It's Microsoft's World, and I'm just living in it
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Windows Always On Top

July 25, 2008 03:00 by ckincincy

image One feature that I use to increase my productivity is an application called AlwaysOnTop.  Basically it adds a menu to the right click on the title bar to make a window 'always on top'.

This allows me to open up one document (lets say a tutorial on how to do something in Visual Studio) and make it 'on top' while I have my IDE open to walk through the tutorial.

There are a lot of similar applications out there, but none of them that I've found are are good as this one.

Uninstalling .NET framework

July 21, 2008 03:00 by ckincincy

I've had two interesting things happen to friends computers over the past few months.

First I got an email from my friends at Tin Roof (by the way, if you want to support a great charity... this is it) telling me that she needed to file an extension on her taxes before she leaves for Nicaragua on Tuesday. However when she started Turbo Tax she was getting an error.

Further investigation by me (via a VNC connection I set up with her a while ago) realized that this was a .NET error.

Turbo Tax spit out the following error: 20888 39915.  A Quick search of their site gave this article.  Basically blaming .NET and their solution has a link to a program that totally wipes out .NET from your system so you can start over.  I downloaded the program, ran it and then reinstalled .NET and her problem was fixed (well after I ran a reboot.bat file that was in the Turbo Tax installation folder, but that's another issue all together).

Then I have another buddy who had been using a program I wrote for my church to transfer files between members of the multimedia team.  Several months ago a basic Windows component of it stopped working right.  I was at a total loss for a solution (as a simple uninstall and reinstall of .NET didn't help).  I let it drop... but I emailed him today with this fix and my hunch is, that this will get him up and running again.

What frustrates me the most about this, is that Microsoft's .NET uninstall doesn't fully uninstall itself.  Many years ago I did some work for Lexmark's All in One printers and one of the BIG things they did was make sure that their uninstall completely wipes out any record of the machine being on your system.  And really there is no excuse for any other behavior.

Working with Zip files in .NET

July 2, 2008 03:00 by ckincincy

Recently I was working on a project that required me to unzip a file and process its contents.

But I needed to first figure out how to unzip a file.  To the rescue came the SharpZipLib.  This is under the GPL but is specifically released for personal and commercial use.

In my very basic use it worked like a champ.

Window Clippings 2.1

March 30, 2008 16:03 by ckincincy

imagePreviously I posted about Window Clippings. It is a great piece of software for grabbing screen shots.  Window's Vista has a built in application similar to Window clippings, but not XP.

Kenny Kerr, recently released version 2.1.  There are many new features to it, even one that I requested.

He has a version that is free, but it puts a WindowClippings.com water mark on the image. 

So check it out!

Browser Synchronization

March 23, 2008 16:42 by ckincincy

foxmarks-159x37Well I think I am finally dropping FoxMarks.

FoxMarks is a Firefox Extension that synchronizes your bookmarks between machines.  It was a beautiful extension until version 2 was released.  Version two has been a train wreck, and for the longest time I just kept running version 1.  However I quickly grew tired of the notification that my FoxMarks extension was out of date, so I finally decided to give version 2 one last try.

Needless to say it failed bad.  Its a shame to see such a good product become such a bad product.

So I did a search for a replacement option and find out about Google Browser Sync.  Syncs not only my bookmarks, but also my cookies, history, saved passwords, and open tabs and windows.  BEAUTIFUL!

Now when I switch from my work PC to my home PC I keep many of my settings.

Unlocker Updated

March 3, 2008 20:43 by ckincincy

As previously mentioned on my blog, I use a tool called 'Unlocker' which unlocks used files when I can't delete them.  Here is the list of changes:

Unlocker 1.8.6 - 29/02/2007

- Fixed bug: Delete, move and rename should work better now.
- Fixed bug: Non DLL handles are now listed properly on Vista.
- Fixed bug: List files are compatible with Total Commander again. This bug appeared in version 1.7.7. Thanks to Icfu for spotting it.
- Improved behavior: The executable includes a manifest for better Vista compatibility.
- Promotional feature: Added fully optional shortcuts to eBay during the installation. Simply untick "eBay shortcuts" in the choose components page during install if you do not wish to have those.

Develop for Standards

February 24, 2008 19:33 by ckincincy

We are on the verge of two more browsers being released, IE8 and FF 3.  I've tested FF3 (as it was very easy to install without screwing up my current configurations), and have read up on IE8.  Both are aiming to be standards complient, FF 3 currently passes the Acid test, and IE 8 is reported to pass it.

Now here is the issue, IE 8 is not standard by default, you have to add a meta tag to your website saying it is compliant.  The thought is that they didn't want the web broken by the new browser.  

So here is my call to all developers... break the stinking web.  When you develop a site, make it 100% compliant to the standards and let the users stuck on old software deal with it.  We need to stop having to create hacks to work with the various versions of web browsers.

When I started out many years ago working in ASP I used GoLive; which my coworkers and I had two bits of fun with:
1. Had this saying: Be like Jesus, save often.
2. Called it GoDead due to its many crashes.

But GoLive was not standard compliant at all.  Now that I do my development in Visual Studio I make sure that all my sites are standard compliant.  So they should render perfectly in the new browsers.

But for those of you who develop websites, I repeat my plea: BREAK THE WEB. 

Codec issues

February 12, 2008 20:31 by ckincincy

image What a frustrating bit of time I've had.  On Saturday there was a video scavenger hunt at my church.   I wanted to pull two clips off my camera to share with others.  However this was the first time I'd be capturing video from my camera since my system refresh.

The AVI file was stuttering and skipping, now knowing I just installed a base XP Pro system I knew the issue was codec related... however finding the right solution is very hard at times. 

I started downloading codec pack after codec pack, and was having no luck.  So I went searching for things to find corrupted codec's or if there was some other problem causing it.

Found a few things that seemed to help.

Step 1: Uninstalled every codec pack I had installed previously.  Worked to make sure my system was as clean as possible.

Step 2: Ran the vbs file on this page.  Now after doing this, I tried the video again and it was skipping... so while this may help you, it didn't help me.

Step 3: Ran Sherlock 2.0 and it pointed out a few codec corruptions, so I worked to clean those out the best I could (deleting registry keys and such).

Step 4: Installed the K-Lite Codec Pack using the option that said something like "A bunch of stuff".  Now this actually found some corrupted codec's and deleted them.


Now a side note, I've become a huge fan of Window's Media Player Classic which is installed with K-Lite.


January 13, 2008 17:06 by ckincincy

I do a fair amount of image creation for my church web site.  So I was happy to learn about CreativeMYK.com and repository of royalty free images for church audiences.  It is a new site so it should have more to offer over time in way of images and in features (currently searching is painful)

Credit to: Joel Young

Now as an addition I also use two other sites for my sources:

www.sxc.hu - A site with user submitted images.  Licensing varies but most images are free to use.  Their search feature is pretty good.

www.creativecommons.org - This is a search site that links a few sites together and you can check a box that will limit your search to royalty free images only.  Nice way to find good photos.

Cannot Delete File: It is being used

December 30, 2007 11:07 by ckincincy

You ever get this annoying message?


Since I'm a developer I generally use folders in odd ways, and I get messages like this.  The problem is that the program using them is Windows itself!  So a while ago a friend of mine told me of "Unlocker." Basically allows me to delete the stinking folder or file anyway. After a message like this, the Unlocker program gives me this screen:


And after selecting the right options, the folder or file is gone!

Oh, and the great thing about this... its free!