Author Archives: Ray Woodcock

Considering Hardware Upgrades on an Old Windows XP Machine: CPU, RAM, Drive, Battery

I came into possession of a Hewlett-Packard (HP) Mini 110-1023NR. The HP Mini line was marketed from 2007 to 2012. I was thinking about upgrading the hardware on that unit. This post presents what I learned in that inquiry. Current … Continue reading

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A Batch File to Check Up on Antivirus (or Other) Software

Now and then, I experienced the rude shock of discovering that my antivirus software was not running, when I assumed it was. Maybe I had intended to turn it off temporarily, so as not to interfere with a program installation, … Continue reading

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Zero Result Searches

Every now and then, I would run a search (almost always in Google) that would produce no results. This post was inspired by one such search. I remembered, and wanted to take a look at, a video I had heard … Continue reading

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Explorer AWOL: File Does Not Have a Program Associated, etc.

I was using Windows 10, though I’m not sure the specific operating system (OS) mattered. I was also using Q-Dir, a replacement for Windows Explorer (or File Explorer, as it was known in Win10). Q-Dir gave me the option of … Continue reading

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Why Is SuperUser Designed to Be Hostile to Outsiders?

This post contains the text of a question that I originally planned to post on SuperUser, a StackExchange website. By the time I finished it, however, I realized that its style and substance would draw hostility at SuperUser. So I … Continue reading

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Choosing an M.2 SSD: Data Rot, PCIe, NVMe, and Other Issues

As detailed in another post, I wanted to add a solid state drive (SSD) to the M.2 slot in my laptop. The laptop already had a hard disk drive (HDD) in its standard 2.5″ drive bay, so there was a … Continue reading

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Adding Light to a Non-Backlit Laptop Keyboard

I had an Acer Aspire 5 A515-51-563W Core i5-7200U laptop. Its keyboard was not backlit — that is, there were no lights in its letters, to help me put my fingers on the right keys in dark conditions. This post … Continue reading

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Smartphone Newbie’s Extensive Guide to TracFone Samsung Galaxy Core Prime S820

I was looking for an entry-level, pay-as-you-go smartphone. This post describes the process I went through in choosing and setting up the Samsung Galaxy Core Prime S820L smartphone from Walmart. This post includes some descriptions of my own learning and experiences, … Continue reading

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Database: All Billboard Hot 100 Hits 1955-2013

(Note: subsequent examination raises questions as to whether this spreadsheet and/or the Singles Chronology are accurate. I will leave the material now, until I have a chance to review it, in case others find it useful.) John Michaelson’s Singles Chronology … Continue reading

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A Better Heat Index Chart

The Heat Index (HI) is a familiar concept, often encountered in the media on hot summer days. The popular understanding of this concept is simply that humidity, not just temperature, affects a person’s experience of heat. The U.S. National Weather … Continue reading

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229 Very Low-Cost Cities Around the World: Data Sources

I was considering the possibility of becoming an expatriate (“expat”) — that is, of moving outside the U.S. to live cheaply. I wanted to make an informed decision on whether to do it and, if so, where I should start. … Continue reading

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Finding Low-Cost Places to Live in the U.S.

I was interested in learning which places in the United States might offer the lowest cost of living. Although people would vary in their freedom and willingness to move anywhere, it seemed that the sources of data I found in … Continue reading

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Using a Car Battery to Power Laptop and Desktop Computers

In a previous post, I explored the possibility of using a car battery to recharge a laptop computer. This post summarizes several answers to the question of how to keep a desktop or laptop computer running when the lights go out. The … Continue reading

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Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575-33BM CPU & RAM Upgrade Options

I was thinking about buying an Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575-33BM laptop. I decided not to. Initially, I was attracted by its low price tag for great features and a high rating on Amazon. But as I dug into users’ comments, … Continue reading

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Capturing a Long Webpage as a Single Image via ImageMagick

I had a long webpage that I wanted to save as a single image (e.g., JPG or PNG). This post describes the steps I took to achieve that, using ImageMagick. Notes at the end discuss some alternate approaches. Over time, … Continue reading

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Audio Editing: Changing the Sound of a Voice

In the course of my video editing on Windows 7, I had seen two sorts of instances where I might want to change something about a person’s voice. First, it seemed I might want to modify someone’s voice so that it … Continue reading

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Making or Avoiding the Unwanted Transition from Windows 7 to 10

This post continues a previous discussion, with the benefit of another year’s insights and experiences. Why We Are in This Situation: The Microsoft Monopoly In a post dated March 18, 2016, after an extensive review of relevant matters (e.g., Microsoft’s … Continue reading

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Capturing a Long Webpage: Merging Hundreds of Screenshots

At times, I wanted to capture an entire discussion thread, or other long webpage, in a single image or document. This post discusses what I learned about achieving that. Contents Summary PDF Solutions Capturing a Long Webpage in Screenshots Choosing … Continue reading

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Using ImageMagick to Append One Image to Another

As described in another post, I wanted to combine two images to produce a third image. These two images were composites of multiple screenshots of a webpage. The composites were produced by Microsoft’s free Image Composite Editor (ICE). Each of … Continue reading

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Converting IrfanView Slideshow to Video to View Thousands of Photos

My cousins took 2,500 photos during an extended cross-country train trip. I wanted to see those photos, but did not want to press a key or click a mouse button 2,500 times to do so. The obvious solution was to … Continue reading

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Combining Thousands of Image Files into a Single Slideshow or PDF

As described in another post, I acquired thousands of JPGs, and used various tools and techniques to create long, informative filenames that would help me to sort those JPGs into various categories. I started by separating out a smallish number … Continue reading

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Comparing IrfanView and FastStone to Resize JPGs

As described in another post, I was looking for ways to archive thousands of unimportant images in a space-saving way, without simply discarding them. Space was a concern because I was trying to decide whether it would work to combine … Continue reading

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Finding Unplayable MP3s: Using MP3 Diags, MP3val, and Others

I had a set of old MP3s, bearing the same names as files in my current set. For instance, both sets might have a copy of “Dead Kennedys–Take This Job and Shove It.mp3.” But DoubleKiller said they were not byte-for-byte identical. Did … Continue reading

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Getting Duration (Playing Length) from Many MP3s

As part of a larger effort to check the validity of many MP3 files, I arrived at the question of whether the duration of these MP3s had changed. This post summarizes a few inquiries I made along those lines. (I … Continue reading

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MP3 Diags Error Codes

As described in another post, I was trying to understand and use MP3 Diags 1.2.03, for purposes of testing a number of MP3 files. To assist in that effort, I examined the diagnostic codes, or notes, that MP3 Diags used … Continue reading

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Wiping SSD Free Space Without Wiping the Whole Drive

Introduction I had installed Windows 7 on a solid state drive (SSD). I was using VeraCrypt to secure my data drives, but had decided not to use VeraCrypt on the Windows system drive (C:). I had also learned that programs … Continue reading

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Fighting an Unwanted Windows 10 Upgrade at Reboot

Summary Windows 10 inserted itself into my system, so that the Win10 logo and Setup screen were among the first things I saw upon booting my system. I spent two days trying to figure out how it got there. Although … Continue reading

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Secure Compressed Archiving on Optical Disc (e.g., DVD, Blu-Ray)

I had some files I wanted to archive on offline plastic discs. This post discusses why and how I proceeded in that task. The “why” is simple enough. An offline backup in an unwriteable format (i.e., a burn-once ROM disc) offers … Continue reading

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Comparing 7-Zip and WinRAR (with RAR and RAR5) Archive Compression

I was searching for optimal compression. In that search, I decided to compare WinRAR x64 5.40 against 7-Zip x64 16.02. This post describes that comparison. This discussion includes references to WinRAR’s settings. In a recent version of WinRAR, I found relevant settings by … Continue reading

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Using Beyond Compare and DoubleKiller for Cautious Backup

During my 30+ years of computing, I had managed to lose data in many creative and exciting ways. I had discovered that files could contain nothing when Windows said they contained something; I had found that one disk drive was … Continue reading

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Attempting to Customize the Start Menu in Linux Mint 18

As shown in another post, in Windows 7 I had a streamlined, highly organized, highly accessible Start menu containing literally hundreds of entries. I knew where things were, and I could find them very quickly. Even better, my customized Start … Continue reading

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Installing Google Earth in a Linux Mint 18 x64 Virtual Machine

As described in another post, I was installing programs in a VirtualBox virtual machine (VM) running Linux Mint MATE (LMM) 18. Google Earth (GE) was not cooperating. This post describes the steps I took to troubleshoot it. The Recap at the end provides … Continue reading

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Installing and Configuring VirtualBox in Linux Mint

I was configuring a Linux Mint Cinnamon (LMC) 18 system to serve as host to virtual machines (VMs) via Oracle VirtualBox. This post describes the steps that I took to install and configure VirtualBox, so that I could start using … Continue reading

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Configuring a Basic Xubuntu 16.04 System (aborted)

I had decided to try setting up a Linux system that would serve primarily as a workspace in which I would run virtual machines (VMs), within my dual-boot system with Windows 7. Previous posts describe abortive efforts to use Linux Mint … Continue reading

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Opera in Linux: “W: Target Packages . . . is configured multiple times”

As described in another post, I was working in a new Xubuntu installation. I had just installed Synaptic, gedit, and the Opera browser. When I clicked Reload in Synaptic, I got an error message: An error occurred The following details are … Continue reading

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Configuring a Basic Linux Mint 18 Cinnamon System

I had decided to install a dual-boot system, Windows 7 and Linux. It seemed that, among the various flavors of Linux Mint, Cinnamon was the most stable. As indicated in a previous post, I planned to use it for the basic … Continue reading

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Favorite Windows Programs in a Linux Mint System

As described in another post, I was in the process of developing a Linux Mint system. Finding good programs was an important part of that project. A separate post presents a list of 95 Windows programs for which I had … Continue reading

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Installing a Brother DCP-7065DN Printer in Linux Mint Cinnamon 17.3

I had a Brother DCP-7065DN multifunction machine. I wanted to use it with a new Linux Mint Cinnamon 17.3 installation. This post describes the steps I took to get it to work. The following points convey my interpretation of advice found … Continue reading

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Configuring a Basic Linux Mint 17.3 Xfce System (aborted)

A previous post describes how I installed Xfce on an old 32-bit laptop. This post describes another installation, on a 64-bit desktop. The previous post contains information not repeated here (on e.g., the initial installation process). Other posts cited below … Continue reading

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The Purpose of Linux: A Windows Power User’s Perspective

In spring 2016, after reviewing the reasons for Microsoft’s aggressive efforts to make Windows 7 users switch to Windows 10, I decided it was time to switch back to Linux. I spent several months working through that transition. Along the … Continue reading

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Connecting Linux on an External Drive: USB? eSATA? Firewire? SSD?

As described in another post, I was thinking about running Linux, and a Windows 7 virtual machine (VM), from an external drive. I knew that an internal solid state drive (SSD) would be faster than an internal hard disk drive … Continue reading

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Windows 7 Apps in Linux: Wine; Cameyo/ThinApp; VM vs. Native

I was in the process of transitioning from Windows 7 to Linux. I had identified a substantial number of Windows programs for which I would be seeking Linux alternatives. As described in a separate post, I did not find good … Continue reading

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Cloning a Windows 7 VirtualBox VM – Avoiding Activation Problems

Background As described in another post, I was developing a Windows 7 64-bit virtual machine (VM) in VirtualBox. I had completed the first phase in this project: setting up a minimal machine with no antivirus software installed and no working … Continue reading

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Using VMware’s ThinApp Trial Version to Virtualize Windows 7 Programs

As detailed in another post, I had made efforts to produce portable versions of a handful of Windows programs using Cameyo. There were some successes, among those programs, when I ran the Cameyo packages in Windows, but virtually no successes … Continue reading

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Creating a Clean, Basic Windows XP VM in VirtualBox – Overview

A previous post offers a detailed description of the process of creating a clean Windows XP virtual machine (VM) in VirtualBox. This post summarizes the steps in that process. Readers are encouraged to consult that other post for additional detail. … Continue reading

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Ways to Activate Windows XP

I had just installed Windows XP x32 SP3 in a VirtualBox virtual machine (VM), so as to run WinXP on Linux. Now I had to activate it. This turned out to be more complicated than I had expected. It took … Continue reading

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Creating a Portable Version of Microsoft Office 2003 with Cameyo

This post describes an unsuccessful effort to virtualize Office 2003 using Cameyo. The details are here for anyone making a similar attempt, and also to invite suggestions. Introduction As part of my project to transition from Windows 7 to Linux, … Continue reading

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Experiences with Linux Mint Alternatives to Windows Programs

I was refining a new Linux Mint 17.3 Cinnamon x64 installation. In several other posts, I described how I looked for Linux (or cloud-based) alternatives to my primary Windows 7 programs, installed those alternatives, and — where no suitable Linux … Continue reading

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Using IrfanView in Linux via Wine – With and Without Cameyo

Introduction IrfanView was a well-known free multipurpose media tool in Windows. The WineHQ Applications Database indicated that several people had good luck when using Wine to run IrfanView in various versions of Linux. Since I had used IrfanView frequently in … Continue reading

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