28 April, 2010

Get Exchange (Outlook) Email on your Droid

With my new Droid, it was extremely easy to get my Gmail, but I found the instructions for getting Exchange email not so clear. It's actually quite easy once you realize what's being asked -- the key is it's the same as your Outlook Webmail.
Here's what you need to do:
  1. Click/Open the eMail App and choose Add Account.
  2. Enter your Outlook email address and password.
  3. If you want this to be your default email, be sure to check the box before clicking next.
  4. Select Exchange from the account type options.
  5. Complete the following
    • Domain\Username: This will likely have your email username as entered in step 2. It may not be the same as your network username, which is required here. Most of us don't have to remember our domain, except when using Webmail, e.g. mydomain\myusername.
    • Password: The password you use to login to your corporate computer, and therefore your email. It should also be the same password you use when retrieving Outlook Webmail.
    • Server: This will likely have your email domain as entered in step 2. Likely it wont be correct -- this should be the sub-domain and domain of your Outlook Webmail, e.g. webmail.foo.com.
    • User Secure Connection (SSL): Should be checked.
  6. When you select Next, it'll validate the the information was correct and you're done.

Switched from iPhone to Droid for $20

With my contract expiring on AT&T I found myself in the market for a new cell phone. I could have waited for the next iPhone, by continuing month-to-month, but I really wanted to move to a 3G connection. With the announcement of the new iPhone OS only working on the 3GS, I had to spend $200 (and a 2 year contract) to get it. I'm not sure why with the threat of switching carriers that AT&T didn't have a better offer.

From my research and testing a few Droids owned by 3 friends, it seemed like a good alternative to the iPhone. In speaking directly with Verizon, they too could only offer me a $200 Droid with a 2 year contract, so it didn't offer anything better. Then in searching Amazon, I found that I could get it for $20 on a 2 year contract.

It's now been a few weeks, and I'm very happy with it. While the Droid has its own quirks, they're no worse than the iPhone quirks. There also is a promise to bring Flash to the Droid, which is a lot closer than Flash on iPhone, which I don't think we'll ever see. Further, I like the better service from Verizon -- yes AT&T Edge (2G) service was as bad as the claims about the 3G service.

So if you're in the market for a good, low cost smart phone, give the Droid a try.
Full disclosure: use this link below, and I'll get credit through the Amazon Marketplace.

16 April, 2010

Portions of a PDF don't print

I recently have had two cases where a portion of a PDF file that I saw on screen didn't print. Both documents had inserted signatures among other things. When I opened the file in Acrobat and Illustrator, I could see there were multiple objects. It was some of the objects that were not printing. I figured I should be able to solve with Illustrator, but never came up with a solution using it.

Back in Acrobat, I saved the PDF as a Word document. Then from Word, I created a new PDF. Now my new PDF was complete and it printed everything that I saw on the screen.

12 April, 2010

Fonts not displaying or printing correctly

Ever have a Word (or other) document given you by someone else, and it didn't display the fonts correctly? Perhaps they sent you a PDF or image of the file, and it displayed correctly there, but not in the file that you want to now update.

The first thing to check is to make sure you have the same fonts on your system. An easy check is to look at the font list in your application. For example, if you're supposed to display Frutiger 45 Light, but its not in the list, then it's likely not installed. If you don't have the font, and can get access to it, Microsoft has a process for installing it to your Windows machine.

In some cases, you may have the font, but it still doesn't display correctly nor is it in the list of fonts in your application. This is likely due to the original file being created on a Mac. It may even occur in some applications, such as Word or QuarkXpress, but not in others, such as Photoshop. The reason is that Windows uses style-linking, while the Mac used different fonts.

If you go to c:\windows\fonts\ and look at the font that is installed, but not working, you should see the typeface name used to create the font. The typeface name will be in your list of fonts in the application. For example, the properties for Frutiger 65 Bold uses a typeface of Frutiger 45 Light.
To correct existing documents, highlight the text that references the non-displaying font (e.g. Frutiger 65 Bold) and then select the typeface you found defined in the font (e.g. Frutiger 45 Light) followed by applying any modifications, such as bold.

To keep this from occurring, have the creators of the source documents on the Mac only use base fonts (i.e. Frutiger 45 Light and Frutiger 55 Roman).

Look in the Windows Issues section of the file on OpenType(R) fonts from Adobe to learn more.

07 April, 2010

iTunes 9.1 on Windows 7 (x64) fails on update

Perhaps like me, you accepted the prompt when iTunes notified you that 9.1 was available for updating on your Windows 7 (x64) computer. After the rather large download though, the installation failed. Trying again later ended with the same results. I found some reports of this occurring on 32 bit Windows 7 and on Vista.

From what I could gather, it appears to occur due to a conflict with the version of Bonjour that is already installed. (Bonjour is Apple's service discovery protocol, and is used by iTunes to find shared music on your network.)

I was able to successful perform a manual update.
  1. Download iTunes 9.1 for Windows (64 bit)
  2. Close iTunes
  3. Run the install
When I ran the install, it reported that my version of Bonjour was newer than the version within the install package, but it didn't cause any issues. (Note, I had previously installed the Bonjour Print Utility in troubleshooting a previous problem with my wireless modem and Apple TV. That fix ended up needing a firmware upgrade in my wireless modem.)

06 April, 2010

Share files across computers across the Internet

I recently had a case to share a few free eBooks with a friend in Europe. The files were large enough that sharing over email wasn't practical. My friend introduced me to Dropbox, a service that allows me to store up to 2GB of files for free, and I can designate a folder to share with him (or others).

Dropbox goes beyond just file sharing though. With their client application (Windows, Mac, and Linux), I can have my Dropbox folder sync across computers. Therefore if I add a file on computer A, it will automatically sync to computers B and C. And if I want to access one of my files from any computer, I can just login to Dropbox and get to my files.

Now that I've used Dropbox for a few weeks, I have detected one thing to be cautious of. It has a feature to perform a LAN check -- before sync'ing out to the Dropbox servers, Dropbox checks your LAN. This is an optional feature, that defaults on. What I found is that it though my WAN connection was part of the LAN, and it significantly impacted my throughput on the WAN. This one issue aside, I've found the application to work as advertised.

If you like the service and want more space, Dropbox offers services that provide 50GB and 100GBs of file storage. You can also get 250MG of additional space through referrals.