Ezine 183 – Readers’ Recommendations for Computer Utilities

Here Are the 10 Winners of Last Week’s WinX DVD Ripper Competition

Congratulations to:
Nick, Shane, David, Jim, Klaus, Kevin, Geoffrey, William, Sean and Harold.

What I found even tougher than judging the competition’s winners, was writing ‘sorry’ letters to the 23 people who did not qualify for a free WinX Ripper.  Actually, the rebel lurking inside of me wanted to send free licences to 3 people from non-American / non-European countries; although they had poor English and fairly average suggestions, I sensed they would have enjoyed the freebie more than most.  In the end, I abided by the spirit of the competition, and I awarded licence keys to the recommendations that will benefit you the readers the most.  This week I feature 3 of those readers’ recommendations, the other 7 will feature in future ezines.

FileZilla – Shane’s Recommendation

Sooner or later most people need an FTP program like FileZilla.  Even though my web publishing program has a built-in FTP client, I still like an alternative dedicated FTP utility for troubleshooting.  It’s hard to fault FileZilla, it’s a mature, open-source program which has won several awards itself.  Furthermore, reviewing this program myself I discovered a new litmus test for a good program – it should have its own forum.  FileZilla also has high rating in all WOT (Web of Trust) categories.

Ninotech Path Copy 4.0 – Klaus’s Recommendation

A number of people recommended one product from a software site that has an Aladdin’s cave of products.  Ninotech Path Copy is a shell extension that enables you to copy the path of a file or directory to the Clipboard.   Even if you don’t need such a program right now, it’s worth looking around the Softpedia site to find another gem that you could use right away. 

DropBox – Sean’s Recommendation

The reason that I chose Sean’s suggestion is that it reminds me that I am bad at backup.  Therefore I like the idea of having secure ‘locker’ for my important documents.  Another benefit of DropBox is that you can access your backup from other computers.  The payment options for all these utilities vary, but DropBox allowed me to subscribe to a free version giving 2GB worth of storage.

Funny how the mind plays tricks; thinking about backup triggered my memory of the following horror story.

Lightning Strikes

This particular online-order company had a wonderful disaster recovery plan.  Moreover they tested it every 6 months and it always restored perfectly.  The details included a hot standby server, and their backup tapes were stored offsite in the deputy managers safe.  Then one night came a thunderbolt.  Lightning literally struck their building and everything including the computer room was destroyed in the ensuing fire.

After the initial shock subsided, everyone took up their disaster recovery roles, just as they had practiced.  Insurance took care of the recovery costs, and in no time at all, the new servers arrived along with a mobile building and generator.  The deputy manager despatched a courier to collect the backup tapes that his wife got out of the safe.

Precisely what happened on that icy road will probably never be known, but the result was the poor courier slid under a lorry.  Fortunately, the courier was not seriously hurt.  Not so the tapes, they were flattened under the lorry’s wheels.

The master recovery plan even had a section, which covered failure of the first backup tape, but it had never been tested.  Of course, they had other tapes but they were over two days old, and for a variety of reasons, they could not recover the intervening transactions using backup.  Eventually they had a team in India key in all the orders manually.

Guy’s Own Recommendations: SolarWinds Engineer’s Toolset v10Engineer's Toolset v10

The Engineer’s Toolset v10 provides a comprehensive console of utilities for troubleshooting computer problems.  Guy says it helps me monitor what’s occurring on the network, and the tools teach me more about how the system itself operates.

There are so many good gadgets, it’s like having free rein of a sweetshop. Thankfully the utilities are displayed logically: monitoring, discovery, diagnostic, and Cisco tools.  Download your copy of the Engineer’s Toolset v 10

Network Utilities from Tools4Ever

Tools4Ever provide not one but a host of handy network utilities.  They have a professional stable of products for example, SpaceGuard Disk quota manager, Self Service Password Reset, and my favourite FreePing.  Tools4Ever use the popular internet utility model where we download a trial version, and if we like it, we return and buy the full version.

Check out the network utilities from Tools4Ever.

Guy Learns a Harsh Lesson

I learned a harsh lesson from last week’s ezine.  I suddenly realized that I am not as good at internet research as I though I was.  Just as a good tycoon dissects a balance sheet before he buys a company, so Paul DeBrino gave me an insight how he analyzes a free utility before he ‘buys into’ installing it.  Paul says you should check a company’s bonafides; does it have an address, phone number?  How does it rate in WOT (Web of Trust)?  Does it get the MacAfee’s seal of approval?  The time it takes to have a quick trawl of the internet for evidence of scams, phishing or just incompatibility problems could save hours of your time in eradicating a rogue tool.  This readers, is near as I get to a disclaimer!

Will and Guy’s Humour

They Said I Couldn’t Break It

Jason, the company’s top computer engineer, was called out to make field service.  When he got to the lady’s house and was let in, the first thing he noticed was the smell of gunpowder.  The second thing he saw was the double barrelled 12-gauge shotgun lying across her lap.  And the third thing was the big gaping hole in her computer screen. Computer Jokes.  Tech support storiesFunny Busted Computer Story

Jason looked at her. She was a little grey haired woman, around 60 or so. Had she?  Not possible.  Still, he had to ask.

Jason: ‘Did you shoot…?’

Little Old Lady: ‘Yes, I got a little mad at the computer, the program would not load.  Tech Support told me that I couldn’t hurt it, but I guess they were wrong. 

Can you salvage anything?’

See more examples of busted machine stories.