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Thu, Dec 31, 2015 5:53 pm

Determining the day of the week for a specific date under Linux

If you want to determine the day of the week for a specific date on a Lunux system, you can provide that date as a parameter to the date command with --date.
  -d, --date=STRING
              display time described by STRING, not 'now'

E.g., to determine the day of the week for August 10, 2008, you could use the following command at a Bash prompt:

$ date --date=2008-08-10
Sun Aug 10 00:00:00 EDT 2008

If you only want to see the day of the week, e.g., day 7, "Sun", or "Sunday", then you can provide a format parameter as well as shown below:

$ date '+%u' --date=2008-08-10
7
$ date '+%a' --date=2008-08-10
Sun
$ date '+%A' --date=2008-08-10
Sunday

The format values used above are as follows:

%a     locale's abbreviated weekday name (e.g., Sun)

%A     locale's full weekday name (e.g., Sunday)

%u     day of week (1..7); 1 is Monday

[/os/unix/linux] permanent link

Wed, Dec 30, 2015 10:34 pm

Windows System Image Backup failed with 0x80070002 code

After attempting to create a system image backup on an external USB drive of a Windows 7 Ultimate system, I saw a message that "The backup failed. The system cannot find the file specified. (0x80070002)." The window where I saw the error message didn't offer me a way to see what file or files were associated with the error message. It took me many hours to finally connect the error message to an issue with a USB port on the front of the computer. When I moved the cable between the external USB drive and the computer from a USB port on the front of the computer to one on the back, I was finally able to successfully create a system image on the external drive.

[ More Info ]

[/os/windows/win7] permanent link

Mon, Dec 28, 2015 10:41 pm

Apple Software Update on Microsoft Windows systems

The Apple Software Update application, which may be found in C:\Program Files (x86)\Apple Software Update on Microsoft Windows systems, is used to check for updates for Apple software products on those systems. While checking for updates, the software establishes HTTP connections to swcdn.apple.com and swcatalog.apple.com . You may find that a web server it is querying regarding updates, though, is in the IP address space of the Internet Service Provider (ISP) for the system on which the software runs because Apple has partnered with Akamai Technologies as have many other large companies, for use of Akamai's content delivery network (CDN) for the delivery of content from Apple. By partnering with a CDN provider a company can have its content delivered from servers closer to the end user.

[ More Info ]

[/os/windows/software] permanent link

Wed, Dec 23, 2015 11:04 pm

Adding the Microsoft Windows FTP Service to a Windows 7 system

If you wish to set up a Microsoft Windows 7 system as an File Transfer Protocol (FTP) server, Microsoft provides FTP server software which you can enable through the Turn Windows Features on or off capability under Programs and Features, which you can access from the Control Panel . You can configure the FTP server service to use "Basic" authentication so that users will need to provide a user name and password for an account on the system in order to transfer files to/from the FTP server or you can choose to set up the FTP server to use anonymous authentication, which will allow FTP users to type anonymous when prompted for a user name and then provide whatever they wish when prompted for a password.

[ More Info ]

[/os/windows/win7] permanent link

Tue, Dec 22, 2015 11:23 pm

Displaying mail account information with AppleScript

Apple's AppleScript scripting language provides a means to obtain information from applications on a OS X system. Applications have a "dictionary" that can be consulted to determine what properties can be queried or altered. E.g., to see the dictionary for the Mail application on an OS X system, I can open the AppleScript Editor program found in Applications/Utilities, then click on File, select Open Dictionary and scroll down until I see the Mail application listed. I can then click on it to highlight it and then click on the Choose button to open that dictionary.

[ More Info ]

[/os/os-x/applescript] permanent link

Sat, Dec 19, 2015 11:25 pm

Installing a Telnet client from Microsoft on Windows systems

If you need a telnet client on a Microsoft Windows system, e.g., a Windows Vista, 7, 8, Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2008 system, etc., you can install PuTTY, which is probably the most popular telnet client for Microsoft Windows systems, created by Simon Tatham, or you can install one provided by Microsoft from a command line interface (CLI), i.e., a command prompt, using the pkgmgr command as shown below:
Microsoft Windows [Version 6.1.7601]
Copyright (c) 2009 Microsoft Corporation.  All rights reserved.

C:\Users\Administrator>pkgmgr /iu:"TelnetClient"

C:\Users\Administrator>

After you enter the pkgmgr /iu:"TelnetClient" command, you won't see any indication that the software has been installed. The command prompt will be redisplayed and you may have to wait a couple of minutes afterwards for the installation to be completed depending on the speed of your system. If you see a User Account Control dialog box displayed when you enter the command, provide a userid and password for an administrator account and confirm that you want to allow the action it displays.

After you've installed the telnet client application, you can type telnet at a command prompt to start the client, which will take you to the telnet client prompt:

Welcome to Microsoft Telnet Client

Escape Character is 'CTRL+]'

Microsoft Telnet>

The telnet client program, telnet.exe is installed in \windows\system32.

C:\Windows>dir /s telnet.exe
 Volume in drive C has no label.
 Volume Serial Number is 9420-A68C

 Directory of C:\Windows\System32

07/13/2009  08:39 PM            79,872 telnet.exe
               1 File(s)         79,872 bytes

 Directory of C:\Windows\winsxs\amd64_microsoft-windows-telnet-client_31bf3856ad
364e35_6.1.7600.16385_none_1426830c3ebb712d

07/13/2009  08:39 PM            79,872 telnet.exe
               1 File(s)         79,872 bytes

     Total Files Listed:
               2 File(s)        159,744 bytes
               0 Dir(s)  61,068,718,080 bytes free

[/network/telnet] permanent link

Fri, Dec 18, 2015 10:40 pm

Changing Default Application to Open a File under OS X

If you need to change the default application that will be used to open a particular file type on a Mac OS X system, you can do so by taking the following steps:
  1. Right-click on a file of that type in the Finder.
  2. Select Get Info.
  3. Click on the triangle to the left of "Open with", then select the application you wish to use to open files of that kind.
  4. Click on the Change All.. button.
  5. When asked to confirm that you want to change all similar documents to open with the application click on the Continue button.

Example

[/os/os-x] permanent link

Thu, Dec 17, 2015 11:23 pm

Star Wars in ASCII

A new Star Wars movie, "The Force Awakens" is being released on Friday December 18, 2015.

Force Awakens poster

The Star Wars ssaga has been told in movies, animated TV series, a comic book series, novels, games, and fan fiction. It has also been related in ASCII art .



                          -===                  ####
        What are you     ""o o                 {"o o}
          talking        _\ -/_                 { =}
           about?    #  /      \             {~~   //~}
                     \\//| __ |\\           {{~{  //}~}}
                      \/ |/  \| \\          {} {//  } {}
                         [][][]  ||         {} //   } {}
                         |\  /|  [#         {} H{{}}} {}
                         |_||_|  I]          @ H"||"} @
                         [ ][ ]  I             {"||"}
                         | || |                {"||"}
                         |_||_|                {"||"}
      __________________/__][_]________________[_][_]____________________

To view the story retold in ASCII art, use a telnet program to connect to a site in the Netherlands, towel.blinkenlights.nl. You can do so on an Apple OS X system by opening the Terminal program found in Applications/Utilities and then issuing the command telnet towel.blinkenlights.nl. You can issue the same command from a Linux system. You can stop the display by typing Ctrl-] and then typing quit at the telnet> prompt. On a Microsoft Windows system, you can use PuTTY; set the connection type to telnet rather than ssh. If you've ever created ASCII art, you can appreciate the magntitude of the effort by the following individuals:

Original Work   : Simon Jansen ( http://www.asciimation.co.nz/ )
Telnetification : Sten Spans ( http://blinkenlights.nl/ )
Terminal Tricks : Mike Edwards (pf-asciimation@mirkwood.net)




                                           /~\
                                          |oo )
                                          _\=/_
                          ___         #  /  _  \
                         / ()\        \\//|/.\|\\
                       _|_____|_       \/  \_/  ||
                      | | === | |         |\ /| ||
                      |_|  O  |_|         \_ _/  #
                       ||  O  ||          | | |
                       ||__*__||          | | |
                      |~ \___/ ~|         []|[]
                      /=\ /=\ /=\         | | |
      ________________[_]_[_]_[_]________/_]_[_\_________________________

[/graphics] permanent link

Wed, Dec 16, 2015 11:27 pm

OS X sips command and image dimensions

On a Mac OS X system, you can use the file command to determine the width and height of an image in pixels.
$ file example.png
example.png: PNG image data, 69 x 91, 8-bit/color RGBA, non-interlaced

You can also use the sips command with the -g parameter followed by pixelWidth or pixelHeight.

$ sips -g pixelWidth example.png
/Users/jdoe/Documents/example.png
  pixelWidth: 69
$ sips -g pixelHeight example.png
/Users/jdoe/Documents/example.png
  pixelHeight: 91

Make sure you capitalize those as shown above; if you don't and use PixelWidth or PixelHeight, i.e., you use an uppercase "P" rather than a lowercase "p", the result will be "<nil>".

$ sips -g PixelWidth example.png
/Users/jdoe/Documents/example.png
  PixelWidth: <nil>

If you only want to see the number, you can pipe the output of the command to the tail command, instructing that command to show only the last line of output, and then pipe the output of the tail command to the cut command, instructing that command to use the colon as the delimiter for separating items on the line and to show just the second field, which will be the number preceded by a space:

$ sips -g pixelWidth example.png | tail -n1 | cut -d":" -f2
 69
$ sips -g pixelHeight example.png | tail -n1 | cut -d":" -f2
 91

Or you can omit the tail command and just use cut by adding the -s argument to that command to suppress lines with no field delimiter character, i.e., lines with no colon in this case, assuming there will be none on the first line of output from the sips command.

$ sips -g pixelWidth example.png | cut -d":" -f2 -s
 69
$ sips -g pixelHeight example.png | cut -d":" -f2 -s
 91

If you don't want the space preceding the number, you can use a space character as the delimiter and specify f4 rather than f2, since there are two spaces output before "pixel" on the second line of ouput and a third one after the colon.

$ sips -g pixelWidth example.png | cut -d" " -f4 -s
69

If you wished to put that in a window that will be displayed to the user, you can use AppleScript.

set w to do shell script "sips -g pixelWidth /Users/jdoe/Documents/example.png | cut -d':' -f2 -s"
set h to do shell script "sips -g pixelHeight /Users/jdoe/Documents/example.png | cut -d':' -f2 -s"
display alert "Width:" & (w as text) & "
Height:" & (h as text)

Hit Enter after the double quote at the end of the second-to-last line to have a newline character appear in the ouput after the line with the width is displayed so that the height appears on a separate line. The ouput will be as shown below:

AppleScript display of sips output

[/os/os-x] permanent link

Tue, Dec 15, 2015 11:05 pm

Determining last Windows backup time from a command prompt

If you want to determine the last time a backup was made on a Microsoft Windows system using the built-in Windows backup utility, you can do so from a command-line interface (CLI), i.e., a command prompt, using the wbadmin utility.

C:\Users\Administrator>wbadmin /?
wbadmin 1.0 - Backup command-line tool
(C) Copyright 2004 Microsoft Corp.

---- Commands Supported ----

START BACKUP              -- Runs a one-time backup.
STOP JOB                  -- Stops the currently running backup or recovery
                              operation.
GET VERSIONS              -- List details of backups recoverable from a
                              specified location.
GET ITEMS                 -- Lists items contained in a backup.
GET STATUS                -- Reports the status of the currently running
                              operation.

[ More Info ]

[/os/windows/commands] permanent link

Sun, Dec 13, 2015 4:10 pm

Video DownloadHelper

Another add-on for Firefox for downloading videos from YouTube pages is Video DownloadHelper. The add-on works in Chrome as well and also will allow you to download videos from other sites as well as the YouTube site. Like the Download YouTube Videos as MP4 extension, it allows you to select from various resolutions for the downloaded video, so you can trade off resolution against file size, i.e., a higher resolution and larger file size or a lower resolution and smaller file size.

[/network/web/browser/firefox/addons] permanent link

Sat, Dec 12, 2015 10:52 pm

Download YouTube Videos as MP4 Add-on for Firefox

If you wish to be able to download YouTube videos to your own computer, you can use a site, such as Offliberty or, for the Firefox web browser, you can install an extension, aka add-on, that will provide that capability from within the browser. One such add-on for Firefox is Download YouTube Videos as MP4 by ialc. The extension places a download button on YouTube pages allowing you to easily download the video on the page as an MP4 or FLV file. If you select MP4 as the format for the downloaded file, you can choose from two resolutions: 720p or 360p.

[/network/web/browser/firefox/addons] permanent link

Fri, Dec 11, 2015 10:33 pm

OS X dictionary lookup

If you have a Mac OS X system, there is a built-in dictionary application that you can use by moving the mouse pointer over a word and then hitting the control-command-D keys simultaneously. When you do so the word will be highlighted in yellow and, if the word is in the dictionary, its meaning will be displayed as well as thesaurus information for the word.

OS X dictionary lookup of legacy

If the word isn't in the dictionary, you will see "No results found" displayed.

So, if you encounter a word on a webpage that you don't recognize, you can go to dictionary.com to look up the definition of the word or you can stay on the page and look it up by hitting those three keys simultaneously.

[/os/os-x] permanent link

Wed, Dec 09, 2015 11:43 pm

Wrapping text and viewing the current line and column in the vi editor

If you use the vi or Vim text editors and wish to have lines automatically wrap to the next line when you get close to the margin, i.e., the 80th column, rather than having to hit the Return key, you can use the wrapmargin parameter, e.g., wrapmargin=10. To enter the command, while not in input mode type :wrapmargin= followed by the number you wish to use for the wrap margin.

The wrapmargin parameter is set to an integer number of characters. When set to any nonzero number, vi will watch the lines that you type in the input modes. When you get to within the "wraprmargin" number of characters of the 80th character on the line, the next space character that you type will cause vi to enter a carriage return for you. This parameter gives vi a word wrap feature for entering text data. When set to zero, the wrap margin feature is disabled.

Source: Unix for Application Developers by William A. Parrette ©1991, page 320

If you wish to have vi display the current line and column number as you type, use :set ruler. If it is turned on you will see the current line number and column number displayed at the bottom of the vi window, e.g., 24,67 if you were on line 24 at column 67. The numbers will change as you move the cursor whether you are in input mode or not. You can turn it off with :set noruler.

Alternatively, you can also use control-G on a Mac OS X system or Ctrl-G on a Linux system or with Vim on a Microsoft Windows system, i.e., hit the control, or Ctrl, and G keys simultaneously to see the current line and column numbers. You will see something like the following displayed at the bottom of the window:

"temp.txt" [Modified] line 30 of 34 --88%-- col 32

In the above example, while editing the file temp.txt the cursor was on line 30 of the 34 lines in the file and was at column 32 when I hit control-G. Since 30 is 88% of 34, the cursor was at a point 88 percent of the way through the file. Each time you hit control-G, the status information will be displayed for the current line and column when you hit the key combination.

With vi on a Mac OS X or Linux system, you can also use !}fmt when not in input mode, to automatically wrap the text in a paragraph so that a line doesn't exceed column 80 in that paragraph from the point where you enter that command.

[/software/editors/vi] permanent link

Wed, Dec 02, 2015 10:51 pm

Using networksetup for Wi-Fi networks on OS X systems

On a Mac OS X system, you can check on the status of a wifi connection using the wifi icon at the top of the screen. If you wish to check the status of a wifi connection from the command line, you can use the networksetup utility provided with the operating system. The command has a lot of options suitable for viewing the status of a wifi connection and managing wireless connectivity. You can view the available wireless networks, switch from one wireless network to another, power the wireless connection on and off, etc. using options supported by the command.

[ More Info ]

[/os/os-x] permanent link

Tue, Dec 01, 2015 11:06 pm

Finding and Using a Google Voice Number

I use my personal cell phone for work purposes as well, since I don't want to carry two cell phones. I have the phone's number registered with the U.S. government's National Do Not Call Registry. Unfortunately, though, that has not stopped all telemarketers from calling. Since I can't know the phone number for everyone who may call me for work-related purposes, I can't choose to ignore incoming calls based on whether I recognize the incoming number and often telemarketers spoof calling numbers, so that, for instance, if you have a phone number that is 555-555-5555, the telemarketer will spoof the number from which calls are being placed so that you see a similar number as the calling number, e.g., 555-555-5566, which may lead those called to assume the caller is someone local that they may know.

When I'm working I don't want to be interrupted by telemarketing calls, requests for donations, political spiels, etc. So I registered for a Google Voice number, which provides me with another phone number that I can provide to businesses or other entities that I believe may possibly sell my phone number to others or call me when I don't want interruptions because I'm working on something I need to focus on. Through the Google Voice webpage, I can configure the settings for the phone number provided by Google to automatically forward calls and text messages to the Google Voice number to my mobile number or stop the forwarding of calls and texts to the mobile number. When calls/texts aren't forwarded, callers can leave voice messages, which you can listen to through the Google Voice webpage or from email in your inbox. You can also view text messages the same way.

E.g., I wanted to check on refinancing my mortgage through LendingTree which required I provide a phone number at the website. I didn't want to provide my mobile number for fear I might start receiving a large number of calls when I'm trying to work. I don't want to turn off the phone, at such times which would mean I might miss work-related or calls or texts from family members. And I can't be certain that my phone number won't be sold to many telemarketers increasing the number of annoying telemarketing calls I receive. So I provided the Google Voice number. If at some point in the future I find I'm receiving a large number of unwanted calls to that number, I can just delete that number from my Google Account.

The process for obtaining a Google Voice number, which is free, is fairly simple.

[ More Info ]

[/network/web/services/google/voice] permanent link

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