Thursday, May 24, 2012

Static DHCP is better than IP address assignment on a device


Attention standalone network attached device vendors like large copier manufacturers:

Please train your onsite personnel in understanding that a DHCP assigned address is not always a "Dynamic" address. Please help them understand that there is such a beast as "Static Allocation DHCP" or "Address Reservation". And that Static DHCP gives the equipment *the same address* every time. And help them realize that the equipment will work just fine on the network and won't magically just break. And that I can change every part of the network properties without touching the dumb box or it's crappy web/console interface. Please also train them to not go behind a client's back who gives explicit instructions on keeping the DHCP option enabled (and then enabling a static address on the device).


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

JShot - multiplatform screen capture and annotator

Recently, I needed to do a minor amount of screen annotation. I was very pleased to have found JShot for my Linux system. As quoted from the website,
"JShot is a free and multiplatform screen capture and uploader application which allows you to capture and annotate a part of your screen and share it via the Internet in one step."
And as luck would have it, one of the upload options is for Google's Picasaweb that helps provide images for Blogger.

JShot is a usefully featured screen capture program. It is fast in screen, area or region capture. JShot has an optional toolbar dock that lets you quickly take the screenshot you want. There are several easy to select and use annotation tools. The tools include circles, ovals, squares, rectangles, arrows or text. I like the transparency and highlight options for those tools. Arrows and text input pivot and rotate with little effort. Text input font is easy to modify.

JShot will also open arbitrary image files for annotation beyond just the screenshot image taken. Nice additional features include the mentioned Picasaweb single click upload as well as FTP or Dropbox to name just a couple. You can even free-hand draw on your screen prior to screen capture (yes that is close to my normal handwriting scribble).

JShot also includes an extendable plugin capability for those needing something more. Did I mention the Java Web Start option?

There are just a couple of minor issues from my usage attempts. First, large images can not be scaled to fit on the screen. Also, the shapes can not be rotated (not that you rotate a circle). They move on an vertical or horizontal axis only. The "File" -> "Open" dialog does not remember last settings (for stuff like this, the date sort is more often what I want). I would also like to see the auto-number name incrementing that other screen capture utilities have like ksnapshot.  Another only slightly annoyance is the "File" -> "Exit" produces a "All unsaved data will be lost" message even if you *just* saved. Fairly nit-picky issues overall. None outweigh the very useful capability.

I have not been much of a java app fan, but JShot is a very well done utility that will remain in my Linux geek toolbox. Hope you enjoy this utility as much as I have. And just to be clear, JShot screen capture and annotator works for Mac, Windows and Linux.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Google Voice + Talkatone + iPhone/Android = Google VOIP phone

I had an older iPhone 3gs sitting around after upgrading to an (much better) Android handset a while back. The contract was over for the iPhone and was ultimately claimed by my son. He has been watching Youtube videos and playing games on the thing ever since. For some strange reason, I decided to check for SMS and VOIP options for it's WIFI connection. The generic search of "iphone 3gs VOIP" lead to many options. Most were not free or just not what I was thinking. At some point I stumbled onto the free Talkatone app with the promise of "Unlimited FREE calls, texts and picture sharing to Facebook and GTalk friends, or any phone number in US/Canada." Wow, what a statement. I am happy to say that from my point of view, they are correct.

The Getting Started section spells out the general procedure. It was actually easy. I had already setup a Google account for my son and just added the Google Voice upgrade. No big deal. With prerequisites done, the Talkatone install was easy. The combination just worked. My only marginal issue is the voice lag starts to get on the slightly noticeable side. Not a deal breaker noticeable mind you. And yes, I was able to call the iPhone from other phones just like they say.

I did try to setup a SIP account at an early stage of just playing with a couple of apps. Not very easy and did not work for me. So, having this combo made my geeky day. Besides, almost any time you can integrate with Google, you are going to be better off. It has so much of my digital life anyway.

Just so it's clear, Talkatone will work on both the iPhone from the App Store and Android handset from Google play.

This is not actually a thorough review or install howto. I just have some general praise for a geeky and fun product combination that works. The Talkatone peeps have done a great job!