Monthly Archives: October 2005

MSN Spaces permalink idiocy

Are Microsoft out of their minds? Why else would they create a blogging service that gives you permalinks like this:

http://spaces.msn.com/members/danielbowen/Blog/cns!1p7f9kFwQWrjKhwo5kIjaf_A!106.entry

If they’re going to make it illegible, they should at least make it short (eg no more than 70 characters or so, so it won’t break in emails.)

How to hide or move the followup flag column in Outlook 2003

Outlook flagsI’m sure in older versions of Outlook, the Followup Flag was somewhere on the left hand side, and that’s still where I’m used to seeing it. But in Outlook 2003, it’s on the right, and apparently can’t be moved. Unlike the other columns, it’s not draggable, and if you go into the dialog box that sorts the columns, no matter where you think you’ve moved it, it stays put on the right hand side.

It turns out you have to employ some special trickery to move it. In the Other Settings, there is an option called Quick Flags. This needs to be turned off to hide or move the column.

The down side is, Quick Flags does nifty things, with a left-click alternating between setting a red flag, and ticking off (to show a task is completed). It also provides a special right-click menu that allows quick access to the flags (hence the name), instead of via the main right-click menu via the Followup option. MS, in their wisdom, made all this only work when the Flags are in the rightmost column. Weird.

Email’s highs and lows

Email just had its 34th birthday, and Paul Buchheit uses this occasion to reflect on how GMail has developed.

Mena Trott on why the new generation of net users don’t use email: “To people under 21 or 25, email has always been broken to them. It’s always been spam…” and so they favour blogging (such as LiveJournal) or IM. There’s also talk of personal blogging, and how it’s a record of people’s lives, for future generations. G’Day World Podcast.

iT’s hEre

The Australian iTunes store is now open – songs seem to be AUD$1.69 each.

Osborne Executive (luggable)

A little more nostalgia during my cleanout of old stuff… this is an advert for the Osborne Executive luggable computer, from the February 1984 edition of Australian Personal Computer.

Be amazed by its 4Mhz Z-80A processor! Gasp at its 7 inch amber display! Impressive stuff, no?

Osborne Executive luggable computer

A few brief things

How to snatch an expiring (.com) domain — basically, the action happens 75 days after the expiry date.

Ah, the joys of the pr0n industry, always so quick to grab hold of the latest throbbing new technology. They’re already making use of the video iPods.

Some Swedes name their kid after Google. Thankfully only the middle name.

Dimitri Kokken of Belgium is selling his humungous collection of old computers. Gawd knows how he’s collected them all, but they appear to include just about every 8-bit computer every built, including such obscurities as the Oric Atmos, Spectravideo 318, Commodore CD-TV, and a bunch of MSX machines. No Microbees though.

Only Commodore Amiga

I’m preparing to move house, and during the inevitable clearout of old stuff, found a magazine from 1989 with this advert:

Only Commodore Amiga makes all this possible

I had an Amiga 1200 for a while in the 90s. Lots of fun.

Missed anniversary

It’s probably the type of anniversary that can be most easily missed without dire consequences, but I just realised that as of the 1st of this month, Geekrant.org was a year old. Thanks to my co-conspirators and (some only occasional, alas) contributors Tony, Josh, Andy and Brian.

Traffic has continued to climb, so obviously somebody’s reading, even if it does seem to be mostly a handful of regulars who keep commenting.

And if you’re wondering, the biggest hitting entry is the one with those pictures of Bill Gates.

Hiding Excel warnings during automation

Well, I sorted out my problem of confusing warnings appearing whilst controlling Excel with VBA. Turns out there is an Application.DisplayAlerts property which, when set to false, hides warnings such as the one I was getting. It took a little Googling to find the solution, which wasn’t readily apparently in any of the MS help for the methods I’d got the warnings from.

The other Office applications also have a DisplayAlerts property.

Needless Excel automation warnings

Okay, this is annoying. I’m working on a VB program that uses the Excel object library to automate a fairly complex update into Excel. The general idea when you’re automating Excel is to smoothly do your operation behind-the-scenes, to hide the complexity from the user.

Excel warning

So the last thing you need is complicated dialog boxes popping up to ask the user questions. I’m the programmer: I’m meant to make the decisions. Tell me, the programmer, that if I save this Shared Workbook with a password that certain parts of the file won’t be encrypted. Don’t tell my user, and ask them to decide if it should happen or not.