Thursday, 19 March 2015

My Essential Chrome Extensions

Google Chrome has worked it's way into my daily routine of work and home. I was a big big fan of Firefox and couldn't see myself ditching the browser but now I work almost exclusively on Chrome. Here are some of the extensions that I have to have installed for my work-flow.

Adblock Plus - I don't click on ads anyway so it helps keep my browser window tidy but the main reason I use it is to block potentially malicious ads that could contain nasty little malware.

Clearly - Another add-on to keep my browser window clean and tidy. This extension from Evernote makes it easy to read text by removing the images and putting it on an easy-on-the-eye background of your choosing. You can also use it to print and clip to Evernote.

Evernote Web Clipper - Speaking of Evernote, the web clipper enables you to save parts of a web page to your notebooks (rather than printing the whole screen with Clearly).

Ghostery - Excellent extension for blocking trackers.

Save To Pocket - Essential bookmarking service that is cross-platform and can download items for reading when offline.

Feedly Mini - Feedly replaced Google Reader as my main go to for news and other RSS feeds. This extensions helps you quickly add and share content.

Pushbullet - Phone notifications on your computer that you can also respond to. For example, reply to a text message when you are busy working on your desktop. Also able to push content to your phone.

HTTPS Everywhere - Force websites to use HTTPS where possible.

Web of Trust - Make sure that link you are clicking or web site you are visiting is genuine and trustworthy.


Then below there are a few applications that I don't sync to home that are for work only:

Chrome Remote Desktop - Used to access my office desktop from android app.

PDF Mergy - I work a lot with building plans and this enables me to merge them together to send as one attachment rather than dozens.

PDF Split - Again for building plans, when I just want a single floor, for example, and the contractors have sent the whole lot as one I can split the pages.

Notable PDF - Annotate PDF's.

Lucidchart - Mainly I used it for accessing and editing Visio documents.

Autocad 360 - For building drawings again. This time working with DWG files.

Google Keep - Simple note taking to sync with phone. Include text, audio and pictures. Take a very quick note when I am out and about using the android widget and then do what I need to with it when I'm back in the office.

Trello - Great application for helping manage projects. Has been very useful on a number of projects we have had. Also I have the extension Cardcounter for Trello added to keep track of how many cards are in each table, or to-do list.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Giving your Cat5e superpowers - NBaseT

With wave 2 of ac wireless access points about to hit the market this year network managers have been wondering how best to solve the potential bottleneck problem of having access points capable of over 1Gbps but existing cabling limited to 1Gbps.

Some have suggested running two cables to each access point, others have suggested ripping out all your Cat5/5e ethernet and replacing it with 6a.

There is now another solution. Cisco presented a discussion about a new technology called NBase-T at Cisco Live (Milan), the video for which is here: Vimeo. This technology, not limited to Cisco, aims to achieve speeds of 2.5Gbps and 5Gbps over existing cabling. This can offer significant advantages over replacing your cabling, not least the cost. NBase-T also supports all current versions of Power-over-Ethernet.

Concentrating on Cisco, as that is the switching technology we use here, hence the one I'm interested in, the Catalyst 4500, Catalyst 3850 and C3560-CX support this technology.

We'll see over the next few years whether this technology is something we can take advantage off in our older buildings (new ones will have Cat6a) where 'Multigigabit' connections may be needed.