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Showing posts from November, 2008

Apple TV (ATV) remote not working

Recently my Apple TV remote quit working. When I pressed the buttons, the light on the Apple TV lit, but nothing happened. I've since learned, similar to "pairing" your wireless key for your car, the Apple TV remote needs to be "paired" with your Apple TV. It's an easy process:
Hold the Menu and Previous buttons for 6 seconds. You should see a new graphic appear, a remote and a broken chain.Then, Hold the Menu and Next buttons for 6 seconds. The graphic will go away, as you have just "paired" your remote with your Apple TV.

Cannot format new hard drive

I got a new external hard drive to use for backups. Before starting, I wanted to format the drive as NTFS, instead of the default FAT32. When I tried though, the system always gave me an error message,"volume is in use by another process." Of course I checked and checked, and was certain nothing else was using the drive. It turns out that the drive when initial setup was added to the System Restore Monitoring; I needed to remove it to format the drive.

Here's how to do that:
Go to Start >> All Programs >> Accessories >> System Tools >> System RestoreClick the System Restore Settings in the right paneHighlight the driveClick SettingsCheck "Turn off System Restore" on this driveClick OKClick OK againClick Cancel (to close the Welcome to System Restore dialog)For a drive that I am using as a backup drive (a data only drive), there is no reason to use System restore, so after formatting, I did not re-enable.

Note that if you are a Windows Vista…

Amazon search tip

I recently discovered a very helpful search tip for Amazon. When I shop, I like to sort by price, low to high. What usually happens though is I then have to go through all the match but irrelevant items before I get to what I really want. What I learned is that if I use a minus (-) for the items I don't want to see, then I no longer have this issue. Here's an example:
Searched for "upconverting DVD players"Sort by price: low to highFirst thing I get is a bunch of cablesChange search to "upconverting DVD players -cables"Sort by price: low to highNow the first results are the low-end upconverting DVD playersYou can also add multiple items to exclude. For example: "upconverting DVD players -cables -progressive".

BONUS Tip: Use this URL to find all Electronic items that are 85% or greater off of list price: http://www.amazon.com/gp/search/?node=172282&pct-off=85-. Change 85 to any number to get the percentage you are looking for. Thanks to ProBargai…

Before you buy a gift card, check this list

Many stores have plans to close some or all locations after the Christmas holiday. Before you buy that gift card for little Johnny, better check out whether they'll still be around.

Delete empty rows in Excel

When I get data from the screen view in Salesforce.com, the results have an empty row between each row of data. With a little VBA help to create a macro, it's easy to clean it up. Here's how to do this:
Go to Tools >> Macros >> Visual Basic Editor OR press Alt-F11.The Project Explorer should be open in the upper-left corner. If not press Ctrl-R.In the Project Explorer, double-click the worksheet name to add the macro only to a single worksheet. Double-click ThisWorkbook to have it available to all worksheets.Paste the code (option 1 or option 2) into the worksheet.Go to View >> Microsoft Excel OR press Alt-F11.Select column A.Go to Tools >> Macros >> Macros OR press Alt-F8.Highlight the DeleteRows macro and click Run.Wait as it process through each row. To make it faster, only highlight the rows you want checked.OPTION 1
Sub DeleteRows()
RowCount = Selection.Rows.Count
ActiveCell.Offset(0, 0).Select
Application.ScreenUpdating = False
For i = 1 T…

Remember, extra security is required for wireless hotspots

Forbes reports on recent work that has identified many airport hotspots not being secure. This is a good reminder to all of us who use hotspots that we need extra security. First, if you can get on the hotspot, so can anyone else. With a little work and help from programs such as Cane and Abel, anyone can intercept everything you send and receive. Other people may just set up their laptop to look like a hotspot, so when you connect, you are actually connecting to their laptop. Again programs are readily available to make this work with relative ease.

Your job, if you're going to use hotspots, is to only communicate with VPN on. VPN will encrypt data as it is sent and received between your laptop and the VPN server. If your company does not provide you with VPN or you need it for private use, try services such as PublicVPN or HotSpotVPN. For a small fee, these services will protect you .

The same rule also applies to any public network that you physically connect to such as from a ho…

You're keeping up with Microsoft updates, aren't you?

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Ars technica reported yesterday that a recent Microsoft update, with its Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT), removed nearly 1 million fake anti-virus programs from users' machines. This is a good reminder to us all -- make sure you're keeping up with the Microsoft patches, which are typically released the second Tuesday of every month.

Unless you're technically astute enough to critically review each and every patch, I would recommend you set it for auto-update. Here's how to do it.
Go to Control PanelClick on Security CenterIf not already set to "ON", click on "OFF" next to Automatic Updates to change itIn the "Manage security settings for category" click on "Automatic Updates"Click on the radio button next to Automatic (recommended) and set the frequency to every day at an hour when you rarely or never use your computer
This is a great example to why security protection is the number one reason you should be running a legal c…

Convert text fields in Excel to Proper case

Excel provides an easy formula to set text values in cells to the correct or proper case. This is very helpful when cleaning up data before entering into a database. If the source was from a third-party -- perhaps from user registrations, it's not unusual to have users not capitalize proper names.

Here's an example:
You want st. paul to read St. PaulYou want project manager to read Project Manager
Here's the formula:
=PROPER(A1) where A1 is the cell of the value you want to convertIf you are going to reference the value later, remember you can use the Text command too.
=TEXT(PROPER(A1),"#")If you want to convert the entire value to upper case, use the UPPER function.
=UPPER(A1)

TIME releases the Best Innovations of the Year

TIME has put together a great list of innovations for 2008. Here are just of few of the 50 that TIME lists.
#4, Hulu.com. The TV and movie site from NBC and Fox. A good site, but not worthy of making it to #4. In fact, I'm not sure it's even worthy of being on the list.#9, the Internet in space. Though it can't operate the same way; it requires confirmation of each packet being sent from every router.#20, Spore, the "Everything Game." A disappointment for many users, both in game play and in the DRM used.#30, the Internet of things. Now your toaster and refrigerator can have their own social network.#32, Facebook for Spies. So that spies (CIA, FBI, NSA, and others) are no longer left out.#36, a new ping-pong server from German Dimitrij Ovtcharov -- yep, a ping-pong serve made the top 50.#38, Instant replay for baseball.You think I kid... these actually made the list. Intermixed with these innovations are some really valuable innovations too, such as:
#6, the Global…

Tweak Windows without Regedit

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I ran across a nice program that makes it very easy to tweak many Windows settings that normally could only be done by manually making changes to the Registry. TweakNow WinSecret is a free Windows XP and Vista application that has tweaks in 12 categories. The categories are as follows:
ApplicationsControl PanelDesktopMiscellaneousNetwork & InternetOEM InfoSpecial FolderStart MenuUser AccountsWindows CoreWindows ExplorerWindows StartupHere are just a few of the many tweaks you can make.
Enable or disable Desktop icons such as Internet Explorer and Printers and FaxesDisable the Desktop Cleanup Wizard prompt from showing every 60 daysMove special folders such as the location of My Music or Internet Explorer CookiesChange the menu display speed, i.e. length of pause before a menu expandsHide submenusAdd context menu ites such as Copy to Folder and Move to FolderDisable Startup programsAdd text to the message box that appears before log onThis is just a small list of many configuration a…

Getting too much done, too soon?

Perhaps some help from the Procrastination Flowchart would be in order. I learned about this back in September, but I'm just now getting to it. Hmm...

Twitter offers goodness

If you're not familiar with Twitter, it is a micro-blogging tool, where users can only post 140 characters at a time. The low character count was determined based on the ability of phones to SMS, with caps ranging from 140 to 165 characters per SMS message. As a Twitterer, you can post information on what your doing, a new website you found, or short news blurbs. Other people can follow you on Twitter, and see your posts as you make them.

The "goodness" I am referring to is the use of Twitter by the AMBER Alert system. Sign up as a follower of amberalert and get informed of any new AMBER Alerts. I'm actually quite surprised amberalert doesn't have more followers -- less than 500. According to TwitDir, President-Elect Barack Obama (BarackObama), the leader with the most followers, has 133,482 followers. Couldn't get at least 5% of those followers to follow amberalert?

Did you know that in 2007, there were 13 to 24 AMBER Alerts issued each month? In total, there …

Free PDF Hosting

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UPDATE 18-Nov-08: I missed this one; not sure what changed -- Google Docs DOES NOT allow sharing of PDFs. Of course a single user can store and view a PDF; you just cannot share it.
"Please note, at this time you can only share PDFs from the Docs list, not the PDF itself. Publishing a PDF so that anyone can view has not yet been implemented."
I guess I am back to finding an alternative.I looked into free file hosting, to see if I could find a place to store a few PDFs for this blog. The real need came from my current host, Blogger, not providing this service when I last checked in August. It is free, so I can't really complain, yet it is part of Google that gives me 10 GBs free for using their Gmail and Picasa services -- that are also free. Of course I could use Google Docs, but then that forces me to format my documents to fit their tool.

STOP - I spoke too soon, Google Docs now supports PDFs; I can host any PDF up to 10 MB in size (and I can always purchase more space). …

Net Neutrality looks more promising than ever before

Save the Internet reports on the change in position around Net Neutrality with the change of the guard in Washington. With President-Elect Barack Obama understanding of technology, our "representatives" need to finally get-in-the-game and not just sellout to big business. I hope this is just the beginning of much more attention and spending on technology, so the U.S. can be recognized as a leader again.

Explore and discover product keys

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I reviewed two different product key utilities, with the purpose of keeping a backup of all my product keys in case I ever need to reinstall my applications. The programs I tried were Product Key Finder and MSKeyViewerPlus.

I tried MSKeyViewerPlus and immediately liked it. It separated those applications that required keys and those that did not (free). With a single click I was able to expand the window to view all the key information, and with another click I had them all copied to the clipboard. MSKeyViewerPlus was created by a guy named Todd (couldn't find his last name) and he makes it available off of his family website for free.

The other program I tried, Product Key Finder lists all your registered programs on one screen and does not provide an alternate screen with your other programs. On the plus side, it offers different output options to save your records including XML, Access, CSV and Tab Delimited. These programs are not that complex, so there's not much more to it…

Dreamweaver Find and Replace Crash / Failure

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One of my favorite applications for web application development, whether ASP, ColdFusion, or HTML and JavaScript is Dreamweaver. I currently use version 8, and for the first time I experienced a real problem. Every time I tried using Search & Replace, the dialog box would not appear and eventually Dreamweaver crashed.

I tried updating to the latest version, 8.0.2, but that still didn't help. After no luck with some Google searching on "dreamweaver 8 find and replace crashes" I tried to do some Registry exploring and I figured out a solution. Upon initial exploration, I determined that Dreamweaver held various parameters specific to Search & Replace. After trying a few things, I found the ones that seem to be the culprits.

Enough said, here are the steps:
Close DreamweaverLaunch Regedit (Start >> Run...; Regedit; OK)Go to HK_users >> HKEY_USERS\S-1-5-21-1606980848-1500820517-839522115-1689
Most of this key is going to be unique to you. If you share the m…

75% reduction in spam as of Tuesday

Brian Krebs, columnist of Security Fix in the Washington Post has been following a San Jose company McColo Corp due to it's contribution to spam. Over the last 4 months Brian has been gathering data, which he shared with the service providers of McColo on Monday. Upon reviewing this material, the ISPs shut down service to McColo. I think the results were bigger than Brian expected -- 75% of all spam has been reduced across the Internet -- that is 75% of all spam was coming from this one company. In his column, Brian has some graphs from a couple different sources that displays these terrific results.
Congratulations and well done Brian!

2009 Top 10 Future Outlook

I found on the Discovery website, originating from The Futurist magazine, the Top 10 Forecasts for 2009 and Beyond. Here's an exert and some opinion.
Everything you say and do will be recorded by 2030. Here's some facts: Our ISPs can (and some do) record every movement we make on the Internet (including email); Google is everywhere and capturing everything; our employers are tracking our network and email usage; and we're already capturing and documenting our lives through social networks and photo & video sites. On top of that, places like London have cameras on every corner and are recording every phone call too. It is just a matter of time before everything is recorded -- I wouldn't be surprised if this becomes a reality as soon as 2020.
British authorities have placed great faith in CCTV as a crime control device, installing an estimated 1.5 million police cameras along the country's streets, buildings and mass transport systems. Still shots taken from video …

Replace iTunes without replacing your iPod

Are you tired of too many bloated updates for iTunes, (Reminds you too much of Windows?) yet you love your iPod? Well there are alternatives to iTunes that will let you continue to enjoy your iPod. For Windows only users, there's SharePod; for Windows, Mac, and Linux users there is YamiPod. Both applications claim to run off the iPod, so you can avoid installing it to your computer.

With a replacement for syncing your iPod, now you can explore other music and media players such as Songbird. Songbird is an open-source music player that feels a lot like iTunes, but offers a lot more flexibility.

If you are interested in other iPod utilities, try The 20 Best iPod Utilities from LifeHacker. Enjoy!

Cloud computing and Salesforce.com

I just got back from Dreamforce '08, Salesforce.com's annual user and developer conference (see Keynotes here). I've been a Salesforce.com user and administrator for about 6 months, so this was my first Dreamforce. I came away impressed and excited about the Salesforce.com platform. Cloud computing has been a recent buzz word, and we have heard it in context of Google, Amazon, and recently from Microsoft. What I saw from Salesforce.com though was the first real example of what cloud computing can offer.

First, Salesforce.com offers their CRM (customer releationship management) application, that is used and administered through a web browser. A great application, but that in itself is not much different than many other web-based applications. What makes it extend beyond the traditional web app is the ability to add additiional applications availalbe through their AppExchange. AppExchange is like the iPhone App Store, but Salesforce.com was there first. Applications found on …