Development
March 13, 2009

Web-based vs Offline Help Systems

As you probably know, I work for a software development company -  and during a routine lunch hour, I  began wondering why our software still shipped with offline help files (CHM), rather than offering the help files online. You see, every now and then, our company discovers that the help files are missing some information; however, we can't do anything about it until the next release. Sure, we can temporarily alleviate the problem by creating external knowledge base articles, but it doesn't fix the fact that clients have the same help files, without the new information. This situation brought an interesting question to the table: Why don't our products have web-based help? Example of web-based help I came up with numerous advantages and disadvantages: Advantages:…
RecommendationsTips & Tricks
February 17, 2009

Where’s My Cell Phone?

Last year I decided to get drop my land line, and just get by with a cell phone. All was well, until one day where I wasn't able to find my cell phone. I somehow managed to lose it in my apartment, and since I no longer had a land line, I couldn't call my own phone to get it ringing. To locate it, I ended up sending an instant message to a friend on MSN, and he called my phone. That worked well enough, but it required someone else to be around. The next time I lost my phone, again in my apartment -  I couldn't contact anyone on MSN, so I looked for an alternate solution. I googled around in search of people in…
Personal Stories
February 7, 2009

The Peculiar Ways Of My Cat

Last year, I spontaneously adopted a male kitten from a local pet shop. I'd always walked by this pet shop, but was never actively interested in getting a kitten. Having grown up with cats, they weren't anything new to me - but this particular kitten was different. His fur was blond... I had never seen a cat that color before - the ones I grew up with had been much darker. I was used to black, gray, brown, and mixes based upon those colors. So ultimately, I bought the kitten - and soon realized he was very different from other cats. First off, he isn't afraid of water - at all. In fact, he has a weird attraction to it. Whenever I turn on a…
Tips & Tricks
January 24, 2009

Using Ping to Monitor Reboots

When you`re rebooting a computer, and you need to know exactly when it is back online, try using this command: ping -t <target> <target> can be an IP or domain name. This command will keep pinging the machine endlessly, which can reveal exactly when the computer is back on the network. As long as you keep getting "Request time out", the machine isn't online yet. When you get a reply, as illustrated below, you know you can connect to the machine. Personally, I tend to put this window on my secondary monitor, while I continue working on the primary monitor.  As soon as the machine is online, I close the window or press CTRL+C to prevent the ping from going on endlessly. Be careful how…