Edit your hosts file quickly

edit hostfileEverybody who has ever migrated to a new hosting provider, purchased a new domain name or made DNS changes has done it: adding lines to your hosts file to “hard code” the ip address of a server host name on the workstation you are working on.

On Windows, this has become a pain since the UAC feature was introduced. In order to modify,  you need elevated permissions, so you need to start your favorite text editor as administrator. On top of that, the file is buried somewhere in the deepest cave of your c-drive (C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\).

There must be an easy way to do this. I managed to reduce it to two clicks via a shortcut on my desktop, with the procedure below. Who can do better? One click only?

  1. Right-click your desktop
  2. In the context menu, select New > Shortcut
  3. In Type the location of the item, enter C:\Windows\System32\notepad.exe C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\hosts
  4. Click Next
  5. In Type a name for this shortcut, type any name you want (I used Edit hosts file)
  6. Click Finish
  7. Right-click the new icon on your desktop and select Properties
  8. On the Shortcut tab, click the Advanced button
  9. Check Run as administrator and click OK
  10. Click OK

Seems to be a lot of work, but it will save you numerous clicks whenever you need to edit the file again.

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Function keys on a Microsoft Surface Type Cover

surface_type_coverI knew you have to press the Fn key on the Type Cover of a Surface to get to the function keys on the keyboard. But what I did not know:

  • If you want to “lock” the top row of keys to their corresponding function key: press Fn + Caps Lock. To unlock, press the same keyboard combination again.
  • Pressing Fn + Spacebar corresponds to the Print Screen button on a regular keyboard. Now that is much more convenient than pressing the Home – Volume down on the device…

More info and tips on this link.

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Top 100 learning tools for 2014 – my top 10

Jane Hart is gathering votes for the Top 100 learning tools for 2014. Every year, this is a very interesting way of getting to know new learning tools and explore their possibilities.
This is my top 10, in random order:
  • Twitter: the best way to generate your own “information streams” about various subjects.
  • Tweetdeck: invaluable for organizing my twitter stream. I like the fact that it is cross-platform.
  • Microsoft OneNote: the best note-taking application on the Windows platform. Unbeatable in combination with SharePoint and a tablet pc with a digitizer pen. Now finally available for OS X!
  • Instapaper: with the “read later” button in your browser toolbar, you can save interesting articles for later, and read them e.g. in the iPad app.
  • WordPress: excellent blogging platform. Recent releases have been focussing on the usability for the writer, and it is setting the standards for usability. Administration is getting easier with e.g. the auto-update feature.
  • Fever: after the “death” of Google Reader, and the competition between various RSS platforms, I decided to choose a self-hosted solution. Fever is exceptionally easy to install and very stable.
  • ReadKit: excellent RSS reader for Mac, with support for Fever.
  • WebEx: a very reliable, easy to use and complete web conferencing tool.
  • Yammer: the enterprise social network in our company keeps us up to date of what is happening in the various locations and business units.
  • Office 365: the “swiss army knife” of productivity tools: enterprise-grade e-mail and calendar, SharePoint sites for collaborating or storing knowledge, and OneDrive that has 1TB of storage and that is slowly becoming a serious competitor of tools like Google Drive and DropBox.

You can still post your own top 10 and contribute to the list until September 19.

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OneDrive for Business

Last week, Microsoft announced the availability of OneDrive for Business. It is actually the “professional” version of SkyDrive (now also called OneDrive) that was already available in the different Office 365 subscriptions.

OneDrive

From April 1 on, OneDrive for Business will also available as a stand-alone service. An ideal way for the individual professional to have reliable and accessible storage in the cloud.

There are some small improvements to the UI that make really a big difference if you are using your OneDrive in the browser:

  • Search function now supports “type-ahead”
  • You can access your OneDrive directly via http://<your tenant>.onedrive.com

And as a Mac user, you will be happy to know that an iOS client is already available, and that an OS X sync client will be available later this year, so that we can finally get rid of DropBox 🙂

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