We Paid Ransom32

We paid Ransom32, the virus malware that encrypts all your files and demands payment within a number of days to recover them, and we got our files back. Ish. From frantic googling, to panicked backup recovery attempts, to resignation and payment, here’s how it went down…

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Windows Paint: This ain’t your father’s Windows Paint!

Do yourself a favour and give Windows Paint another try! Take a screenshot with the Print Screen key (usually next to Scroll Lock and Pause/Break keys) and then crop, resize and edit your picture all in Windows Paint! You can even save in multiple popular formats like JPEG, GIF, TIFF, PNG and, of course, BMP. Who knew!

paint

Better Colour Schemes for PuTTY

Update 2014-09-20: Try the Consolas font instead of the default Courier New. It’s slightly smaller but still quite readable and permits a narrow 80×40 window which I can lay out side-by-side 3 times on my desktop (1920×1080) without overlapping. That’s something you can’t do with Courier New at 80×40. Give it a try under Putty Configuration > Window > Appearance > Font Settings.

Better Colour Schemes for PuTTY

Check out the igvita.com colour schemes for putty. They’re very good and a big improvement on the default colour scheme. If I have to use a terminal on windows, putty is it and these colour schemes really make a difference in the usability of the terminal.

Chrome is winning me over!

Kudos to Google for their work on the Chrome browser. More and more I leave work at work and so my home computers don’t need all the extensions and features of firefox for web development. And so Google Chrome really, really growing on me.

Kudos to Google for their work on the Chrome browser. More and more I leave work at work and so my home computers don’t need all the extensions and features of firefox for web development. And so Google Chrome really, really growing on me.

I think I’ve finally fully switched on my Linux workstation (at home) and my Windows laptop.

Chrome feels very snappy which is important to me when I just want to surf. It also appears very compatible rendering various web pages.

I can’t fault it. It’s a stripped down Firefox with performance as its key goal. You can’t argue with that.

Try it out!

Windows 7: Not bad

My father has been running Vista for a number of years. We told him it was a trainwreck. He never heard the end of it while he had that computer. And we all see how horrible Vista was now that he has upgraded to Windows 7.

My father has been running Vista for a number of years. We told him it was a trainwreck. He never heard the end of it while he had that computer. And we all see how horrible Vista was now that he has upgraded to Windows 7.

Win7 looks very similar to Vista but comes with a major overhaul of both low and high level components. Compared to the Vista machine, this thing is a joy to work with.

The hard drive is quiet instead of thrashing all the time. The responsiveness and general speedy feel of everything in the GUI makes you feel so much better about the tools you’re working with.

And the boot time. Wow. This thing boots to login in less than one minute. Vista took five minutes (it was ridiculous waiting for it). My linux and XP machines can’t match this one for boot times.

So, good job Microsoft. You didn’t produce another trainwreck!

Now how about we work on getting rid of that ugly DRM and getting way more useful GUI options and features. See KDE 3.5’s advanced window options for hints.

If Windows were as productive as KDE, we’d have one less major reason to look to alternatives.

The right tool for the right job: Not so simple.

The right tool for the right job, like most things in life, is more complex, more difficult to understand, and takes effort to grasp the reason and benefits of its true meaning.

The argument “the right tool for the right job” is as old as they come. It’s similar in spirit to the old adage that you can’t put a “square peg in a round hole“.

The problem is no scenario is black and white.

You’re on Microsoft Windows so you should use .NET? You’re on Mac so you should use Objective-C and Cocoa? You’re on linux so you should use C and GTK?

The right tool for the right job is not just about price/performance ratios, the primary goal of a language, or what a language has tradionally been used for.

You use a programming language for a task because you’re an expert in that language and you can bend it to your will with greater ease than implementing in a new language.

Business understands this. It’s about efficiency not “perl is for data” and “python is for prototyping” and “C is for algorithms” and “java is for apps.”

It’s not black and white.

Microsoft Office might, in a very base sense, be the best tool for the job if you’re dealing with Microsoft Office format files. But the “right tool for the right job” includes conditions like price, licensing, security risk, training, etc.

Licensing is a big issue. The internet and the FOSS movement, from which we all benefit enormously today, was built on open standards, open protocols and open code.

Stallman understands that we’re where we are today because IT pioneers simply found it easier, better and more fulfilling to craft open source and have all modifications on open source returned back to the source.

We have a great computer ecosystem because the right-tool-right-job mentality did not include the idea that one should go with the status quo which is so often the case when people bring up this argument.

The right tool for the right job, like most things in life, is more complex, more difficult to understand, and takes effort to grasp the reason and benefits of its true meaning.

CentOS 5 + KDE 3.5 = A nice, productive desktop

In my travails to find a nice KDE 3.5 (as opposed to KDE 4) desktop, I’ve finally landed on CentOS 5 and, with a little tweaking, I think I can finally live with this distribution.

In my travails to find a nice KDE 3.5 (as opposed to KDE 4) desktop, I’ve finally landed on CentOS 5 and, with a little tweaking, I think I can finally live with this distribution.

I can’t deal with KDE 4. Not yet. I just hope KDE brings it up to the standards of KDE 3.5 and I hope the distros polish it quite a bit more.  Unfortunately, it has some regressions in the key areas that really affect me (konsole, kedit/kwrite/kate), etc.

One little nitpick against CentOS’s KDE which I never experienced in Gentoo’s KDE: Window focus issues. These issues come up seemingly randomly when switching between konsoles. Try quickly ALT-TAB’ing between konsoles. Quite quickly it gets “stuck”. This cascades into a mouse cursor and keyboard input problem. Clicking around the desktop or taskbar eventually gets you back but it happens frequently enough to be annoying.

But, I found an alleviation to this problem that fixes most of the issues: KDE’s Desktop Settings Wizard. Just run it and it will reset all your desktop settings (you’ve been warned). Select KDE behaviour when it asks. It does seem to have fixed window focus issues. At least they don’t happen as often as they used to.

So, if you’re a KDE 4 refugee looking for a KDE 3.5 desktop like I was, try CentOS 5. It’s probably the last long-term support distro to ship with KDE 3.5. Get it while you can!