Dale Dietrich
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Category — software

Apple’s New ‘Podcasts’ App a Disappointment

Categories: iPadiPhonemobile appssoftware
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imageYears have passed with no significant changes made to the podcast functionality built into the iTunes (now Music) app.  As a daily consumer of podcasts, I had high hopes for Apple’s newly released (June 26, 2012) ‘Podcasts’ app.

While some improvements were made – namely the ability to directly subscribe to podcasts from within the app – for several reasons, I will remain loyal to Downcast:

  • Direct Updates, But No Wi-Fi-Only Updates: The most important new feature of Apple’s new ‘Podcasts’ app is its ability to directly subscribe to podcasts from within the app without the need to physically connect the iPhone/iPod to a computer. Inexplicably, Apple provides no setting to limit such updates when connected to Wi-Fi only. Without this feature, Podcasts users will quickly see their monthly bandwidth allotments eaten up by podcasts downloads. This is a major fail!
  • 30 Second Skip & Instant Replay, But No Ear-bud Control: Finally Apple built-in the ability to skip forward 30 seconds. Instant replay has been built-in for years. But, surprisingly, you cannot trigger this functionality with the ear-bud controls. I listen to hours of podcasts every day through my ear-buds. While walking dogs, carrying a baby or out in the winter, I do not want to have to reach into my pockets every few minutes to skip forward or rewind a podcast. And there is no Siri control of podcast playback either.  Grrr!

CONTINUE READING →

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How to Get Rid of the Annoying Warning Message When Opening Attachments in Outlook 2010

Categories: geekhow-toresolving tech problemssmall officesoftwarevistawindows 7
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image

If the warning above annoys you as much as it does me whenever you open an attachment in Outlook 2010 (or outlook 2007) the video below shows you how to get rid of it.

[Note: This is a reprise of an earlier post where I showed how to do this in the context of Outlook 2007.]

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Easily Rotate iPhone 4S Videos with Freemake Video Converter

Categories: geekhow-toiPhoneresolving tech problemssoftwareutilitieswindows 7
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image

There is a known video rotation issue when importing videos into Windows 7 that were taken in landscape mode with the iPhone 4 and 4S . In Windows, iPhone videos will be upside down if, when you took them, you held the iPhone horizontally with the recording on/off controls at the top. Turns out that if you want your video to be right-side-up when importing them to the PC you will need to hold the iPhone upside down when taking the video.

Also, all videos taken in portrait mode on the iPhone will appear sideways when imported onto the PC. There is no way to take portrait videos on the iPhone 4 and 4S without them appearing sideways on the PC.

In the video below I show you how to use the terrific free ‘Freemake Video Converter’ app to solve this problem by rotating your imported videos to the proper orientation.

CONTINUE READING →

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Easily Rotate Locked iPhone 4 and 4S Photos in Windows 7 with the Free JPEG Lossless Rotator

Categories: geekhow-toiPhoneresolving tech problemssoftwareutilitieswindows 7
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image

There is a known Windows 7  rotation issue with portrait photos taken with the iPhone 4 and 4S. Unlike with the 3G or 3GS, photos taken in portrait mode on the iPhone 4 and 4S do not auto-rotate when imported in to Windows 7. This is the case: (i) whether you sync your photos via iCloud; or (ii) whether you physically import them via USB; even when you explicitly set the Windows import utility to auto-rotate them on import. The issue is being discussed here, here , here and here on the Apple support forums and here on the Microsoft support forum.

To make matters worse, a good portion of these photos end up locked in such a way that you cannot subsequently rotate them with the various photo rotate tools built in to Windows 7 (see error message in the image above).

CONTINUE READING →

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Hotspot Shield Works in Canada Again–With Some Annoyances

Categories: broadcastingcanadainteractive mediainternetsoftwaretv
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hotspot shield logoBack in May, 2009 I reported that Hulu had managed to defeat Hotspot Shield. As of September 9, 2010 the latest Hotspot Shield seems to be effective at defeating Hulu’s anti-circumvention measures.

At this moment I can access each of:

  • Hulu: I can access full episodes of shows on Hulu now. Below, for example, is Episode 2 of Season 1 of MasterChef:

masterchef on hulu via hotspot shield

  • Pandora: I had happily used Pandora for a long time before they cut off access to Canadians. I’m delighted that I can access it again.

CONTINUE READING →

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Flipboard’s Twitter Integration Makes it a Game Changer

Categories: iPadsoftware
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flipboard

I’ve been waiting patiently for my Flipboard invite since its launch last week. I received my invite earlier today and have been playing with it ever since.

The generic Flipboard interface is nice, but, for me, its killer feature is its Twitter integration. I feel almost as excited about Flipboard as Robert Scoble Smile.

At the moment I follow 74 terrific Twitter users. About 75% of their tweets contain links to interesting articles on topics dear to my heart. Flipboard turns this curated feed of news stories and blog posts into a beautifully personalized eZine. As I flip through Flipboard, instead of links to the stories in my Twitter feed, the first few paragraphs and accompanying picture from most of those linked stories are attractively and interactively displayed on my iPad. If I want to read the full story, I tap it and am instantly taken to the underlying story on its originating website.  Another tap and I’m back to my Flipboard eZine. See the demo below:

Twitter integration is the raison d’etre for Flipboard

CONTINUE READING →

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Resolving “OLMAPI32.dll is incompatible” Error When Upgrading from Outlook 2007 to Outlook 2010

Categories: resolving tech problemssoftwarewindows 7
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outlook 2010 splash screenYou cannot/should not, it appears, retain Outlook 2007 installed on your PC after upgrading to Outlook 2010.

If, as I did, you do not de-install Outlook 2007 after the upgrade you may find that you cannot run Outlook 2010. In such case you may get the following error message when attempting to run it:

“The file OLMAPI32.dll is incompatible with Microsoft Outlook. Install Outlook again”

It may be possible that had I uninstalled Outlook 2007 or had I never attempted to run Outlook 2007 after upgrading to Outlook 2010, this error may never have appeared. Nonetheless, once this error appeared I was not able to run Outlook 2010 again until I uninstalled Outlook 2007 as described below.

Note: As always, before proceeding, I recommend creating a restore point in case something goes wrong.

According to this Microsoft Answers post, the solution did not lie in ”Installing Outlook again’ as the error message suggested. Rather, the solution required uninstalling Outlook 2007 and repairing Outlook 2010.

So, off to Add-Remove Programs from the Control Panel to Remove Outlook 2007 right? Not so easy.

CONTINUE READING →

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How to Get Rid of the Annoying Warning Message When Opening Attachments in Outlook 2007

Categories: how-toresolving tech problemssmall officesoftwarevistawindows 7windows xp
Tags:

grayed-out and checked 'Always ask before opening this type of file' box

If the warning above annoys you as much as it does me whenever you open an attachment in Office 2007, here’s how to get rid of it.

The Problem

Microsoft has understandably made security a cornerstone of its recent software releases. Each time you attempt to open a possibly malicious attachment in Outlook 2007, a warning dialogue box like the one above appears. It presents an always-checked, always-grayed-out box that reads: ‘Always ask before opening this type of file’.

Because Word, Excel, PDF and other document types can contain malicious code, you should, as the box warns, only open attachments from trustworthy sources. But, if you have a modern Anti-Virus program such as AVG or Microsoft’s Security Essentials (both of which are free), attachments in your emails should already be checked for malicious code. When this is the case, this warning dialogue box is an unnecessary interruption that becomes increasingly annoying if, like me, you receive emails with attachments many times a day.

The Solution in  Windows 7

Warning: You should only do this if you have anti-virus software installed on your computer that checks for, and quarantines, all emails that contain attachments with malicious code. And, as the warning says, you should never open attachments from anyone that you don’t know and trust! 

OK, you’ve been duly warned. Here’s how to do it:

CONTINUE READING →

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Firefox 3.5 Ticks Along Nicely

Categories: small officesoftware
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firefox logoI upgraded my iMac and my Windows 7 machines to Firefox 3.5 (available here) today. 

All went well. The total download/install time was about 4 minutes on my iMac – 2 minutes on Windows 7 RC.

This isn’t a particularly important release for me. I was happy with Firefox 3.0.1. But they promised more speed so I gave it a whirl.

  • Snappier: With its new JavaScript engine – TraceMonkey, it does appear to be snappier, but not a whole lot more snappier as some had suggested.
  • New Tab Icon: I like the new tab ‘+’ icon. They are imitated  an IE feature here.  This is useful, especially for news.
  • Moving Tabs Between Windows: Now you can drag a tab out of the browser and a new window will open with that page. Or drag a tab from one window to another. For multi-monitor users like myself, this is a terrific new feature.
  • Addons – Extensions: All my extensions except 1 migrated nicely. I needed to do a manual update to my Tab Extensions 1 extension (discussed here and available here) but that was to be expected.
  • Open in Tabs’ Overwrite Bug: This ‘bug’ still persists in Firefox 3.5 (discussed here ). Alas, as long as the Tab Extensions add-on is available, this is not a problem for me.

See also:

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Eric Schmidt’s Definition of Web 3.0

Categories: cloud computingdevelopmentgeekinteractive mediamobilepc industrysocial networkingsoftwareweb apps
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Eric Schmidt is the CEO of Google. In the 2 minute video below he describes what he believes Web 3.0 applications will be.

 

In summary, he defines, Web 3.0 as:

  • Applications that are pieced together.
  • They are relatively small.
  • The data is in the cloud.
  • The application can run on any device, PC or mobile phone.
  • Applications are fast and customizable
  • Applications are distributed virally via social networks and email.

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The Windows Apps I Use and How I Configure Them

Categories: small officesoftwareutilitieswindows 7
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dale dietrich's bridge

The Daleisphere Command Center :)

In mid-February 2009, I made the unfortunate mistake or using a registry cleaner in hopes of tweaking even more performance out of my Windows 7 Beta (“Win7B”) setup. The net result – my ship was sunk!

All my data was backed up, of course, but it took me two months to gradually re-install and tweak ‘most’ of the dozens of apps I use to run my law practice, develop my websites, blog and otherwise run my world.

On the advice of my nephew Michael Kalistchuk, an IT consultant, I painstakingly documented the details of the applications I use and how I configure them. This post grew out of those notes.

It’s unlikely I’ll need these notes for recovery purposes because I have since used Windows 7’s built in image backup system to create a recovery image.

More likely, when the final version of Windows 7 is released, I’ll do a clean install (rather than install over my current install) requiring me to do all of this over again. These notes should dramatically decrease the time it will take to get my command center up and operational again.

CONTINUE READING →

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How to Import Firefox Bookmarks into Safari 4 Beta in Windows

Categories: geekhow-tosoftwareutilities
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hot to import firefox bookmarks in safari 4 beta in windowsWhile Firefox is my mainstay browser, I pretty much use all current browsers from time to time both to test my various websites for compatibility and to keep current with what’s new in the browser wars.

I recently installed the Safari 4 beta. In earlier versions of Safari, there was always an option to import bookmarks from IE or Firefox during the installation process. Not-so with the Safari 4 beta install.

Note: I purposely uninstalled Safari 3 before installing Safari 4. My hope was to get a fresh import of my most current Firefox bookmarks in the process. That didn’t work.

I use xmarks (formerly foxmarks)  to synchronize my bookmarks between computers. While there is an xmarks beta client for use on the Mac, so far there is none for the PC.

Here’s the easiest way I could find to import Firefox bookmarks into the Safari 4 beta:

In Firefox:

  • Click on Bookmarks
  • Click on ‘Organize Bookmarks’ (Ctrl-Shift-B)
  • Click on ‘Export HTML…’ under the ‘Import and Backup’ pull-down menu

export bookmarks in firefox

CONTINUE READING →

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The Twitter Apps, Tools and Widgets I Use

Categories: geeksocial networkingsoftwareutilities
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twitter logo_thumb[5] The Twitter apps, tools and widgets I use are constantly changing. Below are the tools I currently use (click on the images for larger views):

Desktop Client – Twhirl

twhirl I use Twhirl as my desktop twitter application. I looked at TweetDeck but it was overkill and it takes up too much screen real-estate. I tried the gorgeous blu (works only on Vista and Windows 7), but it does not have an adjustable font. The default font is too small for my aging eyes. Twhirl is surprisingly feature rich but it takes awhile to figure out all the intricacies. I’ve tried others, but keep coming back to Thwirl.

 

 

iPhone App – Tweetie

Tweetie Tweetie is terrific. I had previously used Twitterific and Twinkle on the iPhone but Tweetie ($2.99) satisfies me the most. Tweets are presented in bubbles similar to the iPhone’s SMS bubbles. Thankfully, the font is adjustable. Functions and information are an easy swish away. Twitterific does have the advantage of supporting both Twitter and friendfeed.

See also: 29 Twitter Apps for the iPhone Compared (Mashable)

CONTINUE READING →

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How I Configure Firefox

Categories: small officesoftware
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how i configure firefox - firefox fox biting ie I have recently reinstalled Firefox on a number of computers (iMac and two Windows 7 beta machines). Every time I do this, I have to recreate my Firefox configuration from memory. For the benefit of my future Firefox installs, and for anyone else interested in how I configure/optimize Firefox, in this post I describe the various tweaks I make to Firefox and the various add-ons and extensions I routinely use.

Note: The discussion below assumes you are using Firefox 3.0 and above.

A Word about ‘About:Config’

The tweaks below are made through Firefox’s ‘about:config’ page. It’s easy to use. To access the ‘about:config’ settings page enter ‘about:config’ into Firefox’s address bar (circled in green below).

You can scroll up and down the list to find the key you wish to modify (they are listed alphabetically). Click the key you wish to edit, change the value and click ‘OK’. Alternatively you can type the key (or the first few letters of it) in the Filter box (circled in red below) to narrow the list.

how i configure firefox - about-config - filter

CONTINUE READING →

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How to Convert AAC Songs to MP3s in iTunes

Categories: geekhow-tointeractive mediasoftware
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itunes aac to mp3 If you want to play those AAC songs you purchased in iTunes on another media player that doesn’t support AAC or if you need an MP3 version of an AAC song for other uses, such as with Animoto, fear not, its easy to convert an AAC song in iTunes to MP3 format.

Here’s how to do this on a PC:

  • open iTunes
  • click on the ‘Edit’ menu
  • click ‘Preferences
  • click the ‘General’ tab
  • click the ‘Import Settings’ button
  • click ‘MP3 Encoder’ on the ‘Import Using’ pull-down menu
  • Select the desired quality level on the ‘Setting’ pull-down menu

how to convert aac songs to mp3s in itunes - import settings dialogue box 
I suggest using the highest possible ‘Higher Quality (192 kbps)’ option. This will take more time but encodes the best quality MP3.

  • click ‘OK’ twice to close both dialogue boxes
  • select the AAC track you want to convert in the iTunes window
    (you can click and convert more than one at a time if you wish)
  • right-click on it;
  • choose "Create MP3 version" from the popup menu.

CONTINUE READING →

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How to Integrate Disqus within WordPress 2.7 Blogs

Categories: bloggingcloud computinghow-tosocial networkingsoftwareweb apps
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disqus logo

Earlier this month I described How to install Intense Debate in WordPress 2.7 blogs. In my ‘Why I switched from IntenseDebate to Disqus’ post [coming soon] I describe why I made the switch.

The Disqus installation instructions are out of date (written for pre WP 2.7 blogs) and surprisingly difficult to follow.

Happily, both Disqus and IntenseDebate mirror/sync comments within a blog’s databases (though there are still problems with threaded comments not retaining structure – see part 6 below). This makes it possible to switch back and forth between the two at will.

Below I provide a step-by-step guide for integrating Disqus within a WordPress 2.7 blog. I first make some preparatory recommendations. Then I describe the steps needed to set up with Disqus, download and install the Disqus WP plugin, how to import your historical comments into Disqus and, finally, how to reclaim straggler comments.

CONTINUE READING →

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How To Install IntenseDebate in WordPress 2.7

Categories: bloggingcloud computinghow-tosocial networkingsoftwareweb apps
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intense debate logo

Since listening to this net@night podcast back in May 2008, where Amber and Leo interviewed Daniel Ha, the founder of the Disqus, I have been interested in implementing this kind of a community-oriented, commenting/discussion system on my blogs.

Early on, I had compared the feature set of Disqus and its competitor, IntenseDebate (“ID”), and Disqus’s feature set and looks won. Concerns surrounding the ability to import, export, sync and otherwise control my comments, held me back. I was not going to join any system where I lost ownership/control of my users’ comments.

In the interim, both Disqus and ID have added dynamic comment importing, exporting and synchronization features. I became comfortable that I would not be locked into any commenting system if/when I chose to leave. Scot Jangro’s December 30, 2008 post, ‘Comment System Review Redux’, compared the the two systems afresh and gave me substantial comfort that ID’s feature set had evolved to near parity with Disqus (see other comparisons: inquisitr.com | Mashable).

But the clincher came on Sept 23, 2008 when Automattic, the owner of WordPress, purchased IntenseDebate. (See: Matt Mullenweg’s commentIntenseDebate’s commentDisqus’s comment). I expect Automattic to integrate IntenseDebate’s community comment / discussion system into the WordPress core at some point. So, as a WordPress user, it seemed a no brainer to go with IntenseDebate.

[January 23, 2009 Update: Despite what I wrote above, I ultimately switched to Disqus not long after implementing Intense Debate. In my ‘Why I switched from IntenseDebate to Disqus’ post [coming soon] I describe why I made the switch.]

IntenseDebate’s WordPress Plugin features are discussed here.  The newest WordPress Plugin (v 2.0.18) has been completely overhauled, making the installation and comment import/export/sync process much easier than it was.

Below I describe why I installed ID. I then walk you, step-by-step, through the IntenseDebate installation process in WordPress 2.7.

CONTINUE READING →

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How To Move the iTunes Library to a Home Server while Keeping its Underlying Media Structure Intact

Categories: gadgetsgeekhow-tointeractive mediaiPhonesoftware
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iTunes - dale's iTunes after move

Is the size of your iTunes music library starting to overwhelm your C: drive? Do you want to make your iTunes music library available to more than one PC over a network?

This post is about how to move all the files in your iTunes Music Library (including music, podcasts, videos, TV shows and audio books) from your PC’s drive to a network drive (or another drive on the same PC) while retaining both: (i) the integrity of the underlying file names and organization structures; and (ii) playlists, play counts, ratings etc.

This post is for the gear-head types like myself. Those that have spent time ‘under the hood’ organizing their music the way they want – naming the underlying files with names of their choice, organizing the files into directories of their choice, etc.

If you are like most people and let iTunes do its own thing (ie: let iTunes handle file naming and organization), this post is not for you. There are much easier ways to move your files if you let iTunes do this it’s way. See, for example, here, here and here.

Background

First PMP – The Creative Nomad: My first portable music player was a 32 Meg (yes, Meg, not Gig) Creative Nomad. I organized my music at that time with Windows Media player (‘WMP’).

Dale’s Early Music Organization: Over the years, I spent an enormous amount of time and energy ripping songs from my CDs, keeping my underlying music library file names, file organization/directory structures and meta data pristine. All the files were contained under my C:\Files\MP3 hierarchy, making it very easy to back up my media from time to time by simply backing up that directory.

CONTINUE READING →

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How to Get Rid of the Annoying Warning Message When Opening Attachments in Outlook 2007

Categories: geekhow-toresolving tech problemssmall officesoftwarevistawindows 7
Tags:

grayed-out and checked 'Always ask before opening this type of file' box

If the warning above annoys you as much as it does me whenever you open an attachment in Office 2007, here’s how to get rid of it.

[FEB 21, 2012 UPDATE: I posted a video of how to do this in Outlook 2010 here.]

The Problem

Microsoft has understandably made security a cornerstone of its recent software releases. Each time you attempt to open a possibly malicious attachment in Outlook 2007, a warning dialogue box like the one above appears. It presents an always-checked, always-grayed-out box that reads: ‘Always ask before opening this type of file’.

Because Word, Excel, PDF and other document types can contain malicious code, you should, as the box warns, only open attachments from trustworthy sources. But, if you have a modern Anti-Virus program such as AVG or Microsoft’s Security Essentials (both of which are free), attachments in your emails should already be checked for malicious code. When this is the case, this warning dialogue box is an unnecessary interruption that becomes increasingly annoying if, like me, you receive emails with attachments many times a day.

The Solution in  Windows 7

Warning: You should only do this if you have anti-virus software installed on your computer that checks for, and quarantines, all emails that contain attachments with malicious code. And, as the warning says, you should never open attachments from anyone that you don’t know and trust! 

OK, you’ve been duly warned. Here’s how to do it:

CONTINUE READING →

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How to Sync ‘Work’ and ‘Home’ Email Addresses Between the iPhone and Outlook 2007 – Error Free

Categories: cloud computinghow-toiPhonesoftware
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iPhone to Outlook Contact Sync ExampleWhen adding contacts into each of the iPhone and Outlook 2007, there are built-in, distinct ‘home’, ‘work’/’business’ and ‘mobile’ telephone number fields. Yet, surprisingly, Outlook 2007 does not provide built-in, discreet ‘home’, ‘work’ or ‘other’ email address fields. Yet, the iPhone does!

As a result of this disparity, you can get very odd results when synchronizing your iPhone and Outlook 2007 contacts. Unless you are aware of, and properly handling, how the syncing works, it will seem as if the iPhone randomly categorizes email addresses originating from Outlook 2007 as either ‘home’, ‘work’ or ‘other’.

Happily, as described below, the Outlook and iPhone email fields do sync in a predictable way. With little effort, you can make sure that ‘home’, ‘work’ and ‘other’ email address fields are properly synched between Outlook 2007 and your iPhone.

The Problem

As you can see from the picture below (after the break), when adding new contacts in Outlook 2007, there are no built-in, discreet ‘home’, ‘work’, ‘business’ or ‘other’ email address fields. The only choice you have is the default non-numbered ‘E-mail…’ field, and the ‘E-mail 2’, and ‘E-mail 3’ fields (available from the pull-down menu).

CONTINUE READING →

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Fix For Firefox 3′s ‘Open in Tabs’ Overwrite Bug

Categories: small officesoftware
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Firefox3bug_thumb5On May 25, 2008, I wrote this post about Firefox 3′s ‘Open in Tabs’ Overwrite Bug. That post has been, by far, the single most accessed post on The Daleisphere.

I’m delighted to report that thanks to Martijn Warger (see comment 57 here), there is now a tiny Firefox extension that completely solves the problem.

The Problem

For as long as I’ve been using Firefox (a couple years now), middle clicking on any group of tabs in a folder would open all the tabs in the group while simultaneously overwriting all currently open tabs – a very valuable function when you routinely browse by folders as I do.

This was the case when when the about:config

browser.tabs.loadFolderAndReplace

option was set to true – its default setting.

From the early Firefox 3 betas up through to the current Firefox 3.0.1 version, this has been broken. No matter how that option was set, opening new tab groups appended the new tabs to open tabs instead of overwriting them (more details in my original post).

The Solution

[June 30,009 Update: Martijn has updated the ReplaceTabs Extension to work with Firefox 3.5. Read about it on the Bugzilla here or download it here. I have tested it both on the iMac and on Windows 7 RC and it works just fine. Do not used the old one crossed-out below if you have Firefox 3.5 or above]

Click here to download/install Martijn’s "ReplaceTabs Extension 1". You will need to open the.xpi file with Firefox to install the extension. after installation, Firefox will need to be restarted for the solution to take affect. Once restarted, make sure the about:config option (see picture below) is set as follows:

browser.tabs.loadFolderAndReplace = true

CONTINUE READING →

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Windows Live Writer Cropping and Watermarking Tool

Categories: bloggingsoftware
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WLW Cropping Tool TestFollowing my recent post about the Windows Live Writer (WLW) technical preview, the WLW team has responded to several of my concerns in this thread on the Windows Live Writer (Beta) forum.

Two of my concerns related to how the WLW cropping tool works and how the the watermarking functionality works.  This post demonstrates what I want/need out of a cropping/watermarking tool compared what the cropping/watermarking functionality in the latest WLW tech preview build provides.

The three pictures below show the differences between the source picture, what I want/need, and what the WLW Cropping tool gives me.

1. Source Picture

2. What I Want

3. WLW Cropping Tool

So You Think You Can Dance - Katee and Joshua - Hip Hop 2 - June 11, 2008 (source picture)

So You Think You Can Dance - Katee and Joshua - Hip Hop 2 - June 11, 2008

WLW Cropping Example Result Picture

This picture is used in my So You Think You Can Dance (Season 4 – Top 20) post.

1. Source Picture

The source picture was taken with my Canon  Powershot SD 1000 camera from my Dell W2200HD Plasma TV. The larger image (click on left thumbnail above to view the source) is 2592 x 1944 pixels and 1.8 MB in size– way too large for a blog.

CONTINUE READING →

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Windows Live Writer Technical Preview – 1 Step Forward, 1 Step Back

Categories: bloggingsoftware
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Windows Live Writer I’ve been using Windows Live Writer (WLW) since early April 2008 (see post here). For the most part I’ve been delighted with it.

[June 26 2008 Update: I de-installed the technical preview and reverted back to the older WLW release. The "Open Blog Posts Much Slower" WordPress bug was driving me to distraction.]

A new (unnumbered?) WLW ‘technical preview” version came out recently (download here – see details here). I downloaded it and have been using it for a couple days. Unfortunately, this version has solved a few  problems and introduced new one’s. I describe the benefits and problems below along with my wishlist  for a few new functions.

New Technical Preview Benefits

Refresh Theme Option is Faster: This is not exactly something I need to do often but when I use the View/Refresh Theme function, it is faster than before and it doesn’t stop to ask me the annoying question (can it make a temporary post?) that it used to ask.

Structured HTML Formatting: When you look at the HTML source code WLW ads structures to it. This is terrific. It makes it much easier to find my way around and edit the underlying code. Note: There is also a handy new ‘Source’ access tab along the bottom.

Other: There are new image border styles,  but so far I haven’t used them. There is a built in word counter (you need to turn it on in the options – more details are here).

CONTINUE READING →

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Automatic Outlook 2007 Email Backups – Sort Of

Categories: cloud computingsoftware
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Outlook 2007 For years now I have used Second Copy to both: (i) automatically backup my critical files to external storage devices (currently to a Drobo); and (ii) to synchronize key files between my computers across my network and laptops.

By and large it has worked well (perhaps some of its foibles will be the subject of a future post). But one thing it cannot do, and no other software that I’m aware of can, is backup Outlook’s PST files while Outlook is running. PST files are the files where Outlook stores emails, calendar data, contact info etc.

In my world, my PC is usually running 24/7 and so is Outlook.

For years I have searched, on and off and without success for software that can backup PST files while Outlook is running. Recently I came across Microsoft’s Outlook 2007/2003/2002 Add-in: Personal Folders Backup ("PFB")utility (download here).

While it cannot backup Outlook files while Outlook is running, it does the next best thing – it backs them up automatically when you exit Outlook. Since I exit Outlook at least a few times a week, my PST files are now backed up that often.

CONTINUE READING →

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Work Around for Firefox 3′s ‘Open in Tabs’ Overwrite Bug

Categories: small officesoftware
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Firefox 3 bugBugzilla Reports: Bug 175124Bug 395024
Forum Threads: mozillaZine | whirlpool
Last Update: August 1, 2008

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[Nov 8. 2008 Update: There is a new add-on from the Mozilla add-on directly to solve the problem: ‘Openintabs-erase’. If you try it, please let us know how it went for you in the comment section  below. I haven’t tried it because I’m happy with Martijn’s solution (below).]

[June 30, 2009 Update: Martijn has updated the ReplaceTabs Extension to work with Firefox 3.5. Read about it on the Bugzilla here or download it here. I have tested it both on the iMac and on Windows 7 RC and it works just fine. Do not used the old one crossed-out below if you have Firefox 3.5 or above]

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[Update: August 1, 2008: We have a solution! Martijn Warger posted the "ReplaceTabs Extension 1" available here that completely solves the problem! I have replaced all the add-ons discussed below with this tiny Firefox extension (open the downloaded .xpi file with Firefox), and set the about:config 'browser.tabs.loadFolderAndReplace' option to 'true'. Browsing with folder groups in Firefox 3.0.1 now works just as it did in earlier versions of Firefox - overwriting open tabs with your new tabs.  For complete details see my new Fix for Firefox 3's 'Open in Tabs' Overwrite Bug post. Thanks so much Martijn!]

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Firefox allows you to organize bookmarks into folders. You can simultaneously open all bookmarks in a given folder by either: 1)  clicking on the " Open all in Tabs" option in the folder; or by 2) middle clicking on the folder itself.

When I use Firefox to browse the Internet, I almost exclusively use this feature to browse by folder groups rather than browsing one site of a time. For example, when I want to catch up on the news, I middle click on the "News" folder on my toolbar. When I wish to read my forums, I middle click on the " Forums" folder on my toolbar. I use dozens of such folders, set up on my Firefox toolbar and in my bookmark hierarchy, to navigate the Internet on any given day.

The Problem

For as long as I’ve been using Firefox (a couple years now), middle clicking on any folder group (the "Forums" folder, in the example above) would overwrite all previously opened tabs (the "News" folder tabs in the example above) . So, for example, if the "News" folder contained eight sites and the "Forums" folder contained 10 sites, after middle clicking on the ‘Forums’ folder, just 10 open tabs would remain.

Starting with Firefox 3, when a new folder group is opened, new tabs are appended to the previously opened tabs rather than overwriting them. So, in the example above, after middle clicking on the ‘Forums’ folder, 18 tabs would remain open instead of 10.

You can see then that, if you browse by folders, as I do, within a short time you could have 100 or more open tabs. This becomes untenable very quickly!

Cascading Tabs' Resulting from Firefox 3 'Open in Tabs' Overwrite Bug

CONTINUE READING →

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