Archive for the ‘Misc’ Category

Sensible Backup

Saturday, September 22nd, 2012

Way back when AOL was on the rise I thought of off site back ups as a business model. Unfortunately  I had no backing, so the industry grew without me.  I just signed up for a service with Pogoplug which is the best value I have found so far.

Welcome to My World

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

Blackberry Dual Calendars After Upgrade

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Found the fix at

Posting From My Blackberry

Monday, January 25th, 2010

Hello World! A test post from my Blackberry.

Why My House Isn’t Like the Jetsons

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

My wife would love to have Rosie, but…

Here’s a rant I posted on LinkedIn today:

Q:  Is home automation really needed? or is it just to attract customer?

A: Needed? I don’t think so. Useful and desirable? Absolutely. Poorly marketed? Ah, there’s the question. For tech weenies like me, it is very enticing. For the average consumer, their first thought is “I will never figure this out”. The slow consumer (non-)adoption has kept the hardware and software above the mass market price level. Hard to sell an X-10 device for 100 times the price of the “dumb” version if the consumer thinks it is too hard to use.

I think if a company can find a way to lower the entry cost and provide full in-home installation it will catch on. Until then, there are still a lot of VCRs blinking 12:00…12:00…12:00…

Replacing a Hard Drive and Keeping Everything the Same

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

From a recent post on LinkedIn:

Q: Looking for a reliable hard disk cloning software.

I want to make an *exact* copy (a clone) of my hard disk(os+apps+data) so that when it fails I can install the second disk as the main disk and continue working. The disk is already making unhappy noises! Dell 8400 desktop with Windows XP SP 3.

Have researched Norton Ghost, Shadow Protect, but would like a solid recommendation from a satisfied user. Thanks.

A: If you haven’t bought the hard drive yet, Seagate and Western Digital provide free tools for their drives that make perfect copies. Especially if you are upgrading the drive for an older machine that cannot take advantage of the full size of modern disks as you can create partitions on the new drive with your old drive cloned to the boot partition.

PCAnywhere and Your Firewall

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

I’m always forgetting what ports to set for PCAnywhere use. This time I thought I’d share the link I found on PCAnywhere ports at

Links Be Gone

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

I often save web pages as Word documents for different reasons, and sometimes need to disable the links. Finding no help in Help, I did the usual search and found the trick elsewhere.

Here’s what I found:
If you just want to remove the hyperlink property of the entry, select the document—[Ctrl]A—and unlink the field—[Ctrl][Shift][F9].

Word Reading Layout Isn’t Readable

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

Among the many poor UI decisions Microsoft made with Office 2003, the Reading Layout has to be one of the more annoying. Word has built in a whole bunch of tools to tweak layout and presentation, then they think that the handiest way to look at a file created with these tools is to default to a different view.

To fix this user-abuser feature, go to the Tools menu in Word, select the General tab, and deselect “Allow starting in Reading Layout”.

Another annoyance is the Favorites panel in Outlook 2003. I don’t get it. Were so many people not using that feature that they had to stick it in a place where it can’t be removed. Worse yet, they made it look like the view that is useful, which is Folders view. So if you already know where your stuff is and don’t need Microsoft to tell you you should have favorites (another semantic violation, as what is frequently used isn’t always a favorite), just use the Folders view (buried with those annoying icons at the bottom to make it look like an OS instead of an app).

Ah, I feel so much better having ranted against the Empire 🙂

Cleaning Context Click Conundrums in Vista

Saturday, September 19th, 2009

Over in my old blog, I recently had an entry about cleaning up the context menu in XP with PowerToys to fix a problem where Windows Exlplorer was even slower than usual.

Alas, Power Toys are not available for Vista, and even cleaning out the context menu will not speed it up. But, cleaning up the context menu does make it easier to use simply by narrowing down the choices by eliminating those you don’t use.

One habit I am trying to get into is adding a link to my Google query so folks can a) point out how I could have got better results and b) teach the less sophisticated Googlers how to improve their own results.

For the curious (and those who have not done much with Windows under the hood), there is a good summary of why your context menu may be annoying in an article at My Digital Life. The article includes a link to a ShellExView v1.37 by NirSoft. ShellExView is a cool tool if you are computer savvy, but not something I would recommend for your grandmother.

Of course, you can always do it the old fashioned way, i.e., regedit. Instructions on where to make the changes can be found at The WinVista Club.

On a related note, there is a good article at Computer World on how to manage your context menu in the “normal” way.