A Cautionary Tale on Buying “specialized” items on eBay

I am a big fan of eBay. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve purchased many fantastic things on eBay. And in the past have sold some remarkable things on eBay – a cubby house, pool fencing, some amazing things – very successfully. And in general, with technology related items, I’ve had great success. So when I needed to purchase some accessories for my now aging iPad Pro, eBay came to mind.

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Mac OS (formerly OS X) Microsoft Remote Desktop – a great Windows Development Tool!

My professional work is predominantly done using Windows-based tools – Microsoft Visual Studio, Microsoft Visual Studio Code (although there is a version for Mac OS), SQL Server, IIS etc. etc.

However my favourite productivity platform is Apple Mac OS. I have a reasonably powerful MacBook Pro, which I’ve got four displays attached to; the internal display, and 3 external displays. Here’s a photo of how the displays are arranged.

Multiple Displays on my MacBook Pro
Here are the Multiple Displays on my MacBook Pro

And my Windows machine, although it’s a reasonably powerful i7 Dell laptop, which can support one or two external displays, isn’t configured that way. The solution I’m using now to make working under Windows 10 a better experience, is to use Microsoft’s Mac OS based Remote Desktop App. I’m not sure when the capabilities I’m exploiting now, were introduced into the App, but the features it provides, allows me to do my development work, in a much more productive way, so I thought I’d share my experiences.

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I finally bit the bullet; I’ve given up on OneDrive, and moved to Dropbox

This was a decision it took me a long time to arrive at, and was taken with some hesitation, but now it’s done, I have no regrets. I’d persisted trying to use Microsoft OneDrive for a long, long time, and it had made good sense to use it. My family and I have had an Office 365 Home Subscription for a couple of years, to provide us all with access to the various Microsoft Office products at a reasonable price across our various devices, and platforms – several Macs, several PCs and many iOS devices. And that includes a reasonably generous 1 Terabyte of OneDrive storage for each of our 5 family members.

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Getting the most out of Microsoft Word – simple formatting tips that it seems most don’t know about

I write a lot of Microsoft Word based documents. Specifications, requirements, technical reviews, articles, designs, the vast majority, but not all, IT related. They often contain a lot of tables, diagrams, and in a lot of cases these complex documents are many, many pages long. And I work with, or review many documents written by others.

One of the things that I never cease to be amazed by are the extraordinarily simple Microsoft Word formatting settings, it seems very few people know about, or if they do, don’t use very well, that can easily improve the layout and formatting of documents. They are all related to document pagination and how content is positioned, and essentially remains positioned.

And when these settings are used appropriately, they can make a huge difference to how a document looks, and more importantly how it looks as the document evolves and grows.

These properties are all defined as characteristics of a Microsoft word paragraph and are assembled under the heading of Pagination on the Line and Page Breaks tab. They’re the following settings:

  • Widow/Orphan Control
  • Keep with next
  • Keep lines together
  • Page break before

These seemingly simple settings can help you control the format of a complex Microsoft Word document much more comprehensively than you might at first imagine. I’ll describe the sort of scenarios that they assist you with, or more particularly, the sort of situations I often encounter in documents that these settings can help avoid. I’ll go through a number of scenarios in which each of these settings can assist you with.

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Where is all my Macbook Pro’s Hard Disk Space going?

I have been mystified by the gradual decline in free hard disk space on my Macbook Pro. It accelerated over recent times, around the time I upgraded to El Capitan, and exacerbated by a temporary failure to my primary Time Machine device, and my initial instinct was to blame the new Operating System. It turns out, I was wrong. The answer was a default characteristic of how my Time Machine Backups work. Here’s what I found out.

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