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How to Digitize Your Most Important Paper Files

Are you looking for ways to preserve vital paperwork? Paper can only last for so many years, even when you preserve it well. This is one reason why people are digitizing their most important documents.

If you read on, you’ll learn how to digitize and why it matters. We also included some options for digitizing other than scanning. Don’t forget to read until the end for some great tips on saving digitized files.

1. What Is Digitization?

Digitization is the process of converting something analog into a digital format. This can be anything from paper documents to images. Digitize something and it becomes a binary code that computer systems and electronic devices can understand. 

This doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to understand it. The computer reads the code that it can read first. The computer will then convert it into something you can see and understand on your monitor.

You won’t even know that it became a mess of 1s and 0s on the way back. The analog and other items you converted will remain with you still. However, you also get a digital copy of that item.

2. Which Paper Files Are Most Important?

Before we delve in, let’s talk about what most people consider as important documents. These are the typical documents that the government issues. These are also documents used for identification.

That includes certificates for birth, marriage, and divorce. Identity documents include passports, drivers’ licenses, and Social Security cards. Don’t forget your health insurance cards, immunization records, and prescriptions.

Other important documents include property deeds, insurance policies, and vehicle titles. Make sure you keep digital copies of any wills, trusts, and tax returns. Tax returns should back to the last three years.

Make digital copies of bank account numbers and credit cards. Scanned copies of credit cards should include the issuers’ contact information too. Finally, digitalize a copy of your home inventory.

Business owners should have business documents digitalized as well.

This is a short list of very important documents. If there are more which you think are vital papers, make sure to get a digital copy of them as well. 

3. Benefits of Digitizing Your Documents

Now, you already have these documents kept safe. You might ask, why bother? Well, digitizing has many benefits.

This includes securing digitized papers in a place where dampness, fire, or other destructive elements can’t reach them. Plus, converting them into digital files helps tons in space-saving. Nowadays, electronic storage is scalable and very affordable.

You have a smartphone with you at all times, don’t you? Copy these files into your phone. Better yet, think of how convenient it will be for you to keep these files in a cloud you can access any time.

You’d be able to access these documents even when you’re on the move. Plus, you can find these documents with a quick search query. It won’t take you hours to look for them.

A 2018 study found that the average enterprise wastes $2.5-3.5 million per year. Where did they spend all that money on? They spent it all on searching for information and re-creating lost documents only. 

To fix that problem, most offices went paperless. It allowed them to cut back on costs and time. Also, it’s an eco-friendly solution. 

4. How to Digitize Your Important Papers

Now, let’s talk about how to digitize essential paper documents. We have various approaches. The first one is to scan them.

For this, you can use a desktop scanner or a multi-functional device with a built-in scanner. You can find many types of scanners on the market. They come in all shapes and sizes to accommodate all paper shapes and sizes.

Some models can scan in black and white only while others can scan in color too. Scanners units also have varying speeds, resolution options, and capabilities. Choose one that will suit your scanning needs best.

Scan documents at 300 dpi at least. If possible, save them as a PDF file. If you can’t scan to a PDF, scan papers to an uncompressed TIFF.

After you scan these documents, you can view and edit them in software like Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you’re using Apple products, Adobe PDF Editor is the best free PDF editor for Mac. Make sure you use programs that can read the file format extensions of your digitized files. 

Let’s say you have only a handful of paper documents and you need not invest in a scanner. Your next best option is to digitize them with an app on your phone or tablet. The Google Drive app has features that allow you to scan and save documents on the drive.

You can also use the Dropbox app. It’s easy to use but only allows five users. For iPhone users, try Evernote Scannable.

5. Tips on Scanning and Storing Digitized Documents

You’ve got your scanner and your files ready. Are you ready to go digital yet? Before you scan away to your heart’s content, let us give you some pro tips first.

Before you start the scanning process, take inventory of the papers you have. It’s easy to get lost once you start, especially if you have loads of them. If it’s possible to discard some, assess all the documents first to see which ones aren’t that important.

If you plan to scan many more papers, be smart about it. Sort your documents into categorized folders once they’re digitized. Trust us when we say finding them later will be much easier.

Are you scanning bills or tax returns? Be careful in naming each scanned file. As much as possible, use a clear and consistent file-naming system.

If you don’t have the time to do the scanning yourself, you can pay for document imaging services. They’re the best option for bulk file and image digitization. They’ll scan copies and index your documents for you.

Let’s say you’ve got all the files digitized, named, and categorized. There’s many more to go but you find yourself running out of space fast. How will you cope?

Use cloud services to bring your storage capacity up. If you depend on your computer’s storage for bulk files, it might not survive it. However, don’t delete them all from your local storage yet in case you need backup files.

Finally, keep the paper copy safe. Some places might demand a paper copy instead of a digital file. In case you find yourself in this situation, at least you know where to find the document.

Take Advantage of the Digital Times

There’s no telling what can happen to the physical copies of your documents. To ensure they’re kept safe and out of natural disasters, convert them to digital files. This way, you can keep both physical and digital copies with you.

Follow these tips to learn how to digitize your most important documents. Did you find this post enjoyable and educational? If you want to read more posts like this, feel free to see our other guides.

High CPU usage on Dell Inspiron 5570

It is in November 2019. There is a laptop, Dell Inspiron 5570. It is my mother in law’s laptop. Recently she found it is so slow and ask my help.

I connected this laptop through Teamviewer. I checked the CPU usage and found it is so high and the temperature is also high.

It is above 90 degrees.  The CPU usage is 100%. The top two are Intel PROSet/Wireless Event log service and Intel PROSet/Wireless Zero Configure Service.

 

 

 

The Windows 10 was upgraded to the latest one. build 1909.

I have to check the problem on Google and Dell community.

Actually I found the answer.

Excessive power and CPU usage for Intel(R) Proset/Wireless Services on Inspiron 5570 after Win10 update KB4511552

Continue reading “High CPU usage on Dell Inspiron 5570”

Migrating GitLab to another Server from Ubuntu 16.04 to Ubuntu 18.04

Because my old Gitlab is running on a Ubuntu 16.04 server. The latest LTS version of Ubuntu is already 18.04 for more than one year. I was thinking about to directly upgrade the server from 16.04 to 18.04.  There are still some chances it may fail and the server may crash. I can not afford to lose the data.

So the final decision is to migrate the Gitlab from the old server Ubuntu 16.04 to a new server with  Ubuntu 18.04.

This is how to do it.

First, I install the new server on my Proxmox VE environment with Ubuntu 18.04. 3CPU Cores and 4GB memory and 64GB storage. Meanwhile, the old server still uses Ubuntu 16.04. And the Gitlab version that I use is 12.4.2

On the Old Server

  1.  Shutdown Gitlab service
    sudo gitlab-ctl stop unicorn
    sudo gitlab-ctl stop sidekiq
  2. Backup Gitlab on the old server
    sudo gitlab-rake gitlab:bakcup:create
  3. Create a folder named gitlab-old
    mkdir ~/gitlab-old
  4. Copy the backup file to the folder ~/gitlab-old
    sudo cp ~/backups/xxxxxxxx_gitlab_backup.tar ~/gitlab-old
  5. Copy the Gitlab configuration files
    sudo cp /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb ~/gitlab-old
    sudo cp /etc/gitlab/gitlab-secrets.json ~/gitlab-old
    sudo cp -R /etc/gitlab/ssl ~/gitlab-old

Then all the important files are under folder ~/gitlab-old

My configuration of Gitlab changed the backup folder to ~/backups. The default path is /var/opt/gitlab/backups/

You can change it on the “Backup Settings” section in the file gitlab.rb

 

To verify the version of your gitlab installation, enter the following command.

sudo gitlab-rake gitlab:env:info

On the New Server

The server is a clean installation of Ubuntu 18.04. The only service is SSH  and postfix.

Before doing the migration, I transfer the whole folder ~/gitlab-old from the old server to this new server.

  1.  Add Gitlab source
    curl https://packages.gitlab.com/install/repositories/gitlab/gitlab-ce/script.deb.sh | sudo bash
  2.  Install Gitlab 12.4.2 CE
    sudo apt update
    sudo apt install gitlab-ce=12.4.2
  3. Copy the configuration files to folder /etc/gitlab
    sudo cp ~/gitlab-old/gitlab* /etc/gitlab
  4. Copy the ssl folder to folder /etc/gitlab
    sudo cp -R ~/gitlab-old/ssl /etc/gitlab
  5. Run Gitlab service for the first time
    sudo gitlab-ctl reconfigure
  6. Shutdown the Gitlab services
    sudo gitlab-ctl stop unicorn
    sudo gitlab-ctl stop sidekiq
  7. Copy the backup file to ~/backups then change the permission
    sudo cp ~/gitlab-old/*.tar ~/backups
    sudo chown git:root ~/backups/*.tar
  8. Restore the Gitlab backup file
    sudo gitlab-rake gitlab:backup:restore BACKUP=XXXXXX
  9. Restart Gitlab and check
    sudo gitlab-ctl start
    sudo gitlab-rake gitlab:check SANITIZE=true

There are some notes for the above nine steps.

The backup file name looks like 1573175514_2019_11_07_12.4.2_gitlab_backup.tar. So the code in the step 8, BACKUP=1573175514_2019_11_07_12.4.2

The version of Gitlab I am using 12.4.2. I install the 12.4.2 on step 2. When I do the restore in step 8, it displays the error, the version does not match. The backup is 12.4.2, but the installation is 12.4.1. I have to do the apt update and apt upgrade to upgrade the Gitlab from 12.4.1 to 12.4.2. I am not sure where the problem came from. Just a reminder, double-check the version installed on the new server.

At the first step of adding the repo source, I always get the network error on my server. I believed it is the problem of guest OS on Proxmox VE. So I actually add the repo source and public key of gitlab source manually.

My current Gitlab information on the new server Ubuntu 18.04

davidyin@gitlab:~$ sudo gitlab-rake gitlab:env:info

System information
System: Ubuntu 18.04
Current User: git
Using RVM: no
Ruby Version: 2.6.3p62
Gem Version: 2.7.9
Bundler Version:1.17.3
Rake Version: 12.3.3
Redis Version: 3.2.12
Git Version: 2.22.0
Sidekiq Version:5.2.7
Go Version: unknown

GitLab information
Version: 12.4.2
Revision: 393a5bdafa2
Directory: /opt/gitlab/embedded/service/gitlab-rails
DB Adapter: PostgreSQL
DB Version: 10.9
URL: https://gitlab.g2soft.net
HTTP Clone URL: https://gitlab.g2soft.net/some-group/some-project.git
SSH Clone URL: git@gitlab.g2soft.net:some-group/some-project.git
Using LDAP: no
Using Omniauth: yes
Omniauth Providers:

GitLab Shell
Version: 10.2.0
Repository storage paths:
- default: /var/opt/gitlab/git-data/repositories
GitLab Shell path: /opt/gitlab/embedded/service/gitlab-shell
Git: /opt/gitlab/embedded/bin/git

At the end, I should give the credit to Didiet A. Pambudiono. Most of the steps above is based on this post.

php script timeout on php7.2-fpm and Nginx Webserver

Here is the background.

  • It is a php script that is accessed through a browser.
  • Server: Ubuntu 18.04
  • Web server: Nginx 1.14
  • php: php7.2-fpm

 

The script always stoped on 60 seconds.

The Nginx error log is shown below:

2019/10/23 14:05:18 [error] 996#996: *950 upstream timed out (110: Connection timed out) while reading response header from upstream, client: 135.0.172.188, server: fctu.win, request: “GET /go/do-something.php HTTP/2.0”, upstream: “fastcgi://unix:/var/run/php/php7.2-fpm.sock”, host: “mywebsite.com”

It is a timeout.  I knew it.

In the beginning, I am looking for the php timeout settings.

I tried to add max_execution_time to 360. It doesn’t help.

At last, I add a line into Nginx settings.

fastcgi_read_timeout 180;

Sample code below:

location ~ \.php$ {
    fastcgi_pass unix:/var/run/php7.2-fpm.sock;
    fastcgi_index index.php;
    fastcgi_param   SCRIPT_FILENAME $document_root$fastcgi_script_name;
    fastcgi_read_timeout 180;
    include fastcgi_params;
} 

 

Hot to fix the problem on the new installation MariaDB

After the installation of MySQL server or MariaDB on Ubuntu, I would like to use phpMyAdmin or Adminer to access the MySQL server. But the first time the error comes like below.

Access denied for user ‘root’@’localhost’

mysqli_real_connect(): (HY000/1698): Access denied for user ‘root’@’localhost’

MySQL connect error on phpMyAdmin

 

MySQL connect error on Adminer

Here is the solution to make the root connect to a server without error.

Continue reading “Hot to fix the problem on the new installation MariaDB”

OneDrive could not launch on Windows 10

It said: This application failed to start because it could not find or load the Qt platform plugin “windows” in “”. Reinstalling the application may fix this problem.

My current Windows 10 is version 1703, OS build 15063.674.

I knew OneDrive is the builtin with Windows 10. It can not be uninstall like a normal program.

Continue reading “OneDrive could not launch on Windows 10”

Bashrc is not loading? (Fixed)

I have the .bashrc file, but it is not loading when I connect my VPS through SSH.

The content of .bashrc looks like below:

alias ls='ls --color=auto'
force_color_prompt=yes
PS1='\[\033[1;36m\]\u\[\033[1;31m\]@\[\033[1;32m\]\h:\[\033[1;35m\]\w\[\033[1;31m\]\$\[\033[0m\] '

It provides a colorful terminal look.

How to fix the problem of .bashrc not loading?

Continue reading “Bashrc is not loading? (Fixed)”

How to connect DBF file and read data by PHP script

Afte last post, my php-fpm support the dbase database file now.  Here is an example php script.

$db = dbase_open('../db/clients.dbf',0);

if ($db){
	$record_numbers = dbase_numrecords($db);
	
	for ($i = 1; $i <= $record_numbers; $i++) {
		  $row = dbase_get_record_with_names($db, $i);
		  if ( strpos(trim($row['CLIENTNAME']), $clientname)  !== FALSE and $row['deleted'] != 1) {
			  	$clientid =  $row['CLIENTID']);
				
				echo 'Customer ID Number: ',$clientid,';
                 }
     }
}

0) The dbase file has two columns, one is CLIENTID, the other one is CLIENTNAME.

1) Open the dbase file, clients.dbf,  by relative path.

2) If the dbf file exists, get the total number of records.

3) Go through all records. If field CLIENTNAME is same as the variable, $clientname,  print client id.

Install dbase extension on php7, Ubuntu 16.04

I followed the instruction mostly based on mote0230 github.

Please be noticed that updating (and probably inserting) with arrays that contain named indexes, is not working. For my project, it is OK. I just need to read the data from dbf files.

dbase-pecl-php7

# PHP 7
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ondrej/php
sudo apt-get install php7.0-fpm php7.0-curl php7.0-mysql php7.0-dev 

Compile

# dbase for PHP 7
git clone git://github.com/mote0230/dbase-pecl-php7.git ~/php7-dbase
cd php7-dbase/
phpize
./configure
make
sudo make install
cd ~
rm -rf ~/php7-dbase

Continue reading “Install dbase extension on php7, Ubuntu 16.04”

iTunes Installation error on Windows 10

When I re-install iTunes on my Windows 10, after reset my PC, I got the error as below: iTunes Installation error: “Microsoft VC80.CRT.TYPE=”win 32″.version=8.0.50727.6195″.publicKeyToken=’1fc8b3b9a1e18e3b”.processorArchitecture “x86″”.Please refer to help and support for more information. HRESULT:0X800700C1

It annoied my half an hour to solve the problem. At last, I got the answer.

My Windows 10 may need a particular library file which is not included. It is Microsoft Visual C++ 2005 Service Pack 1 Redistributable Package MFC security Update.

Download here Microsoft Visual C++ 2005 Service Pack 1 Redistributable Package MFC Security Update

I download and install the x64 file. Then re-try the installation of iTunes, it is OK now. No Error comes out.

 

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