Archive for August, 2009

Find Large Attachments in Outlook 2007

August 28th, 2009 No comments

outlook_2007I received a notice today that my Outlook mailbox was almost full.  I send and receive a lot of email, but I was still amazed that my mailbox was THAT large!  This article shows you how to search for large attachments within your mailbox, you probably have more than you realize.

I was able to delete most of my large attachments, I didn’t really need to keep them.  A few were still important, so I saved the attachment to a secure spot and forwarded the email back to myself (without the attachment, of course!) with a note reminding me where I saved the attachment.

Simple but handy:

My monitor doesn’t power off while in screen saver mode

August 18th, 2009 No comments

I have used the built in “Photos” screensaver with Vista for quite some time, and enjoy returning to my desk to see pictures from a recent family trip or other fun event.  However, my monitor was never powering off.  I could lock my laptop and walk away for hours, and neither the laptop screen nor the attached monitor would ever go to sleep.

I finally decided to dig into why, and thanks to Google one of the first hits was the following article:

It seems that there is a bug in the Photos screensaver where, since it is capable of playing videos, an audio component is loaded which causes the monitor to remain on.  Even though no audio is ever played during the Photos screen saver, the component is still loaded.  Unfortunately there is no fix for it, other than to choose another screen saver.

I miss my photos, but it gave me an excuse to pick up a nice digital photo frame…so I can still see my pictures whenever I want!

Great Javascript Tooltip Library

August 11th, 2009 No comments

When it comes to development, I typically treat 3rd party tools and libraries like the plague.  Sure they might something cool, but if you account for the time debugging their implementation you could sometimes write them yourself.  Or worse yet, you cannot upgrade the parent application without breaking the 3rd party add-on!  When it comes to mission critical applications (database, web server, etc), I champion native, fully supported solutions only.

Much like any piece of code, there are occasional exceptions.  Recently I wanted to add tooltip functionality to several web screens.  I wanted something beyond the native browser tooltips, those always feel junky and unreliable.  In the process of writing a small library, I stumbled on to Walter Zorn’s tooltip library.  I scanned the documentation, then paused.  On the surface it looked great, it had the tweaks I really wanted: cross-browser support, delay for opening and closing and HTML support.  But would it really work?

Implementation was simple enough, download the javascript files, reference them and call a single function.  Ok, I like simplicity, I like the way he passes parameters to his functions and the script files were small enough.  So I decided to give it a try…and was very impressed!  Sure enough, it worked as advertised the first time.  I tested in a few browsers (FF 3 and 3.5, IE 7 and 8 and Chrome) and the tooltips worked and looked great.  They even have drop shadows, a very nice touch.

So I must say that this library is an exception to my rule, I am very impressed and plan to use it more throughout my sites.  Tooltips are a small but elegant addition to a quality site, they provide necessary but unobtrusive help to the user.  This library gives you the ability to add them quickly and easily…download and try it today.  He has several other javascript libraries, I hope to find time to experiment with them sometime soon.  Highly recommended!

Facebook Advertising Woopsie

August 7th, 2009 No comments

facebook_logoI must admit, I have a Facebook account.  I also must admit that I don’t do much with it.  I log into it from time to time to see what my friends are up to, but I just don’t “get it”.  All the games and quizzes and lists…it just feels like a time killer.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy relaxing and surfing the Internet, it’s just that Facebook feels strange.  Of course, writing a blog seems strange to me, too, but here I am.  And Twitter…well, I haven’t braved those waters yet.  And I really don’t see a benefit there, but that’s a whole other story.

The privacy implications with Facebook have always irked me.  People put their entire life history on display, from school to professional to personal life.  It’s staggering how much information some people put in their profiles, and it’s all at Facebook’s disposal.  As a free service, you expect it to be ad driven…they’re not exactly an altruistic company.  As Google has taught us, targeted advertising is effective advertising.  However, using members’ information and photos in targeted advertising is going too far.

As an example of targeted advertising gone awry, check out this article:

If I had seen that ad with a friend’s photo (married or not), my ears would certainly perk up.  And if I saw my wife’s photo, well that would certainly prompt a few questions!  According to Facebook, a third-party application is the root cause, but it sure seems fishy to me.

There is a security setting to (supposedly) prevent your photo from appearing in these “third-party application” ads, just go to: Settings -> Privacy Settings -> News Feed and Wall -> Facebook Ads.  After closing the propaganda-esque warning box, you’ll see the option regarding ads on platform pages showing your information.  Just choose “No One” in the drop down list, unless you want your likeness used to endorse products without your knowledge or approval.  Be sure to scroll to the bottom and choose No one for the social action ads as well.

Now I could swear that I modified this setting a week or so ago, thanks to a friend’s request, but when I returned this morning it was back to “Only my friends.”  A bit strange to say the least.  Maybe I’m just a private person, but if I’m going to be promoting a product or service, I would like to know about it.

Categories: Personal Tags: , , ,

What's in a Name?

August 5th, 2009 No comments

Disney World

We are planning our first family pilgrimage to Disney World this October. We are also going next June, so my original thought was to purchase annual passes. The cost/benefit ratio seemed high enough, there were discounts and other perks for annual passholders.  Plus the convenience of not having to mess with tickets every time is worth something.

I was on the Disney World website last Saturday night (8/1), ready to purchase 5 annual passes. I had them in my cart and went to check out, but lo, I need an account. No surprise, this is the marketing engine that is Disney. So I dutifully filled out the form and clicked submit…only to learn that something I entered was considered “filthy”. Hmm, that’s strange, I didn’t enter anything naughty, yet the form is telling me it’s either my first or last name.

Surely it’s not Jeremy, which leaves only Tolsdorf. Well, almost there…the only catch now is my email address. It’s, and apparently it’s filthy, too! When all else fails, reach for the telephone, right? Wrong. It’s Saturday night, do you really think there are Disney ticket agents available?

I was finally able to register with Smith as my last name, and somehow managed to find a form that allowed me to use in my email address, so now I’m set, right? Well, not exactly. Disney traditionally updates their pricing the first Sunday in August…which means those annual passes are about to go up by about 5%. Sure enough, by the time I can get back to them, new pricing has been loaded and the grand total just went up by $94!  This all happened prior to midnight as well, which is when new pricing is supposed to begin.

The entire ordeal necessitated a friendly email to ticket services, which I am sure will be faithfully read and acted upon. My calls to Disney the next morning were useless. All of their ticket agents were told in no uncertain terms that new pricing was in effect, period, and my filthy name wasn’t going to change their mind.

In the end it actually worked out for the best. I’ve revisited our ticket needs, and I don’t think I’ll spend the extra money for those annual passes after all.  I would rather spend the money on activities with the kids while we’re there, a trip to Disney is all about making memories anyway.  I suppose Disney still gets the money, but at least I’ll have more fun this way. As long as I’m allowed in the park with such a filthy name.