Words about stuff, and things related to stuff

A whole new Outlook

I depend on Outlook 2007 in a number of ways but it has been kludgy, memory-hoggish and recently, a dead weight on anything else that was running at the same time. Granted, I have a massive storage of email and use the heck out of tasks, but still, it should work once things get loaded. Today I got fed up with the freezes and did some investigation.

I am happy to report I found what seems to be a magic tonic, restoring the Outlook I used to like!

The cause was apparently an "Add-In", and the slowness is a common symptom. I won't go into all I read about Outlook Add-ins here, but it is a little subculture all its own.

The cure, for me, was as easy as disabling all Outlook add-ins... once I found where and how (it is not obvious!)

1) To do this in Vista, you have to be running Outlook as an administrator . (right click on Outlook.exe, select 'run as administrator')

2) Once Outlook starts up, go to Tools, then Trust Center

3) In the Trust Center window, select 'Add-Ins' - you'll see a list of Add-Ins, and below that a select box labeled "Manage:"  Select "COM Add-ins" and click "Go", to bring up the window where you can actually Manage your Add-ins. ( They must over-engineer this on purpose. 1 out of 10 for intuitiveness, MS!)

4) In the Add-Ins window, you can uncheck the box for any that you want to disable. I unchecked them all, not seeing a darn thing there I thought I might ever need. ( And surprised at the number of things that allow themselves to 'talk' to Outlook behind the scenes)

5) Save, OK and otherwise Exit your way all the way out, close Outlook and if you like , reboot your computer.

6) Launch Outlook again like always, and marvel at the speed. Seriously, this made a *huge* difference!





View XML directly in Firefox without the annoying 'add to reader' screen

This is one of those little things that has bugged me for quite some time, but not quite enough to do anything about... until now... 

Whenever I try to view an xml file, whether it be a sitemap.xml file from one of my website projects, a data export file, or an rss feed, Firefox shows me a screen with two options, "add to google reader" or "add to google homepage" ... usually I want neither, I just want to see my xml!

The fix was actually super simple... but, lest I forget at some point ( most likely not too far in the future) how I managed to banish this little annoyance, I'll post it here:

1) In FF, go to Tools > Options in the top menu
2) Select the Applications tab
3) Scroll down to "Web Feed" (how annoying ... not 'xml', not 'rss', but 'web feed'? really? )
4) Change the Web Feed 'action' to "Preview in Firefox" (mine said "Use Google" before changing)
5) Click the 'ok' button and go to any .xml file url to see all the wonderful XML , sans reader-prompt annoyance !


121 Blackberry Tips - some good ones, too!

A friend and fellow Blackberry enthusiast just turned me on to this blog post featuring a very  comprehensive list of BB tips and resources, including several very useful keyboard shortcuts and other tricks I was not aware of at all.

Here's the full link: http://www.insidecrm.com/features/121-blackberry-tips-021408/

Live HTTP Headers Firefox Extension

As part of my url-redirection efforts related to the launch of the new company site, I've been looking more closely at 301 redirection using ColdFusion ( see this post about CF 301 with CFlocation - it really is that simple! )

But, being somewhat skeptical that it could really, truly be that simple, I still wanted to verify that the redirection was going through as '301' status in my web browser.

On the advice of a friend, I downloaded the quick easy FireFox extension called "Live HTTP Headers" http://livehttpheaders.mozdev.org/

Within a few seconds, I had my proof. I did a quick google search that I knew would turn up my old site, clicked "Tools > Live Http Headers" in Firefox, and clicked on the first result for 'www.mredesign.com'.

Sure enough I was looking at the new site, www.gowestweb.com , and in the little Live Http popup, I had my 301 proof.

Here's part of the detailed output:


GET / HTTP/1.1 Host: www.mredesign.com User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 6.0; en-US; rv: Gecko/20090729 Firefox/3.5.2 Accept: text/html,application/xhtml+xml,application/xml;q=0.9,*/*;q=0.8 Accept-Language: en-us,en;q=0.5 Accept-Encoding: gzip,deflate Accept-Charset: ISO-8859-1,utf-8;q=0.7,*;q=0.7 Keep-Alive: 300 Connection: keep-alive Referer: http://www.google.com/search?q=utah+web+designer&btnG=Search&hl=en&client=firefox-a

HTTP/1.x 301 Moved Permanently Connection: close Date: Wed, 12 Aug 2009 15:44:48 GMT Server: Microsoft-IIS/6.0 X-Powered-By: ASP.NET Location: http://www.gowestwebdesign.com/index.cfm Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8 ---------------------------------------------------------- http://www.gowestwebdesign.com/index.cfm

GET /index.cfm HTTP/1.1 Host: www.gowestwebdesign.com User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 6.0; en-US; rv: Gecko/20090729 Firefox/3.5.2 Accept: text/html,application/xhtml+xml,application/xml;q=0.9,*/*;q=0.8 Accept-Language: en-us,en;q=0.5 Accept-Encoding: gzip,deflate Accept-Charset: ISO-8859-1,utf-8;q=0.7,*;q=0.7 Keep-Alive: 300 Connection: keep-alive Referer: http://www.google.com/search?q=utah+web+designer&btnG=Search&hl=en&client=firefox-a

I am a happy (and safely redirected) camper. Very nice tool, works just like it should... and free!

YouMail VoiceMail for Blackberry

If you call GoWest Web outside of office hours, or during an important meeting, you will get our voicemail. As part of the business image upgrade for GoWest Web Design and Hosting, I went looking for a solution with features that would allow us to respond more quickly to customer voicemail. 

I've always used my mobile voicemail for the business (via a simple call forwarding option w/ my local phone company), which allows me to get forwarded calls and dial in to hear voicemail, but I know there are better options. I tried Vonage for a while, and though I prefer working with my local landline company, I really liked some of the features, especially the option to have an email sent with an audio attachment of the voicemail message. It just makes sense.

On the recommendation of several trusted professionals, I just set up YouMail on my BlackBerry curve and so far I am really impressed.

You can read about YouMail here: http://www.youmail.com/youmail/home.do
I don't have too much interest in the pay-for services like transcription to text, but could see that being useful in the future. For now I am using the Free version of YouMail, which is plenty.

I had one issue with the YouMail client for BlackBerry, where the screen came up blank with no options, just a heading and no inbox. Has something to do w/ being logged out while connected... or something... but, while seeking that solution, I found this blog post about VYMail , and now I think I've got the best setup possible... I used the very nice YouMail interface to set up my account, verify my phone, etc, and installed VYmail on my Blackberry for viewing and managing messages.

The thing that won me over (and sent me racing to my blog admin to write about the wonders of YouMail):  when I had a problem during testing,  I called YouMail support, got a very friendly, very clear-speaking helpful person, and within 20 seconds, the solution!(Calls forwarded from landline to mobile were being greeted with a login prompt instead of a greeting message - fix was adding the landline number to youmail account, and removing 'automatic login' from that number).

So.. I am totally sold. There are a number of features that I haven't checked out yet but here's my current setup

1) Landline w/ Local phone company ( call me... 435.644.8523 )

2) Forwards to Mobile after 4 rings when in office, instantly when out or on other call.

3) Mobile is set up on YouMail, with a custom greeting - if I don't answer (or I push 'ignore' when I see you on caller ID) you get my YouMail instead of my usual Verizon mailbox message.

4) When you leave me a message, I get an SMS text notification, and within seconds, an Email with the voicemail attached. Even better, the 'VYmail' app on my BB notifies me that I have a new message, and downloads the audio for me. One click - no dialing, no password - and I hear the message, knowing I can replay anytime and will have a backup on my pc when I get back to the office.

Thanks YouMail for a great free app, and vyMail for an excellent add-on tool!

TwitterFeed and Tweet.js - feed your blog to Twitter, and your Twitter feed to any page

Two fun, free tools for blog/Twitter syndication combo:

1) www.twitterfeed.com : enter any Blog Rss feed url and twitterfeed will automatically post your blog entries to your twitter account

2) tweet.js : light, fast jQuery powered Twitter feed display - easy to configure options and show your Twitter posts on any page you choose

See both in action in the sidebar, here: www.gowestweb.com

Anything I post on this blog gets added to my 'gowestweb' twitter feed, which is shown on the GoWest site using tweet.js

Use Gmail for mailto email web links

On my main pc, I can click 'send link' in Firefox and Outlook opens up, I choose a recipient and send the url as an email. On my laptop, I use gmail... and often email links to myself for things to follow up on later, from the main machine. I hadn't bothered to look it up but have thought for a while how nice it would be if I could do the same with Gmail, setting it as the default client for mailto links from the browser... sure 'nuff... this blog post explains in very simple terms how to do it: http://ffextensionguru.wordpress.com/2008/09/24/gmail-as-default-for-mailto/

Filezilla - open site manager or a specific site connection on startup

For FTP, I love FileZilla. After using WS_FTP for years, and then trying alternatives like SmartFTP and even FireFTP, the simplicity and straight-up speed of FileZilla (FZ) really makes things seem easy and clean. Then I discovered 'synchronized browsing' and knew I had a winner.

However, one thing that has eluded me (until today) was how to get FZ to start up with less clicks. I have just a few FTP accounts that I use most of the time, and even though it is still pretty quick, I've been thinking I could cut down the amount of time to 1) click FZ shortcut , 2) click on site manager and then the connection I want (or, the dropdown for saved sites, and the one I want from there).

The answer is so simple, I feel silly not doing this sooner. Using the info found here: http://wiki.filezilla-project.org/Command-line_arguments , I was able to easily tell FZ to start up with the 'site manager' open. Here's how (in Windows):

1) right click on the FZ shortcut on your desktop, task bar, whatever, and select 'properties'

2) edit the url shown in the "Target" box by simply adding "-s" after the quoted url (after the closing quote)

"C:\Program Files\FileZilla FTP Client\filezilla.exe"
"C:\Program Files\FileZilla FTP Client\filezilla.exe" -s

3) Click "OK". That's it.
Now when you click your shortcut, FZ will open with the Site Manager displayed and your connection is just one click away.

To go one step further, and create a shortcut to a specific FTP connection (i.e. open up FZ and connect to this site with one click) the answer is a tad longer but just as simple:

1) right click on the FZ shortcut on your desktop, task bar, whatever, and select 'properties'

2) edit the url shown in the "Target" box by simply adding "-c/" , then a 1 if FZ-default connection or a 0 if user-defined, and the sitename, in quotes, after the quoted URL

"C:\Program Files\FileZilla FTP Client\filezilla.exe"
"C:\Program Files\FileZilla FTP Client\filezilla.exe" -c "0/myftpsite"

where 'myftpsite' is the name of your site connection in FZ (see the wiki link above, if you put your sites in folders within the Site Manager the path will be a bit longer)

3) Click "OK". Test your shortcut.

I actually replaced my single taskbar FZ icon with two shortcuts - one for the site manager open, and another for the FTP site I use most of the time.

This will save me countless clicks over the coming months! The only thing that could make this better is a 'hot drop' feature like WS_FTP, where you can drag files onto a desktop icon and have them uploaded automatically... hmm.....


Setting up Eclipse 3.5 w/ CFeclipse 1.34 & Aptana 1.5

A new version of Eclipse (version 3.5 aka 'Galileo') was just released, along with a well-timed new version of CFeclipse (version 1.34), the Eclipse-based ColdFusion editor, and a new version (1.5) of the incredibly versatile Aptana Studio eclipse plugn.

I've been using Eclipse for a while now, but my installation was done as a total noob and it is unclear to me what is part of native Eclipse, what came with my current version of the CFeclipse plugin, and what's provided as part of the wonderful Aptana code editor, another must-have plugin for my daily Eclipse use.

In an effort to trace my steps this time around, I'm attempting to make notes as I go. Your mileage may vary (I'm on Windows, not sure if it varies for Mac, for example), but here's what I did: .


Some alternatives to Adobe NNTP Newsgroups

As many dedicated web developers mourn the passing of the NNTP interface for Adobe's support forums ( formerly nntp://forums.adobe.com ), I'd like to extend a hearty welcome, inviting all web developers, friends and interested cohorts to join myself and a number of other seasoned web professionals in some popular NNTP-friendly alternative hangouts.


In addition to general web developer newsgroups, there are some specialized groups for ColdFusion, javascript (ok, mostly jQuery), all three flavors of CartWeaver (E-commerce) and more.

Every one of the newsgroups listed on the page above is happy to welcome new and interesting contributors, the more the merrier. You may even discover some old friends among the archived threads. 

NOTE: If you are not currently using NNTP to interact with other web-folks online, you've been missing out! I recommend Mozilla Thunderbird, and an account at each one of the places listed. See you there!


In regards to the big switch, the Adobe Dreamweaver support forum says this:

ANNOUNCEMENT: Forums will be unavailable for planned system maintenance
starting at 3pm PST on April 3, 2009. New forums will be online on
Monday April 6, 2009.

( currently April 3, 1:35 Pacific time ... T-minus 90 minutes )

How Google Desktop ruined my day

I am so smokin' mad about this, i gotta vent. And hopefully in the process, save somebody else from the same awful problem.

I have really liked Google Desktop - been running in on a high-powered Dell XPS Vista machine for about a year and use it regularly. Helpful for finding files, emails, outlook tasks, you name it.

But... it has a dark side.


...Show Newer

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