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Messages - m_s [ switch to compact view ]

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Living Room / Re: Web 2 Logo
« on: May 09, 2006, 07:03 AM »
I didn't realise when I first looked at this that it's multiple pages - 37S appear on page 2.

Living Room / Re: Printer Driver Help
« on: May 08, 2006, 06:55 AM »
Good tip, Carol.  It worked well; using the Graphics version of the hPDA templates, I was able to set up a Word document for everything, and just stretch and squeeze where I needed to work with the printer's margins.  Hooray!

Living Room / Printer Driver Help
« on: May 08, 2006, 03:58 AM »
I have an old HP Deskjet 880c, which is a pretty good printer, and when I bought it years back was quite expensive.  I probably should update now, but most of the time it runs pretty well.  I've just started writing over at, and my first project is to make myself a Hipster PDA and report on my experience of using it.  When I tried this last year, the printer ate my index cards and I gave up.  But last night I decided to give it another go, and the printer worked fine printing onto the cards.  Hooray!  Except: I can see no way of setting a custom paper size under XP, which means that what was printed was off-centre, off-scale, and unusable.  When I used the printer under WinME, it did have this option; but, as it says on the HP support site, XP comes with a basic driver for this printer built-in.  That's just the problem: it's a basic driver, with a number of preset paper sizes, but as far as I can see, no way to print onto 3x5 index cards or any other custom paper size.  Please prove me wrong...  Or teahc me how to override XP's helpfulness and install an older driver - if I try that now, it just says something along the lines of 'This driver is incompatible.' 

As I've written this, I have remembered that I still have my old Toshiba WinME laptop somewhere downstairs, so I can probably just print from that, but it would be much better to be able to do this on my main machine.

General Software Discussion / Re: Do you use RSS feeds?
« on: May 08, 2006, 03:28 AM »
I searched around quite a bit, and tried several readers.  GreatNews was definitely closest second runner, but I finally paid for FeedDemon a few weeks back - it's great!

Living Room / Re: Very disappointing wifi connection!
« on: May 05, 2006, 10:45 AM »
I installed one of those for a customer, and had real hassles with it: three machines (1 pc laptop, 1 pc desktop, and an iBook) worked brilliantly straight out the box; but the final machine in the house, a Compaq laptop, had terrible troubles maintaining a connection.  It would work fine for a few days, and then couldn't connect at all.  Eventually, I dug around on the Compaq support site and found updated wifi drivers there, and it now works perfectly.  So it might be worthwhile, if you haven't done so already, checking for updated drivers for the laptop.

Living Room / Re: Self-priced music
« on: May 04, 2006, 04:28 AM »
what's fascinating about this - and it backs up the spirit of dc too - is that people are responding generously to her generosity.  Look at these stats from the site - nearly as many are paying higher than the set price as are accepting Jane's gifts, and the average price paid per track is higher than the fixed price, which must mean that those who are paying more than the fixed price are paying significantly more.

Pricing Statistics as of Apr 15 12:00 PM pst
%   Accepting gift from Jane   17%
%   Paid by determining price   37%
%   Paying Later   46%

Avg Price Per Track $1.14
%   Paid Below Suggested   8%
%   Paid At Suggested   79%
%   Paid Above Suggested   14%

It's interesting, also, that as you go through selecting tracks, it tells you how many people chose the same option as you for that track, and what has been the average price paid.

Living Room / Re: WiFi not working - any suggestions, please?
« on: May 03, 2006, 06:15 AM »
I would immediately suspect ZoneAlarm Pro - it has so many options that are there to help, that it can render a machine completely inoperable!  Try turning ZA off temporarily, and see if you can get a connection then.

Oh, I see from testing with my copy of PortableFirefox that about:kitchensink doesn't work without one of the extensions I use on my full version of Firefox - I think it must be MR Tech Local Install (which is brilliant, and which is here: https://addons.mozil.../moreinfo.php?id=421)

Yup, I've tested that now, and it does need MR Tech Local Install...

Not extensions at all, but do others know of these two easter-eggs?

In the address panel, try typing about:mozilla - I heard about this one a few weeks back, but just this morning discovered abother: type about:kitchensink - go ahead, try it...

Find And Run Robot / Change font?
« on: May 02, 2006, 04:47 AM »
Hi Mouser,

Is it possible to change the display font in F&RR?  A few months back, I know I wanted it as unobtrusive as possible - but now I want it much more obtrusive!  Working with the Quick Search box in Google Desktop has convinced me that making this kind of thing as plainly visible as possible is helpful for me.  And would it be possible to make an alpha-blended skin like GDS Quick Search box?

Thanks to everyone involved in the Podcast - it's great listening!  I enjoyed hearing voices I've been reading for months, and the music is fantastic.  A very polished performance, and great fun too.  Well done.

FeedDemon's FeedStation seems pretty good, and it's free - http://www.newsgator...x?ProdID=FeedStation

General Software Discussion / Advice on a desktop blogging tool?
« on: April 27, 2006, 03:38 PM »
I've just started a blog - let's see how long I can keep it up  :-\

I'm using Qmana at the moment, but it is extremely heavy on resources, so I'm wondering if anyone has recommendations for any other desktop tools.  I've tried w.bloggar after reading the praise of it on the forums here, but it apparently has problems working with Blogsome, so I'm looking for alternatives.

Edit by brotherS: added link to w.bloggar thread

I didn't know about that service at Betanews...  on my way over there to investigate.

On FastStone's site, they list this among recent improvements:

Version 2.4    (Mar 15, 2006)
    * Now the built-in screen capture supports multi-monitor system
    * Video files ( AVI, MPG, MPEG, WMV, MOV) can be displayed as thumbnails in the browser. Double clicking on a video file will open it in the default media player (Screenshot)

So maybe that's where you got the codec!

Thanks for the prompt to update my Faststone - off to download it now...

UrlSnooper / Re: Help with this url please
« on: April 22, 2006, 06:21 AM »
Actually, I did get that, but because Firefox couldn't download it, I thought it must be incorrect - so how do I download?

UrlSnooper / Re: Help with this url please
« on: April 22, 2006, 05:19 AM »
There has just been a remarkable interview broadcast on BBC News, and I would love to download the video so that I can watch it again - the stream is up, but that's inconvenient for re-viewing, because I want to be able to show it to others and I don't have a wireless-anywhere-in-the-house connection...  I can't figure out the URL from URLSnooper - could anyone lend a hand?  The interview is here:

Another way of doing what I need would be to sync the files on a remote FTP site - so each machine would need to check on the remote files, but they wouldn't need to 'talk' to one another.  I need something that I could be sure would never overwrite the most recent version, and I would prefer it to be automated, so that I rarely have to think about it.

Okay, I'm at a loss.  Does anybody have any suggestions for keeping files synchronized between two Windows computers without both having to be online simultaneously?  It seems both BeInSync and FolderShare require simultaneous connections, and in my environment that's just impossible.  This is so that I can share my MyLifeOrganized data file between two machines, so that I can access it on my work machine during the day and on the home one in the evening.  Any ideas?

Although Superboyac posted a link to his review of MLO in this discussion - https://www.donation...dex.php?topic=2623.0 – and Nudone posted there a link to another good review, as far as I can see there’s been no mini-review originally here on DC.  I intended to write one about six months ago, when I first came across MLO, but it’s not what I am going to do now.  In fact, I’m not going to say much about it at all, except for describing my path from using it to not using it, and now back to using it again.

I thank DonationCoder for my discovery of Getting Things Done, because way back in September Mouser made the site of the week/month (https://www.donation...dex.php?topic=1048.0).  Reading LH, I kept coming across this odd acronym, GTD.  Eventually I Google the letters, and soon found myself at,,,, and all the other sites I now read daily (along with and DC, of course!).  I read David Allen’s book, ‘Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity’ (http://www.davidco.c...aperback-p-16175.php), was suitably blown away by it, and quickly changed the way I work. 

My job of the last three years has been very pressured most of the time – now it’s cooled down a bit, and I’m also hopefully leaving in the next month or so.  For long periods I have felt overwhelmed in this work.  But, in a strange way, GTD took the challenge out of my work (although other circumstances changed around the same time I discovered GTD); David Allen’s methodologies helped me to tame and work with the many disparate elements of my work and life, which was a very good and necessary thing.  (I had also just started a psychotherapy training and running my own little computer-support company - to pay for the training, of course – so I really did need to get things organized and done.)

I did quite a bit of research and playing-around with various tools to find the best fit.  I started with Outlook, since that was what I had used for awhile – not much good, I felt (although Outlook 12 is apparently built around GTD, so I’m looking forward to trying that).  I tried plain text files and Excel files, which both have their strengths.  I tried WikidPad ( and OneNote (http://office.micros.../FX010858031033.aspx) and Evernote ( and TaoNotes ( and KeyNote ( and several other note-based systems.  I tried MyLifeOrganized and didn’t make much of it.  I kept trying other things.

I posted a query on David Allen’s company forums asking about alternatives to Outlook (  I wrote: ‘Am I wasting time in trying to find alternatives…’ and had a good response from TesTeq: ‘Yes. I think that most people are wasting their precious time searching for the ideal GTD implementation. They are testing, trying, converting data back and forth instead of just doing stuff (the real stuff - not the GTD implementation stuff).’  That was a fair cop.

But I didn’t give up yet, oh no; I kept trying to find the perfect GTD software.  I went on to GTDTiddlyWiki (http://shared.snapgr.../gtd_tiddlywiki.html), which is a brilliant browser-based tiddlywiki implementation built around GTD approaches.

For awhile I carried this on a USB memory-stick, and that worked well.  However, I found after a while that using Wiki style markup was slowing me down.  I really, really like GTDTiddlyWiki, and I find myself looking back at it every once in a while and wondering if I could make it work for me…  I went on to playing with NextAction Wiki (, which is a similar project (not quite as handsome, but in some ways easier to work with).  And then I found my way back to MLO.

The fundamental thing to say about my work setup is that I am constantly switching between two laptops – I work from home, so I have my own machine on my desk all the time, and because I use Gmail for work emails, I actually end up doing quite a lot of the day-to-day work on my own machine (it’s faster, prettier, has a bigger screen, and it has my music collection so I can whistle while I work).  But this means that I need an organising option that is easily transferable between the two machines. 

What I took to doing was carrying my MLO data file on a USB stick and just plugging it in on whichever of the two machines I was working on.  Chaos quickly ensued – I overwrote the most recent version of the data files quite soon after starting working this way…  But: I had now had a good experience of using MLO, and I really was sad to stop. 

I decided to test a few online services, starting with Backpack (

On a free account you can only create 5 pages, which I found too few to be really useful.  If you’re willing to pay, you can get up to 1,000 pages ($14.99/month, which is pretty good value, isn’t it?).  I find the free account’s page a little cluttered – this changes when you upgrade.  I only tried a pay-account for a month, and might have continued were it not for RememberTheMilk (

I love RTM’s clean and simple interface, and that it’s free and you can make as many lists as you want.  It’s got easy keyboard shortcuts and, like Backpack, all kinds of Ajaxy goodness.  I particularly like its smart lists function, which can compile a list based on criteria you choose (the ‘This Week’ list showing in this screenshot is a smart list).  An important thing you can’t do is hierarchical lists (which you can do using Textile syntax in Backpack – but see my remarks on using formatting syntax re GTDTiddlyWiki).

I also tried Voo2do ( and TaskToy ( and Zoho Planner ( ) other online services, but I kept coming back to RememberTheMilk.

So RTM and I have been living happily ever after for the last few months.  It’s easy to use, it’s minimal and easy on the eye, it’s quick, you can subscribe to your lists in RSS, printing from lists is straightforward and clean and well laid-out, you can email yourself tasks (as you can in Backpack, but it seems not in Backpack’s useful little brother, Ta-da lists - 

But then the unthinkable happened: I had to go somewhere without an internet connection – North Wales to be precise, to my boss’s new farmhouse in the wilds of Gwynedd.  And then I discovered two limitations of RTM: first, you need an internet connection to use it properly (though it does have RSS feeds as mentioned, so it is possible to work offline); and, secondly, its very neat tagging functions are not as useful as I thought, because it’s impossible to print a particular tag.  So though you can use tags for GTD contexts, and access these easily through the tag-cloud on the Overview page, you can’t print a particular tag/context list.

So I had to copy and paste into Word to have a take-away list for the particular context.  That’s a drag.

So I’m buddying up with MLO again, because it really is the most powerful To-Do list manager/life organizer I have found – and I’ve tried a few…  Others have already sung its praises and described its many excellent features, so I’m just going to say that I agree with all that’s been said – it’s capable of much more than I understand, but does absolutely everything I need.  And it’s possible to turn off displaying all but the features you actually want to use, meaning less visual distraction.  But, I hear you ask, what about the problem of synchronising data files?  Well, I’m going to give a try to using FolderShare ( and keep the data synchronised in cyberspace; I think that’ll work well.

So here’s another vote for MLO - of all the many programs I’ve used to organize my life, this is the one I keep coming back to.  It simply does the job much better than anything else I have found – it’s lightweight, it’s easy to work with, extremely powerful, and it looks good.

Post New Requests Here / IDEA: More against distraction
« on: April 17, 2006, 04:01 PM »
A while back, I posted (https://www.donation...dex.php?topic=2553.0) about a discussion on 43Folders (http://www.43folders...against-distraction/) which introduced a few simple Mac programs for dealing with distraction.  The brilliant Skrommel produced FadingTaskbar (https://www.donation...x.html#FadingTaskbar), which does the job of MenuShade brilliantly.  Many thanks!  I've just discovered MinimOther, which I think will be very useful also!  Now I'm wondering if the great S or some other genius could make a version of Backdrop ( 

This is exactly what I wanted, Skrommel!  You are a hero!

General Software Discussion / Re: Microsoft Office Alternative
« on: April 13, 2006, 06:44 AM »
I have used Word for ages and ages, since migrating from Wordperfect.  I run Portable OpenOffice (http://portableapps..../portable_openoffice) from a USB stick when on the road, and that really is pretty good. That said, I think I would prefer to use one of the online word processors - most likely - when away from home and online.  In fact, if you have an always-on internet connection, using Writely might be a way to reduce system drag, since all you need to have open is your browser...

General Software Discussion / Re: Google Calendar LAUNCHED!
« on: April 13, 2006, 06:27 AM »
This seems really good!  I've been using 30boxes for awhile, and that's been great - but I think Googlecal might be even better.  Actually, the one thing that definitely makes it best for me is that it allows date entry in European style - i.e. 31/12 instead of 12/31 - a very simple tweak, but it makes all the difference to usability for me.  Backpack is going to have a calendar soon, which will probably also be worth a look.

Ah, changed skin and it works again!

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