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Am slowly but surely moving more and more stuff from PC to Mac. This was accelerated by my old Dell PC buying the farm as mentioned in my last post. Things that do not go easy from PC to Mac include MS Access mdb files. While I still have a way to run Access, its a pain and I want to move to better portability. I found the cool freeware MDB Tools which read and extract data from mdb files. It is simple command line tool that runs pretty much on any Unix type system (for Mac, you can get it from Mac Ports). Its doc is not the greatest, but it is worth the effort.
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One of my computers died over the last week: the motherboard failed. Although I had backups for almost everything that mattered, I wanted to go through the still AOK disk on the dead machine (a Serial ATA disk). My remaining computers are laptops and I did not have a box around that would accept such a drive. I did some searching on Amazon and found Cables To Go 30504 USB 2.0 to IDE or Serial ATA Drive Adapter which had good reviews. I bought one and it came today. Awesome! I had my old Serial ATA disk accessible via USB in minutes. It worked fine with both my MacBook and a PC Laptop. Highly recommended, especially for the price. I got back my saved games for DOOM which I did not have backed up.
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I have been doing a lot of PHP work, and a little JavaScript. When dealing with odd characters in parameter strings, etc. there are assorted and somewhat confusing functions in both languages for escaping and unescaping strings. This tool lets you see the results of putting a string through the various PHP and JavaScript escape functions. Very handy.
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I've been doing some parsing using regular expressions in a PHP project. Yesterday, I found the Regular Expression Test Tool which allows you to try a regex and a test string with the various PHP Regex functions and their flags. Much quicker than writing a test program. Big time saver.
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As a person with a mainframe and mini-computer background, I like command lines and command prompt windows. This tool creates an "Open Terminal Here" button in the Mac Finder. You can use finder to navigate the folder structure and then pop open a terminal window that has its current directory positioned at that folder. I had tried a couple of other similar tools on the Mac but this is the best one I have seen. Very handy.
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If you need to see hex unicode representations in UTF16 or UTF8 this is a nice tool. The text accumulator is nice if you need to create literals or to check string building code to make sure it is doing the right thing.
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As part of some web mastering I do, I often need to convert simple plain text (from emails) to basic HTML mark up. Text Fixer has a simple "Text to HTML" tool, which is handy. They have some other neat tools as well.
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Just did an upgrade install of the Snow Leopard upgrade on my Mac. So far things seem to be working. Expose is improved, and unscientifically it seems faster. PHP, MySQL, Apache, etc. for web development seem AOK.

I did have to install the latest "Plants vs Zombies" since it started crashing much more often than before. The POPCAP site did not mention anything but the download is a different size than when I installed in May and things got a lot more stable after I installed it.

VMWare Fusion works fine as long as you are up to date on their maintenance. My XP Virtual machine seems happy.
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IE NetRenderer renders the page of your choice in the IE version of your choice. This is very handy for dealing with the issue that having multiple IE versions is a big headache. It is a lot quicker than some other similar tools I have tried.

Home IT

Jul. 26th, 2008 05:00 pm
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I use QuickBooks for my consulting business. Today I get a check from a customer (yay!) and try to record the payment. QuickBooks refuses to open, and gives a message box saying it is getting an error reading what looks to be its license file, and that I must have my system administrator reinstall QuickBooks. I click OK on this message box and QuickBooks then crashes. Not very friendly. Just for yucks, I deleted the file in question, and tried to run it again. This time it crashes without first showing the message box, not an improvement. Sadly, since I am a one person company, I guess I'm the system administrator who I must get to reinstall QuickBooks. Fortunately, I had kept a backup of the installer files I downloaded when I bought it. An hour later, it seems to have worked: I am back to where I started, and was able to record my payment.

Previously, I had liked QuickBooks but now I am not so sure...


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January 2016

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