Tag Archives: CoolPreviews

Link Not Working? Not Found (404 errors)? – Clear Your DNS Cache. Here’s How

In the past week or so, I’ve had five readers advise me that one or more of the links on this site weren’t working (this issue crops up occasionally). One reader pointed out, that on his desktop machine he had issues with a particular link – but on his laptop, the link worked fine.

Since I use CoolPreviews (a free application I highly recommend), to establish that article links are working before I post – as illustrated below – when I get this particular query, I’m reasonably sure that what we’ve got here is a “failure to communicate” (thank you Cool Hand Luke), caused by an issue with the reader’s DNS cache.

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If you’ve encountered similar problems here, or elsewhere – or problems with an unusually high number of Not Found 404 error codes while surfing, it’s probable that you need to flush your DNS cache.

Here’s whyFrom LCN:

DNS caching is a double-edged sword. It speeds up resolution by storing recent answers, and short-circuiting the normal resolution process. However there is a down side. Because DNS servers cache answers, and don’t delete these answers until the time to live (ttl) expires, it can take hours or days for the entire Internet to recognize changes to DNS information for your domain name.

Clearing your DNS cache forces your machine to query DNS name servers for updated DNS information.

Here are two ways in which you can clear your DNS cache:

The Geek way:

Go to “Run” in the Start menu (“Search” for “Run” if you can’t see it).

In the Run box, type CMD (doesn’t need to be capitalized).

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At the command prompt, (not in the Run box), type – ipconfig/flushdns.

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Hit “Enter”, and that’s it. Your DNS cache has just been flushed.

The less Geeky way (the easy way):

Install and run CCleaner – it’s free, and it’s really a “must have” for all computer users.

CCleaner will allow you to flush your DNS cache by simply checking the appropriate box – as illustrated below.

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My DNS cache is partially illustrated below before flushing with CCleaner. You can see what’s in your DNS cache by entering ipconfig/displaydns at the command prompt.

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DNS cache after flushing with CCleaner.

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Filed under 64 Bit Software, Browsers, downloads, Freeware, Help, Interconnectivity, Operating Systems, Registry Cleaners, Software, System Utilities, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

Surf Smarter – Take A Sneak Peek At Links With CoolPreviews Firefox Add-on

imageI carry a total of eighteen Firefox add-ons; some – including NoScript, Adblock Plus, WOT, and BitDefender QuickScan – beef up security. Others, such as DownloadHelper, WebMail Notifier, and Google Shortcuts, help me keep the productivity curve trending upward.

The security add-ons are an absolute necessity – interacting with the Internet without them would be akin to traipsing through a minefield – just waiting for the BOOM! The productivity add-ons are less critical – I could (if I had to), get along without them – except for one –  CoolPreviews.

I love CoolPreviews – a Picture-in-a-Picture free Browser add-on, that lets me preview links and rich media content, without clicking the link, or leaving my current page.

With CoolPreviews, I just place my mouse cursor over a link, or over the CoolPreviews icon, and a customizable preview window of the website that the link points to instantly appears with the content; page view, image view, or even video.

I can fully interact with the preview window; play the video, click on links, fill out forms, and more. In fact, I can interact with the preview just as if I had the full page open. If I need to, opening the full page is easy; a simple click on the CoolPreviews full page icon, and I’m there.

I find that by using CoolPreviews, I save time and reduce the drudgery involved in trying to determine which sites are worth investigating. CoolPreviews lets me take a quick look at each link to see if it’s worthwhile investigating further.

I use this tool every day to confirm that the links in my “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News” column, are live. The screen capture below illustrates how this works. Click on the graphic to expand to original (1157 x 490).

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It takes me less than two minutes to check 20/25 links this way, as opposed to – open a link, close a link; open a link, close a link; open a link, close a link; ……. Well, you see the point.

A final example:

Every day, I visit each of the sites in my Blogroll (gotta see what my friends are up to!), and rather than click through to the site, I use CoolPreviews. If the content is a “need to read”, like my good buddy Paul Lubic’s most recent article is – clicking on the “open to Tab” button in CoolPreviews, does just that.

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It’s no wonder Mozilla lists this neat little tool as a recommended Firefox add-on, and also includes it in its most popular list of browser add-ons. CoolPreviews definitely increases productivity; what a time saver!

Fast facts:

Preview links without clicking

Preview images and videos

CoolPreviews 3-D Wall or slideshow mode for Google Image Search

Works on Google, Yahoo!, MSN, YouTube, Flickr ……….

Works on just about any website, blog, forum

Stack temporarily bookmarks (this is a very cool feature)

Instantly email links

Zoom in/out functionality

Sub search any phrase by right-clicking

Customize preview activation method and themes

Enable/disable previewing on customizable choice of sites

Unfortunately, CoolPreviews is available only for Firefox. Previous support for IE, Safari, etc., has been discontinued.

Requirements: Firefox 3.6 – 4.0. Supports Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Download at: CoolPreviews or Mozilla.

Update: February 4, 2011. My good buddy Rick Robinette, whom I often refer to as the “Great Freeware Hunter”, has just posted on a similar add-on designed for Chrome. If you’re a Chrome user, then be sure sure to checkout Rick’s article over at What’s On My PC.

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Filed under Browser add-ons, downloads, Firefox, Firefox Add-ons, Freeware, Linux, Mac, Productivity Software, Software, Windows Tips and Tools

CoolPreviews – You Ruined My Day!

OK, maybe “you ruined my day”, is an exaggeration, but…..

Let me start by saying I love CoolPreviews – a Picture-in-a-Picture free Browser add-on, that lets me preview links and rich media content, without clicking the link, or leaving my current page.

I use this tool every day to confirm that the links in my “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News” column are live. The screen capture below illustrates how this works.

CoolPreviews bug

I just cursored over the link, in this case ““CNET Free Security Starter Kit: Refined for 2010”, and CoolPreviews opened a preview window of the referenced link. Pretty cool, no?

But then there was yesterday. CoolPreviews, you definitely tried my patience.

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Early in the morning on opening my primary Browser, Firefox, I was greeted by loud PacMan like music that I could not shut down. First thought – a malware infection. Drat – the first one in two years; maybe even longer.

Since mornings are a huge rush time for me, I simply closed Firefox and opened Chrome. Hmm, no PacMan music. So, probably not a system wide infection, but a possible Firefox infection.

After finishing what work I could using Chrome, I turned to the problem with Firefox. I won’t go through the whole process, but it went something like this:

Booted to Avira Rescue Disk – no infections found.

Ran on board Microsoft Security Essentials, Malwarebytes Free Edition (secondary scanner), and SuperAntiSpyWare Free Edition (secondary scanner). No joy.

Uninstalled Firefox using Revo Uninstaller, since it was important to remove all Registry entries.

Reinstalled Firefox and launched – hey, no PacMan music.

Ran MozBackup to restore my add-ons, bookmarks, mail, contacts, history, extensions, passwords, cache etc.

Relaunched Firefox – oh no, PacMan Music. But some headway – now I know that the likely cause is a compromised Firefox add-on.

Disabled all add-ons, and then re-enabled one at a time, until CoolPreviews  proved to be the guilty party.

Now, this whole exercise didn’t take all that long – the biggest time waster was in running deep scanning mode with my AVs. Diagnosing the problem after this part of the process, was a no-brainer.

Later in the day, CoolIris, the CoolPreview developer, finally posted on this problem. Here’s what  they had to say:

Google launched a homepage today which features an interactive PacMan game, with music, sirens, etc. If CoolPreviews is enabled, the music plays even if you don’t have Google opened in your browser tab. We apologize for this inconvenience.

But, that’s hardly what I call an explanation. The real cause of this  “bug” was pre-fetching. In this case, CoolPreviews pre-fetching the Google Home page. So, here’s a suggestion for CoolPreviews – STOP pre-fetching.

Pre-fetching might appear to be sexy but it is not universally admired. Some of the issues include, unwanted cookies, increased bandwidth usage, and  possible exploitation by unwanted sites.

In any event, this “bug” issue won’t dissuade me from using CoolPreviews. In the long run, it’s just too valuable in my day to day computing.

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Filed under Browser add-ons, Browsers, downloads, Free Anti-malware Software, Freeware, Interconnectivity, Manual Malware Removal, Software, Uninstall Tools, Windows Tips and Tools