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Topics - Richardk

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All Technology & Tech Help / Stock photo sites
« on: December 11, 2017, 03:28:23 pm »
Does anyone have a favorite stock photo site? Something that is cheap, if not free with quality pictures?

All Technology & Tech Help / File server vs external USB drive
« on: March 20, 2017, 04:59:03 pm »
In line with Benali72's $25 computer, I've been kicking around the idea of a file server to consolidate all my files. Too many laptops / desktops with stuff scattered all over. Sure most of it has been pulled forward to the next successor but stuff always gets left behind. Plus you got the development machine, a test one, a traveling one, etc. It gets stupid.

So, I've been using a "traveling" USB drive to store stuff as needed. Problem is it's become yet another file source.

Now I could say "this is it", clean it up and make that "the" source but then I have to track it down, plug it in, etc. Well my router allows me to plug in a drive and make it available on the network. Sounds neat but I don't trust that idea. Does anyone use that?

The other idea is to turn an old PC into a file server. Use Linux, Samba, etc. Heck, some file versioning would be nice too. The techie in me says this is the way to go but somehow it feels like overkill. I gain a lot of control and convenience over a USB drive but an older machine will also suck more power and need maintenance.

So has anyone gone down any of these routes? Pros/cons? Anything else to consider?

Discussions - Public / MailStore for email backup
« on: July 15, 2014, 06:03:58 am »
With all the talk about backup's and NAS, I thought it would be good to consolidate all my old emails in various clients and online into a single archive but how to go about that? I ran into a product called MailStore which has a free version for home users. Has anyone used this product or have first hand experience with it?

The only other method that came to mind was to set up a mail server and dump everything into there as a "universal storage bucket" which sounds good in principle but feels like it's overkill for such a problem.

Discussions - Public / With TrueCrypt gone, now what?
« on: May 30, 2014, 01:02:58 pm »
I haven't seen any news on what "really" happened but what are good alternatives?

Discussions - Public / Travel to China
« on: September 25, 2013, 01:32:57 pm »
My sister is doing a 2 month teaching engagement in China and I'm her IT expert  :o.

Aside from loading Truecrypt, I'm not sure what she'll need. Will Skype work over there? What about alternatives?

What about https everywhere? I'm guessing that any banking she does will already be secured but are there other uses?

How about something as simple as Wi-Fi? Is that an international standard or do different countries use different standards?

I'm not even sure where to begin or what to expect when "advising" her. Anyone have any experience with traveling to Asia? And yes, after her gig she plans to visit some of the neighboring countries.


Time to review my anti-virus software plus my daughter is off to college this year and I want something that will "do the job" for her without my 'oversight'. Right now, she's on Windows 7 but thinking of upgrading to a new machine but isn't sure about Windows 8. I told her since 'school' is on Windows 7, to stay on that but I'm also baffled with trying to find my way around on Windows 8. What in the world were they thinking, but that's another discussion.

So any definite packages to consider or to stay away from? Oh, right now she's on Norton.  Thanks.

Discussions - Public / Hail storm and sales people
« on: July 08, 2013, 09:00:52 pm »
We got hit with a hail storm about a week ago and now we're flooded with sales people that can fix anything. Listening to these guys on the phone while they are waiting for their dinners is quite interesting. On the one hand, it's a skill that I could use more of but every single one of them thinks they are a rainmaker, bringing deals and opportunities that only they can deliver.

The funny thing is, they don't deliver anything. Sure they get the sales and take care of the paperwork but they don't actually do anything to deliver. They rely on someone else to do the work. In a hail damaged area, the crew could probably make the sales and split the commissions up between themselves. It's an easy sell. Sure you need to know how to do the job but the money these guys are making seems absurd.

I thought it was just me but some 20-something's were looking at the trucks driving around town and one "kid" said that with all the money they spent 'pimping out' their truck, they could have picked up a second truck. It's every one of them. This must be a high profit margin business.

Discussions - Public / Public access to the web is 20 years old today!
« on: April 30, 2013, 03:09:08 pm »
At least according to this story:

It was released free to the public on April 30, 1993

I suppose a Happy Birthday is in order!  :)

All Technology & Tech Help / SitePoint Christmas Sale
« on: December 02, 2012, 06:38:12 pm »
I noticed the above sale and I'm wondering if anyone regularly purchases or uses their material. I've seen one or two items but not enough to really judge the quality.

So are these good deals or not?

All Technology & Tech Help / New (to me) laptop / computer checklist
« on: October 26, 2012, 03:31:52 pm »
My daughter is buying a used laptop that's in good shape and I'm cleaning it up / checking it out, etc. Doing the typical remove the crapware, run antivirus, etc. I'm not sure if there are recovery disks or whether we can burn our own since she just got it and they are "looking" to see if we got everything.

I think I have the basics covered but it's running Windows 7 and I'm wondering if there is anything specific to that version that I might not be aware of since I'm still running mostly on XP.

Is it pretty much the same old thing or not? Tips, hints, checklists, etc would be welcome. A fresh install would be the best option but I'm not sure yet if that's possible, so this is option number 2. Thanks in advance.

All Technology & Tech Help / Current state of hard drives
« on: October 04, 2012, 04:57:47 am »
I got a laptop that got "bounced" by kids with a lot of bad sectors. Doing a surface scan, it marked a bunch as bad but otherwise 'seems' to be doing ok. Using some tools to look at the disks SMART values, SpeedFan in particular rates the disks fitness at a zero.

I'm trying to make sense of this. My gut (and SpeedFan) tells me that the drive should be replaced but the surface scan isn't picking up any more bad sectors and I wonder what about reformatting the drive? That's something I recall doing decades ago when drives were more expensive and having a few bad sectors was 'normal'.

So is the drive toast or are they more robust today and you just keep going?

All Technology & Tech Help / Grub, Ubuntu, Windows and stupid disk drives
« on: September 24, 2012, 02:15:12 pm »
Looking for a temporary workaround to boot a system.

Here's the story: A Windows box went down with a raid controller that simply presents the disks. Not configured for raid.

Want to read the disks, so I pulled the card and disks and put them into another box that is a dual boot Ubuntu and Windows system.

I boot and get "GRUB" with a flashing cursor. That's it. I'm guessing that grub sees the new disks as SCSI and puts them ahead of the others and can't boot i.e. no grub menu.

If I leave the card in but unplug the disks, the old system comes up.

If I boot from a live CD, it sees the disks. So I know that everything "works".

My guess is that the SCSI disks changed the naming that grub sees and even though grub is on the boot disk with the MBR, it can't load stage 2 of grub and fails.

I'm thinking of a temporary solution of booting grub from a boot floppy or CD or something but it seems that everything just copies the existing information to a different media format. I was hoping for more of a grub boot disk where I can get to a command line.

Any ideas?

I've "dabbled" in both C# and VB.Net but don't consider myself an expert by any means. Since I don't know what I don't know, what is the real learning curve for being proficient in both C# and .Net?

C# isn't that hard of a language to be 'good enough' at while the .Net Framework is huge but you can search for what you need. So what am I missing here? A huge framework can be a pain since you might be reinventing something plus it has overhead that goes with using it but I keep hearing that it's impossible to learn without structured classroom work. Like whatever.

So what's the real story here?

All Technology & Tech Help / Brushing up on PL/SQL
« on: April 04, 2012, 05:26:35 pm »
I'm trying to get up to speed / refreshed on PL/SQL for an interview and I'm wondering if anyone has any good references or info on what's all changed since about 2005. Yikes!  :o

OK, I haven't used it for years, it was probably on Oracle 8 or 9 last time but I'm thinking that the core product is still the same. I see some new stuff but I'm wondering if there have been any major updates or changes since then? The client is running Oracle 11g but I'm not expecting rocket science stuff, just everyday data processing.


Discussions - Public / Scanning / digitizing negatives
« on: March 02, 2012, 02:46:41 pm »
Any photography pros here? I'm looking at a bunch of old pictures that I'd like to preserve and I'm trying to establish a baseline of what's "good enough" when it comes to digitizing them.

I've been told that the dyes on color negatives fade with time, which makes sense but what to do with them?

I have a scanner that can handle negatives but ugh, only one strip at a time and it's slow (or I'm impatient). Plus I'm finding it's just like scanning a document. Why is it so hard? With a copier, I just slap it down, hit copy and get good results. Scanning an image on the other hand, can be painful. You can't read it, the color is off, it's the wrong resolution, too much compression, wrong file format and so on.

Well, scanning negatives has been better but I'm still not happy with the results. Maybe I just need a better scanner but this baby goes up to 4800 dpi and higher resolution does not mean better results, so I'm frustrated.

Another option is to let one of the box stores do it. This can add up but I bet the results will be better, though none of them know what resolution they scan at.

Finally, some sets also have a photo CD with the negatives. Is this quality "good enough"? I'm finding that I like the CD version over my scanned version and that I can't tweak it enough to get similar results. Also some of their lower resolution pics look better than my higher resolution ones.

The problem is that I have nothing to compare to. No standard. For all I know, those photo CD's are only good for 4 x 6's and anything larger will look grainy.

Also has anyone taken the DIY route with digitizing negatives? Results? Worth the trouble? I'm starting with about 1,000 to scan, so it's a bit of a project.

With all this monkeying around, my negatives are starting to feel like a reliable old friend.

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