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How to Get Easter Egg Dye off Your Hands

Easter Eggs
(Image is in the Public Domain)

Why are there so many top ranked answers for how to get the dye out of your or your kids' hands that just don't help? Dishsoap? Baking soda or toothpaste plus lots of scrubbing? Feh. Well, consider that baking soda does provide great cleaning power and abasion, but vinegar is what they use to disolve the dye packs in the first place. I figured, why not use both?

I put a small pile of baking soda into my daughter's hand then sprayed some vinegar on it (I had some in a spray bottle, but you can just pour it). It started bubbling as they do when combined and I helped her rub it semi-vigerously over her hand for a few seconds. A good rinse and pop; there you go!

Left hand clean, right hand still green.
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Add context option to open file in administrator level Notepad

It works in Win 10 too!
(Image used under: Creative Commons 3.0 [SRC])

One of the more irritating oversights in Windows 7 is that when you open configuration files from Windows Explorer (txt, ini, etc), they open in Notepad as expected, but when you go to save, only then do you realize that you didn't have admin rights and your work is wasted.

Sick of wasting my time this way, I found a little hack that adds a context option to the right-click menu in Explorer so you can open any file in an Administrator-level version of Notepad. You still get a UAC warning, but that's fine. At least it works.

Here it is

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How to Save Your DVDs From the Kids by Ripping Them to Your Computer

(Image is in the Public Domain)

With the kids constantly losing, scratching, or breaking DVDs, I've been looking into building a home media center for a while. I'll get my DVD's, copy them to the computer, and play them from there (kind of like Hulu or Netflix on-demand). If you think that sounds like a great idea, check this out:

Are you looking to for a way to play your media DVDs without rifling through your collection and swapping discs? Today we’ll take a look at ripping a DVD to your hard drive and playing it with some popular media players.
There are some easy tools available for copying DVDs to your computer

This doesn't go into the particulars of how to build a good machine or hook it to a TV, but it's a great start for the software side of it. They recommend some software that costs money, but there are always alternatives or if it's good enough, it might be worth the money anyway.

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How to Force Login Security on Facebook

When you arrive at Facebook's homepage, you'll notice something odd:

Where's the security!?

That's right! No login security!

To be technical, the login is still redirected to a secure login page, but how could you ever know that without viewing the source code and understanding what you see there? If the page you're on doesn't show the HTTPS protection, it's safer to just assume it's not there.

So here I offer you this simple trick whenever logging into Facebook or any other service for that matter. See that login form over there? It looks like this:

Here's the form you use to login from the homepage

Instead of putting in your data, click LOGIN without entering any data. Leave it blank and click the button anyway

You'll get an error, but ignore it. The point is now you're on a page that's visibly protected.

Facebook will redirect you to their secure login page where you can visibly see the security is active by seeing the Using HTTPS For Secure Login and Payment Online and lock icons. Now you can login knowing that the chances of someone catching your name and password in transmission are greatly reduced.

An even simpler trick is to put a bookmark in your browser or bookmarks bar that goes to https://www.facebook.com and always use that bookmark to go to the page. If you're not on your personal computer, use the above trick instead.
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Turn Off Driver Signing Enforcement in Windows 7

So here's the deal (my theory anyway); Microsoft is trying to make their system more stable and secure, but to do that, they have to have some standards of quality for drivers used on the system. That's good in theory, but the problem is that the only realistic way of doing that means that Microsoft makes companies pay them to certify and then sign their drivers.

While I can't argue with the theory, the practice is that some of your favorite software and still usable hardware won't work and that's not cool. Even worse, sometimes you won't know what's wrong. There's no indication of what's wrong, just that your hardware or software isn't loading right.

However, there's a trick to make Windows stop forcing drivers to be signed. Before giving up, try this trick. When booting, press the F8 function key a few times until you see this boot menu:

If you have ever loaded Safe Mode in any version of Windows before, this should look familiar. In fact, Safe Mode is one of the options, but in this case, the one you're looking for is a new option near the bottom called Disable Driver Signature Enforcement

Use the arrow keys to highlight it and then press the ENTER key. Windows will load like normal, but now it won't require Microsoft approved drivers.

Making it Easy

So that ends the portion of this post that sounds like every other site online that tells you the same thing. The one thing that they're all missing is this: it's very easy to start booting your computer and turn to check a phone or pick up something off the floor and miss the timing for hitting the F8 key.

If you do, the computer will boot and you'll have to restart it and try again (which is very annoying!). So here's a trick for delaying the boot long enough for you to click the button.

Step 1: Download EasyBCD

First, download EasyBCD from here.

EasyBCD is a program that helps you set up multiple boot options in Windows for when you have more than one version of Windows on your computer and want to be able to choose between them while loading (You're not actually adding a second boot, you just want to activate the menu for one).

Step 2: Open EasyBCD and Add an XP Dual Boot Option

Start up EasyBCD and this is what you'll see.

When you see the Add/Remove Entries screen, on the bottom right, you'll see this:

You may notice that the default options are for installing an XP dual boot option so you can just click to add it now if you want. However, I suggest changing the name from Windows XP to "Delay Option" or "Don't Click Me" or similar first. Click Add Entry and then you should see this:

Step 3: Use it!

You're done! EasyBCD is useful if you want to change the name, you actually DO add a second operating system, or if you experience boot problems (which EasyBCD can help fix), but you can remove it if you want.

So now whenever you boot, it will stop and show you this screen for at least 30 seconds:

All we've done is introduce a delay at the precise point you would need to press F8. As long as you press F8 before the countdown completes and the boot continues, you'll still see the boot menu at the top of this article that will let you pick to disable driver signing. Huzzah!

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Using Gmail to Track Companies That Leak Your Data

They dropped their "don't be evil" motto for a reason
(Image used under: Creative Commons 2.0 [SRC])

Even though I've shown that bigger companies don't leak data (or didn't used to anyway), that doesn't stop smaller sites/companies. An easier way to see if someone is sharing your e-mail address when you don't want to is to use variations of your own e-mail address for each site. Google's e-mail service allows you to add data to your e-mail address and have it still successfully reach your inbox as described at this Makeuseof.com article. As of today, this tip does NOT work with Hotmail.

The short of it is that if you use your gmail name add a "+" sign and then write anything you want to remember a web service's name (usually just their name), the e-mail address will still work, but you'll have a code that lets you know if the company is selling your data.

For example, if I sign up with Yahoo, I might use gmailname+yahoo@gmail.com where gmailname is my gmail account name. Now if Yahoo sells their database without modification and another company uses it, I'll get an e-mail for Canadian meds or what-have-you with a "TO" address of gmailname+yahoo@gmail.com. When I get such an e-mail, it will be blatantly obvious who sold me out.

With help of a friend that uses Gmail, I was able to confirm that it works exactly as described in the article so I will definitely be using Gmail for all further account signups.

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