Thursday, October 11, 2012

Recent Items in Windows 8

I  just got Windows 8 installed on my work desktop a few days back, and am still trying to find my way around the place.  The jury is still out if this is a great OS for non-touch laptop/desktop users; I really appreciate some of the performance features; some of the UX, not so much.

This morning I was looking for a file I had just closed, and I couldn't remember the filename or the path.  Recent Items to the rescue, I thought. So I hit Windows, typed "Recent" - nothing - continued, "Recent Items" - nothing.  Hmm.  Hit Windows + F to do a file search only - still nada.

Google to the rescue, as always:

From elessarGObonzo: the folder is still located in "C:\Users\[yourusername]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows" as 'Recent Items'

Unfortunately this folder is a special folder that can't simply be added as a Toolbar - that would have been great.  You can however add it to your Start menu, Desktop, and also to the Taskbar.

To add Recent items to your Start menu, simply right-click and select Pin to Start.  Done. (Tip: Hit Windows to bring up Start and then move the icon to a place you can find it.)

To add Recent Items to the Desktop is also easy, rght-click, select Send To > Desktop (create shortcut).  Done.

To add Recent Items to the Taskbar is more complex - you have to add a shortcut to the Taskbar folder, which like the Recent Items folder itself is hidden.

From Windows 7 Themes: the Taskbar folder is located here: C:\Users\[yourusername]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch\User Pinned\TaskBar

So simply Alt-drag the Recent Items from its folder to the Taskbar folder and you now have a button in the Desktop taskbar.

Not quite the same as Windows 7, but manageable.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Trying Google Scribe...

This morning I was doing some cleaning of my Bookmarks bar in Chrome, when I came across a forgotten Bookmarklet - Google Scribe.  It looks like the Scribe Lab program has since graduated and been rolled into Blogger's 'Draft' program, which is where I'm trying it as I type this. 

On my phone, I use Swiftkey, which works in a similar manner; I start typing a word, and the program suggests not only the completion of the word, but as soon as I type space, it suggests the statistically most probable next word.

Kind of freaky, but highly effective on my phone at least.  It's also interesting to see what it thinks I should be writing.  Example: I will type a word and let Scribe choose next ones:  Suggested words and word completions are highlighted:

The first day of the week andhave to take a break from the past to the future of my children.   

Pure poetry

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Monday, August 29, 2011

Recipe for annoyance


For whatever reason, this was the power setting on my new laptop.

This is NOT a recommended setting – unless you don’t ever want to use your laptop when running on batteries…

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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Password insanity

Tonight I had to fill out some official paperwork and went online to get it done.  (Before I start griping – the online form was fine, I could fill it out with minimal problems and got a nice PDF with all the entered info at the end.) 

But to get to the form – oh boy.

I’d been to this site before, so I knew I had an account – I guessed my password – err.  Ok, time to hit the forgot password link.

Oh – ok, “the password expires every 60 days”, so that’s why.  I enter the answer to my “secret” question (the answer to which is a matter of public record, and would probably take a hacker 5 minutes to figure out) and am allowed to attempt to enter my new password.  Err.  “Your password can not contain more than three consecutive letters from your old password”. 

Alright odd, but, attempt 2.  Err.  “Your password must be at least 8 characters”.

Ok, fine – should have guessed that.  Attempt 3.  Err. “Your password must contain a special character AND two entries from the three groups: number, upper case and lowercase.” 

Uhm – ok?.  Attempt 4.  Err.  “Your password must begin and end with a letter.”

WTF?  Attempt 5: I enter an upper case letter, a set of adjacent keyboard symbols, and a lower case letter and lo and behold the password is accepted

Don’t ask me what the password was – even if I WOULD tell you, I couldn’t – I have already forgotten.  But that’s fine, next time I’ll just repeat the same exercise and get in by answering my “secret” question.

XKCD says it oh so well:

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Google+ killer feature is the menu bar


I don’t know – and don’t want to know – how much time I spend on any one of Google’s sites per day.  Now with Google+ the menu bar alerts me of notifications and lets me share from any one of these sites.

Sites thrive on content – the menu bar integration with Google+ makes it stupifyingly easy to share your content.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Also features A few*** weeks ago I installed Swype on my droid and promptly posted a boot blog post from my phone using the new keyboard.  It went reasonably well,  but it caused me to accidentally submit the post halfway through.

Nevertheless,  Swype quickly became my preferred input method on my phone.  Until tonight.

Tonight I installed SwiftKey.  SwiftKey is much more like a regular keyboard in that you type your letters (rather than draw a path over the letters, like in Swype), but the HUGE differentiator that SwiftKey brings to the table is that it predicts the NEXT word you're going to type.  Let me say that again: SwiftKey predicts the NEXT word you're going to type!  It does this through a combination of statistical analysis of the language of your choice and what you have typed in the past.  Rather than merely working reasonably well,  SwiftKey really works REMARKABLY well.  So well in fact that it predicted each of the last seven words in the sentence I repeated above.

Not only that, but it also works with the Droid's slide out keyboard,  bringing the best of tactile and predictable typing together.

This is a good one,  and a worthy installation for any (an)droid user out there.   Let's hope it's not too expensive when it comes out of beta.

PS!  Would love to see this on an iPad.

SwiftKey vs Standard Keyboard

SwiftKey vs Swype–a very close call, though the Swyper is hardly using Swype to its fullest.

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Friday, June 11, 2010

How to Always Run Visual Studio As Administrator

To jum straight to the solution, click here

“Certain tasks, including debugging and creating local IIS applications, require that you start Visual Studio as a user with Administrative privileges. On Windows Vista, and Windows Server 2008 when not running as the built-in Administrator account, this requires right-clicking the Visual Studio 2008 icon in the Start Menu and choosing Run as administrator.

“To make this process easier, you can create a shortcut and check the Run this program as an administrator check box on the Compatibility tab of the shortcut properties.”
from Using Visual Studio 2008 with IIS 7 @

On the last few projects I’ve worked on, we’ve used IIS sites for our development (for a number of reasons I won’t detail here), and the need to open VS in admin mode has been a constant annoyance.  It’s like constantly getting bitten by a mosquito. Today I finally got annoyed enough to spend 5 minutes researching a solution.  (I know.  I procrastinate.)

The solution, or what seems to be working for me so far at least was found at How to Run a Program as an Administrator in Windows 7.  Some of these options I knew about, the one I hadn’t tried and which worked for me was this:

1. Right click on the program shortcut or program .exe file, then click on Properties, and on the Compatibility tab. (See screenshots below)
NOTE: If you are doing this while logged on as a standard user instead of an administrator, then you will need to also click on the Change settings for all users button and type in the administrator's password.

Run as Administrator-compatibility_mode1.jpgRun as Administrator-compatibility_mode2.jpg

2. To Always Run this Program as an Administrator -

A) Check the Run this program as an administrator box, and click on OK. (See screenshots above)

The key is to change the compatibility setting of the Visual Studio EXECUTABLE, not the shortcut to it.  I.e., on my laptop, I went to C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 10.0\Common7\IDE\ and right-clicked devenv.exe and then proceeded as above.

I then had to add one more step – when I now clicked on a .sln file, nothing would happen.  It appears the default Open action couldn’t run, I assume, due to inadequate privileges.  To fix this, I right-clicked the .sln file, selected Open With –> Choose Default Program, and then selected Visual Studio, making sure Always use… was checked.

Presto – my .sln files now open asking to be run as admin, as do my jump list projects.

Itch scratched.

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Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Windows 7 Taskbar Icon Progress Indicator

I’ve been ranting too much again, so here’s a rave:  While installing XP Mode in Windows 7 I noticed that the taskbar icon has a built in progress indicator.  That is…


And that’s only half of it: there’s an API for both progress indicators and icon overlays – see the blog post here.

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