Wednesday, April 8, 2015

SteamTool Library Manager and an SSD

So I ran across a tool recently in a PC Gamer article that was meant for people using an SSD for gaming. I currently have a 250 gig Crucial gen 5 SSD for my OS and a couple games. In my opinion an SSD makes a large difference in boot times for the OS and level loading for games. I am usually the first person in a Battlefield 3 game after a map load and can load a TF2 map super fast. Till now I was using the built in libraries that steam has to put a couple games on the SSD and the rest on a slower standard SATA drive. It was a real pain to move a game back to the SSD this way as you had to download it all over again and then certain games do not keep your key bindings, and I do not use the WASD keyset, which is a whole other post in and of itself (which may get written in the near future) making the usefulness of the loading speed of the SSD useless.

In the above article it referenced the SteamTool Library Manager 1.1. This tool is really sweet. It uses NTFS Junctions to create a folder on the SSD drive to point to a game folder on another drive. You need your drives you are using to be formatted NTFS. You can then move a game or two at a time to your SSD and enjoy the speed of loading etc that it offers. It moves the game back and forth fairly fast and so far most games I have tried work great. I highly suggest this if you have a smaller SSD you are running your OS on. So try this app out if you are in this same situation and let me know what you think.

Note of warning: Since this is a data moving tool there is a possibility if used wrong that you may lose data.

Friday, March 6, 2015

New uses for old hardware.

So I had my D-LINK DIR-655 router give up its routing duties recently and had to replace it. (I ended up replacing it with a Netgear dual band router and love it so far) It was making me restart it about once ever couple days, then daily and then at the end every couple hours. I found this set of instructions on how to set my router as a wireless N access point. It should work for most home routers though these instructions are for a D-Link DIR-655 specifically.

I had a failing access point in the house I had been wanting to replace for a while so figured I would try it out. It works like a charm. You basically turn off the DHCP server, virtual servers and any port forwarding you had setup and give the router a new internal IP Address. Then plug an ethernet cable into one of the LAN ports (Do not use the internet/WAN port when using it as an AP) and you are done. So far it works great as a switch and AP though it cannot do its routing duties anymore.

This bumped me up to 56Mbps wireless in the house and saved me from buying a new wired AP for the house as well.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

How did I ever live without github?

So for a while now I have been using for side website building projects. Just about the most useful tool out there for today's web designer and developer. The way I use github as a staging site for client approvals of design or content. I use the free service but may, down the road, end up paying for an enterprise account. The difference between the two is the free account only lets you have public repositories and the paid account you can have private ones.

You can also use as a free place to put your personal website or a micro site as they allow you to customize your domain to utilize there web hosting. I pay just for my domain and that is it these days. No need to pay for expensive hosting for small sites anymore.

I am not sure in the past how I lived without version control. It is so useful to have the ability to revert back to another older version at the touch of a button. The Github for windows tool is has a really easy GUI interface for those of us who like visuals to interact with and you can also use your favorite command line as well if you are interested.

Check it out for your next project and start following some people as well for great ideas and interaction within the design/dev community.

What are your thoughts about version control? Have you used Github for something unique? If so tell me about it.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Table uses in Modern Web Design

You hear all the time from web designers and developers that tables are finally dead and should not be used anymore. I honestly beg to differ on this view. I have a few great uses still for these relics of long past website designs. Here are a couple:

  • Displaying a menu for a restaurant/bar/wine bar website. Tables are great for this as they easily let you setup lists that are side by side so you can have prices next to your menu. Sure you could also do an un-ordered list but I find that all browsers treat tables almost exactly alike since they are so old.
  • Anytime you have to display some type of data that is in a spreadsheet or matrix. Tables let you move data that may be given in an spreadsheet format and display it easily on the web. You can easily color or highlight rows to make viewing easier for this massive amount of data and it is easily formatted. Again all browsers will display this almost similarly across each browser type. 
  • Long unruly lists also can be helped by putting the data in a table. It is easy to use a table to help format a long list that is getting out of hand.
The short of it is don't build the whole site in a table like it is the 1990's again but do still use them where they help you the best, managing large amounts of data that has to be displayed on the web. They may be old but they are not totally without there uses.