COOL APP: Rufus

I used to consider myself “cutting edge” when it came to IT stuff. I joined Microsoft’s beta program so I could always have the newest operating system and office suite. I’d repartition my hard drive in the blink of an eye to try out a new Linux distro. I’d obsessively check FedEx’s tracking page every 10 minutes to see if a new gadget I’d ordered had arrived. And, once it did, I’d often flash the gadget with some kind of “alternate firmware”… or tweak it in some other way the manufacturer hadn’t intended.

A few years ago, though, I stopped doing all that. I just wanted a computer that worked day-in and day-out. I got burned buying so many crappy first-generation gadgets that I decided to let someone else try the latest technology. Also, most of my clients are small businesses that don’t have the money to upgrade to the latest and greatest “just because”. And why would they? End of support issues aside, if your company has a Small Business 2003 server and a bunch of XP desktops and everything works… why mess with it?

The point is, I’m kind of stuck in yesterday’s technology. So when I see something and think “why are they still doing that?” you know it’s gotta be old technology. And one thing that really strikes me as “old technology” is the bootable optical disc. Yes, Windows and Linux often come as ISO files that need to be burned to disc before use, but so do many run-of-the-mill utilities, like DBAN, the NT Offline Password Editor, and most disk imaging apps. I know why software companies distribute files via ISO… I just don’t know why, in 2015, people still want to burn them to disc. More importantly, why isn’t there some kind of app that can take any ISO and put it on a flash drive?

IT folks, meet Rufus:

Rufus

It’s an app that can take almost any ISO and make a bootable flash drive out of it. Want to put the Windows 10 ISO on a flash drive? No problem. Need to put DBAN on a flash drive? No problem. Need to put Macrium Reflect or Acronis True Image on a flash drive? No problem. Just insert a flash drive into your USB slot, start Rufus, and make sure the correct drive is listed under “Device”. In most cases, all you need to do next is check the “Create a bootable disk using” box, make sure “ISO image” is selected, then choose the ISO file. Then click Start and wait a few minutes… and you’re done!

I have yet to find an ISO file that Rufus can’t use, and while Microsoft offers a “ISO to USB tool”, Rufus is much faster, and is more platform-agnostic. Try it out and tell us what you think!

Instagram: Kickin’ some ass at music bingo…

Kickin' some ass at music bingo...
Kickin’ some ass at music bingo…

Amazon Tip

Amazon has a whole class of stuff called “add-on items”. These are usually small things that aren’t cost-effective to ship on their own, like a little packet of screws or washers. But sometimes Amazon’s definition of what makes an “add-on item” is a bit janky. Why is this widget an add-on item, but that similar widget is not?

The problem with add-on items is that they require $25 in other purchases. You simply cannot buy an add-on item by itself, even if you were willing to pay extra for shipping. And sometimes that little packet of washers is all you need.

You can get around the minimum purchase requirement, though. Just order the add-on item and pre-order a video game (or DVD set, or CD box set… or anything over $25 that won’t be released for a couple months). Amazon won’t wait until the pre-order item is released to ship your add-on, so you can cancel the pre-order as soon as your add-on ships!

PREVIOUS TIP: How to buy things with multiple credit cards at Amazon

Instagram: Beer comes in cans now? What a time to be…

Beer comes in cans now? What a time to be alive!
Beer comes in cans now? What a time to be alive!

Instagram: World Cup Kitty!

World Cup Kitty!
World Cup Kitty!

Instagram: My lil’ man…

My lil' man...
My lil’ man…

Instagram: Apparently Trader Joe and I differ on the word “super”.

Apparently Trader Joe and I differ on the word "super".
Apparently Trader Joe and I differ on the word “super”.