Google Docs Exporting

As most of you know I am a huge fan of Google web apps – Gmail, Calendar and Google Docs.
By being available nearly everywhere (with Internet connection that is) they greatly enhance productivity.
Google docs is a great tool for putting up reference information such as technical walk throughs, How-To’s, and documents and forms that are needed all the time from different locaitons and the like.
Because my natural paranoia though, I don’t put up sensitive information into Google Docs. And I download my Gmail a few times a week to Outlook. Google (and all ‘cloud services’ – MSN, Yahoo etc.) go offline or are sometimes not available, and as I have written before, the security risk of the cloud is still very real.

If you have lot’s of documents in Google Docs and you would like to export them Google has made that MUCH easier now.
Now you can export all your documents, spreadsheets, presentations and PDFs from Google Docs in a siungle  ZIP archive.
Perfect for making sure your documents are available whether or not Google is available.
Check out this walk through.
Google Batch Export

Latest Virtual Machine tools and tips

As some of you know I have been using VMware for years to create and manage virtual machines. It is one of the best ways I know to evaluate operating systems and configurations with out messing up a ‘live’ system. Using VMware (and the VMWare converter) I can also convert Acronis images to Virtual machines, enabling me to test service pack updates and application upgrades. I even have several OS X VM’s I use too. Look here and here.

I also use Virtual Server 2005R2 on my server/home workdation (for XP it’s called MS virtual PC 2005) and now Hyper V for 2008 server. Using MS Virtual server I have been able to download and evaluate various full blown MS products extremely easily by just downloading a pre-made VHDs from MS and adding them to the virtual server. Things like, Win2008R2, Exchange 2007 and 2010, SQL2008 and many more operating systems applications and configurations.

There is now an updated tool available from Sysinternals (who where swallowed up by MS) to actually create complete VHD’s (virtual hard drives) from your existing running systems!
These can be used as backups, for fail over safety, or testing purposes too. The vhd’s can be added to Virtual server, Virtual PC and Hyper V VERY easily. And they will not require another activation as is nearly always necessary when using VMware.

Here is very good article from LifeHacker with a quick rundown of it:

This article prompted me to revisit this, so I decided to see how well it would work with my office machine, which I just happened to have sitting on my desk here at home.
I downloaded and copied the new Disk2vhd app to the laptop, ran the application to create the vhd and saved the vhd to a share on my home server. After the vhd was created I launched the MS Virtual Server Administration console on my server (a localmachine website), ‘created’ a new vm and added the vhd, set up the network options and started it.
And bam, it works like a champ! I was even able to connect from the VM to my office via VPN and run my ‘Cisco SoftPhone’!

Now, if you have no desire to try this just take off now, sorry for wasting your time.
But for any of you fellow techies that want to learn or experience something new, here is more info.
Latest version of Disk2vhd:

MS VirtualPC 2007:

or:Virtual Server 2005 R2:Info:

More info:


Or if you are already using Windows 2008 Server you can use Hyper V:

As always if you do not understand something, take the time to read about it and learn it. If you still don’t get it, read some more. Maybe a lot more. If you try something and is doesn’t work. Try this and type in your question. But don’t type it to me 🙂

Other notes:If you don’t have a modern machine with modern processor (Intel core2duo, Athlon multi-core or better) and plenty of RAM, don’t even think about trying to create a virtual machines. It will be slower than a 1995 Packard Bell.


All kinds of Windows 7 info

I really like the new Microsoft operating system Windows 7.
I think it will have a huge impact on usability and security for all who upgrade.
It should also make it easier, from my standpoint, to administer and manage.
I expect many fewer calls for support.
A basic tour of Win 7 from Microsoft:

Below are some links that I highly recommend you check out.
There are so many great features with Win 7 that make the Operating System so much easier to use than Vista and more secure that XP.
The interface alone has all kinds of features – like the ‘dock’ and previews that make for a much more useful interface.
Behind the scenes there is of course all the stability improvements too.
Things like networking that just works, disk burning built in and faster application performance.
Take some time and really check out these articles and mess with the functions they talk about and you will be amazed!

For those with Vista and/or Windows 7 here is a very nice freeware utility.
Just be careful of what you tweak you could hose your system!

Some great Windows ‘hot keys’:

Windows 7 driver issues

Some of you have taken the jump to Windows 7.
As a MS Technet subscriber, I am one of those who have been using it for some time.
I believe it is the OS that Vista should have been. It takes security way beyond XP and usability way beyond Vista.
But some have still had problems with drivers not working correctly.
MS has a great – how to on how to fix this.
If a device will not work with Windows 7 drivers or you need to use older drivers you can use this method.

Windows Utilites and Tools

After cleaning up a friends system recently and dramatically improving it’s performance, appearance and usability I was asked again, nay begged, to recommend as many of the applications and or utilities I use(d) to install or put onto an existing or new installation of Windows to ‘protect it’ and to help keep it running optimally and take full control of your applications, system preferences and resources.

The list below contains most of the things I install on, or use, on all of my machines.
There are also ‘portable’ or ‘non-install’ versions of nearly all of these applications which I carry on my thumb drives too. But I will not provide the links for them as they can be easily found the same place as the full installs of these applications.
There are of course many others I use for network administration but I won’t include all of those here now.
I just wanted to put this up so that those of you looking for some very good freeware applications to enhance and improve your computing experience could find them in one place. And to keep it as secure and trouble free as possible.

Download here
[see list at end for Firefox extensions and add ons I use too]

7-Zip opensource file archiver:;=win⟨=en-US

Notepad++ Opensource notepad on steroids:

Windows PowerToys:

ClearType Tuner PowerToy:

Alt-Tab Replacement:

Open Command Window Here:

Tweak UI:

The entire Syinternals Suite:

Complete tool set:

Of those I use most are:
Process Explorer and AutoRuns

Revo Uninstaller – freeware:


Mike Lin’s Startup Control Panel:



File assassin

A great spyware finder:

Spybot Search And Destroy

Don’t confuse this application with other that are trading on the ‘Spybot’ name and are in
and of themselves ACTUALLY spyware. The one and only original FREEWARE application is here.


Taskbar Shuffle – a simple, small, free utility that lets you drag and drop your Windows
taskbar buttons to rearrange them:

Another program much like Tweak XP:

ImageBurn CD/DVD burner:

VLC Media Player:


I have used both of these and they are fine freeware applications.
I also am quite happy with corporate versions of McAfee and Symantec despite the idiot rantings of people who don’t do this for a living.

AVG free AV:
App Download:
Freeware download

Clamwin Free AV:

Better Gmail

Google toolbar:

pdf download:

stop autoplay:


Video DownloadHelper

Adblock Plus

Redirect Remover

Grease Monkey for firefox – allows of additional script functionalities in firefox:

GreaseMonkey Scripts:

Remove Facebook Ads:

YouTube HD Ultimate:


Share External Mac Volumes

If you have a mixed environment of PC’s – MS Windows and Macintosh, it can be tough to configure access to shared resources on shared machines.
Sure you might think OSX can do this with the ‘Windows File Sharing’ but you are limited to the ‘home’ folder.
Sharing a Windows folder or drive is actually fairly simple and straight forward.
Here is a great tutorial from Lifehacker on how to mount Windows shared folders in OSX:

But what about sharing other (like external drives) resources on you Mac with other Macs and PC’s
By that I mean what happens if one of your Mac’s used for Graphic Arts or Pre Press has external drives that need to be shared to other Mac’s and PC’s
I have found VERY few articles that describe this easily and succinctly in over a decade of working with Mac’s.
So here is what has worked for me.:
You can share any volumes on the Mac, USB, Firewire and other internal drives etc.

First TURN OFF WINDOWS FILE SHARING in the System Preferences.
I find the first example works best for me most of the time.
Then Go to Applications

Then Utilities and find the Terminal application and open it.

Open Terminal and type;

cd /etc

sudo pico smb.conf


You’ll be prompted for the password.

Then scroll down to the end of the options and add something like this below:


comment = BIG EXTERNAL

path = /Volumes/BIG EXTERNAL/

browsable = yes

public = yes

read only = no

Or maybe like this:


comment = USB Drive

path = /Volumes/USB Drive name

valid users = joe user

public = no

writable = yes

printable = no

When done making your changes, hit Control-O to write changes to disk (save additions to smb.conf file) and press Return when prompted for a file name. The hit Control-X to quit pico and close the Terminal window.

Now go to your Window PCs and try and ‘browse’ the network and find your shares.

To share additional folders, duplicate the section above — but change the name, comment, and path for each new folder.
I have used this and veriations of this technique for years with great success.
Hope this helps you get productive.

Ok now what if you need to mount an NTFS volume ‘in’ OS X?
There are a few solutions.
This one is condensed from tips from MacOSXHints:

Snow Leopard has the ability to mount NTFS volumes as read/write, but it’s not enabled by default — just read only is supported, as in 10.5. Here’s how to get full read/write support for NTFS drives in Snow Leopard.
First, uninstall NTFS-3G or Paragon if you’re using either one!

Here’s how to get read/write support for NTFS drives in Snow Leopard:

1. In Terminal, type diskutil info /Volumes/volume_name, where volume_name is the name of the NTFS volume. From the output, copy the Volume UUID value to the clipboard.

2. Back up /etc/fstab if you have it; it shouldn’t be there in a default install.

3. Type sudo nano /etc/fstab.

4. In the editor, type UUID=, then paste the UUID number you copied from the clipboard. Type a Space, then type none ntfs rw. The final line should look like this: UUID=123-456-789 none ntfs rw, where 123-456-789 is the UUID you copied in the first step.

5. Repeat the above steps for any other NTFS drives/partitions you have.

6. Save the file and quit nano (Control-X, Y, Enter), then restart your system.

After rebooting, NTFS partitions should natively have read and write support.
This works with both 32- and 64-bit kernels. Support is quite good and fast, and it even recognizes file attributes such as hidden files.
[There may be good reasons why Apple left support disabled, so use at your own risk!]

Another solution that may be simpler is to use this utility which ‘puts’ a GUI onto the above style tweak.

Anyhow I hope this helps

From Giz Windows 7 tips

Gizmodo has a huge collection of tips, tricks and how to’s for the up coming version of Windows – Windows 7.
I highly recomend reading if you are interested in the future of Windows.
I have had a running VM (virtual machine) of Windows 7 for months now and I am quite excited about the performance; much better that Vista (for me anyways)
I will post some more info on my VM experiences in another log.
For those that are already using Vista the ‘jump’ will be minimal. And for those on Windows XP it will be an easier transition than going from XP to Vista.;=t