New way of providing network subnet prefix in Windows 10

With Windows 10 you can have the possibility to setup most of the settings in two ways:

  • old, good Control Panel way,
  • new Settings way.

Most settings are accessible via both ways, but also most are configured differently in both cases.

The best example is network subnet configuration — a very key configuration parameter in a very key aspect of your PC (that is: access to network and Internet). It is expressed as “subnet mask” when configuring in Control Panel and “subnet prefix length” when using Settings. And it also accepts a way different values.

This is, of course, needed only, if you are connecting using static IP address. If you have DHCP server in your network, and it assigns dynamic IP addresses to your devices, you may safely skip this article.

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Change network name in Windows 10

In all Windows versions prior to Windows 10 changing the network name was as easy as going to Network and Sharing Center and clicking network name. In Windows 10 it is way, way more difficult (reasons, Microsoft?) and you need to be system administrator in order to perform this.

If you wish to change network name (but not connection name, as these are two different things) then follow these steps (source):

  1. Press Windows key + R, type secpol.msc and press Enter to confirm.
  2. In Local Security Policy window, find and click Network List Manager Policies in the left pane.
  3. In the right pane double click on the network name that you want to change.
  4. In the Properties windows under the Name section make sure that Name is selected.
  5. Enter the name that you wish to use for your connection to the field below.
  6. Click OK to confirm the changes.

You might have to log in again or to restart your computer before the changes are applied.

Visit source for this post to learn about an alternative way of achieving this (i.e. using Registry Editor).

Incorrect or missing icons or thumbnails in Windows 10

With the introduction of Windows 10 and significant changes in icons and thumbnails caching the issues of:

  • missing or incorrect applications or file types icons or
  • thumbnails being displayed incorrectly or also missing

is more than common.

In this article I present most often used solution for above problems. Not all of them must be run in you particular example and they will not help you for every icon- or thumbnail-related issue.

But, this is the most comprehensive solution that I found so far, since many of these attempts are spread in the Internet across many different sources. Here you have all of them in one place.

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Error 777 and other problems using D-Link DWM-157 GPRS modem

If you’re getting Error 777 when trying to login your D-Link DWM-157 modem to a mobile network of your choice then the quickest solution is to disable automatic logon through 26006 (HSPA) mobile connection, It is added (and enabled) by default and apparently by mistake when installing drivers for this GPRS modem. If this doesn’t help or if you have different problems with this modem then you may also find help in this article.

This blog post focuses on D-Link DWM-157, but it may turn out to be useful for other D-Link mobile modems or for other GPRS modems at all, because it discusses the most popular issues when connecting to the Internet through GPRS USB modem.

Please, note that there is a certain amount of magic in this article. As you play with D-Link DWM-157 (or other D-Link modems), it quickly turns out that many things aren’t that certain as they were supposed to be.

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Black screen after logging-in to Windows 10

This is just a memo on the quickest solution for above mentioned problem, in scenario, when you can run Task Manager (Ctrl+Alt+Delete on your keyboard + click Task Manager + click More details).

  1. Validate your shell:
    • in Task Manager: click File > Run new task + type regedit.exe + hit Enter,
    • paste HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon + hit Enter,
    • check Shell key, if it has explorer.exe value; “reset” it to this value otherwise.
  2. Restart shell: in Task Manager: locate File Explorer (explorer.exe) right-click it + select Restart.
  3. Restart computer: in Task Manager: click File > Run new task + type shutdown /s -t 01 + hit Enter.

Each run in Task Manager must be with Create this task with administrative privileges checked.

It is important to restart computer exactly this way (with executing these parameters), as described above. In my case this was an essential point into solving this issue, as shell was OK and restarting it didn’t help.

If this solution doesn’t work (shell is not restarted or no positive effect after restarting whole computer) then you must ask uncle Google for more help, because this quick memo won’t help you, sorry.

Your Phone app: You can control a mobile device from Windows 10. Really?

Newest edition of Windows 10 (tested on 1903 edition) comes with Your Phone application that should — at least by its designers’ mean — ease your day-to-day management mobile device.

Unfortunately, it is still quite new, meaning — buggy. And the list of functionality is not quite long. In fact, you may have problems finding it usable at all or counting scenarios in which using this app is plausible.

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Get rid of SkyDrive Pro from context menu

SkyDrive is a far ancestor of OneDrive. It can appear in your system with the installation of Office 2013, Office 2016 and Office 365. When it is installed, Windows 10 immediately “captures” this situation and replaces it with newer counterpart — OneDrive. Unfortunately, it is not able to purge corresponding context menu items and eventually you’re left with a disabled and not working “SkyDrive Pro” item.

This article shows you the quickest way to correct this problem. You can also use it to perform general clenaup of your context menu as it doesn’t narrow to SkyDrive Pro item only.

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The very introduction to Raspberry Pi

After a nearly five years of struggling with hardware and software for feeding data to Flightradar24, I have finally decided to give it a try with Raspberry Pi. On contrary to what some of you may think, this is not a guide on how to achieve it. The original text is very good and quite self-explanatory. No need to copy it here.

In addition to feeding data to Flightradar 24 there are hundreds of ideas how can you use your Raspberry Pi. With this article I wanted to show you (and remind to myself) just of a few IMHO most interesting ones.

If you’re just unpacking your first Raspberry Pi then better start here before even continuing with this article.

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Dark theme in Slack 4

Slack 4 is here! Fresh, new, nice and… awfuly white again!

Found two different solutions for bringing darkness to my Slack (this one and this one). As usually, the truth lies in between, so the best option for me was to mix these two solutions in own one (or to be honest, to add a crucial note from second solution to the first one).

Folks at Slack read different books about usability. Not only they haven’t given us their own dark theme, but starting with Slack 4 they’re making application of custom-made dark themes more and more problematic.

Here is an enhanced version of (this guide to turn the light off in your Slack (Windows 10 only, sorry).

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Polish and other non-ASCII special characters in VBA and Excel’s macros

With introduction of the "new" Microsoft Office’s file formats (XML-based, i.e. DOCX, XLSX etc.) Microsoft has finally solved problem of Unicode support and storing and displaying special characters in documents, spreadsheets, presentations etc. The only problem is that they’ve forgotten about Visual Basic for Applications and macros which still are using dully ANSI encoding.

The fastest solution is out of Excel and is based on altering Windows 10 control panel settings to instruct Windows how it should interact with applications that do not fully support Unicode.

But, suppose you don’t want to or can’t change your system settings. Then what?

Quick Google search revealed some possible solution, including:

Since I failed on finding a correct solution, I had to dig myself own one. Here’s the deal…

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My most popular filename patterns in MusicBrainz Picard

I am using free and powerful MusicBrainz Picard program to clean-up my entire MP3 files collection.

Aside of actual job (pooling MusicBrainz database and fixing, sorting, correcting and cleaning-up tags in your music files), it can also rename actual files on your disk in the same time.

The thing is that it uses a very complex filename pattern by default, while I am using something as simple as:

%artist% - %title%
$num(%tracknumber%,2). %title%

First for standard files and second for parts of albums. Thus, I have written them down here to keep in mind.

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Find all e-mails sent or received in Gmail after office hours

Someone gave me a task to find all e-mail messages sent or received in Gmail:

  • in given period of day — after 16:00 given day and before 08:00 the next day and
  • in given period of week — between 00:00 and 23:59 during weekends,

so, generally speaking, outside office hours.

Gmail has a quite powerful filtering mechanism, but it:

For some internal reasons I couldn’t follow the “automatic way” suggestion (i.e. to upload messages from Gmail to Google Sheets and try to filter them there) and thus I decided into semi-automatic way.

Meaning that I wrote an Excel sheet which generated Gmail’s filtering queries for me for all required dates and I only have to manually copy-paste them into Gmail’s search box.

You can get similar results Epoch Converter’s batch tool, but I wanted to play a little bit with Excel instead.

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Let’s talk about game economy!

I am old and thus I still remember these pretty days of Diablo I, back in 1996 — where each and every pieces of Tristram was filled with a pile of 5 000 gold pieces (the biggest amount you could store in single map’s cell) — because Diablo I’s economy had so poor design that most of the players were earning millions by the end of the game, without a real ability of spending this.

Game economy is an extremely important part of each game design and you are deeply wrong, if you think that it plays key role only in economy-based games. I have intentionally mentioned Diablo 1 to show you an example of a dark fantasy game. Some economy-related mistakes for match-three like game are also mentioned here.

In this article I would like to focus on some economy-related issues and mistakes that you must consider when designing money and resources layer in your game, no mater what kind of game you’re currently developing.

Crafting is an important part of game economy, but I have written a separate article on this subject.

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Google Play Games: The good and the bad approach

Google Play Games on Android and Apple Game Center on iOS is a really good tool for developers and gamedev companies that provides them with a powerful tools to build, analyze and retain your audience and optimize your game.

As for the game players — it allows them to share and compare their results and build their common game profile or even portfolio, by getting experience, achievements and ladder positions across many different games in the same time.

And, as with everything, this can be a base for your success or a begin to your complete failure.

Here is a quick review and compare on how game creators of two different games for Android approached this topic. And, in the same time, a very quick info on two quite different games.

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Simple ways and mistakes to ruin a gameplay in your game

I’ve been playing Puzzle Forge 2 game way to much. I spent so many hours playing this game that I managed to get some nice achievements in it and in Google Play Games in general.

In addition, I found a quite nice number of gameplay-related bugs in this game. Large enough to use it as a model scenario in discussion on ruining your game and a gameplay in it, by makings simple, yet stupid mistakes and wrong design assumptions.

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A Farewell to Arms in Puzzle Forge 2

I have finally said “good bye” to the Puzzle Forge 2 game. My decision was made because:

While doing above, I managed to capture some interesting (?) screenshots that I’d like to share here.

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Migrate all your messages to Gmail or other mail account using imapsync

This article covers:

  • all the information, that I managed to find out or figure out,
  • all the bottlenecks I had to resolve and all the walls, I hit,
  • some additional info or alternative methods,

about migrating all messages from some mail account to Gmail, using imapsync and IMAP protocol.

The imapsync is an extremely flexible and powerful tool, that also has an on-line counterpart (so you don’t get your hands too dirty), and its documentation simply surpasses imagination, so it is certainly able to transfer all the messages between virtually any IMAP servers, not just between Gmail.

But this article focuses on external IMAP server –> Gmail scenario. For other scenarios, you should find some tips here, but you may need to consult imapsync documentation and the Internet or to use another solution.

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All legendary weapons in Puzzle Forge 2

This is basically a shortcut and my personal memo of a corresponding forum thread — a complete (?) list of all forty legendary weapons that you can create in Puzzle Forge 2. With a little bit cleanup.

The game itself hasn’t been updated since July 2016 (and most forum threads ceased even earlier, somewhere in 2014 or 2015), but even today it has a large number of players and certainly — a massive gameplay!

BTW: Using ugly, dully, unreadable and lame phpBB (a forum engine last time updated in 2007!) for supporting game players that are actually bringing you money is so… so… lame!

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What is PUBG and what’s all about all those battle royale games

End of January is the beginning of the test of the new, free and less resource hunger PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG). It should be possible to run this game in Lite version even with integrated graphics card. And, as said it will be available free for everyone at no cost.

Hold your horses, because “free” may mean Thailand or Asia. Currently tests are limited only to this country and it is not sure, if PUBG Lite version won’t be limited only Asian market.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is a battle royale-type game (see below) in which up to 100 players can compete on a single server. I will discuss some game details and battle royale games here as well.

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Early access model in game development

Steam Early Access (March 2013), Xbox Game Preview and Playstation Early Access (both in June 2015) are all early access models for financing and distribution of games (most often, an independent studio’s creations) that is pretty much the same as crowdfunding in the rest of the world.

If you’re interested in any of these subjects then this article may be a good starting point for you. It is an introduction-level text, so pros in this area might quickly get bored.

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Finding TP-Link router in your local network

Most TP-Link routers is accessible using admin/admin credentials under one of these URLs:

Of course, you must try to access these URLs from the computer or mobile that is connected (via cable or Wi-Fi) to the same local network, your TP-Link router is connected to.

If above fails and you don’t know current router’s IP address, you may try accessing:

URLs from the same local network, your TP-Link router is connected to.

Most TP-Link routers registers a virtual URL (like above) and you can access their control panel even without knowing their actual IP address.