Windows

Macs go Intel, then go Windows? (UPDATED)

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After the announcement in 2005 that Apple were going to change their Macintosh computers from the IBM/Motorola PowerPC range of processors to Intel's x86 line everyone thought they were nuts. Well it seems the insanity continues as Apple have just announced a program called Boot Camp that allows anyone with an Intel-based Mac to run Windows! Yowzers!

UPDATE: A 3rd party company has developed a $50 program called Parallels which lets your Intel Mac run a huge array of operating systems while you are still running OSX, i.e. no reboot required, thus giving you much more flexibility. While audio doesn't work and you can't access the CD/DVD drive, for standard applications I think this is a better way to go. Nifty.

TIP: Instant Rails problems with MySQL

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I've mentioned Instant Rails before, the one-step installer for Ruby on Rails for Windows that makes life excedingly easy for beginners? Well, as it turns out there's a problem using it with the included MySQL that makes the combination simply not work - every time you try to do something with MySQL from any of the Rails or Ruby commands you're greated by the loving message

Mysql::Error: Lost connection to MySQL server during query: SELECT version FROM schema_info

Lots of fun there. As it turns out the fix is remarkably easy, simply download the following zip file and follow the instructions in the included readme.txt file, which boil down to copying a single file to somewhere specific. Why this wasn't included in the final Instant Rails release I don't know, but at least the fix is easy.

Huge thanks to Jeroen Nijenhuis for putting this fix together - the Rails newbie world is forever in your debt!

Start off slowly with Ruby on Rails (UPDATED)

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Ruby on Rails can seem like a complicated beastie to newcomers, even though its learning curve is much lower than most similar technologies it is still there, so what's better than an expertly written tutorial that shows you exactly how to get started? Three of them, that's what, one each depending on whether your computer runs Windows, OSX or Linux. With one of these under your belt you're sure to be churning out excellent web software in no time!

UPDATE: If you are running OSX 10.3 (Panther) you need to follow these instructions to get the current version of Ruby to install, the other link has instructions for 10.4:

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.

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