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Topics - steeladept [ switch to compact view ]

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Living Room / Back from Donationcoder past....
« on: September 04, 2017, 05:07 PM »
Hello all!  Been a long time.  I just checked my profile and it looks like the last time I was on, at least regularly, was over 4 years ago.  :-[

Crazy 4 years, though.  After I got my new position at work 4 years ago, I was too busy to really come back to the boards.  About a year and a half later, I got laid off, and then a new position in a growing software company where I am a DevOps Engineer.  For those who don't already know, that basically means I am part time sysadmin, part time code deployment guru for our company. I love this new position (Well, not new anymore. I have been at it for 3 years in October).  In this position, I install, configure, and maintain hundreds of servers, push services, websites, and database scripts all over the place, and lately have even gotten heavily into automation scripting and some lighter programming.

I want to put out this shout out right here to Donation Coder as a whole, and Mouser in particular as it's founder, because it is here, where I really started learning about scripting and programming.  I learned the languages, in school, but it was here that I learned how to work through actual code issues in the Code School.  I never got very good, but it was a basis that made me able to get into automation scripting very efficiently, and for that, I can't thank this community enough.

I don't know how often I will get back to say hello and participate again - it may be another 4 years for all I know; but I just wanted to say thank you while I am here.

General Software Discussion / Uhuru Software
« on: January 17, 2012, 05:03 AM »
I just read about this open source project at  Looks really cool if it works and you are a .Net developer.  It is designed to allow VisualStudio and any .Net code to work with VMware's Cloud Foundry PaaS offering, though from what I read, it should work with pretty much any service, not just Cloud Foundry.  VMware also released their MicroCloud platform - essentially it is a single machine instance of Cloud Foundry to make developing against Cloud Foundry easier.  If Uhuru lives up to it's advertising and you have the MicroCloud, you should be able to fully develop cloud based software in your own machine using .Net and deploy anywhere.

Check it out and let me know what you think.  I am curious because I am 1) not a developer per se (hobbiest at best - and a bad one at that), and 2) what I tool around with is Java, not .Net, at least not yet.

At least I hope the title fits what I am trying to wrap my head around. :-\

Let's start at the beginning.  I have been learning Java for quite some time, just because I wanted to be able to program something that isn't in a book, but rather in my head.  I have been generally successful at learning it, at least the code part; but now I am looking at Cloud implimentations because, among other things, I am a big fan of VMware and their purchase of Cloud Foundry puts them squarely in the cloud developer space as well as virtualization space.

This is where I am at a loss that I am looking for resource help in understanding concepts.  Cloud Foundry (at least under VMware) is based on and recommends SpringSource Tool Suite.  This is essentially just the Spring Framework built into a customized Eclipse IDE.  I have gone through some of the tutorials, using this IDE (so they match up) but they are completely task based, and since I don't understand the framework or the concept, I don't know what tasks I am looking at, when or where I would use them, or anything else.  The whole framework idea is kinda sketchy to me anyway, I mean I understand it is essentially providing the Java resources to multiple programs at the same time via a fabric architecture, but that doesn't explain why I would need to worry about it as a developer at the core of my programs, does it?  I am not really questioning why they exist as much as how do these different things interact with programs making them beneficial?  I would ask more specifically, but I feel like it is one of those things where I don't know what I don't know so I don't know what to ask.  Any help?

Does this question even make sense?  I am not sure it does even to me after rereading it...

General Software Discussion / Excel Printing Help
« on: June 15, 2010, 08:33 AM »
Okay folks, my Google-foo has failed me again and so I turn once again to you, the very knowledgeable DC community.  I have been trying for over a year now to print a monthly Excel report in duplex.  It is set up where each location is on a different worksheet, and I need to print the entire workbook.

Problem - When I print it out, even though I set it up as Entire Workbook and choose the duplex option, Excel sends each worksheet as a separate job.  If each worksheet is longer than 1 page, it duplexes it, but it will not duplex worksheets.

Current workaround is cumbersome, but does work. That is that I print to PDF, combine the worksheets into a single PDF, then print the PDF.  There has got to be a better way and I am looking to you to help me find it.  Anyone know it?

Living Room / Vista Downloads
« on: May 20, 2010, 08:29 PM »
I have tried searching on HP's website, Microsoft's website, and then again here to see if I could find a reputable download for Vista.  So far, I have failed.  I tried then on Google and Bing, and keep getting directed to the Windows 7 download site and a bunch that I don't know about their reputation and am not willing to try since it is for a client's computer.

For reference, the reason I am looking for this is I have a "client" that has an HP laptop they bought with Vista Home Premium 32 on it.  The hard drive crashed and I can't seem to get to the recovery partition to copy out files to install on a new hard drive.  Of course the user never followed the HP suggestion for making a recovery disk, so I am so far out of luck.  What I am looking for is a simple ISO or similar download of Vista.  I have the license, just not the bits.  I can get a recovery disk from HP if needed, but I thought I would ask here first as it will take several days before I get their disk.  Unfortunately, I don't have my technet plus subscription anymore, so that isn't an option either.

Any ideas or suggestions?


Living Room / New Ebook Reader....
« on: October 23, 2009, 09:29 PM »
I just learned of a new E-book Reader set to hit the market right after Thanksgiving (that is the end of November for those of you who don't know the United States Holiday schedule).  It is from Barnes&Noble and is called the Nook.  Judging from features and capabilities, it looks like a Kindle clone, complete with the pricing ($9.99 or less for most books), the delivery methods (3G via AT&T wireless or WiFi), and color touchscreen and E-Ink (curious as to how that would work) (looks like it uses the color touchscreen as a navigation screen at the bottom and the E-Ink is a separate, larger screen).  It is also debuting at ~ $260 on preorder (haven't found yet if this will be the going price).

Just thought I would give those of you interested a heads-up.

Barnes & Noble's new Nook E-book Reader

ADDITIONS: One thing that is interesting is the ability to "loan" any books you own for 14 days to another Nook owner or with an iPod Touch/iPhone, PC/MAC, or even a Blackberry - interesting.....  Also, it provides automatic free WiFi at all B&N stores which is nice if you don't already use AT&T.  It also uses Memory Cards to expand your library beyond the 2GB internal limit.  YES!  THE BEST PART:  Native PDF reader built in!  It also has user replaceable batteries, and is uses an Android based OS (for better or worse).

Another NOTE:  Just found it - Only available in the U. S. at this time.  Doh!

Living Room / What have I done!?
« on: July 16, 2009, 11:42 AM »
That is it, I have completed my application and acceptance for Doctoral Studies.  So now that it is done, what did I get myself into?  Am I really that much of a glutton for punishment?  Between this and a 4 year old and a two year old, I must be a masochist who loathes the thought of sleep.  On the up side, between what my employer will pay and the discount for my military service, it is actually free - as long as I maintain good progress (a C or better in each class they pay for is how they word it).

Guess I won't be seeing quite as much of this site, at least not socially.  Don't worry, though, I will likely be here for more specific information quests and in 3 years (according to the program) I will have a D.Sc in Information Systems and Communications.

Thoughts?  Suggestions?  Condolences?

Coding Snacks / *SIMPLE* WebCam software
« on: June 05, 2009, 05:52 AM »
Okay, I know my friends here at DC can help, either with a code snack or a direction toward other good software.  What I am looking for is a simple live webcam window to use.  I envision that it would take the input from a USB 2.0 webcam and put it into a resizeable window.  Nothing fancy needed, no recording or editing or anything, just a viewer.  To make it easier to understand why I am looking for this, I have a monitor that uses GridMove to section off my desktop.  In one corner, I just want to be able to see what else is currently going on in the room (I am in a cubical in the back corner, and people sneak up and suprise me alot!).

I have tried several pieces of software including the ArcSoft software that came with it, Debut, and WebCamXP to name a few, but none of them have a simple, resizeable window that views activity in real time.  Either they are embedded in a larger window for editing or they are not resizable.  I guess the makers can't imagine you would want to see a window in anything less than 640x480.  That might be okay if you have a 22" monitor and can have the resolution up high enough that the 640x480 is only a tiny fraction of your screen real estate, but I have an old 17" CRT, and even at the highest resolution supported (1280x1024), it takes up nearly half the screen!

Can someone direct me to a piece of software that can accomplish this?

DesktopCoral / Another Application issue
« on: May 22, 2009, 01:17 PM »
Maybe it is because of what I am trying to do, but this doesn't seem to work right - at least not like I want it to :P

I have a windowed program that I want to essentially always keep visible, but without everything else going over it when I go full screen (actually 2 programs).  However, when I use DesktopCoral, it just moves them over so everything on the desktop shows, but not what I wanted.  I tried following the instructions and even searched the forum for similar issues, but everyone with similar issues are talking about widgets, not program windows.

For what it is worth, I tried using GridMove first.  That sets everything up perfect, but if I open another program and/or maximize a program, it sits over these two gridded programs.  I want the grids reserved and one of the posts under GridMove suggested this program.  A) Can this do what I want?  B) If so, what am I doing wrong to make the program window stay in position? 

Screenshot Captor / FEATURE REQUEST - Edit Enhancements
« on: March 20, 2009, 01:25 PM »
I would have added to the pinned feature request, but that post is locked, so I figured this was the best place to put it.  If there is a better place, feel free to move it.

I use SC constantly lately and I have found a few features I would appreciate that may be in line with the product.  The first one I may have asked for elsewhere, but I will ask here again.  That request is to be able to open files in SC.  If you go to File>Open - wait, that doesn't exist!  That is what I am talking about.  I have a current work around - choose file, use open with... and then select SC, but that is annoying when already working in SC on other related captures.  See, I find SC extreamely easy to do certain things like crop or adding arrows, text, etc. and taking a screenshot of an existing image sounds counterintuitive to me.  Especially if the picture is bigger than the screen and not scaleable (I know, SC can handle that, but why not allow it to open it instead of taking a complicated screenshot).

The second request is a simple (well to the user  :P) expansion of the canvas.  I often find myself cropping the picture down to a menubox (for example) then needing to paste that into Word so I can take another screenshot just to get a white background to write the arrow and information into.  I admit, there may be easier ways to accomplish this already built in, but I can say I haven't found it yet.

Hope that give a few good ideas.

Screenshot Captor / Something I miss -
« on: February 21, 2009, 04:24 AM »
I often find myself trying to capture dropdown menus, but I often fail as the capture will steal focus and loose the menu-shot I am trying to capture.  I usually can work around this through full screen screenshots and cropping, for example; but perhaps this is something that can eventually be worked in for a regional capture?

Just a thought.  Oh, and there may be a better way that I just missed in the usage instructions.  If so, I am all ears ;)

Living Room / Pixelshock Tower Defense
« on: February 18, 2009, 08:12 PM »
Here is another decent Tower Defense game for you mouser  :P (and everyone else, of course).  It isn't terribly difficult but they do have a few twists that are interesting.  I haven't tried them all out, but the multipath ones are rather fun.  Gates is an interesting, but ultimately boring (to me) alternative.  I am looking forward to trying Maze, but haven't got that far yet.  You can give it a shot here:


EDIT:  Okay, having issues with the expanding thumbnail.  Sure, now it works. :-\

I have a need that I can never seem to find the right tool for.  I am looking for a program that will fill out fields in various applications.  These fields should be able to be strung together such that if I am in an Acrobat form, for example, a single hotkey will fill in all predefined fields.  Ideally it would be application aware, so that when I am in a different but similar document in Word (again, for example), it would fill out the fields listed there with whatever predetermined clips were defined using the same hotkey combination.  Also, the hotkey combination should be user definable (for my purposes, function keys would be ideal - or maybe with an ALT+F# or WIN+F#).  Lastly it should be simple to setup definitions and VERY FAST to fill forms.  Also, I want to use this at work, but can not install it - so it must be portable.  A bonus would be if it can integrate with the clipboard where I can copy a section then use the hotkey and it will place the cut section in the associated field along with the rest of the "static" information.  However I don't know how or even if this could be done unless there is a timeout feature after the clip and before the paste.

One big use I can see now is for filling out Trouble Tickets where I must enter my name criteria over and over again along with a great deal of generic data in the "body" of the program.  This must frequently occur in a very short amount of time, but anyone who has dealt with ticketing systems knows it can be slow and cumbersome to enter this data.  Moreover, we have a variety of forms that we need to fill out for staff, but they are not (of course) in any single format.  Some are in Adobe Form-fillable PDF, some are in Word, some are web-based.  It is very annoying, but what is worse is entering the same data over and over again because nothing I have attempted thus far can handle these changes unless I do them one field at a time.  At that rate, the time savings over typing is minimal, if any.

I found several programs that fit a couple of these features, but nothing I found fits all of them.  The closest answer I have found and use is ditto clipboard extender, but I can't figure out how to chain several pastes together into a single hotkey.  Further, I can't seem to get any one to be set to always be available - like a favorites, though there seems to be that capacity.  I also looked at Mouser's own CHS.  It seems very capable of the same things as Ditto and more, but it is not as intuitive to me as Ditto (and honestly, I haven't given it the time to learn properly if it is capable of the things I need).

Perhaps this is sort of a feature/help request for CHS, but I am looking for something quick and easy to impliment in this vein.  Can anyone make any suggestions?

General Software Discussion / Database Design Software
« on: May 11, 2008, 11:45 PM »
Okay, I have a very complex database project I would like to start, and I found I can't exactly just create the tables and run with it like other projects I have accomplished.  In my college days, we used PowerBuilder for these types of things; and while I didn't like or understand it's use at the time, I knew it was widely used.  Today I have looked around for a tool like this and found precious few choices that are reasonably priced (<$500 US) for individual use.  What to the designers here use? 

Ideally, I would like free w/ connectivity to SQL Server 2008 Express database, but I think that is something of a pipe dream.  I have found a few FOSS designers, but considering my limited knowledge on these types of software, I need to be certain that it is well documented - a serious issue with ALL FOSS software I have seen.  Also, all FOSS software I have seen limit their connections to MySQL or Postgrl, whereas I would like to see connections to SQLServer and/or Oracle (without too many hoops).  I would think that a simple ODBC type connection should allow these connections, but they do not seem supported from what I have read (note this does not imply it is impossible).

Short of the ideal, I have access to SQL Server 2008 (std & express editions), Oracle (10g personal), Access, OoBase, and any FOSS databases that I can download and install.  All I am looking for is cheap or free design software to connect to any one of these databases that will allow me to visually design and change the database without having to rebuild it.  I have attempted using the OoBase for this project twice already, and both times it has blown up and forced me to rebuild it from scratch.  I am not willing to do that anymore.

Any suggestions?  Answers?  Experiences that would help?

Post New Requests Here / IDEA: Grouper
« on: November 26, 2007, 06:40 AM »
Maybe there is something like this out here already that I just didn't figure out yet, but this request is because I can't find it  ;)

What I am looking for is a small program, preferrably portable, that I can use to choose buttons to group.  Windows allows you to group similar items (e.g. all IE programs into a group), but it is all or nothing.  I want to do the same thing, but I want to choose what gets grouped together.  Moreover, since I choose what gets grouped, I would like it to be anything, not just similar items.

Extra points for groupings getting user programmable hotkeys to auto switch an entire group to the desktop, though this is certainly a feature addition and not a core request item.

One key to note here - I need this mostly for work, which means no administrative rights, though I do have USB access (for now anyway), hense the portable request.

Living Room / Cody Sightings
« on: July 27, 2007, 01:37 PM »
Here is a Cody sighting in Suburban Pittsburgh (North Hills).


Nudone - I thought you kept him near you?

DcUpdater / Another Bug, Maybe
« on: July 11, 2007, 04:41 PM »
I don't know if this is a bug or not after reading the way the plugins work, but I noticed DCUpdater seemed to update all the plugins except the ProcessKill plugin.  I ended up following the instructions which worked fine, but I thought the Updater did all that.

Living Room / Who is more corrupt?
« on: July 10, 2007, 12:39 PM »
I just finished dealing with my lawyer and the government red tape we have to go through to open an estate (a hassle in itself.  6 months and two lawyers just to accomplish a half hour paperwork job >:(), just to be hit with a banking institution I never contracted with for online services looking for payment on a "debt" that was incurred over 2 years ago.  This debt was over a bank error that I disputed, but they refused to acknowledge.  When I refused to pay bills until they recognized it, all of a sudden they found my dispute and we finally resolved it with final payment to the bank to as the seal to the issue - or so I thought.  Apparently the bank insulates itself by using third party contracts for the online payments, but now they refuse to pay the contractor and the contractor is comming back to me.  Even with the letters of resolution they are not bothering to even contact the bank for proof of payment and my legwork can not access the bank records.

The entertainment industry is well known for their underhanded, conniving ways, but I think there is more corruption elsewhere.  What do you think?

In case people haven't heard already....

Newest update (well 2 days ago) from Microsoft.  To comply with federal anti-competitive charges from 2002, Microsoft has agreed to make changes to the integrated search bar in Vista.  These changes will allow end users to change the default desktop search engine more easily, and it appears that it will allow more integration.  Just think, FARR right in the start bar and explorer search bar instead of just a hotkey.  More options, same great program  :D

Full details:

Living Room / Very Good (Printed) Book Search Site
« on: June 11, 2007, 09:48 AM »
As requested....

Search and Compare among 40+ sites, 20,000 sellers, millions of books!

I learned of while I was in college and I credit this site with singlehandedly saving me hundreds of dollars (unfortunately I didn't learn about it in my early years of college or it could have been a thousand or more).  This site does what it says, but has now expanded to include music, movies, magazines, and most recently credit card offers.  While I have not used it for anything other than books, I can attest to the value of the searches.  It conveniently allows you to search for books by keyword, title, author, and (most valuable to students) ISBN.


A suggestion on usage for the students out there...Go to the bookstore when the book list is first published.  Get the ISBN numbers off the listings, then search here.  I found on average I was paying about 30% of my school bookstore prices if I could get them used, and about 60% new.  Doing it this way guarantees you get the exact same edition.  The only books I ever bought at the school bookstore were school publications (often handbooks that the teachers put together and published locally only).


Best of all, AddAll will determine the prices for you AFTER calculating shipping.  Very handy for those sites that lure you in with low cost goods, but are actually more expensive because they charge high shipping rates.  Lastly, you can link to the site to buy the book.  Here is an example of the results:


All in all, a VERY useful site.

all pictures from

Living Room / IE Enhancer
« on: June 11, 2007, 08:36 AM »
This program will automatically maximize new Internet Explorer and Outlook Express windows for you. It includes a function for hiding/closing all IE windows with a userdefined hotkey. It's also possible to open new IE windows and automatically have them sent to the background. The program is also capable of closing popup windows.

I just found out about another great utility that is donationware.  It is called IE New Window Maximizer.  How many IE user's out there find it infuriating when a window is spawned in an incorrect size?  What about when IE doesn't behave correctly and opens child windows a different size than the default?  I am forced to use IE 6 at work and run into these issues all the time.  To resolve this issue, I have learned of this utility that forces all IE windows to open Maximized, even when defined to a different size by the page author.  It also allows you to create rules for IE windows and to just manage the windows a bit easier.

Just imagine it...Your pop-up blocker fails to recognize the pop-up for whatever reason (or worse you don't have a pop-up blocker), yet you can close ALL spawned pop-ups from the same location instead of chasing that little close box.  Best of all (though not so good for your blogging, mouser, I can't screenshot it working), it works seamlessly in the background.  If you have to work with IE (or just prefer it), I definitely suggest this utility or one like it.

I have invited the developer to join (unless he is already a member and my search didn't turn it up properly).  Hopefully we will see him soon.



Living Room / An alternative to Duel Boot
« on: June 10, 2007, 10:17 PM »
I was just thinking, with all the great software out there for virtualization of everything, duel booting computers, and other similar technologies; has anyone heard of, or had experience with a software KVM?  What I am envisioning is one machine with two hard drives.  Each hard drive has it's own OS and software on it, but it is each independently supported on the same hardware.  It would likely require some sort of BIOS support for hotkey switching, so I am not sure it exists, but I thought I would throw it out there to see if anyone has heard or seen anything like this.

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