Wednesday, November 13, 2013

On a daily basis...

This happens to me on a daily basis.
I've learned that almost everybody feels this way, too...

Saturday, November 9, 2013

When Windows Goes Bad

I work at Office Depot. A large portion of my day goes to making machines that are "broken" usable again.
Not hardware fixes, because those take tiny little parts that are often hard to find, if not impossible, but software fixes. You should know about this in the same way a driver knows to change the oil in his/her car.

1. Make a Recovery Drive. In Windows 8, insert a 32GB flash-drive, hit [Windows key] and [R], type recoverydrive.exe and follow the prompts. If something goes wrong with the machine, slap the drive into a USB port, and the hard-drive gets wiped of data, and you're back to where you began with the machine right of of the box. No biggie, because you've already backed-up the data onto an external hard-drive or cloud storage, right?

2. On another flash-drive, install Windows Defender Offline. This is a Microsoft anti-malware program that allows you to boot from the flash-drive and run Windows Defender to kill off the worst of the viruses so you can get up and running again. Click on the Update tab before running, and do a full scan. It's going to take a while, but hey, that's life. We found this very effective with the FBI virus that was making the rounds a few months ago.

3. Finally, download and install Malwarebytes. There's nothing else out there that comes close to the effectiveness of this program. Run it, twice, on full and rebooting each time. If this can't kill whatever is wrong with your machine, take it into a professional.
It's worth noting that Malwarebytes also offers Pro version for $24.95 annually. Would I use this over other services for twice as much but don't seem nearly as effective? Safe bet, although using Linux, I don't have this worry.

Update; a year later, still banging on the same drum. No one has to do any of this, and many, many don't, but I'd recommend you do...

My Tech Gear

Okay, I’m a Geek. I live, breathe, and flow with technology. I make my living off it, and even if it wasn’t my job, I’d still love it. So, with the untimely death of my previous blog, I should tell you a bit about my current set-up.

Toshiba L675D-S7104 laptop; an AMD64 machine currently running Manjaro Linux. In the past, it had been running Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1 preview. I simply gave up trying to get the consumer approved version of 8.1 running, nuked the entire hard-drive, and installed Manjaro. The lessons that I can be from Microsoft can be learned more cheaply elsewhere, and I expect that they’ll be taught better by Linux than anything else.

Samsung Chromebook (the one with the ARM processor). Running ChromeOS for the majority of the time, it’s freaking awesome. It’s fast, and none of the problems that keep on occurring with a Windows machines. Although designed to be a cloud-connected device, Google has come out with lots of new ways to use it offline, but I find that side-loading Linux onto it works better. I’m using it to type this out.

Nexus7 Android tablet. Honestly, I thought I wouldn’t be using the tablet much. I was wrong. It’s primarily an in-house device, because it really need wifi in order to do most anything, but it’s fast, responsive, and just too damn convenient. Because of the size, it’s perfect for reading books, and the touch surface makes photo editing a breeze.

Nexus4 Android phone. This is my “work” computer. You laugh, but it’s true. Over the course of the day, I have to take notes on what I’m doing or else I’m the only one that knows what’s going on with a particular project. I has a good camera that I use frequently, and thanks to T-Mobile, it has better connectivity than the wifi in the shop.

Finally, the Google-verse. The services that Google has set-up for cloud-storage and accessibility are mind blowing. Blogger, Docs, Drive, G+, Music, etc, etc. I don’t entrust everything to the cloud, but when I do, you can’t reasonably expect me to trust Microsoft. But I can, and have, pulled up a document make two weeks ago on my phone, at the local Hooters, and sent it to my boss when he requested the information. It could have just as easily been a document from 2003 (when I began keeping records for work), and myself located on the other side of the country. Keep your external back-ups, but the Cloud is already here...

Friday, November 8, 2013

Very cool paint!

If you get a chance, take a look at this post from Laughing Squid. There's some really great photography with paint-drops...
Cool, eh?

Thursday, November 7, 2013


Whenever I hit a slow spot in the day, it's good to look at these.

Protecting Your Android Device

Protecting your Android device from crap code, up until now, hasn't really been a priority. Not any priority of mine, at least. But yesterday, I had a friend who's phone was getting more pop-ups than a Windows Vista box without anti-virus. So, time to look at this again...

Malwarebytes has been the God-send of the retail computer industry. Free of charge, you'd install and tun the program, after three or four hours, you're back to normal. They just came out with the app for Android, and while it's monitoring for crapware, it hasn't found any. I guess I have to wait until I find someone infected to see any results.

Lookout came on my old Samsung Exhibit II about three years ago. From what I can tell, it's worked just fine, too. There are some other benefits you get with the paid version of this app, but I haven't needed it, so I didn't sign-up for it.

There's still the very attractive solution whenever something's not running right on my Nexus to simply nuke it and restore the device to it's factory settings. Ten minutes of reset and an hour of downloading apps, and you sign into Google. Done. But that glitch you found could have been malware, and preventable if you had one of these two running at the time.

So, take a look beyond what I'm saying. Do some reasearch on your own. Don't ask the kid at the local Best Buy! All he knows is to sell you a copy of Norton or McAffee because his boss told him to. I hope you never need this stuff, but have you ever used your phone to buy music, books, movies? Did you use your credit card?

"New" Science Fiction Blog sited!

Found the author of this blog on G+ the other day, and meant to plug it here...

Hard Science-Fiction looks like a good place to find what you're reading, or watching, next.

Over the years, sci-fi has sort of split into two camps, science fiction, and space opera. The latter has won out, more often than not, because it's dumbed-down. Stuff that was written in the 1950's through the 1970's wasn't so much, but to tell if what you're liking is Space Opera, here's a test;

Q: Does the main character find that his father is the "evil one returned," or his romantic interest is actually [dramatic shocker music] his sister!?
A: Yup, the only difference between this and a episode of All My Children is the ray-guns.

Hopefully, you'll find something better here.

Oh, I should point out that most local libraries now loan out e-books, as well as the dead-tree kind. Find out if you like it before you buy...

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Tech problems...

From the user, "my computer can't have any viruses. I use McAffee."
Right. Your computer has been possessed by tiny Demons that take your credit card data and send you Viagra spam. Feel better?

More APOD.

I just love this stuff...

Bacon Reader Dump

This poor guy only has one red button to press?

Just some random funny stuff I found on Reddit, via Bacon Reader.