Category: Uncategorized

Windows XP

By , 2014-03-22 15:03

Windows XP is going out of support next month.. This means Microsoft will no longer provide security updates or any patches for the OS, leaving users of the 12-year old version of Windows more vulnerable to emerging threats.

On this occasion, let’s take a moment to put dear old WinXP’s age in perspective. But first, some mood music:

When Windows XP was released…

Bill Gates was still CEO of Microsoft.


Gates with his new baby. Also Alias.

Friends, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The X-Files, Frasier and Sex and the City were still airing new episodes.


Vampires were still scary.

Friends Gets 11 Emmy Nominations

The one where Monica and Chandler are married and Rachel is freaking out.

We had yet to see shows like The Office, Arrested Development, House and How I Met Your Mother.

house-md_0001 2

There was no Gregory House in 2001.

The current-gen iMac had a CRT display.


This was the competition.

There was only The Matrix.

matrix_revisited copy

This was true in 2001.

The “War on Terror” had only just begun.

The President of the USA.

The President of the USA.

The BlackBerry 950 was the current model.


Portable productivity for the business professional.

How to buy technology

By , 2014-01-09 19:28

Being  a “computer” guy, I often get asked all kinds of questions related to technology.

Some questions that come up quite often are “What kind of laptop should I buy?” or “What do you think of [insert name of tablet]?” or “My laptop is old. I need a new one, but I’m thinking of Windows 8/iPad/Android instead. What are your thoughts?”

The best advice I can offer anyone is:

What are you looking for in your electronic device?

Whether you’re shopping for a car, a house, a phone etc. it helps to know what you’re looking for. If you work in construction and need to haul 2x4s and bricks and things fairly often, a sport coupé is probably not the right car for you. Likewise, when picking a mobile computing device, you should think about what you need the device to be able to do. So, before shopping, take a step back and evaluate your needs and wants for your mobile computer.

So, before even looking at the latest Best Buy flyer – a few questions to ponder:

  • What are the workloads? Word processing, web browsing, YouTube (HD), e-mail, gaming, music, photo editing, etc.
  • What kind of apps do you want to use?
  • Where will you be using the device? In class? On the train/bus? In meetings? At your desk?
  • Will you be carrying the device a lot? In a bag?
  • Are you looking for something stylish? flashy? durable?
  • Do you really need a portable device? Desktop computers are still a good option, and there are interesting all-in-one options.

There are all kinds of technology form factors today, and more being created all the time. Everyone’s needs and preferences are different, but there’s probably a device that’s just right.

Keyboard test

By , 2013-09-16 02:17

– Are you mad at your computer?
– I type with purpose.

Is a mechanical keyboard really better to type on?
I’m not sure yet but it certainly is louder. It’s really loud. I washed this keyboard this morning, getting rid of 20 years of dust and grime. Hopefully I didn’t damage the electronics with all the water. It seems OK now, but earlier I was getting some double letters. The model M is a buckling spring keyboard. Some say that’s the best type of mechanical keyboard. Never tried others myself – Cherry MX switches and the like. Those fancy keyboards from Filco and Das Keyboard look great, but I still can’t see myself paying $100 for an input device. I suppose I don’t really spend enough time actually typing for it to be worth it. This particular Model M was salvaged from the trash bin. It’s a cool white colour and not the usual grey/beige. It’s also branded Ambra (a Canadian IBM brand) rather than IBM or Lexmark. Manufacturing date is 1993. I’m also currently using an IBM PS/2 mouse. It’s actually a fantastic quality “ball” mouse, way better than the late cheap OEM mice that came with PCs in the early ’00s before optical mice became the norm. The mouse is light, the cursor responds great… if only this thing had a scroll wheel.

OK, now that I’ve typed a few lines on the mechanical keyboard, let’s try the total opposite.

Here we go, typing on an Apple Aluminium keyboard. Chiclet-style keys, virtually flat – identical to MacBook keyboards. Very different feel when typing, obviously. Hands are also in a different position, this keyboard is very low to the table. I’m actually not sure which one I prefer. I feel like there are a lot more “shocks” going through my hand when my fingers hit the keys on the Apple keyboard, since the key travel isn’t very far. This keyboard is actually surprisingly loud, especially the space bar. Having volume function keys is nice.

Let’s try the IBM again.

Back on the Model M. A lot more noise. How about the typing feel? It feels pretty good. More natural to type on here than on the Apple. I had read online something about not having to press the keys as far since the keys actuate before actually being pushed in all the way. Not sure if that’s how I’d describe the feeling of typing on here. The thing that strikes me most is the really springy feel – which is to be expected, after all, the keys each have a physical spring underneath them. I’m going to have to try a typing test using both keyboards to see how many WPM I get. The model M seems to have issues with Backspace sometimes. Probably due to the PS2 to USB adapter I had to use to connect it to the laptop.

Cost savings: Follow-up

By , 2013-06-14 18:01

It’s been a few months, probably a good time to see how I’m doing with my cost savings goals.

1. Cancel Fibe TV. Haven’t done it. I seriously made an effort though, but I can’t receive OTA HDTV in my apartment. Turns out despite being on the 29th floor, I have no line of sight with the CN tower or any other local broadcast tower. I did however cut down my subscription package to the absolute minimum and got the Fibe Internet “dependency” reduced to $0 monthly.
2. Cancel landline. Well, I didn’t do this one either. It kind of ties in with the first point; I did get the price reduced enough that it costs less than the dry loop I’d need if I did cancel.
3. Be more energy conscious. I’ve been making sure to switch off any electric service when not necessary. I don’t leave my desktop computer on all the time anymore, my home server is a low power, compact system.
4. Move to the cloud. Nothing done on this front yet.
5. Cancel personal smartphone. Done. I no longer carry two smartphones, I’ve settled on an HTC One (great device) as my only phone. Saving more than $50/month.
6. Stop buying random stuff. Well I haven’t really bought random tech, but I did go on a trip to Greece… Expensive, but so worth it!

So, overall, not doing too well. But I think it’s a start.

PSA: ISO 8601 – Numeric Dates

By , 2013-02-27 06:00


The correct way to write numeric dates: 2013-02-27. No ambiguity, sorts correctly, easily legible.

ISO 8601


Getting Windows 8 to work with Windows 7 and Samba

By , 2013-01-24 22:20
  • Don’t sign in with a Microsoft account during initial setup of PC. Create a local account, then link a Microsoft account if necessary later.
  • Add credentials for network in the “Credential Manager”
  • Change setting in “Advanced sharing settings” to use user accounts and not Homegroup.
  • (Mac OS X) Edit /etc/smb.conf, add workgroup = WORKGROUP and master browser = auto.

Skip OOBE on Nook Simple Touch (NST)

By , 2012-12-09 23:25

I’ve been having issues with the OOBE on my Nook Simple Touch. It will simply not register to my account.

Fortunately, there is a way to skip the OOBE and get the device to a mostly-working state:

Skip OOBE:

On the first screen that appears on the NST without tapping any button.
1.Hold the right top button and move your finger from left to right on the top of the screen.
2.The factory button will appear at the bottom right of the screen, tap it.
3.Hold again the right top button and tap the right bottom part of the screen, where the factory button appeared
4.A button labeled skip oobe will appear, tap it, your done

For the Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight and Nook Simple Touch with 1.2 firmware, the “Factory” button appears on the top left, and the “Skip OOBE” button will appear in the blank space at the bottom right.


Shirley and Britta in the Morning!

By , 2012-09-03 17:59

Tomorrow on CityTV Breakfast Television!

Syncing config files to a subversion repository automatically

By , 2012-07-18 11:05

Here’s a script I cooked up for syncing my Web server’s config to a subversion repository.

Before running the script, initialize an svn repo at /root/subversion/serveurs-web.

# Path to the previously created SVN repo
# use rsync to copy config files from /etc to svnpath. Allow delete, but don't touch the .svn folder
rsync -auz --delete --exclude=.svn /etc/lighttpd $svnpath/web1/etc/
rsync -auz --delete --exclude=.svn /etc/php5 $svnpath/web1/etc/
#svn status $svnpath
# svn auto delete, add and commit script stolen from
echo "processing files to add..."
svn status $svnpath | grep "^?" | sed -r 's/^\?[ ]+//' | xargs -r svn add
echo "processing files to delete..."
svn status $svnpath | grep "^!" | sed -r 's/^\![ ]+//' | xargs -r svn delete
echo "processing commit..."
svn commit $svnpath -m "automatic commit from $HOSTNAME"
# done!

Union Station subway replacement buses

By , 2012-06-09 19:40

Custom theme by me. Based on Panorama by Themocracy