Archive for the ‘Tools’ Category.

How To Disable The “Get Windows 10” Icon And Notifications

Over the last week, many users received the “Get Windows 10” app on their devices. In a previous article we’ve shown the steps required for you to reserve a free Windows 10 upgrade for your device. However, there are also many users who don’t want to do that, or just don’t want to see the app’s icon and notifications. This article will show you how you can remove the “Get Windows 10” icon from the notification tray or even how to completely disable it.

If you don’t want to see the “Get Windows 10” icon displayed in the system tray, you can hide it, disable it or even uninstall the app. Here are all the methods we found:

How To Disable The “Get Windows 10” Icon And Notifications

Wisdom from Bruce Schneier

We have one network in the world today. Either we build our communications infrastructure for surveillance, or we build it for security. Either everyone gets to spy, or no one gets to spy. That’s our choice, with the Internet, with cell phone networks, with everything.

Bruce Schneier

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Gun Free Zones are hunting preserves for innocent people

The average number of people shot in a mass shooting event when the shooter is stopped by law enforcement: 14. The average number of people shot in a mass shooting event when the shooter is stopped by civilians: 2.5. The reason is simple. The armed civilians are there when it started.
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Gun Free Zones are hunting preserves for innocent people. Period.

Think about it. You are a violent, homicidal madman, looking to make a statement and hoping to go from disaffected loser to most famous person in the world. The best way to accomplish your goals is to kill a whole bunch of people. So where’s the best place to go shoot all these people? Obviously, it is someplace where nobody can shoot back.

In all honesty I have no respect for anybody who believes Gun Free Zones actually work. You are going to commit several hundred felonies, up to and including mass murder, and you are going to refrain because there is a sign? That No Guns Allowed sign is not a cross that wards off vampires. It is wishful thinking, and really pathetic wishful thinking at that.

The only people who obey No Guns signs are people who obey the law. People who obey the law aren’t going on rampages.
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Over the last fifty years, with only one single exception (Gabby Giffords), every single mass shooting event with more than four casualties has taken place in a place where guns were supposedly not allowed.
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Put yourself in the shoes of one of these killers. One nice thing about playing the villain and being a punching bag for cops, soldiers, and permit holders is that you need to learn about how the bad guys think and operate. And most of the mass shooters fit a similar profile.

The vast majority (last I saw it was over 80%) are on some form of psychotropic drug and has been for many years. They have been on Zoloft or some serotonin inhibitor through their formative years, and their decision making process is often flawed. They are usually disaffected, have been bullied, pushed around, and have a lot of emotional problems. They are delusional. They see themselves as victims, and they are usually striking back at their peer group.

These people want to make a statement. They want to show the world that they aren’t losers. They want to make us understand their pain. They want to make their peer group realize that they are powerful. They’ll show us. The solution is easy. It’s right there in front of your nose.

If you can kill enough people at one time, you’ll be on the news, 24/7, round the clock coverage. You will become the most famous person in the world. Everyone will know your name. You become a celebrity. Experts will try to understand what you were thinking. Hell, the President of the United States, the most important man in the world, will drop whatever he is doing and hold a press conference to talk about your actions, and he’ll even shed a single manly tear.

An opinion on gun control

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Clever Ideas Clever Tools Series

Stop cut apples browning in your child’s lunch box by keeping the sliced apple together with a rubber band.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Ben Husmann

From @ home with real food

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More clever ideas and clever tools

Clever Ideas Clever Tools Series – Hull Strawberries Using a Straw

Christmas hat cookies
Creative Commons License photo credit: Christine Ann Dunne

Use a straw to remove the center from strawberries.

See Hull Strawberries Using a Straw, from New Nostalgia, Amy Bowman

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More clever ideas and clever tools

How to Destroy a Hard Drive

When recycling old computers, the hard drive must be destroyed, the data must be deleted or made unreadable so any data on the drive is unreadable and not potentially released into the wild.

Many users have personal information on their hard drives, and in many cases they are not even aware of what personal information is stored on the hard drives. (This also applies to removable storage media, such as old floppy disks, USB sticks, backup tapes, backup CDs, backup DVDs, etc.

Electronics, including computers, must be disposed of properly as they contain many toxic materials that must be properly handled. Do not throw old electronics in the trash.

To locate electronics / computer recyclers near you, see the EPA’s page: “Where Can I Donate or Recycle My Old Computer and Other Electronic Products?

We like and use BestBuy’s recycling program as there is a store very close to our offices, and we can also drop off old batteries, UPSs, and other items there. Be aware that Best Buy charges a nominal fee for recycling computers, but you are issued a BestBuy gift card in the same amount.


The first steps are to remove the hard drive from the old computer and recycle the old computer (see above).

To destroy the drive so no data is recoverable, there are two optional steps and one mandatory step.

The first two steps are optional EXCEPT for government agencies, businesses with trade secrets and financial information and client lists, health care providers, physicians and dentists, anyone who stores Social Security numbers or customer credit card numbers, and the most paranoid.

Step One: Run a disk wipe program on the hard drive. We use and recommend Darik’s Boot and Nuke (DBAN) although there are many others.

Step Two: Degauss the hard drive using an NSA approved degausser. (expensive for home and small business use).

Step Three (this step is Mandatory): Physically destroy the hard drive’s pins, circuit board, and platter inside the hard drive. Wear eye, arm, foot and leg protection. We like and use this tool: Stanley Hand Tools 55-119 FatMax Functional Utility Bar.

Destroyed Hard Drive

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Bonus tips to protect your personal information

  • Get a good crosscut shredder and shred ALL credit card bills, all bank statements, all mail and all package labels with name and address.
  • If you still use paper checks, only print your first initial and last name on your checks (do not put your address, phone number or driver license number on your checks).
  • Pay for a reliable monitoring service to monitor your credit reports and alert you to all credit inquiries using your name or SSN. We like IdentityGuard offered through Costco.
  • Install, use, and keep updated good antivirus and malware software.
  • Do not respond to unsolicited emails (SPAM) promising riches or free / miracle products or legitimate looking emails from your bank, eBay, PayPal, etc., asking you for login or personal information. And before clicking on ANY links contained in any email, check to make sure the actual link matches the company. (phishing)
  • Do not give out any personal information to anyone on the phone who calls you. Make sure you are dealing with a “real” person at the correct institution with a phone number that is actually associated with the business you are dealing with. (social engineering)
  • Install and keep updated a modern web browser and pay attention to browser warnings about spoof sites, malware sites, etc. We also recommend using an add-on like NoScript.
  • Be careful about who you give your credit cards to and which ATMs you use. (skimmers)

For more on computer security, see Krebs on Security, especially this post: “Krebs’s 3 Basic Rules for Online Safety.”

Get Privacy and Security addons for Firefox

How to Save a Fortune at the Dry Cleaner

Heading the Giant
Creative Commons License photo credit: downhilldom1984

Steamer. If you want to make it through the humid months without spending your whole paycheck on dry cleaning, you need to buy a steamer. You can go all out and buy a stand model or just grab a handheld steamer. This will be more effective and less damaging than an iron, and if you live in the South it will save you a fortune at the cleaners.

Ask Belle: Wrinkle Me This, Wrinkler,” Capitol Hill Style, April 19, 2011

Top rated steamers on Amazon:

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Cool Tool – Bracketron Dash-Mat

The Bracketron Dash-Mat lets you easily place a cell phone, GPS, MP3 player, radar detector, etc., on your dash, and easily move it from car to car.
No drilling, no adhesives, no suction cups. Highly recommended.

  • Weighted, Anti-Skid Base
  • Conforms To Your Dash
  • No Tools Required
  • Holds up to Several Pounds
  • Easily View Your GPS While Driving

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SKU 874688001303, Model UFM-200-BL