Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.

6/7/2019

PowerToys 2019

Filed under: Better Living Through Technology,Geek Work,MicroSoft,The Day Job — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:30 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

Some reboots are better than others.

Sometimes, I talk about really geeky things here, mostly because I AM a geek, but also because I am a professional geek. This is one of those times.
Back in the days of Windows 95 and Windows XP, Microsoft made a whole set of little tools that fankly should have been included in the operating system to begin with. Things like TweakUI that let you change almost every aspect of the look and feel of Windows, including where some system folders resided. There were other tools, too, like things thta would let you synchronize folders and autoplay CDs and, one of my favorites, Command Prompt Here that let you open, you guessed it, a command prompt in any folder from the Windows FileManager. Those little tools sort of fell off in popularity after those versions of Windows, but hard-core users and oldsters like me still remember them fondly.
Well, according to Lifehacker, Microsoft is bringing PowerToys back! What’s more, they’re making them open source, so you’ll be able to download the source code and write your own! Of course, they don’t have TweakUI in this batch of goodies, yet, but I’m sure some enterprising, young programmer will dive into the Microsoft GitHub PowerToys repository, and figure out a way to make all our old favorites. In any case, it’s a good space to watch for new utilities that may be useful to you. And, of course, it’s free, which is why I’m sharing it with you on a Friday.
Enjoy!

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words!

2/15/2019

A Change of Scenery

Filed under: Art,Better Living Through Technology,Fun,GUI Center,MicroSoft — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:30 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

This time of year, a change of scenery is a good idea.

Even if you can’t afford to travel, because, let’s face it with rising costs and fewer raises, who can afford to travel much? Still, after being cooped up all Winter long, right about now, as things start to thaw out, I start to think about a different view than the same, grey city. I try to escape in a good book, but even the books I’m reading these days are a little grey and bleak. As a computer geek, that leaves me just a few options. The easiest is just changing my Windows desktop background.
Thankfully, in my old links, I found a desktop background changer that Lifehacker had recommended; Chameleon. You don’t need to install it. Just hit that link, download the 32-bit or 64-bit version and run it. Then, pop open the settings and choose your location and it will change your wallpaper based on your local weather conditions, or your battery life, or time of day or any of several more specific variables. Also, when you hit that link, be sure to grab the “wallpaper pack”. In fact, I recommend doing that no matter what. And, if you plan on using Chameleon, unzip them to a folder before you run the program. Then you can select the appropriate photos in the setup. It’s really pretty straight-forward. And, when you’re tired of it running, just close it. Nothing to uninstall or remove. Just exit the program.
Simple, free and a beautiful change of very local scenery that’s very welcome this time of year.
Enjoy!

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words.

8/31/2018

WiFi Analyzer

Filed under: Better Living Through Technology,Fun,Geek Work,GUI Center,MicroSoft,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:05 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Now, available for Windows!

I’ve actually been using this particular program on an Android tablet for quite a long time. Come to think of it, I started out using it on a rooted Barnes and Noble nook tablet close to ten years ago, then when I upgraded, just kept using it. Often, I’d pull out my tablet, especially when on the road, to find the strongest local wifi signal to see if I could join that network. When I was in San Francisco for WonderCon in 2010, I used it to discover that the fastest wireless internet connection I could find was the yoga studio next door to the little, boutique hotel I was staying in. I also used it to tell the hotel staff what to change their wifi channel to for better performance.
More recently, I used it in my own neighborhood to tune my home wifi to the best channel so we got a stronger signal and weren’t sharing the same frequency with all the neighbors. Sure, it may be a small improvement, but I think it’s significant enough to make a few minutes spent with a free app worthwhile.
In any case, I saw recently on Lifehacker, that there’s a free Windows version of WiFi Analyzer available now. You just need to follow the links and download it. I linked to the Lifehacker article, instead of directly, because they go a great job showing you why it’s a good thing to have and use. Also, I’m too lazy to write all that out again. So, go hit their site, give them advertising revenue, and enjoy!

5/11/2018

Collected Freebies

Filed under: Fun,Fun and Games — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:00 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

You all know how I love free stuff.

And, those of you poor souls who have been coming to this blog, week after week, also know that I am as lazy as I can possibly manage to be. Toward that end, I do my absolute best to share only the best links stolen from other sites, prettied up and reposted here for your internet browsing pleasure. So, when Lifehacker share the post “Download Free Stuff From Reddit’s Favorite Websites”, you can’t be surprised that I’m sharing it with you this week. These sites are mostly legal, always free, and cover suggestions from free books to music to games to apps and more. Collected by redditor howtoadvanced, and distilled to just the best by the fine folks at Lifehacker, and now, linked to by me.
Enjoy.

 

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words.

1/30/2015

Out Of Ideas

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Fun,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:00 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

I’m completely out of fucking ideas this week.

Good thing I found this post on Lifehacker from 2012 that will tell me what the fuck to do!
Of course, since they’re a big, mainstream site, they shy away from the cursing, but I figure the keywords won’t hurt my site’s rankings, so I’m just going for it.  Their article was titled Seven Helpful Sites That Tell You What The F**K To Do.
They’ve got everything from The Fucking Weather to What The Fuck…
Read More

5/30/2014

Create Ebooks from Webpages

Filed under: Fun,Fun Work,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:33 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

Okay, this isn’t exactly a new idea, but it’s still worth sharing.

I got this from Lifehacker back in 2012, but I’ve been behind in my link sharing, so I’m just getting to it now.
The idea is simple.  Reading on-line is rarely the best, most comfortable, most convenient way to keep up with all the things we want to read, especially all the “long form” articles that really get in-depth on topics we care about.  That’s where Readlists comes into play.

This…
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2/18/2011

Free, Customized “Get Out Of Debt” Plan

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Deep Thoughts,Hoffman's Home for Wayward Boys,Life Goals,Life, the Universe, and Everything — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:00 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Full Moon

I don’t make a big secret of my enormous debt.

It’s a problem.  I came by it honestly, for the most part.  I was almost debt-free when I lost my job in 2001.  I was freshly married to my girlfriend of several years and had to support her and her daughter, at least partially, in addition to myself.  I did it with credit cards.  I’m not proud of it, but, well, I did what I had to do.
Then, in 2005, I got divorced, which actually stemmed the bloody flow of money, or rather the swelling of debt.  Of course, I still had my house to deal with, which hasn’t been cheap, but I had started to get things under control again.  Then, of course, I got cancer, which brought all kinds of medical bills with it, even after insurance paid most of the bills.

I’m getting a handle on it, but it’s still not easy to do.  What would have helped me was a plan.  A good, solid plan that was laid out for me.  Now, thanks to Ready for Zero, linked via Lifehacker, you can get a plan to help you get out of debt, for free.  And, let’s face it, if you’re deeply in debt, like me, you can’t really afford to spend a lot of money on books and workshops to help you plan how to get out from under.  A free plan is priced just right.
Do yourself a favor and check it out, even if you’re not in debt yet.  Before it’s too late.


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"It is never too late to be what you might have been."
   --George Elliot

1/27/2010

Home Servers

Filed under: Fun Work,Linux,The Dark Side,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:36 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

What?  Doesn’t every one run servers at home?

Okay, so maybe not everyone does, but some of us hard-core geeks do.  And, some of those hard-core geeks are Lifehackers, too.  Thanks to that group of obsessed efficiency geeks, I can bring you a link to the Lifehacker Best Home Server software packages.  I can’t say that I’ve really worked with any of these, so I can’t chime in on which is best, but certainly the Lifehackers have done their research and left their comments.  If you’ve been thinking about setting up server for the family, this would be a good place to start.

And, if you want to add a DIY firewall, try hitting this article on TechRepublic about setting up a free pfSense firewall.  It’s Linux based, but I can’t vouch for it.  The author seemed to think a lot of it, though, so I’d be interested in what anyone thinks of it.  If you try it, give me a shout and we can talk about doing a guest post/review.


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