VMware Tools Don’t Work in Ubuntu 8.10

Found these two links to information about VMware Tools not working with Ubuntu 8.10. I’ve been looking for a solution to this myself since testing with Ubuntu 8.10 Alpha 5…

From the FAQ:

Tools compile cleanly on 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex) but do not work

There are several aspects to this – soft ungrab not working, mouse clicks being displaced, vmware-user not starting (and so Unity and other dependent features don’t work).

Explanation

Soft ungrab not working and mouse clicks being displaced are known Ubuntu vmmouse bugs. An update is not yet available.

vmware-user not starting appears to be related to Intrepid’s autostart format having changed. A workaround is to go to System > Preferences > Sessions in the Ubuntu desktop menu and add /usr/bin/vmware-user as a startup command.

open-vm-tools may also work.

Microsoft Word: Strikethrough Shortcut Key

This is freakin’ awesome; I had no idea that you could assign keyboard shortcuts this easily:

From word.tips.net:

  1. Press Ctrl+D or choose Font from the Format menu. (If you are using Word 2007, press Ctrl+D or click the Home tab of the ribbon, then click the small control at the bottom-right of the Font group.) Word displays the Font tab of the Font dialog box. (Click here to see a related figure.)
  2. Hold down Alt+Ctrl and, at the same time, press the plus sign on the numeric keypad. The mouse pointer turns into a clover symbol.
  3. Click on the Strikethrough check box in the Font dialog box. (As you move the mouse pointer to get ready to click, the mouse pointer may change back to an arrow instead of a clover; this is OK.) When you click, Word displays the Customize Keyboard dialog box with the insertion point blinking in the Press new Shortcut Key box. (Click here to see a related figure.)
  4. Type whatever shortcut key you want to use for the strikethrough format. Just hold down whatever combination of the Alt, Ctrl, and Shift keys you want, and then press the desired key to go with that combination. If the combination is already taken, that information shows just below the Customize Keyboard dialog box, and you can then change to a different shortcut key. (A good combination to consider is Alt+Shift+S or Ctrl+Alt+S, neither of which are used in a default installation of Word.)
  5. Click the Assign button. The shortcut key is now assigned to apply strikethrough formatting.
  6. Click Close to dismiss the Customize Keyboard dialog box.
  7. Click Cancel to dismiss the Font dialog box.

(via Topics: Strikethrough Shortcut Key)

More shortcuts available here: http://word.tips.net/W020_Shortcut_Keys.html

Consolas as CMD.EXE (Windows Console) Font

2008-09-15_130451

First, you’ll need the Consolas font. If you’re not currently running Windows Vista, then you’ll need to get it via the PowerPoint Presentation Viewer, which will install Consolas, among other nice Vista fonts. (Or, if you have Visual Studio 2005 or 2008, you can just grab the Consolas Font Pack for Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 or 2008)

Once you have this font installed, open up Registry Editor (regedit.exe) and navigate to the following key, as shown below:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Console\TrueTypeFont\

2008-09-15_125937

Then, right click in the blank area and choose New > String Value.

Double click this new value and enter the following information:

Name: 00
Data: Consolas

Your window should now look like this:

2008-09-15_130000

Once this is done, open a console window (cmd.exe) and choose Consolas from the Font tab:

2008-09-15_131335

Thanks to Scott Hanselman’s Computer Zen for the tips on how to set this up! 🙂

Update: There seems to be an easier way to do this, as I just found from the IEBlog:

Bryn Spears on the Internet Explorer team gave me the following simple instructions to turn on Consolas in the CMD Window:

reg add “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Console\TrueTypeFont” /v 00 /d Consolas

logoff

Note: In Windows Vista, you need to run the reg command from an elevated command prompt.

When you log back in, Consolas will be an option in the “Command Prompt” Properties.  (n.b., Bryn tells me it actually shows up before you relog, but it won’t work.)

Remove Windows Media Player Integration (such as from the Right-Click menu)

This has nagged me for soooo long! I use Winamp, which has its own context menu integration, and I find myself accidentally opening a folder to play in Windows Media Player all the time…

Leave my context menu alone! If you just let it go wild, every program in the world wants to install some option there. Windows Media Player not only puts itself there, but integrates itself throughout the shell. Actually removing this integration is surprisingly easy!

Remove WMP Integration:
1. Click Start
2. Click Run
3. Type in regsvr32 /u wmpshell.dll
4. Click Enter
Easy!

Thanks to Annoyances.org and especially to Tech-Recipes.com for this fix!

How-To Geek: Using Symlinks in Windows Vista

I haven’t tried using my favorite XP junction tool, NTFS-Link, since I upgraded my home computer to Windows Vista, and I’m a little apprehensive since the filesystem has changed a bit. Nonetheless, if you are still using XP, NTFS-Link is an excellent tool for those of you already familiar with symbolic links via other operating systems, such as Linux.

Luckily, Windows Vista does include a command-line tool for creating symbolic links, similar to “ln” in Linux. However, it’s not quite as straightforward. Here’s the scoop from How-To Geek:

Using the mklink Command

The command that you need to use is mklink, which you’ll use from the command line. Just type it on the command line to see the options:

C:Usersgeek>mklink
Creates a symbolic link.

MKLINK [[/D] | [/H] | [/J]] Link Target

        /D      Creates a directory symbolic link.  Default is a file
                symbolic link.
        /H      Creates a hard link instead of a symbolic link.
        /J      Creates a Directory Junction.
        Link    specifies the new symbolic link name.
        Target  specifies the path (relative or absolute) that the new link

(continued via Using Symlinks in Windows Vista)

SundryBuzz: How to soften new sheets

I’ve gotta try this myself…

I bought some new sheets recently, ran them through a regular wash cycle before putting them on our bed, and immediately thought, wait, did I accidentally buy a negative thread count? They were so stiff and almost scratchy. After doing some hunting online, I did the following:

• Washed them on the hottest setting
• Used no detergent (the idea is that new sheets have chemicals on them and detergent just makes it worse)
• Added lots of fabric softener
• Dumped in a cup or so of baking soda during the wash cycle
• Took them out of the dryer as soon as they were dry, rather than leaving them to sit in there for a while

(via SundryBuzz.com)

Dan Heller Photography: Model Release Primer

This looks like some excellent information about model releases, which will probably come in handy for any of you photographers out there who are planning on shooting portraits for groups such as “100 Strangers” on Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/groups/100strangers/)…

Before we begin, let’s test your basic understanding of when a photo needs to have a model release:

  1. Do I need a release for a photo I took of someone in a public place?
  2. Should I get a release even if the person in the photo is unrecognizable?
  3. Does profiting from the sale of a picture trigger the need for a release?
  4. I’m going to put on a public display. Is a release required?
  5. What if the person is dead?
  6. Do I need a release if the subject is naked?
  7. I have tons of pictures of my ex-girlfriend. Can she sue me if I sold them?
  8. I own a portrait studio. Do I need clients to sign releases?
  9. I took a lot of pictures as a hobby, and now I want to sell them. Do I need releases for all my pictures of people?

To score your knowledge, give yourself one point for each item you answered “Yes,” and two points for each item you answered “No.” In fact, make it three points. Now, total up all your points. If your score is above zero, you have a lot to learn about model releases.

Yes, none of these questions have an answer at all, and no, these were not trick questions. These are the most common questions I get from people just like you. The reason the questions have no answer is because none indicate a use for the image in question. Unless and until there is a specific use for a photo, there is no answer. In fact, it doesn’t even make sense to ask the question in the first place. So, if you have already shot pictures, or you are about to shoot them, and you’re concerned about whether you need a release for the pictures you shoot, the answer starts out no. However, if you plan to license the pictures to someone for publication, then a release may be necessary.

And here is where the wonderful world of Grey opens up to you. Is the image to be used in an advertisement? Or, is the image to be used in conjunction with an article in a magazine or newspaper? Understanding the difference between images used commercially or in editorial contexts is only the beginning. And while many people clearly understand that those differences exist, it’s the over-simplification of them that gives a false perception on what you actually need to do. There is a tizzy of what-if’s and exceptions that go to the very core of the First Amendment of the US Constitution. And once you go there, Whoa Nelly! You’re in for some serious, eye-glazingly boring, sleepy time.

To save you from that, I’m going to try to characterize this stuff in ways that are fun, simple, and will make you a millionaire.

Ok, maybe not. But it’ll be easier to understand. The reason why any of this is discussed to the degree that it is, is rooted in one of the most perpetuated fears about photography: that the photographer can get sued unless he gets a signed model release from the people (or properties) he photographs. The source of this anxiety is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the law: they think photographer’s are the ones who are responsible because they take the photo and sell it to someone. But that’s actually not where the real concern is. To address that, let’s ask the most basic question, “who is ultimately responsible for a photo being released?”

(continued via Dan Heller Photography – Model Release Primer)

Photojojo: DIY Flash Diffuser

I posted a related link back in March (Pop-up Flash), but I just recently tried it out and found it to be so useful that it was worth reposting:

DSC_7795

Harsh, unflattering flash got you down? Grab an old roll of film and make it all better.

Follow Flickr user natuurplaat’s lead, and turn an old film canister into a flash diffuser! A few strategic cuts make it easy to slip the canister onto your pop-up flash, and voila! Soft, beautiful lighting.

Keep reading and we’ll show you how to make your very own little piece of genius.

(continued via Photojojo: Film Canister Flash Diffuser)

dPS: How To Remove Dust Spots From Multiple Photos in 4 Steps

Another excellent article from digital Photography School, about how to remove dust spots from your photos. I’m going to need to try this out on my own photos, especially after that full day of shooting with a dirty sensor (see the before/after examples here: https://blog.wolffmyren.com/2008/07/07/before-cleaning/ and here: https://blog.wolffmyren.com/2008/07/07/after-cleaning/)

windowslivewriterquickeasymultipicturedustremoval-11812dust-3

Dust. The eternal enemy of a digital camera. When you shoot pictures with a digital SLR camera long enough, you will come to know the pain that dust can cause. For some it’s a minor annoyance. For others, it costs time and money attempting to salvage vital images.

In this post Peter Carey shares some tips on how to remove dust spots from multiple photos.

With advancements in DLSRs has also come advancements in Photoshop tools to remove dust. My favorite for dust removal, partially because of its price, is Photoshop Lightroom. While it is a scaled down version of the full blown Photoshop, it is perfectly suited to remove 90% of the dust I encounter.

Why is dust such a problem? Take a look at the picture on the left. Do you notice the small black spots in the sky and one big spot on the left side in the mountain? Those are not UFOs and that is not a mining tunnel. It was dust adhered to the sensor, casting a black shadow on the sensor when the shutter was activated. You can’t get back the data that is covered over by the shadow, but you can get creative and repair the damage depending on the dust location. When those dust spots are in the same location on each image, you’re in luck as there is a fairly easy method for multiple photo dust spot removal. (Note: the instructions are given using a PC version of Lightroom 1.4. Mac instructions vary only slightly if using a single button mouse)

(continue reading via: How To Remove Dust Spots From Multiple Photos in 4 Steps)

My Archival Workflow…

In regard to the last post, “dPS: 5 Ways To Never Lose Your Photos“, I thought it would be good to share the workflow that has served me well for the past couple of years:

  1. Copy/move from CompactFlash

    The first step is pretty obvious, get your photos off the card! (Generally, I move them off the card at this point, but if I don’t have any available media for step 2, or the pictures are incredibly important, I’ll leave the originals on the card and switch to my backup card.)

  2. Backup to CD/DVD

    Now it’s time to backup to the first type of archival media – I use two 2gb CompactFlash cards, which lends well to being backed up on DVD if they’re both full (since a DVD typically holds 4.7gb of data on a single layer). If I haven’t taken a full 4gb of photos in a day, I’ll either wait until I have 4gb of photos to back up, or just back up to a CD.

  3. Copy to small external HD (120gb)

    First step in the department of redundancy department, use SyncToy to synchronize my recent photos to my external hard drive. I use SyncToy instead of merely copying the files because this ensures that any straggling data gets copied over to the external HD, and because it just makes the process simpler. No half-completed file transfers I have to dig through to figure out what did and didn’t get transferred – it will give me a report at the end.

    You can find SyncToy for download here: http://www.microsoft.com/prophoto/downloads/synctoybeta.aspx

  4. Copy from small (120gb) to large external HD (750gb)

    Second step in the department of redundancy department, similar to the step above, though this is a longer-term storage, and it only involves files that have already been archived to the 120gb drive, not directly downloaded to my computer from the CompactFlash card. The reason for this is, of course, redundancy and data integrity. Since this transfer happens less often than the transfer to the 120gb from my computer, there’s less likelyhood of data corruption, and I always try to verify (to the best of my ability) the integrity of the data I’m about to transfer to “cold storage”. I haven’t yet filled up this 750gb drive yet, but as soon as it gets close, I’ll look into getting a Drobo: http://www.drobo.com/Products/drobo.html

  5. Review past archived media (CD/DVD)

    Any type of data gets outdated at some point. Luckily, there are some basic photographic standards that have been pretty solid throughout the years (TIFF, JPEG, etc.), but it’s always worthwhile to look at old media, pictures or otherwise, and make sure that both the media is still in good condition and that the media is easily accessible by modern hardware/software.

That’s my process for now, and has worked for me for the past couple of years, as I mentioned above. Unfortunately, it took me some trial and error to find out this approach, and there were some photo casualties along the way. I’m still trying to dig up my old (pre-2003) photos, but multiple location moves and changes of hardware may have lost these older photos for good.

Remember, backup, backup, backup!

dPS: 5 Ways To Never Lose Your Photos

Another excellent article from the digital Photography School blog about how to properly archive your photos.

The biggest nightmare of every photographer is the thought of catastrophic loss of their photographs. In the days of film, options were limited and often serious photographers would keep their negatives and slides in fire proof safes or bank safe deposit boxes. Even still several great photographers have had their work taken from them due to fire, water damage and even sub-grade storage supplies. Digital photography provides an additional level of complexity to photographers as they look to keep their photographic work safe. Now in addition to fire and water damage there is the risk of file corruption, failed drives and file format obsolescence. With increased risk comes the responsibility to be diligent in heading off such catastrophes with a solid backup plan. Below are 5 steps you can take to minimize risk of losing your digital photos.

1. Immediately back-up your photos to DVD after off loading them to your computer from your compact flash cards

Here is where procrastination can get the better of you. I have known several people who have accidentally deleted files from their compact flash cards before backing their photos up or deleted files from their computer with out having a backup. These days it’s not too hard to find a deal on a 100 disc spool of DVDs. Have one on hand and take the extra 15 minutes to burn a disc.

(continue reading via 5 Ways To Never Lose Your Photos)

Flickr: Excellent Photo Advice

One of my Flickr friends, Steve-h just sent me a message today recommending that I read the profile of Bachspics, which contains a wealth of advice on taking better pictures and scoring better in Flickr Explore.

Here’s a clip:

TIPS ON TAKING AND PRESENTING BETTER PICTURES

Here are some tips on improving composition, taking better and more interesting pictures I’ve collected. [Feel free to send me a Flicker Message with your suggestions.] I also recommend Geoff Quinn’s “A few lessons learned the hard (and slow) way on Flickr” at: www.flickr.com/people/gcquinn/ You may also be interested in David Brooks’ Photographic Composition Tutorial and blog about photographic composition theory found here: giant-steps-giant-blog.blogspot.com/ You can see 24 articles mostly about nature photography by Darwin Wiggett, here: www.darwinwiggett.com/articles.html Also check out some Photoshop tips and tutorials here www.tommysimms.com/photoshop.html See “Ten Questions To Ask When Taking A Digital Photo” here: digital-photography-school.com/blog/10-questions/

In the examples below you can click on the picture for a larger view.

* NO FORMULAS: To begin with there are no formulas or recipes for great photographs. But there are matters pertaining to beauty and interest such as principles relating to light, harmony, balance, color and emotion and elements of design such as line, form, pattern, shape, texture and color which enter into making a photograph attractive and interesting. Successful photographs are about knowing and applying those principles when appropriate, but also about perception, thought and creativity.

And more:

TOP TEN WAYS TO MAKE “EXPLORE”

Just photograph….
10. …looking down on a buxom woman from above her head; preferably if she has a low-cut top on.
09. …a flower and/or an insect on or near it; or just the insect will do. [Late in September 07 Flicker averaged about 50 flowers in each day’s 500, or 10%; They had 10-15 insects per day.]
08. …a cat, any cat, lots of cats; and once in a while a dog; or a dog, any dog, lots of dogs; and once in a while a cat.
07. …a sunset [Flicker includes anywhere from 25-50 of these per day.]
06. …a young adult leaping through the air, or one eye of a woman (there was a tie here).
05. …a picture of the “the 275th day in the life of…” (Who started that inane fad?); these are often self-portraits (see # 3 below)

Wow. Excellent advice. Thanks again to Steve-h for the suggestion, and Bachspics for the excellent writeup!

By the way, the rest of the writeup is on Bachspics profile page. =)

ImgBurn: Creating an Audio CD

This one took me a little while to figure out, so I thought I’d share my steps with you:

1) Open ImgBurn and select “Write image file to disc” (or choose “Write” from the Mode menu)

Step 1

2) Click the CD with a music note button (Create CD CUE file)

Step 2

3) Click the top button on the right (Find Files)

Step 3

4) Once you’ve added your files, you can choose the tagging/gap preferences

Step 4

5) Then, click OK, and you can burn the compilation from here.

Step 5

You should be able to burn any audio format supported by DirectShow; if you need M4a/AAC support, you’ll have to download a plugin, such as the one below:

http://www.free-codecs.com/download/CoreAAC_Directshow_filter.htm

And…you can find the official instructions from the ImgBurn forums here:

http://forum.imgburn.com/index.php?s=22c67d5cf8ed90447ab85dacfcb532d3&showtopic=5555

Making XAMPP (Apache) work with IIS on Windows XP/Vista

Update: This application will help you track down which applications are using which ports on Windows – very helpful for debugging if the steps below don’t solve your problem, or if IIS is not the only application answering on port 80: http://winnetstat.zapto.org/

Also, if you don’t specifically need all the features of XAMPP, but would like to run PHP/MySQL applications through IIS, give Web Platform Installer a try. Through WPI, you can choose to install PHP directly within IIS (so that IIS can serve both ASP.NET and PHP applications on port 80, for example) and you can also have a ton of applications installed and configured automatically for you, such as Drupal, WordPress, and Moodle (among many others). However, if you are still looking to run XAMPP specifically, or just run an Apache instance along with IIS, check out the instructions below. Thanks for visiting!

Continue reading “Making XAMPP (Apache) work with IIS on Windows XP/Vista”

JIRA: Linking to local file under Firefox

Very helpful article from Atlassian…

Wiki markup allows you to links to files on the network / server with the format:

[file:///c:/temp/foo.txt]

This works fine under Internet Explorer, but Firefox and Mozilla block links to local files for security purposes. If you are happy with the risk of linking to local content, you can override the security policy and also enable linking in Firefox

The instructions for this can be found at http://kb.mozillazine.org/Links_to_local_pages_don’t_work and you may also want to check out the other network preferences.

Please note that you need to use full URL syntax for your link (from http://kb.mozillazine.org)

You also need to use proper URI syntax for local file references. It is not proper to enter an operating-system-specific path, such as c:\subdir\file.ext without converting it to a URI, which in this case would be file:///c:/subdir/file.ext. In general, a file path is converted to a URI by adding the scheme identifier file:, then three forward slashes (representing an empty authority or host segment), then the path with all backslashes converted to forward slashes.

(via confluence.atlassian.com)

ICK! Color Profile FAIL!

Update: Here’s the link to the Samsung 225BW driver and color profile:
Samsung 225BW Driver

ICK! Color Profile FAIL

I’ve been having ridiculous problems with the color profiles on my Samsung SyncMaster 225BW. I’m pretty sure that it’s not Samsung’s fault, since the monitor is by far the best I’ve ever had, but any color-profile aware application ends up looking like crap (see screenshot above, or this blog post).

Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to get the original CD/software for the monitor if you’ve lost it, but it seems that the best workaround for this is to remove the existing (faulty) color profile and replace it with a working color profile, such as one from Adobe:

http://www.adobe.com/support/downloads/iccprofiles/icc_eula_win_end.html

To do this:

  1. Download the Adobe ICC Windows Color Profile from this link:
    http://www.adobe.com/support/downloads/iccprofiles/icc_eula_win_end.html
  2. Unzip the archive and navigate to the folder “RGB Profiles”
  3. Right click on “AdobeRGB1998.icc” and choose “Install Profile”
  4. To ensure that the profile is enabled, right click on the desktop, choose “Properties”, click the “Settings” tab, then the “Advanced…” button.
  5. Once in the Advanced Properties, click the “Color Management” tab.
  6. Remove any existing profile by clicking remove, then click “Add…” and choose “AdobeRGB1998.icc” from the folder displayed and click “Add”
  7. Click “Set as Default”, OK, then OK again to close the window.
  8. Then restart Windows.

For reference, your color profile dialog should look like this:

2008-07-23_154156

Hope this helps!

Flickr: Firefox 3 is now Color Managed

This post to the Canon EF 28-135 IS group on Flickr is incredibly helpful:

noeltykay is a group administrator noeltykay Pro User says:

  1. Type about:config in Firefox 3’s address bar and press Return. The configuration settings will appear.
  2. In the Filter field, type gfx. The list of settings will shorten to show just those related to graphics, ie gfx.
  3. If the Value for gfx.color_management.enabled is False, double-click anywhere on that line to toggle the setting to True.
  4. Quit and relaunch Firefox 3 and you’re in business. You can confirm that colour management is working by viewing the photos on this page. If all four quadrants of the first photo are a seamless match, then colour management in your copy of Firefox is up and running.

(thread here: Color Management PSA: Firefox 3 is now Color Managed.)

Update: In case you missed it, here’s the color profile test page:
http://www.color.org/version4html.xalter