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Archive for the ‘Technical’ Category

Setting the Default Email Account in Outlook

July 13th, 2012

If you have several email accounts set in Microsoft Outlook then when you create a new email, or a program like SliQ Invoicing launches Outlook to send an email, Outlook will use your default email account as the account from which the email is sent. If you are emailing invoices from a program like SliQ then this can be inconvenient since your default email account may be a personal email whereas you’d prefer to use your business email by default.

To change the default email account in Outlook, do the following:-

1. Run Microsoft Outlook.

2. From the Tools menu, choose Account Settings.

3 In the E-mail tab, select the email account you want to be the default.

4. Then press the Set as Default button as shown in the picture below.

outlook-set-default-account

5. Press the Close button.

How to set Windows Live Mail as the Default Email Client

July 7th, 2012

If you are using Windows Live Mail as your email program on Windows 7 but you are having trouble sending email from other programs, e.g. SliQ Invoicing or Winzip, it’s worth checking that Windows Live Mail is set as the default email client in Windows.To do the default email client check, do the following:-

1. Click the Start button and on the righthand side of the Start menu, choose the Default Programs option.

2. In the windows that opens, choose the Set your default options link.

3. In the Set your default programs Window, select Windows Live Mail and then choose the Set this program as default option as shown in the following picture.

live-mail-default-selection

4. Click the OK button.

5. Close the Default Programs window.

Now, if you try to email from SliQ with the email sending option set to Send using the Default Email Program, Windows Live Mail should be launched with your email text and invoice template attached.

Windows 8 Overview

July 3rd, 2012

Microsoft’s much anticipated Windows 8 is set to launch later this year. But how will it compare to its predecessor Windows 7, which launched three years ago? Take a look at our lowdown on all you need to know about Windows 8.

windows-8-screenshot

Unlike Windows 7, which was brought out as a more focused, rework of Microsoft Vista and an incremental upgrade to the Windows series, Windows 8 has been “re-imagined from the chipset to the user experience”. It features a new user interface based on Microsoft’s Metro design language, designed to better suit touch screen input, alongside traditional mouse and keyboard input. Microsoft developers promise a more “fast and fluid” PC experience and say they have designed Windows 8 “for the billion people who use PCs today, and for the next billion people who will use them in the future.” Our summary of the new user interface is that it is clearly aimed at the tablet PC or iPad user. The riskiest part of Microsoft’s strategy in the way Windows 8 is presented is that they leave themselves open to alienating existing Windows users without winning over tablet PC users.

Here’s our summary of the key Windows 8 features…

Windows 8 will work on tablets and traditional PCs

The operating system’s home screen features big, touchable panels, similar to the live tiles in Windows Phone 7, which you can tap and swipe to other touch-based applications. Underneath the touch screen layer, is a more traditional Windows, with a task bar, file manager, app icons and more.

It will feature a clever touch interface

Users swipe upwards from the start menu to reveal the home screen and its tiles. Swiping from the right-hand side brings up a menu that can take users from an app back to the home screen. Users can multitask between open apps by swiping across from the left-hand side. And when swiping in a new app, users can snap it in place next to the app that’s currently running, allowing the user to view two apps at the same time.

There will be new Windows 8 apps

Microsoft has created a new kind of app for Windows 8 using HTML5 and Javascript, and they’re a lot like the apps you’d expect to find on a tablet. Out of the box, Windows 8 comes with an essential set of applications including Mail, Calendar, People, Maps, Weather, Music and Video players, plus a new release of Internet Explorer – version 10 – which is optimised for touch.

But you will still be able to use existing Windows apps

Although a lot of the early hype and information from Microsoft centres on touch capability and tablet or iPad-like features showing that Microsoft are clearly aiming to win over Apple customers, long time Windows users can be assured that existing Windows apps like Office and Photoshop will still work on Windows 8, although they won’t be optimised for the touch screen.

There will be a host of other improvements

Microsoft claim the software will need rebooting just once a month and that Windows 8 boot times are 70% faster than those of Windows 7. Previous Windows releases suffer from a gradual slowdown unless they are regularly rebooted so a reduced need to reboot coupled with a faster boot time will be very welcome.

Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 will drive sales

The Windows Phone 8 (WP8) OS is more competitive than its Windows Phone 7.5 predecessor and is likely to drive up Windows’ smartphone market share.

Windows 8 will come in three versions

Windows 8 is set to come in three different versions – Windows 8 (self-titled), Windows Professional, and Windows RT.

Are you looking forward to the launch of Windows 8? What are your views on it? Leave a comment and let us know.

Installshield – Unable to save file c:\windows\downloads\…

June 28th, 2012

After upgrading an older, Installshield 11.5 Basic MSI project into a newer version of Installshield, although the project built OK, when I ran the installer I got a warning saying:

“Unable to save file c:\windows\downloads\ ….”

and the installer then brought up a folder dialog expecting to be told where else it could save a file. On a hunch I reran the installer with admin privileges and the installer ran cleanly with no message boxes or dialogs.

The problem turned out to be a permissions problem on Windows 7, with Windows refusing to let the MSI installer save working files onto the C:\ drive without admin privileges.

Here’s how I solved the problem:

1. In the Installation Designer, under the Media/ Releases node, select the release and then click on the Setup.exe tab as shown in this picture:

msicachepath

Note the Cache Path value – this is set to [WindowsFolder] which causes the installer to unpack its working data onto the c:\ drive which is not a good idea on Windows 7 without admin privileges.

2. Change the Cache Path value to:

[LocalAppDataFolder]Downloaded Installations

which is a writeable folder.

localappfolder3. Rebuild then run the installer.

All is now well and the installer runs without confusing popups on Windows 7, XP and Vista.

Click here for more Installshield tips.

How to Install Google Analytics on a WordPress Blog

June 8th, 2012

If you are interested in finding out statistics about visitors to your blog, the best free way of adding tracking to your blog is to install Google Analytics. Google provides a free Analytics service – you create a new account with Google and they give you some code to place on your website which lets Google track visitors to your site. You can log into your Analytics account on Google and see stats such as the number of visitors from different countries, the number of times specific pages were viewed and so on.

You can sign up for Google Analytics here. The instructions for signing up and enabling tracking are fairly easy to follow if you are capable of adding a HTML file to your webhost account. Placing the tracking code on a WordPress blog though is not as obvious as it might be with a static website. However, the method is similar – all you need to do is place the tracking code just before the </body> tag in your WordPress theme.

To find the </body> tag in your current theme, follow these steps:-

  • Log into your WordPress blog as an administrator.
  • Under the Appearance menu on the left, click the Editor option.
  • Click on the Theme files options on the right to find one that contains the </body> tag.

The </body> tag may be in the footer.php file on your theme but on mine I found it in a file called end.php.

  • Paste your tracking code into the theme file just before the </body> tag and then save the file.

google-analytics-wordpress

Your Google Analytics account should now show stats for visitors to your blog. It may take up to 24 hours for the first visitor stats to appear in your account.

InstallShield Major Upgrade: Two entries in Add/ Remove Programs

April 2nd, 2012

After implementing an InstallShield Major Upgrade recently after making changes to a beta version of one of my software packages, I found that there were two entries in the Window’s Control Panel’s Add/ Remove Programs list. Despite the two entries, the installed package seemed to have installed and worked correctly on Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7. However, having two packages looked untidy and uninstalling either of them uninstalled the software package.

After a bit of research I found that the problem was because I was doing a major upgrade but I had not changed the package version, i.e. I had changed the product code and package code but had left the product version the same. (See this post for info on how to do an InstallShield Major Upgrade). However, in this particular case I needed to leave the version number the same. In order to get the installer to behave as I wished and leave only one instance of the package in the Add/ Remove list, I had to do the following in InstallShield:

1. In the Installation Designer, click the Upgrades node under the main Media node.

2. Open the upgrade entry I had created as advised in my earlier post on InstallShield Major Upgrades:

upgradeentry

3. In the Common Properties for the upgrade entry, instead of choosing to upgrade Any Earlier Version, choose a specific range of versions and enter 1.0.0 in the minimum version field, leaving the maximum value field blank. Remember to check the Version Range Inclusive field to be on the safe side:

installshield-minimum-version

Now when the installer runs it will perform a major upgrade even on an installation that has the same version number as the new (major upgrade) installer.

Importing CSV data from Excel into phpMyAdmin

March 7th, 2012

When importing CSV data saved from Excel into a MySQL database using phpMyAdmin, I was getting an error indicating that there was an “Invalid field count in csv input on line 1″. The settings in phpMyAdmin asked for fields to be delimited by double quotes (“field”) but even after doing that I was still getting the same error message.

In order to get the input to work, I resaved the Excel file as a CSV (and didn’t place quotes around the columns) then removed the first row containing the field titles. In phpMyAdmin I then chose the following settings:

Format: CSV using LOAD DATA
Columns terminated by ,  (not the default of ; )

All other settings were left at their default.

I was then able to successfully import the CSV file.

InstallShield Major Upgrade

December 16th, 2011

Sometimes after making some changes to a product, either updating assemblies or adding or removing assemblies, an installer fails to update a previous version. After running the installer, no errors or warnings are produced but the program files remain unchanged. If this happens the best solution I’ve found is to configure InstallShield to perform a major product upgrade.

To configure a major upgrade, you need to do the following in InstallShield:-

1. Configure an upgrade in the Upgrades node under the main Media node in the Installation Designer …

installshield-upgrades-node

a. First, right-click on the Upgrade Windows Installer Setup node and add a new major upgrade. Make sure that the major upgrade setting Products Sharing my Upgrade Code is selected.

installshield-major-upgrade

b. Click on the Upgrade Windows Installer Setup node and make sure the option to uninstall the old setup is selected.

new-upgrade-node

installshield-major-upgrade-settings

2. Change the Product Code GUID via the Product Properties view under the main Installation Information/ General Information node. Note: DO NOT CHANGE the Upgrade Code – the installer will use this to automatically uninstall the previous version of the product.

installshield-product-code

3. In the Summary Information Stream view, update the Package Code GUID.

installshield-package-code

3. Then rebuild your installer and test it out. Your installation should now be upgraded properly.

Note that if the installer is intended to perform a major upgrade of a package with the same version number (as opposed to the more normal situation of a major upgrade of the same package with a lower version number), see this post for more info.