Get Yourself Organized with Freeware

Having a lot of vacation time on my hands, I decided it was time to organize all my DVDs and CDs for the new year.  I was on the hunt for some freeware and found two really nice programs to help me.

The first one is called Ant Movie Catalog.  Working from just a CSV list of movies, I was able to import all my DVD movies into AMC within seconds.  Now comes the cool part: I could update them in batch from IMDB!  Just highlight a bunch of entries, hit F6, pick the movie database you want (I like IMDB) and then it will grab all of the information about that movie, including downloading a thumbnail picture for you!  Most titles are unique enough so it was pretty easy to pick the correct movie.

The next project was to catalog all of my old software stored on CDs and DVDs (yes, I still horde Windows 95, 98 and 2000 CDs!).  I tried many different programs, but the one that seemed to work the best, not have many limitations and updated on a regular basis was Wincatalog Light 2009.  When scanning disks, I kept getting an error that archiveinfo.dll didn’t exist, so I installed the full version and copied archiveinfo.dll and the ARC directory to the light version directory and then the error went away.

The program doesn’t do automatic numbering for media, so I put the CD # manually in the comment section and it shows the comment section as a column for each CD/DVD.  The only snag is that it sorts them as text and not numbers, so 1, 10, 100, 101… are all grouped together.  This really isn’t a big deal, because you can do a search for what you want and then use the “jump to item in catalog” feature.  For programs requiring serial numbers, I just put a comment on the first folder within the CD.  When you expand the CD item in the normal view, you’ll clearly see the serial number.

Since Microsoft Money is going away, I also found this program to replace it that is very slick called Money Manager Ex.  It’s based on the SQLite engine, it’s very small and efficent unlike MS Money and best of all: FREE!  I like the canned reports “Where the Money Goes” and “Where the Money Comes From”.

Finally, I ditched WinRAR which I got from a Slickdeals deal in favor of opensource 7-ZIP.  Yes, it handles RAR files just as well.

Have a safe and Happy New Year!

Sola scriptura! Sola fide! Sola gratia! Solo Christo! Soli Deo Gloria!

Insights on Picking Passwords

An interesting study on the length and complexity of passwords.  Basically, pick one that’s at least 14 characters long and not found in the dictionary and you should be OK against the bad guys.

– Soli Deo Gloria

Flaky NIC Hits Too Close to Home

Usually these type of problems happen at work, but this one hit too close to home. A few weeks ago the Internet connection on my PC dropped. NIC showed an error status. I power cycled my router and went on my merry way, until it happened again. I went to another PC with a wireless connection and I could ping the router. I could not ping the router from my PC, even though I plugged directly into it. I tried the switching the network cable into different ports on the router wth no success. I dipped into my bag of tricks and pulled out my Testifer network cable tester: cable tested fine. I then switched the cable into another Ethernet port on my computer and still could get on. I then switched my NIC from a static IP to DHCP and then it magically started working. For good measure, I also loaded the latest Forceware from Nvidia for my chipset and NIC.

A week went by and things were fine, except Friday night…around the same time…the same thing happened! Disabling/re-enabling the NIC fixed the issue, but this couldn’t stand. I started surfing the Internet stores for a new network card, then decided to give old Google a try.

I tried the keywords: “Windows 7 nvidia drops connection”. Post after post referenced the same setting: Receive Side Scaling. Looking in my NIC properties, this was set to ENABLED, so I set it to DISABLED and since then: no disconnects! It’s quite odd that I’ve been running Windows 7 for several months and this only recently came up.

– Soli Deo Gloria