New computer, old monitor

New computer, old monitor: I see questions fairly frequently about using a new computer and older monitor together. More often than not, it’s possible to do, but you may need to know where to look for the cables and adapters you’ll need.

Here’s some help.

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“Super utility” tinplate train cars

Tin train cars had a variety of methods to couple them together, but by far the most common method was a coupler commonly called tab-in-slot. The tab from one car mated with a slot in the next. All of the train manufacturers used a variant of this method at one point or another, and all of them would be able to couple together, if not for one nagging detail: height.

For most of the 1930s and 1940s, Lionel used a latch coupler that was incompatible with the others–Lionel liked doing things like that–but they made a combination coupler for a while that had a slot in it to accommodate tab-in-slot couplers. Reproductions are available on Ebay. Get one of those for this car, and something that couples with the other cars you like to run, whether that’s an Ives snakehead coupler if you’re lucky enough to have a spare one, a generic tab-in-slot coupler, or another Lionel combination coupler.

But even when you change the couplers on the car, you’re still likely to have height issues. Here are some approaches to solving the height problem so you can run various brands of vintage trains together almost as effortlessly as people pick and choose between all brands of modern trains today.

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Unchecky is another tool to help with staying out of trouble with malware

I found a mention of a tool called Unchecky as a minor point in a story about something else entirely. Unchecky helps to solve the problem with downloaded programs including a bunch of extra junk you don’t want.

I won’t be running it myself. But the next time I fix a computer, I’ll probably install it on that one.

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Enabling 320kbps bitrate MP3s in Windows Media Player in Windows 10

I had a maddening issue in Windows Media Player on my Windows 10 machine where I could only rip CDs at a maximum bit rate of 192 kbps. Since storage is so cheap anymore, I prefer to rip at 320 kbps. Here’s how to enable 320kbps bitrate MP3s in Windows Media Player in Windows 10. Read more

Stream from Windows Media Player to Android

I wanted to be able to stream from Windows Media Player to Android. I have lots of media stored on my Windows computers, but what if I’m in a room that doesn’t have a computer, or outside?

Good GenXer that I am, I spent decades collecting CDs. Some of my stuff is as common and ordinary as it gets. But some of it isn’t on any of the streaming services and probably never will be because there were exactly two other people alive who liked it.

I ripped most of them with Windows Media Player and stored them on my PC with the biggest drive. But that’s not necessarily where I want to listen to music from. Media Player can stream between multiple PCs, but it can also stream to an Android phone or tablet, which, in many cases, is even more convenient.

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What I would have done to secure the Astros’ database

The now-infamous breached Houston Astros database sounds like a classic case of what security professionals call Shadow IT: a project that the business needs, done without adequate involvement from security and, most likely, from the IT department as well.

These kinds of things happen a lot. A go-getter implements it, cutting through red tape to get a useful project done in record time, and it’s great until something goes wrong.

In this case, “wrong” meant a competitor got into the database and stole trade secrets.

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Minor-League hacking in the MLB

So, about a year ago, the Houston Astros announced their internal player database had been breached. This week, more details emerged, pointing right at the St. Louis Cardinals.

It wasn’t a terribly sophisticated attack. You knew I’d write about this, but I’ll explore it from an IT security perspective more than from a baseball perspective.

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My 11th ’35 Goudey: Four Dodgers

Like my 10th card, my 11th card was also an Ebay win. It featured four Dodgers players. It’s a common card, with no Hall of Famers, but all of the players were starters for the Dodgers–no filling up space with utility infielders or middle relievers on this card, at least. A Dodgers fan unwrapping this card in 1935 wouldn’t have been too disappointed.

And even though there are no Hall of Famers on the card, there are some interesting stories here. Two of the players were once traded for each other before becoming teammates, and one of the players was the oldest surviving player to play for all three New York teams when he died at the age of 99.

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My 10th ’35 Goudey: Ted Lyons and Mule Haas

Once I’d drained my local supply of 1935 Goudeys, I turned to Ebay. To keep some sport in it and keep costs down a bit, initially I decided to limit myself to auction listings rather than buy-it-nows.

The first time I looked, I could have bought every ’35 I lacked, spare one, via buy-it-now, and the one I couldn’t find wasn’t an expensive card. To me, that’s not really collecting. Collecting ought to involve some chase, and waiting an extra week for a com

So, in that spirit, I bid on a 1935 card featuring four Chicago White Sox one Sunday evening, and won.

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My sixth 1935 Goudey: Bill Terry

My sixth ’35 featured four Giants players. I didn’t realize at first what a good card it was, that it featured four All-Stars and not one but two Hall of Famers. Bill Terry was the obvious one, but it’s easy to forget how good the Giants were then given that Terry and Mel Ott and Carl Hubbell towered over the rest of the team.

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