Sheryl Canter

Archive for the ‘Tips for Power Users’ Category.

Surface Pro with Windows 8: My Take

I’m a technophile, and I particularly love tablets. I bought the iPad within weeks of its initial release. I have a really nice Android tablet – Google’s Nexus 10. And now I have a Microsoft Surface Pro with Windows 8. I’ve used all three extensively. What do I think of the Surface Pro? It’s not perfect, but it’s very good.

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How to Turn off the Junk E-mail Filter in Outlook 2010

I recently switched over to Outlook 2010 from Outlook 2007 (I’m slow). I always disable the Junk E-mail filter in Outlook because I use something better: Popfile. But I was having trouble doing that in Outlook 2010. I selected the radio box for no filtering, but messages were still being directed to the Junk E-mail folder.

I took to the internet to search for an answer, and discovered that I was having this problem because I have multiple accounts, and Outlook 2010 handles junk mail filtering on a per-account basis. But there was mass confusion on how to access the settings for each account. There is no global setting area in the interface.

Even Microsoft MVPs on Microsoft sites were giving misinformation. Many were suggesting that people disable Junk E-mail in the registry. That didn’t sound right to me, and I didn’t want to do it. I do use some pieces of the Junk E-mail feature – the disabling of links and the safe/blocked sender lists. Plus, judging from peoples’ complaints, it seemed like the suggested registry tweak just disabled the interface and not the functionality!

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Kindle 3 Tips and Tricks

Kindle 3

I resisted the Kindle for a long time. I read a lot and I’m headache-prone, and those low-contrast early Kindles were not going to work for me. Also, I saw in reviews that Kindle books often lacked the footnotes and indexes of the paper versions. When I had occasion to create a Kindle book I realized why: the format is very limited and inconvenient for publishers.

But then I bought an iPad. The Kindle app is free, so I tried a couple ebooks. For most books I read, footnotes and indexes are not an issue, and I’m chronically low on bookshelf space. I like the built-in dictionary and being able to carry several books in a small package. So now I was sold on ebooks, but the iPad was not the ideal hardware. It’s just heavy enough that I don’t want to carry it around, the screen washes out in bright sunlight, and the battery life is only so-so. I can read books on my Droid X phone, which also has a Kindle app, but that drains the battery fast.

Amazon had dropped the price of the Kindle when the iPad was released, and the new Kindle 3 with its light weight, improved screen contrast, long battery life, and readability in direct sunlight was starting to look pretty good. So I bought one, and I like it a lot. I used it for a few days without reading the manual – the basics are not hard. But once I read the manual and did a little googling, I discovered some interesting things I didn’t know. What follows is a collection of tips and tricks for the Kindle 3 that I found especially useful:

  • Viewing PDFs and Other Document Types
  • Zapping that Ghost Dictionary in the Archive
  • Hotkeys and an Easter Egg
  • The Hidden Image Viewer

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Bluetooth Mouse Losing Connection No More!

Microsoft Bluetooth Notebook Mouse 5000

Microsoft Bluetooth Notebook Mouse 5000

I have a Microsoft Bluetooth Notebook Mouse 5000 that I bought when I bought my new Thinkpad with built-in Bluetooth. At the time I was running 64-bit Vista and all was well. Then I upgraded to 64-bit Windows 7, and suddenly the mouse started constantly losing connection.

There was no detectable pattern. It would work fine for a while, and then start disconnecting all the time for no apparently reason. Sometimes it would not wake up after sleeping, but sometimes it would quit while I was using it. At first I got it going again by removing the mouse from the list of Bluetooth devices and then adding it back in. That took too much time. Then, by accident, I discovered that I could wake it up by opening my Bluetooth settings and toggling the checkbox “Allow Bluetooth devices to find this computer”. If it was off I’d turn it on, if it was on I’d turn it off. That was faster, but still a pain.

I searched the internet and found many similar complaints, but no solutions. Several sites suggested upgrading your Bluetooth drivers. There’s no new driver for the Microsoft mouse, but I updated the Thinkpad Bluetooth drivers. No joy. Then the other day the mouse started quitting on me every few minutes and in desperation I searched again. This time I found the answer. There are two separate settings that need to be changed.

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NetworkedBlogs on Facebook Pages

The NetworkedBlogs app on Facebook was recently updated. For one thing, you only need four followers for a feed now. For another, you can use automatic updates to publish your blog to a Facebook page, as well as your profile.

Theoretically, this blog post will appear on my Facebook profile page, Can’t wait to see if it really does! The last one didn’t… But this one did! Cool!

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Locked & Vanishing Files in Dreamweaver and InDesign

Do you use Dreamweaver? Have you ever been editing a file and then suddenly you can’t save it and Dreamweaver reports the file as locked? And then if you reboot to unlock the file, you discover it has vanished?

Do you use the InDesign book feature? Have you ever saved the book and then discovered that it has vanished?

Both problems appear to occur only with CS4 running on Vista. [[Edit: Not just with Vista: It's reported in a comment below to have occurred on Windows 7. -sc]] Here are the workarounds.

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Problems Removing and Installing Adobe CS4

Take my advice: Before you even think about installing Adobe trial software, do a full mirror backup of your computer’s hard disk, and be prepared to use it. I had horrible problems with Adobe Creative Suite 4 (CS4), and according to the three tech support guys in India that I spent hours on the phone with today, I am not the only one.

Here’s the whole sad story, with the ultimate solution.

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Another Installation Already in Progress (But it’s Not)

I keep encountering an annoying error message as I try to set up my new 64-bit Vista laptop. Often when I try to install a program, I’m told that another installation is already in progress and I must complete that one first. But no other installation is in progress, and simply rebooting doesn’t help.

I googled this problem, and found some complicated advice about failed installations and the Windows Installer Cleanup Utility. But I find that this error occurs when a program installs just fine in every respect except that it leaves the Windows Installer Service running.

There’s a easy way to fix this.

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Brother Printer? Can’t Install Software on 64-Bit Vista?

Here the solution to an annoying problem that took me some time to track down. I’m posting the problem and the solution to help any other fellow sufferers there may be out there.

I have a brand new ThinkPad running 64-bit Vista. But when I tried to install Microsoft Office 2007, no joy – it would copy the files from DVD then stall until I cancelled it. Same thing happened with Office updates. When I tried to install the Java Development Kit (JDK), I got an error message saying that another install process was running and that had to complete first.

After much pain, I finally tracked this down to the Brother XP spl Service (BrSplService – brsvc01a.exe), installed with the software for my Brother MFC 420CN. I still have no idea what this does, but I did find a patch for the problem on the Brother site. Problem solved.

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Change Outlook Recurring Appointments without Losing Your History

In the old days, before everyone had a personal computer, paper appointment books provided a permanent record of what we did when. Sometimes that’s useful – sometimes you need to refer back. Today, I use Outlook on the PC and Pocket PC to keep track of my appointments. And when things are electronic, there is the potential for problems.

I have a recurring weekly appointment in Outlook, and I wanted to change the time of the appointment. That should be easy, right? You’d think you could change all the times going forward? But noooooo. Outlook warns you that if you make a change, all exceptions will be lost. But actually, it’s worse than that. It changes the time of every appointment – including appointments that occurred in the past. Happily I found a workaround.

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