How-To Guides

Guides & How-To’s for helping people with tech orientated topics

Tip of the Week – 27th November 2009

By on Nov 27, 2009 in How-To Guides |

[Fonts Tip] If you would like to see which fonts you have installed on your system but don’t feel like browsing through your Word Processor’s limited font browser, then try this website, http://www.flippingtypical.com. You can type in anything you like at the top, and it will display what you type in all the fonts that your system has installed. Pretty...

Read More

Tip of the week – 20th November 2009

By on Nov 20, 2009 in How-To Guides |

[Firefox Tip] If you want to make use of your bookmark toolbar, but don’t want to make the toolbar any deeper than it already is, then this tip is for you. 1) From the view menu, activate the bookmark toolbar. 2) Right-click on the menu bar and select “Customise”. 3) Drag the bookmark toolbar icon from the bookmark toolbar to the menu bar. 4) Click “Done” on the icon box 5) From the view menu, deactivate the bookmark...

Read More

Tip of the week – 13th November 2009

By on Nov 13, 2009 in How-To Guides |

I’ve just come across a website that will notify you when a website you’re interested in goes down and comes back up. You can even select whether to be notified via e-mail, SMS (not sure about country restrictions), or even Twitter. http://www.dingitsup.com/

Read More

How to have your cloud and eat it

By on Nov 11, 2009 in How-To Guides |

Cloud computing is great isn’t it? We can have all our data stored somewhere on the interwebs, accessible to us from any computer or mobile phone. I’m picturing it now, a white fuzzy-bordered soft-focus video with shampoo-advert beautiful people gather around a computer smiling and laughing at work and at home. Yes, I’m being sarcastic, but cloud computing definitely has its advantages, especially given that OSX and Linux are nibbling away at Window’s desktop market share. We’re in more need than ever for cross-platform and platform agnostic software solutions. So, what’s the catch? Well, if you exercise due diligence on which services to use, then there are not really any significant catches. But there lies the rub, I know most people won’t bother with due diligence, they’ll just sign up to that free email/calendar/documents service and give little thought to what happens when that services breaks down or (wrongly) decides you’re doing naughty things and locks you out, or even worse, disappears from the internet forever. Think about that for a moment, it could be a disaster for you. The most important thing to ensure with any cloud computing service (e.g. email, calendar, documents, etc.) is to make sure you can get a copy of your own data. If your data only exists in the cloud, then you don’t have your data. If your cloud service ever has a catastrophic failure, goes out of business or locks you out of your account, then you loose access to all of your data. If you have a backup copy, then you’re already in a position to set up an account elsewhere and upload your data. Of course, your cloud service should do their own backups, but downloading your own copy is like having an off-site backup too. If you use any of the Google services then you should take a look at dataliberation.org. It is a site ran by Google employees, and collects all the information you need on how to extract your data from Google’s cloud services like Gmail, Calendar and Documents, etc. If you use some other cloud service, then it’s up to you to investigate how to get a copy of your data from their servers. If you...

Read More

How I automated my email backup

By on Nov 9, 2009 in How-To Guides |

Some time ago I bemoaned the lack of a way to have my computer run an automated back up of my IMAP email. To summarise, I had a couple of point and click methods to back up my email. Although, these were both manual methods, which means I needed to remember. No matter how good my intentions, sometimes I’ll forget, so I wanted something I could automate. This naturally lead to me wanting something that would run on the command line, which I could hence run from a script. I’m glad to say I finally discovered a Python program called OfflineIMAP that would do just this. It won’t run on Windows, but it will run on any POSIX type operating system, i.e. Linux, FreeBSD, and Max OS. My only complaint with the thing is that if you run it manually in a terminal, you can no longer type anything into that terminal – you have to shut down and re-open the terminal window. Also, if you want to run this without having to input your log-in details (i.e. unattended executions) then you have to have them stored in a clear-text configuration file. Other than these niggles, it is perfect for my needs. I can run it from my cron scheduler, and it synchronises with my IMAP server. This is actually better than I wanted, as synchronisation means I can use this to upload any messages I’ve archived away from the server, but want to restore. If you’re interested in trying this, I’ll just mention that I don’t directly call it from a cronojb, but I call it from a script, because of the above mentioned terminal bug. (And no, running it like this from the cron scheduler didn’t work, it had to be ran from a script). sleep 2 /usr/local/bin/offlineimap& echo "" References: OfflineIMAP – WikiStart –...

Read More

Tip of the week – 6th November 2009

By on Nov 6, 2009 in How-To Guides |

If you’re a Last.fm user, and you listen to music on your Series 60 smart phone, I’m sure you’ll be wishing you could scrobble your tunes. Now you can, try out Mobbler. If you let it connect to the internet all the time, it will scrobble in real time, or if you want to wait until you’re in WiFi range, just leave it running in the background in it’s offline mode, and it will queue up everything you play, then scrobble as soon as you tell it to...

Read More