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Work with Office files on your Android with Documents To Go

In my recent change to the Google Android from a Palm, there were two main functions I required. The first one was the ability to create, edit and view Microsoft Office documents on the Android. I was please to see that DataViz, the creators of Documents To Go, had a version for the Android platform.

Documents To Go on the Android platform

I have used Documents To Go for around a decade now on the Palm platform. The basic features are the same between the platforms, with a few minor changes. There is Word To Go (Microsoft Word), Sheet To Go (Microsoft Excel), Slideshow To Go (Microsoft PowerPoint) and PDF To Go (Adobe Acrobat). I like to create documents on my workstation, sync them with SyncToy to my Android and then be able to view / edit them when I am away from the office. Plus you can also open up documents you have downloaded too. (like PDF's). Here's a quote from their web site:

Whether you’re an organization looking to mobilize your sales professionals or an individual looking to increase personal productivity, leaving your office or laptop behind does not have to mean leaving your crucial files and work behind.

Now you can get your work done no matter where you are by using Documents To Go to view, edit and create Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint files as well as view Adobe PDF files on your Android-powered smartphone. And since it is full featured yet easy to use, Documents To Go is one mobile office suite that makes good business sense.

There is a free version of Document To Go and it's available on the Android page at DataViz.

Enjoy,
Scott

Synchronize files & folders between devices with SyncToy 2.1

I recently migrated to a Google Android and needed a program to sync files between it and my personal workstation. I had used SyncToy 2.0 from Microsoft on Windows XP (32-bit), so I decided to give SyncToy 2.1 a try on Windows 7 (64-bit).

SyncToy 2.1

Once the installation was complete, I created a new folder on my computer to synchronize the Android with. I then opened up SyncToy and created a Folder Pair between the memory card on the Android (via USB cable) and the new folder on my computer.

SyncToy 2.1

Clicking on the Preview button will show what files and folders are being sync 'd, type of operation, last modified, etc. Here's a quote from the SyncToy page:

There are files from all kinds of sources that we want to store and manage. Files are created by our digital cameras, e-mail, cell phones, portable media players, camcorders, PDAs, and laptops. Increasingly, computer users are using different folders, drives, and even different computers (such as a laptop and a desktop) to store, manage, retrieve and view files. Yet managing hundreds or thousands of files is still largely a manual operation. In some cases it is necessary to regularly get copies of files from another location to add to primary location; in other cases there is a need to keep two storage locations exactly in sync. Some users manage files manually, dragging and dropping from one place to another and keeping track of whether the locations are synchronized in their heads. Other users may use two or more applications to provide this functionality.

Now there is an easier way. SyncToy, a free PowerToy for Microsoft Windows, is an easy to use, highly customizable program that helps users to do the heavy lifting involved with the copying, moving, and synchronization of different directories. Most common operations can be performed with just a few clicks of the mouse, and additional customization is available without additional complexity. SyncToy can manage multiple sets of folders at the same time; it can combine files from two folders in one case, and mimic renames and deletes in another case. Unlike other applications, SyncToy actually keeps track of renames to files and will make sure those changes get carried over to the synchronized folder.

I have used SyncToy over the years without any issues and recommend it to anyone who needs to synchronize files between devices. SyncToy runs on Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and comes in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions. It can be download from Microsoft's SyncToy page.

Enjoy,
Scott

Windows logo key keyboard shortcuts

Windows logo key Windows logo key keyboard shortcuts (based on Windows 7)

Press To
Windows logo key Open or close the Start menu
Windows logo key + Pause Display the System Properties dialog box
Windows logo key + D Display the desktop
Windows logo key + M Minimize all windows
Windows logo key + Shift + M Restore minimized windows to the desktop
Windows logo key + E Open Computer
Windows logo key + F Search for a file or folder
Ctrl + Windows logo key + F Search for computers (if you're on a network)
Windows logo key + L Lock your computer or switch users
Windows logo key + R Open the Run dialog box
Windows logo key + T Cycle through programs on the taskbar
Windows logo key + number Start the program pinned to the taskbar in the position indicated by the number. If the program is already running, switch to that program
Shift + Windows logo key + number Start a new instance of the program pinned to the taskbar in the position indicated by the number
Ctrl + Windows logo key + number Switch to the last active window of the program pinned to the taskbar in the position indicated by the number
Alt + Windows logo key + number Open the Jump List for the program pinned to the taskbar in the position indicated by the number
Windows logo key + Tab Cycle through programs on the taskbar by using Aero Flip 3-D
Ctrl + Windows logo key + Tab Use the arrow keys to cycle through programs on the taskbar by using Aero Flip 3-D
Ctrl + Windows logo key + B Switch to the program that displayed a message in the notification area
Windows logo key + Spacebar Preview the desktop
Windows logo key + Up Arrow Maximize the window
Windows logo key + Left Arrow Maximize the window to the left side of the screen
Windows logo key + Right Arrow Maximize the window to the right side of the screen
Windows logo key + Down Arrow Minimize the window
Windows logo key + Home Minimize all but the active window
Windows logo key + Shift + Up Arrow Stretch the window to the top and bottom of the screen
Windows logo key + Shift + Left Arrow or Right Arrow Move a window from one monitor to another
Windows logo key + P Choose a presentation display mode
Windows logo key + G Cycle through gadgets
Windows logo key + U Open Ease of Access Center
Windows logo key + X Open Windows Mobility Center

Using Virtual Machines to run old programs in Windows 7

I this article, I an going to show one of the uses for Virtual Machines in Windows 7. More and more often I am asked 'How can I get an old program to run on Windows 7?'. I ran into this issue a few years back when one of my favorite search programs (WebCompass) was discontinued. The last operating system it was released for was Windows 98. So when I when over to Windows XP, it ran fine, until Service Pack 1. It lost functionally when one of the system DLL's it depended on got upgraded. That's when I started to use Virtual Machines (Virtual PC 2004 & 2007).

There are a few different Virtual Machines out there. I have used the top three (VMware Player by VMware, Inc., Windows Virtual PC by Microsoft and VirtualBox by Sun / Oracle). For this article, I will demonstrate Windows 7 Virtual Machines and Sun VirtualBox. Instructions on how to create a virtual machine in Windows 7 and install a guest operating system follow.

Note: The following demonstration was done using virtual machines originally created in Virtual PC 2004, upgraded to Virtual PC 2007 and then upgraded to Windows 7 Virtual Machines.

How to create a virtual machine in Windows 7 and install a guest operating system

A guest operating system runs in a virtual machine. If you do not want to use Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 3 (XP Mode) as the guest operating system, you can create a virtual machine. You will use a wizard to create the virtual machine and customize it by specifying details such as the name and the amount of memory to assign to it. Before you create the virtual machine, consider the following questions:

  • How much memory will you allocate to the virtual machine? Be sure to allocate enough to run the guest operating system and all applications that you want to run on the virtual machine at the same time.
  • Where do you want to store the virtual machine and what do you want to name it? For example, you might want to use a name that identifies the guest operating system, or describes how you want to use it. You can use as many as 80 characters for the name.
  • What type of virtual hard disk do you want to use?
    - Dynamically expanding virtual hard disk. This type requires a minimum of 8 MB free space on the physical storage media. The size of the disk (and the .vhd file) grows as the disk is used, up to the maximum size specified when the disk was created.
    - Fixed virtual hard disk. This type of disk requires as much physical storage space as the size you specify for the disk when you create it. The size of the .vhd file is the same as the virtual hard disk size and remains unchanged.
    - Differencing virtual hard disk. This type requires a small amount of physical storage when you create the disk, and requires more storage as the size of the disk grows. The maximum size of a differencing disk is restricted by the maximum size of its parent hard disk.
  • And where do you want to store it?

After you create the virtual machine, you can modify it as needed.

To create a virtual machine

  1. Open the Virtual Machines folder. From the Start menu, click Windows Virtual PC. If the menu item is not visible, click All Programs, click the Windows Virtual PC folder, and then click Windows Virtual PC.
  2. The Virtual Machines folder opens in Windows Explorer. From the menu bar, click Create virtual machine.

    Note:
    The Virtual Machines folder provides details about all the virtual machines created by the current user, as well as access to the tools for creating and modifying virtual machines and virtual hard disks.

  3. The Create a Virtual Machine Wizard opens. Proceed through the pages of the wizard, choosing the options that are appropriate for the guest operating system.
  4. After the wizard finishes, the virtual machine appears in the file list in the Virtual Machine folder.

After you create the virtual machine, you can install the guest operating system. The procedure varies slightly depending on the type of installation media you plan to use, such as physical CDs and DVDs, .iso files, and network-based installation servers. The following procedures describe how to use each type.

To use a CD, DVD, or .iso file to install a guest operating system

  1. To use a CD or DVD, insert it into the drive and then skip to the next step. To use an .iso file, do the following:
    • Right-click the virtual machine in the file list, and then click Settings.
    • In the left pane, click DVD Drive. In the right pane, choose Open an ISO image. Click OK.
  2. Start the virtual machine. In the file list, select the virtual machine and click Open. Windows Virtual PC opens and displays the video output of the virtual machine.
  3. The virtual machine searches for bootable media. Setup begins after bootable media is found.
  4. After the installation is complete, install the Integration Components package. From the Tools menu of the virtual machine window, click Install Integration Components.

To use a network-based installation server to install a guest operating system

  1. Start the virtual machine. In the file list, select the virtual machine and click Open. Windows Virtual PC opens and displays the video output of the virtual machine.
  2. The virtual machine automatically starts the PXE boot agent and attempts to contact the remote installation server. Watch the screen for instructions. When prompted, press F12.

    Note:
    If the remote installation server does not respond, you will receive the message “Reboot and Select proper Boot device.” Check the virtual machine settings to make sure the network adapter is connected to an external (physical) network. If it is, check with the administrator of your network for instructions about using a network-based installation server.

  3. Select an operating system from the choices offered by the remote installation server.
  4. Use the setup utility for the operating system to complete the installation. If you need to restart to complete the process, press CTRL+ALT+END, or click Ctrl+Alt+Del from the virtual machine window.

Enjoy,
Scott

Edit digital images and photos with Paint.NET

I have recently been looking for a digital photo editor that is comparable to Adobe Photoshop and can read RAW format photos from my Nikon D40. But it also needs to able be to run on the Intel Atom processor in my Acer Aspire One Netbook. I found all of this and more with Paint.NET.

Paint.NET
(Screen capture from Acer Aspire One Netbook: 1024x768 dpi)

Paint.NET was originally intended as a free replacement for Microsoft Paint, the image software that comes with Windows. It features an intuitive and innovative user interface with support for layers, unlimited undo, special effects, and a wide variety of useful and powerful tools. An active and growing online community provides friendly help, tutorials, and plugins. Here's a quote about the features from their site:

Simple, intuitive, and innovative user interface
Every feature and user interface element was designed to be immediately intuitive and quickly learnable without assistance. In order to handle multiple images easily, Paint.NET uses a tabbed document interface. The tabs display a live thumbnail of the image instead of a text description. This makes navigation very simple and fast.

The interface is also enhanced for Aero Glass if you are using Windows 7 or Vista.

Performance
Extensive work has gone into making Paint.NET the fastest image editor available. Whether you have a netbook with a power-conscious Atom CPU, or a Dual Intel Xeon workstation with 8 blazingly fast processing cores, you can expect Paint.NET to start up quickly and be responsive to every mouse click.

Layers
Usually only found on expensive or complicated professional software, layers form the basis for a rich image composition experience. You may think of them as a stack of transparency slides that, when viewed together at the same time, form one image.

Active Online Community
Paint.NET has an online forum with a friendly, passionate, and ever-expanding community. Be sure to check out the constantly growing list of tutorials and plugins!

Automatically Updated
Updates are free, and contain new features, performance improvements, and bug fixes. Upgrading to the latest version is very simple, requiring only two clicks of the mouse.

Special Effects
Many special effects are included for enhancing and perfecting your images. Everything from blurring, sharpening, red-eye removal, distortion, noise, and embossing are included. Also included is our unique 3D Rotate/Zoom effect that makes it very easy to add perspective and tilting.

Adjustments are also included which help you tweak an image's brightness, contrast, hue, saturation, curves, and levels. You can also convert an image to black and white, or sepia-toned.

Powerful Tools
Paint.NET includes simple tools for drawing shapes, including an easy-to-use curve tool for drawing splines or Bezier curves. The Gradient tool, new for 3.0, has been cited as an innovative improvement over similar tools provided by other software. The facilities for creating and working with selections is powerful, yet still simple enough to be picked up quickly. Other powerful tools include the Magic Wand for selecting regions of similar color, and the Clone Stamp for copying or erasing portions of an image. There is also a simple text editor, a tool for zooming, and a Recolor tool.

Unlimited History
Everybody makes mistakes, and everybody changes their mind. To accommodate this, every action you perform on an image is recorded in the History window and may be undone. Once you've undone an action, you can also redo it. The length of the history is only limited by available disk space.

Free!
Paint.NET doesn't cost a dime.

If your looking for a digital image editor, I recommend you take a look at Paint.NET. Just click on the image below. I also have included links to the plugins I found useful.

Get Paint.NET!
Paint.NET Photoshop Plugin
Paint.NET Raw Image Plugin

Enjoy,
Scott

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