Various cool software and more

So I was rummaging around with O365 and happened to come around a very nice feature, I never noticed this before – but I would consider this to be very useful so why not share the joy…

You likely know about Rules in the Outlook desktop app, this is really useful to create sorting rules for incoming email. Thus you could make a rule that moved mails from a person or mailing list to a subfolder, or if you are a pro you could also add tags and what not – all very useful. The rules however require a bit of configuration, not a lot but just enough that it is one of those things I never got done.

Now however I found that “Rules” have a little-sister, “Sweep” and it is more or less just that, a virtual “broom” to help you out.

Sweep is VERY similar to Rules but it is just a tad “easier”, you don’t need to configure “complex” rules where you need to consider who is the sender, am I the only recipient etc. etc. You can set it up with a few clicks.

Here you see it in the online Outlook version, and as I recall you actually need to set up the actions here and not in the desktop version. It makes sense as actions configured here will work in the background where actions setup in the desktop Outlook app often require Outlook to be running to work. To access the online Outlook app just go to https://outlook.com

Here you see the “Sweep” action.

So what is sweep and why is is something you might wanna look at?

Well Sweep can be used ad-hoc or as permanent actions that run in the background just as rules. Sweep is the friend you wanted as a child, the helpful friend that would help you tidy up your room – in this case your inbox..

What you do is, you click on one of the thousands of mails in your inbox that you need help with cleaning up – here I am not thinking so much on emails that you “care” about, more like those emails you “need” to get as information or notification but that you just often forget to delete after reading.

So in my example here, I have an email from the “Outlook team” with “important” information, so I mark it and click on the “Sweep” button.

And now I get a list of options, and as you can see we can do different things.

Move all messages from the inbox folder

The top action is for ad-hoc use, thus it is an action we can use here and now if we are performing a cleanup act here and now – if we were to just click “OK” now Outlook would move all mails from the “Outlook.com Team (member….” to the “Deleted Items” folder.

Move all messages from the inbox folder, and any future messages

If we were to click the second option, then the same would happen but Outlook would also implement a new running action that will make sure to do the same for new emails that arrive in the future – so if I did that here all mails from the “Outlook.com Team” would be deleted without me ever seeing them – perhaps not quite what I would want to do – (NOTE: I call it action even though rule might be a better word, however it is to avoid confusing it with the “old” Outlook feature called “Rules” as this is not quite that).

Always keep the latest message and move the rest from the inbox folder

If we were to choose option Three, then Outlook would keep count and only keep the latest email from the “Outlook.com Team” – this could be VERY useful for random newsletters, you get to keep the last one and Outlook will clean the old versions up while you do other important stuff. And this is a nice twist to the old “Rules” Outlook offered, because now you get to keep that ONE email in your main inbox flow, where earlier you would likely have copied this newsletter to a subfolder for later reading and manual clean up.

Always move messages older than 10 days from the inbox folder

The fourth option is a twist of the third option, this will allow for emails to live for up to 10days in your main inbox flow and THEN be moved or deleted. You may like me get a lot of notifications from your servicedesk system, some that require attention others that don’t but difficult to filter as they may be fairly similar – now I can just mark mails from the servicedesk and say that after 10days they will be moved to an archive – thus if I don’t get around to tidying up my inbox, Outlook will come to my rescue after 10days.

The last “option” is the “Where” option, I can choose to just simply delete stuff or I can move it to a folder in my Outlook.

You can select the “destination” no matter which of the options you work with.

The above also works for personal Outlook accounts (Free Microsoft Outlook mail accounts).

O365

If you are working on a corporate Outlook account, then you may have even more nice options, your administrator may have enabled “Retention policies”. This mean that for each folder you have in Outlook you can configure automatic cleanup procedures, eg. you may have an archive folder and you can configure that emails in this are automatically deleted after 365 days (or 2,3,4,5…. years). Your options here rely on what the administrator have set up.

You can setup these “Retention Policies” either per folder or even on single emails, so if you get an email that you need to remember to delete after a period you can just assign this “Retention label/tag” to that email and Outlook will make sure you are compliant (eg. lets say you have a corporate policy that you need to erase this type of emails after 30 days – now you will not have to loose sleep in case you forgot – Outlook is your “bit..” 😉 )

Here is an example of an e-mail that has been tagged with a retention policy – you can tag individual mails or folders.

Anyway, the fun does not stop there – now you can combine this “Retention label” with “Sweep” and get even more automation. You create “Archive Folders” and then assign these “Retention Policies” and then utilize “Sweep” to sweep mails to these folders, and then Outlook automatically clean-up for you in compliance with compliance policies.

What is not to like..

Pitfalls

Are there pitfalls, sure. Automatically configures sweeping is configured to run 24/7/365 – and lets say you take a 2 week vacation – things may have been “Sweeped” that you did not notice. Also, things that are “sweeped” is not processed in any way – if you create rules you can mark mails as read or assign various labels etc. this is not true for “Sweeped” mails, these will remain as they were in your main inbox (thus may be read or unread).

Settings

If we look in settings we can see that “Sweep” and “Rules” (the old/original Outlook feature) is not quite the same but have different configuration panes.

What do you do to keep your inbox clean?

I keep struggling to keep up with emails – they come at me as a virtual torrent, previously I had configured some rules for some mails – but I really like these new options, I think they can be very useful in keeping up.

By Michael Møller, ReadMyDamnBlog autor.

Are you using WinRar? well in that case you may want to update. A security flaw has been found in WinRar that could allow malicious code to execute just by opening a WinRar file (nasty)..

Read much more on Bleeping Computers . Com

https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/winrar-flaw-lets-hackers-run-programs-when-you-open-rar-archives/

https://www.rarlab.com/rarnew.htm

Download update here;

https://www.rarlab.com/download.htm

So I found myself having to add subtitles to a videofile, however there were a few kinks. I had the .SRT file that matched, BUT the videoclip already had subtitles burned in in another language, and the .SRT subtitles were just overlaid these burned in subtitles which made both unreadable. My thought were to raise the .SRT subtitle so it was above the burned in one, however this was easier said than done, Handbrake supports importing subtitles and allow for burn in – however it does not allow for placement or other adjustments.

After a bit of googling I came up with this;

This excellent software (free) will allow you to do all sorts of things with subtitle files.

https://aegisub.org/

and you likely already know the video conversion utility Handbrake (also free)

https://handbrake.fr/downloads.php

What I ended up doing was;

Importing the SRT file into Aegissub

Setting the vertical offset to 50 (just above the other subtitle)

Changing the font color and border blur

Saving as an .ASS file

Opening the video file in Handbrake

Switch to the subtitle tab (4)

Import the .ass file (5)

Selecting “burn in” to make it embed into the video file (6)

And then encode the file

Viola, done and perfect result.

USB-C is quite confusing, even though the connectors look similar, then functionality may be wastly different.

Recently I had to see if I could add an additional monitor to my work setup, well you can easily buy a cable that connects USB-C to an HDMI plug, but will it work – the cable is not expensive as such, but costly enough that it would be annoying to buy it just to discover that it didnt work.

Luckily I found this nice description on USB-C to HDMI, like if you need to have an additional screen connected to your laptop (or want to use your phone to connect to a monitor or tv). So what is important is that the USB-C port MUST support “DisplayPort alt mode” – and how do you know if it does? Well for phones and tablets you need to look it up, but for notebooks you may be lucky enough that the manufactor has put some nice icons on the port for you 🙂 (but only if you are lucky)..

Here is how they look;

And here is what they mean;

  • Is there a symbol of a lightning (Thunderbolt 3) next to the USB-C port? Then you can use this port to charge and to transfer video. That means, you can connect a monitor to the port. This port also supports DisplayPort alt mode.
  • Is there a symbol of a D (DisplayPort) next to the USB-C port? Then you can use this port to transfer a video signal. That means, you can connect a monitor. This port supports DisplayPort alt model.
  • Is there a symbol of a battery next to the USB-C port? Then you can use this port to charge your laptop. This port doesn’t support DisplayPort alt mode.

    So for me, sadly I had the latter and hence no dice this time. But at least now I know what those strange icons mean.

Credit where credit is due;

How do you check which type of USB-C port my laptop has? – Coolblue – anything for a smile

The ever so helpful Microsoft Corp has decided to assist you with yet another new feature, one or more icons in your searchbar (next to the start menu).

So maybe you are an old grumphy man like me that despice changes to the GUI and just want it gone, or maybe you are a sysadmin and wish for it to not bother your users. Like I don’t get it, stuff that enables strange slide-up menues are just not very smart in my book, in my last sysadmin position people worked with drawing applications and if their mouse just happened to strafe the bottom of the screen up came weather reports, news and now also previous search results – in my book a big no go, ok people should have the right to enable this, but default setting should be off.

So how to get rid of it.

Well, through the GUI, you do like this;

  1. right click the search menu
  2. move to “2” Search
  3. uncheck “Show search highlights” – This will remove the icon/icons in the search menu
    (ProTip: you can also opt for just unchecking “open on hover”, then the search menu will only expand if you click on it)

SysAdmin tip;

To get rid of it through registry

My suggestion is to make a GroupPolicy Preference deployment of that registry setting, and horray you and your users are again masters in your own OS.

Enjoy.

#DynamicSearchBox #Windows10 #ButWhyMicrosoft

Many people have a laptop, and many complain about battery life – but how do you actually KNOW the overall health of your battery?

Well, I came across a usefull command that can shed at least some light on the matter.

You run the command;

powercfg /batteryreport

this in turn will generate a HTML file:

C:\WINDOWS\system32\battery-report.html

and this file actually has some usefull info. You scroll down to “Battery capacity history”

you look at the top “Design capacity” and scroll down and look at “Full charge capacity”, this will give you some indication on the overall health.

There are other “indicators” like “Battery life estimates”, however personally I put more credibility on the “Battery capacity” as the below show is “estimates”. But all in all you should in this HTML report be able to ascertain at lease some indication as to the health of your battery.

The command “powercfg” has some additional parameters you may want to mess around with as well, I have not looked closely at those however.

Quad9 the free secure DNS service is in trouble and need our help.

Quad9 - Wikipedia

https://www.quad9.net/letter-of-support-for-quad9-and-freedom-of-dns-resolution/

Explainer

If you dont know what Quad9 is, then here is a short explainer. Quad9 is a free DNS services much like Googles well known 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4, Quad9 (9.9.9.9 and 149.112.112.112) however add a very cool FREE security layer to the solution (a bit like Ciscos Umbrella, just not quite as customizable). If you use Quad9s DNS as your DNS service and you get infected by malware (eg. ransomware etc.) then chances are that the malware will try to “phone home” to its command and control server – Quad9 will blocks communication to known command and control DNS addresses thus disrupting many botnets or ransomware “providers”.

Anyhow, Sony has in Germany started a court case to force Quad9 to censor DNS resolution, Sony want Quad9 to block access to pages that Sony claim contain copyright protected content. In Denmark (where I live) we have a similar DNS blocking mandatory for national DNS services, it was originally introduced to block access to child phonography (something all of us could support) – but quickly the music industry and other rights owners/lobbyists saw this as a golden opportunity to block whatever they did not like and succeeded in convincing courts to add to the blocklist.

I support working against crime and child phonography however I do not think DNS blocking is the solution (perhaps against terrorism, pedophilia and violent crimes – but not for immaterial rights), experiences have shown, that what starts as a noble initiative quickly become a tool for lobbyists and huge enterprises to suppress whatever they dont like on the internet.

In general I think that more police, and more crossborder police collaboration is the way forth – not letting Sony and other dictate what is on the internet.

I supported the DNS blocking back in the days when the goal was to protect children against misuse, but now when it is a tool for mega companies and lobbyists my respect is gone.

Did you know:

Quad 9 offers free DNS services with malware filtering – to use just set your DNS (and or DNS servers) to query 9.9.9.9 and 149.112.112.112, then block all other DNS traffic outbound and presto you added a free additional security layer to your setup (company or personal). It is important to add the blocking for other DNS queries in your firewall as malware otherwise could easily bypass your protection. Read more here: https://www.quad9.net/service/service-addresses-and-features

Backblaze has something similar – here you use 1.1.1.2 (blocks malware like Quad9) and 1.1.1.3 (blocks both malware and pornography).
Read more here; https://blog.cloudflare.com/introducing-1-1-1-1-for-families/


To whom it may concern:
We believe that the act of recursive DNS resolution is not within the justifiable legal boundaries of control by rightsholders during infringement litigation. In order for the DNS to remain a stable, secure, and trusted platform, we would urge policymakers and regulators to clarify and reiterate the long-standing understanding that recursive resolution is a neutral technical function that should not be subject to blocking demands imposed by private parties based on data that has not been ruled upon by a suitable and fair court process.

Further, we believe that systems that are designed for providing cybersecurity (be they DNS-based or otherwise) should not be made available to be repurposed for other goals against the interest and intent of the service operator or the end user. This type of corruption of core internet infrastructure risks eroding the trust in both the operators and a technology that is core to the continued well-being of the internet and that of the citizens who use it.

We support Quad9 in their objection to the ruling of the Hamburg Court of (Case 310 O 99/21), and hope that the court finds in favor of the defendant.

So, you recieve this text from someone which they for some reason or other has written in ALL CAPS – *sigh*, what to do – well if it is just a few words then its easy enough, just rewrite the darn thing. But what if it is several pages :-O

Well, there likely is some function in word or notepad++ I dont know about, but there is ALSO a site (there is almost always a site)..

https://convertcase.net/

I mean, who would not LOVE to get their text back in “Morse Code” 😉

Enjoy