Collecting new document files for easy attachment in email

I find that I frequently (many times daily) have to send files as email attachments. Depending on the task, the files can be located in a half-dozen or so places on the Windows file system. I found myself browsing (from Outlook's "Attach File" function) to my Documents, Downloads, Desktop, or one of several network drives for the file I just saved there a few seconds ago.

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2017-07-16, 02:07 pm

Change pip package dependency lists and install from local source with Python 3.6

When installing a Python 3 package with Pip, if the package to be installed calls for a dependency that is outdated or otherwise not available, you can get a local copy of the module, change its dependency lists, then install it from the local source.

This will likely be no big deal for the Python wizards out there, but it was a pretty nice victory for me, so I thought I'd better share in case someone else has the same trouble.

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2017-04-11, 07:04 pm

Properly configuring and using Drupal's views_data_export module

In a Drupal view, I have a button in place that allows the user to export the current view to an Excel (XLS) download (utilizing views_data_export module functionality). That download is expected to be around 3,500 rows, with 39 columns. I just noticed that trying to hit that button for the download results in (almost exactly 30 seconds later) an error I hadn't seen before: "Server Hangup".

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2017-03-15, 11:03 am

CSVKit

I've found this tool to be very powerful and helpful...and I almost couldn't find it again after recently upgrading to a new computer. To prevent future heartburn, I'll document it here.

From the csvkit web site:

csvkit is a suite of command-line tools for converting to and working with CSV, the king of tabular file formats.

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2016-12-29, 11:12 am

AHK - Autoload multiple scripts with separate autoexec and timer hooks

This post outlines a method I came up with to use a single AutoHotKey script to auto-load any number of scripts in a sub-folder. It also allows every script to have its own autoexec section, and to hook into a timer for event-type functionality.

AutoHotKey scripts that are 'persistent' need to be loaded into memory by Windows just one time. If you have several of them to load, you can get them all individually, but you end up with a system tray full of little green 'H' icons.

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2016-12-05, 11:12 pm

Organizing Windows on the Desktop and Connecting to Network Drives with AutoHotKey

AutoHotKey is a powerful Windows automation tool, capable of doing pretty much anything you could do yourself on your PC. I have a number of scripts I run regularly (or always have running) to speed up my work and/or make it more accurate and efficient.

One of my favorite scripts responds to the key combination of Ctrl-Alt-0 (that's a zero). When I press that combo, a couple things happen:

1) First, the script checks to see if the machine is connected to WiFi, and if so, grabs the name of the WiFi's SSID.

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2016-11-16, 10:11 pm

Sending Email to Outlook Groups from a Mobile Device

I haven't found a way to make my email 'groups' from Outlook available on a mobile device (Android phone). I've tried several email clients, but none of them brings in the groups I use frequently in Outlook.

Recently, I came up with a workaround, using Outlook rules. Essentially, I can set up a rule with the following criteria:

  • Sent from my account
  • Sent to my account

    I almost never send mail to myself, so this works. If you routinely cc: yourself, you may need to be careful here.

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2016-11-15, 10:11 am

Building a barn door for a closet

As part of a major kitchen remodel project, we moved the old laundry room up to a 2nd floor closet. With the washer and dryer occupying about a third of the old closet space, we needed an elegant solution to cover the rest of the old closet door space.

We settled on a rustic barn door option. We already had a little experience with distressing new boards to make them look old (from the remodeled kitchen ceiling), so we decided to use that same method on the door.

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2016-08-24, 10:08 pm

Fixing an Error in the Notepad++ Plugin Manager

Notepad++ is a powerful text editor; so much more than a Windows Notepad replacement, and (for me at least) often better for 'real' word processing than Microsoft Word, when coupled with language tools (like Markdown) and plugins.

One of the powerful features in Notepad++ is the Plugin Manager, which provides an easy check-box menu system to install a wide array of plugins that enhance the program. This way, you don't have to mess around with finding and downloading add-ons - it's easy to get them right from the application.

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2016-06-29, 11:06 pm

Suddenly can't connect via Putty to OpenSSH server

From my Windows 7 machine, I've consistently been able to connect via SSH (using Putty) to two different Linux servers. A few weeks ago, one of them stopped responding to connection attempts. Putty would just sit there with a black screen and eventually time out. Troubleshooting attempts:

  • It wasn't a local outgoing firewall (or Windows 7) problem, because I could still connect to other OpenSSH servers
  • It wasn't a problem with the OpenSSH server itself, because I could SSH to one server, and then SSH from there to the 'problem' server. 

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2015-12-23, 09:12 pm

Slow Bitlocker Encryption?

I recently had a need to turn on Bitlocker encryption (in Windows 8.1) for a 1.8 TB external hard drive. After three workdays (more than 24 hours), the drive was claiming it was only 5.2% completed with the encryption step. I searched all over and didn't find an answer, but a colleague recommended plugging the usb drive into a USB 3.0 compliant port, vs. a USB 2.0 port. I had that option available on my machine, and as I'm writing this (about three hours later), the drive is about 67% encrypted. It's working! 

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2015-12-11, 12:12 pm

Installing Autohotkey on Windows 8.1

When I tried to install Autohotkey 1.1.20.1 recently on a Windows 8.1 64bit machine, the installer failed. It 'ran' ok, but on the installer splash screen, none of the buttons or links would 'do' anything. I tried the "Express Installation" and "Custom Installation" buttons and the "Read license" and "Extract to..." links. I tried running the installer as an Administrator.

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2015-04-14, 09:04 pm

Sending Spam via PHP script

I recently had a complaint of 'abuse' , with my mail server sending out spam.  First, one of my users complained that email was bouncing back, then Linode notified me that I'd been flagged for abuse.  I also found that Spamcop had blacklisted my server.  In the Abuse report from Linode, this line stood out:  X-PHP-Originating-Script: 33:.page93.php(241) : eval()'d code I didn't catch on right away, but that's a warning that a php file (.page93.php) is sending out the email.

2014-10-24, 12:10 pm

Enabling .NET 4 applications in IIS 6

I struggled with this long enough, and ended up guessing the right answer; maybe this will save someone else the trouble. On a Windows Server 2003 box, IIS 6, trying to get it to server .aspx pages from a virtual folder.  I could get .html files to serve just fine, but trying to hit an .aspx file kept returning a 404 Not Found Error.  I had to Open the 'Web Service Extensions' folder in IIS Manager, then 'Add a new Web service extension...' to add the .NET 4 application handling.  I used the following:

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    2014-08-29, 01:08 pm

    Real CSS Tables

    I've been learning to love CSS over the last few years, but have always struggled when it comes to displaying content in a tablular format.  Whenever I've run into the need for it, I've run straight back to the HTML <table> element, and then just felt bad about it later. Today, I accidentally ran into a post on StackOverflow that might finally turn me away from tables forever.

    2014-01-03, 01:01 pm

    Pandora via Linux command line with Pianobar

    So, I really like this...I noticed, since I had to recently rebuild my Linux desktop (failed HDD) that the 'new' Adobe Air release doesn't work with Pandora One desktop client any more.  I saw a reference that said you might be able to get an old version and make it work, but after a minimal attempt, I couldn't get it working.  However, today I found Pianobar, which connects to and plays Pandora radio via the Linux command line.

    2013-05-12, 04:05 pm

    Not-so-simple Paypal form

    I dug around the Intertubes and found this link where there's a great example of a semi-complex html form, with javascript support, that sets up a multiple-control payment form.  Unfortunately, the formatting on that page is horrible, making the javascript useless.  Here is my modified version of it, formatted a little better for posterity sake: 

    2012-12-18, 08:12 pm

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