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Open Source Software - A Pragmatic Approach

With so many businesses and government organizations choosing open source alternatives over proprietary software, it's clear that open source holds some definite advantages beyond price. But when considering an open source solution for your organization, what factors should you weigh before making a decision? To address that question, this article reviews some of the potential advantages and disadvantages that should be investigated when evaluating open source software. Be sure to also check out the handy index of open source alternatives to some popular commercial products found in this article!

Is Your Head in the Cloud or Buried in the Sand?

As a long-time Dropbox user, I'm always a little amazed when my data is there waiting for me on any of my Dropbox-enabled devices. But like many of you, I'm not all that concerned with how the technology works although as a smart consumer of Cloud services, I want to consider any potential downside that using a Cloud service may entail. So for this post, I've assembled some risks that we should consider before using a third-party to host our data and services in the Cloud.

How To Install Apache and PHP

This is for all of the do-it-yourselfer's out there who want to expand their technical skills and gain a better understanding of how Web Servers and server-side scripting languages work together to deliver web content. The straightforward step-by-step instructions contained in this post focus on installing Apache HTTP Server and PHP in Windows to provide a work environment for offline web development.

How To Verify Suspicious Links

The humble hyperlink, what an amazing invention! It opened up our digital world like nothing else has before or since. Connecting any information to any other information anywhere on the internet, links can help you make amazing discoveries. But they can also lead you into some pretty dangerous places as well. In this post, we find out how to analyze suspicious links and I also show you how to easily expand shortened links to see their real destinations.

How To Create Your Own QR Codes

QR Codes are the successor to original numeric bar codes and while they've been used by the Asian auto industry for decades, QR Codes are becoming much more prevalent in the west due to their popularity with millions of smart phone users. QR Codes can perform all sorts of useful operations like sending text messages, displaying text, adding contact information, and navigating the web. They can also be customized by adding color, images, and logo's. This post shows you how easy it is to create your own QR Codes.

Securing a Home Wi-Fi Network

With so many new home Wi-Fi networks coming online each year its no surprise that many users simply activate their networks without first understanding how to protect them against intruders. This post is intended to give home Wi-Fi users an edge in defending their home networks against data thieves and unauthorized users. In it, we'll tackle hardening a home wireless network against attack by focusing on strengthening key vulnerabilities including signal encryption, remote management, broadcast SSID, and DHCP.

How To Protect Your PC: A Primer

After taking an informal poll among friends and family concerning their defensive computing practices, I discovered that many people believe their anti-virus applications are enough to protect their PC and its data. Unless they subscribed to technical or web-related publications, most people I spoke to had little idea of existing threats or how to combat them. Its my hope this primer provides readers with much-needed Defensive Computing skills so they can harden their computers against attack.

A Guide to Monitoring Internet Bandwidth Usage

Like it or not, internet bandwidth caps are probably here to stay. If you're one of the millions of internet users who've been affected by the latest ISP decision to control bandwidth using caps and fees then by necessity you've become a lot more selective with your internet usage. I've assembled a short guide on the different methods of monitoring bandwidth usage as well as including some handy references that show bandwidth use to file size values for different types of streaming content.

Is Comcast Customer Service an Oxymoron?

Dealing with the "customer service" departments of large corporations is enough to make you become totally unhinged. This post is about my recent experiences with Comcast's version of "customer service". To paraphrase Firefly's Jayne, "This is starting to damage my calm."

Update 8/13/2012: The Comcast service guy brought me a nice new "black box" so my cable has been restored. He also left me with what appears to be a bill for $163!

15 Futuristic User Interface Technologies

This great slideshow article from Brad Chacos at MaximumPC features display technologies that are destined to change how we view our digital world. While some of these technologies still exist only in the lab and aren't practical for daily use - yet! - user interfaces similar to the one seen in the film Minority Report are in use today.

6 Great Data Visualization Applications

This post offers up a short explanation Data Visualization and it also provides 6 really helpful Data Visualization applications that you can use every day.

How To Extract and Convert Audio Tracks from Videos

Searching for an mp3 but only finding the song you want on video and you're not sure how to rip and convert an audio track from a video file? Then you're in luck! I had the same issue recently and I came up with a simple 2-step solution for extracting and converting audio tracks from videos.

Using Firefox Smart Keywords

If you're a Firefox user then here's a great way to save lots of time when performing different types of web searches by using Firefox Smart Keywords.

Using Google's Advanced Search Operators

[Updated 5/9/2011] Most web searches that use Google can be successfully completed by adding the search terms and pressing Enter. But for those searches that make us waste time wading through lots of invalid results, using the Google advanced search operators to define narrower search parameters gets the correct results a lot more quickly saving time and headaches.

4 Windows Timesavers You Can Use Everyday

Here are four easy to create Windows timesavers that will let you logoff, restart, shutdown, and lock your PC with a single mouseclick.

Use Your Browser's Address Bar as a Command Line

Turn the address bar of your favorite browser into a command line that lets you perform web searches, launch items from the keyboard, send emails, download videos, along with many other useful time-saving tasks.

Free Smart Phone Call Blocking

This is a very handy trick to block unwanted nuisance calls received on your smart phone

Using Bookmarklets to Speed Up Repetitious Tasks

Bookmarklets provide single-click functionality by automating a wide range of tasks such as web searches, pulling data off web sites, and launching a variety of applications.

Synchronize Files on Multiple Computers Using Dropbox

Dropbox is an excellent choice for synchronizing files between multiple computers. You can also easily share files with co-workers, family, and friends even if some of them aren't Dropbox users. This article offers an overview of Dropbox features and how to install it on your computers.

2 Methods for Creating an MP3 from a Video

A good friend recently asked if there was a way to create an MP3 from a video. Yes, there is and while there are probably several different applications and methods used to extract the audio track from a video, here are two that I use most often.

iTunes: Creating Ringtones Without the Added Cost

I really dislike Apple's policy of making customers pay an additional 99 cents for using a snippet from a song they've already purchased. This how-to provides a workaround using iTunes that enables you to extract ringtones without paying again for the same song.

iTunes: Create MP3's from "Protected" Songs

The protected .m4p files purchased from iTunes cannot be converted to .mp3 format. This is a violation of fair use and another example of Apple's heavy-handed tactics towards its customers. There is, however, a legal way around this roadblock and all its going to cost you is a blank CD-R and a little time. The end result is you'll still have your protected iTunes files as well as their .mp3 equivalents containing tag data such as song title and artist.

iTunes: Set 'Get Info' for More Than One File

Here's a handy timesaving tip for setting the iTunes equalizer and other values for more than one song at a time

iPhone: Adding Web Content as Icons

Want quick access to web content but no application exists for it? Rather than bookmarking it in Safari, learn how to set up web content as icons on your iPhone Home screen.

Firefox: Surf Safer with Add-ons

By installing these 3 Firefox Addons you can make your browsing experience not only safer but faster, too.

iPhone: 3G S Voice Control List

Here is the complete list (as near as I can tell) of the iPhone 3G S voice control commands.

stats for sunday, december 4, 2016

  • latest post: new gallery! short science fiction films
  • researching: windows 8
  • listening to: tom waits, rolling stones
  • reading: low town - daniel polansky
  • obsessing over: staying warm...
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quick tips

This simple tip shows you how to text from a deactivated iPhone so you can still continue to share photos of yourself in a speedo with the shorty's.

Work Faster and More Efficiently by Letting Go of the Mouse! This quick tip provides a handy reference to useful Windows keyboard shortcuts.

Yes, this is an extended ASCII chart. So now when the question "What is the HTML-friendly name for the English pound sign" comes up in Trivial Pursuit you'll know the answer!

A web safe color chart for all those times when you're just not certain which color to choose.

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