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)?

Print out your photos nicely in Windows

Not sure if this is the Poorhouse being rather stoopid-basic in only have just found it out, but a vaguely interesting feature cropped up in Windows XP yesterday. Yep, you can just tell this article is going to be a thrill can't you? The feature is...Photo Printing Wizard. Whoo! Still, it is quite handy for some auto-instant resizing and formatting of your digital photos to something respectably comparable to an albumesque page of "real" photos in appearance.

Fixing "the DLL C:\Windows\System32\Hhctrl.ocx occupied an address range reserved for Windows system DLLs"

You've got to love the user-friendly wonderfulness of Microsoft Windows XP error messages. Imagine the Poorhouse's angst upon every turn on of the Poor-computer resulting in the following morsel:

Rthdcpl.exe - Illegal System DLL Relocation

The system DLL user32.dll was relocated in memory. The application will not run properly. The relocation occurred because the DLL C:\Windows\System32\Hhctrl.ocx occupied an address range reserved for Windows system DLLs. The vendor supplying the DLL should be contacted for a new DLL.

The Poorhouse runs virus checkers, adware checkers and even tries to put some sort of cap on the amounts of p0rn and hack1ng 1llegal sites used per day. But something had clearly slipped through. Indeed it had...the nefarious and cunning creature known as Microsoft Windows Update.

Fixing Windows Mobile task and event reminders

As part of the general trend of human-to-machine intelligence outsourcing, the Poorhouse likes to take note of its ever-more failing memory and delegate tasks such as knowing what to do on an average day to PDA-esque technology. With even the most basic of mobile phones now having enough diary features to plan a space mission this generally works well. A day without 1000 reminders to "Get out of bed", "Have a shower", "Tie up shoelaces" and so on is probably a day wasted.

All goes well until the PDA/phone/whatever breaks. Unfortunately the Poorhouse's current smartphone which runs Windows Mobile 5 did break a bit - although quite subtly. Whilst you could still input appointments, tasks et al. it would always fail to actually remind you to do them. Wonderful.

Put MSN Messenger back on your Windows Mobile 5 gadgetry

These days any half-recent mobile phones have a pile full of ridiculous facilities, designed to make space travel look like the stuff of mere kiddies. If your phone can't output 100 ringtones simultaneously, surf the inter-web at above-broadband speeds whilst cooking your dinner then something is wrong. There is thus some convergence between phone and PDA, many of which run Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.

Looking at some recent Windows Mobile 5 phones from Orange, T-Mobile and probably others it seems like something is missing though. Yes, what good is your fancy-dancy 10-mega-gig phone if it can't help you ROFL LMAO with your equally bored buddies via the magic of MSN Messenger?

Quick .bin to .iso converting

Downloaded CDs and DVDs come in all sorts of crazy formats. ISO (with the file extension .iso) is perhaps the most common and well supported by tools such as Winrar and Iso Recorder amongst hundreds of others.

Many downloads come in the form of less universally supported formats such as .bin (with a corresponding .cue file). There are indeed plenty of programs to use these including Daemon Tools, CDRWin and Alcohol 120% but these often either cost extra money or require you to burn the image to a physical CD before using.

Rename all your digital photos at once

These days digital is increasingly king, including in the sphere of photography. More and more people see the virtues of the digital camera, most obviously the ability to take 2000 pictures of your pet cat sleeping and display them repeatedly to friends and family with zero development cost to yourself.

On the subject of 2000 photos, one such frequent annoyance is that when you download them from the camera to the computer, they get rather conspicuously geeky and semantically useless filenames as DSC00001.jpg, DSC00002.jpg all the way up to DSC02000.jpg. Hitting rename 2000 times to make them a little more sensible will take up unnecessary amounts of your life up and potentially give you repetitive strain injury.

Paintshop Pro for cheap

Wannabe designers - now is a chance to escape the ravages of editing your hi-res pictures in Microsoft Paint. If of course, for some reason, you would want to. After all, if you can't solve it with a heady mixture of rectangle and the spray can tool why bother?

Anyhow you have until the 31st August to purchase Corel's (formerly Jasc's) Paint Shop Pro at an especially bargainous price. Until then, you can purchase it for under half price - a most reasonable £41.

No, it doesn't have the word "Photoshop" in its title, but nor does it have its (literally) above £500 pricetag.

Synchronised computing

For those people who have more copies of Windows than actual windows in their house, keeping the computers running in sync can be a slight chore. Generally, the more geeky Internet based things you use the easier it is. However even in these Web 2.0 days of Google Spreadsheets et al., most people can't get away with not storing anything actually on their own computer.

To solve this dilemma, there is such a thing as remote desktops, where a computer can act as a remote terminal insomuch as when you log in to computer 1, you're actually accessing stuff on computer 2. Guaranteed sync. However, assume you have a laptop and a desktop. You want to have the ability to not only sync the two, but when you leave the house, both computers should have the capability of working independently simultaneously, but any changes made to their files back over each other at some point in the future.

Syncing from Palm tasks to MS Access

Next up, the Poorhouse wanted to try some 2-way sync action with the Palm task (aka todo) list.

Being slightly familiar with MS Access, it was decided we'd sync the Palm tasks to an Access equivalent. Hopefully this would provide a good framework to sync them to anything else, as just the code involving the Access API would need to be replaced.

First we needed some synchronisation logic. Some methodology is required so that the sync works; tasks added in either database are added to the other, same with deletion and editing. Moreover, the correct action needs to be done - if two records don't match, which one do we go with?

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