Sep 1, 2014

Why is Google Hangouts Auto Loading?

This is a question I have been asking myself over the past week or two. Suddenly now when I start Google Chrome, it also starts Google Hangouts and logs me in. But Mike, is this not what you want? Having Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ constantly interrupting you must make you more productive? Right?

I think not. Thankfully, you can turn off the auto login part. Go to the Chrome Menu and select Settings -> Extensions -> Hangouts -> Options. Uncheck “Sign in to Hangouts when Chrome starts”

Sanity restored. Yays!!!!!

Aug 25, 2014

Update to Textastic Editor on the Mac

Apple 3D Blue Logo

Wanted to give a shout out to the Textastic Editor for the Mac. Textastic is a nice lightweight text editor which I use for quick edits of HTML, Markdown and other code. It started out a very basic editor and has steadily improved with nice features including great syntax highlighting. The latest addition is support for Emmet, a tool for quickly creating HTML and CSS code with tab shortcuts.

If you own a Mac, definitely worth a look. It is $8.99 on the Mac app store.

Aug 19, 2014

Create a Text File in Finder using OS X

Apple 3D Blue Logo

This morning I wanted to create a text file in Finder, but of course, you can’t really do that. Create a folder yes, but not a file. So after a few searches, it seems the most common answer is to write a rather involved AppleScript. That seems a rather imperfect solution to me.

So here is what I think is a much simpler solution.

  1. Create a text file on the desktop to use as a template named newfile.txt. This can be done with a text editor of your choice or from the command line. Here are the steps for the command line.
    1. Open Terminal
    2. cd Desktop
    3. touch newfile.txt

    You now have a empty text file you can use to create new files.

  2. To create a text file in any finder folder do the following:
    1. Hold Alt and drag the newfile.txt template file from the Desktop to the Finder folder you want to add the file to.
    2. Drop the file. A copy is of the blank file is created in the folder. Mission accomplished.

Tip: One thing I find annoying about this method is if you need to change the extension of the file. OS X always issues a warning when you try to do this. but you can turn it off.

  1. Open Finder
  2. Select Finder –> Preferences
  3. Select the Advanced tab
  4. Uncheck Show warning before changing an extension.

That should get rid of the warning.

Well I hope this helps. It seems a much easier way to create text files with the OS X GUI and you don’t have to write a script.

Insert an HTML File into MarkDown a File

HTML5 Logo

I was looking into a way to include an iFrame in a MarkDown document. The goal is to include an HTML file seamlessly. The contents of the file should like it is part of the output. This is the solution I came across. It seems to work well in Webkit browsers. The HTML file looks like it is part of the document.

In Firefox and IE, the document is included as an iFrame with a default height (200px I think). The width is 100%. So this is not a perfect solution, but probably good enough for my purposes.

According to the documentation, only pixels should be used for an iFrame. That seems a bit short sited given all the different devices out there.

   1 <div style="height:100%;">
   2 <iframe src="file.html" style="height:100%;width:100%;" seamless="seamless"></iframe>
   3 </div>

Aug 18, 2014

Good Inexpensive Smart Phones (Motorola E and G)

iPhone iPad picture

Wired has a review of the new Motorola E. Just another smart phone? Well this one retails for $129 without any sort of plan. Although there have been inexpensive phone options for years, those phones generally did not have specs like this:

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 with 1.2GHz dual-core A7 CPU
  • Adreno 302 400MHz single-core GPU
  • 5-megapixel rear camera
  • 4.3-inch, 256ppi display fronted with Corning Gorilla Glass 3.

The only drawback seems to be this is only a 3G capable phone. But for most people, 3G is just fine.

You can get a 4G Motorola G for just $220 on Amazon if you need more bandwidth. Also a great price.

So the big question for me is, will Apple finally come out with a low priced iPhone? One would think the iPhone 5c has got to be a lot cheaper to manufacture. However, it still retails unlocked for $549. The 4s still goes for $450. That price disparity is pretty large. But drop the price of the 5c to $349 and maybe the iPhone is still in the conversation. Will we see some sort of price drop of the 5c at the coming iPhone 6 announcement? I wonder.

Aug 14, 2014

Alienware Alpha a Cool Steam Machine

Valve has not quite yet finished their SteamOS yet, which will bring a Linux powered gaming console to your living room. Well you don’t have to wait, Alienware has created a Steam box using Windows:

Alienware Alpha console hits preorder (without SteamOS)

This $550 machine looks really cool! Can’t wait to see a machine like this running SteamOS. Would like to see that price get a little lower too. Is this the sort of thing that will really make Linux a popular home operating system? If you think about the Internet of Things, we will still need some sort of base station or home base. Why not an uber Linux powered gaming, music playing, movie playing, streaming machine? If the price gets down to say $300, look out.

We live in interesting times. :)

Aug 11, 2014

Setup a User Account in Cygwin

Microsoft Logo

I had to set up a new user account on Windows for work today. After trying to run Cygwin on Windows 7 the following error is produced:

“Your group is currently ”mkpasswd“. This indicates that the /etc/passwd (and possibly /etc/group) files should be rebuilt. See the man pages for mkpasswd and mkgroup then, for example, run mkpasswd -l [-d] > /etc/passwd mkgroup -l [-d] > /etc/group Note that the -d switch is necessary for domain users.”

After much searching and a little fiddling around, here is the solution.

  1. Run Cygwin as Administrator. (Normally just right click the icon to get this as an option on the popup menu.)
  2. Type the following command:

mkpasswd -l -u UserName >> /etc/passwd

Where “UserName” is the name of the Windows account. This assumes that you have already created the new account in Windows 7 Control Panel. It is VERY import that you use ">>" so the data is appended to the file and does not overwrite the file!

That should fix the problem.

Aug 8, 2014

A Water Drone?

Apparently drones don’t have to be limited to quadcopters. CNET has this story on what is essentially a water drone. The Liquid Robotics wave rider robot is passing through the hurricane headed for Hawaii and is tweeting as it goes.

The autonomous robot is both solar and waved powered. In addition, the bot is run by a Java based operating system sitting a top Linux. Cool stuff.