Shell's TechBlabber

…ShelLuser blogs about stuff ;)

GoDaddy’s Christmas “surprise”…

I’ve been a very satisfied customer of GoDaddy for a very long time. I’ve lived the days when we had an actual GoDaddy community (= forum) where customers could ask questions which other customers together with official GoDaddy staffers would answer. It was a good time, I even got a few complimentary presents sent to me from the US as thanks for my efforts there. Needless to say that I’ve been a very happy customer for quite some time. I’ve used their domain hosting services, I’ve hosted a few websites in the past, and at one point in time I even had a server running there.

These times it’s merely domain hosting though, but despite some small issues every once in while I’ve always been quite satisfied. Heck… just to give a small example: I’ve been using SPF1 (not to be confused with the legendary SDF-1) long before the protocol became mainstream. What’s SPF1 you ask? It’s short for Sender Policy Framework and it’s a method which can help reduce spam. You basically add a DNS record in which you identify the mail server(s) you’re using for outgoing e-mail so that a receiving party can always verify if a mail which originated from your domain was really coming from you instead of a spammer.

Yah, and all I did was use GoDaddy’s excellent DNS services… 😎

But today this all comes to an end. An easy 15 years of personal customer satisfaction just went down the drain completely. What did they do you ask? Nothing which directly concerns me, but they did manage to piss off this geek really good. I don’t take this lightly, as such this vent was needed. Don’t expect a story about how bad GoDaddy suddenly has become or how bad their services “suddenly” are because you won’t find that in here. My positive opinion about the services provided by the GoDaddy company never changed and it’s also not relevant here. No, something else pissed me off seriously good… Continue reading

December 26, 2020 Posted by | Companies, Editorial, TechBlabber | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

(Review) ZBrush: the most sophisticated (and expensive!) 3D editor?

So in my previous post (about Daz Studio) I also briefly mentioned ZBrush: a program which can be used to edit 3D figures from Daz Studio. My girlfriend often uses this but so far I’ve never been too interested in it, also because it seems to be very complex to use and well.. as I’ve also mentioned before I’m a hobbyist at best when it comes to 3D modelling. I know my basics for sure, but I’m hardly a professional artist.

Even so, since my girlfriend is quite excited about ZBrush I figured I might as well give it a try to see what this is all about. And so I installed a copy, spend a few days on looking around in the documentation and watching several tutorial videos to get a good impression. Well, guess what? Now I’m getting pretty excited about this software as well!

Continue reading

November 21, 2020 Posted by | Editorial, Software, TechBlabber | , , , | Comments Off on (Review) ZBrush: the most sophisticated (and expensive!) 3D editor?

Freemium done right: Daz Studio (3D modeling software)

‘Freemium’ is a term used to describe software which is provided free of charge but with one small catch: it’s also meant to be an appetizer which tries to persuade you into actually buying stuff from the company behind it.

Now, it’s not my intention to make things look better than they actually are: the things I mentioned above most definitely also apply to Daz Studio. Sure: you get a lot of freebies in the so called “Starter Essentials kits” which are more than enough to build some cool ‘renders’ of your own. However you’ll also soon discover their limits and maybe you want more after that . When that happens the Daz store will be patiently waiting for you.

So why this blog post you might wonder? Trust me: it’s not meant as some kind of hidden advertisement for the Daz3D company, though I suppose it could still be explained as such. But no, the reason for this post is because this software is actually quite impressive, especially if you take a closer look at all the features you get. Things easily overlooked and so: I wanted to vent.

Continue reading

November 15, 2020 Posted by | Daz Studio, Editorial, Software, TechBlabber | , , , , , , | Comments Off on Freemium done right: Daz Studio (3D modeling software)

Reinstalling software is USELESS!

In my last blog post I wrote about Photoshop Elements and how much I enjoyed it. This week I decided to take things a step further and upgraded to the full Adobe Elements suite consisting of the Elements version of Adobe Photoshop & Premiere. Who knows, I just might make a YouTube video someday now that I got the software for it. I also started frequenting the Adobe community forums where I noticed something. What do you think the Steam, Adobe, Daz 3D and Reaper communities have in common? You often read comments from people who are having problems with the software and in their attempt to get things back to normal they decide to re-install the software in hopes that this will reset things.

There seems to be a strong belief that in order to try and sort out software problems you should always try to reinstall first. Well… it’s actually a load of nonsense and here’s why… Continue reading

October 24, 2020 Posted by | Editorial, TechBlabber, Tips and tricks | , , | Comments Off on Reinstalling software is USELESS!

[Review] Photoshop Elements 2020

I’ve used The Gimp for a long time, first on Linux and FreeBSD and later on it also became my de-facto editor on Windows. What can I say… the software takes getting used to and most definitely has a bit of a learning curve but once you passed all that you’ll soon realize that you got yourselves a magnificent toolbox at your disposal, and all for free! Well, sort off… the one problem with open source software is that things can change on a single developers whim and if you (and maybe many others) don’t like those changes you can usually go ‘fork’ yourself.

No, that’s not meant as an insult, though it’s definitely a bit of a sneer. ‘Forking’ means that you grab the source code of a certain project and then use that as the start to build your own project with it, based on the existing projects source. Of course, the problem with that is that such undertakings are easier said than done and if all you want is to get some work done it’s probably a better idea to find something else. Which I did…

Continue reading

October 19, 2020 Posted by | Software, TechBlabber | , , , , , | Comments Off on [Review] Photoshop Elements 2020

Let’s talk synthesizers…

Komplete 13 just released last week, my first Komplete upgrade, and it made me reflect a bit on my synth passion. Since this blog hasn’t seen much posts as of late I figured I’d share, you might even learn something. I’m not fully sure how it all started, but as a kid I was quite interested in electronic music. There were two major influences here. First an audio cassette which I got from my grandparents which featured synth versions of popular theme music from that time (think Star Wars, Aurora, Close encounters of the third kind, and so on).

(offtopic: I know the formatting looks like shit, blame the new WordPress editor which is so easy to use that I can’t even find an option to apply some spacing to my images. Not without having to manually add CSS which I don’t have handy from mind on a late Sunday evening.. sometimes I wonder why I even bother…)

And then there was the Commodore 64 home computer which was known for its powerful audio capabilities through use of the SID chip.

For some reason electronic music (not necessarily dance music!) always fascinated me and so when I got a place of my own I was determined to get myself a synthesizer to go with it.

And I did, but not in the way you might expect, also see the picture…

It’s more than 10 years ago since I started my synth hobby, which quickly turned into a passion, and well… I felt like venting. Unfortunately my synth blog where I’d normally share this kind of stuff is currently down (and it’s revival is still on my (in)famous todo list) so I figured I’d “abuse” my WordPress blog to share.

Continue reading

October 5, 2020 Posted by | Editorial, Software, Synthesizers, TechBlabber | , , , , , , | Comments Off on Let’s talk synthesizers…

Microsoft Surface Pro X: underappreciated & misunderstood!

Surface Pro X

A Microsoft Surface is a computer, obviously designed by Microsoft, and this may sound a bit weird if you look at the screenshot but it’s actually a tablet. As you can see it clearly resembles a laptop, but looks can be deceiving

 

If you buy a Surface device you only get the computer (so: the tablet), the keyboard must be purchased as a separate accessory. This may seem a bit weird but it makes sense if you look at the capabilities of a stand-alone Surface device. I also believe that because the keyboard is a separate product the build quality is significantly better than that of a regular accessory, but then again I am biased. Despite being a separate product the keyboard is tailormade for the Surface and can also be used as a cover. This is one of the many differences of a Surface in comparison to a regular laptop: you don’t fold the screen down but you flip the keyboard up if you want to close it or shut it off. But now I’m getting ahead of myself…

 

The Surface Pro X is a rather recent model which severely differs from other Surface models, instead of being equipped with an Intel processor the Pro X uses an ARM based Microsoft processor called the SQ1. Because of this the Pro X has a much lower power consumption which allows it to operate on battery power for longer periods than a regular Surface device (let alone a regular laptop). Unfortunately there’s also a downside.. because of the ARM architecture you can’t run regular 64bit applications and you’ll need an emulation for running 32bit based software.

This has caused many Youtubers to review this device in a rather negative way, something I’d like to address in my blog post. I’ve been working with my Surface Pro X for almost half a year now and I’m still very satisfied and sometimes even a little excited about all the things it does for me. So… time to set the record straight!

Continue reading

July 14, 2020 Posted by | Microsoft, Microsoft Office, TechBlabber, Windows 10 | Comments Off on Microsoft Surface Pro X: underappreciated & misunderstood!

Turning your Android phone into a “Windows Phone clone”

microsoft_launcherIn January 2019 (= last year) I upgraded my PC and moved from Windows 7 to Windows 10, an experience I really enjoyed. At that time I was still using a 2nd generation Windows Phone running WP 7.5 and slowly but steadily running into issues.

Several apps weren’t being maintained anymore and even my bank had announced their intention to stop supporting their app after which they would only allow its use for a few more months before pulling the plug. An understandable decision for sure, I realised all too well how outdated things had become, but inconvenient nonetheless.

Because I don’t trust Google I wasn’t keen on using Android, because I think Apple is overpriced I also didn’t bother with them. And then I discovered that Blackberry had also adopted Android, so much for that alternative.

One thing led to another and eventually I bought myself a Medion smartphone powered by Android 6 which I could upgrade to Android 7. And even though I still mistrusted Google I had to admit that this mobile environment was plain out slick; very well designed. Google even gained my respect when I discovered that I could actually change my entire phone into a Microsoft powered environment, see my start screen for a good impression. So here’s my story on how I got myself a “Windows Phone clone”, powered by Android.

Continue reading

March 26, 2020 Posted by | Microsoft, Security, Tips and tricks, Windows 10 | , , , , | Comments Off on Turning your Android phone into a “Windows Phone clone”

What is it with all the copycats?

The other day I was working behind my laptop and discovered the ‘Mail’ program. Because I normally use Outlook I figured that I wouldn’t need the mail program anymore. Little did I realize that it was actually part of a combination: ‘Mail and Calendar’ and I definitely wanted to keep the Calendar part, especially because it showed my upcoming appointments on the start menu. Unfortunately I only realized the obvious when it was too late and I was staring at a gaping hole in my start menu.

So how to get them back?  I searched online for a solution and discovered several websites which all provided a PowerShell command to “reinstall all default applications”. The only problem… the command was plain out wrong. So how could so many websites all miss out on the obvious?  Here’s my take…

Continue reading

August 22, 2019 Posted by | Editorial, PowerShell | , , , | Comments Off on What is it with all the copycats?

Microsoft Word vs. LibreOffice Writer

You know what the biggest problem is with reviews? They’re written (or recorded) by people who have a certain bias either towards or against the product. Now there’s nothing necessarily wrong with that perse, but when it becomes obvious that this bias is also affecting the review then I think you got a bit of a problem because it will make the whole thing look out of place.

So before I continue I’d like to state that I am definitely biased towards Microsoft Office and that this blog post was even fully written within Word 2016 (I usually rely on Open Live Writer), so do with this as you want.

Fortunately for us the Document Foundation (= group behind the LibreOffice project) didn’t go here and instead set up an extensive feature comparison. However, the problem with that is that it becomes awkward if you see that some people apparently consider it an important feature that a product still supports obsolete standards. For example: when was the last time than you opened a PCX graphics file?

Therefor I figured I’d install LibreOffice and do a small comparison myself. And honestly? LibreOffice is an amazing and most definitely an impressive project. However… the saying that “you get what you pay for” still holds true today.

Continue reading

April 28, 2019 Posted by | Editorial, Microsoft Office, TechBlabber | , , , , | Comments Off on Microsoft Word vs. LibreOffice Writer