October 15, 2009

Is Freedom Ever Free?

While talking with co-workers regarding the merits of using Linux and open source software I always get the same foaming at the mouth comments about not being compatible and blah blah blah that I always seem to dispel if they are willing to give a little effort.
But in retrospect I think I've over simplified the difference of being a computer user and a computer operator.

When I grew up I had two paths to take when I was introduced to computers. Like Neo I chose to take the red pill and find the truth of the computer world, how it works, investigating new technology and rejecting commonly thrown about metephors like viruses, bad code, glitches, etc. that was bandied about to explain users that had gotten themselves into a bind with bad input. I could have of course easily chosen the blue pill like so many user sheeple and stared numbly at my screen playing games and clicking buttons to work other peoples inventions, considering my PC's as glorified televisions.

In reality a user will be led by the hand by their GUI and play the games and use the program and cry to their local repairman for help when they get themselves stuck. Why? Because they can't be bothered by learning and troubleshooting their problems for themselves. When things are going good they will never expand their mind with learning.

As I grew up, the "secrets" of the computer world were discovered in thick user manuals, and gleaned from the sage wisdom of older technicians and programmers. Today however wisdom is still gleaned from our peers and wiser "geeks", but the way we listen to them has changed vastly. With the power of the internet connecting so many of us from vast far flung places and probably never coming face to face in our daily travels, we are able to read or watch each others solutions, opinions, and various bits of wonder. This is why I write, in hopes that someone may need a solution that I have created or gleaned from others work.

Every operating system from the original MS DOS versions and Unix command lines, to the new Windows, Macintosh, Linux GUI systems will all need a learning curve to operate proficiently. Don't be fooled into thinking that one is easier than the other by virtue of it's flashy appearance. They all have quirks and problems to overcome, they all break down from time to time with careless use, and they can all get similar jobs done with the correct applications. To be truely free you must free your mind by taking on the yoke of knowledge and learning so you can choose how you want to use your computer. Every OS is only a tools, so swallow your red pill today and find out... How's your tool working for you?

October 14, 2009

Complete Your Uninstalls In Windows

Have you ever had a program that for whatever reason doesn't seem to be working or was set up wrong? Like many users I usually just uninstall it and re-install it and see if it's any better.
Now days it seems that after the re-install the program comes up with the same settings and user information as before I uninstalled it.
This is such a plague to me and my customers that I started searching for answers, and like so many things I found it at work.
While troubleshooting the peachtree accounting software I had a case where after installing on a Microsoft Vista machine the software would not load. We needed to install using the Administrator Rights, but even after uninstalling and re-installing the program didn't work.
One of my co-workers explained that even after uninstalling a program, many times items are left in the registry or in the file system and these settings remain for future installs to point to.
The cure? RevoUninstaller.
Revo Uninstaller helps you to uninstall software and remove unwanted programs installed on your computer even if you have problems uninstalling and cannot uninstall them from "Windows Add or Remove Programs" control panel applet.
Revo Uninstaller is a much faster and more powerful alternative to "Windows Add or Remove Programs" applet!
With its advanced and fast algorithm, Revo Uninstaller analyzes an application's data before uninstall and scans after you uninstall an application. After the program's regular uninstaller runs, you can remove additional unnecessary files, folders and registry keys that are usually left over on your computer. Even if you have a broken installation, Revo Uninstaller scans for an application's data on your hard disk drives and in the Windows registry and shows all found files, folders and registry keys so you can delete them.
With its unique "Hunter mode", Revo Uninstaller offers you some simple, easy to use, but effective and powerful methods for uninstalling software. You can use it to manage your installed and/or running software programs.

The software comes in two packages. The first being the full version installed to your local PC, and the second being a portable version (easily used on a thumb drive or a shared network drive)

This is by far one of the most useful tools for Windows that I've ever found and has become a permanent edition to my tool collection.

Calling all geeks! If any of you play the download games that give you a one hour preview, let me know if after uninstalling with RevoUninstaller and re-installing the game, do you get another perview?

Hex Converter

Hex To ASCII Converter



Integer to Byte converter

This is a tool to practice converting between decimal and binary representations. After you have practiced for a while and feel that you know how to do the conversions, take the quiz.
Decimal number to convert:
Binary representation:

Binary number to convert:
Decimal representation: