Tag: How To

Tips for Creating and Managing Strong Passwords


Passwords. So annoying, yet so critically important. Without passwords, your friends would be spamming your Facebook wall with lolcat pictures. Or worse… So, we need passwords. Better, we need strong passwords. A weak password is guessable, and a potential attacker could compromise your online identity and access your personal data easily. I’m sure you’d like to avoid that. I say avoid, not prevent.

Prevention is not really possible since even a strong password could be compromised if the site you input it on is insecure, or has some undiscovered vulnerabilities, such as the one that recently affected the Gawker network: its users’ passwords were exposed to the world. If the site takes appropriate precautions, you’re pretty safe, but still, the risk is there.

Without further delay, let’s see what’s a strong password, how to create one, what you shouldn’t do with passwords, what the guidelines are and how you can manage your passwords. A lot, yes.

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How To Easily Save Or Print A Directory’s Contents [Windows]


It may happen that you need a directory listing, that is a list of all the files in a folder. Unfortunately, there is no direct way to do this simple task in Windows.

Say you need to send a list of all the files found in a directory to a friend. You could take a screen-capture of the folder and send it to them. What if there are lots of files? You’d have multiple screen-captures and files will repeat in various captures. Not very elegant. So I’ll show you 3 methods to get a list of all files from a directory and save it as a text file.

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Chmod Tutorial



I’ve prepared a small Chmod tutorial for people who have difficulty understanding the command.

I hope you find it useful. If you find any mistakes, please let me know through the comments below.

Chmod Tutorial - Jpg

[ PNG version ]

3 Utilities to Schedule System Shutdown


So, a friend of mine wanted to know if she could shutdown her PC automatically at a certain time. Or after a certain period of time. Well it’s possible. And I’m going to show you 3 utilities to do it, and how to do it from within your OS too, in case you don’t want to download. There are a LOT of shutdown utilities out there, but those below, I have used personally.

1. Shutter


Shutter is my favourite shutdown utility due to its simplicity, but also because it comes from the author of the great ReNamer that I have already covered on Geekscribes previously.

Basically, you just choose the event that triggers the action. Events can be: countdown, at a specific time,  a period of low CPU usage, a process stops, battery low, among others. After that, you just set the action to do: sleep or shutdown the computer, mute volume, lock the computer, among others. Then just click Start. I don’t like that “Start” button. In my opinion, it should have been “Schedule”. If you want the action to take place immediately, just click “Now”. Shutter also offers an extensive set of options, like showing a message before an action takes place.

Shutter also includes a Web Interface if you want to do “Now” actions, or run commands remotely. This is a really great feature for those of you with a download/torrent box. Note, this can be a security problem, so be sure to set a good username and password when configuring the web server in Options.

Shutter comes in Installer and Portable formats.

2. PowerOff


PowerOff takes another approach at events and actions. It puts everything on the main window. So you just select your action on the left. On the right, set options, like whether you want a warning before the action executes, or whether to force-close applications. Then set the time. Either immediate, or schedule it to execute at a specific time.

There are extensive scheduling options, like at a time, on a fixed day, or a daily schedule, on a weekly schedule, on a day of month, or after a time period elapses. One thing I’d like is the “After” option to allow me to set minutes, hours etc, instead of just seconds.

PowerOff also includes remote-control features, like Shutter. Interestingly, you can have the command execute on a remote computer, if the latter supports it. I haven’t tested that feature though.

PowerOff is portable, and comes with the source code, if ever you want to mess around with it. It’s coded in C/C++ language.

3. Amp WinOff

Amp WinOFf

Amp WinOff, as you can see from the screenshot above, offers extensive options. You can set the actions to execute at a specific time (1st frame, top-right), or use a countdown (bottom-left frame), or when according to CPU load (top-right frame). You then set which action to take. It’s called “Shutdown mode” in Amp WinOff. You can even schedule days in advance.

While the program offers a many options and is very customizable, I don’t like the terminology used. Why is there a “Use the current time + 1 minute” and then a countdown feature? Also, I doubt “Lock Computer” is a “Shutdown Mode”. Anyway, those don’t really matter once you get familiar with the program. Now, the second thing that is annoying with Amp WinOff is that the website has been down for a while now, and I can’t find a mirror that’s still alive. The shot you’re seeing above is not from the latest version.

If you can find the utility somewhere, good.

4. Directly from your OS


Yes, you can execute a sheduled shutdown right from your OS. Let’s start with Linux first. It should work on most major distros, but I only tested on Ubuntu.

Fire up your Terminal/Konsole or whatever it’s called in your distro.

Then the command structure is as this:

shutdown [- shutdown parameters] [ time parameter] [ optional message ]

shutdown parameters: r = reboot, h = halt, c = cancel shutdown (time parameter is then not required)

Some examples:

shutdown -r now    <-- Reboot immediately
shutdown -h 19:00  <-- Shutdown (Halt) the system at 19h
shutdown -h +5 "System will shutdown"   <-- Shutdown the system in 5 mins from now, and tell users why.

Quite easy huh? Just note that while a shutdown is scheduled, new users won’t be allowed to login 5 minutes before the shutdown sequence is initiated, i.e. only 5 mins left before shutdown. This is to be considered for multi-user environments.


The command is similar to that of Linux, but different syntax and parameter names. Just open a command prompt (type cmd in the search box in Vista/Win7, or Winkey+R, then type cmd, or directly type the commands below in the search box in Win7)

shutdown [- shutdown parameters] [-t xx in seconds] [-c reason]
shutdown parameters: r = reboot, s = shutdown, a = abort shutdown

Some examples:

shutdown -r       <-- Reboots computer immediately
shutdown -s       <-- Shutdown computer immediately
shutdown -r -t 60 <-- Restart computer in 60 seconds
shutdown -s -t 3600 -c "Computer shutting down" <-- Shutdown in one hour (3600 seconds), and tell user why

You should get a confirmation that the command has been accepted. (E.g. Keys icon in the notification area with a message).

That’s it for this post. If you know other methods for scheduling a system shutdown, or maybe to get your favorite utility listed here, drop us a comment. Thanks!

PHP Lessons 9: Session and Cookies


Hello there, back with some PHP lessons. It’s been quite a while. Got loads of projects to deal with at work and wasn’t feeling like typing codes at home.

This lesson will deal about session ($_SESSION) and cookies ($_COOKIES)…(This kind of cookie has nothing to do with cookies our grand-mother used to cook for us 😀 )

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Windows 7: Solutions to can’t sleep problems.



Hello folks. Sorry for lack of recent posts. Been taken up with uni lately. Anyway, I have recently migrated to Windows 7. I have to say Microsoft has done a magnificent job this time, especially when I compare Win7 and Vista. Performance on Win7 is awesome. And there are lots of usability improvements, which makes 7 a very nice software.

However, I was having a problem: I couldn’t manually sleep my computer. If I did it from the Orb/Start menu, the screen would turn off, the PC would shut for like a millisecond, before starting back up, and prompting me for login.

Turns out there are a few things that can cause this error, and they are easy to troubleshoot. Try these steps if you are having the same problem as me.

1) Update your drivers.

This should be pretty obvious. An old driver might be causing an issue. So just update your drivers, specially for your video card and it should correct any problem. If it still doesn’t work, move on.

2) Try to see which requests are keeping the PC on.

Open a Command Prompt. You can do it by typing “cmd” from the Run menu, or simply open the Start Menu, and type “Command Prompt” in the “Search Programs and Files” bar.

Type this command: “powercfg -requests” without quotes. Then press Enter. You will see a list of programs that could be making requests. Windows Media Player is a usual culprit. Just close them, and it should work. If you have “None.” marked, move on.

3) A specific device is keeping the PC from sleeping

Still in the command prompt, type “powercfg -devicequery wake_armed”. You will see a list of devices that can wake up your PC. For me, I got my Network card, Keyboard and Mouse in that list. Turns out it was my mouse that was responsible for waking up the machine.

What to do? Simple: Go to device manager ( Start Menu – Control Panel (View by: Large Icons, top right)  – System – Device Manager (left sidebar) ). Find your device that you think is causing the problem. For me it was the mouse, but I had to try disabling each individually. So, find your mouse in that list, e.g. Mice and other pointing devices, right-click it, choose Properties and go to the Power Management tab. Uncheck the box “Allow this device to wake the computer“.

Validate the windows with Ok, close Control Panel, and you should be all ok. Try sleeping your computer now.

That’s it for this small guide. I hope it helps you. Step 3 solved my problem. My computer now sleeps when I want it to sleep. 🙂

PHP Lessons 8: Server Constants and HTML Forms


Hello there, it’s been a while, I’ve been very busy with work and some personal project, so i had to delay the PHP courses, but anyway, I’m back and today we’ll have a look at Server Constants.

Take a look at www.geekscribes.net, on the right side, we have a search form, when you type in a search keyword and press Enter, the page loads and it fetch every results according to what you typed. Ever wonder how it works? Don’t go any further, today I will show you bring a boring html form to life.

Before I start, if you missed the array tutorials, then please, go to the link below, and read the post, give it a try.. because you’ll need to understand how arrays work in order to understand this lesson fully.

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