Saturday, February 23, 2013

When Progress Hinders Us


When life gets busy, I tend to cut back on my useful and useless projects. I have about four 50% finished things lying around and it bugs me that I cannot do any of them, but that doesn't mean that I don't have time to think and subsequently write. Between my absorption in university and the IT world, lies this part of me that reflects on the machine that is technological progress. It is easy to get wrapped up in and think little of its consequences past your own personal enjoyment you hope to get from it. This blog post is a rant and reflection on "progress."

Monday, February 11, 2013

7 Reasons to Upgrade to Windows 8

Even though the cheap upgrade period for Windows 8 is past, there are still many good reasons to consider Windows 8. Being a Windows 8 user myself, I do not really understand the gripes I have heard from other users. I've heard many, but I just don't see them. I will agree that Modern/Metro UI is different, but using it for awhile has made it second nature to me. Also, Start8 by Stardock Software is worthwhile checking out if you are unsure of Modern UI.

My chief reason for upgrading was a blown Solid State Drive. It was a good excuse, and lets be honest here, that should be reason number one to upgrade.

Note: This list is not a ranking of best to worst reasons.

Centralized and Easy way to Install/Update Programs

Do you use lots of freeware (you should)? Do you have lots of computers? Are you a professional IT worker? If any of them are yes, then you need Ninite. Ninite is an installer that collects your favorite programs that you check off on a large list and every time you use it, it will batch install or update your programs. The website creates a small .exe that you can put on a USB stick which you just run and leave it unattended. Easy!

Go to:

Everytime I refresh my computer or work on a new one, I just run this app and reinstall all of my favorite programs. For IT pros, you can buy a version for network deployment and complete unattended installation.

Take it for a spin, use freeware, this is a miracle program!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

DIY Hard Drive Dock

Hard drive docks allow you to plug in internal hard drives to your computer without opening up your computer and installing it on internal SATA. These cannot always be justified, however, due to price and a lack of regular usage (until a catastrophe hits, that is). The solution to the problem is twofold. Maybe it isn't even a problem, but you can still get a two-for-one deal with my method!

Difficulty: Easy
Price: $20-$80 (depends on the price of your external)
Materials: A Seagate FreeAgent Go portable hard drive (or any portable of your choice)
Tools Required: jewelers screwdrivers

Friday, February 1, 2013

Repair → Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse

Recently I acquired a Microsoft Wireless Arc Touch mouse for free from work. Unfortunately, it was broken and my friend had no idea why. I thought, why not take it home and see if I can get a free $60 mouse out of the deal? 

Well, I searched around online for some time and found out that the secret and nifty power switch in the Arc often broke (you turn on the mouse by bending the body from flat to curved so you can use it, very cool). I guess that design is not yet well thought out, but the mouse is a very cool idea. 

Check out the design and usage here:

Anyways, one guy from this thread said he fixed it by cutting the line to the power switch and tying the wires together. The Arc would be constantly on, but its battery life is beautiful and you can just take out the batteries when not in use!

Note: There is another fix mentioned by Joshua in the comments. It did not work for my mouse, but it worth checking. If you don't know how to take the mouse apart, follow my instructions for that at least. The rubber sheath will be held by 2-4 screws. Find them and pull back the rubber sheath to expose the underside.

He never said what to do exactly, so I made this how to:

Time Required: 10-30 minutes
Tools Required: jeweler screwdriver set, wire strippers, side cutters, needle nose pliers, drill, 1/16" drill bit