Tag Archives: Windows

How to Install Mysql2 Ruby Gem on Windows

If you are getting an error like the following, when running ‘bundle install’ or ‘gem install mysql2’ on Rails 3:

gem install mysql2
ERROR: Error installing mysql2:
The ‘mysql2’ native gem requires installed build tools.

Please update your PATH to include build tools or download the DevKit
from ‘http://rubyinstaller.org/downloads’ and follow the instructions
at ‘http://github.com/oneclick/rubyinstaller/wiki/Development-Kit’

Then read on.

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How to kill a Windows process/task from command-line?

What do you do if the application used to kill other applications itself becomes the problem? I’m talking about the Windows “Task Manager”; it always comes in handy when an application is acting up. But today, the Task Manager itself became the problem and I needed something to shut-it-down (or resort to restarting my laptop)!

So I thought there must be a way to achieve the same from the command-line (and thus, be able to kill Task Manager), and certainly there was – the command taskkill – as I found here. You need to know the rogue program’s name, for example, if Notepad was acting up, you would open the command (DOS) prompt (Start –> Run –> cmd) and enter the following:

taskkill /IM notepad.exe

In Task Manager’s case, I entered:

taskkill /IM taskmgr.exe

Congrats! You are now a more lethal Windows ninja! *haeeyyaaa*

How to Create New Docking Toolbars on the Desktop in Vista?

Docking taskbar toolbar in Windows VistaI liked the way I was able to create additional toolbars from the taskbar in Windows XP, and then detach and move them around to dock to any side of the desktop screen. Unfortunately, this is not possible in Windows Vista, or so I experienced at first. The ability to detach a toolbar from the taskbar is no longer there, but there is another way now.

This nifty little feature of having a toolbar dock to any of the edges of your desktop screen is still there; only the mechanism to achieve this has changed.

The new technique is nicely described here: Create a New Vista Toolbar – Magic Trick. It’s quite simple: all you have to do is drag a folder to the edge of the screen and it will dock! Yes, that is all.

Here are a few additional links to take maximum advantage from this sweet little feature:

Detached and docked Quick Launch bar in Windows Vista

10 things you’ll miss when you upgrade to Vista (and how to get some of them back) – #1 tells you how to get the Quick Launch bar off of the main taskbar and dock it vertically to one side of the screen.

Trim Windows Vista’s Bloated Window Borders – You might find the new docked toolbars a bit ugly because of that thick translucent border around them (with Aero in Windows Vista). Follow this link and put those borders on a diet for good!

The Vista taskbar: it’s worse than XP’s – Although this rant by Dan Warne is no more relevant, since the solution has been discovered (and mentioned in the comments), but it’s still fun to read this old blog post on this at-that-time-presumed missing feature (of detachable-n-dockable toolbars) from Vista.

How to Create a Toolbar in Vista – Once again, the link to the article containing the solution (magic trick) mentioned above.

Highly Compelling Reasons for Switching to an Apple Mac

Interesting experience of why Rob Christensen, from Adobe AIR product development/management team, decided to switch to Apple iMac in his post Six reasons why he made the switch. His reasons are quite compelling and I agree fully with what he has to say against Microsoft Windows and in favor of Apple Mac. My most compelling reasons, from Rob’s post, for switching to an Apple Mac would be:

Apple. In the past year, I’ve purchased two iPod Shuffles: one for myself and one for my wife. When I thought I had lost my Shuffle recently (for the second time), I decided to upgrade to an iPod Nano. It’s an absolutely incredible piece of technology. … The allure of hooking up iPod hardware to a Mac is difficult to ignore. Also, Apple’s decision to extend the hardware capabilities of the iMac has really put it in direct competition with Dell’s flagship desktop products like their XPS line.

Apple, and Steve Jobs, is an inspiration. I had the first generation iPod Nano and it was awesome! I love Apple and what it is creating. Correction: Innovating!

Media Management. It’s truly shocking to me that Microsoft has not improved the user experience with Windows Media Player (WMP). Something about the design of WMP has always felt exceedingly video centric as opposed to library focused. Playing an .mp3 will force most of the screen to be taken over by an annoying visualization. … In addition, the lack of basic photo management in Windows has been the source of tremendous grief.

I have to agree with Rob’s WMP experience. Though I have been a Windows Media Player user since long (I was hooked to the ex-king Winamp before that, during its 1.x and 2.x versions reign, and Sonique too – ah what a super cool player that was!), but since my WMP music database has been wiped out (the database itself, and not the music files) after the Vista of my laptop’s pretty Windows was shot down by a vicious virus and I installed it anew, I am trying out a new media player: the open source Songbird. And it’s pretty good.

Most applications are now on the Mac. Nearly all of the applications I use are now available on the Mac such as Firefox, the Creative Suite (Dreamweaver, Flash, etc.), Office, Stellarium, AIM, Google Earth, etc. If the tools you use and depend on are portable, then it makes it even easier to make the switch.

That’s definitely a compelling reason. And on top of that, if a Windows application has not yet been ported to the Mac, one always has the option of Boot Camping to Windows. Tada! Nice one, Apple.

Now all these reasons make me crave for an Apple iMac/Macbook all over again! I hope I’ll be able to afford one soon.

7 Steps to keep your computer protected from a USB autorun virus

virus infected PCIf you are like me then you probably avoid having any antivirus or antispyware installed on your PC/laptop because it renders it slow or cumbersome. Instead, you install stuff from only trustworthy sources. And you have this innate ability to tell a malicious site, software, download, ad, link from a good one.

But one day all of that changes, when you let someone else use your computer for a while. Your PC gets infected!


That is exactly what happened with me: After 1 year and 8 months of getting my laptop (an HP 6000 series), having it run without any antivirus, without any formatting or reinstallation of Windows, my Windows Vista OS just stopped working, except for the Blue Screen of Death (BSoD)! The culprit? Some “autorun” virus that infects USBs! It was my brother’s USB and although I had told him so many times (whenever his PC gets infected) that he should be careful of these autoruns from USBs and cameras, but, it had to be my laptop this time!

Unfortunately, the DVDRW of my laptop was also not working (I wish they were any better from HP)! So I couldn’t get to boot to DOS, with a bootable CD, and install some antivirus or backup software. So I ended up reinstalling Windows Vista with the inbuilt setup that came with my laptop. Thus, ended up wiping out everything that was on my C drive, including the My Documents and Desktop folders. But I didn’t lose much data since I keep most of my data on other drives/partitions. I also lost my WMP Media Library, specifically the play count of songs (yes that’s important to me). Saved passwords in Firefox and other little details were lost too. Though I was able to recover some of my wiped out files through a recovery software – Easy Recover Professional.

Checklist to save yourself from such a fiasco:

  1. Do NOT trust autoruns on USBs, cameras, media/mp3 players
  2. If multiple people use the PC/laptop, completely disable autorun on USBs and other devices
  3. Install an antivirus and keep it updated
  4. Keep as much of your data on other partitions as possible
  5. Have a working DVD drive, in case you need to boot into DOS and run a virus check or recover data from there
  6. Keep backup of your data on DVDs/BluRays
  7. Also get a backup external hard disk, it will be much convenient

I will post on the above steps in detail in later posts. Please post any queries in the comments.