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Lowell Heddings

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

Using the Remote Desktop client usually lands you in a seperate session on the windows server. There are times, however, when you might want to be able to connect to the console directly instead of being in a seperate session. This is how.

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If there is one bloated and unnecessary service that you should immediately disable, it’s definitely the Indexing Service built into Windows XP. The idea behind it is that you can search for files more quickly if it is enabled….  but you are using Google Desktop for that, right? 

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Fast User Switching is a way for users to quickly switch between accounts without having to fully log off. This is just one more service that doesn’t really need to be started.

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It’s frustrating enough when your application crashes. Then the annoying dialog expects you to “Send an Error Report to Microsoft”. As if I want Microsoft to know exactly which programs I’m running on my computer.

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Social bookmarking/news links are extremely popular these days. There are a ton of different websites out there, from the Digg.com’s to del.icio.us and furl. I personally only really use del.icio.us, but whatever your choice, you can be sure that you will have visitors that use at least one of the different services.

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One of the gripes I’ve always had with the built-in WordPress functionality is that you can only specify the number of posts per page across the entire application, as opposed to being able to customize it per section or page. Thanks to a wonderful plugin by Matt Read, you can fix this easily.

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Firefox, like many popular browsers, includes a built-in functionality to save your password. Often we’ll use the saved password feature so often that we’ve completely forgotten our password when we need to login to the same website on another computer. Here’s how to locate your saved password.

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This is a pretty common task, but it’s surprising how many PHP newbies don’t know about it yet. If you want to see the structure of your PHP Array, all you need to do is this:

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A hidden functionality in Windows allows you to right click on a file, select Copy To Folder or Move To Folder, and the move to box will pop up and let you choose a location to either copy or move the file or folder to.

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Like anything else on linux, it’s easiest to do things from the command line. Open up a terminal window and type in the following commands

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You will often have the need to access data that resides on another server, whether you are writing an online RSS aggregator or doing screen scraping for a searching mechanism. PHP makes pulling this data into a string variable an extremely simple process.

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Apache gives you a list of files in an empty directory by default, but sometimes you will want to show a list of files that are in a directory through PHP so that you can customize the output of the list, and make a “pretty” listing of files. Here’s the basic code to make a list.

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Note: I’ve written an updated article for both Vista and XP

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There are a number of ways to kill a process if you know the name of the process. Here’s a couple different ways you can accomplish this. We are going to assume that the process we are trying to kill is named irssi

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A useful technique for your applications is allowing them to parse command line arguments. This can give a lot of extra functionality to your application, for instance to pass the name of a file to open on the command line.

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When you are programming a Windows Forms application, you will invariably need to get variables from a second form window, such as an options form or popup search prompt.

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If you have an unwieldy text file that you are trying to process, splitting it in sections can sometimes help processing time, especially if we were going to import a file into a spreadsheet. Or you might want to just retrieve a particular set of lines from a file.

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Setting up an SSH server on Ubuntu is about as simple as it gets. The server of choice is OpenSSH.

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The ASP.NET development environment on Ubuntu Linux is called XSP. This is a simple webserver written in C# that can be used for either ASP.NET 1.0 or 2.0 applications. You can install both environments side by side if need be.

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Update: These instructions are out of date. You should instead install MonoDevelop from source.

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When you are trying to install software on Ubuntu or Debian linux using the apt-get package system, quite often you’ll forget the exact name of the package you are trying to install. Here’s how you can get a little help figuring out what the name is.

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If you are doing any kind of PHP development, you’ll almost always be using Apache along with it. Here’s the quick and easy way to get PHP up and running on your Ubuntu box.

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There is no easier way to get your Ubuntu installation up and running with the tools you need than Automatix. I’m not entirely certain why this hasn’t been integrated into the core of the system yet, because it’s about as easy as it gets.

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If you are familiar with linux/unix, you will be very accustomed to the ability to kill (and start) processes from the command line. Linux gives you a very rich set of command line tools that simply don’t exist on Windows by default.

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To interact with the services panel from the command line, Windows provides the Net utility. From the command prompt, you can use this utility to start, stop, pause and continue services. What most people don’t realize is that you can also use this to display a list of services that are running on your computer.

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