Wednesday, September 10, 2008

How to help your dad with his computer from 2000 miles away with Spark Angels

I don't know you, but my dad came to computer in the recent year, and it's not as natural to him as to people of my generation. So naturally whenever he has a problem he usually ask me. Unfortunatly sometimes, it's very hard either to understand either is problem, or to explain him the solution.

In those situation, the best way would actually to stand beside him and show him how to do whatever he needs to do. Unfortunatly the current low of physics do not allow me to teleport, so I'd have to fly for about 15 hours ... which needless to say is not doable.

At that point I can hear some of you thinking, "Yeah that's easy, just install a remote control program". Yeah it is easy, except that when you need it, usually you don't have it installed in the first hand. And plenty of technical problem can arise (port forward, firewall ...).

So if you ever encounter that kind of situation when you need to take control of you dad (or mom ;)), there's a very nifty program called Spark Angel. What so great about this program ? Well first you have nothing to configure. All he has to do is go to this address. The program itself is in Java, so you can take control of his computer, even if you have a Mac and he has got a PC. The only problem is the software itself is in French... but it's so simple this is not a problem. I would say it's going to be translated sooner or later (from the option menus) :

Anyway, then when it launches it will ask him he has to accept the usual licence stuff. After that you will come to the normal starting screen where you have two buttons :

The first button is for you dad (the person of which you want to control the PC) and the second one for the person helps. When you dad clicks on the button it'll give him a code that you will need when you click on your. After you are both connected you will be connected in view only mode. Advantage of this mode is that your dad will see where and how many times you click. You also have the possibility to take full control of the computer. Your dad has to click on the of Spark Angel nearin the task tray and click on control panel, to change the control mode to "Controle Total" and Tadam ...

It does the job pretty well at least for me. I hope this will help you as well.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Installing lite version of nero in 5 minutes...

Latetly I had to reinstall Nero on a new computer. I didn't had to do that for a long time. I know things change quickly in IT world, but not that quickly and Nero is still the best software around to burn CD.

But what has change is the size and pain to install Nero. It's so bloated now that it takes more than 800Mb to get a version of Nero, which is needless to say completely overkill to me. I just needed to burn a CD to back up photos from my holidays.

After rumbling around a little bit on the web, i found a very nice effort by a person who's website is here. You will find there two different installations that weight less than 30Mb (which is a piece of cake to download), one for the latest 7.x and the other one for 8.x. Both of them are suitable for Vista which is a plus (because earlier version of 7.x version of Nero did not work under Vista).

I suppose for sake of saving traffic on his website the files are hosted on a third party site called For those who wonder where to click to download the file, you have to click on the "Request download ticket" button roughly in the middle of the page.

For those who wonder, this installation doesn't wave any legal license requirement, it just makes the installation quicker and easier. You still have to purchase a valid license if you don't already have one.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

How to save query from oracle in HTML

Here's some tricks that can help in daily work with oracle. Very often, I need to extract query result from Oracle, or to be more precise ask people to send me query results. It is quite easy to save a file, that's very true but the formatting is excruciatingly unreadable. There's a flurry of tools that can allow you to export your query, but sometimes the only things you have at end because you're connecting to production environment is a good old Sql*Plus.

Here's the trick. Connect to your DB using Sql*Plus and used the following actions:

SET markup HTML on
spool test.html
SELECT * FROM mytable;
spool off
SET markup HTML off

When you type command "SET markup HTML on", your command prompt will look "funky" don't worry it is perfectly normal. After you exit you will find a nice html file. Certainly not the best format, but much more readable than plain 80 column text.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Panda like you've never seen them ...

Whenever someone hear about panda, they usually think about the nice cuddling teddy bear ... Although their are really cute animals they are also an endanger species, and they number are decreasing, and they live in a really restricted zone.

Now if they looked like this, people would certainly think twice before cutting their trees:

(Image created by Pacman23 on DeviantArt)

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Sunday, June 1, 2008

How to get your site/blog referenced by Google (and other search engine)

I've seen a log of people asking themselves, why their blog/site is not yet referenced by a search engine. So here's a little little of the things you can do.

Basically what you need to do is to tell the search engine that you exist, because Internet is HUGE, and there's site popping everywhere every seconds, and they have no way to actually know that you exist (and want to be found).

First if you're using a blog, and specifically your Blogger blog, there's a few settings you need to tweak.

  • Go to your Dashboard and then Settings > Basic.
  • Make sure your setting look like mine, especially for "Add your blog to our listings?" as well as "Let search engines find your blog?"

Blogger Settings

Now, the following instruction are true for ANY kind of website, not just a blog.

Getting referenced by Google :

  • Go here and fill the form.
  • It's done... nothing more to do.

Now that we've done Google, which we can say is probably the most used search engine theses days, it doesn't hurt to get also referenced by other search engine.

Getting referenced by Yahoo

  • First thing you can do is check if they already know about your site : Yahoo SiteExplorer
  • Go here, and fill the form just like for Google.
  • Tada... it's done

Getting Referenced by LiveSearch

Now with those three, you've got the most commonly used search engine. Well this is partially true. I should say you have covered the most commonly used search engine in the Western world. If you want to toss some more change to have you site visited by Chinese citizen, use the following :

While you're at it you can get your site referenced by Indian search engine :

Now this time I think we are in good shape, and got most of the world covered. That being said, although those search engine are the most used ones, they are still general purpose search engine. If your site/blog is targeting a very specific audience, then you might want to get referenced in specialized search engine.

Also there's something you need to keep in mind, is that there's no better search engine than 'Word to Mouth' ... so try to have people talk/link to your site.

Finally if your site is a commercial one, or you REALLY want to get some traffic, then you might want to invest into Paid search advertising. There's a good article here about it. Most of the search engine above offer such kind of services.