Archive for the ‘Computers’ Category

The Case of the WiFi Thieves

November 27, 2017

Is someone stealing your WiFi signal?

Are you sure about that?

Free software tools exist to help you monitor your WiFi network.  And the best part of all is that you don’t need to be a certified systems administrator to use these programs.  Just click and wait.

WiFi Scanner

Who’s On My WiFi? (click to enlarge)

Who’s On My WiFi is a free software program for Windows or Android that allows you to scan and catalog every device on your network (wireless and wired).

(For privacy and security reasons, I have removed information from the images above and below.)

Also available for free to Linux, Mac and Windows users is Angry IP Scanner.

Angry IP Scanner

Not as extensive a tool as the previous software recommendation, Angry IP Scanner is just as effective.

With so many of your neighbors now using WiFi to connect to the Internet, it’s not a bad idea to make certain that they are not connecting to your Internet.

And with so many Internet service providers imposing overage charges for exceeding your data cap limit, can you really afford not to know if someone is stealing your WiFi signal?

There’s only one way to find out.


[Solved] Google Chrome Freezes and Crashes In Windows 10

October 5, 2017

The recent Windows Creators Update (1703) has been causing problems for some users of the Google Chrome browser.  The browser will freeze or crash suddenly under normal use conditions.

The solution to this problem is obvious.  Stop using Google Chrome and start using Google Chrome.

No, not that Google Chrome, that Google Chrome.

PortableApps.com1. Download the PortableApps version of Google Chrome.

2. Place the installation file in the parent level of your Documents folder.

3. Install the PortableApps version of Google Chrome.

4. Open the folder GoogleChromePortable that the install just created.

5. Right-click on GoogleChromePortable.exe > Send to > Desktop (create shortcut).

6. Use and customize Google Chrome to your heart’s content.

No more freezing, no more crashing.

You can install GoogleChromePortable in any directory you wish.  Whichever directory you place the installation file in is where the folder will be created, unless you manually specify a different directory.

You’re welcome.

Running Windows Programs On Linux

September 20, 2017

It is possible to install, launch and run a Windows-based PC program on a Linux desktop using Wine and…

PlayOnLinux banner and link

Both Wine and PlayOnLinux are available for free in your Linux distribution repositories.

If you have never used Wine before, you may need to configure Wine by going to:  Start Menu > Wine > Configure Wine and follow the on-screen prompts.  It doesn’t take long.

Next, insert the disc with the program you wish to install.  For this demonstration, I’ll be installing PopCap’s huge time-sucking vampire, Bejeweled 2.

Launch PlayOnLinux.

PlayOnLinux main screen

(Note:  The desktop theme has been changed temporarily to enhance these graphics.)

Click on “Install a program” and wait for PlayOnLinux to refresh.

PlayOnLinux selection dialog box

Click on “Install a non-listed program” or click the Refresh button if this option is not visible.

PlayOnLinux Wizard warning part 1

Click “Next.”

PlayOnLinux Wizard warning part 2

Click “Next.”

PlayOnLinux manual installation disclaimer

Click “Next.”

PlayOnLinux virtual drive selection dialog box

You should install each new program in its own virtual drive as a general rule.  Click “Next.”

PlayOnLinux virtual drive naming dialog box

You will need to give the virtual drive a name.  Usually the name of the program works best.  Click “Next.”

PlayOnLinux installation modification dialog box

You shouldn’t need to configure or modify anything.  You may need to hover over these selections before clicking “Next.”

PlayOnLinux 32 or 64 bit selection dialog box

You will need to know if the program you are installing is a 32 or 64 bit program, if you are using PlayOnLinux on a 64 bit operating system.  Bejeweled 2 is a 32 bit program.  Click “Next.”

PlayOnLinux virtual drive creation screen

PlayOnLinux will now create the virtual drive, which is nothing more than a folder in your Home directory.  When completed, click ‘Next.”

PlayOnLinux installation file location selection dialog box

You need to know the location of the installation files.  Click “Next” to launch the installer.

Bejeweled 2/Peggle Windows installer selection screen

Oh, isn’t that cool!  There are two games on this disc.  But for right now you just want Bejeweled 2.  Click “Install Now.”

PopCap installation dialog box

Here we go again!  Click “Next.”

PopCap license agreement

Click “I Agree.”

Bejeweled 2 Windows installer

Wait for the installation to finish.

PopCap opt-out dialog box

Opt out and click “Next.”

Program installation complete

Click “Done” and click the round red “Quit” on the Bejeweled 2/Peggle install selector.

(Note: Switching back to my original desktop theme for emphasis.)

PlayOnLinux launcher selection

The PlayOnLinux Wizard can create a desktop shortcut that will enable you to launch the program from a desktop icon.  The shortcut should link to an EXE file (as indicated above).  Click “Next.”

Naming dialog box for program launcher

Create a name for the new shortcut and click “Next.”

PlayOnLinux launcher completed

You can run the game from within PlayOnLinux or close the program and…

Linux desktop shortcut for Bejeweled 2

Launch the game directly from your desktop.

Bejeweled 2 running on Linux

Just like that!

Awesome.  Let’s do the same thing with Peggle by putting it in its own virtual drive.

Peggle installed by PlayOnLinux

It’s just that easy!

Peggle loading screen

Peggle welcome screen

Peggle running on Linux

The reason you want to place each program in its own virtual drive is in case you want to uninstall that program.  Launch PlayOnLinux and select the program you wish to remove.

Uninstall a program in PlayOnLinux

A new menu will appear with the option to uninstall the program.

Almost any Windows program can be installed using PlayOnLinux.  However, not every Windows program may be as fully compatible with Wine as Bejeweled 2 or Peggle.

PlayOnLinux is a free front-end program for utilizing Wine, but there is a similar commercial program by Codeweavers called CrossOver that is free to try before you buy.

Give PlayOnLinux a try.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a huge time-sucking vampire that requires my immediate attention.

Let’s play!

On Linux.


Porting Windows XP Screen Savers to Windows 7 and 10

June 22, 2017

An old friend of Computerforumz finally let go his aging Windows XP machine and purchased a refurbished computer running Windows 10 (1703) Creators Update…  Once he finished installing all the other updates.

His first question was, “Where are the screen savers?”

Okay, to get to the screen savers control panel go to:  All settings > Personalization > Lock Screen > Screen saver settings.

His second question was, “Where are my Windows XP screen savers?  I want my 3D Pipes back!”

Not a problem.

Screensaver files extracted from Windows XP

The default screen savers in Windows XP can be easily extracted by coping these files from the c:/WINDOWS/system32 folder.

There are, however, three screen saver files that you will not need.  One because it won’t run and the other two are already in newer versions of Windows.

Rejected screensavers

Note:  This same method can be employed for Windows 7 users as well.

Windows 7 personalization panel

Windows 7 main screensaver settings

Windows 7 Pipes settings

To install the extracted screen savers, simply reverse the process.  Drag and drop or copy the screen saver files to the c:/WINDOWS/system32 folder in Windows 10 (or Windows 7).


Windows 10 main screensaver settings

Windows 10 Pipes screensaver settings

The screen savers are restored just like they were in Windows XP.

Windows XP main screensaver settings

Windows XP Pipes screensaver settings

Can you take the screen savers out of Windows ME or earlier and do the same thing?

Windows Me main screensaver settings

Windows Me Pipes screensaver settings

Yes and no.  Yes, you could; no, it may not work.

The screen savers in earlier versions of Windows were coded for much slower CPUs.  Those screen savers might run but at a faster, indiscernible speed.

But if you really want the 3D Pipes screen saver, you could switch to Linux instead.

Linux XScreensavers

Just saying.

Fully Autonomous Self-Driving Cars Will Be The Weapon Of Choice For Terrorists

February 23, 2017


Fully autonomous self-driving cars loaded with explosives will be the number one weapon of choice for terrorists worldwide.  There will be no need for suicide bombers to risk their own lives.

You have been warned.  On your own heads be it.