Archive for the ‘Links’ 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.


[Solved] Windows 10 Anniversary Update Epic FAIL

November 26, 2016

Windows Refresh Tool IconI bought a computer,
It cost a thousand pound;
But every time I switch it on
It keeps on falling down.

I used to think it was my friend
But now it drives me ’round the bend;
You’d be surprised the time I spend
Reinstalling Windows.
— Les Barker

OMG!  After twenty-five previous versions of Microsoft Windows, still the only way to fix a Windows error problem is to reinstall the operating system.  Seriously?

Well, at least it’s much easier than it used to be.

Starting with Windows 10, Microsoft offers full-install disc images available for download.  You can burn the image to a single-layer blank DVD or load the image on a USB flash drive.  Or simply use the Microsoft media creation tool.

Or you could do what I did and download and run the Microsoft Refresh Windows Tool.

Windows Refresh Tool (License Terms)

Click “Accept” to continue.

Windows Refresh Tool (Choose what you want to keep)

You have two options.  You can lose everything or almost everything.  That’s like asking someone, “Would you like to be shot in the head or the heart?”  What difference does it make?  Dead is dead.

All of my data files are always backed up, so I opted to keep nothing.  I wanted a complete clean install.

Click “Start” and pray.

The program downloads the latest version of Windows 10 that matches your system before installing.  Depending on the speed of your Internet access, this process can take some time.

From this point on, you don’t need to do anything until the installation is done.

If everything goes right, you will not need your Windows license key code.  Windows will automatically activate the new install.

You will need to supply some information about settings options, Cortana options and your Microsoft account (if you have one or if you wish to create one).  I don’t use a Microsoft account on this machine, so I just skipped it.

Success!  I went from 1511 to 1607.  The Anniversary Update is now up and running.  Yay.

The solution is the ultimate solution.  Wipe it all and start again.  Thanks, Microsoft.  Thanks a lot.

Extract Program Files From Linux Mint 13/17 For Use In Mint 18

July 29, 2016

Linux Mint 18 isn’t perfect.

It’s not what’s in Mint 18, it’s what’s missing from the new release that makes it so frustrating.  The problem of missing dependencies and programs was first discovered in the Beta release.

The solution, however, can be a bit complex for newer users.  Extracting .deb files from either an installed copy of Linux Mint 13/17.x or from the Live DVD version takes a bit of time, but does not require any command line knowledge.

Picasa, which is no longer supported by Google, is still a fantastic program that is absent from the Linux Mint 18 repositories.  Despite that fact, Picasa will run on Linux Mint 18 if you have the .deb file.

Step 1:
Boot an Internet connected computer into Linux Mint 13 or 17.x.

Step 2:
Go to the Main Menu > Administration > Synaptic Package Manager.  If required, enter your password.

Step 3:
Click on the Search button at the top to locate Picasa.  Then click the other Search button.

Search for Picasa in Synaptic

Step 4:
Locate Picasa in the list.

Picasa listed in Synaptic

Step 5:
Right-click on the entry and select “Mark for Installation.”

Mark Picasa for installation

Step 6:
Don’t let this worry you!

116 dependencies required to install Picasa

Many Linux programs can require huge numbers of dependencies to be installed.  You only need one of these 117 files.

Click on the Mark button.

Step 7:
Click the Apply button at the top of the Synaptic screen.

Click Apply to download the file(s)

Step 8:
Place a check mark in the box next to “Download package files only” and click the Apply button.

Download package files only

Step 9:
Wait for the package files to download.

Downloading Package Files

Step 10:
Right-click again on the Picasa entry and select “Unmark” from the list.

Select Unmark to remove Picasa from the download list

Step 11:
If you receive an error message, click the Mark button and ignore it.

Warning dialog box

Step 12:
Close Synaptic.  If you get another error message, click the Quit button and ignore it as well.

Quit and discard marked changes conformation dialog box

Step 13:
Open the Home folder (usually located on the desktop) and select “File System” from the list on the left-hand side.

Select File System from within your Home folder

Step 14:
Navigate to the var > cache > apt folder.

Inside the var > cache > apt folder

Step 15:
Right-click on the archives folder and select “Open as administrator” from the list (unless you are using a Live DVD).

Right-click and select "Open as administrator"

Step 16:
Click and drag the .deb file called Picasa out of the folder and drop it on the desktop.

You can also right-click on the file and select “Copy” from the context menu and then right-click anywhere on the desktop and select “Paste” to access the file.

The Picasa deb file can be found in the archives folder.

You can now move this file to a flash drive or external hard drive or use NitroShare to transfer the file to your Linux Mint 18 computer for installation.

Close the Home folder.

Step 17:
If you are extracting files using a Live DVD, you’re done.

If you are extracting files using an installed version of Linux Mint 13/17.x, you can use Ubuntu Tweak to safely delete the 117 downloaded files still in the archives folder.

Clean cached files from your system using Ubuntu Tweak

I was able to easily install Picasa on Linux Mint 18 using this method.  All the dependencies that were required were in the Linux Mint 18 repositories.


Gnubiff is a wonder program that notifies users when new email arrives.  Unfortunately, the version currently included in the Linux Mint 18 repositories doesn’t work worth a flip!

I recommend you download and use version 2.2.15 under the heading of The Wily Werewolf.