Category Archives: Tips and Tricks

Everything about Excel

This may not interest most of you but i suggest you download it anyway. This is the guide for everything you need to know about Excel. It’s written by Mr. Excel himself and it covers almost everything. Seriously just keep it somewhere and if you like it and need it you can buy a hard copy but for now I’ll stick to the free one. Check the webpage here.

Simple Request

As requested by a friend here is a link to a small utility program. It is NOTEPAD++ is Notepad on steroids. It allows to edit text and so much more. It has some languages integrated on it very useful for all the programers that use Notepad for easy viewing now you can do the same with syntax highlighting. Some of the languages are: C, C++, Java, C#, XML, HTML, PHP, CSS and more. Hope you like it.

Launchy…

For the people who say “Ahh launchy is just a cheap copy of Quicksilver in MAC’s”. You are absolutely RIGHT! It is a quick fix for those used to that usefulness and quick access of quicksilver the only difference is that it is for Windows. If you own a MAC you know what this does and how essential it is. For those who don’t go to the site (launchy.net) download it and give a try if you like you can even set up your own scripts and programs for it (the Runny plugin is a godsend), also this makes searching even easier.

For example let’s say you wanna search in Google, you can open Launchy (ALT+SPACE) and use the Runny plugin, now add a command:

name: Google
command: http://google.com/search?q=$1+$2+$2+$4+$5+$6+$7
Usage: Google|abe diaz com (where | means TAB)

It will launch your browser and search on google with what ever parameters you put. Have fun if you want examples of some scripts and techniques email me.

Use your Bookmarks ANYWHERE!

Have you ever forgotten a website you knew that explained how to properly cut your nails? Well if you are this awkward and picky you know you won’t find many of those websites again (unless by accident). Ok, now you are in let’s say “Japan” and the computer from the hotel you are using does have Firefox but nobody in Japan cares for nails. What do you do now?

Well the old fashioned solution is to always carry or always email yourself the bookmarks.html file that you export everyday. The new way is to use FoxMarks this extension enables you to sync your bookmarks anywhere you are. You just create an account and password and that is it. You can log on from another computer log in and voila’ your bookmarks are there. I can’t stress enough how useful and powerful this is for people that do research on the go or people who need to access their work related bookmarks from home.

If you think this is awesome (like me) do a little research how hot to also backup and synchronize your profile, settings and even your extensions for firefox in this same way. And if you do not feel confortable uploading your bookmarks to someone’s server you could even use your own ftp server to do this. This is definitely a must have for almost everybody. Have fun

Hold your TIVOs (Writers are on Strike)

The WGA (Writers Guild) is on strike, they are basically demanding money for content outside TV (webpisodes and downloads from iTunes etc.). This is not unfair they are apparently not making money for creations they wrote that are not transmitted by the media they were contracted to work on, also they want a higher fee on DVD sales. This affects us all because TV series like Heroes, Greys Anatomy’s, LOST and many more are being affected by this. For more info goto United Hollywood it is the official blog of the strikers. Continue reading

Technical Support

How many times have we spent the Thanksgiving day fixing an uncle’s computer or Christmas Eve getting rid of spyware at some other relatives house. Yes if you are like me you know what i mean. It’s happened but what is worst than being on the phone trying to explain someone how to install Firefox (and explaining why IE is the devil’s lovechild). Well now I’m gonna give you some of my pointers to make this situation easier. This way you can deal with the problem on your time.
Have you ever heard of Remote Desktop? If so you know where I’m going. Now almost nobody besides real technical support uses this feature of Windows, why cause it lacks robustness. There are many solutions better the one i prefer is VNC (“Virtual Network Computing“). What this does is open a windows on your desktop that looks and acts like the other person’s desktop…Wait…no it IS the other person’s desktop…Nice.

UVNC Screenshot - Viewer

This beats virtually everything, remembering all the steps while on the phone is no thrill.

My choice is UVNC and with it the silent installer this makes it very easy. Just give them the executable with all the settings already preset and voila it will install without much user interaction. Now all you need is their IP (Refer to External IP Post), tell them to run the External IP Finder and give you their address, Log on and tell them to watch while you do it. This is a time and a life saver in many instances so give it a look, you won’t regret it.

Some other alternatives: RealVNC, TightVNC, there are also Linux and MAC Distribution, for more refer to Wikipedia’s Comparison Chart.

Facebook kicks MySpace ass…

In a recent article (from TIME Magazine) “Facebook: More popular than” (refering to another article “MySpace v. Facebook: Competing Addictions”) it has been noted that more and more people are using Facebook as a daily ritual more that googling, blogs or news (even po-rn too). A reason for this is the ability of control in and “chaos driven” life as described in “Why Facebook is the Future”. A social class division has been noted (education and income) between the two sites population and many more interesting facts, human behavior its fascinating. Check it out and if you are on Facebook give me a click.

Update: Just when you thought you were safe and sound sharing all your details and spending endless hours in Facebook life trows you a curve ball. Today starts the new era of Facebook… ADS!!! Yes as you hear not just ads tracking ads and viral apps so you can flood all your friends inboxes in a flash. For more info check “Facebook Rolls Out Highly Targeted Viral Ad System“.

Internal to External IP’s (From Anywhere)

Ok you take the time to set up the FTP server, you even made rules in your Router to allow access to Port 21 from the outside, so you think you are ready. Now you are in class and forgot your homework…you say EASY I’ll just log to my dorm computer via FTP and download it. The problem is you try to log in and its impossible.

What happened? Well for starters the IP you wrote on your arm before heading out to class has changed. Secondly unless you have a roommate who can text you the new ip we… you are screwed. So what do you do? Well i have devised a ruby executable with just a couple of lines of code that can help. It will tell you your external ip when you run it. You will need Ruby and RubyGems also rubyscript2exe more info on the web.

But how do i run it if i’m not on my computer well you can do what i do:

1) Get a program that will run scheduled events (you could use Windows own sheduler or if you want something better try Dazzling Events great app for many things).

2) Shedule the program to run every hour with a BAT file and when runned it will output the IP into a text file.

3) Send that text file (unencrypted/unencoded) to an emai. This can be done with BLAT. What email to use well you could use Gmail (you will need to create a tunnel with SSL) if you want SSL encryption or Bluebottle (easier). Now why would i want to email it if all i want is to see it?

4) Now the fun part comes. You have runned the app every hour and are able to send it via email, why don’t you just post it on a blog or SMS to your cellphone (data charges will apply so unless you have an unlimited data plan don’t try this). For the blog you can use Blogger, it will let you update a blog from an email account. For SMS ask your provider usually it’s something like aaannnnnnn@provider.com (ie: 5555555555@txt.att.net). That way you will be able to know your computers IP from anywhere in the world.

This has been the cheap way to do this, with some time and luck I’m sure you can find a way to do everything easier. But for now try it out. Hope you have fun and now that we are in the subject try checking your torrents from afar uTorrent has a webui that you can set up and check your downloads from any browser.

Here is the code for all this:

Ruby (External IP Finder, let’s call it “externalipfinder.exe”)

#!/usr/bin/env ruby
 require 'win32ole'
 require 'open-uri'
 echocmd = "IP: "
 ip = ( open("http://myip.dk") {|f| /([0-9]{1,3}\.){3}[0-9]
{1,3}/.match(f.read)[0].to_a[0]})
puts echocmd + ip

———————————————————————————————–

Bat file (This is what you run every hour)

@Echo off
 SET emailfrom=youremail@bluebottle.com
 SET emailto=blog.update@blogger.com
 SET password=yourpassword
externalipfinder.exe > MYip.txt
blat.exe MYip.txt -to %emailto% -u %emailfrom% -pw %password%
-f %emailfrom% -server mail.bluebottle.com:587 -s "External IP"

———————————————————————————————–

And that’s it… have fun for any more questions email me at info@abediaz.com

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Calendars

In this stressed day-2-day life we need some organization and this can be easily done with some simple free tools. For example Google has implemented a Calendar (http://calendar.google.com) where you can set public and private calendars and with the provided URL use a standalone program (or plugin Lighting) to update it offline. Here are the links to them…

Use Sunbird 0.5 for standalone (or Lighting for integration with Thunderbird) from:

http://www.mozilla.org/projects/calendar/

Use the extensions to enable Google Calendar to download/upload automatically also holidays pr/us, and automatic export for backups

Also some extensions I use and Holidays to add:

http://www.megaupload.com/?d=QT28C3RU

Simple tutorial…

http://bfish.xaedalus.net/?p=239

To Publish a nice server is:

http://www.icalx.com

Other Links…

http://www.mozilla.org/projects/calendar/links.html

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