How To Configure a New Laptop or Desktop to Not Suck

Stand by – the mother of all instructions is on the way…..

Did the “New Computers” thing recently with a desktop and a laptop.

  1. The hardest part is removing all of the junk that comes on the computerPC Decrapifier helps.
  2. Once everything is stripped down to the bare Windows OS – Run all your Windows Updates to get everything current on 8.1
  3. Antivirus / Firewall / Malware? UNINSTALL WHATEVER CAME ON YOUR COMPUTER “Windows Defender for Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1 provides built-in protection against malware. You can’t use Microsoft Security Essentials with Windows 8.1, but you don’t need to—Windows Defender is already included and ready to go. But if you’re looking to protect a PC with an older version of Windows, you can use Microsoft Security Essentials to help guard against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software. It provides free* real-time protection for your home or small business PCs.
  4. Office Suite - Office 365 is a no brainer. Split across a household or with a few friends the price is right, even for one user the price is still better than the old Office pricing.
  5. More to come . . .
  6. Cloudmark
  7. Picasa / tweetdeck / snipping / notebook / filezilla/ iTunes / Spotify / Google Earth / VLCPaint / (Bundled)
  8. Skydrive vs DropBox / OneNote vs. Evernote
  9. Carbonite / Soluto
  10. NO CCleaner – problems
Posted in Instructions | 1 Comment

How to Forward or eMail a Webpage URL in Google Chrome

Are you looking for the magic button in Google Chrome that will allow you to send the webpage you are looking at to a friend?

There isn’t one.

So lets make it in a few quick, simple, steps!

1) Open Chrome and Right Click on any bookmark you have across the top of your browser.

2) Click on Add Page

For NAME:
eMail Link

For URL:
javascript:location.href=’mailto:?SUBJECT=’+document.title+’&BODY=’+escape(location.href);

3) Save it!

Now when you need to share the latest Geek Fill posting or awesome Craft Beer discovery – just click “eMail Link!”

Posted in Google, Instructions | Tagged , , , , , , , | 46 Comments

SOLVED: How To Fix A WordPress Captcha Text Font Error

Getting a Warning: imagettftext() [function.imagettftext]: Could not read font error message? Let’s fix it!

If you have a form on a your WordPress website and are trying to prevent spammers  from flooding your site with deals on  – well, you know the kinds of deals they promote, get yourself a “Completely Automated Public Turing Test To Tell Computers and Humans Apart” or a CAPTCHA.  You are undoubtedly familiar with CAPTCHA codes. They look like this:

Personally I’m a big fan of MM Forms so I’ll use that plug-in as my example but the theory is the same no matter what you use.

Easy enough to set-up: download it and FTP into your WordPress PLUGINS directory just like you have done for other plugins. I’ll use Filezilla in my examples. Its a great, FREE FTP program.

But do you do if you load your webpage and you get the dreaded “Warning: imagettftext() [function.imagettftext]: Could not read font…error message? Well you could Google it – but the results are uglyyyyyy. Hopefully I can save you some gray hairs. Here we go:

The directions for MM Forms read:

  1. Upload whole mm-forms-community folder to the /wp-content/plugins/ directory
  2. Activate the plugin through the ‘Plugins’ menu in WordPress
  3. Make following directories writable (chmod 777) /exports/ and /captcha/tmp /upload

Ok Wait . . CHMOD???

Its simple: “The chmod command (abbreviated from change mode) is a Unix command that lets a programmer tell the system how much (or little) access it should permit to a file. It changes the file system modes of files and directories.” Basically, you don’t want people visiting your website to just drill into any folder on your server and be able to run commands, upload files etc.

  1. FTP into your website
  2. Go to the folder you need to change (or check) permissions on.
  3. Right Click on it.
  4. In Filezilla the command to select is “FILE PERMISSIONS” – If you are using a different FTP program look for similar message.

And Ta-Da! Changing from the default of 755 to 777 is as easy as checking two boxes!

 

OK Done! Everything works, right? Oh wait a minute . ..  you load the webpage and get Warning: imagettftext() [function.imagettftext]: Could not read font in . . . error?

Usually this is caused by the permissions being wrong, the font files not being uploaded all the way or the font files being corrupted. Not OK. Let’s fix it!

Try this . .

  1. Find the folder inside the the plugin you are setting up what has the actual font files in it. In our case, its in wp-content/plugins/mm-forms/captcha/gentium
  2. Delete the .TTF and .VFB files. You’ll notice they are quite large compared to the other files in that directory:

And now for Trick #1.

99.9% of the time your FTP program is set to automatically decide how to transfer the files from your computer to the the server. 99.9% of the time you never have to change this setting. Welcome to the .1% of the time when you do.

In Filezilla, Select TRANSFER –> TRANSFER TYPE –> BINARY

Don’t worry about why for, or who what – Just select BINARY.

Trick #2 – upload the TTF and VFB files one at a time. Trust me.

Upload one, wait for it to finish (it will take longer than normal) and then check the filesize to make sure the whole file got to the server.

I repeat: check the filesize to make sure the whole file got to the server.

Repeat for your remaining files.

Cross your fingers.

Reload your webpage.

Sigh in relief. The dreaded Warning: imagettftext() [function.imagettftext]: Could not read font in . . . beast is no more!

And don’t forget to change your transfer mode back to AUTOMATIC!

Problem solved? All I ask for is Beer and Books. Beer and Books. (Kindle versions preferred)

Cheers!

Posted in Freeware, Instructions, Wordpress | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 31 Comments

How To Make Google Calendar Sync Work With Microsoft Outlook 2010

If you use Google Calendar sync and have upgraded to Microsoft Office 2010 you’ve no doubt discovered that the two don’t work together. Here’s the world’s easiest fix:

  1. Download this file: GoogleCalendarSync.zip
  2. Unzip it
  3. Go to C:Program FilesGoogleGoogle Calendar Sync
  4. Rename GoogleCalendarSync.exe to OLDGoogleCalendarSync.exe
  5. Move the new GoogleCalendarSync file to this folder.
  6. Launch  Goggle Calendar Sync.exe
  7. Fixed.

In the simplest of terms, the latest version of the Sync.exe file reads the version of Microsoft Outlook differently from the way the older version of the same file does. We are simply replacing the latest version of the file with a slightly older one.

Cheers!

UPDATE 17Aug: Google has released an update that should work with the 32 bit version of Outlook 2010

Posted in Calendar, Google, Outlook | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 64 Comments

How To Automatically and Anonymously Download Your Favorite TV Shows

Lets say you were going to get rid of your television but still wanted to be able to watch your favorite shows at your leisure.  No problem. Here’s how:

This is not going to be a tutorial on the magic of Bit-Torrent, Wikipedia does a fine job at that:

BitTorrent is a peer-to-peer file sharing protocol used for distributing large amounts of data. BitTorrent is one of the most common protocols for transferring large files, and it has been estimated that it accounts for approximately 27-55% of all Internet traffic (depending on geographical location) as of February 2009.

BitTorrent protocol allows users to distribute large amounts of data without putting the level of strain on their computers that would be needed for standard Internet hosting…. The protocol works as an alternative data distribution method that makes even small computers with low bandwidth capable of participating in large data transfers.

There are several bit torrent programs available but in the spirit of keeping things extremely simple we are going to use a pre-configured version of uTorrent. We are also going to use an anonymizer service that will cost about $7.00 a month.I do not have an affiliate link or get a kickback for promoting this service – I just stand by it whole-heartedly and believe it is worth the 7 bucks a month to remain anonymous. If you don’t feel the need to use it  – skip ahead to right here: Click Me.

First, Go to BTGuard.com and create an account. I have a subscription. If you just want to “test the water” make a single month payment.

BTGuard

Once your account has been created click on the link that reads Install BTGuard

Choose the Easy Install

Recommended for most users, the easy method will install a pre-configured BitTorrent client (uTorrent) & encryption software. All you need to do is download and install!

For windows only, please use the advanced install of Vuze for Mac or Linux.

Once you have downloaded the BTGuard file, run it to install the pre-configured version of uTorrent

btguard4

You will be prompted for your BTGuard login information, fill it in and select ok.:

btguard5

The software will check your account status and then give you a message stating all’s well!

btguard6

Select Continue and  – whats this?

btguard7

If you get a similar firewall message make sure you tell the program to ALLOW uTorrent. In this case I will choose Unblock.

Would you like to make uTorrent the default torrent application? Yes indeed and “Always perform this check!”

btguard8

Ta-Da! You have a Bit Torrent program installed!

Let’s look at 2 settings  – Click on the yellow gear icon or select OPTIONS –> PREFERENCES and go to CONNECTION

You will see that the information for a proxy server has been filled in automatically:

btguard9

The other setting to take a look at is DIRECTORIES. I don’t think i need to give you a screen shot for that one – just select what folder you want your downloaded files put into. I have a folder in My Documents I created called Recently Downloaded. Whatever works for you – make it so!

At this point we have the ability to download movies and television shows using uTorrent. Now let’s set up which ones we want . .

Go to showRSS and register for a new account. You don’t even need to supply an email address!

btguard10

Don’t forget your username and password. You will need it to add and remove programs later!

Once you have created the account the next step is to create a list of television programs you want to subscribe to. I’ll add 3 to mine:

btguard11

I added Californication, Caprica and Dexter. You can add all the programs you want.

Finished? Ok, now click on FEEDS

Next to Get Your Feed Address choose BOTH TYPES OF TORRENTS and INCLUDE PROPER AND REPACKS then click GENERATE.

You will be taken to a page like this:

btguard12

Copy the link that looks like this: http://showrss.karmorra.info/rss.php?user_id=24575&hd=2&proper=1

Here comes the magic . . . Open uTorrent, select FILE then ADD RSS FEED

Paste the link address in the FEED URL Box.

Check CUSTOM ALIAS and make up a name like TV SHOWS

Select AUTOMATICALLY DOWNLOAD ITEMS PUBLISHED IN FEED

and check the box for USE SMART EPISODE FILTER

btguard13

Click OK and hold on to your hat:

btguard14

Things to remember:

1) BTGuard is costing you $7.00 a month to provide you an anonymous Bit Torrent connection.

2) uTorrent is the program you are using to download “Torrent Files” of your choosing.

3) ShowRSS is where you are managing what TV shows are automatically downloaded with uTorrent.

4) Log in to ShowRSS to add or remove programs.

5) If uTorrent is running, its checking for new episodes!

And now that you have a Bit Torrent program . . .go find some torrents!

All I ask for in return is Beer and Books. Beer and Books.

Cheers!

Posted in Bit Torrent | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 34 Comments

How To Add MMS Messaging to A Jailbroken iPhone Running 3.0

If you have a jailbroken iPhone that is running the 3.0 and want to add MMS capability to it read on!

Start by connecting your iPhone to your PC and closing iTunes

Next, download this file: ATT_US-5.5 and save it to your desktop

Nowwe need to get to a command prompt.

  • In Windows XP choose START – RUN – and type CMD the hit enter
  • In Windows Vista chose START and in the “Start Search” box type CMD and hit enter

Now you have a Command Prompt window open like this:

CMD Prompt

Type the following string EXACTLY as show and hit Enter:

“C:Program FilesiTunesiTunes.exe” /setPrefInt carrier-testing 1

CMD2

If you get an error, you didn’t type it in exactly as shown above. If You hit Enter and iTunes opens – you didn’t type it in exactly as shown above.

Open iTunes manually

Select the iPhone you want to add MMS capabilty to. You can use the same computer to update several phones. I did both mine and my wife’s on my laptop.

Itunes My Phone

Now press the SHIFT key and click UPDATE (Notice that I have not updated my phone to version 3.1)

iTunes Update

In the bottom right-hand corner of the dialogue box is a drop-down box. Change it from “Ipod/IPhone Software (*.ipsw)” to “iPhone Carrier Configuration Files (*.ipcc)”

If you don’t have the ability to select “iPhone Carrier Configuration Files (*.ipcc)” then you missed something above. Most likely you didn’t enter the command correctly.

iPhone Carrier

Select the file you download earlier (ATT_US-5.5) and you will see the progress bar zip by as the change is applied.

Reboot your iPhone:

  • Hold down the Home button (that’s the big button in the lower front) and the Sleep / Wake button (that’s the little button on the top right) down.
  • Keep holding until you see the screen go black and then the Apple logo appear.

Once the phone has rebooted go to your messaging and select a contact to send a message to.

You will see the camera icon is now available:

IMG_1298

Tap the camera icon, take a picture or choose an existing one . . .

IMG_1300

YOU Sir or Ma’am, are ready to send MMS messages on OS 3.0!

Posted in Instant Message, Instructions, iPhone | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

WordPress Error: The server XYZ at Magic Requires a Username and Password.

WordpressHere is a little surprise I received upon returning from vacation. I was editing a blog and when I went to save the post an error popped up reading:

  • The server (our server domain, e.g. DOMAIN.COM) at Magic requires a username and password.

Well isn’t that special?

The problem is caused by the vars.php file located in the WP-INCLUDES folder. Someone did a SQL Injection (Read More Here) and added code to the file.

The fix is an easy one – 2 steps:

  1. Download a new version of the vars.php file from WordPress and replace the corrupted one. Look here – Simply choose your WordPress version
  2. Update WordPress to the latest version!

Normally, the files starts:

<?php
/**
 * Creates common globals for the rest of WordPress
 *
 * Sets $pagenow global which is the current page. Checks
 * for the browser to set which one is currently being used.
 *
 * Detects which user environment WordPress is being used on.
 * Only attempts to check for Apache and IIS. Two web servers
 * with known permalink capability.
 *
 * @package WordPress
 */

But after it has been “hacked” there is encrypted text reading something like:

eval(base64_decode("JGxsbD0wO2V2YWwoYmFzZT....

So once again, Look here – Simply choose your WordPress version, go to WP-INLUDES, download Vars.php and replace the one on your server. Then update WordPress for better security.

Posted in Wordpress | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments