Category Archives: Applications

Getting Excel data into a plain HTML table

I’d been looking for something like this for ages, but must have been Googling the wrong terms.

How to get the contents of an Excel spreadsheet into a simple, no-format, plain HTML table:

No-Cruft Excel to HTML Table Converter


Banshee: please, pick a version

Banshee is a cross-platform audio player built using Mono.

If you go to the official website and install Banshee for Windows, you're offered version 2.4.0 with warnings about it being alpha and all (as of April 16, 2013 the latest version is 2.6.1). Once you've downloaded it, when you then run it up, you get the following dialog:

Infuriating.  Why wasn't I offered that one by the website? Naturally, one selects “Hell yes, give me the current (actually, still behind the main branch, but more current than what I've got) release!”, which is then followed by

and no freaking explanation of what went wrong. How am I meant to fix this? Given that the project is built for a VM, why am I offered one version, then offered the chance to update to a different version, and both of these versions are behind the current release?



Sony Vegas 10: Out of memory when rendering

We were having issues rendering a reasonably complex but fairly short video using Sony Vegas 10 (32-bit) on a 64-bit machine (Win7 x64) with plenty of RAM and disk space free. After a few seconds each time, the rendering would stop dead with an Out Of Memory error.

I looked around on Google, where various discussion forums came to different conclusions about a fix (including changing the rendering thread and RAM options within Vegas) — and a 4-minute YouTube video claiming also to fix it — honestly, who has the time to watch something like that? — just give me the solution in words I can quickly scan and replicate.

I eventually found this:

I finally found the solution to Vegas giving me memory errors using CFF Explorer… This is what I did.

1) Using “CFF Explorer” I open the original “VegasMovieStudioPE100.exe” file.

2) Now go to “NT Header/File Header” and click “File Header”. There you will find a button labeled “click here”. Click it. And select the checkbox “App can handle> 2GB address space”

3) Now press the “ok”'s and when back on the main menu, click on the disk button and save the modified “.exe” file, overwrite the orginal one. (Note in Vista and 7 you must be running CFF Explorer in Administrator Mode).

Suddenly all my low memory errors were history and have been able to render all my movies with no issues.

Happily, this worked for us too. Hopefully repeating the fix here will help others find it more quickly. Thank you, “Lowlypawn” for posting your solution rather than just posting your problems like many do.

At some stage we'll upgrade to a newer (64-bit) video editing package. But it's nice to know this one can be cranked up to keep going for a bit longer.

It makes me wonder why (a) Sony hasn't issued their own information about this, and (b) something as incredibly useful as CFF Explorer isn't built into Windows.

Click through to read the full post, which includes feedback from Sony from when he contacted them about it.



It seems this blog got hacked recently. A couple of posts had the following code inserted into them:

/*  */
...(post text)...
	edCanvas = document.getElementById('content');

This was on WordPress 3.2.1. I've now updated to 3.5; hopefully this won't recur, but it's something to watch out for if you're running blogs using older versions… a quick Google search indicates plenty of people have been hit but haven't noticed.


Blogger introduces country domains, breaks some addons

Blogger has split itself into separate country domains, such as for US, for UK, for AU.

But what’s really puzzling is that these apply to the user, not the blog. The blog may be visible on a multitude of different blogspot country domains, dependent on where the user is located.

This has broken a number of addon tools, such as commenting and social networking.

More details at Girl Does Geek

Google’s information on this

How to override it (though it only lists a few of the country domains; you’d need to find as many as possible to add in to make it work for everybody)

– It rather appears that Google/Blogger didn’t think too carefully about this.

Old shapes in Visio

I know I’m using an old (2003) version of Visio, but seriously… paper tape?

Visio shapes

(I suppose these days “cards” could refer to some kind of portable storage, though I bet it really means punch cards.)

Giant embedded slides

Email arrived. Embedded Powerpoint slides. 9Mb. Wow.

Saved the slides out to a temporary directory, loaded them in Powerpoint, saved again as PPTX, edited the message (thank goodness Outlook allows this) to remove the embedded slides and attach the PPTX versions instead. Result: 663 Kb — a 93% saving in space, with no loss of fidelity.

Either we need to send everybody on compulsory email attachments training, or email systems need to get much more efficient at this stuff, and clean up the stupid stuff for them automatically.

By the way, Outlook 2010 made it very difficult, if not impossible to save the slides. Outlook 2007 looking at the same message managed it easily. Hmmm.


Don’t get me wrong, I like the feature of Thunderbird (and other email clients) that looks for keywords indicating you intended to attach a document, and warns you that you haven’t.

But I think it needs tweaking.

Thunderbird attachment warning

The attachment keyword “pdf” is clearly part of a quoted URL in this email. In these cases, I think there’s no need to give me the warning.

Yeah, if I were energetic enough, I’d report the bug and/or fix it myself.

(Oh, whatdayaknow, I just patched to the latest version of TBird, and it looks like someone fixed it. Still, a little more quality control wouldn’t hurt to ensure this type of bug wasn’t released into a “stable” version in the first place.)

Horde access keys

Beware of Horde’s IMP webmail client and its access/shortcut keys.

One that’s caught me is that if new email composition is set to be in a separate window, and access keys are on, then Alt-F4 (which in Windows is normally the equivalent of Close) is pressed, instead of saving the email to Drafts, or cancelling the email, it sends it.

I’m a common user of Alt-F4, which means several times I’ve thought I was cancelling the email, but instead it’s sent it.

Another is Alt-D for Delete (the current message). On many browsers this predates Ctrl-L to go to the address window, and while I know I should learn Ctrl-L, I still commonly press Alt-D. If Horde is configured to not even put the message into the Trash, carelessly pressing Alt-D will zap the message forever more, no trace left.

To prevent these happening again, I’ve now turned off Access keys: Options / Global options / Display Options / Should access keys be defined for most links?

Importing into SQL Server

Alas SQL Server Management Studio isn’t as friendly as it could be for pasting in data. You’d think Microsoft would have this humming, but when I tried to paste from Excel, it attempted to paste the entire first row from my spreadsheet into the first column (in one row) of the database.

Using MS Access to open up the database probably would have worked, but I didn’t have it on that machine.

Trying to import using the SQL Server Import And Export Data wizard from a CSV text file worked for a small amount of data, but the 80,000 rows I was trying to import from the world ports code list didn’t. Time and time again it would report an error (unspecified) and give me the option of Abort, Retry, Ignore. No matter option I chose, it crashed.

While the 64-bit version of the wizard on my 64-bit Win7 machine didn’t allow you to import from Excel/Access, the 32-bit version did (presumably because MS Office, at least the version I have installed, is 32-bit).

The next problem was that it only supported Excel 2003 format, which can’t handle more than 64K rows. I ended up having to split the data into two and import the two spreadsheets separately. Then it worked.

Shame the wizard is so flaky, and of course it’s a big shame that Management Studio doesn’t do copy/paste like one would expect. (Maybe that too was a 32-bit/64-bit issue.)

Microsoft’s open-source CMS

Interesting — Microsoft has launched its WebMatrix open-source web development bundle, as well as the first version of its open-source “Orchard” content management system.

Wonder if these means MS has WordPress, Joomla and Drupal as its targets? Perhaps it’s realised that having some kind of open-source CMS is vital to winning the hearts and minds of web programmers, and weaning them off PHP and MySQL back to ASP.Net and SQL Server.

(via Mary-Jo Foley)

uTorrent crapware

The latest version of uTorrent comes with an unwelcome friend — some kind of app host called Conduit, and a waste-of-time toolbar in IE and Firefox.

I don’t know if they’re dangerous or not (you’d hope the uTorrent people wouldn’t have allowed them in if there was any risk), but I certainly think they’re unwelcome, and the semi-auto update from the previous version of uTorrent didn’t give me the option of having them or not.

To remove them, go into Control Panel, Add/Remove programs and remove:

uTorrent toolbar

You’ll also need to go into Firefox and in Tools, Addons, do the same.

That seems to do it (touch wood). uTorrent, unsurprisingly, seems to work fine without them.

Hey uTorrent guys, love your product, but stick to your core business, eh? Don’t let bundled crapware like this drag you down.

Update 24/12 — also noted: it changes your Firefox home page without asking, too.