Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

ctrl-alt-del

Posting this more for my benefit, but also just to provide one more search result for this issue.

Backstory:
Today while working on one of my Test VMs via Remote Desktop and application stopped responding. No problem…simple solution, hit Ctrl + Alt + Del. The difficulty is that those keys trigger my local machine, not the VM through Remote Desktop. I needed to figure out how to send that command to my VM.

Action:
Google it. Seriously, it only took me thirty second on Google to find the solution.

Solution:
To send the Ctrl + Alt + Del command to another machine via Remote Desktop you use the following key combination:

Ctrl + Alt + End

That’s it. Problem solved. Brought up Task Manager, killed the application and now I can get on with my life.

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Skaweereweert

Posted: April 24, 2014 in Technology

skaweereweert

When I first saw this shirt I thought of my kids… When I was the age of my oldest (13) I was fairly unaware of the “internet”. While our home PC had a slot for a modem, we didn’t have one installed. I knew about Compuserve and Prodigy, systems that allowed computers to talk together an send messages to different users, access news & bulletin boards, etc. but the Internet as we know it today, i.e. the World Wide Web accessible via a web browser, was not quite a thing yet. Mosaic wouldn’t come about till ’93 (later becoming Netscape Navigator … oh the browser wars!).

So for me to say this to my kids would be slightly inaccurate. Yes, the internet still went skaweereweert, but I was unaware of that fact until 1994.

Repentence, Bias, Technology

Posted: February 26, 2014 in Technology

I have repented… or maybe I’ve accepted my addiction… or perhaps it’s recognizing my bias… Whatever. After a very serious and concerted effort to leave the Apple techosystem, I have ceased the struggle and allowed the Apple gravity well to draw me back into it’s embrace.

The migration away from Apple products began about a year and a half ago. I stopped using iWork applications to create documents and switched to Google Apps or LibreOffice (OpenOffice) for most uses. Projects that had been created with Pages or Numbers I began converting to either .doc or .pdf depending on whether they were a static document or I thought I’d need to edit them in the future. Keynote files were converted to .ppt (Google Presentation still is not robust enough to replace Power Point or Keynote in my opinion). While I had ceased to use as many Apple applications as I could, I was still tied to the hardware (since the computer was still working, I couldn’t justify buying a new one).

The transfer almost completely away from Apple occurred six months ago when the hard drive in my almost six-year-old iMac died. I began to search for a new computer. After taking stock of what I needed and wanted my new machine to be able to do, I made my purchase. It happened to be a Windows 8 machine.

Unlike many others the Metro interface did not initially turn me off. I found the OS to be different, but I dove in learning the layout and function. Over the next couple week, however, I decided that Windows 8 is a schizophrenic OS. Metro and Desktop are two completely different operating systems running in tandem…and they don’t talk well with each other. Perhaps with a tablet or touch-screen PC the user experience might be different, but with a standard point-and-click mouse setup, I found it cumbersome and clunky. I eventually installed an app which completely by-passed Metro and reinstated a classic start menu and a Windows 7 like functionality.

Shifting gears slightly I want to add that I love the hardware of my purchased machine. The power, speed, graphic clarity, etc. are awesome. Over time, however, my constant wrestling with the OS simply increased my frustration. I began looking at replacing the OS with Linux, but found that Open Source development hadn’t yet caught up to the hardware in my machine. So I continued to slog it out, trying to make the best of it, but looking back longingly at my Apple days and wondering if my gripes were really that serious after all.

One day not long ago my wife (who’s desktop computer – running Linux – is almost as old as my dead iMac) stated that there were somethings which her machine just couldn’t do and expressed a desire to purchase a Windows laptop. A couple days later, my metaphorical hat in hand, I approached her with a deal. If we purchased a refurbished Macbook Pro, I’d trade her my 18″ six-month-old Windows laptop for the refurbished (i.e. older) 13″ (i.e. smaller) Apple machine.

And so, I am once again in the clutches of Apple Inc. – and I’m okay with this.

Productivity Tools I Use

Posted: August 22, 2013 in Life, Technology

A coworker asked about the notebook that’s always sticking out of my shirt pocket. This led to a discussion of tools for taking notes and storing and retrieving data. I am not an organized person by nature but rely heavily on external tools keep me moving in the right direction. As the conversation with my coworkers wrapped up I decided to send an email to my teammates with the various tools I use to keep track of my life and work, and how I use them. Out of that email came this post. There may be one or two others out there who read this blog and haven’t yet considered these tools, or who have ideas and suggestions of their own. For you I submit this short list and encourage feedback. (more…)

paperless-office346

I love the paperless office concept. Both in business and personal life I have made a concerted effort to reduce the amount of physical paper I use, instead opting for electronic notes. To make this work it is necessary to have some excellent computing tools. One of my favorite is Evernote. This app, available on just about every platform but Linux (and for that there are a couple pretty good third party apps which synch with the official Evernote tool), has been an invaluable asset in the paperless front. This is not, however, an add for Evernote. Rather it’s an observation of a paperless limitation I have found, at least in my own life.

Last month I attempted to run my Basic Fantasy RPG campaign paperless. I downloaded all my maps, charts, tables, adventure path, etc. to my iPad. Between Evernote and Google Drive I had every scrap of paper I normally employ converted to electrons. The result was less than stellar. Sure my table top behind my GM screen looked neater, but it took much longer for me to flip back and forth between my maps, tables, and adventure path on the iPad than it did with paper. There were delays in the game while I fumbled with the interface to bring up the correct document.

Now I’ll admit that perhaps the difficulties were because I was doing things in a new way. It could be that I just wasn’t used to running a game from a paperless platform. As appealing as the paperless concept is, it does have its limitations. Perhaps it could have worked better if I’d had my actual multi-screen computer setup rather than a small iPad. Be that as it may, I think I’ll have to settle for a “reduced” paper system when it comes to my RPG games. Somethings are just quicker and easier in hard copy than via electrons … at least for now.

The Poor Orphaned Thumb Drive

Posted: October 23, 2012 in Technology

Times do change. It wasn’t many years ago when I went everywhere with at least one USB thumb drive in my pocket. I usually had several because I was forever losing the blasted things. They’d fall out of my pocket when I pulled my keys out and I wouldn’t realize this till I much later. Occasionally I found the things. If I did, however, they were usually smashed. Now, thanks to cloud services like iCloud, Google Drive, Dropbox, and Evernote (my favorite), the only time I’ve used a thumb drive in two years has been to take a file or two down the hall from my office to the sanctuary A/V computer. It’s the only time when it’s still faster and easier to use the little boogers.

Just this morning I found one in my car. I know it’s mine. I vaguely recognize it. But I have no idea what’s on it. I’ve only had my car a year and a half, so I must have used it sometime in the past eighteen months – but I can’t remember what for.

Every so often I get the urge to get rid of all my proprietary hardware and software and go back to open source. Part of it is probably motivated by a sense of guilt over having these high-priced gadgets. Another part, however is prompted by the restrictions inherent to proprietary tools. The rebel in me doesn’t want to be told what I can and cannot do with my stuff. But also remember the struggles and stress of trying to get open source products to do what I wanted. Eventually this feeling will pass.