Archive for February, 2007

I got the ‘No RSS’ blues …

Sunday, February 25th, 2007

Has anyone else noticed themselves getting a sort of ‘sad feeling’ when you visit a website that you think is cool only to find that it has no RSS feed.  And no blog.  And there is no forum.  No mailing list.  No dates that show when it was last updated?  Gah!  It could have been here for eons! I have no idea how relevant this stuff is …!

Favorites fear – I’m noticing this too more and more with static websites these days.  I am excited at a new find and I go to bookmark the site, or – the highest acolade! – add it to my links list so that it shows at the top of my browser to remind me to go there and I realize that there is the risk it will be – shock horror! – exactly the same if I visit it in a couple month’s time. 

Is this just me?

I hate my Thermaltake Soprano!

Friday, February 23rd, 2007

Thermaltake SopranoDid you ever have a day when technology just annoys you?  I don’t have them often.  Mostly I love technology but today I just feel like having a little rant … because I hate everything about my Thermaltake Soprano PC case.  Sure it looks good on the face of it – check out Thermaltake’s specification – but in reality it just doesn’t live up my expectations.

In fact the things that first attracted me to the case are the things that I hate most now. 


Screwless Design

  • The screwless slots are a let down as they don’t work for all cards and you end up using screws anyway and you end up having to remove the screwless catches to do that.
  • Similarly the tool-free Hard Disk installation is a great idea but is a let down in practice as the screw-free design secure the hard drives in place initially but they aren’t robust enough to withstand the vibration from the drives and eventually need replacing with screws.

Screwfree slots don't work for all cards Screwless hard drive installation doesn't hold after a while 

Front Panel

Thermaltake Soprano The 3 way lock is designed to lock with a key on the side of the case.  The key can be in 3 positions: front panel and front door unlocked for easy access to the drives, both locked and the front panel locked but the door unlocked.  Sounds great, but this third way only worked for a few weeks.  So to keep the door shut it was necessary to lock both the front door AND the front panel.  In practice this means leaving the key in the keyhole so that you don’t have to go hunting for your keys and then go reaching round the side to unlock the case each and everytime you want to change a CD.  Rather defeats the point of having a lock …

Three way lockThe wavy designed “The Curve that Tingles Your Heart” front door panel that closes to hide the drives is pretty but turned out to be a pain everytime I wanted to change a CD.  My system unit is positioned to the right of my workstation and I can’t change this, so having the door open to the left means that I’m reaching round the door to put CDs which got really annoying really quickly (as well as costing me a couple of nasty scratches on my CDs). 

So the front door didn’t last too long on there and now hangs around on the floor getting kicked occasionally.  I ocassionally put the door back on if I have someone to visit my office as the Soprano does look pretty shabby without the door. 

Sucking Dust

Soprano sucks dustIf you look at Thermaltake’s website you’ll notice that the Soprano comes equipped with a dust cloth.  This is for a reason.  If you want it to look as pretty it does in the sales literature you’ll have to dust it several times a day. 

But the main issue with the Soprano is a functional one not a cosmetic one.  This baby sucks dust. Big time!  Now all cases suck dust but what’s surprising with the Soprano is the amount of dust it sucks through the front panel and just how much ends up in and around the CD drives. 

I also have an Akasa All In One Multi function card reader and temperature monitor  in the front panel that gets totally choked up with dust that has to be cleaned out every time I try to insert a USB plug or Compact Flash card.  I put this down to the Soprano case because it just doesn’t happen in other cases.

Akasa All in one doesn't play nicely in the dust with the Soprano Akasa All in one doesn't play nicely in the dust from the Soprano

The dust sucking problem was solved partly by removing the door.  It still sucks in the dust but at least you don’t get such a shock when you open the door!

Don't open the door without taking a deep breath first!

To Vista and back again … creating an image file

Thursday, February 22nd, 2007

Buy from this link and get a 10% discount by quoting DOC-0UW2 I took some time moving to Windows Vista last month only to move straight back to XP again.  I’m fickle like that!

It was exciting to have Vista running on my main PC, but I can’t say that it went without incident.  Mainly it was due to laziness on my part  as I didn’t bother to remove my Hauppauge WinTV card before installing Vista and this caused me a lot of problems as there was no compatible driver available yet.  I thought it wouldn’t be a problem – I just wouldn’t be able to use the card, no biggie. Not so! So I decided to leave it for a few more weeks before making my move to Vista (my thinking at the time was that by the time Vista was available to the general public at the end of January Hauppauge would hopefully have released the drivers.  No such luck, as it turns out! D’oh!)

Creating an image

Anyway the point of this post is that because I had created an image of my system disk it was easy enough for me to go back to XP and pick up where I left off.

If you too have purchased Vista but aren’t 100% certain you’re ready to commit just yet it’s a good idea to backup your system first. Like me, you can then easily revert if you find any of your essential hardware or software isn’t ready for Vista yet.

Question: “How do you make an image?” To create an image I used Acronis True Image to create an image of my system drive which was saved onto a Maxtor external hard disk.

Acronis True Image - create an image of your system

Acronis True Image - progress create image

When I was ready to go back to XP I simply restored this image onto my system drive.

Acronis True Image - Restore an image

What to buy?

When will I try again to go up to Vista on my main PC?

Soon. I’m beginning to wonder if Hauggauge aren’t taking this opportunity to get their existing customers to buy new hardware, so perhaps I’ll start shopping around for a new TV card before I go up to Vista. 

Either way it won’t be too much longer … unless I change my mind again!

Question:Adding Bookmarks in PowerPoint

Friday, February 16th, 2007

Question: “Can someone tell me how to make a bookmark in microsoft powerpoint please?!!!“

There are two ways to create a bookmark, either as a hyperlink or as an action. 


Putting in a hyperlink is just as simple as selecting some text that you’ve typed and right clicking and choosing the ‘Hyperlink’ option.

Add bookmark on a hyperlink in PowerPoint 2007

From there you can link to a URL (web address) a file on your computer or make a bookmar from one position within the current PowerPoint document to another position.  (This is handy if for example you put in some slides just for information, but that can easily be skipped over if everyone is already familiar with the subject.)

Put a Bookmark on an Image

If you prefer graphical hyperlinks you can insert an image or clipart and then right click on the image and choose Hyperlink in the same way as for text above.

Office 2007 PowerPoint - add hyperlink to an image



Making an “Action” gives you a wider scope as they can be triggered by either a “mouse click” or a “mouse over” (eg moving the mouse over the text or image will trigger the action). Click the appropriate tab along the top of the dialog box to alternate between mouse click and mouseover actions.

Actions in 2007 can be found on the “Insert” ribbon. (In previous versions of Office Actions settings are on the right click as per hyperlinks above.)

PowerPoint 2007 Insert an action

Action: Hyperlink

Actions can also be hyperlinks (to another slide in the presentation, to a URL, or to a separate PowerPoint presentation or other documents, as above) .  This is handy if you want a hyperlink that’s triggered by mouse over instead of a click.

Action: Run a program

An action can also be to run a program, so for example if you wanted to get a calculator up on screen, click the “Browse” button and navigate to the exe file for Windows calculator (c:\windows\system32\calc.exe) and click OK.

Office 2007 PowerPoint insert an Action - Action settings

Note: running a program from your slide show presentation will trigger a security warning “Microsoft Office has identified a potential security concern.”  If you’re sure of the safety of the program you are running (eg Windows calculator) click “Enable”.  (You can also “Enable All” to not show the warning again, but this isn’t recommended as the program potentially might be malware or a virus so it’s best to enable it as and when needed.)

PowerPoint 2007 security warning when running an external  program

Opening Calculator from within PowerPoint 2007

Action: Play a sound

This action enables you to play a sound when the object is clicked or moused-over (depending which tab you’re on).  Built-in sounds will be displayed in the drop down box.  To use another sound choose “Other Sound” from the drop down list, which will open up a browse dialog so you can navigate to the sound file you wish to use.

The sound action can be used in conjunction with a hyperlink or running a program, so both can be triggered together. 

Highlight click  – If an action is on an image this will makes the image look like it’s a button that’s been depressed.

Mrs Ant Valentine

Thursday, February 15th, 2007

Adrian’s ant cartoon for today is funny – but I suspect he drew it just for me! - the apology

What he doesn’t say is that it should really read

Mrs “I didn’t think Valentine’s Day was important”

Ooops!  My bad.  What to do?  A remedial bunch of flowers doesn’t really work for a guy … Oh well I offered to buy him a chain saw, but he thought I just wanted him to do the yardwork … 

Maybe next year?

Tools for webmasters

Wednesday, February 14th, 2007

I’ve just come across a fabulous array of online tools for webmasters over on iWEBTOOLS.  Here are some of the ones that look like they could be very useful:

  • Backlink Checker
    Get a list of backlinks linking to a site
  • Google Banned Checker
    Have you been banned from Google?
  • Search Engine Position
    Find your entry in Google and Yahoo!
  • Spider View
    See how bots see you website

This site is well worth bookmarking!

Question: Windows Media Player 11 Show Play List

Friday, February 9th, 2007

Question:  “I closed the play list in Windows Media Player 11 and now I can’t find an option to get it back.  Is there a button to get it back?”

Yup.  Right click on the Now Playing button and click “Show List Pane”. 

Windows Media Player 11 Show Play List

The ‘mystery meat’ style of navigation on Microsoft’s redesigned menu-less apps are leaving a lot of people feeling lost. 

Windows Media Player 11 Show Classic Menu - File, View, Play, Tools, Help

You’ll find most of the options from previous versions under the Windows Media Player icon in the top left of the application. If you prefer to have the classic menu you can get them back by clicking on “Show Classic Menus”.  (To hide the menus again click Classic Menus on the View menu.)

Windows Media Player 11 - hide classic file menu

Resend task request in Outlook 2007

Tuesday, February 6th, 2007

The ability to resend the original of an  assigned task is another function that seems to be “lost presumed missing in action” during the creation of new Office. 

You can send an update, but not resend the original (eg with the accept buttons on).  This creates a problem if the assignee doesn’t receive the email and the only solution appears to be recreate the task and resend.

If anyone knows the whereabout of the resend option (on the actions menu in previous Outlook versions) please let me know!

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