Windows keyboard tricks

Those promised keyboard tricks. To get a Windows key, download the Kernel Toys. The keyboard applet, which works under 95 and 98, allows you to remap the caps lock, control, or alt keys to a Windows key. You can also remap the caps lock key to control or alt if you want. 

To assign My Computer to a hotkey, create a new shortcut with the following command line:
explorer.exe /n,/e,::{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D}

Next, click on the shortcut key and hit a key (I suggest “m” or “c”) and that’ll give you instant two-pane access to My Computer any time you hit ctrl-alt and that key.

If you want single-pane access (I don’t think it’s as useful, but hey), use this command line instead:
explorer.exe /n,::{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D}

I finally fixed my firewall. I souped up the firewall a while back, then it never worked again. (I guess that’s the ultimate in security, eh? No one can hack in if you’re offline.) I forgot which ethernet card was outgoing and which was pointing inward, to my LAN. Finally, I tried stopping and restarting PMFirewall, which printed my network configuration. When both NICs were assigned to the address, I knew I was in trouble. With that tip-off, fixing it took just a matter of minutes.

Speaking of Linux, a speed tip. If you’re running Red Hat Linux as a NAT/IP masquerade gateway to share an Internet connection, do yourself a favor and install the BIND and caching-nameserver RPMs, then set your first DNS entry on your other PCs to your gateway’s IP address. This will make your proxy server look up DNS addresses for you and store them, reducing network traffic slightly but noticeably. The overhead is minimal; I’ve got Steve DeLassus running IP masquerade and caching nameserver on a 486SX/20 and it’s more than up to the task. For a small home network, a 386SX/16 has enough horsepower as long as it meets your distribution’s minimum memory requirements. I’d be more comfortable with a 50 MHz or faster 486 for a small office, but that’s as much due to expected age and reliability as it is to CPU requirements.

If you’re running a close derivative of Red Hat (Mandrake is certainly close enough, and I believe even Caldera and TurboLinux are as well), go ahead and download Red Hat’s caching nameserver RPM. It’s just a couple of short text files, but it’s easier to download and install an RPM than it is to key them in.

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