Feb 132010

geeks with heartToday, while you’re in the lovin’ mood, why not share your big geek heart with others.

Geek Girls Network & Geeky Clean have created a fundraiser to support the Haiti Relief called Geeks With Heart.

Through Mercy Corp, Geeks With Heart has a fundraising goal of $2500 and there is no minimum for donations. If you can spare just one special cup of coffee, an iTunes download, or a crispy chicken sandwich, donate to Haiti instead. Show Haiti why geeks have heart!

As extra incentive, and not that you need any, once Geeks With Heart reaches $2500, all who donated will have the chance to win a prize from an amazing grab bag of geek prizes!

So donate, tweet it up, put a badge on your website, and tell all your friends and family. Thanks!

Geeks With Heart: http://www.mercycorps.org/fundraising/geekgirls

Check out the  Geeks With Heart Haiti Video !!

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Jan 202010

01.27.09 by:: swytch

I’m sure many of you have encountered this devlish BSOD (blue screen of death) at least once in your lifetime.

unmountable boot volume

In my line of work, people tend to come to me in utter anguish praying they haven’t lost their files. Most of the time I can get the user up and running again within a short period of time but there are those times…. well, I’ll just re-emphasize the need to BACK UP YOUR DATA. :0)

Here are a few steps which I used to get my laptop back in shape. (steps below reference Windows XP but can be help troubleshooting other operating systems)

Step 1 – Located my Windows XP operating system disk. With my XP disk in the CD-rom drive, I powered up the computer. When prompted, I booted to the CD drive and not the internal hard drive. At that point I began to see XP starting its boot and restore process.

boot from windows CD

Step 2 – When prompted, select “R” to repair the current XP installation. You will then be brought to the Windows System Repair prompt shown below.

windows xp setup

Step 3 – I resolved the situation using both the FIXBOOT and FIXMBR commands.

windows fixboot and fixmbr commands

original photo: http://www.windowsnetworking.com

I ran the FIXBOOT command first, then rebooted the machine to see if it solved the problem. It didn’t so I proceeded with the FIXMBR command and tested again.

Step 4 – I returned to the Windows Recovery Console and ran the chkdsk command with a ” /r ” for recover.

chkdsk command

After I completed the steps above, I performed a full shutdown.
I booted the laptop and we were back in action! These are the steps that I took but know that there are many more commands you can use in the Windows Recovery Console.

Check out some of these sources for additional information:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/297185
http://www.wikihow.com/Use-Windows-Recovery-Console-from-XP-CD
http://commandwindows.com/recovery.htm

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Aug 202009

09.10.08 by:: swytch

Many of you, myself included, have run into pretty interesting jpgs or gifs created using pure ASCII text. I have always wondered if there was a free and easy way for me to create my own ASCII text without losing my mind completely and attempting it “by hand”.
Well, when wondering the ether recently I discovered a free program called “pic2ascii”. Information on the program and its creator:

ascii

During my first complete run of this program, I used the following scooter graphic as a target.

Scooter

Scooter

I simply clicked ASCII-Table in the top bar and chose “fill with all possible characters”. This loaded the ASCII information I needed to complete this process. I also saved that table as a text file (option available through the ASCII-Table drop down).
Next I browsed to my target graphic and chose the preferred font for this run.
Click START and wait for the pop-up box stating the process is complete!
Pic2ASCII rendered the following ASCII image relatively quickly.

scooter

The ASCII image the program rendered was quite large so I decided to decrease the size of the target scooter graphic. This rendered a slightly more manageable output. See below.

scooter

Now, being relatively excited about ASCII rendering, I decided to take it up a notch and find a program which would do this in color. I came across the free ZW Text Mosaic program.
Once installed, I decided to demo the program with the same scooter graphic used previously.
Using the same picture but rendering it with ZW Text Mosaic

scooter

scooter

In addition to the color option, you can actually type in text you wish to use during the rendering process. Of course, I used she-geeks.com as my text.
Once the image has been generated, you can choose either Show or Open to view the graphic.
All in all, these programs are straightforward enough that anyone can have a bit of fun using them. Get creative and enjoy! J

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Aug 152009
08.15.09 by jewels
Today I had a gmail loading issue which required a cache clearing to solve. So as usual I went to the tools menu in Firefox to complete the task……but low and behold it wasn’t there. Not sure why such a commonly used item is no longer easily accesible from Firefoxes menu bar, but you can still access it via a longer method. BTW if you’re using Cometbird, you will need to follow the same instructions to locate the cache.

You’ll want to access the tools menu item and select options. Next click on advanced, then select the network tab. In the offline storage box you will find the clear now button that will clear your cache.

firefox cometbird clear cache

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Jul 242009
07.24.09 by jewels

As you all know, on July 21st we released a new Facebook code found by member AG on our donor’s board, with plans to release it to our private code board 24 hours later. The morning of July 22nd, before I posted it into our private code board, someone here had already leaked AG’s code to another site. Which then leaked it to an additional site. Lord only knows how many it’s on by now….

For those of you who are not taking the time to analyze the situation, allow me to explain it to you. No one has access to codes at she-geeks unless you are a registered member. Why is this? Because we like to KEEP CODES ALIVE! Requiring registration in order to view the code boards keeps search engines and web spiders from being able to access our codes. If our codes were exposed to Google, what would be the point in having them? Once they’re general knowledge on the net, they are quickly fixed.

Now the person who leaked the code, leaked it to a site that is PUBLIC! This site posted AG’s code in both a PUBLIC BLOG POST, and a PUBLIC FORUM POST. The next lulu that took it from there posted it in a PUBLIC BLOG POST, and a PUBLIC FORUM POST. What you need to understand is that sites that give a damn about their members, and their member’s hard work, do not act irresponsibly to destroy that work. Posting codes in places that are publicly available to search engines is exactly how codes get DESTROYED. Any site that posts codes out in the open could care less about the codes-they are simply looking to raise their SERPS and receive “internet recognition”.

I hope you have taken the time read through this, as it is not just a rant. I hope you have a more thorough understanding now as to why we are so adamant that our members keep our private codes PRIVATE. When you share them around the internet, especially to sites like the ones that posted them on the 22nd, you are effectively working to patch the codes. And that is just NOT FAIR to the people that work so hard to find them, nor to the people who so desperately need to use them.

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Jul 212009
07.21.09 by jewels
One of our members has submitted a working code to see pics and comments. It’s available in the donor’s forum now and will be released to the code board tomorrow. It’s a nice workaround now that the photostalker app isn’t working. Get it while it’s hot :)
Edit: 7-22-09 This code has now been released on our private codes board to all she-geeks members.
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Jul 112009

07.11.09 by jewels

Taking a break from tech for a minute or so to ask for some help. On Thursday June 9, 2009 my ex brother-in-law Richard Langdeau was killed on his motorcycle by a careless driver. Record-Journal Story His daughter Samantha is now without a father. A college fund has been established for her through TD Banknorth. Any type of donation would be greatly appreciated. She’s still a long while from college, so even a few dollars now will be a big help by the time she needs it.

If you’re not able to help financially, and yes I know times are tough all around, you can help by sharing this information with others through your social networks.

Please send donations to: The Samantha Langdeau College Fund c/o TD Banknorth, 826 Wolcott Rd., Wolcott, CT 06716

If you’d like to send your condolences to Rich’s family, you may do so through Woodtick Memorial

Thank you :)

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Jul 072009

07.3.09 by jewels

I love Skype! It’s the main communication method the she-geeks use to chat with each other. But now thanks to Ring2Skype it’s even more useful. Read on to find out this service can help save you a lot of money.

Skype is great for free PC to PC communication, but you must open your wallet for a Skype-In number to enable your friends to reach you on skype from their mobile or landline phones. Not anymore…

Ring2Skype will give you a free skype-in number, actually they’ll give you multiple skype-in numbers. US numbers are available at this time in: NY CA FL ME.

If you don’t live in one of those states, then obviously it will be a LD call from a landline, but since most mobile phones have unlimited LD it won’t be an issue for your friends to call your skype-in number from their cell.

The number you will get requires an extension, but it’s not really an issue for a cell phone. Just have your friends program a pause or two before the extension number when adding your skype-in to their contacts. I put two pauses into mine and it worked like a charm. I’ll admit I was skeptical about what the call quality was going to be like, but surprisingly it was crisp and clear.

Now where this program really kicks azz is with international numbers. If you have friends abroad, this service offers numbers in a slew of countries, so many I won’t bother listing them. What this means is, you sign up for a skype-in number in your friend’s country and they can call your skype-in number as if it’s a local call. And vice versa, they can sign up for a US skype-in number which you can call toll free from your cell.

In this crappy economy I’ve been reading so many posts by people who have lost their jobs and have had to give up their cells or drastically cut their minutes plans. Some have had to cut phones altogether. How do you job hunt with no phone? For people in these situations this service can be a real blessing.

I’ve also seen a lot of talk from people who have had to cut out their text messaging plans. Now that google labs has pulled the sms feature of gchat, these people are scrambling to find solutions for free online texting. Although there are a plethora of websites that offer free online texting, people are complaining of having real issues receiving texts back. AIM, MSN and Yahoo have texting options in their messenger services, but if for some reason you can’t use those (work restrictions or whatnot) you may want to give textem a try. Once you sign up you are given an inbox, unlike most of the other online text services. Your inbox page will update as replies are received, so your friends will not have issues responding to you. It works via proxy as well, so even if you are just someone trying to find a way around IT policy at work to get your texting done while gchat sms is down, this could be a solution for you. And if you’re someone without a cell, or on restricted minutes plans, using your new skype-in number, you can shoot off free texts to your friends telling them to call you since you can’t dial out for free with skype.

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Jul 032009

07.3.09 by jewels
3 flippin years! That’s how long I’ve been waiting since first requesting an invite to Grand Central! So I’m as excited as the rest of you to finally have Google Voice living in my pc. I immediately set it up and….issues! Grrrr…..

Mainly, I wanted Google Voice to be able to take control of my home phone. I have a very basic landline setup. When I moved here I figured I wouldn’t need long distance since I have a large number of minutes on my cell. All my friends from home will call my cell since we’re all Verizon in calls, and I’ll just use my cell for any other LD calls I need to make-right? Wrong! VZW service stinks at my house. Walk 50 feet away and it’s full bars, try to make calls from my home and more often than not they drop into never never land. So I was yearning for Google Voice to have LD calling from home and to be able to utilize all the awesome voicemail/sms/call blocking features.

First issue up…..I hated having all my phones ringing with every call that came in. I have more than one cell phone, so the missed call notifications, text messages, and emails to delete on more than one phone were a PIA.

Second issue….getting my home phone calls to go through google voice. I don’t really use my home phone much. Basically my mother, my job, and very few others even have the number. Yet despite this seemingly simple fact, that damn phone rings constantly! The do not call list doesn’t apply to charitable organizations-and in this economy, they must be hurting really bad considering how often they call me. In addition, do not call does not apply to companies you do business with. So….vendors hired by my telco call constantly trying to sell stuff, as do hosting companies and domain sellers..blah, blah, you get the picture. And until google voice, I was limited to just not answering the phone. I never even set up my voicemail on the home phone so they wouldn’t be able to spam my voicemail. After 2 years my telco decided to activate it anyway so I now have voicemail spam that I don’t want or need….gee thanks! So I ordered call forwarding, and set my home number to forward to the google voice number. Issue 2.5…now I’m stuck in a loop and can’t answer my home phone…

Third issue…youmail. Since my calls were going out to all my phones, youmail was picking up the call before it could get to google voice. So I was essentially loosing the google voice features, plus additionally getting spam voicemails for my home number through the youmail app on my cell. This I did not want! As I said earlier, I really wanted google voice to customize my home phone much in the way that youmail allows me to customize my cells. I love youmail, and I’m not ready to give it up yet. Now I had to deal with getting this all fixed….

First up…into the advanced settings for my cells phones and preventing google voice from forwarding my home phone spam to my cell numbers:

google voice phone options

Next to go: call presentation

google voice call presentation

While the listen in feature is a cool thing, and I probably would utilize it if I was using it with my cell, it just was not serving my purpose. My purpose is to stop the spam via call blocking. With call presentation on, the caller receives a “welcome to google voice” message and is asked for their name to present to me once it rings through to my phone. From there I can choose to accept the call or send it to voicemail. I don’t want either option really since I’m going to be blocking the call. So it’s a bit of a giveaway for the spammers to be greeted by google voice and then be met with a “not in service” message. I’m thinking they’re not gonna take me off their call lists with that tactic. However, with call presentation off they’ll be sent straight to the “not in service” message, and hopefully-will get the message.

Now, what about all those PIA numbers sitting on my caller id? I couldn’t see any way to start adding in numbers to block before they get a chance to call me again, and was ruffled that I would have to wait for them to annoy me some more before I could block them. Luckily I discovered that you can add them in as contacts, and then just block them.

On to the biggest issue-the loop my phone is stuck in and not being able to answer it when someone calls that I actually want to talk to. Enter Gizmo5 which is a phone option in google voice. Gizmo5 has this handy little feature that lets you forward your gizmo number to google talk. My pc is always on, and gmail is always open, so this is a perfect solution for me and requires no additional software to utilize. Once I signed up I set up forwarding like so:

google voice gizmo5

When adding the Gizmo number to google voice and making the confirmation call, just enter the confirmation number into the chat box that pops up using the pc keyboard.

Now incoming calls to the google voice number or the home number show up in gchat with caller ID information.

google voice gizmo5 gchat googletalk

When I want to make outgoing calls from my home phone I have two options. I can call my google voice number from my landline and use the phone prompts if I want my call to appear from the gv number, or if I want to call long distance from home. Or I can make the call from gv website and route it through the gizmo5 number.

google voice gizmo5 gchat googletalk

Which then calls me on gchat.

google voice gizmo5 gchat googletalk

Once I hit answer it then dials out to the number I called and connects me.

google voice gizmo5 gchat googletalk

So, I now have a working home phone solution while still having my landline number forwarded to google voice to ward off the spam. Two words of caution if you seek a similar solution. One – gchat doesn’t ring if your pc is idle, so you will have to adjust your settings. However, it does still pop up the message with the caller ID, so if you are on and off the pc regularly you will see the missed call box with the caller ID information. Two – it doesn’t work in invisible mode. The initial call will come through in gchat, but the button box immediately disappears so you can’t answer it. Surprisingly though, it continues to ring through to the number you called, but the answerer receives a message saying the caller is unavailable. Weird…

So, are you using google voice? And if so, what solutions are you using to meet your needs? I’m especially interested to hear what mobile apps you’re using that implement the sms functionality. I haven’t found any apps for blackberry yet that utilize the built in sms feature, and boy would I love to ditch my text messaging plan!

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Mar 282009

03.28.09 by jewels

The rest of my existence may be a shambles, but my desktop has to be clean. I just can’t stand crap all over the place. However, this feeling is often at odds with my need to have stuff readily accessible that I’m working on. Luckily I have two awesome apps that free my desktop to be as clean as my house should be. And the best part is – they’re both free….

Hopping on my pc is blissful cleanliness:

desktop

How do I get it like that? It’s a combination of two great free programs. One handles my programs, the other handles my works in progress.

First up: programs. I hate the start menu-I’m a shortcut girl, but I hate having shortcuts everywhere. Obviously I needed a launcher app. The issue I have with most of them though is the hotkeys. I’m old, my memory sucks, I don’t want to have to memorize a bunch of different hotkeys to start up the apps I want to use. A few years ago I got lucky and found a launcher I could customize to my liking that would appear with one hotkey and give immediate access to all the programs I wanted available.

desktop, 8start

And there it is. When not in use it disappears, when I want it, it shows up. It allows you to customize many features such as categories, icon size, folders etc. You can have static categories or dynamic ones. There’s a built in notes function which can store your web links, pictures, documents…whatever you want to put in it. I’ve been using it for several versions over the last few years and it’s always worked flawlessly. If you want it too, head on over to 8start. It’s skinable and many skins are available via the site. So if you want your launcher to look like an iphone, or media player, or whatever-you have that option.

My programs are all neatly organized by 8start, but I still find that I need stuff I’m working on placed on my desktop. If I put stuff elsewhere I forget where I put it, and I hate having to search for it. Fences allows me to actually keep stuff on my desktop that I need to access quickly-and then make it disappear when I’m doing something else:

desktop, 8start, fences

This great little app is made by stardock and allows you to put your works in progress inside these neat little fences that appear and disappear in a click. You can have as many or as few as you need, they’re resizable, replaceable, and customizable. Once you’ve made your fences, any new additions to your desktop can be easily dragged into a fence for instant organization. Of course, you can use these fences for whatever you like. If you don’t want fences and a launcher, you could move all your desktop shortcuts into categorized fences and be done with it. Go ahead and grab your free version of fences here: fences

This is how I make my desktop work for me, and only need to remember two hotkeys. So how do you organize your desktop? Share your thoughts and program recommendations with us in the comments. Need help getting started? Feel free to post on our forum and we’ll be happy to assist you.

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