Archive for 2007

Merry Christmas

Thursday, December 27th, 2007

A great cover of White Christmas, performed by Enrico Trevisan:

Merry Christmas!

Enrico doesn’t sing professionally, but this performance of his is touching the heart, and this is the most important thing, I believe!

Merry Christmas to everyone! :-)

(found via molif)

Steve Jobs’ Three Stories

Tuesday, December 11th, 2007

Although I am no big fan of Steve Jobs from Apple, I do like Pixar a lot (Apple, too, but to a lesser degree;-), and the stories he tells us, are certainly worth watching …and understanding.

Blind painter creates beautiful paintings

Sunday, November 25th, 2007

University of North Texas (UNT) student John Bramblitt paints beautiful works of art in vivid colors, despite the fact that he’s been blind for years.

See the videoreport, dedicated to John Bramblitt (flash youtube video):

Amazing man, amazing spirit! :-)

Note: The video is uploaded to Youtube by the Texas Country Reporter.

MS Office 2007 – MS Office 2003 compatibility issue (fix)

Saturday, November 17th, 2007

Microsoft Office LogoIf you have an older version of Microsoft Office – for example, Microsoft Office 2003 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint), or even older (Microsoft Office XP) you might have problems opening the new file formats, introduced with the new Office 2007 (.docx, .xlsx, .pptx, and others).

To fix this issue, without necessarily upgrading to the 2007 Office, you may download the following update from Microsoft:

Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007 File Formats

It supports the following versions of Windows: Windows 2000 SP4, Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP SP1 (or higher, SP2 included), and the following versions of Microsoft Office:

  • Microsoft Word 2000 with Service Pack 3, Microsoft Excel 2000 with Service Pack 3, and Microsoft PowerPoint 2000 with Service Pack 3
  • Microsoft Word 2002 with Service Pack 3, Microsoft Excel 2002 with Service Pack 3, and Microsoft PowerPoint 2002 with Service Pack 3
  • Microsoft Office Word 2003 with at least Service Pack 1, Microsoft Office Excel 2003 with at least Service Pack 1, and Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2003 with at least Service Pack 1

and also the following Office viewers:

  • Microsoft Office Word Viewer 2003
  • Microsoft Office Excel Viewer 2003
  • Microsoft Office PowerPoint Viewer 2003

So, if you have one of the above, you can download and install the update, and then open and even save in the new file formats without a problem, even if you still continue to use an older version of MS Office:)

How to disable automatic Windows restart dialog box after Windows Update

Saturday, November 17th, 2007

You know the scenario:

Windows XP updates automatically, and then a small box appears, which gives you two choices:

  1. Restart the computer! (now)
  2. Restart the computer! (later)

The problem is, even if you choose the ‘later’ option, the same annoying dialog box will pop-up after 10 minutes or so and you’ll have to dismiss it again, then again, then again… Finally, it will inform you, that the computer will be automatically restarted in 5 minutes, no matter what you do currently — the only choice you have at this moment is to postpone the restart a little, but the box will come again and again… And if you’re in the middle of something, and cannot restart right now, then what?

Luckily, there’s a solution, which I’ve found by accident, while browsing the Internet with no specific goal (you may read about this solution in a lot of places, actually). In short, your options are the following:

Option One

Stop the Automatic Update Service for the moment.

To do so, open the ‘run’ dialog box (shortcut: Windows key + R), type ‘cmd’ (without the quotes, of course) in it and hit ENTER. The command line will open.

Then use the following command to stop the service:

net stop wuauserv

Alternatively, you may also use:

net stop "automatic updates"

Or:

sc stop wuauserv

All of these do one and same thing: they stop the Automatic Update Service and with it, the annoying box, which prompts continuously you to restart the computer.

Then you may restart the computer at whatever time you like:-)

Note: The Automatic Update Service will be automatically started at the next Windows reboot, so don’t worry, you won’t disable the service itself!

Now, to the next option:

Option Two

You may disable this dialog box, prompting you to restart the computer after the Windows updates are applied, for good:)

How?

Again, open the ‘run’ dialog box, and type in it ‘gpedit.msc’, then hit ENTER. This will open the Group Policy editor.

Locate in it:

Local Computer Policy → Computer Configuration → Administrative Templates → Windows Components → Windows Update

There are two options there which will affect achieve the effect you’re after.

The first one is: No auto-restart for schedule Automatic Updates installations

Right-click it, select ‘Properties’, and configure it.

The second one is: Re-prompt for restart with scheduled installations

Right-click it, and set the time interval to something very long, like 720 minutes (12 hours).

Note: The maximum number of minutes you can set up there is 1440 minutes, or 24 hours, but this should be enough.

That’s it. No more annoying boxes popping up everywhere and urging you to restart NOW:)

What next?

Finally, let me quote Tim Rains on what might be the issues when disabling this auto-restart dialog box:

IMPORTANT: If you choose to configure your system not to reboot when a security update which requires a reboot is installed, you are taking a huge risk. The fixed code is not actually loaded (in memory) by the system until after the reboot. i.e. the old, vulnerable code is still running until a reboot is completed. If you do not reboot the system for whatever reason (you didn’t realize a security update was automatically installed, you want to wait for a regular maintenance window, you forget, you were on vacation, etc.) your system will still be vulnerable. You also risk system stability by delaying a required reboot. When some files that are in use are replaced but not loaded, and other files that are not in use are replaced, you can get into a mixed binary situation. Depending on the binary, there may be conflicts that cause system instability.

Also, here should be noted that if you have the Automatic Windows Update service disabled by default (System Properties → Automatic Updates → Turn Off Automatic Updates) and do your updates manually (via Microsoft Update or Windows Update), then this dialog box won’t bug at all you after updates are installed, because you have decided to install them manually.

Other interesting resource for you might be this one:

http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/000294.html

There are a lot of insightful comments below the main article — you may find in them, for example, what to do if you’re running a copy of Windows XP Home Edition, which doesn’t have a Group Policy Editor; what are the differences between the No auto-restart for schedule Automatic Updates installations and Re-prompt for restart with scheduled installations and how to set them up in the best possible way, etc.

I’ve created this article more as a note to myself, so I can reference to it later, when needed:)

How to create PDF files

Friday, November 16th, 2007

Adobe PDFPDFCreator is a small, free tool to create PDF files from nearly any Microsoft Windows application.

www.pdfforge.org/products/pdfcreator

(Download directly from here)

Your other option is, of course, Adobe Acrobat, but the first is free and the second is paid, so you can decide for yourself;-)

Pencil

Tuesday, November 13th, 2007

Here’s a pencil:

Pencil made with Adobe Fireworks

It’s made with Fireworks;-)

I’ll write a short tutorial one of these days, maybe, on how you can easily re-create it using Fireworks, but not today, ’cause I’m too sleepy right now:)

How to catch a mouse without a mousetrap

Tuesday, November 6th, 2007

If you have a mouse at home, and want to catch it in the most humane way possible, then this invaluable resource I’ve found is for you:

How to catch a mouse without a mousetrap

(Thanks, Chris! :-)


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