Monday, 8 July 2013

Fixing Blurry Images in Adobe Bridge

I've been using Adobe Bridge to browse my photos for a while and recently noticed that the images weren't very sharp.  I thought it was a problem with my lens or camera but it turns out it's a setting in Bridge which can be changed.  Basically the previews that Bridge generates are smaller than the screen size so they are resized to fit the screen resulting in loss of sharpness.  The setting below tells Bridge to create a preview with the same dimensions as the screen resulting in minimal loss of sharpness - there may be a slight degradation in quality in resizing the image.

Under the menu Edit/Preferences, and in the Advanced tab switch on 'Generate Monitor-Size Previews'

To enable recreation of the preview images go to the Cache tab of the same dialog and click Purge Cache.

This has made the preview images much sharper on my machine and I now no longer need to get a new lens, which is what I was thinking.. :o)

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Transfer of large files (> 200MB)

Occasionally I want to transfer files from my work PC and home PC or vice versa.  There are a number of ways of transferring large files:
1. Dropbox - 2GB limit but the files will also be copied to other devices connected to my dropbox account.
2. Skydrive - files cannot be >100MB, could be split using 7-zip
3. - Again, 100MB limit

I found the ideal solution - - you open it in a browser session on the source PC, click on upload file and it will give you a download link.  Open this link on the destination PC and it will stream the file from the source PC - I get decent speeds and can download a 200MB file in about 20 minutes.

I'm not sure how secure it is, I think it's based in Russia so if you have any concerns best to encrypt the file - you can use 7-Zip or WinRar to encrypt files and not apply any compression.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

SSMS Tools Pack

I spend a considerable amount of time using SQL Server Management Studio,it's the GUI interface to Microsoft SQL Server (Server and the free Express edition). There's an add-on called SSMS Tools Pack which adds some new much needed features. This tool used to be free (or donation-ware), but since version it's a paid-for licensed tool. I still use version which doesn't require licensing. It has a number of features, though I'll only cover the ones which I use and now find indispensable:

Once installed it adds a new menu item (SSMS Tools) on the top menu and a new context menu or right-clicking of an object (SSMS Tools).

Window Colouring
This colours query windows based on the server name, so you could colour live/development/test servers differently.  I normally switch between servers several times and this gives me the confidence that I'm running the query on the correct server.
It's not perfect as other windows aren't coloured, i.e. the table designer, but hopefully this will come soon.

Generate Insert Statements
This, as it name suggests, generates insert statements for the data in a table.  This allows the query to be copied and run on a different server, or maybe stored in a source control package to keep a history of data.

Query Execution History
This saves all queries run into a local folder, by default c:\SSMSTools\.  This can then be queried by date and the resulting view shows all the SQL commands run on that date - also the time is displayed.  There have been a number of times where I've written an ad-hoc query and not saved it as I thought I'd never need it again, only to find that I needed to perform a similar task at a later date.

Similar to snippets in Visual Studio - these are snippets of code/SQL which can be entered using short-cut text entries.  It comes with a number of built-in snippets, for example entering UPD and then pressing Enter adds the following snippet which can then be amended.
SET    <>
FROM   <>

I've added a number of my own snippets, a few examples are below.
SET 1=0

SELECT  TOP 1000 *

Monday, 7 January 2013

Robocopy copy date/time of folders

I use Robocopy for some of my backups (here). I hadn't realised that Robocopy doesn't copy the modified date/time of any folders it copies. This isn't a huge problem but I like to sort some of my files so I can see newly created folders. 

The simple fix is to add the 'copy directory timestamps' switch to the command. 
/DCOPY:T :: COPY Directory Timestamps. 

So the command
ROBOCOPY Q:\HarjHome M:\HarjHome /MIR /R:0 

changes to
ROBOCOPY Q:\HarjHome M:\HarjHome /MIR /R:0 /DCOPY:T

and all the timestamps on the copied folders are copied too.  There is a minor overhead in this but it's negligible.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Search File Contents

OK, so you're running Windows 7 and you want to find all files that contact a certain piece of text.

It's simple isn't it - just go to the folder type in the text at the top right, and all the files are magically returned?  I know there are 2 files in C:\TEMP containing the text elephant so I go to the folder and type in elephant in the top right

Strange - no matching items..  Ah - I need to click on File Contents so that Windows 7 now searches the file contents and not the file names

Only 1 file found?  What's happening here?

By default Windows 7 will only search contents for certain file types.  You can add to this list of file types by performing a whole lot of messing about but what a lot of fuss just to do something the OS should do out of the box.

If you're an advanced user you might be thinking DOS is the way to go.  So go to the Command Prompt, type in CD \TEMP and then find "elephant" * and hey presto

What?  Access Denied!  This is a problem that is even harder to fix than adding to the list of file types that will be searched.

So where does this leave us?

There's a simple solution.  Forget Windows 7's built-in search and use the excellent and highly respected text editor Notepad++.  Just install, run and to bring up the search dialog - from the top menu select Search and then Find in files..

Enter the text you want to search for and the directory to start searching from

Click on Find All

Perfect, it shows both files and as a bonus double-clicking the text will open the file at the location where the search text is.

Now why couldn't Windows 7 make it that easy?  Maybe it'll be fixed in Windows 8..

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Compress folders into separate files using WinRar

If you have files/folders you don't use very often it can be handy to compress and file them so they don't take up valuable disk space.  You can use an application like WinRAR (or the free 7-Zip) to compress all selected folders into a single compressed file.

If there are a lot of files though it can be more convenient to have each folder in it's own compressed file.

WinRAR is able to do this (7-Zip is not).  If these were the folders

Selecting all the folders, then right-clicking and choosing the WinRAR menu 'Add to Archive'

Tick this option in WinRAR. (Put each file to separate archive)

This will put each folder into a separative file and you can then remove the original folders.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Enter the Tab character in Gmail

If you use Gmail you might have come across a situation where you wanted to enter a Tab in an email. This could be for formatting items in a list, to line up columns. (You could put the data into Excel and attach the spreadsheet but the user at the other end may not have Excel)

This is how the list looks before adding Tabs, for example I'll use a list of items purchased.

There's a little known Windows feature of adding characters by using their ASCII code.  The way to do it is by holding ALT, and then entering the code of the character you want.  You need to use the numeric keypad to enter these characters.  The ASCII code for Tab is 009, so by holding down ALT and then entering 009 we get a Tab character. See

After entering the Tabs in the original email this is now how it looks: