Updated Photo… a Little More Gray

Dr. Bill BaileyOK, I have updated my photo here on the web site so you can see who you are listening to… just a bit more gray… and only the barest little bit of photoshopping. (OK, actually GIMPing, to be more accurate!) Beginning to look more the part of the crusty, irascible, cantankerous old person, huh? Sigh.

But, you are only as old as you feel… and, by that measure I am just a spring chicken! So there!

The “HOSTS File” Edition of the Dr. Bill Podcast #58!

Dr. Bill Podcast – 58 – (10/14/06)
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Zimbra Collaboration Suite is awesome! Don’t believe it? Check out the Flash Demo at the link in the Blog! Wow! Why it’s time to lose the “snide IT attitude!” Google is buying YouTube for $1.6 BILLION! Now all the “Numa Numa” and Weird Al videos will be Google’s! If you manage a large network of PCs, you may want to roll IE7 out in a more controlled manner. Here’s info on a neat tool that will help you! 20 things that most users don’t know about Windows XP! Check them out! Goodbye Eudora, hello Thunderbird! Qualcomm is retiring the Eudora E-Mail Client! A special Mozilla Thunderbird client called “Penelope” to help Eudora users move to Thunderbird. An unusual Geek Software of the Week: A MEGA HOSTS File! I take time to discuss what this HOSTS file does, and what it blocks!

Geek Software of the Week: A MEGA HOSTS File!

This week’s Geek Software of the Week is late… but it is a big one! It is not so much software, but rather technique! I thought about this one long and hard, because it does “shoot me in the foot” as a Google Adsense participating website… but, my commitment to your computer safety outweighs my personal “gain.” Pretty small gain actually, but “gain” nonetheless! You see, when you go to a website, yes, even this website, you see adds generated by Google based on the content, and presumably, the context of the site. This is then supposed to lead to referrals off the site because if you see something interesting, and click on that link, then, I, as the web site owner gets a tiny “slice” of the ad revenue from that click.

Well, what I am about to reveal will shut that down for you, if you use it, not only on this site, but ALL web sites you visit! It will also keep you safe from madware, spyware, and even some viruses! (Not from THIS site, obviously, but others!) What am I talking about? Well, here it is!

Mega HOSTS File

The link above is to the mega, huge, all time, biggest, HOSTS file I have seen! Well, OK, I am sure that there are others that are good too, but this one is really good!

The idea is that if you replace your typical HOSTS file found in:


(A location where you will find a file called “hosts” with no extension.)

If you replace that file with the file available at the link above, then get out of your browser and back in… poof! All those nasty ads will be no more! And, your system will not be as “trackable” either! Pretty cool! Where you once saw “Hit the Monkey” ad banners, there will be a white block with a small error, but no flashing yukkiness! Pretty cool… and really powerful! Give it a try… you can always rename your old file to “hosts.old” and copy it back if it proves to be “too much” for you!

Eudora E-Mail Client Being Retired!

That venerable, old e-mail client from long ago… Eudora, is finally being retired… but in favor of Mozilla’s Thunderbird! There will be a special version of Thunderbird created just for Eudora users!

Goodbye Eudora, Hello Thunderbird

“Eudora, once one of the most popular e-mail clients, is finally being retired. Instead of simply abandoning Eudora’s customers, however, Qualcomm is partnering with Mozilla Corp. to create ‘Penelope,’ a customized version of Mozilla’s Thunderbird e-mail client that will be optimized for Eudora customers. Penelope is being developed by half a dozen of Eudora’s most experienced programmers. Their goal is to create a Eudora-user friendly version of Thunderbird that will import their stored mail and contact lists, and all of their Eudora settings.”

Their goal is to create a Eudora-user friendly version of Thunderbird that will import their stored mail and contact lists, and all of their Eudora settings.

20 Things That Most Users Don’t Know About Windows XP

This is good stuff! I will provide the original link… but because the info is so good, I will also paste the whole thing here as well… very neat!

20 Things That Most Users Don’t Know About Windows XP

1. It boasts how long it can stay up. Go to the Command Prompt in the Accessories menu from the All Programs start button option, and then type ‘systeminfo’. The computer will produce a lot of useful info, including the uptime. If you want to keep these, type ‘systeminfo > info.txt’. This creates a file called info.txt you can look at later with Notepad. (Professional Edition only).

2. You can delete files immediately, without having them move to the Recycle Bin first. Go to the Start menu, select Run… and type ‘gpedit.msc’; then select User Configuration, Administrative Templates, Windows Components, Windows Explorer and find the Do not move deleted files to the Recycle Bin setting. Set it. Poking around in gpedit will reveal a great many interface and system options, but take care — some may stop your computer behaving as you wish. (Professional Edition only).

3. You can lock your XP workstation with two clicks of the mouse. Create a new shortcut on your desktop using a right mouse click, and enter ‘rundll32.exe user32.dll,LockWorkStation’ in the location field. Give the shortcut a name you like. That’s it — just double click on it and your computer will be locked. And if that’s not easy enough, Windows key + L will do the same.

4. XP hides some system software you might want to remove, such as Windows Messenger, but you can make it show everything. Using Notepad or Edit, edit the text file /windows/inf/sysoc.inf, search for the word ‘hide’ and remove it. You can then go to the Add or Remove Programs in the Control Panel, select Add/Remove Windows Components and there will be the software and you can now uninstall it.

5. For those skilled in the art of DOS batch files, XP has a number of interesting new commands. These include ‘eventcreate’ and ‘eventtriggers’ for creating and watching system events, ‘typeperf’ for monitoring performance of various subsystems, and ‘schtasks’ for handling scheduled tasks. As usual, typing the command name followed by /? will give a list of options.

6. XP has IP version 6 support — the next generation of IP. Unfortunately this is more than your ISP has, so you can only experiment with this on your LAN. Type ‘ipv6 install’ into Run… (it’s OK, it won’t ruin your existing network setup) and then ‘ipv6 /?’ at the command line to find out more. If you don’t know what IPv6 is, don’t worry.

7. You can at last get rid of tasks on the computer from the command line by using ‘taskkill /pid’ and the task number, or just ‘tskill’ and the process number. Find that out by typing ‘tasklist’, which will also tell you a lot about what’s going on in your system.

8. XP will treat Zip files like folders, which is nice if you’ve got a fast machine. On slower machines, you can make XP leave zip files alone by typing ‘regsvr32 /u zipfldr.dll’ at the command line. If you change your mind later, you can change things back by typing ‘regsvr32 zipfldr.dll’.

9. XP has ClearType — Microsoft’s anti-aliasing font display technology — but doesn’t have it enabled by default. It’s well worth trying, especially if you were there for DOS and all those years of staring at a screen have given you the eyes of an astigmatic bat. To enable ClearType, right click on the desktop, select Properties, Appearance, Effects, select ClearType from the second drop-down menu and enable the selection. Expect best results on laptop displays. If you want to use ClearType on the Welcome login screen as well, set the registry entry HKEY_USERS/.DEFAULT/Control Panel/Desktop/FontSmoothingType to 2.

10. You can use Remote Assistance to help a friend who’s using network address translation (NAT) on a home network, but not automatically. Get your pal to email you a Remote Assistance invitation and edit the file. Under the RCTICKET attribute will be a NAT IP address, like Replace this with your friend’s real IP address — they can find this out by going to www.whatismyip.com — and get them to make sure that they’ve got port 3389 open on their firewall and forwarded to the errant computer.

11. You can run a program as a different user without logging out and back in again. Right click the icon, select Run As… and enter the user name and password you want to use. This only applies for that run. The trick is particularly useful if you need to have administrative permissions to install a program, which many require. Note that you can have some fun by running programs multiple times on the same system as different users, but this can have unforeseen effects.

12. Windows XP can be very insistent about you checking for auto updates, registering a Passport, using Windows Messenger and so on. After a while, the nagging goes away, but if you feel you might go insane before that point, run Regedit, go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Microsoft/Windows/Current Version/Explorer/Advanced and create a DWORD value called EnableBalloonTips with a value of 0.

13. You can start up without needing to enter a user name or password. Select Run… from the start menu and type ‘control userpasswords2’, which will open the user accounts application. On the Users tab, clear the box for Users Must Enter A User Name And Password To Use This Computer, and click on OK. An Automatically Log On dialog box will appear; enter the user name and password for the account you want to use.

14. Internet Explorer 6 will automatically delete temporary files, but only if you tell it to. Start the browser, select Tools / Internet Options… and Advanced, go down to the Security area and check the box to Empty Temporary Internet Files folder when browser is closed.

15. XP comes with a free Network Activity Light, just in case you can’t see the LEDs twinkle on your network card. Right click on My Network Places on the desktop, then select Properties. Right click on the description for your LAN or dial-up connection, select Properties, then check the Show icon in notification area when connected box. You’ll now see a tiny network icon on the right of your task bar that glimmers nicely during network traffic.

16. The Start Menu can be leisurely when it decides to appear, but you can speed things along by changing the registry entry HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Control Panel/Desktop/MenuShowDelay from the default 400 to something a little snappier. Like 0.

17. You can rename loads of files at once in Windows Explorer. Highlight a set of files in a window, then right click on one and rename it. All the other files will be renamed to that name, with individual numbers in brackets to distinguish them. Also, in a folder you can arrange icons in alphabetised groups by View, Arrange Icon By… Show In Groups.

18. Windows Media Player will display the cover art for albums as it plays the tracks — if it found the picture on the Internet when you copied the tracks from the CD. If it didn’t, or if you have lots of pre-WMP music files, you can put your own copy of the cover art in the same directory as the tracks. Just call it folder.jpg and Windows Media Player will pick it up and display it.

19. Windows key + Break brings up the System Properties dialogue box; Windows key + D brings up the desktop; Windows key + Tab moves through the taskbar buttons.

20. Windows XP secretly KNOWS that the average user has no idea what they are doing. Therefore, it doesn’t let you do really stupid things like deleting the windows directory (at least not without spending several hours convincing it that you REALLY want to do this). Oh yeah, and Internet Explorer kinda sucks, get Firefox.

IE7 Killer!

When Internet Explorer 7 “hits the big time” soon, Microsoft, in their usual heavyhanded manner, will push out the update to everyone whether they want it or not. If you manage a large network of PCs, you may want to roll IE7 out in a more controlled manner. To help in this regard, M$ has graciously provided a registry hack to prevent deployment automatically so that YOU can decide when to release the new version on your network. And, here’s a neat tool that will help you set that reg key!

Disable automatic install of IE 7

“Many administrators are going to be taken by surprise when they find out that IE 7 is going to be installed automatically via Windows Update. There are considerable changes that could cause many headaches. Most administrators would prefer to decide when IE 7 is deployed on their network… I for one hate messing around in the registry, and sometimes I don’t want to use the command line – I want a nice GUI interface to make these types of changes. That is why we have created two more free tools to make the changes for you.”

Its Confirmed! Google is Buying YouTube for $1.6 BILLION!

Google Inc. said Monday it’s buying No. 1 Internet video sharing Web site YouTube Inc. for $1.65 billion in stock. The deal is regarded as a largely defensive one that leapfrogs Google into a leading role in a burgeoning Internet marketplace.

Wow! Now all the “Numa Numa” and Weird Al videos will be Google’s! Who says Geek Culture is “cheap?”

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“Stupid Users?” Well, Yes… But Don’t Let Them Know That You Know!

This article makes some good points about IT pros being “snide”… however, if users wouldn’t keep being stupid, we wouldn’t be so prone to “roll our eyes!” Help us out, folks!

Why It’s Time to Lose the Snide IT Attitude

“In the years before the tech bubble burst, IT was king: there was a huge demand for professionals with technical prowess and an overwhelming shortage of able bodies. Techies could pick their job and name their salary. They could wear jeans and t-shirts to meetings and nobody would raise an eyebrow. They could roll their eyes when an employee had the gauche to not know where to put their Ethernet card.”

OK, I don’t expect my users to know where a put an ethernet card… however, I DO expect them not to click attachments in e-mail, not to go to “evil” websites, and I really WOULD like them to know how to “map” a drive on the network! Is THAT asking too much?

Tell ya what… I will try to be more circumspect with my attitude… and YOU folks try and be a little more computer savvy! In the words of the great philosopher, “Can’t we all just get along?”

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