Lorem Ipsum Generators to make a Client smile…

I recently discovered the “Slipsum Generator” which is quotes from Samuel L Jackson’s movies… then someone in the office mentioned the Bacon Generator (discussing some choice cuts of meat and bacon).

This web site has these 2 generators plus several others listed (Bacon, Hipster and Zombie ipsum are my favourites). http://theultralinx.com/2013/08/10-hilarious-lorem-ipsum-generators-web-designers.html


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Surface Pro 3 Woes – Expanded Memory

I just recently got a Surface Pro 3 for work and I absolutely love it. It truly is a replacement for a laptop… and when you consider that the new SP3 weighed almost as much as my previous laptop’s power brick, it’s a welcome change. There have been a few things that have been bugging me, but most of them I have overcome – the latest one was an unusual problem and seeing as there’s very little info out there about it, I thought it might be worth sharing.

It was always my plan to use an SDXC card to store Videos, Music and my OneDrive files. These are all things where the I/O speed is not particularly important, and portability (being able to transfer from my workstation at home to my Surface for work) is… so when the SDXC card stopped working after about 30 minutes I couldn’t believe it! I Googled around for people in similar situations and it appears as though it used to be a common problem… but most of the current issues seemed to be hardware-related – all of the power-management issues have been resolved with firmware / software updates from Microsoft themselves since the start of the year (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2914219, http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2919355). The temporary fix (for me) was to take it out and put it back in again, but that only worked for 1/2 an hour at a time… and in the meantime the OneDrive App switches off because the drive it’s supposed to be writing to no longer exists.

What’s a guy to do? Initially I thought there might be some power management feature setting somewhere that is causing it to shut down after a bit of inactivity, but there were no drive power settings in my Power management control panel applet – maybe they’re hidden on the SP3?

Well… the easiest way I found to have it stay connected and dodge the power management shenanigans is to go to Device Manager and under the Properties for the SDXC drive, change the Removal policy from “Quick Removal” to “Better Performance” – This prevents the Power saving settings from switching it off. Anyway, problem solved!

Now I just need to find a way to remap some of the keyboard settings and I’m a happy camper! I’ve done it before, just need to remember where the registry keys are…

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Make links for your Metro Apps in Windows 8.1

I don’t mind the idea behind Metro apps and I like the security they bring. However there are a couple of things I dislike about them, which really should not be problems in the first place, but are because of the way the App model was implemented.

  1. I should be able to put a link to an App anywhere I damn well want. Currently in Win 8.1, I can only “pin it to the start menu” or to the task bar, both of which options suck. I have always used (and continue to use) a Quick Launch toolbar for launching my common programs
  2. I should be able to name them in a way that lets me find them, using my own nomenclature. If I want to call Plex “Media Centre”, I should be able to (maybe I cannot remember the word “Plex”?)
  3. I should be able to Group the app shortcuts in any way I want. If I want to have “Kids Games” (like Where’s Waldo) and “Adult Games” (like Quake 3), I should be able to.
  4. I should be able to group my Desktop programs and Windows Apps together. Why do I care that one runs with higher privileges than the other? What is the point of separating them? As a user, I just don’t care.

Turns out that with a little bit of fiddling, you can create normal Desktop-style shortcuts for your metro apps, with the nice icons and everything… and thereby work around these issues 🙂

The process follows:

  1. Install ImageMagick if you have not already done so (link’s in step 4).
  2. Run the following powershell script
    Start-Transcript $env:SystemDrive\Users\$env:username\Desktop\Log.txt
    $installedapps = get-AppxPackage
    foreach ($app in $installedapps)
        foreach ($id in (Get-AppxPackageManifest $app).package.applications.application.id)
            $app.packagefamilyname + "!" + $id    }
    Write-Host "Finished : Press any key to exit... View Log.txt for AppUserModelId's"
    $x = $host.UI.RawUI.ReadKey("NoEcho,IncludeKeyDown")
  3. Create a new link wherever you want (right click – New – Link) with
    C:\Windows\explorer.exe shell:AppsFolder\UMID
    as the “address”, where UMID is the code from within the log.txt text file (it’s on the desktop) e.g. Disney.DisneyClassicSolitaire_6rarf9sa4v8jt!App
  4. Copy the Icon file from the location listed under the ExePath property HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\ActivatableClasses\Package\<PACKAGENAME>\Server\App.<SOMELONGSTRING>.mca or from here: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Extensions\ContractId\Windows.Launch\PackageId\<APPID>\ActivatableClassId\App\Icon<APPID> is the value from the text file before the ! And with the version number in it… for example:
    is in the file, and
    is the <APPID> key.This property references a value here – note the key name under MrtCache is the value from the Icon property:
    HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Local Settings\MrtCache\C:%5CProgram Files%5CWindowsApps%5CDisney.DisneyClassicSolitaire_1.0.0.43_x86__6rarf9sa4v8jt%5Cresources.pri\1cfce9e4ab7062c\4e4436a8
  5. Convert the PNG to an .ICO file and point the link properties to it using ImageMagick – from the cmd prompt, navigate to the folder with the png / jpg images and run:
    mogrify -format ico *.png

Done! Okay, so it’s not particularly easy, but it’s doable. Leave a comment if you would like some more detail on any of the steps!

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For those who love to type…

I’m a fan of the keyboard. I would rather have a keyboard shortcut to anything than having to reach for my mouse… Enter Bayden’s SlickRun.

SlickRun is a way of setting up shortcuts to perform a series of actions on the computer. I just press <ALT> Q and enter the shortcut into the search box… For example:

  • “Hosts” opens up my local Hosts file in Administrator-enabled NotePad.
  • “Morning” and I get today’s latest news, compliments of Google.
  • Mail kicks off Outlook,
  • Rfpr opens up a Word template that I use as a base for RFP Responses, etc.

You can configure your own shortcuts or use some of the pre-canned ones available as “packs” on the download page. Grab it here: http://www.bayden.com/SlickRun/ – Made by Eric Lawrence, the author of Fiddler <–Guy’s got cred.

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Codeplex project – Convert SharePoint to Responsive Design interface – 2010 and 2013!

Wow – Normally I’m impressed at projects on Codeplex, but this has just blown my mind. http://responsivesharepoint.codeplex.com/ – this is a project that converts your SharePoint pages to a Responsive design – Brilliant! And it works on 2010 as well as 2013 – Brilliant! And it’s using the publically available responsive Frameworks Twitter Bootstrap (2 and 3) and Zurb Foundation (4) – Brilliant!

We’re building a web site for a client currently using RD and the way it works in a device agnostic way is… hmmm, a word to sum up what I think of Responsive Design… I know – Brilliant! Big convert to the “unified approach”…

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Kids today don’t know how good they have it…


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Cross-Domain pics not showing up in SharePoint? Its a known issue…

Oftentimes when setting up user profile images in SharePoint, we “house” the images in a website so they can easily be updated by the corporate photographer (seriously – some companies like to have a standard image “look” for their user profiles, part of their onboarding process). anyway, bad news bears if you are using Chrome, and sometimes even IE is a little flaky in the way it renders the image – Instead of getting a pretty profile pic, you get the dreaded red X (missing image icon).

I believe the underlying issue is related to CORS (Cross-Origin Resource Sharing – http://enable-cors.org/ – Note if you are trying this you need to enable it on the site requesting the pictures, not the site hosting the pictures) Happily, SharePoint 2013 has a switch (powershell only) that lets you enable the ability to remotely host the images – Try this on for size:

asnp Microsoft.SharePoint.PowerShell
$ShowMyPhotos = Get-SPWebApplication http://intranet.domain.internal
.CrossDomainPhotosEnabled = $true

Voila! Photos appear… This solution was found on Wictor’s blog: http://www.wictorwilen.se/sharepoint-2013-enabling-cross-domain-profile-pictures

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