software

Software to backup your Flickr account, and more

Recently, a strange and magical event (slip of the finger, some would allege) mean that the Poorhouse had cause to attempt to download all of the inane pictures that constitute his Flickr account.

The (or rather 'a') great beauty of Flickr, as opposed to the evils of Facebook et al, is that it does preserve your original photos - but it is a mission and a half if you want to download them all back to your computer en masse. It is significantly less hard however if you use FlickrEdit.

Microsofty tidbits for work and pleasure

What could be more interesting on a weekend than an article about Microsoft Office? I know...a story about the most common aspects of it that everyone knows about anyway.

Those of you with recentish incarnations such as Office 2003 may be aware that unless you tell it not to, Office monitors (parts of) what you're doing and reports back to big bad Microsoft which collates this information, hopefully to inform their designers and developers rather than another step towards world domination. So guessy guess time: what were the most used commands in Word based on this data (circa 2006 anyway)?

Converting AVI, WMV and other video files into a normal DVD

Now we're all tied to our computers 24/7 downloading megabuckets of online, advert-free audio visual entertainment it sometimes seems like the simple pleasures of life, such as watching a bit of TV from the comfort of your sofa are long gone. However, it doesn't have to be like this, as it is easy enough to convert many types of video playable on a computer - for instance .avi or .wmv files that you may have downloaded from who knows where - to a format suitable for putting on a real life physical DVD no less.

If you remember your last 20th / early 21st century technology well you may recall you can then put this silver disk into the machine under your TV and off you go, custom TV and films from the comfort of ones' living room setup.

An easy way to make the content of one combobox in Excel dependent on that of another

Comboboxes, aka dropdown boxes, are useful tools for constructing e-forms, restricting idiot-user responses to limited-choice fields and soon. Microsoft Excel has many a way of allowing you to create these, whether this be via the Forms toolbar, Control Toolbox toolbar or the Data -> Validation menu option.

One especially useful feature of such choice-enabling controls is that of making the choices in one box dependent on what the user chose in another. For instance, if a user chose "animals" in box 1, the other could allow "fox", "badger" and "pig" as options, but if they chose "vegetables" in box 1, the other box could only allow "carrots", "cauliflowers" and "cabbages" as choices.

Setting up IMAP between Google Apps and Windows Mobile 5 Outlook Mobile

Well, for a while, the lovely email solution that is Gmail> (aka Googlemail), and the custom-domain Google Apps variant, didn’t seem to be getting much in the way of new features, despite big upgrades by its main competitors. Recently though, things have changed. We can look forward to a faster interface, a better contacts management solution, more storage space and, perhaps most excitingly in the eyes of the Poorhouse, IMAP.

IMAP, the Internet Message Access Protocol, is a technology allowing offline mail programs such as Outlook, Thunderbird et al. to read and manipulate their mail. Yes, Gmail has had an alternative technology, POP3, for a long, long while, albeit a rather dodgy implementation in some ways, but IMAP has the bonus of being able to keep in sync with the web-based Gmail proper. For instance, unlike POP3, if you read a message through an IMAP client then it will appear as read when you access Gmail or Google Apps over the web. You can move the messages between labels (usually termed folders under IMAP), delete them, star them and so on.

Upgrading, and a Drupal 5 version of the quotefilter module

Shocks! As promised, what, not far off a month ago, a few upgradey things have happened around here. Still running on Drupal, just a shinier, newer, still-in-development version. The upgrade wasn't so difficult but a few annoying things happened. The main trauma was that after getting a backup restore down by the hosts after an issue with the lovely image assist module made itself known, they added all the old tables back to the database, leaving anything with a new name in, rather than the cleaner method of dropping the database and starting again. This caused all sorts of later dodgy issues as the installer couldn't create tables it thought it should, modules thought they already upgraded when they didn't and so on. But it's done now.

As the Poorhouse took his goddamned time upgrading, the only thing that no kind soul had basically already done module-wise was convert the quotefilter module from Drupal 4.7 to Drupal 5.x code.. Luckily it was super easy to do.

Insight into Paint

The Poorhouse has already heaped piles of well-deserved praise on the revolution that is "Paint", the software supplied free with every copy of Microsoft Windows. It simply can't be loved enough. Anyway, for all you with the same deep affection for cute little Painty-wainty, check this video for an insight into the creation of the wonder-tool. Worth watching just for time-index 1:20 alone.


Worst or best app ever?

When a program is described by some as the "Worst App Ever" ([1],[2]) and - rather fewer - others as "genius" (sorry no link - but apparently Nigel Powell of the Sunday Times said so), it clearly needs investigating.

Enter...3D Mailbox, a program so beautifully executed that its own website has a lengthy defense from the program's author that it is indeed not the worst software ever created.

Join the search for Steve Fossett

Steve Fossett, adventurer and record-setter extraordinaire in the world of balloons, aeroplanes, boats etc. al sadly went missing early last week. Last seen taking off on what would be expected to be a nice easy little jaunt for him, he has at this point not returned.

As might be expected, a stack of search-planes et al. are out looking for him, but even if you don't have a pilots license, any money, or anything other than a connection to t'internet you can help the effort.

Horray - stop seeing those awful Facebook applications

Rejoicement! The Poorhouse has previously mentioned his distaste of massively long lame-application-filled Facebook pages, where the only interesting bit - the wall - is right at the bottom. It's a particular problem when corporate race-booking. It's hard enough to disguise Facebook as work as it is without massive colourful pirates shouting "Shiver me timbers!", a picture of a toilet roll counting how many people you peed on and the lads-mag-esque illustration that is the output of FilthBook. You know who you are.

Solution? Use your web browser to hide it all.

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