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Messages - oblivion [ switch to compact view ]

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An initial note. Quite a few of my CRAP buttons use "runas" so I can use an admin account to run things from a non-admin login.

If I use the new "skip command window" option, I have to set the application as runas.exe and pass everything else (the actual program as well as the user account details) to the command as a lengthy parameter.

It works -- of course! -- and is exactly as the command actually works but it means, for me at least, most of my buttons -- those that don't need a results window left open, anyway -- are going to be runas.exe with the actual program I'm running (along with its parameters) demoted to a parameter of runas.

Not sure if this matters or not! I haven't found an error with it, just a change of focus. :)

The new CRAP is cheerfully working with my favorites / layouts etc in Windows 10. I definitely like the new favorites menu and dark mode. :) I will experiment with the CMD-related settings as I go.

The edit and delete favorites buttons -- will they return?

Here’s my reasoning for the application launch mode. With the command line window the command is all arguments side. If I am going to skip it then I need a reliable way to tell what the executable is without dealing with the arguments side of things.
There were, I think, some commands that took a lot of tinkering to make work properly -- and there are definitely some where the command window should be left open as well as some that don't.

I think I made most things work by either using start /b or not -- the remote desktop example I documented in the help is one where it was needed, but -- and I think it's down to Microsoft rather than anything else! -- expecting consistency is possibly a step too far!

I thought I'd left a note on here a few days ago to help with updating the help, if it's needed, for the new version, but I don't see the message so I expect I abandoned it accidentally :)

Anyhoo -- I'm still using CRAP only on a Windows 10 machine, but that doesn't mean I don't have Win11 available to test on if it's useful!

Developer's Corner / Re: Autohotkey robots
« on: July 06, 2023, 04:34 AM »
Hmmm, I am not sure if that's a left-handed insult or compliment.
Definitely a compliment.  ;D My use of Autohotkey to solve some really awkward problems over the last few years wouldn't have got off the ground without the DC community, even if much of the time it's just been me looking at other people's code and consequently standing on the shoulders of giants.  :Thmbsup:  :-[

Developer's Corner / Re: Autohotkey robots
« on: July 05, 2023, 04:35 AM »
Along with the AHK experts here I would also ask on AHK Forums
Have done. I thought I'd ask here first -- where everyone is utterly lovely -- in case I was being extremely stupid.  :D

I haven't decided if I will learn V2.x yet. 
I was intuitively sure my code wasn't complex enough to fail to work in either, but it would only compile in v1 so it looks like I have some learning to do too! (I think #NoEnv is now the default so isn't required, and I think v2 didn't like my read loops so I suspect some syntactical changes there too, but at the point of compilation it didn't seem important to acquire v2 compatibility so I didn't bother trying to fix it!)

Developer's Corner / Autohotkey robots
« on: July 04, 2023, 09:10 AM »
Hi all :)

I've written an automation process in autohotkey. It takes a file (that's automatically generated elsewhere at 6pm every day), cleans a copy of it up then uses that as a set of inputs to a Windows program that has no ability to be batch-fed data.

It works pretty well -- the file cleanup element does its thing as it should, the Windows program it invokes gets started and the right part of the program opened and the input data fed to it an element at a time, each requiring a little routine of keypresses and mouse clicks. All exactly as intended. I was thoroughly pleased with myself when it worked -- fine-tuning delays between parts of the automated process took some time and when it all came together, I had a great feeling of accomplishment.

So why am I here? Well -- I want it to run on its own, on a virtual PC. But when I set it off automatically (using task scheduler), the only part of the process that happens is the file cleanup and the invocation of the program that's going to be manipulated. Anything that requires the simulation of user interaction with a program just doesn't happen.

I can make guesses why -- there's no desktop being created, no attached screen being written to, things like that, if you're going to issue "click at this pixel" instructions when there's no session being displayed anywhere, that's maybe going to confuse things.

So ... am I trying to do the impossible? Or is there a way to programmatically create the screen, mouse and keyboard that would be there if I'd RDPed to the machine, even though I haven't? Or have I misunderstood the nature of the problem?

(This feels a bit like a version of the "if a tree falls in the forest and there's nobody there to see it" paradox!)

LaunchBar Commander / Re: Changes won't save anymore...
« on: June 14, 2023, 04:39 AM »
Can you try a Save As and verify that it is saving the file as a new file, and then load that file explicitly, and see if its still not showing changes?
Tried that. It didn't error, but it didn't write a file either.

I've fixed it. Not sure why or how -- I went and played in the main settings are for the tree. You know, selecting options and unselecting them again in the Docking Bar 1 and 2 tabs, that stuff. And something (didn't notice what, I wasn't expecting anything to work, really, so I wasn't being careful about it) made the Save Changes button light up, and when I hit it, it saved a new copy of TimPortable.mcf. Then I saved a new copy and the file got created and opened. And my changes are now surviving program exits and reloads just as before.

I'm aware that there's no way there's enough here for you to be able to find a fixable bug.  ;D If it happens again, I'll try to be more forensic in my analysis!

LaunchBar Commander / Changes won't save anymore...
« on: June 13, 2023, 04:28 AM »
I don't know what's changed or why it's happening... but I can't make changes to my LBC setup that will "stick" on one of my systems.

I'm using the portable version. I've checked security on the files and folders and everything looks fine.

The file that gets loaded at startup is TimPortable.mcf.

Any change I make -- let's say I delete a node -- happens, I can rebuild the tree and it all gets processed as expected.

But when I save the file, either by using the save icons or the File/save or save as function, nothing happens. TimPortable.mcf last changed 8 months ago. Oh, and the save icons never grey out, which they always used to.

I can try to save as TimPortable2.mcf and nothing happens. Well... a link to it gets added to Windows' recent files list. But that's it. The target the link points to never gets created.

I can do a manual backup via the tools menu; that creates a new file.

I've redownloaded the portable zip, Just In Case, but nothing.

This tree is fairly big (268 nodes) so I'd rather not have to completely rebuild it -- are there any steps short of that I might try? or any other ideas?

General Software Discussion / Re: Form letters for medical use
« on: March 09, 2023, 12:10 AM »
does it have to be text?  could not the image/text combination be converted to an image so you're just pasting/inserting an image from a pic list?
It's definitely a possibility - makes it slightly harder to update if text changes might need to be made in the future, but yes, that might make the final assembly process easier.

General Software Discussion / Re: Form letters for medical use
« on: March 08, 2023, 05:51 PM »
Although, I have to say, I'm still not very clear on what you really want.

I didn't think I was explaining things very well.

Imagine a picture with some associated words in a horizontal box that fills the width of a page and maybe a quarter of its length.

Now imagine there's about fifty of them, all different but similarly formatted. Some are explanations of the service, some are specific to the diagnosis, some ask the patient to do things...

A letter might contain eight of them, which ones being chosen according to the specific needs of the patient and their test results. They'll be in some sort of order, there will be different categories, many will be mutually exclusive.

TFLM allows paragraphs of text to be assembled into a completed document, but it doesn't do formatting or graphical content. And for this, formatting is every bit as important as the content.

There's a big enough problem that it's worth trying to automate it, but it's not so big that it's going to justify industrial levels of automation -- and nobody's got a budget for that anyway.

Still clear as mud? ;)

General Software Discussion / Re: Form letters for medical use
« on: March 08, 2023, 05:04 PM »
This is a different direction, but I've heard that a lot of organizations are finding ChatGPT to be very helpful for customizing/personalizing form letters.
I have yet to experiment. :)

But in this case, there are a set of quite prescriptive guidelines relating to how things must be laid out on the page, how to present the information as simply as possible, how to make it work for people with learning disabilities and other conditions that can make potentially complex issues difficult to engage with. There are quite a few possible outcomes of a retinopathy scan, some of which consist of "don't worry and come back again next year" and others where a referral to a hospital ophthalmology service is needed. I'm told the number of different possible letters that might need to be sent are close to 100...

TFLM is excellent for defining chunks of boilerplate text that can be added in just by choosing options from a menu. But this is a step beyond that: instead of text (or pure text, anyway) think small, friendly picture on the left with large font text using just a few of Randall Monroe's Thing Explainer style words to give a simple and understandable message. And those blocks must be spaced carefully on a page, so the white space is as important as the words.

I'm wondering if I can maybe suggest the use of something like a Publisher template with mailmerge fields and use the latter to call up a graphic / textbox pair, prebuilt and preformatted to be dropped into a precise position on a page / group of pages. If I can make TFLM spit out csv style data, that might work...

Mini-Reviews by Members / Re: GS-Base Mini-Review
« on: March 08, 2023, 12:24 PM »
Just waking up an old thread: I'm still using this, the product is still being developed. I bought a second licence so a colleague and I can use a database I built for the storage of user details, and she (by no means any sort of techie!) finds it works well for her as well as me.

My favourite thing right now is its ability to make custom drop-down lists for fields and either to specify a finite set of possible entries (like a field that can be True or False) or one that can be told to take anything it hasn't seen before and add it to the list of acceptable entries. Multiple selections are possible, you can set the order manually or have the list sorted alphabetically, and checkboxes are a brand new addition.

The Form view of the data is I think getting easier to work with. It's still really fast, and although I still miss being able to do the things I used to love Approach for, this is still a database with the best bang for the buck out there.

I intended to post a screenshot of a form view of a data item and discovered that my colleague has been playing with some of the design elements. Specifically fonts. Oh dear. Still, I guess it illustrates something:


There are four dropdown lists: three for predictable / static choices, one (job title) for a good way of accumulating things that might be reusable in the future and will save typing.

There are a few calculated fields -- UserID is either surname+first initial all in lower case (as illustrated) plus any content in the UIDSuffix field so you can deal with the 50th John Smith who rocks up... but if Login Name has content, it'll be that instead.

NewPass is a calculated field chosen by gluing together a randomly chosen attribute (usually colour) and a randomly chosen animal, from a separate table in the database. The calculation that handles that is very Excel-ish


and as the random number generator does what they generally do, it calculates a new password (a) any time anything happens, and (b) any time you press F9, so we pick one we like, ^C and ^V into the IssuedPwd field so it can be recorded.

What we do with this is use it to spit out a CSV of any records where Done = False and feed a mailmerge with it, after which Done is set to True.

Would that be useful to you? Probably not. If  DIY databases were popular, there'd be more of them and people would use spreadsheets for adding up. But if it's the sort of thing you need, you might not find a more cost-effective solution anywhere.

General Software Discussion / Form letters for medical use
« on: March 08, 2023, 05:20 AM »
This might be a bit rambly. Bear with me. :)

I was chatting to a couple of admins for the local diabetic retinopathy screening service yesterday. They already routinely send results letters to patients, but they're trying to do something specifically for people with reading and learning disabilities.

So they got hung up on designing a layout for a letter; there are some agreed standards for font, layout, illustrations, borders, object positioning and sizing and so forth, and the main part of our conversation was around helping them understand what the difference between a master page and a page with actual, variable content is.

So far so straightforward.

However, letters are built depending on the findings of a patient exam and the content will vary considerably depending on all sorts of factors. And somewhere in the back of my mind, some background process was wondering if something like Mouser's Form Letter Machine could help.

I've come to the conclusion that probably not. But the concept: a set of checkboxes and radio buttons that can place prebuilt elements on a page, perhaps with some variable information (like patient name and address, perhaps) and where those elements are very formatted (a graphic with some associated text) and intended to fit within a strict layout (say four horizontal panels with a set amount of white space between the elements) strikes me as exactly the sort of thing that ought to exist already...

I know how to make mailmerge-type documents work, but the concept of embedding a specific object following strict layout rules based on a user-selectable choice in a dialog of some sort, I don't think that's something I've seen. It doesn't feel like it ought to be all that niche but maybe I'm just more inclined to think about automation than most people?

Anyone have any ideas of things I might suggest or helpful things I might try? Or even (I guess) if I could use The Form Letter Machine to output something that something with page design features could be persuaded to pick up and work with?

General Software Discussion / Re: Listary 6 released
« on: December 29, 2022, 06:58 AM »
I've only just updated to Listary 6 and -- for my use of it -- it seems similar to Listary 5. But I only really use it for fast access to specific folders, a folder history in load and save dialogs, and for occasional file searches.

Keywords are right there -- features tab, commands -- and there's an add function. I have a Pro licence, though, carried through from my Pro version of 5, so maybe more of the functionality is locked away from users of the free version?

LaunchBar Commander / Re: Disappeared LBC?
« on: December 27, 2022, 06:36 AM »
LBC does automatically keep some backups, so the first thing might be to find these backups, in the directory where your launchbar is, and preserve them.

Hi, and thanks for such a quick comeback during the festive season!

I've got LBC back again, after a fashion, and I think I've found what's broken.

I have an old MCF file that I was able to make work after I'd deleted the ini files and everything else.

The broken thing seems to be an MCP file.

The Options allows a path to the project file to be set, but although I have two backups, they're both datestamped 24/12 and if I rename one of them to match the one in use -- having exited and backed up the working one first -- I get the previous behaviour of no LBC etc.

So the backups are over 20Mb. The in use one is 2.15K.

What do MCP files do? The new one just looks like text, but the huge older ones have text and binary content, by the look of things -- likely corruption, perhaps?

Annoyingly, I don't have a backup MCF that I can find, dated later than May 2020. But at least I have a working LBC again!

I'm going to reinstall Listary now and see if that was a coincidence!

LaunchBar Commander / Disappeared LBC?
« on: December 27, 2022, 04:27 AM »
LBC has been a staple on my laptop for ages. Used always as a menu minimised to the tray, it's a collection of my most used shortcuts and is completely embedded in my workflow.

Until yesterday.

It's gone away. It's running, I can see it in task manager, but I can't make it appear - no tray icon, the -options switch doesn't work (nor does -exit).

I've rerun the installer. No change.

Next is a full ripout and reinstall, followed by portable mode, but I figured I should post something here in case...

The most recent system changes have been Intel graphics driver updates and an accompanying (and over intrusive) Arc game mode thingy that I've stopped auto starting but not yet removed. And an update from Listary 5 to 6. Either could be implicated.

I'll let you know when I get LBC working again and if I can identify the culprit.

That aside, merry Christmas!  ;D

General Software Discussion / Controlling Edge
« on: October 14, 2021, 05:53 AM »
Hi chaps -- yes, I've been quiet for ages (here, anyway) while various other parts of Life have been escalating.

Quite why they should replace anything as important as DC is entirely mysterious. Sleep less, is the conclusion my rational brain comes up with, while the sleep-loving lizard poking me any time I get rational has entirely different views about dropping below 6h/night.

Er. Anyway.

I think the answer to this may be "you can't do it" or "you can't do it without an extension" or even "go away and stop bothering us" but I present you this conundrum anyway. :)

Work has started using Edge as its default web browser, and has deployed it in a form that doesn't allow for extensions because security and users, and we can't even switch off the favourites bar because... grumble grumble grumble.

So there are a roomful of people near me who all use a browser-based gadget that lets them see realtime info from the voip system we have.

If I were designing it, it'd be in a small, always-on-top window with no address bar or other bits and pieces. It doesn't need to be interacted with at all, it's just info.

But obviously, Edge is used for all sorts of other things too.

So what I want is a way to open a specific url in a separate Edge window at a specific size and a specific (33%) zoom. And nothing I seem to be able to do with Edge itself seems to do anything more than open the thing in a new tab without some sort of user intervention.

So am I missing something?

Consider trying out Interlink Mail & News.

Thanks -- I'll give it a go!

Reminds me of something I once used TheBat! for... a commitment that was always going to be met in a week but was never actually kept led me to write a polite reminder email that TheBat! sent on my behalf every day at 11am for about 6 months.

FOAAS might have been a useful thing for the recipient. Fortunately, she had no such tool available :D

Thunderbird doesn’t have add-ons anymore? Ew.

(Here I am, still using Pandora ... while keeping an eye on Pegasus.)
It does, but it's following the Mozilla / Firefox codebase into a new addons architecture so a lot of things you've been using for years have Gone Away or will do so.

My small contribution here...

I've used Pegasus (not since about 2000, though) and TheBat! and finally settled on Thunderbird.

I still have a license for TheBat! but I didn't go beyond v7 -- I always loved its configurability and its use of FidoNet-style message quoting but I got badly burnt by a massive failure of the encryption mechanism for the Voyager variant and I decided never to trust it again.

Thunderbird's abandonment of its addons infrastructure is an annoyance -- a couple of addons for message management that I used and relied on have either gone away already or are going away as we speak (Nostalgy and QuickFolders being the most important of them) but the newly discovered ability to create virtual folders via the saved search functionality has just stopped me wondering about possible alternatives, which is why I started reading this thread in the first place!

I have tens of thousands of stored emails in Thunderbird and it copes. This is probably A Good Thing. :)

(Flashing tooltip)

Running Windows 10 x64 v1909, I don't have access to another OS to test it on right now.
-ConstanceJill (June 25, 2020, 05:45 AM)
Confirmed for Windows 10 x64 v1809 too, but doesn't happen on my Windows 7 laptop.

Nice to see a mini-review -- good job :up:
Thank you, kind sir!

Basic Info

App NameCustomizable Remote Administration Panel (CRAP)
App URLhttps://www.donation...ex.php?topic=32623.0
App Version Reviewed2.0.6 build 1
Test System SpecsTested on 1.6GHz netbook and 3 more powerful PCs
Supported OSesTested on Windows 7 x64 and Windows 10 x64
Support MethodsVia Forum topic
Upgrade Policyn/a
Trial Version Available?n/a
Pricing SchemeFreeware
Author Donation LinkDonate to hamradio, the Author
Reviewer Donation LinkDonate to oblivion, the Reviewer
Screencast Video URLnone
Relationship btwn. Reviewer and Product None, although the reviewer wrote the document that was used to build the helpfile included with the current version


Initially built for NANY 2013 in response to an idea. The evolution is documented in the forum topic above so I won't repeat it here.

What it actually is is a launcher specifically designed to be used for processes aimed at interacting with systems that are remote from the end user. It can hold a list of variables (such as the names of systems accessible on the network) and allows the user to build commands and assign them to buttons.

That's more exciting than it sounds.

Suppose I want to reboot a Windows PC locked in a basement room several miles away from where I'm sitting.

I can use Remote Desktop to access the system, log into it, then reboot it.

Or I can fossick around for the syntax for the shutdown command, remind myself how to pass appropriate login credentials and the remote machine name to the command and issue it at a command prompt.

Or I can define a button that contains the static bits of the command and a set of variables that contains the names of machines I might occasionally want to reboot, then when I need to do it I select the variable (which I can have a friendly name for, like "Dave's basement PC" but which delivers DVPCX97126 when I choose it) and press the button and that's it.

Who is this app designed for:

This is aimed squarely at systems administrators and computer support types who work in networked environments.

The Good

I won't say for sure that this occupies a niche that's otherwise empty, but I have a suspicion that it might.

For anyone who needs to remotely access a number of networked systems, particularly when some of those systems need regular or repeat visits, this provides a framework for a set of tools that might well be unique to their circumstances but which makes everything available in one place -- or a set of places. The program supports the creation of sets of buttons in a "layout" and, if you want or need, multiple layouts that can be loaded by picking them off a menu or even assigning them to specialised buttons.

The way buttons can be built is very flexible and configurable. If you want to define a button that runs locally but using a different set of credentials (via the runas command, occasionally a bit of a pig to get working at the commandline) you can.

Buttons can have icons extracted from .exes and .dlls, or even appropriately sized .pngs.

The needs improvement section

Most of the things that you might want different are cosmetic. For instance, button arrangement within layouts is via a layout editor that moves items up and down a list, there's no drag and drop. And although the application is themable, themes apply across the whole app, you can't have a layout associated with a theme that's different to other layouts.

In terms of functionality, I'm not sure I can think of much that I'd want it to do that it can't already. But I have my own views of things and other people may well have different takes on it!

Why I think you should use this product

This is not a program for an average user. You need to be reasonably familiar with the commandline to make use of it, and unless you're doing something akin to remote administration of at least a handful of systems, you're not going to need it.

But if it IS something that looks potentially useful, you'll probably surprise yourself at just how useful it can become -- particularly in creating related toolsets and paths between them.

You create commands that consist of a prefix, the content of the selected variable, and a suffix. It supports the use of aliases (like <programfiles> for example) so you could create a portable toolset too. You can have captions and tooltips for extra visual cues and if you have access to a graphics tool that lets you make icon-sized graphics, you can customise to your heart's content.

How does it compare to similar apps

I'm not aware of anything quite like it.


I'd recommend this to anyone with any sort of remote administration needs. It's not a solution in and of itself, but it gives you the ability to create stuff you'll use regularly and it will save you time when you're doing it.

I liked it enough that I volunteered to write a helpfile / document for it. I use it every day, and its new features (particularly aliases for favourites) have only improved my life further.

Any reports on the latest version?
I have nothing useful to offer here except the suggestion that, like Mary Poppins, it must be Practically Perfect In Every Way.

(I shall retreat back under my rock again, now.)

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