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Windows 10 Activation Technology January 8, 2017

Posted by Steven in Software.
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Microsoft attempted to make a lot of things very easy and straight forward with Windows 10. This operating system of the cloud-age is supposed to be a no brainer for everyone. Easy to upgrade, initially offered as a free upgrade and not to forget fast and safe for everyday use.

When I recently contemplated the upgrade to Windows 10 for an older living-room PC myself I found some aspects that are quite complicated. Thus today I’d like to talk about Activation.

I believe Microsoft’s intention was to make the upgrade process very smooth end easy for everyone. However this lead to more activation options and to an more complex situation overall if things go wrong.

More Activation Options

  • Microsoft provides a nice overview here: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/12440/windows-10-activation
  • Today there are two activation routes (Windows setup will chose which one fits your situation).
  • First possible route: Digital Entitlement / Digital License
    • Rule of thumb: everyone who used an activated previous version of windows and took Microsoft’s offer for a free upgrade will get a digital license.
    • There are other cases where the setup will chose digital license (explained in detail by Microsoft)
    • So what is a digital license? Basically it is a digital marker, a license which microsoft creates when you use one of the free upgrade offers or when you are a windows insider. In order to fix issues with that methodology Microsoft has built a functionality to link your digital license with your Microsoft account (and this should help with re-activating Windows after hardware change).
    • Additionally it is important to understand: The digital license is build in such a way so that it is tied to your current hardware configuration
  • Second is the classic Product Key Method
    • What is it and when will it be used?
    • It seems quite obvious: the other more expensive ways to get Windows will in most cases use a Product Key and the classic transfer of some PC data and product key to Microsoft for activation. These more expensive ways include: buying a Windows 10 copy, buying a digital download for Windows 10 or getting Windows 10 with a new Laptop.
    • With the Product key that you acquired there should be no issue re-activating Windows.

As you can see the different routes may make for more options and maybe more issues when changing hardware. The following links can also provide some guidance if you run into issues:

License FAQ
http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/ultimate-windows-10-activation-license-faq/

Versus. Background Info
http://pureinfotech.com/how-activation-works-windows-10-digital-entitlement-vs-product-key/

Preparing for hardware change
http://www.windowscentral.com/how-re-activate-windows-10-after-hardware-change

Windows 10 Setup Considerations when using a free upgrade
http://www.howtogeek.com/266072/you-can-still-get-windows-10-for-free-with-a-windows-7-8-or-8.1-key/

Mac: Use dropbox to sync documents and desktop folders September 23, 2016

Posted by Steven in Apps.
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With regards to yesterday’s post briefly touching on symlinks used to backup an iPhone to an external harddrive – I would like to provide another exciting use case for handy symbilic links on a Mac.

This article caught my eye:

http://www.zdnet.com/article/beyond-icloud-syncing-your-desktop-and-documents-between-macs-using-dropbox/

I really like dropbox. For me it is a quick and reliable way to synchronize  files between a Mac a PC and a smartphone. The general way how dropbox works on computers:

  • you download an app from dropbox.com
  • it sets up a folder “dropbox” and keeps the contents of this folder in sync with other machines and with  the cloud side of dropbox

For more fancy use cases it would be nice if you could pick several important folders outside of the dropbox folder to keep these files backed up or in sync as well.

Well using symbolic links you can do that! As the article neatly describes: The basic way is: create a symbolic link for example for your desktop  or documents folder. Then rename the original folder and go on syncing. However if more than one  Mac should sync the  documents folder for example it is important that in the first round of “Rippling the change across computers” one must  manually take care of the different files from different Macs all ending  up in one dropbox. The article describes all the details.

A simple symlinc command would be:

 

sudo rm -rf ~/Documents

ln -s ~/Dropbox/Documents ~/Documents

eventually the second command has to be “sudo”ed as well:
sudo ln -s ~/Dropbox/Documents ~/Documents

 

And please read the article:

http://www.zdnet.com/article/beyond-icloud-syncing-your-desktop-and-documents-between-macs-using-dropbox/

 

Update 1 / September: 

  • I’ve just tried the above method in order to sync the “Desktop” and “Documents” folder of a MacBook Pro Retina March 2015 model and a late 2013 iMac. The MacBook running OS X El Capitan (10.11) and the iMac running Yosemite (10.10)
  • The effort ultimately succeeded but I must admit it was a little more difficult than I originally expected
  • Here is what I have done in detail
    • First we had to set up an approriate dropbox account – we had to log into dropbox using the browser and then download dropbox for Mac
    • We ran the installer and confirmed the login in the dropbox software
    • After that I opened “Terminal” and typed in the commands – starting with the linking for the  “Documents” folder
      • So I ran the rm then had to type the admin password then ran the ln (also I repeated with sudo ln)
      • Visually in the finder I tried to inspect the results of these commands
      • I opened a new Finder window and jumped to the user’s folder. Then there was a Documents folder. But it was blue’ish with the icon (so it looked unchanged from a vanilla OS X installation) when I opened the documents folder I saw just one Link there which pointed to the correct folder in the Dropbox.
      • So that  was not what I wanted: It looked like the standard “Documents” folder (which the rm command tried to remove) was still there and there was a link inside of it. Strange because ln …. with  the target “~/Documents” should have created something in ~/ not below Documents
    • On the 10.11 MacBook it seemed to help if I did the following
      • make sure  you are in the user’s main user directory (that is usually the case when you open Terminal). Otherwise you can check using ls and cd commands
      • Then I repeated the commands but  given  I was already in the main user direcctory I modified them slightly:
      • sudo rm -rf Documents
        sudo ln -s ~/Dropbox/Documents Documents
      • That seemed to work (I checked after the first command and for the first time the documents folder on the mac really was completely gone)
    • I can’t fully describe it but the 10.10 iMac seemed to behave slightly different.
      • I tried to run the ‘slightly modified’ commands straight away in the iMac
      • But initially it would not work (I saw a documents link in  the documents folder again)
      • Then I used the original commands and then the new commands and it worked
      • hard to explain / maybe it was just a visual glitch (I checked too quickly in finder etc.) but my impression was, that I had to run the commands multiple times and then it would work
  • Closing remarks:   Phew in the end it worked and that was good!  (I read somewhere, that you could approach a syncing effort from the dropbox side: Go to your dropbox folder and place links to your Desktop inside your Dropbox) – this worked briefly but it’s more a backup solution. For keeping two Macs in sync this method is not so practical.
    So in the end I had a user on two Macs and the default Documents and Desktop folders were removed and replaced with symlinks to Dropbox-counterparts. The dropbox software was running and keept things really nicely up to date on both machines! I will keep a close eye on this and I hope it will enable a smooth and safe workflow for the user.

Titanium Backup – enable write access to external SD Card March 6, 2016

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Recently I’ve been trying a couple of Android devices. I used to focus on iOS but I become a little bit bored with it lately. The deep customisation options on (rooted) Android devices began to fascinate me again.

When I played around with a recent and quite good Samsung tablet I ran into a couple of issues with Titanium Backup and an external 128GB SD Card. By the way rooting of said Samsung tablet is easy and straight forward.

Namely when trying to back up a couple of applications to that external SD Card, Titanium Backup showed: “readonly” / “this folder is not writable”. That seemed strange as I had even formatted the SD Card in the freshly set up tablet.

Well after a quick google search here is the solution (you will need root access, a file manager and a text editor – I used http://www.estrongs.com/?lang=en )

  • navigate to : / system /etc/ permissions/platform.xml
  • finde the section “WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE”
  • inside that section add the following line:  <group gid=”media_rw” />

After a reboot of the device read and write SD Card access from within Titanium Backup worked fine.

Three current tips for designing UI February 26, 2016

Posted by Steven in In-Media.
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My general approach to user interface design was simple: Grab a couple of assets and Photoshop and get on with it. A couple of weeks ago I participated in a little Hackathon. I had to realize I was quite slow designing a handful screens for quite a simple App. I occasionally glanced over to the team next to us. I was impressed. They used some fancy software and they were just pushing out fancy screen after screen after screen. So I’ve done a little research and I must say designing screens with Photoshop seems to be very 2001. Now there are different solutions:

 

 

https://www.sketchapp.com

sketchapp0001

 

http://www.invisionapp.com

invisionapp0002

 

http://www.axure.com/

axure0003

ResophNotes simple SimpleNote client for Windows February 1, 2016

Posted by Steven in gadgets, Software.
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ResophNotes Screenshot

I have tried many things to get organized. Tried out many many different to-do-list apps (Things, AnyDo), feature-rich notes-taking apps (Evernote, OneNote). None of these really worked for me. I gather a lot of little things and to-dos during my usual days. Always on the go, I need really fast and simple synchronization between all my devices.

Most of the fancy to-do-list apps offer great features and -at least on iOS- really nice user interfaces. Overall I had some issues with inconsistent user experiences across the various devices. For example I have set up reminders or specific dates or places in an iOS app but on an Android phone the data would look different. Also I regularly use work PCs (etc.) thus a simple web frontend is essential for me. Some of the apps use Dropbox for synchronization but don’t have a specific web frontend for viewing or editing the data.

The big solutions like evernote and OneNote are simply too feature rich for me. There is so much to do and to try out that I easily get distracted. Also among tags and folders and collections and so on it is much harder to set up a simple stack of things to keep me organized.

So once again I realized the solution which works absolutely best for me is: Simplenote. It’s a plain and simple notes solution (by the way from the makers of wordpress). It is fast and intuitive. It gives you a list of text-only notes, a simple search function and a compact system to tag the notes. There some useful advanced features but the true beauty of Simplenote is really its simplicity. It is plain text, it is very quick and synchronization with pretty much all platforms and apps is fast and seamless.

ResophNotes

For ‘old school’ classic Desktop style windows, there is no native Simplenote app. Thus I had a quick look for a nice piece of software which could handle the job. I found a piece of software which is perfect for the job and an absolute joy to use:

ResphNotes

It is a sleek and classy Windows application it synchronizes quickly and seamlessly with Simplenote’s servers and it makes it easy to manage hundreds of notes. I have been using it for almost two years now and it supported my daily chaos really well. It was reliable and fast and never disappointed.

If you are looking for a nice and fast windows application to manage text notes you must give it a try!

Upgraded to OS X 10.10 Yosemite: Notification settings not being saved April 26, 2015

Posted by Steven in Apple, The-Web.
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Judging from several threads in various forums: quite a few people seem to have this issue.

I use various MacBooks. All of them had several iterations of OS X installed. Now I upgraded all of them to OS X 10.10 Yosemite.

Several people noticed: On the new system you can set preferences for notifications for example (i.e. not seeing banners for every Facebook notification). However these settings are not being retained when the machine is being rebooted.

Here are some reports of the issue:

https://discussions.apple.com/thread/6605975

https://discussions.apple.com/message/26851563#26851563

https://discussions.apple.com/message/26857242#26857242

https://discussions.apple.com/message/26863504#26863504

Fortunately very clever people found a solution for the issue. I am referring the wonderful site:

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1803815

So here is the step by step solution for the issue:

  1. Open the Library folder in your Home folder.
  2. In the Library folder, open the Application Support folder.
  3. Locate the folder named NotificationCenter. Drag this folder to the desktop.
  4. Next, open the Terminal application.

    Copy and paste each line of these commands into the Terminal window, in order. Press return after each line:

    cd `getconf DARWIN_USER_DIR`
    rm -rf com.apple.notificationcenter
    killall usernoted; killall NotificationCenter

  5. Close the Terminal app.
  6. Restart your computer.
  7. The notification preference changes won’t stick until you restart a 2nd time after this.

This should be fixing the issue. Check for yourself if your Mac exhibits the issue and then let me know if the fix helps.

FYI: Free Service to review your ip Address for various services January 19, 2014

Posted by Steven in The-Web.
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Recently I reviewed a couple of VPN services. I must say those services – now in 2014 – seem mainly reasonably priced and improved dramatically in performance.

Also with tunnelblick (OS X, Linux) and OpenVPN (Windows) there are decent well supported front-ends for switching the VPN on and off.

Once you play around with VPN services you would like to know how you’re identified on the internet (hopefully it’s with the outbound servers of the VPN services). One interesting method to test this for the bit torrent part of the internet is this site:

http://www.checkmytorrentip.com/#

It pushes a test download file to you and after a few seconds it will show you the ip address the service found. It’s quite handy, free and elegantly done.

Quick Tipp: iOutBank vollständig auf neuem iDevice einrichten November 30, 2013

Posted by Steven in In-Media, Innovation.
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outbank2-150x150Ich nutze iOutBank. Außerdem bin ich ein großer Fan des mTan = mobile Tan Verfahrens. Dabei wird für die Legitimation einer Transaktion ein Code an eine vorher festgelegte Handy Nummer geschickt. Mit diesem Code gibt man dann die Transaktion (z.B. in iOutBank frei)

Auf meinem neuen iPad war leider dieses Verfahren noch nicht eingestellt (für mein relevantes Postbank Konto). Ich habe ein wenig gegoogelt aber leider nichts konkretes gefunden. Daher hier eine kurze Anleitung wie man auf einem neuen iDevice dieses TAN Verfahren wieder aktivieren kann.

Voraussetzungen: Konto welches mTan unterstützt – und die komplette Einrichtung des Kontos und des HBCI Zugriffs auf das Konto hat funktioniert.

  • Start von iOutBank
  • Oben links das Menü anwählen
  • Bankkontakte wählen
  • Auf die relevante Bank (zB Postbank oder Deutsche Bank tippen)
  • ganz nach unten scrollen
  • IMG_6012
  • Auf TAN-Verfahren tippen
  • Bestätigen dass der Verfahrenscode geändert werden soll
  • mTan Postbank Code wäre 901
  • Speichern
  • Unten auf Synchronisieren Tippen
  • Noch einmal auf TAN-Verfahren tippen
  • mobileTAN (901) antippen
  • Für Postbank nun beispielsweise Alphanumerische TANs auswählen
  • Dann sollte unter dem TAN Verfahren eine neue Zeile auftauchen: TAN-Medium
  • Dort kann die Handynummer ausgewählt werden die man vorher mit der Bank freigegeben hat

fertig

 

Organize your thoughts – Give Wikis a chance September 9, 2013

Posted by Steven in In-Media, The-Web.
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Recently I’ve read a lot of stuff about those high-tech note keeping apps for your smartphones. Prime examples may be:

All these tools are very full of features. You can jot down texts, add links, insert images, some allow drawing on top of images and Evernote even includes a OCR module. The question is: do you really need all these complex high-tech features? And for me one more question is: how good are the cloud services? I.e. is the tool simply storing the data in my dropbox? or is there a separate web version (i.e. Evernote.com) and so on.  Additionally I have the specific issue that I work 8hrs a day behind quite a strong firewall and proxy – so not all services work.

So I started digging for other approaches to quickly capture text and the occasional PDF or image file. If you think about it – these requirements are similar to what is expected from a simple wiki site (thousands of these tools can be found on the web). From perspective the advantage is that you can very freely configure what you really need and how you would like to structure and store the information.

GiveWikiSitesAChance

Especially for my needs behind a strict proxy I re-activated my Google Apps service. There you can set up Google Sites. Over the years it grew into a big comfortable website editor. You can easily store (private) text and upload files.

The tool also offers mobile optimized sites so you can access your information on the go.

Thus if you think about using one of the big smartphone tools above try moving quick infos into the Google cloud and maybe this might be an alternative for you as well.

Renesas USB 3.0 and µPD720200, µPD720201 details September 8, 2013

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If your PC has a slightly older USB 3.0 Controller Chip it is likely to be one of the Renesas USB 3.0 Host Controller Family. The Chip might be a Renesas/NEC µPD720200, µPD720201, or µPD720202.

For all of these I recently found good drivers on the internet.

Refer to these pages for details:

(My latest information is that latest drivers for the higher numbered chips …202 are: 3.0.20.0 and for the lower 2.1.28.0)

http://antdriver.com/renesasnec-upd720201upd720202-usb3-0-drivers-v-3-0-20-0/

http://plugable.com/drivers/renesas

January 2013 Reminder: Windows 8 Upgrade Offer Ends November 22, 2012

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Windows 8 Pro Pack Shot

Just as a reminder.. just until 31.January.2013 you can buy and download a cheap 29,99 € upgrade for your Windows Vista or Windows 7 from Microsoft. All the details are summarized in Microsoft’s document:

 

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-8/terms-conditions

Absinthe 2.0 Jailbreak has been released! For iOS 5.1.1 devices! May 25, 2012

Posted by Steven in Apple, In-Media.
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Image

The chronic dev team has released the new Absinthe 2.0 Jailbreak (untethered for iOS 5.1.1 devices). Yay! Thanks to the chronic dev team. All details on their website:

http://greenpois0n.com/?p=324

Third Party Information and How-To Guides:

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