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Archive for June, 2006

Speedfiler – Outlook plugin

I mentioned this chap in passing earlier in the week. Even with all my waffling on about Outlook 2007, I’m not it’s biggest fan. Far from it. Outlook can be a royal pain in the arse at times. Specifically when it comes to filing emails.

I have various rules and wotnot set up, but half of them don’t work so most of my emails just stack up in the my inbox… or at least they used to until I started using Speedfiler. The name pretty much explains what it does, it files emails fast.

It overrides the oh so obvious Outlook shortcut of Ctrl + Shift + V with the following dialog box:

SpeedFilerJump

You then start to type in the name of the folder you want (it automatically focuses on the Folder name contains: box) and it’ll search as you type. If you have more than one folder it’ll list them, but usually you’ll have just the one folder. In which case, it’ll go to it for you so you can hit Enter to file. That’s it. Job done. It’s all via the keyboard so it’s very quick.

Say I want to file an email into a folder called Firewall that’s just come in my Inbox. I hit Ctrl + Shift + V, type fir and hit Enter. Done. It is that quick to use!

I do have one niggle with it and that’s how long it takes to load. It fires up a splash screen whilst Outlook is loading and it goes and checks the various folders it has access to. It does this every time Outlook starts and is a real pain for me when I’m opening Outlook over the VPN. It’s a good couple of minutes before I can use it. On the plus side it seems to be compatibile with Outlook 2007, however the option screens don’t appear to display properly.

Another cool option is that it also overrides the Go To Folder shortcut, Ctrl + Y, with the same dialog. So hopping about Outlook is even easier. Dare I say it, it makes Outlook fun!

There is a 30 day trial available and it costs $19.95 to register. I’ve just found out that Scott Hanselman also has a write up on it.

Graph your website!

This is a bit surreal. Stick your website url in the box on this page and it’ll fire up a nifty Java applet and graph out your selected site. There are various different colours, which mean the following:

  • blue: for links (the A tag)
  • red: for tables (TABLE, TR and TD tags)
  • green: for the DIV tag
  • violet: for images (the IMG tag)
  • yellow: for forms (FORM, INPUT, TEXTAREA, SELECT and OPTION tags)
  • orange: for linebreaks and blockquotes (BR, P, and BLOCKQUOTE tags)
  • black: the HTML tag, the root node
  • gray: all other tags

It’s kind of odd to watch it unfurl as it builds itself. Here’s pauked.com:

Paukedcomgraph

Here’s the website at work. Lots of evil tables (soon to be replaced with friendly div tags):

Worksitegraph

There are also screen shots of other sites run through it by the applets author. boingboing.net looks really cool. What would be neat is if you could see what pages it got the data from.

Double-click close added back in to Office 2007

From Jensen Harris’s blog:

Among other things, we’ve also added back the ability to close the window by double-clicking in the upper-left hand corner (you Windows 3.1 lovers!)

Guilty as charged. I was gutted when I noticed that didn’t work in Beta 2 since I’ve used that method for closing apps for years!

LifeHacker guide for TrueCrypt

There’s a cracking guide on LifeHacker showing how to use one of my fave apps, TrueCrypt. Well worth reading.

Switching to Office 2007 from 2003

As mentioned on Jensen Harris’s blog, Microsoft have created some interactive tools to show you where feature X has moved to in Office 2007 from 2003.

They’re a great idea and when you think about it, it’s a very obvious way of helping with the switch over. I hope they include it with Office 2007 as part of the help.

Drinking coffee makes you more open-minded

Oh dear. I shall be drinking less of it from now on.

Keep cheese for longer!

I do like a bit of cheese and apparently if you put a cube of sugar with a block of cheese (in a closed container) the cheese is less likely to go mouldy and so you can keep it longer! Yay and stuff. Full details here. Isn’t Science great?

Half Life 2 – Episode One

Overall, it is very good. It’s more of that Half Life 2 goodness we all love. The story continues nicely and the ending for Episode One is excellent, a real cliff hanger. Much better than Half Life 2’s. As to whether it’s too short, I’m happy with it. It’s a nice length to snick in the odd couple of hours to play it through to completion.

*Spoilers Ahead* But, and there’s always a but, I didn’t feel it got going until the escape from City 17. The episode consists of five chapters totalling about the same amount of gameplay time as Sin Emergence – Episode One. If I’m honest there isn’t much to fault with it and my grumbles are down to my dislike of the level settings for the first three chapters. Specifically the Citadel and dark underground levels.

Architecturally the Citadel levels are pretty simple. The Core section has some amazing visual effects, but they are boring looking levels. There are some new puzzles which were interesting, but closing down the Core reminded me of the reactor level in Half Life (1) where you’re fighting the tentacled beasty thing.

That’s then followed up by the train escape from the Citadel where it crashes and you end up having to go on foot to the surface. You go through various underground tunnels and areas with little to no lighting and lots of headcrabs, zombies and zombines ;). Here the torch is your friend. Not my idea of fun. However I must admit the atmosphere is pretty gripping, it’s just that I don’t like faffing around the dark.

For some reason I thought I’d be playing as Alyx, but you hop back into the hazard suit of Dr. Freeman. Alyx is there with you for pretty much the entire episode and it works really well. She doesn’t get in your way, isn’t pushy and generally helps you out. The character development of Alyx is impressive and the use of facial expressions and body language is very well done. I also liked the interaction between Alyx and Dog at the beginning of the episode and it’s a real pity his appearance was so short. But it was certainly memorable!

I found that once I met up with Barney it seemed to flow better and I really enjoyed the final section in the train station. I think it’s because I prefer the gritty style of the outside levels more. The final boss fight with the strider was excellent.

It’s also worth mentioning the audio commentary, ala Lost Coast. It was fascinating to see the amount of thought and work that had gone into it. Play-testing seems to figure heavily in the design process.

I can’t wait for more and the teaser trailer for Episode Two looks errr… good (understatement)!

Holy crap, Slashdot looks half readable

Yep, looks like someone at Slashdot worked out how to use CSS and picked some decent looking fonts and colours. Pity the news post logos didn’t get revamped, but it’s a step in the right direction!

Sir Crashalot – Outlook 2007

A not so well known knight of the round table, and in my case a series of annoying dialogue boxes. As I said in my previous update, Outlook 2007 grenades itself on exit, and gives this cheerful error message:

Outlook2007GoBang

The thing that bugs me is that it automatically wants to restart, which I obviously ignore and click Don’t Send. Outlook then reappears, so I go to close it since that’s what I wanted to do in the first place and the error box appears again… and well rinse and repeat several times until I untick Restart Microsoft Office Outlook. Grrrr.

It seems though that Office was watching my incompetence and fired this up last time I went round in circles:

OfficeCrashAlot

Fair enough, it’s nice and polite, so I thought I’ll see what it comes back with. It then fired off a series of tests and I expected it to whinge about my incompatible plugins.

OfficeCrashAlot4

Nope, the problem is Office 2003! Really? It then took me to the Office Online website and came up with this gem:

Compatibility Diagnostic — Conflicting versions of Outlook found

The Compatibility Diagnostic test identified conflicting versions of Microsoft Office Outlook. To remove the version of Outlook from your computer that you do not want, in Control Panel in Microsoft Windows, double-click Add or Remove Programs.

I don’t really want to uninstall 2003 since I don’t know when 2007 Beta 2 expires and if Office 2007 really did have a problem with it, shouldn’t it have removed it before installing itself? Sigh…

Office Diagnostics is a nice idea, but in this case it’s about as much use a chocolate teapot.

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