Archive for August, 2015

Quelques conseils pour vos achats en ligne

Friday, August 28th, 2015

Je ne blogue pas souvent en français, mais une fois n’est pas coutume :)

Depuis quelques années, comme pas mal de gens, j’achète de plus en plus de choses sur le Web. Pas tellement que je sois contre les commerces locaux, mais simplement car la différence de prix est souvent très importante.

J’achète principalement sur Amazon.fr car c’est souvent là que je trouve les meilleurs prix pour ce dont j’ai besoin. Si vous comptez acheter en ligne, il y a quelques bons tuyaux à connaître.

Par exemple, si vous appréciez Amazon, il faut savoir qu’ils ont plusieurs sites en Europe comme Amazon.de, Amazon.es, Amazon.it, Amazon.co.uk, … et les prix des articles sont souvent différents (parfois même de manière substantielle) entre ceux-ci! Donc mon premier conseil c’est de vérifier avant d’acheter que le produit n’est pas moins cher sur l’un des autres sites d’Amazon. Il n’y a pas de frais supplémentaires en commandant là bas.

Notez que si la barrière de la langue vous empêche d’utiliser un des sites étrangers d’Amazon, Google Chrome peut traduire les pages automatiquement pour vous (c’est approximatif mais largement suffisant pour pouvoir retrouver son chemin).

Une autre chose à laquelle faire attention sur Amazon, c’est que c’est une plateforme de vente en ligne: la société Amazon permet à d’autres sociétés de vendre leurs produits sur leur site (un peu comme sur eBay). Ca a pour conséquence que les prix peuvent varier beaucoup d’un vendeur à un autre pour un seul et même produit. Quand c’est Amazon qui vend & expédie, c’est en général le moins cher. Sur la fiche d’un produit on peut voir les différentes offres pour un produit donné en cliquant sur le lien “xx neufs”:

Neufs-01

Ce qui vous amène à la page suivante où vous pouvez voir les différentes offres et ajouter celle qui vous intéresse dans le panier:

Neufs-02

Parfois, l’offre affichée au départ sur Amazon est celle d’un tiers car Amazon n’a plus l’objet en stock; dans ces cas là il vaut souvent mieux attendre qu’Amazon vende à nouveau le produit pour bénéficier d’un meilleur prix et éviter les frais de livraison car, en général, quand c’est Amazon qui vend & expédie, il n’y a pas de frais de port, ce qui est rarement le cas avec les autres vendeurs; mais bon tout dépend du prix :)

Il serait trop facile de dire qu’Amazon est toujours le moins cher; c’est souvent le cas, mais pas toujours et parfois il y a même des différences de prix importantes pour certains produits et à certaines périodes.

De plus les prix pour un produit donné varient parfois énormément dans le temps (sur de courtes périodes). Il existe une extension très pratique pour Google Chrome & Mozilla Firefox appelée Camelizer, qui permet de voir sur un graphique l’évolution des prix pour un produit donné; c’est très utile pour voir si le prix actuel est intéressant ou non :)

Dans tous les cas, il ne faut pas hésiter à faire le tour des commerces en ligne pour trouver le prix le plus intéressant, ça tombe sous le sens, mais le tout est encore de connaître les bonnes adresses…

Une autre extension indispensable pour un shopping en ligne efficace c’est Shoptimate qui peut vous mâcher le travail; si vous êtes sur la fiche d’un produit d’un site géré par l’extension, celle-ci cherchera automatiquement le prix de cet article sur les autres sites gérés qui le vendent. De plus elle vous indiquera directement s’il existe une meilleure offre ailleurs:

Shoptimate-01

Shoptimate-02

Dans l’exemple ci-dessus, le même produit est actuellement 100€ moins cher sur Amazon.de, comparé à Amazon.fr, ce qui est assez.. énorme ;-)

Toujours dans cet exemple, le site designere_fr a l’air d’être encore moins cher, mais là ne connaissant pas le site j’ai préféré rester sur l’offre d’Amazon. J’imagine que ce site est digne de confiance puisque Shoptimate le propose, mais comme on dit, prudence est mère de sûreté ^^.

En parlant de sûreté, je vous conseille d’éviter les sites peu connus pour commander en ligne. Si certains vendeurs sur eBay vendent des produits neufs, ils ne sont pas nécessairement tous fiables; il en va de même pour certains sites de e-commerce… Méfiez-vous aussi des résultats de recherches Google quand vous cherchez un produit, c’est rempli de sites à éviter.

Aussi, quand j’achète sur un autre site qu’Amazon, en général j’essaie d’utiliser Paypal si possible; ça me permet d’éviter d’envoyer les informations de ma carte de crédit à tout va. Sur Paypal on l’enregistre une seule fois et les informations de la carte ne sont jamais dévoilées au site où l’on fait ses achats. En plus de ça il est même possible de faire des achats en ligne sans carte de crédit grâce à Paypal, le seul bémol étant que tous les sites de e-commerce ne supportent pas Paypal.

Je pourrais écrire un bon paquet d’articles au niveau de la sécurité informatique, mais ça sera pour une prochaine fois ^^.

Personnellement, ma liste de boutiques en ligne est assez restreinte:

  • Amazon: un peu de tout & souvent les meilleurs prix
  • bol.com: un peu de tout & parfois des prix très très bas sur certains produits (e.g., 500€ de différence sur le prix de mes enceintes!!)
  • Philibert: Jeux de société (meilleurs prix)
  • LDLC: matériel informatique & smartphones & hi-fi (très souvent plus cher)
  • Rue du Commerce: matériel informatique, smartphones & hi-fi (souvent plus cher)
  • Rue Montgallet: idem
  • Photo Erhardt: matériel photo (Allemagne)
  • Sarenza: vêtements & chaussures
  • ZooPlus: nourriture pour animaux
  • eBay: composants électroniques seulement ou trucs introuvables à l’état neuf
  • Seeed Studio: composants électroniques
  • f-mobile: Smartphones & co (parfois moins cher)

Si vous connaissez d’autres sites ou avez des tuyaux à partager, n’hésitez pas =)


Use bash to open the Windows File Explorer at some location

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

TL;DR: don’t bother clicking your way through the Windows File Explorer, use bash functions instead! :)

I’ve already blogged in quite some length about my current Windows dev environment and I’ve put enough emphasis on the fact that bash is at the center of my workflow, together with my bash profile & more recently with ConEMU.

I continually improve my bash profile as I discover new things I can do with it, and this post is in that vein.

I often find myself opening the Windows File Explorer (Win + e) to get at some location; for that purpose, I simply pin the often used locations in the ‘Quick access’ list, although that means that I have to go the ‘click-click-click-click’ route and as we know, one can be much more efficient using only the keyboard.

To quickly open the File Explorer at locations I often need to open (e.g., my downloads folder, my movies folder & whatnot), I’ve created the following utility function & aliases:

# Aliases to open the Windows File Explorer at the current location
alias explore='explorer .' # open file explorer here
alias e='explore'
alias E='explore'

# Open File Explorer at the given location
# The location can be a path or UNC (with / rather than \)
# Examples
# openFileExplorerAt //192.168.0.1/downloads
# openFileExplorerAt /c/downloads
# openFileExplorerAt c:/downloads
openFileExplorerAt(){
 pushd $1
 explore
 popd
}

The ‘explore’ alias simply opens the Windows File Explorer at the current shell location while the ‘openFileExplorerAt’ function goes to the path given in argument and opens the File Explorer before going back to the previous shell location.

With the above, I’m able to define functions such as the one below that opens my downloads folder directly:

downloads(){
	openFileExplorerAt //nas.tnt.local/downloads
}

And since i’m THAT lazy, I just alias that to ‘dl’ ^^.

That’s it! :)


Additional Windows 10 Configuration Tips

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

I’ve recently blogged about my Windows 10 configuration. In this post I’ll list some additional things that I could disable/tweak/configure using a new application called W10Privacy.

If you haven’t read the first part, then I recommend you to do so first as it has some interesting tips in store for you :)

First, you need to download the application here. Once downloaded, you should uncompress it and run it with administrator privileges. To have access to the list of System applications, you can also download PSExec and place the executable in the folder where W10Privacy is located.

Here’s what I’ve configured using that tool (knowing that my configuration already covers many of the settings it provides):

  • Privacy
    • Turn off SmartScreen Filter to check web content (URLs) that Windows Store apps use
    • Disable sending of information on writing behavior
    • Disable location for this device
    • Disable asking for Feedback
    • Disable the AutoLogger
    • Block Microsoft server, to which telemetry data will be sent (in the hope that this setting has additional domain names to block)
  • Search
    • Do not search online and do not include web results
    • Disable the retrieve of Bing search suggestions and web results (applies only to the actual user)
  • Network
    • Do not connect to proposed public hotspots
    • Do not connect to wireless networks shared by my contacts
    • Do not share my networks with my Outlook.com contacts
    • Do not share my networks with my Skype contacts (w t f)
    • Do not share my networks with my Facebook contacts (w t f)
  •  Explorer
    • Remove search option on the taskbar (searching by Windows key + Q is still possible)
    • File Explorer opens at “This PC” instead of “Quick Access”
    • Show a desktop icon for “Computer”
    • Show extensions for known file types in File Explorer
    • Show hidden files, folders or drives in File Explorer
    • Show protected operating system files in File Explorer
    • Turn off Windows SmartScreen
    • Remove “- Shortcut” suffix from future shortcut file names (w00t!)
  • Services
    • Disable Windows Diagnostics Tracking Service – reboot required!
  • Edge
    • Send “Do Not Track” requests
    • Do not help me protect me from malicious sites and downloads with SmartScreen Filter
  • OneDrive
    • Do not start OneDrive automatically when I sign in to Windows
    • Remove OneDrive from the File Explorer sidebar in Windows 10
  • Tasks
    • Disable the task “Microsoft Compatibility Appraiser”
    • Disable the task “ProgramDataUpdater”
    • Disable the task “Proxy”
    • Disable the task “Consolidator”
    • Disable the task “KernerlCeip Task”
    • Disable the task “UsbCeip”
    • Disable the task “Microsoft-Windows-DiskDiagnosticDataCollector”
    • Disable the task “DmClient”
    • Disable the task “FamilySafetyMonitor”
    • Disable the task “FamilySafetyRefresh”
    • Disable the task “SmartScreenSpecific”
  • Tweaks
    • Disable automatic restart, the user is instead asked to plan a restart
    • Disable updates for other Microsoft products on Windows Update (e.g., office, etc)
    • Updates and apps will no longer be distributed to other clients (disables the lower switch) (i.e., my bandwidth is my own)
    • Distribute updates and apps only on the local network (disables upper switch)
  • Background-Apps
    • Disable background functionality for … (ALL THE DAMN APPS!)
  • User-Apps
    • Uninstall the following:
      • Money
      • News
      • Sports
      • Weather
      • First Steps
      • Get Office
      • OneNote
      • Skype download
      • Groove-Musik
      • Movies and TV shows
      • Maps
      • companion phone

As you can see, W10Privacy has quite a lot of nice features. I know that disabling the privacy related features will not protect my privacy much more than it currently is (i.e., it ain’t), but it can’t do harm either and at worst it’ll just save me some CPU cycles.. ;-)


Chrome Extensions that rock

Friday, August 14th, 2015

TL;DR: I can’t live without browser extensions, here are my favourite ones

Most if not all power users rely on the presence of a number of browser extensions to satisfy their specific needs/lunacies. The fact that Internet Explorer never provided an easy/accessible way to develop & deploy extensions is one of the many reasons why it was never my default Web browser (apart from when Microsoft forced my hand with OS upgrades…).

Fortunately for us, modern Web browsers (apart from MS Edge) are very customizable and major ones such as Google Chrome & Firefox have huge catalogs of extensions. The difficulty that remains for us is to find the truly great extensions among the huge number of crappy and plain evil ones ;-)

I’ve switched from Firefox to Chrome at the time Chrome came out and was blazingly fast and I haven’t taken a look back ever since (even if I know I probably should), hence I’ll only list the Google Chrome extensions that I use, although there are counterparts for most of the ones I’m about to mention.

So here’s my current list, in no particular order:

  • uBlock Origin: efficient AD blocker. If you need but one extension then it must be this one (light CPU/memory usage)
  • Personal Blocklist (by Google): if you want to block domains/hosts from appearing in your Google search results (e.g., shopping/comparison crap sites when you search for information about products)
  • Clickable Links: doesn’t it make you mad when websites display URLs without links? This extension fixes that automatically
  • ScriptSafe: if you want to stay in charge of what Web browser does
  • View Thru: if you’re concerned about what stands behind shortened URLs (e.g., bit.ly & the like)
  • Ghostery: if you care even a little about your privacy then this one should get your attention
  • Shoptimate: automatic price comparison: awesome extension to help you know if you’re getting the best price you can
  • The Camelizer: see historical pricing data and even get mails when prices drop
  • Page Eraser: sometimes there are things on Web pages that aren’t necessarily ads but that we just don’t care about/don’t wanna see. This extension will help you make them disappear.. for good :). I’ve developed a similar extension a while ago but I don’t maintain it anymore :p
  • Link2Clip: Copy all links in the copied text to your clipboard. Very useful when you don’t want to manually extract links from web pages
  • LinkClump: alternative that supports fast bookmarking
  • Docomplete: this extension enables autocomplete for password fields on websites that intentionally disable it (use this only if you know what that means.. ^^)
  • Lazarus: Form Recovery: automatically save everything you type in forms so that you can easily recover from timeouts, crashes & network errors
  • BehindTheOverlay: easily close overlays on any websites
  • iMacros for Chrome: automate tasks by recording/replaying macros
  • Gestures for Google Chrome: mouse gestures rock, just try it out
  • Desprotetor de Links: sometimes websites send you through link protectors & whatnot with tons of boring ads. If you’re like me then you’ll like this extension because it’ll help you go right through to the content you’re after
  • Fast Bookmark Scanner: scan your bookmarks & identify duplicate links, folders & empty ones
  • SuperSorter: alternative extension to fix your bookmarks
  • SmoothScroll: smooooooooooth scrolling is something you need even if you don’t know it yet
  • I’m a Gentleman: one click to save images
  • Neater Bookmarks: neat bookmarks tree popup with easy filtering
  • Session Buddy: save/load entire browsing sessions; useful for context switches
  • Session Manager: alternative for session management
  • Turn Off the Lights: fade the entire web page to dark in order to better appreciate videos
  • Capture Webpage Screenshot – FireShot: quickly capture a screenshot of an entire web page
  • Random Bookmark: this may sound dumb but if you have a huge backlog of bookmarks to check then this one can help :)
  • Scroll To Top: does what it says
  • Shut Up: lets you choose if comment sections should be visible or not
  • Live HTTP Headers: because it’s always useful to know what your browser is up to
  • Page Monitor: for times when you need to know as soon as a page has changed without killing your F5 key (e.g., that concert reservation page that’s about to go live)
  • Pastebin.com: put stuff on Pastebin.com easily
  • Enhanced Steam: dramatically improve the Steam website (highlight games you own, games on your wishlist, calculate bundle discounts based on the games you own, etc)
  • Play to Kodi: if you’re using XBMC errr Kodi then you need this extension to easily send content to your server
  • Google Cast: if you have a Google Chromecast, then you just need this
  • Language Immersion for Chrome: cool extension to immerse yourself in a new language. This extension switches certain words/phrases from English into a language of your choice and you can switch back and forth between the original & translated versions
  • Reddit Enhancement Suite: nice improvements for browsing Reddit
  • .torrent to Transmission: easily add torrents to Transmission (works with distant hosts as well; useful since Transmission runs on my NAS)
  • Better Usenet: if you’re a Usenet user then you’ll love this one; it adds a ton of improvements to Usenet related websites (e.g., Binnewz, Binsearch, NZBIndex, …)
  • Binnews Enhancer: another Usenet-specific extension that improves the Binnewz website
  • CouchPotato: if you use CouchPotato then you’ll like this one

Bonus: DO IT! (just in case you need some motivation

Voilà! Apart from a bunch of software development related ones, the extensions above are the ones I can’t live without!

Which ones do YOU rely on and why?


ConEmu is my new console replacement

Friday, August 7th, 2015

TL;DR: ConEmu is the BEST console for Windows power users!

Update 2015-08-24:

A recent update to ConEmu has added support for a feature I’ve requested last month, the ability to automatically restore the ConEmu console on the currently active screen (i.e., where the mouse is located), this makes ConEmu even more awesome! :D


 

In a previous post about my Windows dev environment configuration, I’ve explained that I was using AutoHotKey in combination with Console2 to get a quake-like console on Windows. Since then, I discovered ConEmu… and I ain’t going back!

I’ve recently switched from Console2 to ConEmu and because of this change, I no longer need AutoHotKey to show/hide the console since ConEmu show/hide can be bound to a global hotkey (i.e., I can get the same behavior). Altough, I still use AutoHotkey in order to start ConEmu when pressing ‘²’ in case ConEmu isn’t started already.

ConEmu has a gazillion features, one of which being the holy grail for me: an actual Quake-like console with animated dropdown and support for image backgrounds :D. It’s not my goal to describe all it can do but do yourself a favor, just try it out.

Basically the rest of my configuration is as explained in my earlier post apart from the fact that I now use ConEmu rather than Console2. In fine, I’m still using Bash :)

Here’s a link to my ConEmu configuration file

ConEmu configuration highlights:

  • Main
    • Font
      • Consolas
      • 16
      • Clear Type
  • Main > Size & Pos
    • Full screen
    • Centered (not important actually)
    • Long console output: 9999
    • Restore to active monitor (MUST HAVE if you use my configuration). See my update of 2015-08-24 above)
  • Main > Appearance
    • Always on top
    • Auto scrollbars (hidden after a small delay)
    • Quake style slide down (
    • Auto-hide on focus lose
  • Main > Background
    • custom background image (dark.jpg)
  • Main > Tab bar
    • Always show
    • Font
      • Consolas
      • 14
    • Console (text)
      • <%c> %d
      • console id
      • current working directory
  • Main > Confirm
    • No confirmation for new consoles/tabs
    • No confirmation for tab closing
  • Main > Update
    • automatic check on startup
    • Release type: latest
  • Startup
    • {Bash::Git bash} (can’t live without my Bash shell :p)
  • Startup > Tasks
    • {Bash::Git bash}
      • set as default task for new console
      • set as default shell
  • Features
    • Sleep in background
    • Log console output (great!)
  • Features > Text cursor
    • Active console
      • Block
      • Color
      • Blinking
  • Features > Colors
    • Scheme: Solarized Git (I’d love to have a Seti_UI one here)
    • Fade when inactive
  • Features > Transparency
    • Active window transparency: ~90%
  • Features > Status bar
    • Shown
    • Font
      • Consolas
      • 14
    • Selected columns
      • Console title
      • Synchronize cur dir (not sure what this one does)
      • Caps Lock state
      • Num Lock state
      • Active console buffer
      • System time
  • Keys & Macro
    • ²: Minimize/Restore (Quake-style hotkey also)
    • F1: Create new console or new window
  • Keys & Macro > Controls
    • Send mouse events to console
    • Skip click on activation
    • Skip in background
    • Install keyboard hooks
  • Keys & Macro > Mark/Copy
    • Detect line ends
    • Bash margin
    • Trim trailing spaces
    • EOL: CR+LF
    • Text selection: Left Shift
    • Copy on Left Button release
    • Block (rectangular) selection: Left Alt
    • Copying format: Copy plain text only
  • Keys & Macro > Paste
    • All lines
    • Confirm
    • First line Confirm pasting more than 200 chars

Here’s the new version of my AutoHotKey script. Now it:

  • starts ConEmu if not running already
  • lets the ‘²’ key press pass through if ConEmu is running (so as to let ConEmu show/hide the console window
; ConEmu script (start it if it ain't running)
; ConEmu class: VirtualConsoleClass (reference: https://github.com/koppor/autohotkey-scripts/blob/master/ConEmu.ahk)
; Change your hotkey here
;SC029 == ²
SC029::

DetectHiddenWindows, on
IfWinNotExist, ahk_class VirtualConsoleClass
{
	Run "C:/CloudStation/Programs/tools/ConEmu/ConEmu64.exe"
	WinWait ahk_class VirtualConsoleClass
}
else{
	; let the key pass through if ConEmu is active
	; reference: http://www.autohotkey.com/board/topic/2121-hotkey-pass-through/
	Suspend, On
	Send,{SC029}
	Suspend, Off
	return
}
DetectHiddenWindows, off
return

Bonus: here’s the link to the background images that I use (I don’t claim any rights on these ^^).


Google Translate bash function (Windows)

Friday, August 7th, 2015

I’ve noticed that since I switched to Windows 10, my Google Translate bash functions were broken. I suppose that something has changed in the way that explorer.exe interprets URLs (?). Anyway, here’s a fixed version, simply using a different way to construct the URL ;-)

I use the function below to translate from english to french:

enfr(){ (explorer "https://translate.google.com/?sl=en&tl=fr&text=$*" )& }

The only things to know to understand the above:

  • sl = source language
  • tl = translation language
  • text = what to translate :)
  • $* = arguments passed to the function (i.e., what you want translated)
  • calling this function will open a new tab in your default Web browser

I know that it could be improved because it needs proper escaping (e.g., running frnl c’est sympa will break it because of the ‘), but it’s just enough for what I need.

One could create a more intelligent function supporting multiple languages (please do :p) but I don’t need one =)