Tag Archive | "tips"

How to Enable Telnet in Windows 7

Do you need telnet on your Windows 7 box?

Follow these simple steps to add the telnet command to your command line tools.

Click on “Start Button”

Click on “Control Panel (menu item)” in “Start menu”

Click on “Uninstall a program (link)” in “Control Panel”

Click on “Turn Windows features on or off (link)” in “Programs and Features”

Click in “Windows Features” box and find the “Telnet Client” check box

Allow the system to install the appropriate files – should take only a few seconds to a minute or so.

To test the functionality:

Click on the “Start button”

Click on “Search Box” in “Start menu”

Type “cmd” in the “Search box” to bring up a command prompt

Type “telnet” and hit “enter”. You should now see the Microsoft Telnet> prompt

There you go.  Easy enough.

P.S. If you can’t find the “Telnet Client” check box in your programs list, you may need to upgrade your version of Windows 7 to get these features.

Posted in Quick TipsComments (47)

Paranoid About Your Sensitive Files – This Utility May Help You Sleep At Night

Most of us have file on our computer that should not and are not for public consumption.  However, that bank account file, password file, confidential report, or sensitive exposé newspaper article that is for your eyes only, has to live somewhere.  How do you keep these file from being opened, read, or even visible to anybody?  Encrypting the data is one way, but that can be cumbersome and even confusing to some of us.

Easy File Locker (Windows Only)

Easy File Locker is a small utility that can help you protect your sensitive files. Easy File Locker allow you to select files or folders and decide what kind of permissions to set.  You can choose to allow read, write, delete, and even decide whether you want the file to appear in a file listing (meaning it won’t show up in explorer or by doing a directory listing using the DOS Command Prompt). You can even set a password to prevent users from opening the utility where you can view the files.

Easy File Locker is free and easy to install. Simply download from Easy File Locker and run through the install wizard.

easy file locker setup
Once installed, you need to run the application to open the interface and choose to start protecting files.
Add files or folders to protect by clicking on the “plus” signs in the toolbar.

easy file locker ready

easy file locker settings

Select the type of protection and click on the “OK” button.

easy file locker set password
Don’t forget to set a password before exiting the program. This give you an added level of protection by not allowing anybody to open and modify the permissions of the files you are protecting.

Once files are protected, users will get a permission denied message if they try to modify the file when they access levels are restricted.
A very nice feature of Easy File Locker is that it also stops access to file even when the computer is booted into safe mode.

easy file locker delete file via explorer

easy file locker delete file denied

Even files access from the Command Prompt is protected.

easy file locker dos denied

The system is not foolproof of course. You do have to remember to set a password, and if you forget it, then I’m not sure you have any options but to recreate the files from scratch (that is if you have not hidden them and can remember all of the file you tried to protect).  The same can be said for encryption tools like TrueCrypt, so don’t let that discourage you.

For those of us who have a few files that need to be kept from prying eyes, Easy File Locker is the perfect little utility.

Posted in Software ToolsComments (2)

Trade Stuff You Have for Stuff You Want

Online trading sites are attracting a lot of attention right now. People are starting to become more aware of what they are spending and are looking to trim their entertainment budgets by swapping their stuff.  Book, DVD, CD, etc… swapping services that allow you to trade what you already have, for something you don’t are becoming increasingly popular. Two major players in this space are Swaptree.com and Paperbackswap/SwapaDVD/SwapaCD.com.   These services are very similar in that they allow you to post the items you want to trade and also browse for items you would like to own.


swaptree_logo Swaptree.com is an all-in-one trading service for books, DVDs, music, and video games. The service allows you to post any of these items by simply entering the barcode or ISBN number (it it is a book) that is associated with the item. Swaptree attempts to look-up the item in its vast database and provide you with a photo and description of the item. Once you confirm the information is correct (and add a few details about the condition of the item), it will be posted to your “items i have” list.

Swaptree also allows you browse for items that you want and add them to your “items i want” list. Depending on what you have added to your have list, and what is currently available, you may already be able to swap something you have for an item in your want list.

Since the Swaptree system relies on its users to post items for trade, the more in your “items i have” list, the more options you have for trading. Swaptree looks at the items you posted and finds other users who want those items. Swaptree has a useful feature that shows you to see all the items you can get “right now”. These are items not necessarily on your want list, but are available to you if you swap one of your items with another user. The reason the number of things you can get right now is so high is because of Swaptree’s three-way trading system.


Three-way trading works like this. Say Mike has a CD that he is willing to swap. Joe has a DVD that Mike wants, but Joe doesn’t want the CD that Mike is willing to trade. Joe  instead wants a book. Swaptree introduces Jane into the mix. Jane wants Mike’s CD and is willing to send Joe the book he wants (because she is offering it for trade). I send Jane the CD, Jane sends Joe the book, and Joe sends me the DVD. All this happens in tandem – so I don’t have to wait for Joe to get his book before he sends me the DVD I want. It may sound confusing, but you will see how easy it is once you start using the service.

Who pays for it all?

You have to pay shipping on anything you send. If you use the postage center on the site, Swaptree only charges you a small fee to print postage for each item you are sending. When you sign up for the service, your credit card is used to print postage only when needed. If that doesn’t suite you, then just simply pay for your own postage somewhere else, and drop it in the mail. Since they have an extensive database of sizes and weights for each item, it makes it really simple to just print postage through the Swaptree site and drop the item in the mailbox.

Swaptree also has a comments and feedback section where you can see other users ratings and decide on whether to swap with them or not. Most have a good reputation and are genuinely fast to ship and accurate on their items’ wear and tear descriptions.


paperbackswap swapacd swapadvd

These three sites, Paperbackswap.com, SwapaCD.com and SwapaDVD.com all have the same look and feel work slightly different from Swaptree. The difference here is that you can only swap a book for a book, a DVD for a DVD, or a CD for a CD, and each site is run independently (meaning you have to create a user account on each site in order to use the service). Also, each site is run on a “credits” based system.

Paperbackswap/SwapaCD/SwapaDVD are each run the same way, so for ease of typing, I’ll just use Paperbackswap for illustration purposes from here on out.

Paperbackswap requires you to post 10 books online to receive your first two credits. Credits are gained by posting 10 books, sending a book to another user, or buying them outright from the site (credits are $3.35 each as of this writing).  Most people have at least 10 books they are willing to part with, so this doesn’t seem to be an issue for the most part.

One of the big differences with this Paper/DVD/CD swapping service is that you don’t have to spend any out of pocket dollars to get a book. If you have earned credits, you can request a book.  On, the other hand, if someone requests a book from you, you will have to front the dollars in order to ship the item to the requestor.  Similar to Swaptree, you can print your postage online through the site.

Paperbackswap.com Wrapper Paperbackswap’s postage feature is similar to Swaptree’s in that you can print postage directly from within the site, but also includes something called a wrapper. It is the postage printed on a larger sheet of paper that you can wrap the book in and drop in the mail. No need to find a large envelope or box. Simply use the printed wrapper the book, tape it up.  and off to the mailbox you go.

Both Swaptree.com and Paperbackswap/SwapaDVD/SwapaCD.com have an extensive database of available media to from which to browse. There will be no shortage of items from which to choose.

I like the convenience of having DVDs, CDs, Books and video games available to swap in one place. Swaptree has Paperbackswap beaten in this arena whereas Paperbackswap offers a nice wrapper feature to make mailing more efficient.

If your looking for a cheap way to consume more music, movies, books or video games – these two services have you covered.

Posted in Internet, Web BrowsingComments (3)

Download Free Laptop Tracking Software

Laptop Tracking Software Prey is Free and Open Source

I’m certain that at least a few of you have been victim to a stolen laptop.  With reports indicating that a laptop is stolen every 53 seconds and that 12,000 laptops a week are are lost in US airports (source Fast Company), it almost seems inevitable that we will suffer from this loss.

preySince these reports also indicate that only about 3% of these laptops are ever recovered, you may wonder if there is anything that can be done to help increase the odds of yours being recovered.  Of course there are many laptop tracking solutions available to report on your laptop’s location. One such solution is software based Prey.

Prey is free, Open Source software available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Prey works by sending your information about your laptop at scheduled intervals to an email address you configure.

Prey can also be configured to only send the information when you have determined that the laptop has been lost or stolen.  You achieve this by configuring Prey to check for the existence of a URL before it sends the information (see their FAQ for more on this).

Of course, Prey requires that the laptop have an active Internet connection, so you can’t guarantee that you’ll recover the laptop, or even that Prey will report anything if it can’t get to the Internet. But as pointed by the developers of Prey, most thieves like to look around at the data on the laptop before completely wiping the hard drive, and that leaves some room for a short window for Prey to do it’s magic.

Prey is definitely worth a look.

Posted in Internet, Software ToolsComments (2)

Create, Find, and Download Super Cool Fonts

Use Fonstruct to Create Your Own Designs Online

Ever wanted to create your own font? Maybe you have a creative project you want to do and need that special font to make it just perfect. Now you can create your own fonts with FontStruct.

fontstruct website image

Fonstruct gives you a design interface in which to draw your letters. You’ll create capital and lower case letters and can also do the numbers and symbols if you want. When you’re done, you can simply download the font set and install on your computer. You can also share the font with others.

You don’t have to draw every letter if you’re not going to use them all, but if you want to share your creation, it might be a good idea to have a complete set.

What’s also cool about Fonstruct is that you can create any designs or shapes and use them as fonts. Say you want your “A” to look like a gorilla, go for it. Then perhaps your “B” looks like a banana – that’s cool too.  Now put them together to make a nice little gorilla eating a banana picture.  Just check out some of the picto people that have been created by user saberrider.

blues_fontsruct_man butcher_fontsruct_man

Here are a few featured fonts available in the Fonstruct gallery.




Create your own at Fonstruct.Fontshop.com.

Posted in Creative, Internet, Software ToolsComments (0)

Use A Master Password The Right Way

Use SuperGenPass to Safely Use A Master Password

Password management can be a pain and there a few things we should not be doing to keep our information safe.  For one, you should not be using the same password for every site.  If someone sees or gets your password on one of those sites you could be compromising all of your online accounts.  But, having to remember a different password for each site is not easy and you’ll most likely need to keep a document or file around to record all your passwords.


A great tool called SuperGenPass can make your password management a bit easier.  SuperGenPass does not require you to install any software on your computer.  It is a simple bookmarklet that you drag into your browser’s bookmark toolbar.  You can put it on as many browsers as you like and on multiple computers.

How Does SuperGenPass Work?

supergenpass_window SuperGenPass works on the simple principle of “master password” + “mathematical equation” = “new secure password”.  Most of us can think of a “master password” we would like to use.  A password we know we will remember.  SuperGenPass lets you use that password to generate a random secure password for every site you log on to – yet have every site’s password be different.  So your password for amazon.com and your password for yahoo.com are completely different but were generated by the same “master password”.  All you have to do is click on the bookmarklet from your browser and it does the rest.  It even puts the generated password in the password field so you don’t have to cut and paste.  And since you can install the bookmarklet on any computer and any browser, you can access your account info from anywhere.

SuperGenPass doesn’t store any of your information or passwords.  Even your “master password” is not kept online or stored.

Check it out for yourself at SuperGenPass.com

Posted in Internet, Web BrowsingComments (1)

Easy To Use, Lightweight Software For The Color Blind

Download Color Blind Software Tool eyePilot

Do you or someone you know have trouble using a computer because of the difficulty in distinguishing between different colors?

Scientists are not sure, but it is believed that anywhere between 8% – 12% of the population is color blind. Computer programs use lots of colors to represent different panels, boxes, menus, and data which can make use of a computer difficult for the color blind. Pie and bar charts are especially tricky because their legends often use multiple colors to illustrate change and ranges.

Software tools exist to help make using a computer for color blind individuals easier and stress free.

Take for example eyePilot. eyePilot provides a lightweight and easy to use interface to help you distinguish colors. eyePilot also works for both Mac and Windows.

Think of the eyePilot application as a square box that you can drag over any part of your screen. Size the eyePilot window to your liking and use the drop down menu to tell eyePilot what action you want to perform.


eyePilot interface

The four options you can choose with eyePilot are:


Isolates the color you click on by turning all other colors gray. Useful for pie or bar charts.



Works almost the opposite of GRAY. Clicking on a color will turn it black for as long as you keep the button clicked.


The NAME feature will display a row of color names. By clicking on one of the names, you will isolate that color. For example, clicking on the word “Red” will turn anything in the eyePilot window “red” to go “black” until you depress the mouse button.



Sometimes you can change the colors of a chart or object slightly and be able to distinguish the colors on your own. The HUE feature allows you to dial the hue to a value of your liking. All the colors within the eyePilot windows will start to change at the same time.


eyePilot is only $34 and has a free 30 trial version available for download.

Posted in Software ToolsComments (0)

Download Hundreds of Free Microsoft Office Templates

Manage your money, create seasonal memos, organize your schedule, and more with free Microsoft Office templates.

Microsoft has a number of free templates that you can download to help you with all sorts of things. Visit Microsoft’s Template site to start your search. Read the full story

Posted in Quick Tips, Software ToolsComments (2)

WPA Wi-Fi Encryption Has Been Compromised

It now appears as though the widely adopted wireless connection protocol of WPA is no longer secure. Researchers have found a way to compromise the wireless security protocol of WPA in a matter of a few minutes.  The protocol has been adopted by a number of organizations and companies, which could be forced to change their wireless implementations.  The news comes from to us from PC World.

Tews and his co-researcher Martin Beck found a way to break the Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP) key, used by WPA, in a relatively short amount of time: 12 to 15 minutes.

Next week at a Tokyo conference, both Tews and Beck will show an audience how they are able to crack the encryption.WPA Cracked

In a previous post, I mentioned the use of WPA and asked that we all stay away from WEP (as it was insecure) and still stand by that statement. What we really need to think about, is using WPA with AES encryption instead of TKIP. The use of AES has not been compromised and is still considered to be safe.

Should You Be Worried?

Although it is a fairly new discovery, cracking tool kits have been updated with the necessary code to exploit the vulnerability. If someone is out there trying to get onto your wireless network and cracking your encryption, they probably are already aware of the new vulnerability and have the latest tools to do so.  Anybody can be a target, and there are some easy things you can do to protect yourself.

Make Sure You Are Not At Risk

If you have a fairly new router (as far back as 2005 in some cases), you can simply choose to use AES encryption with WPA — or switch from WPA to WPA2 (which has not been compromised). If you only have WEP as an option, then you should consider using a very long password for your wireless connection — one with random letters, symbols and numbers. The longer and more complex the password, the more secure. Go to grc.com/passwords to generate a secure password.

Photo credit Steven Riehl

Posted in Networking, Wi-FiComments (0)

Phishers are Using Bank Failures to Increase Scam Success

There has been a great deal of news of financial institution failures. Many banks have been swallowed up by larger institutions and mergers seem to be occurring almost on a weekly basis. Unfortunately, the troubled banking situation has opened up a door for Internet scams and phishing attacks.

Email that appears to be from a legitimate bank telling you that a merger has occurred. The merger involves your bank and this new bank and you are being asked to verify you account information. What to do?

Phishing Warning

Delete It

There is no need to keep an email like this. If your bank or your “new” bank needs to get a hold of you, they will send you a letter via snail mail. If it is important, they would not rely on email to communicate this important information. Just delete it.

Don’t Click Any Links in the Email

They may look like recognizable links to banks, but often times they are not, and will redirect you to a bogus page that looks like your banks home page. You will be asked to enter your username and password and when you do, the site re-directs you back to the bank’s real web page. But by then, it is too late. You’ve input your personal data, and now they can use it to tap into your account.

Visit the Bank Directly from Your Browser

If for some reason you haven’t deleted the email and you believe that you have received a legitimate correspondence, you should still avoid clicking on the link in the email. Instead visit the site by entering the bank’s homepage URL directly into your browser.  For instance, enter www.wamu.com in the URL field, and then navigate to the login page.  Make sure your login is secure by checking for the lock icon in your browser’s status bar.

Secure Login Lock

Secure Login Icon

Try Using OpenDNS

OpenDNS is a free service that you can easily setup to help you avoid phishing sites. They do a good job of tracking known phishing sites and will stop you from the site. Check out my post on OpenDNS for more on this great service.

We should all be cautious of email from banking institutions. Hopefully you aren’t getting to many of these because of the prevalence of good spam filters and services like OpenDNS.

Posted in Email, Web BrowsingComments (1)

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