All the symbols you’re ever likely to need

I stumbled across the Code2000 font while typing up some revision notes which required “outline brackets” (Unicode characters 27E6 and 27E7). None of the the fonts on my computer seemed to include the symbols I needed.

If you’re ever in a similar position, you can download the font from James Kass. It includes most Unicode characters, so chances are that if a symbol exists, you’ll find it. It’s a TrueType font, which means it should work on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.

Code2000 is a shareware product, which means that if you like it, you should pay the registration fee (currently $5 which works out as around £2.90) – a bargain, methinks.

Really Slick Screensavers


Really Slick Screensavers is a collection of particularly nice-looking screensavers for Windows. There are also ports available for Mac OS X and Linux users. My favourite, pictured above, is SolarWinds (apparently no connection to the network monitoring software of the same name).

Unfortunately there seems to be a bug in Ubuntu Linux 5.10 (Breezy Badger) which prevents the Linux port of RSS from functioning correctly (the screensavers don’t appear in XScreensaver), so my Linux box is running Fireflies which is just as nice and also available for Windows and OS X. For Ubuntu users it should be as simple as downloading the Debian package and running sudo dpkg -i fireflies_2.05-1_i386.deb to install.

Recycle faulty RAM sticks in your Linux box

I’ve built a Linux box from my spare parts bin, but unfortunately two out of the three 128MB RAM sticks I have are faulty. Fortunately, an enterprising Linux hacker by the name of Rick van Rein has built a kernel patch which allows Linux users to mark faulty areas of RAM so that they are never accessed, similar to the way that bad sectors on hard drives can be marked unusable. You can read more at the BadRAM site.

Unfortunately, enabling BadRAM support requires recompiling the kernel, which is a daunting procedure for non-technical users. However, Ubuntu users might find this thread helpful.

Fix Logitech keyboard annoyances

Ben Pope has created a registry file for Windows which fixes a few annoying features of newer Logitech keyboards. By remapping keyboard scancodes, it effectively inverts the effect of the “F-Lock” key so that the F1-F12 keys work as standard function keys when F-Lock is off. This means you don’t have to turn F-Lock on every time you boot your computer or restart Windows.

The registry patch also remaps some of the media keys to return the Windows standard keycodes, which for me has stopped the annoying behaviour of the “Play/Pause” key which will sometimes start playing my current Winamp track from the beginning instead of pausing it as expected.

There are two caveats, though – firstly, it will only work when connecting the keyboard via PS/2, not USB (I’ve never seen the point of wasting a USB port when there is a dedicated keyboard port anyway), and it will cause you to lose functionality of some of the special keys.

I’m beginning to think I’d be better off with a “cheap and cheerful” keyboard rather than any of Logitech’s or Microsoft’s current offerings – anything with a standard keyboard layout, no F-Lock key, and play/pause and volume control will do the job.

Offline NT Password & Registry Editor

This Linux-based tool, available as a bootable floppy or CD image, can recover user and administrator passwords on Windows NT, 2000, XP and Server 2003 machines. It might look scary, but it greets you with a Douglas Adams-esque “DON’T PANIC” and explains that the default options are OK in most cases (i.e. just keep hitting Enter).

I’ve just tried this and it works remarkably well. It might just save you from reinstalling Windows one day. Of course, it has less legitimate uses, but if you lack good physical security, you have a lot more to worry about (people stealing your machine, for example).

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