tony spencer » Computers It's Just Links Sat, 19 Oct 2013 14:31:31 +0000 hourly 1 Open Finder in Current Folder from Terminal Tue, 12 Aug 2008 01:37:57 +0000 tony Here is a super handy little trick that I know I’ll be using a lot from now on as I must have thought about it so many times in the past. You find yourself messing with some files in Terminal and the find the need to jump to the current location in Finder:

open .

So easy breezy.

open finder from bash

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Firefox Keyboard Commands for Back/Forward and Page Up/Down Mon, 28 Jan 2008 14:59:45 +0000 tony It drives me nuts that I cannot hit command-left-arrow, and command-right-arrow for going back and forward in Firefox when the cursor is in a text field which is always the case when navigating Google search results thanks to some javascript that sets the focus on the search field. Finally I found an alternative:

Back: command-[
Forward: command-]

If I remember correctly I started to have this problem with alt-left-arrow, alt-right-arrow on Firefox for Windows so maybe alt-[, alt-] will also be a fix for those of you suffering in Windows.

Also, I’ve always missed a page up, page down buttons on my Macbook Pro and just found these handy tools:

Page Up: spacebar
Page Down: shift-spacebar

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Firefox 2.0 is not ready for public consumption Mon, 23 Oct 2006 16:57:03 +0000 Tony beachball.jpg On the heels of Matt Cutt’s review of the Firefox release candidate 2 I decided to give it whirl. I installed the soon to be version 2.0 on my Mac and have experienced many spinning beach ball of death while browsing. The browser locks up on everyday sites and I no option but to kill the process. I guess Matt isn’t on a Mac as he reports no crashes so my advice to the Mac users is to wait for the official release. I also didn’t see much improvement. I don’t really know if I like the fact that it implements SessionSaver by default. Isn’t that a memory hog? On the other hand Firefox doesn’t appear to be using near as much memory as before.

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Titanium Thinkpad from Lenova Thu, 05 Jan 2006 16:35:03 +0000 Tony Finally a non-mac laptop that I can kind of get excited about. I was just researching for a new laptop to replace my Dell D800. I would really love to go for a titanium Powerbook but I just have too many little scripts and apps that are crucial to my business that can only run on Windows. This is old news but Lenova has released a titanium Thinkpad thats pretty hot looking. I only considered moving away from Dell because of all the praise I’ve heard from friends that are running on the Thinkpad. I do wish they had taken a queue and really made this thing slick by mounting titanium all over the body. Hey Lenova! I don’t want to see any black!

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Restart Windows Remotely through VPN Sat, 03 Dec 2005 16:39:16 +0000 Tony I often remotely control Windows machines at my office via Remote Desktop and VPN when I’m traveling. Ocassionally a Windows machine will stop responding to requests for Remote Desktop and the only solution I’ve found is to restart the machine but thats difficult to do when you are in London, its 3AM EST, and there isn’t anyone in the office to flick the reset switch for you.

The Solution
First install OpenSSH. This handy app creates a Windows NT service on your machine that allows you to SSH to the box and run DOS commands remotely. Once the installer completes you need to setup the local Windows users that you want to be able to SSH with. (In my example I won’t specify a user which defaults to all Windows users)

Open up DOS and execute the following (change d:\apps\OpenSSH to your install folder):

cd d:\apps\OpenSSH\bin
mkgroup -l >> ..\etc\group
mkgroup -d >> ..\etc\group
mkpasswd -l >> ..\etc\passwd
mkpasswd -d ..\etc\passwd

Now start the OpenSH service for the first time:

net start opensshd

The OpenSSH service should be running now. To test it go to another machine and attempt to SSH in.

SSH control of Windows computer

Cool! We’re in.

Finally we want to reboot the machine. Executing the following in the SSH client will restart the machine and force any apps to close. You will lose any unsaved work on the machine.

shutdown -r -f -m \\computername

The shutdown alert is displayed on the remote machine and 30 seconds later it is restarted!

Shutting down!.
I had to work fast to capture that screen shot! :)

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Frugality doesn’t always pay – Just buy Dell Sun, 06 Nov 2005 21:48:42 +0000 Tony ChaintechAfter my business bought several Dells in the past few months I decided that I would try and save a few bucks and just do an upgrade on the couple of home machines that were lagging. Bad idea.

What I bought:
Chaintech motherboard

AMD Athlon 3200+

• 1GB of DDR 400Mhz

These were purchased in combos with multiple rebates from TigerDirect so the total cost was only $120.

However, I have spent about 12 hours of pure frustration as this setup would only post about 50% of the time. Finally I believe I narrowed down the problem to a simple jumper setting and some BIOS settings that were absolutely unintuitive.

Yes I probably saved $700 per machine but I’m not sure if it was worth it. I wouldn’t recommend Chaintech primarily because their documentation is pretty lousy. Not to mention I don’t have the beautiful Dell 24″ LCD at home. :(

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CoolDrives SATA Drive Enclosure Review – They SUCK! Tue, 04 Oct 2005 16:39:10 +0000 Tony After I learned that my Dell PowerEdge server only allowed two SATA drives in its large case I desperately needed a quick solution to get 400GB database back drive back online for daily backups. Some quick Googling revealed that there were very few options for an external SATA hard drive enclosure. So I went for the Cool Drives “External Sata hard Drive Case with USB 2.0 Mini Size with Built-In-Power Supply

The Noise Maker

It seemed to be a pretty sleek option with a slim case and USB as well as SATA external inputs. Well after just one month of operating the drive the cooling fan began to make an unbearable amount of noise. I guess they are using the cheapy-cheap fans. So I contacted CoolDrives and they recommended that I return the product to the warehouse for repair under the return policy. This means that I’m without a backup drive for who knows how long and I’m guessing I’m just going to get the device back with a new cheap-cheap fan. I replied and asked if they could just point me in the direction of the fan I need for the drive enclosure and I will just replace it myself. Cool Drives support responded saying they couldn’t tell me that information. Crap! I don’t normally take the time to write poor reviews but this pushed my buttons.

If anyone knows where I can get a fan like this PLEASE let me know. I’m going crazy with this noise!

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BellSouth DSL has Slow DNS Lookups Fri, 15 Apr 2005 05:45:57 +0000 Tony I’ve used Bellsouth FastAccess DSL at home for nearly 3 years. Its never given me trouble. However, starting in March the time it takes to resolve a URL to an IP has suddenly increased from unnoticable levels to 10 seconds or more. Sometimes by browser gives up. To remidiate the problem I’ve setup a local DNS via BIND on SuSE. Frankly, I’m kind of pissed that Bellsouth can’t do better for the money I pay them.

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Speed up Firefox with these tweaks Fri, 25 Feb 2005 20:47:00 +0000 Tony Does Firefox seem way slower than Internet Explorer to you? Well it certainly is out of the box. I’m not sure why they don’t make the following settings default but check these out. They may change your opinion of the browser.


Type “about:config” in your firefox address bar.

Search for the following settings:

1. network.http.pipelining
Set to true
2. network.http.pipelining.firstrequest
Set to true
3. network.http.pipelining.maxrequests
Set to 32
4. network.http.proxy.pipelining
Set to true
5. nglayout.initialpaint.delay
Set to 0

Its very likely that you won’t have an entry for network.http.pipelining.firstrequest. Thats ok. Just add one.

Right-click on the preferences list, select ‘New’ then select ‘Boolean’

On the first prompt, type:

On the second prompt, set it to ‘true’

Its also likely that you won’t have an entry for nglayout.initialpaint.delay

Right-click on the preferences list, select ‘New’ then select ‘Integer’

On the first prompt, type:

On the second prompt, set it to ‘0′

Thanks to MatthewHSE and rise2it of WebmasterWorld for these settings. Thanks to rona for heads up on the nglayout.initialpaint.delay also not being present. Firefox is way faster for me and has enabled me to finally bail on IE.

How does it help? These are Matthew’s words:

Enabling the pipelining features allows the browser to make multiple requests to the server at the same time. The “maxrequests” is the maximum number of requests it will send at once. I’ve heard that 8 is the most it will send at once, but setting it higher won’t hurt, just in case. The initialpaint.delay is the length of time (in milliseconds) after the server response before the browser begins to paint the page.

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Bittorrent TV Show Download Fri, 21 Jan 2005 17:00:24 +0000 Tony I only watch one TV show (Lost) regularly but I really don’t want to miss any episodes. Earlier this week I did miss it because I was stuck at work due to the crazy traffic mess in the Triangle.


Bittorrent to the rescue! What a beautiful, simple, p2p application. If I desired to download the tv episode in perfect raw AVI I could probably could have downloaded it in around 4 hours. Of course I wouldn’t actually download this tv show because that would be illegal so I this is purely conjecture.

Some good sites for bittorrent TV episodes download:


I recently discovered the Azureus Bittorrent client. Install this bad boy and you have the ability to offer your existing library up for upload resulting in faster downloads on your new files!

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