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Jeroen W. Pluimers on .NET, C#, Delphi, databases, and personal interests

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Archive for July 8th, 2013

Dilbert RSS alternative/workaround (via: Kimmo Suominen)

Posted by jpluimers on 2013/07/08

Since about 2 weeks, the official Dilbert RSS feed stopped providing Dibert comic images asking you to

“Dilbert readers – Please visit to read this feature. Due to changes with our feeds, we are now making this RSS feed a link to”

Luckily, Kimmo Suominen has provided a new RSS feed that does which I found through workaround new dilbert rss

In fact he created two, as his historical one ( used to have a redirect to the official one which somehow got permanently picked up by Feedly (don’t you love redirection technology) thereby not picking up the second change to the feed.

This is the new feed that works all the time:

Which reminds me: if it is on the net, you cannot hide it, or prevent others from accessing it.


via: Dilbert RSS – Kimmo Suominen.

Posted in *nix, Power User | Leave a Comment »

Mac OS X: disabled most Mission Control keyboard shortcuts

Posted by jpluimers on 2013/07/08

When doing a lot of remote desktop and VM work from a Mac to Windows machines, the Mission Control shortcuts (like Ctrl Up/Down) often get in the way.

Since I hardly use Mission Control anyway (I run VMs and remote machines to really cut dependencies: far stronger than multiple desktops), I just disabled all the Mission Control keyboard shortcuts you see here:

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Apple, Keyboards and Keyboard Shortcuts, Mac, Mac OS X / OS X / MacOS, MacBook, MacBook Retina, MacBook-Air, MacBook-Pro, OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, Power User, Windows, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows Server 2000, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Vista, Windows XP | Leave a Comment »

Nat Friedman – Instant Company

Posted by jpluimers on 2013/07/08

Totally forgot to post this at the end of 2011: it ended up in the drafts on 2012-12-13. So here it is: Nat Friedman at the start of Xamarin, comparing it to the time when they started Ximian.

It is fun to see which things are still there, and how they function now.

Nat Friedman – Instant Company.

Instant Company

Starting a company in 2011 is great. Back in 1999, when we started Ximian, the only tools a small startup could afford for their internal infrastructure were mailman and perl. It was ugly.

In 2011, the best tools on the planet cost $25/month, billed to your credit card. In just a few minutes you can have better infrastructure than most fortune 500 companies. It’s incredible.

So part of my first three weeks as CEO of Xamarin has felt like a trip to a toy store. Everyone loves window shopping, so here is a list of some of the tools we’re using to run our startup:

Google Apps. Mail, calendar, internal wiki, and shared document editing. Cost: $5/user/month.

Github Bronze. All of our code is stored in github’s private repositories. We love github. $25/month.

Asana. This is our task management tool and it’s fantastic. It’s the only distributed task system I’ve ever used that’s as fast as typing into a text editor. Asana is a new startup from Dustin Moskovitz, the founder of Facebook, and their product is in Beta. Our team loves using it and we predict great things for Asana as it rolls into launch.

Stripe. Stripe is a payment system designed for programmers. They have a beautiful API that’s so simple you can integrate it into your site in less than ten minutes. If you’ve ever had to use Paypal Payments Pro, you will have a deep appreciation for stripe. They don’t require a merchant account and their JavaScript API allows you to transmit credit card information directly from the customer’s browser to stripe’s servers without redirecting the user to a page. This reduces your PCI compliance burden without hobbling your payment workflow. Stripe will power our online store and future transaction systems. These guys are in beta too. They’re going to take over the world.

Themeforest. When I first discovered themeforest I thought it would be a wasteland of machine-generated CSS and generic templates. But the site is full of hand-coded, cross-browser gems for $15-30 a pop. There’s no substitute for high-end design, but if you need to get a decent-looking site up quickly, it’s your best bet, and far cheaper than it should be.

IRC + bip. We’re a distributed team, and having a place we can all hang out together online is very important to us. We wanted to find a for-pay, hosted group chat system that we loved, but campfire was too laggy, HipChat didn’t allow you to signin multiple places, and we didn’t feel we could trust a free solution like Convore. In the end we setup ngircd on a low-end, dedicated linode, configured to force SSL. A lot of us use bip as a proxy to maintain a persistent connection and show a backlog when you reconnect.

UnlimitedConferencing. For phone conferencing, we setup a $49/month account with We don’t pay a per-minute fee and international people can dial-in over skype to save money on long distance. It works fine.

Assistly. To handle incoming support requests from our future customers, we’ve looked at TenderApp, ZenDesk, and Assistly. We settled on Assistly after a support tech who’s worked with all three told us she prefers Assistly because it’s faster and easier to use. $69/support agent/month.

Linode and Rackspace. We use linode to setup quick Linux servers, and Rackspace for Windows servers. They’re cheap, reliable, and fast. If you need more power, a dedicated server from somewhere like 1and1 will do the trick. It’s surprising how far you can go on a $30/month linode. I’ve been using Linode for years and love them.

EFax, Scanner Pro for iPhone, and PDFPen. It’s a dwindling fact of life that you need to send and receive faxes to do business. These three items have eliminated fax machines for us. We use EFax to forward incoming faxes to an email address. You can also use it to send faxes online. PDFPen is a mac app that blew me away when I took a JPEG and converted it to an OCR’d PDF in just a few seconds. You can also use it to mark up and to edit PDFs. And you can use Scanner Pro to convert a phonecam photo into a PDF that looks like it came off a scanner. You can even fax it directly from the phone (for a fee). It’s been a lifesaver.

BizSpark. BizSpark is Microsoft’s program to give startups free licenses to basically any piece of Microsoft software, including access to MSDN. If you plan to use any piece of Microsoft software, it’s a great program.

Ravix Group. One of the things we learned from Ximian is the value of signing on a part-time CFO from day one. At the very least you want a controller to keep your books in order and setup payroll and insurance, or you’ll have a big cleanup process later on. A higher-level finance person can also be very useful in helping you think through cap tables and convertibles notes and online billing and taxes and so on. We interviewed a bunch of individuals doing part-time CFO consulting for various startups. Their fees varied from a $6,000 monthly retainer plus 0.25% of post-series A equity, to $125/hour flat. In the end, we got some great references from Ravix Group, a firm that do outsourcing of financial and HR tasks for startups. They have a deep team and can assign various individuals to your tasks as appropriate. We’ve only just started working with them but it looks great so far.

Ropes and Gray.¬†There‚Äôs no substitute for a great lawyer, and we have one of the best firms in the country with Ropes and Gray. Our team there is incredibly responsive, works weekends and late nights, and knows their stuff. Like working with a CFO, having a great lawyer has some benefits you might not expect: in addition to their legal expertise, they see a lot of deals, and can tell you what‚Äôs ‚Äúmarket‚ÄĚ and what isn‚Äôt. We never would have raised our Series B financing at Ximian without Ropes and Gray, and we‚Äôre happy to be working with them again.

I’m sure there are some other great products out there, but this is our list. Hopefully it’s helpful to someone who’s just starting to do the research. It really is a wonderful time to start a company.

17 June 2011

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Copyright © 1998 Р2011 Nat Friedman

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Still struggling with some PowerPoint 2007+ features (:

Posted by jpluimers on 2013/07/08

After having used the “classic” office since Office 95, there are still a few features that I can access blindly in Office 2003 and before, but have a hard time remembering in Office 2007 and beyond.

Most of those are the ones you rarely use, but the “classic office way” somehow made it in the autonomous nervous system.

It doesn’t help that the corresponding keyboard shortcuts fail to work in the “modern” Office versions any more either.

A few links on some PowerPoint features:


Posted in Office, Office 2007, Office 2010, Office 2013, Power Point, Power User | Leave a Comment »

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