How To: Speed up Web Surfing

How To: Speed up Web Surfing

We would all like to surf the Internet a little faster. Unluckily Web Browsers, Network speed, and computer speed all conspire to make surfing the web as slow as possible.

Luckily each browser has a couple of tweaks that can be used to make things go faster.

Firefox actually has the most options to affect network speeds. So many in fact that not only does Mozilla have a page about it, there are several blogs about it. These are very easy to access, simply type: about:config in your address bar.

Change the following settings:

  • network.http.pipelining, change the value from 4 to 8.
  • network.dns.disableIPv6, change value to true
  • network.http.proxy.pipelining, change to true
  • If those feel like to much trouble, there is a Firefox plugin that helps: chromedit

    Internet Explorer

    This first tip is Vista specific and is untested by me. I’ve heard that it works extremely well though but just like all these other settings your mileage may vary.

    The second tip is a bit more general. Using regedit we change the default number of connections from two to a larger number. Keep in mind that this will not always be reliable as some larger sites will limit the number of connections on their side.

  • Go to Start -> Run
  • Type “regedit”
  • Go to the value: HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionInternet Settings
  • On right side check for these two values: MaxConnectionsPerServer MaxConnectionsPer1_0Server
  • If they’re not present: right-click on the white region of Regedit’s right-hand column, click New, and then click DWORD Value.
  • Type: MaxConnectionsPerServer and hit enter
  • Right Click again and add the value: MaxConnectionsPer1_0Server
  • On each value, MaxConnectionsPerServer and MaxConnectionsPer1_0Server, click on decimal and change the number from 2 (or 0) to something like 6 or 8
  • Close Regedit, start Internet Explorer and enjoy
  • Safari
    Speeding up Safari is a bit different then the other browsers. You are actually SLOWING the browser down. Safari has a setting that changes the delay on the browser from one second to a slower integer. In Terminal (with Safari closed) type: defaults write WebKitInitialTimedLayoutDelay 0.25

    The last number is time in seconds and can be anything between 0 and 1. So 0.34 or .81 are acceptable along with the more rounded 0.5 and 0.75.

    Another good hint is to clear the cache, favorites icons, addons, and removing the preference file. Macrumors put together a great page showing how to do that.

    Keep in mind that most of these will not drastically speed up your Internet, it’ll be a small but usually noticeable speed increase. Keeping your computer in top shape and virus free will also go a long ways towards helping speed up the your web surfing.

    How To: Fix Desktop Switching

    How To: Fix Desktop Switching

    One of the bugs introduced in Leopard is pretty small, but significant to those of us who highly enjoy our Apple Experience. If Aperture is installed, users are no longer able to change which folder pictures are pulled out of for Desktop Switching. Adding a new folder will show a second, inaccessible “Aperture” folder.

    Various troubleshooting steps included removing Aperture, and removing ~/Library/Preferences/ which is the file that controls the desktop settings. Neither of these worked though.

    The fix is pretty simple and amazing really. Open iPhoto. Create a new, blank library. Close iPhoto. Go into Desktop Settings and feel free to add as many folders and you wish. In fact it may already be there if you hadĀ  dual Aperture folders before.

    After that, simply sit back and enjoy your auto-rotating desktop picture again.

    How To: Leopard File Sharing

    How To: Leopard File Sharing

    Setting up File Sharing in Leopard is incredibly easy to do, but has a couple of gotchas to watch out for.

    Step 1 is to open File Sharing under System Preferences. If you’ve setup printer sharing already then this looks familiar.

    Step 2, put a check in the box that says “File Sharing”. You will see a list of users who can be “shared” to. From a security standpoint you should have a second, non-admin user setup to share too but that could cause some confusion down the road. On the right side is a list of user permissions, the defaults work pretty well. But if you’re the paranoid type you may want to change “Everyone” to write only, or even “No Access.”

    At this point file sharing is good to go between multiple Mac’s only. The machine that you turned this on is going to be the “server”. Connect to it from another machine by going to finder, click on go, then “connect to server”. (Note the shortcut key of Apple-K btw.) simply type in the ip address of the “server” and hit connect. If you do not know the IP address, go into Network Settings under System Preferences to check it.

    It’s a good idea to hit the + sign to add the address to your favorites so that you remember it. A password/username box will come up, enter in the credentials of the user you setup in file sharing. This is why you might want to setup a second user just for file sharing, if you have the server locked down for Parental Controls for instance this is the same password to unlock that.

    Alas this will not allow Windows users to connect to your Leopard server yet. Go back to File Sharing and hit the “options” button in the lower right hand corner. By default Windows does not know about AFP or Apple File Sharing, so you need to click on SMB. Also take this opportunity to check the box that says “Account” is configured the same way as the previous screen. Simply uncheck the box next to the ones you don’t want to connect, which should be as many as possible.

    On the Windows machine click on start then run. Type in (from Network settings on the server) then hit enter. A box will come up with all the shares on the server you can connect too, including printers if that was enabled. Right click on the user folder that was setup earlier and choose “Map Network Drive”. Choose a drive letter, something like h or x works best. Put a check in the box that says “Reconnect at Logon” to have Windows automatically reconnect back to the server every time it’s rebooted. If you’ve got different users with passwords setup, you’ll need to type that user name and password in on the next box.

    After that, simply open up “My Computer” and you can drag and drop files to the server, or take them from there. On the server side, keep in mind that files will need to be put into /Users/username/Public folder for any other computer to access them.

    One thing to be aware of is that the IP address of the server may change due to DHCP on your router. If the connection fails for any reason, double check the IP address you’re entering. That’s all there is to it, reading through the direction above it looks hard, but it’s actually pretty simple.

    Please leave a comment if you have any questions about this.

    How To: Enable Disk Mode for iPod

    How To: Enable Disk Mode for iPod

    This is a cool little hack. Enabling Disk Mode for iPods allows it to become just that, a nice USB Disk drive, or a way to get those MP3’s back after a hard driveĀ crash.

    In Terminal type: defaults write AppleShowAllFiles TRUE

    Then type: killall Finder (make sure to capitalize Finder)

    When the iPod if plugged in it’ll automatically mount on the Desktop like any other USB drive and your files will be accessible.