Archive for February, 2010

How to configure Windows XP to log on automatically

It’s more secure and better practice to not just have your computer log on automatically. Ideally, for security reasons, you should install a BIOS password too – but that may be a step too far for some people. Instead, you can just add that extra layer of security by not running your system as the computer administrator and setting up limited user accounts instead.

Using the Control Panel to set up users is fine, but if you want to be able to force them to log in at the Welcome Screen, you need to follow these steps:

  1. Click Start, then Run to get to the ‘Run’ box
  2. Then in the run box execute this command: control userpasswords2
  3. You will see a check box labelled ‘Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer’.
  4. Ensure there is a tick in this check from this check box.
  5. Click on OK.

Alternatively, if you don’t want to have to log in each time…

  1. Untick this check box.
  2. You’ll then be prompted to enter the user name and password you wish to automatically log on with, and then click OK.

Now anyone with physical access to your computer can use this machine. It makes your computer more convenient to use, but at the same time can pose a privacy / security risk.

If you need to start up the computer but do not want to log in automatically one specific time, then You can suppress the automatic logon by pressing the SHIFT key during the boot process.

If you want to permanently disable the auto-logon, you can execute this command from the Run box: rundll32 netplwiz.dll,ClearAutoLogon

Completely erase your PC

If you’re selling your PC, donating it someone else or sending it to a charity – or even if you’re scrapping it, you should make sure that the system is 100% clean of every trace of data that could be used by someone less scrupulous.

There are paid solutions out there to achieve this – but there’s also a handy, free tool called Darik’s Boot and Nuke.

It’s free to download and use – and can be run from a CD. Just download the application and there’s an ISO in there ready to burnt by most CD burning software. Once your machine is completely clean you can do what you want with it, as there’ll be nothing linking it to you now. Of course, if you’re donating it or selling it, you might want to re-install Windows or whatever OS back on to it first.

What does their web site say about it?

Darik’s Boot and Nuke (“DBAN”) is a self-contained boot disk that securely wipes the hard disks of most computers. DBAN will automatically and completely delete the contents of any hard disk that it can detect, which makes it an appropriate utility for bulk or emergency data destruction.

DBAN is a means of ensuring due diligence in computer recycling, a way of preventing identity theft if you want to sell a computer, and a good way to totally clean a Microsoft Windows installation of viruses and spyware. DBAN prevents or thoroughly hinders all known techniques of hard disk forensic analysis.

DBAN is a free software product that can be used at home or in a business at zero cost. The only official place to obtain DBAN is by download at this web site. We do not sell DBAN media.

Download it

You can download it HERE

Job Aggregators

There is an updated version of this article available here.

What are job aggregators?

They’re online services that trawl through the Internet, locating and indexing jobs from job boards and employers according to the niches or geographies in which they operate. They’ve been around for a while – and almost all of them make the claim of having the most jobs, being the largest job board, or the most visited. The simple truth is that they’re quite similar to each other.

Despite this, they should still play a role in both a candidate’s job seeking arsenal and in a recruiters or employers advertising portfolio.

For advertisers (recruiters and employers):

The best thing is that most of these job aggregators are free. Most of them operate without requiring any direct intervention and they’ll silently come and trawl your site, finding your jobs and advertising them on your behalf. Because they’re mostly doing this in real-time, you also don’t have to worry about ensuring positions are removed when they’re filled, or expired. Just remove them from your own listings and the aggregators will reflect this when they next re-index or aggregate your job feeds.

Some of the aggregators will come to your site automatically and start aggregating your jobs, especially if you readily make available RSS or Atom based feeds of your jobs. Others, you have to specifically register with them and provide the direct links to where they can pick up the feeds. It’s still limited input, for what can often be access to quite a large potential market of jobseekers.

For jobseekers:

The job aggregators represent a quick, easy and accessible route to the latest jobs. They can save time by reducing the number of sites that you have to visit to find the jobs that are relevant to you and as they’re typically presenting job search results in real-time, you can be assured you’re accessing the latest vacancies. The bad news is that there can be serious problems with duplication; and some sites will try and bundle additional (sometimes chargeable) services with the job searching process.

For web developers:

Some of the aggregators have started offering APIs now too, so that you can directly integrate a fully functioning job search element in to your web site. The benefit to this is that can be another added facet for the services you provide to your users. The main downsides are that you’re effectively directing traffic away from your web site and you never hold the jobs yourself on your site, therefore there are no SEO benefits here. You also have little control over what’s displayed or how it appears. But they’re low effort, zero cost options that certainly can be a part of some sites.

Alternatively, you could consider developing your own aggregator using off the shelf php scripts, or considering plugins for blogs or CMS systems that can mostly do the job for you.

List of job aggregators:

This list is going to be forever changing, so right now, these are the main job aggregators (primarily UK based) that seem to have the highest profiles

Simply Hired –

Indeed –

Workhound –

Work Circle –

Job Applications –

Career Jet –

Job Safari –

Creating a favicon

What is a favicon?

It’s one of those little images that sits up in the address bar next to the web address.

They’re really good for branding and help create an association between your web site, your logo and your overall styling.

There’s a good tool out there to help convert everyday images into favicon’s.

You can get to it HERE – it’s free to use and provides a handy zip file with a download of your favicon.

Custom built PCs

Why would you want to buy an expensive PC from the likes of PC World or Dell, when you can use a specialist, custom PC builder to produce a more powerful, better specification machine – and all for less money?!

After my old desktop PC started literally falling apart at the seams, I decided it was time to bite the bullet and purchase a new one. After a detailed online search – I came across Dino PC.

Two weeks after ordering, I have taken delivery of my new desktop system – all for around the same price as an average netbook.

They’re well worth a look if you’re in the market for a new machine.

How to make a post sticky

It’s surprisingly easier than I thought it would be – and after a quick search with our friend Google, I found the answer.

In versions of WordPress after 2.7, there’s a new option that’s been added to make posts sticky.

It’s not in the full add or edit post option, but when you go to the quick edit post option you’ll see a little checkbox there for making the post sticky.

Of course, all this does is make sure your post stays at the top of the page – which is kind of handy to ensure that, on your homepage at least, there is a consistent message available.

Hosting – who do I recommend?

Without doubt, my best experience of a reliable, low-cost, feature packed hosting company has to be Host Gator.

Yes, they’re US based, but so what? Apart from the billing process being prone to currency fluctuations, they’re just ultra reliable and very helpful if you ever have any problems.

I’ve used them for plenty of years and plan on staying with them too.

More to write on these in subsequent posts too… such as setting up databases, installing web applications and general configuration, tips and my experiences.

Marketing, business and web skills

So this web site is now a handy place for me to keep everything that I do online ordered and accessible, as well as test various online technologies and functionality.

My skills and experience includes:

  • Marketing – strategic & tactical marketing plans, advertising, etc.
  • Business & organisational health checks
  • Web design – HTML, PHP, Joomla, WordPress, others…
  • Graphic design – predominantly Photoshop – covering print and advertising design, business graphics, logos, invitiations, anything really…
  • Research – predominantly secondary, desk-based research – but also including advice and consultancy on alternative options and sources of information
  • Recruitment – how to recruit, services available, routes to market, CV writing advice, careers management and consultancy work, recruitment web sites, etc.
  • Social media marketing – just starting here (late, I know), but, watch this space…

The voucher part of this site is better than a lot of the other ones out there – and the aggregated information about different financial deals are also among the best. The TV adverts might not have the same catchiness of their competitors, but that aside, they’re the market leader within their sector in terms of aggregating deals from the widest variety of sources. In particular, with the car insurance sector – they’re also up against similar aggregators who aren’t exactly independent – as they’re backed by car insurance providers!

Theme authenticity checker for WordPress

There are loads of free themes available out there – some that look very professional with some excellent features and some that are, by comparison, amateurish. However, not all of these self-billed premium themes are all they seem to be.

Often they can include encrypted text and/or embedded links – so it’s worth checking these out if you’re considering implementing them in to your web design.

An absolutely invaluable tool for achieving this is the Theme Authenticity Checker for WordPress.

You can get a copy HERE