Thursday, December 31, 2009

Holiday Season

Seen it, Heard it, Said it all before, but I still want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas!

All the best to you and yours for this holiday season.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


I hate to badmouth anyone or anything if I don't have to, but I feel the need to warn everyone:



Is anyone upset about their Internet Service Provider (ISP)?

OK, OK, slow down... I can't keep up... Too Many Complaints...

Alright, the votes are in; nearly all of us have a complaint or two about our ISP's. Is this really a big surprise? It is a delicate balance between us using the internet and our ISP's not actually wanting us to use it, after all, if we pay for unlimited service and only use a small portion, our ISP comes out ahead.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Monday, November 23, 2009

Google Wave

So many people interested in Wave!

Just checked in on the Twitter world, many of you are asking about Google Wave. What is it? How can I get an invite? Can I sell you my last invite? and so on...

I will not go into too much detail, but what you should know is that Wave is a powerful collaboration tool.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Finland, Spain Bringing 1Mbps Broadband To Everyone

Finland, Spain Bringing 1Mbps Broadband To Everyone:

While the US talks, other countries are acting. Both Finland and Spain have now decided to add 'broadband' to their universal service requirements. By 2011, any Finn or Spaniard, no matter where they live, should be able to get a reliable 1Mbps connection at a reasonable price.
'Universal service': it's a common concept in developed countries, and it provides money to telephone operators and other utilities to ensure that service is extended even to places where it would not otherwise be profitable, and that prices remain reasonable. As broadband increasingly becomes an essential utility, members of Congress and US regulators at the FCC have pondered how some form of basic connectivity might be extended to every American address through the Universal Service Fund.

Read the rest of this article...


I Wish I could get internet! Notice I didn't say broadband? I just want proper access to the internet from my own home.

Seriously, we run windows and antivirus updates and are pretty much out of our allowed limit for the month.

Maybe my approach is backward, why should I update antivirus when I don't have enough bandwidth to get a virus?!?

Nothing against Finland or Spain, they are good countries, but why don't the "super" countries have internet for their people? So much for being world leaders.

Here's hoping that the rest of the world follows the lead of Finland and Spain. Thank you, you crazy countries that I may never visit. You are my heroes.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Google Chrome OS

I have just finished reading an article about the new Chrome OS  --here--

More important than the article are the posted comments. Reading comments like these are how I keep in touch with what the general population thinks about a topic. That said, I really hope that the Google Chrome OS is as innovative and game changing as some speculate.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


I was asked recently to explain a little bit about music files, specifically MP3 files, in regards to quality.

The general idea was that the original files in the WAV format were over 100 MB in size, but after converting to MP3, the file size was reduced to only roughly 3% the original size. How can MP3 possibly be of any useful quality if it is so small?

As I know the inquisitive nature of the requester, I began by explaining some of the basics of the MP3 digital music file as we use them today:

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Netbook versus Laptop

  I have been asked a lot recently about the worth of "those $200.00 - $300.00 Laptops". For the most part they are (and for simplicity I shall refer to them as) Netbooks.  

   To be honest, Intel© describes what one needs to know, in it's simplest form, at the following:  

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Peer 2 Peer

I just wanted to say a word on Peer to Peer (P2P) file sharing.

It itself is not illegal and evil! It is a great tool that users abuse for ill purpose.

Somebody like myself invented this ingenious method of transferring and sharing files over an internet connection; it wasn't designed to break any laws. It is the users that choose to share legally protected files that give this excellent tool a bad name.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Cool feature!

I am testing out for the first time the email to blog posting option. If all goes well, this post will have been generated by an email sent from a mobile.

If anyone wants to try it, just visit the "Email & Mobile" section in Settings.

Happy Mobility.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Start Windows Task Manager at login

Do you like to have your task manager up and running all the time? I usually do! It provides that handy little graph in the task tray showing my CPU usage.

Because I could not find a built in method of having it start when the machine turns on, I turned to VB.NET coding and created a module that starts it for me at login.

Most of you won't have, or even want to have, the tools to create a VB.NET app to do this job, so let me describe a simple way of doing it with notepad.

Create a new .txt document, remember what you have named it (ex. MyTaskManagerStarter.txt)

Inside, type the next two lines:


Now, save and close it.

What we have to do now is change the file extension; this is done by right clicking the file, select rename and change the .txt to .bat (may need to turn off 'hide known file extensions' in folder options to be able to see the extension)

Note: .bat files can harm your machine, do not play around with them unless you know what your doing. (on that note, our example will be safe)

Now all you have to do is drag and drop this file into Startup in the Start Menu.

Alternatively, you could create a task using the task schedular that runs it for you at login. This would also allow you to 'run as administrator'. (post a comment asking for directions if interested.)

Happy Manipulating

Thursday, August 13, 2009

VB.NET MsgBox, adding extra buttons

I have heard a lot of people ask how they can place custom buttons on a VB.NET msgBox, you know, "YES", "NO" and "WELL, MAYBE!". Often you'll see yes, no, cancel with directions on what each response means, but that just isn't what the programmer wants.

The fact of the matter is that there is no practicle way to change up the msgbox to do your bidding! Your best bet is to create your own msgbox.

I have used 2 techniques; First is to set up my own newmsgbox class to accept an array of commands. When my newmsgbox class is 'called' it dynamically creates the necessary buttons and reports back the button chosen when clicked.

Second technique is to use a static newmsgbox class with the amount of buttons already chosen. Now I can set up an enumeration for the response, I can set default text and actions for the buttons, and rename the buttons in the call, as follows:

Dim mr As MyMsgResult

mr = MyMsgBox.ShowMyMsg("msgbox Message" , "button1 text", "button2 text", "button3 text", "Title").response
'Where message is required, btnText and Title optional.

I too wish it was not this difficult to add an extra button, but I assume we are suppost to ask ourselves whether or not we actually still want to use a msgbox if we're adding so many options.

Happy coding.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tips & Tricks: Keyboard Shortcuts

You might be surprised how many people I have encountered recently that are not familiar with some of the keyboard shortcuts available on a typical Microsoft Operating System.

Even now there is a list of some basics displayed on the screen for me:

Shortcuts: press Ctrl with: B = Bold, I = Italic, P = Publish, S = Save, D = Draft

Here is my comprehensive list of keyboard shortcuts designed for XP; most work in Vista, Windows 7, and some linux/unix OS's:

General keyboard shortcuts

CTRL+C (Copy)

CTRL+X (Cut)

CTRL+V (Paste)

CTRL+Z (Undo)

DELETE (Delete)

SHIFT+DELETE (Delete the selected item permanently without placing the item in the Recycle Bin)

CTRL while dragging an item (Copy the selected item)

CTRL+SHIFT while dragging an item (Create a shortcut to the selected item)

F2 key (Rename the selected item)

CTRL+RIGHT ARROW (Move the insertion point to the beginning of the next word)

CTRL+LEFT ARROW (Move the insertion point to the beginning of the previous word)

CTRL+DOWN ARROW (Move the insertion point to the beginning of the next paragraph)

CTRL+UP ARROW (Move the insertion point to the beginning of the previous paragraph)

CTRL+SHIFT with any of the arrow keys (Highlight a block of text)

SHIFT with any of the arrow keys (Select more than one item in a window or on the desktop, or select text in a document)

CTRL+A (Select all)

F3 key (Search for a file or a folder)

ALT+ENTER (View the properties for the selected item)

ALT+F4 (Close the active item, or quit the active program)

ALT+ENTER (Display the properties of the selected object)

ALT+SPACEBAR (Open the shortcut menu for the active window)

CTRL+F4 (Close the active document in programs that enable you to have multiple documents open simultaneously)

ALT+TAB (Switch between the open items)

ALT+ESC (Cycle through items in the order that they had been opened)

F6 key (Cycle through the screen elements in a window or on the desktop)

F4 key (Display the Address bar list in My Computer or Windows Explorer)

SHIFT+F10 (Display the shortcut menu for the selected item)

ALT+SPACEBAR (Display the System menu for the active window)

CTRL+ESC (Display the Start menu)

ALT+Underlined letter in a menu name (Display the corresponding menu)

Underlined letter in a command name on an open menu (Perform the corresponding command)

F10 key (Activate the menu bar in the active program)

RIGHT ARROW (Open the next menu to the right, or open a submenu)

LEFT ARROW (Open the next menu to the left, or close a submenu)

F5 key (Update the active window)

BACKSPACE (View the folder one level up in My Computer or Windows Explorer)

ESC (Cancel the current task)

SHIFT when you insert a CD-ROM into the CD-ROM drive (Prevent the CD-ROM from automatically playing)

CTRL+SHIFT+ESC (Open Task Manager)

Dialog box keyboard shortcuts

If you press SHIFT+F8 in extended selection list boxes, you enable extended selection mode. In this mode, you can use an arrow key to move a cursor without changing the selection. You can press CTRL+SPACEBAR or SHIFT+SPACEBAR to adjust the selection. To cancel extended selection mode, press SHIFT+F8 again. Extended selection mode cancels itself when you move the focus to another control.

CTRL+TAB (Move forward through the tabs)

CTRL+SHIFT+TAB (Move backward through the tabs)

TAB (Move forward through the options)

SHIFT+TAB (Move backward through the options)

ALT+Underlined letter (Perform the corresponding command or select the corresponding option)

ENTER (Perform the command for the active option or button)

SPACEBAR (Select or clear the check box if the active option is a check box)

Arrow keys (Select a button if the active option is a group of option buttons)

F1 key (Display Help)

F4 key (Display the items in the active list)

BACKSPACE (Open a folder one level up if a folder is selected in the Save As or Open dialog box)

Microsoft natural keyboard shortcuts

Windows Logo (Display or hide the Start menu)

Windows Logo+BREAK (Display the System Properties dialog box)

Windows Logo+D (Display the desktop)

Windows Logo+M (Minimize all of the windows)

Windows Logo+SHIFT+M (Restore the minimized windows)

Windows Logo+E (Open My Computer)

Windows Logo+F (Search for a file or a folder)

CTRL+Windows Logo+F (Search for computers)

Windows Logo+F1 (Display Windows Help)

Windows Logo+ L (Lock the keyboard)

Windows Logo+R (Open the Run dialog box)

Windows Logo+U (Open Utility Manager)

Accessibility keyboard shortcuts

Right SHIFT for eight seconds (Switch FilterKeys either on or off)

Left ALT+left SHIFT+PRINT SCREEN (Switch High Contrast either on or off)

Left ALT+left SHIFT+NUM LOCK (Switch the MouseKeys either on or off)

SHIFT five times (Switch the StickyKeys either on or off)

NUM LOCK for five seconds (Switch the ToggleKeys either on or off)

Windows Logo +U (Open Utility Manager)

Windows Explorer keyboard shortcuts

END (Display the bottom of the active window)

HOME (Display the top of the active window)

NUM LOCK+Asterisk sign (*) (Display all of the subfolders that are under the selected folder)

NUM LOCK+Plus sign (+) (Display the contents of the selected folder)

NUM LOCK+Minus sign (-) (Collapse the selected folder)

LEFT ARROW (Collapse the current selection if it is expanded, or select the parent folder)

RIGHT ARROW (Display the current selection if it is collapsed, or select the first subfolder)

Shortcut keys for Character Map

After you double-click a character on the grid of characters, you can move through the grid by using the keyboard shortcuts:

RIGHT ARROW (Move to the right or to the beginning of the next line)

LEFT ARROW (Move to the left or to the end of the previous line)

UP ARROW (Move up one row)

DOWN ARROW (Move down one row)

PAGE UP (Move up one screen at a time)

PAGE DOWN (Move down one screen at a time)

HOME (Move to the beginning of the line)

END (Move to the end of the line)

CTRL+HOME (Move to the first character)

CTRL+END (Move to the last character)

SPACEBAR (Switch between Enlarged and Normal mode when a character is selected)

Microsoft Management Console (MMC) main window keyboard shortcuts

CTRL+O (Open a saved console)

CTRL+N (Open a new console)

CTRL+S (Save the open console)

CTRL+M (Add or remove a console item)

CTRL+W (Open a new window)

F5 key (Update the content of all console windows)

ALT+SPACEBAR (Display the MMC window menu)

ALT+F4 (Close the console)

ALT+A (Display the Action menu)

ALT+V (Display the View menu)

ALT+F (Display the File menu)

ALT+O (Display the Favorites menu)

MMC console window keyboard shortcuts

CTRL+P (Print the current page or active pane)

ALT+Minus sign (-) (Display the window menu for the active console window)

SHIFT+F10 (Display the Action shortcut menu for the selected item)

F1 key (Open the Help topic, if any, for the selected item)

F5 key (Update the content of all console windows)

CTRL+F10 (Maximize the active console window)

CTRL+F5 (Restore the active console window)

ALT+ENTER (Display the Properties dialog box, if any, for the selected item)

F2 key (Rename the selected item)

CTRL+F4 (Close the active console window. When a console has only one console window, this shortcut closes the console)

Remote desktop connection navigation

CTRL+ALT+END (Open the Microsoft Windows NT Security dialog box)

ALT+PAGE UP (Switch between programs from left to right)

ALT+PAGE DOWN (Switch between programs from right to left)

ALT+INSERT (Cycle through the programs in most recently used order)

ALT+HOME (Display the Start menu)

CTRL+ALT+BREAK (Switch the client computer between a window and a full screen)

ALT+DELETE (Display the Windows menu)

CTRL+ALT+Minus sign (-) (Place a snapshot of the entire client window area on the Terminal server clipboard and provide the same functionality as pressing ALT+PRINT SCREEN on a local computer.)

CTRL+ALT+Plus sign (+) (Place a snapshot of the active window in the client on the Terminal server clipboard and provide the same functionality as pressing PRINT SCREEN on a local computer.)

Microsoft Internet Explorer navigation

CTRL+B (Open the Organize Favorites dialog box)

CTRL+E (Open the Search bar)

CTRL+F (Start the Find utility)

CTRL+H (Open the History bar)

CTRL+I (Open the Favorites bar)

CTRL+L (Open the Open dialog box)

CTRL+N (Start another instance of the browser with the same Web address)

CTRL+O (Open the Open dialog box, the same as CTRL+L)

CTRL+P (Open the Print dialog box)

CTRL+R (Update the current Web page)

CTRL+W (Close the current window)

MS Article# 301583

Happy Navigating.