Dale Dietrich
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Category — utilities

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.

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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).

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Bell’s Internet Usage Meter is Off by Up-to 60 Hours

Categories: canadacloud computinginternetutilities
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Bell Internet Max 16 logo Last March, I switched ISPs from Rogers to Bell’s fiber-to-the-building Internet Max 16 service. I made the switch at the same time I ‘cut the chord’ – dumping Rogers cable in favor of HD, over-the-air only, TV recorded on my Series 3 TiVo.

Bell offered me a one year promotional deal for their Internet Max 16 service where I would receive (in theory*) download speeds of up to 16 Mbps and 1 Mbps upload for $41.90 a month. At the time, my theoretical 10 Mbps down service from Rogers (with a 95 GB cap) was costing me $59.95 a month.

As with Rogers, all of Bell’s plans have data caps – much smaller than comparable U.S. ISPs I might add. The data cap for the service under the Internet Max 16 promotional offer is 100 GB. 

Periodically during each month, I check my Bell Internet usage meter** (shown below, after the jump) to make sure I’m staying within the 100 GB cap. This becomes particularly important towards the end of the month where I am always running up against the cap.

As you can see in the picture below (circled in red after the jump), Bell’s ‘My Internet usage’ meter contains fine print which reads:

Note: Current total Internet usage activity shown may be delayed by up to 60 hours.

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Evernote Review – It Has Become an Integral Part of my Life

Categories: cloud computingutilitiesweb apps
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imageWhen I first purchased my Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet, several years ago, I dabbled with an earlier stand-alone version of Evernote. It presented a never-ending scratch-pad of sorts that I could write on with the tablet’s stylus. It was nice, even useful, but it didn’t supplant OneNote as my primary note-keeping software, until recently.

Evernote is the latest of several cloud-based service that I have been experimenting with. See my prior posts on  Google Apps Gmail with iMap, xmarks (formerly Foxmarks) and Dropbox.

The new cloud-based Evernote blows both the old Evernote and OneNote out of the water.

Evernote Benefits

  • It’s free. Free accounts permit up to 40 Megabytes of new notes to be added / synced per month. I haven’t come close to using my monthly capacity in the two months I’ve used it (I have used, perhaps 1/4 of that).
  • More than Text Notes: With the free version you can keep text, photo, audio clip and handwritten notes (in my case, written with a stylus on my tablet laptop). You can also import PDF files into notes in the free version.
  • imageMultiplatform Syncing: These notes are continuously synced, accessible and editable across my three primary PCs (Thinkpad tablet, Dell XPS desktop and my iMac) and my iPhone.
  • Accessible from the Cloud: I can access and edit these notes through my Evernote account in the cloud.
  • Notes Backed Up: By virtue of its syncing across multiple platforms and a copy of all notes residing in the cloud, my notes are continuously backed-up across my systems and off-site.
  • e8fbda733b7f1ac3f333410a6e35dfe3Tagging & Search: You can tag notes, structure the tags in a hierarchy (if you like – see the picture of part of my tag hierarchy on the right) and sort them how you chose. Or don’t. Instead, you can rely on its formidable search engine to find your notes. Either way, notes I wrote years ago (imported from OneNote) are as easy to find as notes I wrote yesterday.
  • Indexes Text in Images: Surprisingly, Evernote can index text in images. If I take a picture of a bottle of wine, a business card, a plane ticket, or even hand written notes on my tablet, it will scan and index that text. That text then becomes searchable when looking for the note containing the image at a later date.
  • Clip From Anywhere: Evernote adds toolbar icons in Firefox and IE that allow you to clip webpage contents, text, columns or images into a note. You can clip entire pages or just a few paragraphs. Additionally, pressing Print-Screen on a PC (Control-Command-C on the iMac ) fires up a screen ‘Clipper’ app that can grab a screen shot of any running app or the entire desktop (or portion thereof). You can cut and paste from any app on an iPhone into the Evernote app.

See this ‘What is Evernote’ page for more details on what it does.

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I’m Using Dropbox to Sync Key Files Across My PC, Laptop and iMac

Categories: cloud computingutilitiesweb apps
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dropbox logo

I have recently been experimenting with various cloud-based services. Among the best are EverNote, Google Apps Gmail with iMap, xmarks (formerly Foxmarks) and, now, Dropbox.

As described in more detail below, among other things Dropbox: (i) allows me to securely sync office documents between my PCs and Mac at any location; (ii) unchains me from my office PC; (iii) liberates me from coding on a single PC; and (iv) allows me to draft and maintain my Windows Live Writer blog posts from any of my PCs situated anywhere.

Dropbox Benefits

  • Sync: Dropbox synchronizes your key files between any number of Internet-connected PCs, laptops or Macs, effortlessly and instantaneously.
  • Access Your Key Files Anywhere: Synced files are also maintained on the Dropbox servers. You can login to your account from any web-enabled computer to securely access your files (download or upload).
  • Security: All file transmissions occur over an encrypted SSL channel. All files stored on Dropbox servers are encrypted using AES-256 encryption accessible only by you with your account password.
  • Backup: Because your files are synced across at least two PCs, your files are effectively backed-up.
  • Real-Time Offsite Backup: Because your files are also copied to the Dropbox servers, they are effectively backed-up, off site, in real-time.
  • Undo/File Recovery: Remarkably, Dropbox maintains a 30 day history of every change made to your files so you can undo changes or undelete accidently deleted files.
  • Shared Files & Folders: You can share files and folders with other drop-box users. For example, you could set up a shared folder of photos accessible only by friends and family through their Dropbox accounts.
  • iPhone App Coming Soon: You can view all your Word, PowerPoint, Excel, PDF, etc. files  using the free Dropbox iPhone App coming soon (see iPhone, Blackberry and other Dropbox mobile details here).

Click here for a detailed list of Dropbox features.

Dropbox Demo

How I use Dropbox

  • Office Document Use: As a lawyer I access, edit and annotate Word documents and pdfs all day, every day. When I move from my PC to my laptop, I save the file I’m working on and by the time I shift to my laptop, the changes made to that file are synced to my laptop. Similarly any edits made on the laptop are instantaneously synced back to the desktop. No longer do I have to email the document to myself, save it to a USB key, copy to/from network drives. I simply open and save files on whatever PC, laptop, or Mac I’m using, and the latest version is instantly available on the other synced devices.

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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.

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How to Use Windows 7’s System Image Backup Feature

Categories: geekhow-tosmall officeutilitieswindows 7
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windows 7 - control panel - system and security - backup and restore - page

In mid February 2009, shortly after installing Windows 7 Beta on my primary PC, I made the huge mistake of running an automated ‘Registry Cleaner’ program. Suffice it to say, it destroyed my system.

Because, my data is backed up on a nightly basis, I lost no data. But I did lose years (stretching back to my first Vista x64 install in January of 2007) of application installations and tweaks. Two months later I have finally (mostly) completed the long and laborious chore of re-installing and tweaking the many dozens of applications I use every day.

To ensure that I NEVER experience this special kind of hell again I decided to create an image of my primary system C:\ drive. I looked at various commercial system image/ghosting programs but decided that the system image feature built into Windows 7 was sufficient for my needs.

Highlights:

  • The process took about 30 minutes for a 100 Gig C:\ drive.
  • I was able to use Windows 7 and all my apps as normal during the entire time the image was being created.
  • Compression was terrific. It compressed my 100 GB system to a 45 GB image backup.

Below is a simple step-by-step description of how to use it. The process is simple:

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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

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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)

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How to Upgrade to Apache 2.2.10 with Windows XP

Categories: bloggingdevelopmenthow-tosmall officeutilitieswindows xp
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apache http server logo For weeks now I have had a persistent problem with my wishhh.com service. It was taking an inordinate amount of time to connect to the service (sometimes as much as 2 minutes or more). After ruling out every possible issue, I decided to upgrade my Apache server to the latest release (version 2.2.10). I’m delighted that the upgrade solved my problem.

I had installed Apache server three years also and made only a few changes to its configuration files since. Being a bit rusty, I searched for an online ‘how-to’ upgrade guide. The only guide I found was Evaria.com’s upgrade tutorial here. It was helpful but a little bit for my tastes. I followed that tutorial and took notes along the way. This post fleshes out the details a bit further.

Note: This post describes my upgrade from Apache version 2.0.54 to the latest version 2.2.10 (as of December 1, 2008). If you are upgrading from a different version, you’ll need to make adjustments to the instructions below to reflect your specific circumstance. If needed, you can view my server specs at the end of this post for.

Before you Begin

  • Gather Your Info: Information on the latest version of Apache HTTP Server can be found  here
  • Download the Package: Before de-installing your current version, be sure have the latest version at the ready. You can download it from one of the mirror sites linked into here.  I downloaded this ‘Win32 Binary without crypto (no mod_ssl)’ .msi installation file was: 

          apache_2.2.10-win32-x86-no_ssl.msi

  • Upgrade Info: Basic upgrade information can be found here. Unfortunately, I could not find step-by-step upgrade instructions on the apache.org site -  hence this post.

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Give your PC a Check-up with Microsoft’s PC Advisor

Categories: small officeutilitiesvistawindows xp
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Microsoft PC AdvisorHere’s another Paul Thurrott tip from the Windows Weekly 81 podcast (also discussed on his blog here).

Microsoft’s free PC Advisor (download here) falls into the ‘does no harm and just might help’ category. I would recommend it to friends and family who find their computer is having problems. Hey, it can’t hurt.

I downloaded it (here) and installed it all of my Vista 64 and XP machines. I run a pretty tight ship so I wasn’t expecting much. As you can see from the pictures below, it recommended I take certain actions to speed up my PC, clean things up, update software etc.

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Simple, Free Group File Renaming with Ant Renamer

Categories: small officeutilitiesvistawindows xp
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ant renamer during This tip comes from Paul Thurrott on the Windows Weekly 76 podcast (available here).

How I long for the old days of DOS commands. It was so easy in those days to rename groups of files. X-Tree was (and still is) my all time favourite Swiss-army knife utility for the PC for this kind of thing. Though the developers tried, X-Tree never made the move from DOS to Windows successfully.

The Problem – Cryptic Digital Camera File Names

The most common need for file renaming these days is to properly name digital photos. My Cannon Elf creates thousands of .jpg files that look like this: IMG_1894.jpg. What the heck is that? I want to rename groups of photos by the event they depict (eg: Dad’s 77th Birthday 1.jpg).  While there are ways of renaming groups of files in Windows Explorer (see here for example) the method is painful and error prone – I screwed up many a photo file name using this method.

The Easy and Free Solution – Ante Renamer

Along comes the free utility, Ant Renamer – available for download here. In seconds it can rename dozens/hundreds of IMG_### files, for example, to appropriate names reflecting the occasion they represent. It works in both Vista and Windows XP.

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Make ‘Folders View’ the Windows Explorer Default in Windows XP

Categories: small officeutilitieswindows xp
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Windows XP Windows Explorer Folders View   Windows XP Windows Explorer Default View
(click images for larger views)

From the launch of Windows XP in October of 2001 until two days ago I have been frustrated by the fact that, unlike every version of Windows, Windows Explorer could not be set to open in ‘folders view’ (pictured on the left above) by default. Instead the default view has been the wholly useless and very frustrating ‘common tasks view’ pictured on the right above. Fortunately Windows Explorer in Vista doesn’t saddle the user with the same issue.

I must have clicked on the “Folders” button (circled in red in the right picture above) many thousands of times over the last 7.5 years to get Windows Explorer to show me the directory tree in ‘folders view’ (the left pain in the left picture above). I had searched for a solution to this at least a dozen times in the intervening years. I finally found an easy solution.

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Force Vista to Remember Open Window Size, State and Location with Alt + X Button

Categories: small officeutilitiesvista
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Alt   X Button From the first day I started using Vista (Vista 64 in my case), I have been frustrated that when I close a properly positioned and sized window (such as a Windows Explorer window) Windows Vista did not remember where I last left the window on my desktop or how big it was.  So, for example, despite closing a fully opened window (see picture on left below), say, on my right screen (I have four monitors attached to my Vista machine), the next time I opened that exact same window/program, it would open as a small window on my default middle screen (see right picture below). It would not re-open where or in the state I last closed it.

Vista Small Window       Vista Small Window

I have Google-searched high and low since January of 2007 for a solution to this and did not find an answer until Paul Thurrott discussed this at the end of his Windows Weekly 68 podcast  last week. He also wrote about it on his SuperSite for Windows here.

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Get Rid of AVG’s ‘No Virus Found’ Email Footers

Categories: softwareutilities
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image I highly recommend Grisoft’s AVG’s Free antivirus software (v. 8.x available here) and the free Windows Defender (spyware protection) to my friends and family as cornerstone software in the ongoing battle to keep their computers safe and secure. AVG is powerful and very processor efficient. In other words, it doesn’t suck the life out of your computer like Norton and McAfee do.

But with the default AVG installation settings, pesky "No Virus Found" footers like the one shown below appear at the end of every email you send and receive.

No virus found in this outgoing message.
Checked by AVG.
Version: 7.5.524 / Virus Database: 269.23.10/1421 – Release Date: 07/05/2008 5:23 PM

They are pointless and serve only as a marketing tool for AVG. They become especially egregious as they pile up, one after the other, at the end of long email discussions.

With a few tweaks to the default AVG settings, they can easily be removed.

Below I show you how to get rid of them in both AVG 8 and the older AVG 7.5.

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