HOWTO: Map a Folder to a Drive Letter

Typically, you may map a network share to a drive letter on your machine for easy access. It usually comes in handy, but wouldn’t it be nice to do it on any folder, rather than just a network folder? You can actually do it with the subst command.

Use the following command in the command prompt:

subst letter: c:\folder\path

Replace “letter:” with an available drive letter. Here’s an example of mapping my music folder to the M:\ drive:

subst m: C:\Users\Mark\Music

Now, if you want to remove the drive letter mapping, issue the following command on the drive letter:

subst letter: /d

For example, to remove the mapping for my M:\ drive, I would do:

subst m: /d

 

HOWTO: Still Access Firefox 2 Download

As just about everyone knows, yesterday Mozilla released their third major version of the Firefox browser. Though this release comes with an overwhelming amount of improvements, some people may still want to use Firefox 2. As a web developer, my company doesn’t officially support version 3 yet (even though support for it seems trivial), so I’m using Firefox 3 Portable for QA with my full Firefox 2 install still intact.

The new design of the Firefox download page doesn’t indicate older versions can be downloaded, so to get them, browse to:
http://releases.mozilla.org/pub/mozilla.org/firefox/releases/

From there you can choose a version, your platform and language. For en-US Windows users, here’s a direct link to the latest FF2: Firefox 2.0.0.20 [updated 27 January 2009].

 

HOWTO: Restore the Shut Down Button in Vista

By default, Windows Vista doesn’t have the standard Shut Down button in the Start menu. In order to shut down, you need to click the right arrow and choose Shut Down. This is a bit inconvenient, however, we can easily restore the Shut Down button in place of the default Sleep/Hibernate button.

Let’s get rid of this one:
No Shut Down?

Navigate to your Control Panel and choose Power Options.

Under your current power setting, click the Change plan settings link:
Change plan settings

In the plan settings menu, click the Change advanced power settings link:
Change advanced power settings

Scroll down to Power buttons and lid. In the Start menu power button, choose the Shut down option:Change button type

Apply these changes and your standard Shut Down button should be in place of the previous sleep button:
Shut Down button restored

 

HOWTO: Send Text Messages via AIM

As similar method to my previous post on sending free text messages through email, AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) supports sending text messages to mobile phones. It’s a great way to send messages without paying an outgoing fee from your own phone provider. Just add a full 10-digit phone number with a + sign in front of it to your buddy list (e.g. +16175551234). All you have to do is send an IM to that “phone number buddy” and the mobile # will get a text message of that IM. Be careful though, don’t send too many.

 

HOWTO: Download Music for Free

Do you use BitTorrent or some other P2P program to download music? There’s a good chance that you actually said yes. There’s really no need to though, because there are plenty of other options out there. Here’s a rundown of some sites I use to get music and the pros and cons of each.

JamGlue
JamGluejamglue.com

JamGlue is a mix-based music service that lets you upload your own music and mix it together to make your own remixes. You can mix songs already uploaded by others or upload any music you have on your computer. The trick to free music at JamGlue is the option to download any uploaded music. That means any music that other users have on the site – whether they’re original music by artists or remixes – can be downloaded.

First, sign up for a free account; you need to be logged in to download. Next, search the site for a song you want. Make sure you preview first to make sure its not the instrumental (music only) or acapella (vocals only) version. Once you find a song you like, click the Download button in the bottom left of the song’s page. This will take you to another page where you have to click Download again, but this is the last time.

Pros

  • lots of instrumental tracks
  • lots of rap/hip-hop if that’s your thing
  • also has some non-rap or hip/hop tracks uploaded, especially newer music

Cons

  • the server is quite slow, so sometimes it can take forever to search
  • 3-click process to download a track after searching
  • lots of rap/hip-hop which might not be your thing
  • there are lots of acapella and instrumental tracks which you probably aren’t looking for and might get in the way in results
  • many tracks are ripped audio from YouTube videos and therefore have lower audio quality

SkreemR
SkreemRskreemr.com

SkreemR is a search engine for MP3s. It indexes open directories, blogs, …whatever sites have mp3s on them. It even has a flash audio player for each search result, so you can listen without downloading or you can preview the song before you actually download it.

Pros

  • indexes music as a search engine, so there are no music styles of focus here
  • does a good job indexing music uploaded to blogs
  • allows you to listen to each search result through a flash audio player
  • 1-click download after searching

Cons

  • large result sets can be hard to navigate through
  • each search result has a bunch of info and options which can get annoying and in the way

G2P
G2Pg2p.org

G2P (a play on P2P) is a “search” that actually creates a carefully crafted Google search query for what you’re looking for. It directs your search term to Google and looks at open web directories hosting music and any sites Google has indexed with your search term. Of course it adds in some filters for file types and only searches your term for audio files. You can search for a single song or an entire album.

Pros

  • leverages Google’s search power with carefully crafted queries for specific results
  • create a special query for full albums by making Google search megaupload.com for .zip’s and .rar’s of albums

Cons

  • powered by Google, and therefore limited by what Google can find

RapidShare1
RapidShare1rapidshare1.com

RapidShare1 is is a search-engine / directory for uploaded content on RapidShare.com. You can use RS1 to find full albums that you want to download. Search results to .rar’s and .zip’s can quickly become stale (no longer active), so be aware that it might take some digging to find what you want. Also, the majority of the files are in .rar format, so you will need a program to uncompress them, like 7-Zip or WinRAR.

Pros

  • you can download entire albums
  • indexes all content on RapidShare, so you can download other stuff too

Cons

  • results are often stale (inactive)
  • it takes many clicks to download a file (this is a result of the process in place at RapidShare)
  • you can only download from RapidShare about 90 minutes after your last download