September, 2006

  • Steve Clayton

    The best Vista shortcut...ever


    I LOVE this tip for Vista from Jon Hicks, author of the Official Vista Magazine (thanks to James for passing it on). I posted an blog entry a while back on shortcut keys in XP but this is just fantastic if you're a big user of the shortcut tray on the taskbar like I am - as below


    then you will LOVE this.

    • Hold the Windows key and click on the number representing the app you want to launch.
    • In the example using my tray above, Win Key + 2 will launch Internet Explorer
    • Win Key + 3 will launch Outlook 2007
    • And so on....

    This is such a cool little time saver mainly as I am a big user of "show desktop" - Win Key + 1 in this case.

    If you're running Vista, give it a go. For some additional eye candy, minimize all apps (Win Key + 1 for me) and then hold Ctrl and the scroll wheel on your mouse if you have one. Cool eh?

    Link to Windows Vista™ Magazine


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  • Steve Clayton

    Vista: Boot Configuration Data Editor


    If you're doing much playing with Vista, this is a handy utility to be aware of and have in your back pocket. I'm having some issues upgrading my Sony Vaio PCG-K215Z at the moment which means I have a boot menu that defaults to Vista when I really want it to still be Windows XP (for now). Ordinarily this would require a quick edit of boot.ini with notepad (or the startup settings in computer properties). That doesn't work with Vista though as we now have the Boot Configuration Data (BCD) store which is edited with bcd.exe You can find more info from the links below with brief details and then a coobook of options. All I needed though was the following (which is probably what most people will want):

    From an command prompt (elevated in Vista) type the following

    • bcdedit /default {legacy}

    this will put Windows XP back as your default boot option if you have an XP/Vista dual boot machine. Note that if you have a failed Vista install you will need to do a search for bcdedit.exe on the install partition as it will be there in the temporary install files.

    Hope you find this useful!

    Data in Windows Vista

    Link to Boot Configuration Data Editor Frequently Asked Questions

    [update] If you don't fancy any of this manual nonsense, check out VistaBootPro which handles all fo this (and much more) graphically for you...and for free!

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  • Steve Clayton

    Dealing with email overload: threaded views in Outlook


    I read an email on James Senior's blog this week that made me think about how I deal with the volume of email I receive. Although I own the email address I thankfully don't get the email from it directly hence don't have his external spam problem to anything like the same extent. It did make me think about sharing one of my favourite things about Outlook though and that is the "threaded view" I found several years back that I use on almost all distribution lists I am on. Here's how it works:


    • For any subscription list or distribution list (DL) you are on, create a folder and a rule to route all of the email to that DL to be put in that folder. That's the easy part that most people work out quite quickly
    • Now click on that folder and and then choose View, Current View, Define Views and you will see the following


    • Now click New to create a new view - lets call it Threaded and make it available to All Mail and Post Folders


    • In the Options Section, select Group By Conversation (Ascending) and Sort by Conversation Index (Ascending). In Other Settings, uncheck Use Compact Layout and also uncheck Always show unread and flagged messages in Arrange by Conversation


    • Okay, I know that sounded massively complex but now click Apply View and you will be delighted with the result. I hope. It should look something like this - albeit with your email, not mine ;)


    This arrangement allows you to view the subject of a discussion and if not interested you can delete all emails associated with it VERY quickly. It also allows you to see a threaded (I.e. timed) version of the conversation if you do choose to read it. When you get as much email as I do this view is a lifesaver for me and I hope it works for you!

    Comments/improvements welcomed! LifeHacker has a similar discussion but I I couldn't find screenshots in the post/replies so decided to go that little bit further, just for you!


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  • Steve Clayton

    It's a Super Lamb Banana


    Not something you see everyday and when I spotted the big yellow fella had moved last time I was home I decided to snap him. We don't have Banksy graffiti in Liverpool but we do have a large lambbanana thing. You can get your own from

  • Steve Clayton

    iTunes 7 vs. Windows Media Player 11 and iTV vs. MCE



    Wow,  that looks a lot like WMP11 to me and this next slide looks almost like one of our PowerPoint's reflet

    and for once Apple hasn't come up with a cool name for their new device and iTV is a placeholder which I'm sure is going to help ITV get way more hits on their UK website reflet . It looks like MCE has some competition and I like the idea of podcats on my TV screen. The new shuffle is very nice though and I love the way Apple changes their website in a blink as soon as Steve is done.

    Link to Live from the Steve Jobs Keynote -- "It's Showtime" - Engadget

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