Saturday, July 25, 2009

Windows XP and Vista - Account Pictures

The default collection of pictures for user accounts can be found in the following folders:

in Vista - C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\User Account Pictures\Default Pictures\

in XP - C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Microsoft\User Account Pictures\Default Pictures\

The pictures are BMP, in Vista they are of 128x128 pixels and in XP - 48x48 pixels.

Windows XP and Vista - Map Network Drive with Batch file

For security reason it is a good practice to share specific folders on network with authorized access. Unfortunately Windows sharing has an unpleasant feature that if there is an established connection from one user to a network computer (sharing server), connection for another user from the same machine to the same server will be rejected. For instance if there are two shared folders: one for User1 and another for User2,- and User1 has already connected, in order to switch to User2 it is necessary to close the User1 network mapping first then reconnect as User2. Not a big deal to do it once in a while, just go to Windows Explorer's Tools\"Disconnect Network Drive" then "Map Network Drive", however switching back and forth becomes annoying very quickly. A possible solution is to use a batch file to automate the switching.

The command to handle that is "net use..." with different options. A description of the command can be found on Microsoft website: Net use .

The two batch files can do the job:
  1. User1.bat has the following lines:

    net use * /delete /yes
    net use x: \\NetServerName\SharedFolder *

  2. User2.bat :

    net use * /delete /yes
    net use y: \\NetServerName\SharedFolder *
The first command "net use * /delete /yes" in the both files deletes all existing connections. The key "/yes" is not documented in the official Microsoft description, but it works as a default response to the command prompt question [Y/N].

The second command sets up new mapping to the specified shared folder from the specified user. An asterisk (*) at the password key position makes the command ask for the password.

I put shortcuts to the batch files on the desktop and switching between these shared folders became trivial.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Windows Filesharing Error - Not Enough Server Storage

Recently I bumped into a problem with file-sharing - an attempt to copy files from an XP machine to a Vista computer ended up with the error "Not enough server storage". Rebooting all the computers did not help to resolve the issue. As Microsoft suggests the problem is related to a small value for IRPStackSize parameter on the server side computer.

On the server computer
start Regedit.exe as Administrator, go to "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\LanmanServer\Parameter". From there change IRPStackSize to a value in range from 16 to 50. I made it 25 decimal (or 19 in hex). If the parameter IRPStackSize does not exit, create it as DWORD Value. Reboot the computer and check if it helps. If still not, you can try a bigger value, reboot and check again. I changed the value on all my network computers to 25 - since then the problem has not surfaced yet.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Control Startup Applications in Windows XP and Vista

To control which applications should be run at startup a general working both for XP and Vista way is using MSCONFIG.EXE: switch to the Startup tab and just unselect the items you do not want to be starting automatically.

In Vista there is another way via Windows Defender: start it from Control Panel, in Window Defender click Tools, then Software Explorer, choose Category "Startup Programs", you can Disable programs in the list to prevent them from starting.

The easiest way to make a program starting automatically is to add its shortcut to the "All Programs"\Startup folder.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Adding Favicon to Blogger Template

Favicon or Shortcut Icon is a small picture which appears in web-browser address field, tab and bookmark of the corresponding web site. Blogger has a default icon assigned, but it seems pretty nice to add an original favicon to your blog: it would give a distinctive, easier to remember view to the bookmark and to the web page itself. Adding a favicon is not difficult at all, but the solutions I found on the Web were not quite correct, at least they did not work for my Blogger and web-site.

Considering that a desired image have already been prepared the following issues should be resolved:
  1. A proper internet storage for ico file should be found. While some web browsers are flexible to work with different picture standards (jpeg, png, gif) as a favicon the main limitation comes from IE which can work with ICO images only. On the other hand not many sites including Blogger itself accept ICO files for uploading. I chose 1 Pixel Host - so far it seems working fine. Convert your image into ICO format of 16x16 or/and 32x32 pixels and upload to the host. Have to say: while favicon file probably should stay with the *.ico extension unchanged, it may have any name, not only "favicon.ico". 1 Pixel Host replaces the original file name with a random mess. For instance, mine got the name "yjtxmkry15su2xsg8em.ico", so copy Direct Link carefully.

  2. Reference to the ico file should be added to the blog template. There are direct instructions from Mictosoft how to do it in "How to Add a Shortcut Icon to a Web Page" , but it does not work by some reason neither for my Blogger nor for my home page at ISP (Internet Service Provider). Somehow the problem was resolved by changing position of the "Shortcut Icon" line. Microsoft suggests it like this:

    <link rel="SHORTCUT ICON"
    <title>My Title</title>
    To make it work I had to put the "Shortcut Icon" line below the "title" line:

    <title>My Title</title>
    <link rel="SHORTCUT ICON"
    Replace the "href" value with the Direct Link to your ICO file, add the line to your Blogger template, save - and that's it. From now the favicon should appear at every page of your blog.
Adding a favicon to a web-page is similar besides that you don't need to find external file storage - upload the picture to the web-site hosting directory and put a proper direct link to it in the web-pages.

If you have any questions regarding favicon you can check out source code of any website which has favicon including mine.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Free Web storage for images - Curb your ICO!

Nowadays there are many free web hosts of different styles for image storage. For now I needed the one which accepts ICO files for favicon, but also had checked out some other popular sites I'd like to make a note for the future.
  1. Picasa from Google - provides 1 GB of free storage (have to upgrade and pay to remove the limitation). One good news is that if you are using Blogger you are already using Picasa. All the blog pictures you upload are stored in Picasa and you can see and control them after signing in Webpicasa with Google account login and password. Another good news - it is not necessary to install Picasa on a home computer (at present I don't want anything else but a web-browser). Still there are some complications like, for example, URL assigned for a picture in Blogger is different from Picasa direct link for the same picture - but none of those I find problematic besides that Picasa does not accept ICOs. Some more about Picasa storage for Blogger images is here.

  2. ImageShack - seems to have no limits for free storage; accepts JPG, JPEG, BMP, GIF, PNG, TIF, TIFF, PDF, but ICO files are not accepted.

  3. Photobucket is a very popular site; main disadvantages for me are that it does not accept ICO files and user name appears in direct link to a file (I have a feeling that is not very necessary information to be exposed in reference to a picture).

  4. Tinypic renames files, accepts JPG, BMP, GIF, PCX, PNG, PSD, TIF, no ICO.

  5. 1PixelHost has a very simple interface, accepts ICO files among others (JPEG, JPG, GIF, PNG, ICO, BMP). It renames file name to a random mix of letters and numbers. Registration is required for uploading files as large as 15MB and unlimited bandwidth. This site was my choice for ICO file storage, so far it works quite well. It's a pity the site disappeared and it does not look as a temporary problem. Nevertheless I'll keep an eye on the site for a while.

  6. Google Sites can be used for files storage as it described in the post "Free Web Storage for Files". To get direct link to a file just copy the address from Properties of the Download link from the Google site page, then paste it into a web browser address field and press Enter - it will show the file and its address will change, this changed address I use as a direct link to the file. Due to the problem with the site of my previous choice I moved the favicon.ico to Google Sites.
I'm pretty new to this kind of issues and it's just the first impression of the free image storage I found available on the Web, so something definitely could be missed - I'll be updating the post while I'll be facing and solving other similar problems.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Blogger Template modification for "Read More..."

Some templates for Blogger do not have "Read More..." feature by default, but it is not very difficult to add it the way you like. The idea is to display post differently when it is in the home page or in any of other multi-post pages as a page of selection by a tag, for example, and when it is the page of the post itself. That condition can be checked directly with the page attribute data:blog.pageType: it is equal to "item" when the page shows the post itself.
  1. Backup the original template for the case: Blogger Layout/Edit HTML tap, Download Full Template;

  2. In the Blogger Layout/HTML tap make "Expand Widget Templates" checked;

  3. Find the structure showing a post, it looks like this:
    <div class='post-header-line-1'/>

    <div class='post-body'>
    <div style='clear: both;'/>

    The line responsible for showing a post is <p><data:post.body/></p>

  4. The original unconditional structure should be replaced with the following one:
    <div class='post-header-line-1'/>

    <b:if cond='data:blog.pageType == "item"'>
    <div class='post-body'>
    <div style='clear: both;'/>
    <div class='post-body'>
    <a expr:href='data:post.url'> Read more...</a>
    <div style='clear: both;'/>

    This is pretty much the same as it is suggested in the Blogger Help on "How can I create expandable post summaries?" The difference is that I wanted to have three sections in a post instead of only two, so I added a "prepost" section which would be showed only in the pages with post lists, and not on the post page.

  5. In Setting/Formatting tag modify "Post Template" to:

    This part will appear unconditionally.
    <span class="prepost">This part will appear only in the list of posts.</span>
    <span class="fullpost">This part will appear only in the post itself.</span>

    The "prepost" section is useful in cases when post appearance in the list should be different to the "fullpost" section as it is done, for example, for "Big Green Egg BBQ Ribs - the path to success".

  6. Do not forget to save all the changes!