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General articles and random thoughts that don’t fit into the knowledgebase.

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Windows 10 1803 Timeline Feature

The May 2018 version of Windows 10 has an updated alt-tab view called the timeline. While it will eventually be more useful, its current implementation is poor.


📖 Posts | 📎 Development | 🔖 iot, cloud

Cloud Automation for IoT

Having just brought a Google Home, I've quickly realised that, although Google are supposedly fairly open about allowing people to develop for it, there are still far too many limitations. To try and get round these, I've been looking at automation tools. In this article, I will list some of the key tools and their strengths and weaknesses.

Cloudflare Now Active

After the recent high-profile vulnerabilities, I decided to turn on the free version of CloudFlare for this domain. CloudFlare provides a reverse proxy service that sits in front of your domain. It will serve content where it can on your behalf (caching), optimise content where it can (e.g. minimising JavaScript, HTML, CSS, etc.). But even more important from my perspective is their ability to protect against a number of vulnerabilities.

DSC vs. GPO vs. SCCM vs. MDM (Intune)

Microsoft Windows administrators now have a number of ways for managing their estates. Group Policy (GPO) Allows very fine-grained control over every aspect of Windows. Primarily aimed at Windows desktops. Requires Active Directory (AD) and very careful configuration. Requires well trained specialist staff to get it right. System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) Allows central control over software delivery. Also requires AD. Configuration of delivery packages can be complex and very careful change control is required.


📖 Posts | 📎 Windows | 🔖 apple, itunes, windows store

iTunes Finally Hits the Windows Store - What Does it Mean?

iTunes on Windows has always been a horrible application. It is highly intrusive, installing many background services. It also has a terrible UX/design. So, now that it is available in the Windows Store, is there a difference? Improvement?

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📖 Posts | 📎 Development, Microsoft, Software | 🔖 couchdb, microsoft, office, outlook

Outlook 2013 URL Protocol Handler

Outlook has a custom URL protocol that allows interaction with different elements such as folders, mail and calendar items and contacts, Since Outlook 2007, this has been restricted for use only within Outlook itself but there are some tremendous opportunities for use from simple web systems. This post explains how to turn it on, even for Outlook 2013 (Office 365 version). It also gives pointers to other articles on how to use the protocol.

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📖 Posts | 📎 Software, Windows | 🔖 exif, iptc, win7, xmp

Windows 7 supports IPTC in JPEG Picture Files! (Not quite – Adobe XMP actually)

Update 2018-04-22: Reformatted after move from WordPress to Hugo. Wow! I’ve just discovered by accident that Windows 7 beta supports a few IPTC XMP attributes in picture files. At last, Microsoft supporting standards! Above is a screen shot from the properties of a test picture. The Description and Origin sections seem to be standard IPTC fields and I checked them out using iTag. In iTag the Title attribute comes out as both the Title and the Description.

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📖 Posts | 📎 Windows | 🔖 batch, configuration, scripting, vista, win7

How-to show a Message of the Day (MOTD) at the Windows Command Prompt

One of the features available under UNIX is the Message of the Day (MOTD). This is run every time you start a command prompt and displays the content of a file. In addition, the UNIX shells allow all sorts of stuff to be run and configured every time you start a new prompt using the .profile and .bashrc command files. Windows users don’t generally expect that kind of flexibility from their command prompts.


📖 Posts | 📎 Blogging | 🔖 hugo, hosting

Migrated from WordPress to Hugo and Netlify

The migration from WordPress is now completed. This blog and the new Knowledgebase are generated using Hugo and hosted with Netlify.


📖 Posts | 📎 Blogging | 🔖None

Switching from WordPress to Hugo

I've been fed up with the speed of WordPress for years but haven't had the time to learn how to properly switch to an alternative. Until I discovered Hugo!