How to Enable the Run Command in Windows 7

You just bought a new laptop and started using Windows 7, you are an advanced XP user, who uses the run command to do many tasks, like for example starting the command prompt, bringing the system configuration dialog,  starting notepad or opening the temp folder, or maybe even to run ping commands directly.

Now you open the start menu and you find the search box instead. Don’t worry, you can do whatever you used to do from the run box. Because it searches files, programs, and executable. Yes it takes bit longer now, because it runs a search while inputting your command.

The good news is that the run command is still there, but it is not displayed on the start menu by default. To bring it back follow these simple steps:

1. Right click on the Start Menu

2. Click on Properties

3. Select Start Menu tab

4. Click on the Customize… button

start  menu properties screenshot

start menu properties

5. Now tick the Run Command


6.  Press OK to save the new settings, now you should see the Run… in your start menu

Run command in the start menu of Windows 7

Run command in the start menu of Windows 7

The good thing about the run command, is that it remembers your commands history, so it auto-completes them from you, or it let you select from the drop list.

PS: This applies to Windows Vista too.

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The 5 Weirdest Album Names of 2009

This year I encountered many interesting album titles,  from the smart creative to the stupid and  grammatically wrong, from the funny and ironic, to the extremely long names.

This my final list of the top 5 weirdest album names of this year:

5. Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux Kingby Dave Matthews Band

Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King Album Cover

4. Of Stars and Other Somebodies by The Silent League.of stars and other somebodies album cover

3. ‘Em Are I by Jeffrey Lewis & The Junkyardem are i album cover2. Feel. Love. Thinking. Of. by Fauntsfeel love thinking of album cover

1. No More Stories / Are Told Today / I’m Sorry / They Washed Away // No More Stories / The World Is Grey / I’m Tired / Let’s Wash Away by MEW

I have seen long album names in the past like: This is my truth, tell me yours by Manic Stree Preachers and Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We? by The Cranberries. But no one came close to this! I think MEW wanted to compensate their short three letters name but they have overdone it!" No More Stories / Are Told Today / I'm Sorry / They Washed Away // No More Stories / The World Is Grey / I'm Tired / Let's Wash Away" Album Cover

PS: The most proper album name of 2009 is Album by Girls

Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?

Theremin – The Untouchable Instrument

I was watching a clip from a concert of one of my favorite bands, Detektivbyrån. It was from a concert they did in Stockholm. They were playing “Om Du Möter Varg”.  I could not believe my eyes when I saw Martin moving towards  some kind of an electronic instrument, which produces sound by just moving  hands in midair! The sound was amazing! The crowd got really excited at that moment, and they started screaming. I had goose bumps….

This instrument is called the Theremin.

theremin

Léon Theremin playing his invented instrument, later known as Theremin

Thermin was created more than 90 years ago (very ahead of its time)! by the Russian inventor Léon Theremin. The instrument consists of two antennas that sense player’s hands positions and control the pitch and volume of the sound accordingly.

The Thermin was mostly associated with eerie sounds, so used specially in soundtracks of  sci-fi movies, like the 1951 movie: The Day the Earth Stood Still.

In 1994, the history channel produced a documentary about the instrument and its inventor.Theremin – An Electronic Odyssey

The most famous Thereminsts today are:

Lydia Kavina

Pamelia Kurstin: Watch Pamelia performing and talking on ted.com

Clara Rockmore : This is a wonderful performance by her.

If you want to learn about the Thermin this is a good introduction

And here is a video demonstrating a complete resources list to start learning this instrument.

And if you want to hear the Thermin like you have never heard it before, then check this out: Gnarls Barkley Crazy Theremin Jam

Bigger Search Boxes

Recently I visited www.souq.com, a website I often use to buy and sell used items. I was surprised to see their new search box! It is the largest search box I have ever seen. And I think might be officially the largest search box on the web!

souq new search box

Usually people tend to dislike new interface changes with websites they frequently visit, and this what seems to have happened when I asked a few friends about their opinion about this change. But I think, this was the right move; Am sure 99% of users visiting this website, know what they are looking for and will search for it. The possibility of a user browsing through categories is very small. And am sure the website designers have pages’ visits data and they know already that. So if SEARCH is the focus, why not to make it bigger. Here they made it bigger not only in width but also in height, also to give more space for bigger font, now the input font is even bold.

Other search websites have already taken this step. The most popular move was from www.google.com

google search box got bigger

Google search box got bigger

Other examples also include Yahoo!

Old Yahoo Search Box

Old Yahoo! Search Box

New Yahoo! Search Box

New Yahoo! Search Box

And dogpile.com (a search-engine that returns results from Google, Yahoo!, Bing and Ask)

Dogpile Old Search box

Dogpile Old Search box

Dogpile New Search box

Dogpile New Search box

Another interesting Big search box I have found, was in the beautiful Nike website

Nike Big Search Box

Nike Big Search Box

It seems that good websites today have adopted two design approaches which I find very important. First, more macro and micro white-spaces (this is a good short article about whitespaces). Secondd, bigger fields. Specially when it comes to fields that need to be filled by users for searching or even for signing up. In one word, design became more focused.

The Q and A Webspace Part 4

Back to my post “The Q and A Webspace Part 2”, talking about Google Answers. The researchers who were making a living from answering questions, decided to create a similar website after the shutdown of Google Answers. So Uclue started in 2007, and was very similar to Google Answers as a fee based Q and A service. Currently, only former Google Answers Researchers may apply to become Uclue Researchers. It is the place for you if you need to ask complicated questions that demand research and expertise. For example a question like this one:

What are the effects of Social Networking on Real Estate Regulation?

Do you expect to get a satisfactory answer on a free Q&A website? Most probably not, but you will probably get an answer with lots of details and information if not a full essay if you ask it on Uclue with a good offer.

No much work is done on Uclue feautres and design. So it still feels like a website from the late nineties.

Another good Q and A website is BlurtIt, it has a good simple interface, has less categories to keep it simple, users can even ask and answer as guests without creating an account. Like AnswerBag  it is available as a facebook application, and also available as a service on Twitter.

End of last year Mahalo.com started a QandA free service still in its beta. It is unsurprisingly called Mahalo Answers, similar to Yahoo Answers, but it allows tipping of answerer, which will definitely encourage more members, and encourage more participation, but still has way smaller user base than answers.yahoo.com

From all the mentioned QandA services, I have used Yahoo Answers the most, if you have a Yahoo acount and you need a service that integrates with other Yahoo services, and you need answers within minutes of your question then Yahoo Answers is for you. If you are a facebook user and you like to use facebook applications then go for Answerbag. If you like the Wiki concept and you want to contribute a better quality answer question database then Wiki Answers is the one for you. If you need to ask questions that need extra work and research to answer and you are ready to pay a small sum of money then Uclue is there for you.

PS: Sorry no comparison table of features and traffic..etc.

The Q and A Webspace Part 3

Answer Bag (www.answerbag.com) is another example of popular free Q and A service. It started in 2003 and then acquired by Demand Media, the same company that has also http://www.ehow.com, a website that, at the time of writing this post, has more than 1 million instructional articles and 170,000 instructional videos. Answerbag still have smaller community than that of yahoo answers. But has more features like being able to post videos and pictures along with the questions, and better control of the quality of questions and users, for example by flagging questions as “non sense”, “duplicate”, “wrong category”..etc. Also what puts Answerbag apart is its API that enables developers to read and write from its Q&A database.

For better quality questions and answers, there is http://www.wiki.answers.com which is based on the wiki concept, where anyone can edit and improve answers. I think a system with one answer by question, that keeps getting improved is the best way to maintain a quality Q AND A database. Also Wiki answers has the best control over duplicate questions. And as it leverages Wiki concept, you can ask questions without singing up for an account. The number of categories is definitely the biggest, but the drawback of this site is its big number of ads, specially Google ads all around, and unlike in Yahoo Answers the layout does not help a lot to tell ads from non ads.

In the next post I will talk about other maybe less popular Q and A services.

The Q and A Web Space Part 2

You will probably think, if Yahoo has Q and A service, then probably Google and Microsoft has. In fact,  both used to have but not anymore.

Microsoft service was called: MSN QandA (actually it started as Live Search QandA then Windows Live QandA).  Another example showing how much Microsoft is confused about naming and packaging its products families…

MSN QandA was bit similar to Yahoo Answers. Users could ask questions, tag them according to topic, and gain points and reputation for answering other users’ questions.

The first of the three was Google Answers,  it was different as it used to  involve fees for asking questions. When a question is asked a price is offered, and any researcher who is interested in answering the question will lock the question and answer it.  Researchers were not Google employees, but contractors that were required to complete an application process to be approved to answer for the site. The website was closed in December 2006.

More about other today’s major players in online Q and A in the next post.