Multiple FireFox Launchers

I like to keep a pair of FireFox launchers in my taskbar: one for my home page, and one for The Google.  This used to work OK on Windows 7, but something has changed.

In the past, I could create a new desktop shortcut pointed at Firefox, and just add the URL target I wanted thusly:

C:Program Files (x86)Mozilla Firefoxfirefox.exe" -URL

Then just pin the new shortcut to the taskbar, and Bob’s your uncle.  Sometime over the last few weeks or months this has stopped working.  Existing dual launchers continued to work, but anything that touched their target (FireFox upgrade, for instance) would cause one to disappear.  No amount of fiddling and hacking would get it working again.

Aparently there’s new windows code that tries to combine all launchers with the same target into a single launcher (or something).  In the old days, the addtional target option (the -URL …) made them sufficiently different to be allowed.  No more.

The only hack I’ve found to get around this is only a partial fix.  Go to the FireFox program folder:

C:Program Files (x86)Mozilla Firefox

Open a command prompt as Administrator, and create a link:

mklink /h firefox_google.exe firefox.exe

Then create a new desktop shortcut and point it at “…firefox_google.exe” -URL and pin that to the taskbar.

This works for me with a couple of quirks.  Launching The Google also highlights the FireFox launcher.  It also confuses FireFox about whether it is the default browser, and it nags about that each time it is launched.  I just turn the nag off.  Every time FireFox gets updated, the links will have to be rebuilt.  Oh well…

It’s useable but not ideal.  Maybe MS will go back to allowing launchers with the same targets but different options.  And winged monkeys might fly out of my…  well, you get the idea.

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Paint Shop Pro x3 Breaks Windows 7 Slideshow Gadget

Digging deeper into Corel bug obscurity, when Paint Shop Pro x3 is installed on Windows 7, the slideshow gadget loses a nice feature.  Normally, if you see an interesting image in the slideshow you can click on the little magnifying glass icon and the image will open in the default viewer.  With PSP x3 installed, that little icon does nothing.

So far, I can’t get Corel support to understand the bug description, much less work on a fix.

I’ve found that removing a registry key gets the slideshow gadget working again, and doesn’t seem to affect anything else that I use.  For me, deleting this key does the job:


Back up your registry first, or at least save this key.  If you aren’t comfortable editing the registry, ask your teenager to do it for you.  You can make a real mess if you screw up the registry.

As always, YMMV, and do your own homework to confirm before trying anything I suggest here.

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Word Perfect x4 fails when importing JPEG

It’s one of Corel’s more obscure bugs.  Word Perfect x4 will fail when importing a JPEG file if a previous export (of anything) to PDF has been done.

This supposedly only happens on multi-core processors, but that includes most all of them these days.  Word has it that Corel won’t fix this in x4 but that it is fixed in x5.  I run x4 in Windows 7 64 bit – even though Corel says it won’t run on W7 – and it works just fine apart from this bug.

The problem can be avoided by manually deleting a directory.  This has to be done after each export to PDF.  After making hidden files and folders visible, delete this directory:

C:Users<your username>\AppData\Roaming\Corel\WordPerfect Office X4\User Config

You won’t lose anything unless you have created your own “named settings”.  Another way to skin this cat without making the hidden visible is to paste this into a command promt window or line (“cmd” or “run” in the start button search):

rd /s /q "%APPDATA%CorelWordPerfect Office X4User Config"

As always, YMMV, and do your own homework to confirm before trying anything I suggest here.

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Apostrophe Creep

Seriously.  Friends, it isn’t absolutely necessary to add an apostrophe (you know, that little ” ‘ “) to every word that ends in “s”.  Really.  Really!

It’s == it is.  Its == indicates that something belongs to it.  The apostrophe in that first “It’s” indicates a contraction, not a possessive.  The second “Its” is already a possessive and doesn’t need an apostrophe.  Like “his” and “hers”.

What’s next, “hi’s” and “her’s”.  Sheesh.  Don’t get me started on “their”, “they’re”, and “there”…  “Or excessive use of quotation marks.”

“Quantum Leap” and “Begs the question” – we will talk about those some other time.

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FireFox 4 Fonts: Fuzzy!

Since updating to FireFox 4, I’ve noticed a very irritating fuzzyness in many web fonts.  It seems to be a common complaint.

Suggestions floating around on the interweb include fiddling with the ClearType tuner and installing IE9 to get the updated DirectWrite.  Neither helped.

What did help – a lot – is turning off hardware accelleration.  No doubt at the expense of graphics performance with some current (or maybe future) web content.

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