Thursday, July 25, 2013


I created a simple random password generator from AutoHotKey. This code produces a nine character password with 3 sets of non-repeating characters. Set one is lower case letters, set two has upper case letters and set three has numbers. Each set is then randomly ordered.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Quick Malware Defense

The HOSTS file on computers is an 'old fashioned' way computers talk to each other. If you're not managing a HOST file for anything and it's left to default, you can use it to provide a cheap, easy way to defend against some malware.

Below is a simple AHK script that grabs a HOSTS file from and places it into your HOSTS file. This is quick and provides some defense.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Essentials to computer troubleshooting

The following is a listing of guidelines practiced computer technicians should employ when diagnosing and ultimately resolving computer problems.

1) Isolate the problem

Customers and clients can report and view a problem different from you.  When someone would say my computer is frozen, it could refer to the cursor, a particular program or a feature that is slow to respond. Also, make sure there really is a problem. Ask questions like this:

What do you want it to do?
What recently changed on your computer?
When was the last time you performed this task?

Ask questions that have very definitive and short answers. By isolating the problem very quickly you waste less of your and your customer's time.

Saturday, February 9, 2013


Tech Republic is a site I follow often. Their '10 things' segment is a favorite of mine. A recent one is 10 Things You Have To Know To Be Computer Literate. Lets take a look at what each really means.

1. Search Engines. Knowing search engines is like saying you know about oil changes. Insofar as someone with low car knowledge can know that an oil change needs to take place once every 3000 miles but someone with moderate knowledge can perform the task if pressed.
It takes more than just know how the ol' Googler works to break from the novice category. Check out Google's own school on how to better perform search.

2. Word Processing. If you don't know how mail merge works, then, yes, you need to learn and no you're not good at Word yet.

3. Spreadsheets. The question you should ask yourself is 'am I inventing the wheel for the first time or has this been done before'. Nested IF statements, pivot tables and sparklines may be a bit on the advanced side of spreadsheet literacy, but you should know that these things exist and plug an existing one from the Internet if needed.

4. Browser Basics. From IE to Netscape to Chrome, you need to know clear browser cache and learn how to manage windows and setup favorites for each. This sounds easy but I've seen so many people never save webpages or constantly retype the same searches. This is a time saver.

5. Virus/Malware scanning. Goes hand in hand with search engine and browser knowledge. The Internet used to be a seedy neighborhood that you went to go shopping for cheap stuff and get the latest copy of The Onion from a street corner.
You can still do those things but there's now a strip mall in the neighborhood with a mall cop. The mall cop knows what stores rip you off and what stores have a lot of thefts and what time to leave the mall because a bunch of kids start wandering in. Talk to the mall cop. Be friends with the mall cop.

6. Common keyboard commands. Hotkeys are the secret handshake of computing. If you know them, you're in the club. Knowing them saves time and enhances your skillset. Learning how they work and making your own is also fun, but start with the basics.

7. Basic hardware terminology. When someone tells me their CPU stopped working or that their mouse doesn't move, I cringe. It tells me that they don't know what their talking about and I'll have to ask 3-10 additional questions to get to what the problem actually is. I'm going to include what the POST process is since it's not the OS that's running the show at that point. Please learn what does what on the inside of a computer.

8. Simple network diagnosis. Guess what? The Internet isn't down. It's not. How about now? Nope. But I closed my browser. And my Chat program isn't working. What if I unplug your computer from its RJ45 port? Nope, it's still not down. What if I switch all the circuit breakers off in the building? Guess what, the Internet still isn't down. It just isn't.

9. How to hook it up. How many wires are needed to hook up a standard desktop PC and get it to be part of the Internet? Time's up. The answer is 5. Mouse, Keyboard, Monitor, Ethernet (if not wireless) and the power cord. Now do you know where they all go?

10. Security/privacy 101. I link this with 1, 4 and 5. You know not to buy a Rolex off of the street and not to hand out your car keys to a friend of a friend. You also know that if it's too good to be true it probably is. There is no safe side of the Internet.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Janki - Context

Focusing on adding cards has been difficult this last week. There's so much good data and I'm trying just to add it all in without regard to what's needed. Hence rereading Problem 3:
We Learn Out Of Context

Saturday, January 19, 2013

ClipBinder - AutoHotKey Script

The problem:
 copying multiple segments of text and placing them in a different order in some other program. 

The Clipboard is a favorite and all but invisible, ubiquitous tool for any computer user. Without it, we all might as well be using typewriters. Clipboard however has a limitation in that its hotkeys only store one string of text ( or one picture). Sometimes you, as a computer user, need to do more copying than one element at a time. Sometimes you need to reorder your copied text.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Mouse without Borders

Quick note.
Mouse without Borders is finally installed on two systems at home. Bout Time. Now I can work on my Windows 7 laptop as I play on my XP Desktop.If you've got two to four Windows systems side-by-side but hate switching keyboards and mice or don't have a KVM handy. This will do.