mail handles them as well.

    5.  You cannot switch back to Yahoo Classic Mail.  There was a fix I used to switch it back to Yahoo Classic but after a certain date, you are forced to use the new interface.

    6.  Mail users have no choice in the matter.  You now use the new interface whether you like it or not.  No matter how much it sucks.

    7.  The sad thing is that Classic Mail worked.  It worked perfectly for so many people.  Here are some interesting Tweets on the subject:

    Even in the face of daily criticism such as this, Yahoo ignores the voice of its users.

    This is the first step to losing people to new webmail programs. In the case of hacking, it has been suggested in some circles that the Yahoo password database has been compromised. This has not been confirmed or disproved so I'm going to say it was "allegedly" compromised. Don't sue me. This would theoretically mean that it doesn't matter how complex or clever your password is, if the hacker has the password in front of them, it doesn't matter if your password is 1234567 or g$_2FG*SFBH#%^@1~~, they've got it and they'll use it to send spammy emails from your address and delete all your contacts. What fun.

    Yahoo Mail also has the annoying habit of trolling your emails and showing weirdo ads that you wouldn't dream of clicking. For some reason, Yahoo thinks I want to "hook up" with creepy dating sites. It's never going to happen. It is possible that Yahoo is trying to promote their $19.95/year "No Ads" version of Yahoo but that seems like a bizarre strategy if this is the case.

    On a final note, there has been a blessed addition to the Yahoo "Classic Mail" saga.

    Click the "gear" icon (you will find it in the top right corner of your Yahoo Mail '

    Select "mail options" -> "switch to basic"

    You will now sent be back to a slightly more functional version of Yahoo Mail.

    27 February, 2013

    Old Myspace Becomes New Myspace: Will the Relaunch Usher In The Return of the Faithful?

    There’s something to be said for coming back from the dead. Zombies have a coolness all of their own.

    Myspace relaunched January of this year. The question is, will it entice  Reverbnation, Soundcloud, Bandcamp and Facebook users back into the fold?

    What myspace needs to do is keep what worked from the old model and get rid of the junk, and that appears to be what they have achieved.

    To illustrate, let's contrast a band's page from the old and new Myspace layouts.  For arguments sake, we'll use a little known band like the Foo Fighters.

    Foo Fighters Old Myspace:

    The old Myspace layout is fiddly, buggy, images don't work, tricky to navigate, the design is outdated by at least a decade.

    Foo Fighters New Myspace:

    Easy to navigate.

    Let’s take a look at old Myspace’s good and bad points:

    1. MUSIC
    The big reason Myspace stands apart from Facebook is Music. With a focus on music, Myspace is simply better than Facebook. Bands and artists can share songs, find other, similar genre bands to play with, contact venues and record industry people and promote the heck out of themselves. Bands actually got empowered to promote and sell their own stuff and the music industry changed almost overnight.

    Myspace had better step up on this one - the best thing about Myspace search was the country/region/genre specific searches. It’s fun to find an Italian grunge band or a Chinese punk band. Hopefully this function will be revamped and resurrected.

    The old, old, old Myspace was pretty user friendly. Simple. Easy to use. Then they tried to “sex it up” and ended up with a messy, still outdated but harder to use interface.  The new Myspace should change all that.

    4. ADS
    When you are looking for your new favorite band, the last thing you want is “7 weird diet tips they never told you” or “play mafia mobster bingo casino NOW!” It’s just tacky.

    However, Myspace NEW has an open, arty and rather minimalist but classy layout now with an awesome revamped player. Let’s hope the ads (when they appear) stay out of the way.

    Ok, this is a little unfair so let me explain. Facebook turned up at exactly the wrong time for Myspace and stole everyone away. Kind of like the Pied Piper with a questionable privacy policy.

    Myspace’s advantage is that it doesn’t have that creepy “I know everything about you and your cat” thing that Facebook has. If I was in Russia, I’d rather organise a “Free Pussy Riot” demonstration through Myspace than Facebook, if you know what I mean.

    If you were a band with say, 2,670 fans, and you had to log into the new Myspace and START AGAIN FROM SCRATCH WITH NO FANS WHATSOEVER....

    Would you do it?

    Why would Myspace do this to their loyal users who have stuck by them even though everybody else thinks that Myspace is “Sooo last Century”?

    However, the only saving grace is this: When Myspace New is out of beta mode, a notification service is planned to be introduced telling you when your old Myspace friends join up with new Myspace.

    That said, it’s a pretty lame service. It takes a fair amount of arrogance to think that just because the connections are from some time ago, that they are not worth anything to the band/artist.  The transfer should be instant and automatic to save time and effort.

    If this notification system / sync features are introduced and actually work without driving people mad, Myspace could very well be on the way up. If not, they are really, really dead this time.

    So, in summation, Myspace’s future is looking up if they can be something unique and stick with the original idea for getting together independent musicians and making connections throughout the world.

    If not, bands will just go to Reverbnation, Soundcloud or Bandcamp and be done with it.