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Mofomon

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Archive for the 'Software' Category

Air travel and technology, we can do better

As many of you are aware due to the media coverage, two days ago Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 took off from Kuala Lumpur and about 50 minutes later the Boeing 777-200 went missing. Now they are searching for the wreckage, unsuccessfully, to find the black boxes so they can figure out what happened.

I’ve posted previously about my frustrations with air travel and the way it really has not improved or changed much since the 70s. We mostly fly in planes designed then and at speeds even slower to maintain fuel efficiency. (I won’t even get into my rant about how we should be flying faster, at least at concord speeds, by now). Lately, there have been a few improvements… we can now watch satellite TV and surf the internet. I’m not trying to discount these awesome upgrades in entertainment and productivity options, but this accident or disappearance reminds me again of how the air travel industry just refuses to change with the times.

Why are we relying on these black boxes that are so hard to recover when planes mysteriously crash or disappear? We have the technology and ability to communicate with the airplanes, get them internet and satellite TV. Why is the aircraft flight data not being uploaded real time onto remote servers? Doesn’t that seem like a better way to figure out what happened, considering we can’t find the plane? I suppose some would say that some flights lose communication before crashing. Sure, but we could still have data up until communication is lost. And a remote upload system could be redundant with an on board black box system…

Just a late night rant addressing an issue I feel could be better handled. Is it just me?

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I just want to see everything in detailed view

When I am looking for a file, whether it is a document or a folder where a document may be… I want to see everything in detailed view. This way, with a single click I can organize things in date order or by name or size… Anyway, the possibilities are endless, you get what I’m saying. I had this all set up o my PC until a few weeks ago where it just decided that everything would be arranged by icons. This makes it really hard to browse alphabetically for files, skipping from column to column. BOO. I had to fix it.

To do this in Vista:

  • Open a folder you want to view in this manner.
  • Set it to the view you prefer.
  • Next, click Organize in the toolbar, and then click Folder and Search Options.
  • In Folder Options, click the View tab, and then click Apply to Folders.

For those of you who are particular about how you view things while browsing for files, do that. Also take a look at this page on the Microsoft website which outlines other customizations you may want to make (like opening every folder in it’s own folder).

Enjoy seeing everything as you want it to be seen!

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Happy New Year!

Wishing everyone a Happy New Year. May 2011 bring you happiness and health!

I hope everyone is having a pleasant 1.1.11. I’m starting off the new year by backing up my laptop! Something I meant to do all of 2010…

If you’ve been looking to do the same, here is a post on Lifehacker that walks you through using one utility.

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Removing the “Antivirus 2010″ (or whatever year) Virus from your PC

For those of you who were duped into getting the Antivirus 2010 (or other previous year) virus, there are a few simple things you can do to remove it.
Symptoms of the virus are the Antivirus 2010 running and the fake Windows Security Center. It pretends to scan your computer and list a variety of infections that cannot be removed unless you first purchase the software. It also randomly displays fake security alerts on your computer stating that you are infected or have some sort of security risk. If you click on these alerts, it will prompt you to purchase the software. These fake alerts, along with a fake Windows Security Center that advertises Antivirus 2010, are used to further scare you into thinking you are infected so you purchase the software. Sometimes it also brings up a fake blue screen of death. It can also hijack your internet browser (like internet explorer or Firefox) and display a message stating that the website you are trying to access is dangerous and then it prompts you to purchase the software to continue.
First thing you should do it reboot into safemode with networking. To do this restart your computer (Start–>Restart). While it is booting, before you get to windows, press F8 to being up the boot menu allowing you to choose “safemode with networking.” Select that choice and allow the PC to continue to boot. Once logged in and booted up, open your internet browser go to http://malwarebytes.org/ and download the free version of Malwarebytes. When the download is complete install Malwarebytes. After installation run the software by doing a complete scan. Once the scan is complete, it will display the infected files and prompt you to restart to remove these infected files. Agree to this restart. After the restart is complete and your computer is booted back up in normal mode, run your virus scanner to make sure you have removed all residual problems. (if you don’t have antivirus software, get AVG’s free antivirus)

You should be good to go now.

You can also take a look at this website for more information regarding the virus and removal info.

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Better Copy (or Cut) Paste functionality in Microsoft Word

As much as I told myself growing up that I did not ever want a job that involved a lot of writing (part of the reason I became an engineer) pretty much all I do now is write. Every.single.day. Tons of writing. Part of this is always me copying parts of documents into a new document. For those of you who also find yourselves doing this (organizing my law school notes into outlines involved a lot of this) I’m sure you’ve recognized that the ctrl+c (copy) followed by ctrl+v (paste) over and over leaves you desiring more. “Wouldn’t it be easier if I just could copy everything I needed and paste it once?” Seriously, wouldn’t it?

You totally can. I feel a little lame for not looking into it earlier, but the feature is built into word. It is called copying to the “spike.” This is how it is done:

  • Selecting some text
  • Use Ctrl+F3 to copy/cut it to the “Spike”
  • Repeat for the other text you want to copy/cut
  • Paste the combined set of copied text with the Ctrl+Shift+F3 shortcut key combination (or type “spike” and press F3).

Here is some more info on the spike.

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Speeding up new PC setup

I set up a lot of new PC’s and this is a site that helps speed up that process. Ninite has a large list of commonly used applications that you can select to all be installed at once. Saves you the time of going to each site for each application and downloading…

Check it out: Ninite

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Best Windows 7 Utilities

Now that Windows 7 is being sold on PC’s, time to explore what the best utilities are to keep your Windows machine in shape.

Check out this article I wrote outlining the Best Windows 7 Utilities.

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How to view hidden disconnected devices in the device manager

How to view hidden disconnected devices in the device manager on Vista?

In case you ever need to uninstall a device that is no longer connected to your Windows Vista machine, here is how you enable viewing of these devices in the device manager:
Go to Control Panel
System
Advanced System Settings
Environment Variables
New ( user variables if just for you or system variables for all users of your computer )
In the Variable Name box type devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices and in the Variable Value type 1.
Then you need to OK it twice.

Now return to the Device Manager, click on view, and show hidden devices.
The Hidden/Disconnected devices will now be displayed in gray. Have fun right clicking and uninstalling.

Have Windows XP or earlier? Try this:
Go to c:\windows\system32, find cmd.exe, right click and choose “run as administrator”
In the command window which opens, type:
Set devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1 (press enter)
Devmgmt.msc (press enter)
In the device manager window which opens click View=>show hidden devices.

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Backing up your computer

Recently I was upgrading my computer and when restarting it took longer than usual I had a short panic attack that I may have corrupted my hard drive and lost everything on it (you know photos, papers, that nasty email I saved from my ex-bff…).  What was worse is that I realized that I hadn’t backed up my data in over 2 years!  My computer ended up booting up just fine but this quick scare was enough to get me to look into the best ways to back up my data.  Here is what I’ve found:

  • There are two types of backups, File backups (backing up folders and files) and Full image backups (backs up your entire computer’s “image” meaning you can restore your computer exactly to the way it is now, settings and all).
  • You can use the built-in windows backup utility for this (here is another guide for that)
  • You can also use various software suites to do your backups (like syncback) and here are a few guides for that: guide 1, backup software guide 2

You can store your backups on DVD’s or an external hard drive.  I will be doing a little of each.

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Upgrading WordPress

When I first started hosting my own blog I was a little weary about upgrading WordPress.   I wasn’t sure why I should be doing it and manually upgrading it was just a pain.  I was worried that I’d accidentally miscopy files, or delete files, and screw up my entire infrastructure.  Now, I know upgrading is vital…

  • Why?  Security Patches! As hackers find security holes, wordpress releases patches to close these vulnerabilities.  The last thing you want is a hacker taking over your website causing you to lose control, goodwill, and advertisers.  Secondly, wordpress is also releasing new features to make your life easier…  Who doesn’t want to make their life easier?
  • How?  WordPress Automatic Upgrade Plugin!  This plugin allows for one click easy upgrading of your wordpress engine.  With this you pretty much have o excuse to not upgrade, it even provides options to backup parts of your blog in case something goes wrong.  Just as a quick note, I usually disable the plugin when I’m not actively upgrading (no need to have it running). 

Happy Upgrading.

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