Newer versions of Microsoft Word (in particular, Office 365) will no longer open older .DOC files. If you want to convert these to the current supported .DOCX format (especially if you have a batch of files to convert), LibreOffice is a good option. LibreOffice is free open-source software and you’ll get the benefit of doing everything on your computer. There are a lot of online services which advertise converting these files, but for anything personal or confidential I prefer keeping everything local.
In past years I’ve listed a few favorite tech advent calendars, each focusing on a different technology and revealing some new content each day from December 1st through 25th. Each year I also have great plans to follow along with each as the days go by, but it’s not easy to keep up. Even though Christmas has passed, here’s my roundup of interesting technical advent calendars, which I’ll hopefully spend some time reading through over New Year’s!
Website monitoring (or uptime monitoring) is essential for any commercial website or service and there are plenty of commercial vendors that provide these services. With the recent rollout of GitHub Actions, I’ve put together a simple lightweight website monitor you can implement for free, perfect for side projects and personal websites. In addition to this WordPress blog I’m using it to watch my parked domains and Tweetfave project, making sure they are alive and well.
About 5 years ago I migrated this blog to WordPress. Overall, it’s been working well but my manual method for keeping WordPress (and plugins/themes) updated has been less than ideal. I just implemented a new system with GitHub and Docker that will hopefully make that upgrade path smoother, help me keep things updated, and avoid security issues from out of date code.
For domain names I’ve reserved but haven’t done anything with yet, I like to have them parked with my own simple landing page rather than one of those ad-filled “parked domain” pages hosted by the registrar. Previously I had set mine up on a Digital Ocean VM. This wasn’t too difficult (and had a side benefit of forcing me to brush up on my Apache HTTP Server skills) but I’ve switched to a much easier method: hosting for free via GitHub Pages. This is not only free in terms of cost, but also time because it’s very simple to set…