Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Portal, Simple WiFi file transfers for Android/iPhone

I found this app while looking for a easy and fast local WiFi transfer client. This fits the bill perfectly, you can transfer from your computer to your Android or iPhone device with ease.

It's a Google Chrome app, Android and iPhone app.

Once you have the chrome plugin for your computer, you will get a screen that looks like this: (That square black and white box is the QR code, in case you didn't know)

Then when activating the Android or IPhone app, you get this screen:

It says DennysComputers because that's my router's WiFi name.

Hitting Scan will activate your camera. Simply aim the camera at the QR code. (the strange looking box thing again for you who are new to the QR craze.)

Your Android device or phone should now have this screen:

And the computer's screen should look like this:

Because you are over WiFi, there are no data charges, and it's a much faster file transfer speed than something like blue tooth.

Here's what the Pushbullet team has to say about their useful software:

Portal is a new app brought to you by the Pushbullet team.

Portal makes transferring pictures, videos, and other files from your computer onto your phone simple. Just grab the app, scan the code above, and then drop as many files as you want onto this site. We'll get them onto your phone, and we'll do it fast!

Files are transferred over your WiFi connection. This means they don't count toward your mobile data limit and that files are transferred very quickly (even if they're over 1 GB in size).

Have Android 5.0 (Lollipop) or newer and a removable SD card in your phone? Portal can save files to that removable SD card so you can get the most out of it (just tell us to in the Android app's Settings).

You can open and share the files you've sent to your phone right from the Portal app, and pictures are automatically added to the Gallery app on your phone.

Using Chrome on your computer? You can drop entire folders and we'll transfer them without a hitch.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Digital Sabbath - Take a break from the E-World.

When I first saw the SafeUM post on Google Plus about Digital Sabbath, I was wondering if this was a new online metal band or something.

A quick read and I at once saw the point, time away from electronic everything.

When I say that, I am not talking about abandoning Mr. Coffee or your other kitchen appliances for the day, I am talking about anything that is related to or can do "Internet, TV, and other content delivery, social media, etc.".

I researched into Digital Sabbath, because I hadn't heard the term before. I came to find out it is growing in popularity, and has been a "thing" since at least 2012.

This Digital Sabbath campaign has had a few other names. But #digitalsabbath seems to have stuck.

In either case, I think it's an idea with merit and should be not only considered, but tried at least once.

Join me in 24 hours of electronic free time.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Microsoft sued over forcing Windows 10 on users

In reading tech news this afternoon, I ran across an article from The Seattle Times about a Windows user who was forced to upgrade to 10.

Before I share that article with you, I just wanted to explain that Microsoft is trying to create a "unified user experience". They want everyone, whether a Xbox, PC, Tablet or Smart Phone user to be using the same OS. (OS stands for Operating System, in case you are not a tech geek like me.)

So by having the same OS, in this case Windows 10, everyone will be on the same page and some content will be portable to all these systems. In theory, you could play an Xbox game on your PC (as long as your PC meets the standard minimum specs for said game) and vice versa.

While I like the idea, Microsoft's forcing Windows 10 on PC's has been nothing but a nightmarish disaster for a lot of PC users.

Non functional or severely crippled computers have been a serious issue. I personally have had the start bar mess up so bad that I ended up replacing that bar with classic shell on at least 10 of my customer's computers.

While non of this effects me personally, (I have been running only Linux for a long time now) this is effecting a lot of Windows users.

Here's a quote from The Seattle Time's article I referenced earlier:

"A few days after Microsoft released Windows 10 to the public last year, Teri Goldstein’s computer started trying to download and install the new operating system.

The update, which she says she didn’t authorize, failed. Instead, the computer she uses to run her Sausalito, Calif., travel-agency business slowed to a crawl. It would crash, she says, and be unusable for days at a time.

“I had never heard of Windows 10,” Goldstein said. “Nobody ever asked me if I wanted to update.”

She won. Last month, Microsoft dropped an appeal and Goldstein collected a $10,000 judgment from the company.

The company denies wrongdoing, and a spokeswoman said Microsoft halted its appeal to avoid the expense of further litigation."

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Turn off crash reporting in Xubuntu

If you are a fan of Xubuntu like me, one of the most annoying things you can have is a apport box to deal with every time you turn your PC on.

While it's purpose is a good one, the program that handles crash reporting, apport, can be a relentless nuisance, asking you to report the same bug you have already reported time and time again.

To stop apport in it's tracks, we need to change this file:


It will look like this:

# set this to 0 to disable apport, or to 1 to enable it
# you can temporarily override this with
# sudo service apport start force_start=1

Change enabled to a 0 with your favorite text editor. (You have to be root or sudo)

My choice was just to use nano, since nano is always pre-installed in Xubuntu.

So I typed sudo nano /etc/default/apport in the terminal, then my password, and then changed the 1 to a 0. If you use nano, control O saves. (Not zero, 0, but the letter o.)

You will see the results next reboot.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Dead Drops, Un-cloud your files in cement!

A cousin of mine shared this with me, she knows I love all things tech. It reminds me of Geocaching, a treasure hunt for adults. In many ways this is Geocaching, except with computer files.

Here is what the Dead web site says about the project:

"‘Dead Drops’ is an anonymous, offline, peer to peer file-sharing network in public space. USB flash drives are embedded into walls, buildings and curbs accessible to anybody in public space. Everyone is invited to drop or find files on a dead drop. Plug your laptop to a wall, house or pole to share your favorite files and data. Each dead drop is installed empty except a readme.txt file explaining the project. ‘Dead Drops’ is open to participation." -

I checked my local area, and there are no "Dead Drops", but there are a few in my state, Wisconsin. Here is a nice pic of what I was able to find in the badger state:

Here is a video from explaining the formation of this unique network:

If you are interested in seeing if their is a dead drop near you, here is a list and map of the known dead drops of the world:

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Orion Trail: survive space, not the old west

If you are as old, or as "old school" as me, you have probably played the old dos game Oregon Trail.

Orion Trail is a Oregon Trail type game, set in a very Star Trek-ian feel of a game. (Probably as close as they could get without being sued by Paramount or CBS.)

Oregon Trail game art, just in case you are scratching your head:

It's made by Schell Games. Their official website for the game is

"Orion Trail is a single player space adventure for Windows, Mac, and Linux. In the game, you are captain of the Indestructible II, flagship vessel of Galaxy Force. Your mission: to explore and survive the dangerous and enigmatic Orion Trail. With the help of your trusty officers, ship, and crew, your success is ensured... Probably.

Orion Trail’s gameplay centers around making the tough calls that only you, a starship captain, can make. The galaxy is full of strange, stupid, and terrifying Things, and you’ll need to make the decisions that ensure the survival of Your Crew. Well, most of your crew. Each journey, you’ll pick your captain, Officers, and Equipment. Each pick will give you a leg up when dealing with Encounters in specific ways.

However, you can't apply all strategies to every situation. Sure, you could stock up on guns and aggressive officers to crush your Enemies, but you'll be in trouble when you need to host that alien dinner party.

Starships don’t run on good intentions alone (not the ones you can afford, anyway). Each decision you make will increase or decrease the resources that keep your ship functioning. Run out of any, and you’ll be in deep (space) trouble." -

I am covering the "prototype version" which is more apt to say, the "dumbed down" version of the game because I am a poor bloat and food and rent are more valuable to me than paying for this game.

The full version can be found currently on steam. The version I show here is on

Here's some pretty game art, just because. :)

Just as a side note, I only use Linux. I played this on Ubuntu 16.04 64 bit edition using the Gnome 3 desktop environment.

Here is a mini walk-through video made by me for you YouTube fans out there:

There are 4 phases to the game.

These include: Mission Starter Choices Phase, Travel Phase, Encounter Phase and End of Game Phase.

Mission Starter Choices Phase

Mission type: Keep x amount of food, fuel, crew to the end or keep you ship intact to the end.

Captain: I usually try to start with either a Captain with many skills, or with a few strong ones. Some of the best captains are the test captain and Jean Luc. (No, not Picard, you'll see.)

Ship: You have 3 ship types. Often but not always, it's a good idea to pick a ship that can carry an abundance of the item you need. In this game, "Scourge of the Stars" would be an excellent "finish with lots of food" ship to choose. (Usually).

Choice of Officers: The only real use of your officers is in filling in weak skill spots of your captain. Since all encounters will rely somewhat on your ship's overall captain+crew skill scores.

Travel Phase

In the prototype version, this is nothing more than a progress meter. you want your ship to go all the way to the left.

Previews of the full game show a lot more choices in this section.

Encounter Phase

3 options screen: Here you choose based on 1) what your reward will be, 2) what if any punishment this choice brings, and 3) which of the 5 skills (attack, tactics, diplomacy, science and bravado) you want to use.

The roll of the dice screen: Here is where your chosen skill level is added with a roll of the dice to see your outcome. If you have high enough of that skill, or if you "roll" high, you may not get any punishments at all. Then again...

The outcome screen: Here we see that I gained 50 food but lost 20 crew. Poor red shirts! ;)
You can lose food, fuel, crew, hull points (armor) and/or any combination of these.
You can also lose skill points.

I.E. Choose to use a weak skill, and you could lose crew, fuel and bravado skill points, for instance.

End of Game Phase

This is a successful game end screen, because it's in green. It's a simple list of 1) Your skill levels at the end of the game, 2) your cargo and hull allotment at the end of the game, and your grand score. 

You get a x2 bonus for succeeding, and in this case, since this was a "finish with lots of food" mission, you get x5 to your amount of food value, listed here as 77 x 5 = 38500. 

To finish up...

If you like what you see, then check it out here: or on Steam!


Monday, March 21, 2016

Kindles from 2012 or older need an update to continue to use the internet

Older versions of the Amazon Kindle will no longer connect to the Internet unless their software is updated very quickly.

The update is needed for the first generation of the Kindle Paperwhite, which was released in 2012, and all of the other Kindle models that came out before it. Amazon is warning customers to install the update before March 22. (That's tomorrow!)

Here is the article from the Washington post if you are curious:

Here is the press release from Amazon as well: