Thursday, February 17, 2011

Turn Your Laptop into Art

Less technical...more shiny! Ok I have been in love with these things for a long time. They're called GelaSkins and like any skin you'd get for your phone or computer, they help protect them from damage. But these are literally works of art! You can chose from tons of different artists, or you can even upload your own creations. They go on really smoothly and easily. I've even had pretty good luck transferring them to a new device when mine broke, though it didn't look quite as snappy as the first time. They also gave me a cool background image too, so it just looked really slick.

One thing to note, is that they are simply skins. They don't have any kind of real padding. They protect from surface scratches and really transform the look of your device, but won't protect much if you drop it. If you have butter fingers, make sure to put your device in some sort of case as well!

GelaSkins - Protection with Style. Not Bulk.

Compacting Huge .PST Files

On the same .pst file kick, I wanted to explain something that a lot of people don't realize about how Microsoft handles .pst files.

A lot of folks will look at their pst file size, freak out, and delete a bunch of emails. They toil over whether to keep the video of little Timmy getting roflstomped by the new kitten in their inbox, even though it's saved to their hard drive and backup drive. It's so much easier to forward from my inbox, right? After careful soul searching they come to the conclusion that it's time, and let it go along with a few thousand other emails. With an aura of pride that can only come from a job well done, they check back to witness their accomplishment and see how tiny their pst file must now be. Queue the screams of frustration when...wait for it...OMG IT'S EXACTLY THE SAME SIZE!

Ok, take a breath. This is maddening, but I promise you, nothing is lost! Not even your time. There are just two other things to look at before we can make that .pst file smaller. First, you have to make sure you've cleared out your deleted items folder. When you delete an email in Outlook, it goes to the deleted items folder to await permanent deletion. It's like a safety net. Make sure you really want to get rid of everything you have in there because there's no turning back!

Now that everything is truly deleted, why isn't my .pst file any smaller? Well, because Outlook doesn't compact your .pst file automatically, right away. This means, that those email you deleted only created room within the .pst file itself. It's good news, because emails you receive won't actually make your .pst file any larger, until it exceeds the empty space inside, but annoying because your original goal had been to reduce the file size. If you leave Outlook open and running, it will eventually compact everything on it's own. If you're one of those instant gratification people, like me, you can follow Microsoft's directions here for compacting your .pst file manually.

Oi vey! So much work goes into maintaining one little email application. I've personally opted to give up on Outlook all together and use Gmail and their interface exclusively. I'd suggest you try the same if you're in the position to but we'll save all that for another post.

Happy emailing!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Outlook+Gmail=Huge PST Files

Somebody asked me about the huge pst file their Gmail account was creating when using Microsoft Outlook. I take absolutely no credit for this answer, because I found it spelled out perfectly here.

I love the internet!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Geek love!

This is the cutest thing ever! Geek2Geekis a dating website just for geeks! If I was single I'd be all over this. What a cool way to meet people that actually share your interests. If anybody has tried this, I'd be really interested to know how it went. Comment here and let us know!

Geek 2 Geek Dating

Magic Jelly Bean

It sounds like something out of a fairy tale, and this week it was so useful it almost was! I had a user whose drive was failing and needed to be replaced, so I set him up with a new one. I then took his old drive and put it in an enclosure, that allowed it to connect via USB so he could access all of his data. Unfortunately, he had no record of the key for his Microsoft Office installation. Yikes, that could be an expensive thing to have to purchase again!

Thank goodness for Magic Jelly Bean products! They make key finders, that scan the registry of your system for the keys of software you have installed. I've mentioned SIW before, and I adore it, but it doesn't find keys on external drives.The free version is just called Key Finder, and they make an fancier yet still inexpensive version called Recover Keys for more elusive and harder to recover keys. Simply download, install and run for data on your own drive. For keys on an external drive, like the situation above, you simply use the "load hive" feature and point it to the Windows installation on the drive. Voila! All the information you need to reinstall that expensive software on the new drive.