30 April, 2009

Vintage Computer Ads and Photos

Check out 141 vintage computer ads and photos on flickr by SA_Steve. While you're there, you might also want to view Signs of All Kinds from Sa_Steve, too.

17 April, 2009

Copy a Formula down all the rows

When working with large spreadsheets in Excel, it's very inefficient to copy the same formula down all the rows. Many of us already know that once we have our formula in our first row, we can drag the handle down to populate the remaining rows. But when we have 100s or even 1000s of rows, even this is not efficient. To allow Excel to do this for you, instead of dragging the handle, just double-click the handle. Here's the steps:
  1. Create formula in top cell
  2. Move cursor top lower-right corner of cell -- cursor should change to a plus (+) sign
  3. Double-click

14 April, 2009

Time Warner wants to put restrictive usage caps on your Internet access

The cable providers are scared of losing their cash cow by people watching TV over the Internet. In the latest volley from the cable companies, Time Warner is rolling out restrictive caps that are high priced, and extremely high if you go over.

Sure, $15 a month for Internet sounds good, until you realize it's for 1 GB of data and an additional $2 for each gig you go over. As Wired points out (in "Congressman Wants to Ban Download Caps"), that's 3 hours of Hulu video or half a standard definition movie delivered online. For a mere (cough, cough) $75 per month, you can get 100 GB per month, and only pay $1 penalty for each gig over. It sure makes Comcasts 250 MB cap at $50 - $55 per month look good.

I've heard some folks defend the caps, claiming we don't need that much bandwidth, but each argument has been based on 1 user. The typical claim has been from 50 to 90 GB average usage. Multiply that by a family of 4 and now you're at 200 to 360 GBs. And if that's not enough, we're doing more and more online all the time.

Do you want your kids to limit online research because you can't afford it? Do you want to miss out on the opportunity to listen and interact with our new President and government because it's too expensive? Or maybe you wont try your new venture after all because the bandwidth costs just got too high.

This is just one more example of old business trying to keep old business models. As long as the content providers are the same as the bandwidth providers (Internet and cable TV), we're going to continue to see conflicts of interest such as this. Lucky for us, at least one Congressman is pushing back. As reported in the Wired article:
New York Democratic Rep. Eric Massa called TWC's [Time Warner Cable] proposal to switch its 8.4 million cable broadband customers to metered internet billing an "outrageous plan to tax the American people."
Don't just take my word for it, read the story. Oh, and don't forget the prior government grant to the telcos to build out the Internet infrastructure, which was never done. Then, contact your local Congressman and let them know how you feel.

Word 2003 slowly launches

I had experienced problems with Word 2003 taking a long time to launch. I'm not sure when it occurred, though I suspect it was when I tested it as the email editing client for Outlook. Even though I disabled Outlook from using Word 2003, Word continued to launch slowly.

I searched Google, but couldn't find much that would help. I resorted to using the Detect and Repair feature contained in the Help menu. After some processing, the Detect and Repair process asked me for my install disk. Since this is a company computer, Office was installed from a shared drive that I don't have access to, so I canceled the process.

When I returned to Word, it acted as though it was the first time launching, and it now seems to open faster. Unfortunately, when I opened Outlook, it also acted like it was the first time launching. My profile was gone with my settings to access my email and the pointer to my email archives. Fortunately I keep all most of my email on the server, so I can access it through my iPhone and through webmail.

To get my archive back, the following steps were required (note that I am using Outlook 2003):
  1. Reconfigure Outlook, so it will open
  2. Go to File >> Data File Management...
  3. Click Add...
  4. Select Office Outlook Personal Folders File (.pst)
  5. Select my archive file (archive.pst) -- I found it in C:\Documents and Settings\[my username]\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook
  6. Click OK and then Close
  7. Scroll down below your mailbox and its folders and I found the archive folder I just added
I think I can take away a couple lessons from this:
  1. Don't trust intertwined apps, such as Office from Microsoft to just be self-contained within itself
  2. Don't use Word as your email editor client
  3. Have regular backups of your data, including email, just in case -- I didn't need it this time, but you never know.
Finally let me add that if you're interested in other Word related articles on my blog, select the Word label from the right-nav or just click this link.

03 April, 2009

CorelDRAW X4 Crash on Startup

I had a fresh install of CorelDRAW X4, and each time I tried to start it, it would crash. After some searching through Google, I found the following fix.
  1. Open the folder C:\Program Files\Corel\CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X4\Programs\UIConfig\CorelDRAW
  2. Edit DrawUI.xml
  3. Find the line <dockpage guidref="bc1e2f70-3b58-41cd-8406-aaa550482972" visible="true" selected="true">
  4. Change visible="false" and remove selected="true"
    <dockpage guidref="bc1e2f70-3b58-41cd-8406-aaa550482972" visible="false">
  5. Save and close DrawUI.xml
  6. Fold down F8 and restart CorelDRAW X4
  7. When prompted to update settings, select OK
That did the trick for me. Apparently it is caused by a conflict with MFC dlls that are installed (version 1833) with SQL2008.