I realized yesterday that my Motorola Moto X smartphone had stopped syncing my Verizon email account and recalled a notification from Verizon that involved a configuration change. If your a Verizon customer you may need to check the settings on our mail client. Once I made the changes I was able to immediately connect and sync my email.
I’m a Windows guy and I’m happy to admit it. I grew up with Windows, yes I ran Windows 3.0, and I have supported Windows desktops throughout my entire career. I decided sometime ago that while Apple has some great products I just wasn’t really interested in learning a new operating system and decided to stick with Windows and yes Linux specifically Ubuntu (desktop) and CentOS (server).
This week right in the middle of a fiber cut that left me with multiple Internet and Metro Ethernet circuits down the Seagate Momentus Thin hard drive in my Lenovo T430 ThinkPad up and died on me. Like a typical user I had left notes and documents on the C: drive that I hadn’t copied to either SharePoint, OneDrive or my team’s network share. A scramble ensued and I was ultimately able to recover the few files that I desperately wanted. One of those files included all my notes on building GSLB VIPs across a pair of A10 vThunder appliances – look for that post soon. I can still recall my younger days and the excitement that would ensue around rebuilding my desktop or laptop. Windows would generally slow down over time due to application and registry glut so a rebuild would usually result in a much better performing machine. I’m definitely not young anymore nor do I have the time, or patience, to be rebuilding my laptop or desktop.
The desktop team quickly replaced my hard drive but I took a minute and thought, “this is a great time to upgrade to a SSD“. I don’t run the corporate desktop image, instead I dual boot between Windows 8.1 (custom install) and Ubuntu 14, so while the desktop team had quickly replaced my failed hard drive I now needed to rebuild my entire machine along with all my applications, configurations, license keys, etc. If I’m going to spend all this time and effort I need to get something out of it – so I upgraded to an Intel 730 Series 240GB SSD. The Lenovo T430 ThinkPad only allows for 7mm think drives so you need to be mindful of that small detail when selecting a SSD that will physically fit into the laptop. I went ahead and started rebuilding the laptop using the Seagate hard drive – I couldn’t really wait even for the day it took NewEgg to ship the SSD to my house from New Jersey. When the Intel 730 arrived I performed a System Image Backup of Windows 8.1 to an external hard disk, installed the SSD, booted from a Windows 8.1 USB recovery stick and restored the backup to the SSD. The laptop booted the first time without issue, I installed the Intel SSD utilities to optimize the configuration (enable TRIM, etc) and the upgrade was complete. While the Lenovo T430 ThinkPad is no power house it gets the job done for me.
I’ve been slowly exploring Microsoft OneDrive and OneNote. Until a few years ago I would continually leave all sorts of paper notes all over my desk, eventually I migrated to just using Notepad which resulted in me leaving text documents all over my desktop or home drive. Very difficult to organize, somewhat difficult to search. I just started using Microsoft’s OneNote using OneDrive to store the documents. Hopefully this will help me organize my notes better and ultimately make me more efficient.
- Advanced REST client – testing XML interfaces
- Chrome Remote Desktop – It’s not half bad for remote access.
- Evernote Web – note taking and documentation, save me from have text files all over my desktop.
- Full Page Screen Capture – useful for capturing multi-page length screenshots
- Google Cast – displaying my output to a conference room TV
- LastPass: Free Password Manager – great password manager with plenty of options.
- Postman – REST Client – another client to test XML interfaces.
- Revolver – Tabs – when your monitoring the network over multiple tabs, this will switch through the tabs at a set interval
- Secure Shell – when all you have is a Chromebook, this will do just nicely thank you, else it’s PuTTY all the way.
- Spark View, Faster than any native RDP client
- TelePrompter – great little extension that will automatically scroll your webpage when you are “monitoring”
What extension do you rely on or find useful?
I do a lot of cut and pasting back and forth between various windows as I work throughout the day. It becomes really tedious when I need to cut & paste multiple items between two windows but can’t just highlight everything I need in a single action. That’s where I found Ditto to be a super useful tool. I can copy multiple different objects, it’s usually just text I’m working with, and then paste all three of those to a new window by using a few keyboard shortcuts. There no need for me to jump back and forth between the windows multiple times as I select and copy, move the mouse to the new window and then paste. Instead I can just copy, copy, copy and then move to the new window and paste, paste, paste.
Ditto is an extension to the standard windows clipboard. It saves each item placed on the clipboard allowing you access to any of those items at a later time. Ditto allows you to save any type of information that can be put on the clipboard, text, images, html, custom formats, …..
I personally use Ctrl – 1 through Ctrl – 5 for my keyboard shortcuts which correspond to buffer positions 1 – 5, I usually don’t use more than five. When I want to paste the last item I copied I can either use the Windows default of Ctrl – V or Ctrl – Insert, or I can use Ctrl – 1. When I want to paste the second to last item I copied I can use Ctrl -2 and so on.
About two years ago I went looking for some utility to help me manage my home multi monitor Windows 7 desktop – I have 2 27″ ASUS LCD Monitors each with a resolution of 1920 x 1080, combining for a total of 3840 x 1080. I actually prefer the lower resolution since age has started to catch up with me – we all can’t be 20 something or 30 something forever. I usually have no less than 10 different windows open at any one time always trying to maximize my desktop utilization while saving my eyes and head/neck from the strain of having to cover to much ground – very inefficient. I stumbled upon a review for DisplayFusion from BinaryFortress while searching the Internet and I’m still a fan 2 years later.
While doing some research for this post I discovered that you can purchase DisplayFusion from Steam. I thought Steam only sold games but I guess why would they limit themselves to just games. Why not leverage their platform and client to deliver any type of application. Brilliant!
WallpaperFusion is a companion website where users can upload their own custom wallpapers to share with the entire community. There are some incredible looking wallpaper backgrounds on that site and they make it super simple to install through DisplayFusion.