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8-O Welcome to my online IT notes, which I'm regularly updating and re-organising
(so the only page likely to keep it's exact address will be this one).

  • These notes are just some of my clues and pointers for getting things done on MSWin, GNU+Linux, and Android platforms, and the web. Nothing special - all stuff you can find on the web elsewhere. Only stuff you can see here is what's been easy to make public; I've got a ton more private notes. The style of writing is as compact as possible, but intuitive for me, and organised in a fashion that I find easy to navigate. Links open as new browser windows.
  • Post any comments on, thanks.
  • Enjoy. - Joseph Harriott. LOL


Where I've quoted stuff it's done by showing the source close to the quotation(s):

Quotations must be verifiably attributed to a reliable source

Of course I've tried not to accidentally commit any Plagiarism, and respect all Copyrights. As I've included many quotes from Wikipedia, the contents of this DokuWiki are released under CC-BY-SA.

How to Use

All pages are folded by headers, like this is.

Search (in the box top right) these notes like this: wild* - finds wildmode, wildmenu, but not unwild

(then click <open all> to expand out a page and scroll down to find the yellow-highlighted word)

:-) Use the ever-present Sitemap link - top right - to navigate!

Word Cloud

Here (more for my own curiosity) is a little cloud of most used words (not tags), which I'm occasionally filtering:


Baby duck syndrome

denotes the tendency for computer users to “imprint” on the first system they learn, then judge other systems by their similarity to that first system



Symmetric-key algorithms are algorithms for cryptography that use the same cryptographic keys for both encryption of plaintext and decryption of ciphertext. The keys may be identical or there may be a simple transformation to go between the two keys. The keys, in practice, represent a shared secret between two or more parties that can be used to maintain a private information link. This requirement that both parties have access to the secret key is one of the main drawbacks of symmetric key encryption, in comparison to public-key encryption.

Text mining and Elasticsearch - a super-cool company that probably does much more for organising the modern world around you than you realise.


words which are filtered out prior to, or after, processing of natural language data (text)

I wanted a starting list to tune the cloud plugin on this here DokuWiki, and found the best to be the stop-words_english_*.txts from I smooshed them all together, and occasionally update them with words that I don't want to appear in my cloud.

MySQL's list is probably authoratative.

Elasticsearch give this as an example of a valid sentence made entirely from stopwords:

“To be or not to be.”

- and they explain beautifully why stopwords've long been replaced by common terms queries.


Decode from URL encoded format eg C%C3%A9line > Céline

Web Development


JSON JavaScript Object Notation is an open standard format that uses human-readable text to transmit data objects consisting of attribute–value pairs. It is used primarily to transmit data between a server and web application, as an alternative to XML. Although originally derived from the JavaScript scripting language, JSON is a language-independent data format, and code for parsing and generating JSON data is readily available in a large variety of programming languages.

Nice examples: > A permalink (portmanteau of permanent link) is a URL that points to a specific blog or forum entry after it has passed from the front page to the archives. Because a permalink remains unchanged indefinitely, it is less susceptible to link rot. Most modern weblogging and content-syndication software systems support such links. Other types of websites use the term permanent links, but the term permalink is most common within the blogosphere. Permalinks are often simply stated so as to be human-readable. > Trackbacks are used primarily to facilitate communication between blogs; if a blogger writes a new entry commenting on, or referring to, an entry found at another blog, and both blogging tools support the TrackBack protocol, then the commenting blogger can notify the other blog with a “TrackBack ping”; the receiving blog will typically display summaries of, and links to, all the commenting entries below the original entry. This allows for conversations spanning several blogs that readers can easily follow.

Google Webmaster Tools

Get data, tools and diagnostics for a healthy, Google-friendly site.

So Sign in, and verify ownership of your site (by uploading to your server a token file they give you), and see what Google makes of your site.

If, like me, you were issued both http:// and http//:www. versions of your domain, you'll need to tell them which one is your preferred domain.

Google XML Sitemaps from Arne Brachhold just works.

Web Colors


Mobile phones

SIM lock

A SIM lock, simlock, network lock or subsidy lock is a capability built into GSM mobile phones by mobile phone manufacturers. Network providers use this capability to restrict the use of these phones to specific countries and network providers. A phone sold without a SIM lock is called a SIM-free or unlocked phone and the purchaser can insert a SIM card of his/her choice.
Typically, a locked handset will display a message if a restricted SIM is used, requesting the unlock code. On recent phone models running Android software, the phone will display a message saying “SIM network unlock PIN” or “Enter Network Lock Control Key” if network locked.

Hash function

any function that can be used to map data of arbitrary size to data of fixed size, with slight differences in input data producing very big differences in output data

Cryptographic hash function

a hash function which is considered practically impossible to invert, that is, to recreate the input data from its hash value alone. The input data is often called the message, and the hash value is often called the message digest or simply the digest.
An illustration of the potential use of a cryptographic hash is as follows: Alice poses a tough math problem to Bob and claims she has solved it. Bob would like to try it himself, but would yet like to be sure that Alice is not bluffing. Therefore, Alice writes down her solution, computes its hash and tells Bob the hash value (whilst keeping the solution secret). Then, when Bob comes up with the solution himself a few days later, Alice can prove that she had the solution earlier by revealing it and having Bob hash it and check that it matches the hash value given to him before. (This is an example of a simple commitment scheme; in actual practice, Alice and Bob will often be computer programs, and the secret would be something less easily spoofed than a claimed puzzle solution).
A related application is password verification (first invented by Roger Needham). Storing all user passwords as cleartext can result in a massive security breach if the password file is compromised. One way to reduce this danger is to only store the hash digest of each password. To authenticate a user, the password presented by the user is hashed and compared with the stored hash. (Note that this approach prevents the original passwords from being retrieved if forgotten or lost, and they have to be replaced with new ones.) The password is often concatenated with a random, non-secret salt value before the hash function is applied. The salt is stored with the password hash. Because users have different salts, it is not feasible to store tables of precomputed hash values for common passwords.

MD5 a “message-digest algorithm”

Secure Hash Algorithm



a set of cryptographic hash functions (SHA-224, SHA-256, SHA-384, SHA-512, SHA-512/224, SHA-512/256) designed by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA)

for MSWin



  • The clippings are installed in an SQLite database named Ditto.db which defaults to be in Roaming\Ditto, but you can locate it wherever you want.
  • Ctrl+’ (the @ key) opens it as a pop-up in which you can begin typing some letters, and it finds matches in your clipboard history, that can be as long as you wish, and includes text formatting, and image. If you want to paste something unformatted, just select it and Shft+Enter.
  • - an excellent little clipboard extension that's sometimes a bit glitchy, but mostly saves me loads of time.


  • Monitoring (tail -f)
  • This is a superb free text editor, just astoundingly good, and easy to use, and can open almost type of data file. I've only discovered one limitation - huge files (I couldn't open a 740MB file with it). Encoding defaults to ANSI, but is easy to change, eg to track down codes of characters that won't show in UTF-8. Notepad++ is an essential tool!
  • Watch out, it works with files in buffers, so you need to save them back to disk, it's not automatically done when you close Notepad++.

SlySoft's Virtual CloneDrive

For mounting a DVD ISO!

Get it. Slysoft's CloneDrive executable might be identical inside to Elby's, but it comes with a more precisely numbered filename. On installation, it offers to associate *.ccd, *.dvd, *.iso, with option to also associate *.img, *.udf, *.bin. Installs to C:\Program Files\Elaborate Bytes\VirtualCloneDrive.

AutoHotkey - Get it here. Tutorial and Overview. Command List and Hotkeys

Installs easily, and drops a sample script into C:\Users\jo\Documents\AutoHotkey.ahk, which is a file that will always run on launching AutoHotkey. (You can adapt it, or remove it.)

Esc also turns off CapsLock

An excellent and simple suggestion. Any time I'm in an ambiguous CapsLock state, I can just hit Esc, and I know it's back to lowercase. very helpful for Vim.

You can grab my implementation of this ahk script here.

Sumatra PDF


  • If %APPDATA%\SumatraPDF\SumatraPDF-settings.txt is Deleted, it gets rebuilt
  • If SumatraPDF.exe is in your Path, you can (from the console) SumatraPDF afile.pdf.

Sumatra PDF

it consists of one single file with no external dependencies, making it usable from an external USB drive

Now removed note:

Sumatra does not lock the PDF file. Without closing the PDF file, a user can save over the PDF and then press the R key to refresh the PDF document. For example, a PDFTeX user could find this feature useful when, after recompiling the altered TeX source code, he/she could simply press 'R' and view the altered document.



  • A right mouse click anywhere to paste whatever's in the Windows clipboard.
  • Keyboard shortcuts: Ctrl+Up/Dn/PgUp/PgDn - scrolls nicely. Ctrl(+Shift)+Tab switches tabs lazily (ie switch completed when Ctrl is released).
  • Text selection - is easy with the mouse.


Right-click on the box, or Win+Alt+P brings up a stay-on-top Settings dialogue that you can Esc out of.


  • Font > Size > 12 - I find more practical than the default of 16.
  • Appearance > Scrollbar > Show - keeps the scrollbar visible (rather than only appearing after mouse pointer is hovered there).


  • Colors > Solarized - is my preference, and allows a good vim terminal.
  • Tabs > Lazy tab switch - I don't get, so prefer to off-tick.


  • ConEmu Here Explorer context menu integration > Register, Save - allows ConEmu to be opened for a folder viewed in Explorer.
  • Default term > Force ConEmu as default console - makes it appear when you call Command Prompt.

Keys & Macro:

  • Global > Ctrl+’ > Minimize/Restore I change to Alt+' (so's not to conflict with Ditto). It's a handy global hotkey, that brings the ConEmu window up (if it's in the taskbar) from wherever you are.
  • User > Win+Delete > Close active console - is a handy local keybinding.

File Manage

  • Bulk Rename Excellent & simple to use, and appears in the explorer context menu. The installer request you close other programs, but is otherwise very easy. It picks up any settings from a previous version. C:\Program Files\Bulk Rename Utility\BRU_Manual.pdf.
  • I eschew Window's Documents folder, because too many other things and permissions go on there. Instead I store all my files on a seperate D: partition, which has also been convenient on the rare occasions when I've had to scrap a Windows build, and replace it from a saved image.
  • Windows thumbnail cache is responsible for protected Thumbs.db files scattered around.

sha1sum for MS Windows:

  • sha1sum.exe - 2004
  • sha1sum files - get a list of SHA-1 checksums.


  • is a bomb, but just run SpaceSniffer.exe and be impressed!
  • I prefer to set Configuration > Behaviour > Popup log off-ticked.


a lightweight and minimalistic file searching application for Windows. It can be integrated into the Windows Explorer right-click menu to provide quick and easy access. FileSeek doesn't use background indexing, so when FileSeek is closed the computer's performance won't be affected.

It can search inside odt files (as long as LibreOffice is already installed on your system). You have to set Options > Process file contents using File Handlers.


Install, or portable, it has hidden files visible by default, which is why I keep it handy. Protected Operating System Files (eg Windows XP's Thumbs.db scattered all over) are also visible independent of Windows 7 Explorer's settings, Findable by pattern and then mass Deletable.

Alt+F7 = Search, then you can specify lists (no space after the semicolon):

  • filenames: zbThumbnail;Thumbs.db
  • drives: D:\;F:\;G:\;H:\;I:\

F10 toggles between single and dual-pane views.

Not worth using: the Compare, Filter, and Synchronisation features.


is what I use to check directory sizes. I grab, unpack and run the installer. (Inspite appearing to me correctly intalled, sometimes Windows 7 Compatability Assistant suggests it wasn't installed correctly.)

Extras > System > Show hidden files & folders is the global Windows Explorer setting.

To see directory sizes, I set:

Extras > [List > Click sound off Colors > Colors > Use Color-Filter   Data Size > Show, then Show Folder Size System > Add to Shell Context]

If you install a newer version, it picks up the older version's settings.

SyncBack - is an incredibly useful tool. I use the free version to find file structure differences recursively betweeen two directories on different drives. It tells you when there's an update to install over the existing version.

Preferences > Options > Expert

- shows you where the settings are stored, incase you want to back them up.


  • UTF-8 characters have sometimes thrown an error for me.
  • Empty directories in one location get created in the other if they don't exit, without notification (which is why I first run my CompDirStructs script.
  • sometimes Windows 7 won't let SyncBackFree work in a directory. My fix is to have it always Run as Administrator.


Image Grid drag and drop images to make a single grid from them.


  • default installs to C:\Program Files\IrfanView\i_view64.exe
  • IrfanView is a light-weight and very effective image viewer.

I use it to quickly annotate jpegs with text and maybe a few lines.

  • Alt+E then W gets an easy watermark dialogue
  • Esc quits immediately.
  • t = Thumbnails view of the current folder, with easy navigation.
  • p = Properties/Settings, then:
    • JPG > Auto off to turn off rotation by EXIF orientation tag.
    • Language > Load Unicode PlugIn if you've got accented characters in a filename.

FastStone Image Viewer - a super image viewer, that goes straight into Full Screen view. Move the mouse to the screen edges to quickly access a huge functionality range, which is nicely described here.

Installation is straightforward, you can get the executable's md5, if you're paranoid, and there's a portable zip.


You can use your version of C:\Users\jo\AppData\Roaming\FastStone\FSIV\FSSettings.db to replicate your Settings.

Settings > Viewer >
* ''Auto-rotate by EXIF orientation tag'' - is on by default, I prefer to turn it off
* ''Loop'' - is off by default, I turn it on


  • Red Eye Removal is a little fiddly to arrange, but works: right-click > Edit > Red Eye Removal.
  • Right-click on an image brings up an option to “Edit with External Program”. I added IrfanView64, which got allocated E, so now I just hit E, and the image is opened in C:\Program Files\IrfanView\i_view64.exe - very handy to get at the slightly better editing features therein.

Keyboard shortcuts:

  • Alt+C = Contact Sheet Builder - uses all the files in the current folder by default
  • Alt+Q quickly resizes to the size on screen
  • <CR> or Alt+F4 bring up the useful FastStone exploring interface
  • Ctrl+E = Adjust Colors:
    • can brighten up a body pic
    • up Brightness & Contrast to whiten a scanned receipt
  • Ctrl+Shft+B = Auto-Adjust Colors - works fairly well for whitening a text background
  • 'Esc quits
  • F3 = Tools > Batch Convert works well
  • Frame Mask found at left panel is fun
  • l/r = left/right Rotate
  • w opens the file's folder in Windows Explorer, which is very handy
  • X brings image up into full screen ready to Crop!
start.txt · Last modified: 2016/10/05 10:44 (external edit)