Software

Firefox browsing carrots?!?

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For the last two days the Firefox install on our home PC has been behaving oddly, specifically moving the arrow keys no longer moves the page as a whole, instead it scrolls through the text like in Notepad, MS Word or something. As it turned out I had inadvertantly turned on caret browsing/navigation where you can move around the page and select content with your keys rather than the mouse. Most likely I accidentally hit the F7 key which turns it on while I was tidying the desk at home, ironically I found out about it while cleaning my desk at work and wiping down my keyboard when I accidentally hit the relevant key. I can see how it would be beneficial at times but I wish there was a status display to say it was turned on/off to at least give a clue to newbies that it was at least possible, so they don't think they're going insane when their computer starts doing something funny. Doh.

Tip: Thunderbird and IMAP caching

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A small tip for all your Thunderbird users who read your email via IMAP.

For some reason I was under the assumption that Thunderbird stored a copy of each message in subscribed IMAP mailboxes. As it turned out, this assumption was 100% incorrect with the default settings, and so a large chunk of email archives that I thought I had stored from 2004 and 2005 are now gone. Darn.

It is possible, however, to enable this life-saving feature. What you have to do is go to your account settings (Tools menu, select Accounts), then on one of your IMAP accounts go to the Offline & Disk Space section. On this page make sure to check the two top options (Make the messages in my inbox available when I am working offline and When I create new folders, select them for offline use), then click Select folders for offline use, and in the window that pops up go through the list checking off all of your important folders (usually everything except for your Trash and Junk mailboxes).

That turns on the feature, but it won't automatically cache all of the email that has already been listed. To do this you simply go to the File menu in the main program, select Offline and then Download/Sync now. The window that pops up lets you select what you want to download (email, news or both), then just click OK to have Thunderbird fly through your email and download it all.

While I'm not sure why this extra level of caching is not turned on by default, a little bit of fiddling to get it working will ensure that you don't end up loosing two years of email.

WindowBlinds TIP: Explorer using too much CPU time

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A quick tip if you're noticing that Explorer is using too much CPU time when you're using WindowBlinds.

On my system I was seeing Explorer using upwards of 90% CPU time, bringing my PC to a crawl. I didn't want to uninstall WB so I tried tweaking the settings a bit. In the end I found that if I disabled Skin the quicklaunch taskbar buttons in the Basic Settings tab that it stopped going bananas and everything went back to normal.

Microsoft Outlook won't show contacts

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Another weird one today. A co-worker's install of Microsoft Outlook 2002 wasn't showing any of the contacts he had in his "contacts" address book. As it turns out, this is a bug in Outlook, at least when its running in Exchange Server mode. There are two steps to this, first you add the contacts folder to Outlook then you add it to the email popup window. To fix the problem:

  • In Outlook go to the Tools menu and select Email Accounts.
  • Select Add a new directory or address book and click Next.
  • Select Additional Address Books then click Next again.
  • Under the Additional Address Book Types list select Outlook Address Book and select Next.

At this point you'll get one of two responses, either it will say that Outlook needs to be closed to accept the changes or it will say that your selected folder is already present and can't be added again.

The second part is pretty simple:

  • Right-click on the Contacts folder within your Outlook Folders list and select Properties.
  • Click over to the Outlook Address Book tab.
  • Select the Show this folder as an e-mail Address Book box
  • Type in a relevant name for this particular contacts folder under Name of the address book.
  • Click OK and you're done.

One thing to remember on this is that if you have multiple contact folders, e.g. if you separated them into one folder for personal contacts, one for vendors, etc, you need to go through the second set of steps above for each folder, adding the main Contacts folder won't add all of the other folders; this is actually what turned out to be the problem at work, the main contacts folder was added already but the sub-folders were not.

SmarterStats - excellent website stats program

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Just a quick blurb to mention that this evening I installed SmarterStats on our website to give it a spin, and so far what I see I really like. The download lets you run stats for free for any one site which is perfect for personal sites or for doing a test run against your company's main site. The only requirement is that the .Net v1.1 runtime must be on your machine, but you don't have to install it on your server, you can instead put it on your desktop and just download the logfiles. Give it a spin!

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