How do I pin SkyDrive to the taskbar in Windows 7?

The Windows Live SkyDrive is easier to use than ever. Here is how to pin a SkyDrive shortcut to your taskbar in Windows 7.

Note: You can do this only when using Internet Explorer 9.

Sign in to your Windows Live account, on the menu line click SkyDrive. imageWhen your SkyDrive page is displayed note the browser address field. It will show a little SkyDrive logo ahead of the address as shown in the illustration here.

When you hover the pointer over that logo the little message flag says: “Drag to taskbar to pin site”.image

Do just that.

The SkyDrive logo will then appear on your taskbar. Whenever you want to open SkyDrive just click on the logo.

If you have elected to “Keep me signed in” the last time you signed in to Windows Live, Internet Explorer will launch and go right to your SkyDrive when the taskbar logo is clicked.

That’s all it takes.image

But wait! There is more: That link on the taskbar can do more than just take you to your SkyDrive files. Right-click on the icon and you can select to go directly to see just your documents or just your albums. The same way as if you had clicked Documents or Photos on the drop-down menu from SkyDrive on your Windows Live home page.

You can even start a new Web Apps document, but, alas, it will be in the SkyDrive root, not inside any document folder.

Want to go to your Windows Live home page? Click on the taskbar SkyDrive icon. When your files page is displayed, click on image“Windows Live” in the upper left – that takes you right to your home page.

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© 2011 Ludwig Keck

 

How do I add images to my WordPress Links Widget?

Showing links to other blogs and sites is a common way to help your readers connect with more of what they are interested in. Making those links interesting and easier to use with graphics adds a nice touch. Most blogs have sidebars for displaying information, details and links. In a WordPress blog, the Links Widget is a versatile and useful tool and can display images. This post tells you how to do it.

First you need images. These need to be stored on the Internet so they can be accessed and displayed. Lastly they need to be an acceptable size.

Let’s start with that last item, the size. Sidebars come in various sizes. You want images that fit the sidebar of you blog. Don’t know how wide your sidebar is?image In your WordPress Dashboard, click Themes (under Appearance in the navigation pane on the left). Your current theme is shown on the top. There is a link, “Read more about …”, click it and scroll down to find the “Quick Specs” panel about your theme.

It will list the column width, the sidebar width and the header image size. Note the sidebar width. I suggest you make your images about 10 pixels narrower than the sidebar so that they will fit nicely. For this blog, the sidebar width is 212 pixels, I make my images 200 pixels wide. The height is not so important, but the Links list looks best with strip images so it does not get to be too long.

Now what images should you use? If you link to other blogs or sites, the headers of those pages make excellent images. They show a visual of the target page even before your visitor gets there.

Making the logo images

Open your browser to your target page. Do a screen capture. I use the tools built into Windows 7, so Alt-PrintScreen captures the open window. Next open Paint and click Paste. The image of the browser will now be shown in Paint.

image Logo-capture

Click Select and drag a frame around the header image or header area of the page. Click Crop. The header image is now the only thing in Paint.

image

Click Resize. In this dialog click Pixels. Then enter the size for the width of the image. In my case that is 200. Leave the checkmark on Maintain aspect ratio so the image will not get distorted. imageClick OK.

 

The image will now be shown in the small size that you have selected. Save it into your Pictures folder (or another location) giving it a name that tells you what it is later on.

Do this with your other target pages that you will want to link to on your blog.

Windows 7 Paint saves the images as PNG format – that is fine for this intended use.

 

Upload the images to your WordPress Media Library

Once you have made your link logo images, upload them to the Media Library. In your WordPress Dashboard expand the Media section image(click on Media) then click Add New. The Upload New Media page opens.

Click Browse. In the File Upload dialog locate the folder with your link logo images. Click on one of them. Click Open. Then click Upload in the Upload New Media page.

Repeat for your other images.

Now the images are in your Media Library.

Add images to Linksimage

Open your Media Library – click MediaLibrary in the navigation bar. All your images are listed. Click on the one you want. The Edit Media page for that image opens. Under File URL you can see the full web address of the image. Select it (hold down the left mouse button and drag over the address). Press Ctrl+C to copy the address.

Now click LinksAll Links, then the one of interest. Scroll down until you see AdvancedImage Address. Click in the address text space then press Ctrl+V to paste the address. Click Update Link. That’s it. Do this for the others.

Be sure to check your Links Widget to make sure that the the Show Link Image box is checked. If it is not, click it so it’s checked and click Save.

Now your Links Widget displays your links with the logo images you prepared. Hurray!

Also see:

How do I show links to other blogs in the sidebar of my WordPress blog?

 

© 2011 Ludwig Keck

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What is “God Mode”?

“God Mode” is a cute name for an otherwise mundane search listing of the various options in Control Panel. Having all the features displayed in imageWindows Explorer eliminates searching through the menus and offers a real convenience. The different ways of showing the results in Windows Explorer are another benefit of “God Mode”. This tool is actually very simple and does not take up much space.

Here is how to install “God Mode” on your Windows 7 computer:

You need to create a folder in the boot disk of your computer. The common name for this is “Local Disk (C:)”. The new folder has to have a special name. The name can start with any word you like, but the part below, starting with the period, must be as shown.

  • Select the next line shown here and copy it to the clipboard by pressing Ctrl+C.

GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}

  • imageOpen Windows Explorer – click the “Windows Explorer” icon in the Taskbar.
  • In the navigation panel, below Computer, click Local Disk (C:). imageYou may have to expand the Computer listing by clicking the arrowhead symbol in front of it.image
  • Click New folder in the menu bar.
  • imageThe name of the folder is already selected, highlighted, so you can type the desired name of the folder. Don’t type anything, just press Ctrl+V to paste the name you copied from this post. It will look like this:image
  • imagePress Enter to complete the naming process. The folder name will display as “GodMode” and be prefixed with the Control Panel icon.
  • To make this feature even more easily accessible, imageplace a shortcut icon on the desktop.
    Right-click the GodMode folder, move the pointer down to Send to, then to the right and click Desktop (create shortcut).
  • Close Windows Explorer.

 

You will now have a Control Panel shortcut icon on your desktop to invoke this feature. Double-click it, Windows Explorer will open and look about like this:

image

Here in one long listing you have all the control functions with good descriptive names. On my computers I get 278 items listed – more than I ever want to use, but, het, this is computing power. All the display features of Windows Explorer are, of course, available to make getting around in this list even easier.

 

© 2011 Ludwig Keck

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How do I replace the DSC prefix on my photo file names?

Most “Digital Still Cameras” assign the file names of the photos in this format: “DSC_nnnn.xxx”. The “nnnn” is a four-digit number and the “xxx” the file type, often “JPG”, but it can also be another extension. For example for Nikon “raw” files the extension is “NEF”. The first four characters can be changed in some cameras, but most just set the “DSC_” prefix.

Of course, you can change this by renaming the file. Doing that one at a time is not practical, so here is the procedure I use for doing “batch” renaming. I use a “Windows Batch File” to do this chore.

Creating a Windows Batch File

imageOpen Notepad and type in the Windows “command line” commands. See the illustration here. My first command starts with “REM”. That stands for “remark” and does nothing. It is just used to tell me what the batch file does.

The next command is “cd %1”. The “cd” part stands for “change directory”. This is old language dating back to the time before “folders” were called “folders”, they were “directories”. The command is equivalent to you clicking on a folder in the navigation pane of Windows Explorer. The “%1” part tells the command to use the “command line parameter” that was passed to the program. That sentence probably means nothing to you, don’t fret. You will see shortly how we pass the folder name to the batch file program – by just dragging it to the bat file icon.

The last line is “rename DSC_????.* LK6A????.*” Now here the first term is easy enough, “rename” means just that (you can also use just “ren”). This is followed by the name of the file (or files) to be renamed. The first part is clear enough. The question marks each stand for “whatever character is there”. There are four question marks to specify the four numeric characters in the photo file name. The period follows the numbers. The asterisk after the period says “whatever follows the period”.

Now the new name is entered. This is the same except for the first four characters. I use my initials followed by a “camera identifier character” (“6”) and that is followed by the letter “A” in my case. You can specify any four characters, no fewer and no more, or else the command will do “unexpected things”.

Save the file to your desktop, using Save as and giving it a name. I use “renameDSC”. imageSince you created it with Notepad is is just a plain text file, not a “batch program” yet. If the icon on the desktop shows just the name without an extension, reset the viewing options to make the next step easier: Open Windows Explorer (StartComputer). Click on Desktop (at the top in navigation pane). Click Organize then Folder and search options. In the Folder Options dialog click the View tab. imageFind the option reading “Hide extensions for known file types”. Click it to uncheck the box. Click OK then close Windows Explorer.

Now the extension of the file you created will be visible, it will say “renameDSC.txt”.

Click on the icon to select it, a moment later click on the name. This opens the rename box. image

 

 

 

 

 

Replace the “txt” extension with “bat”. The “bat” stands for “batch file” and imageindicates to Windows that it is a batch program. Press Enter. There will be a warning message. Click Yes to perform the rename operation.

You now have created a “batch program” and the icon will now show the “gears” image:

image

If you wish you can reset the option to hide the extensions of “know file types”. 

You can edit and revise the batch file by right-clicking the icon and selecting Edit – this opens Notepad. When you are finished save the file. It will remain a batch file, so there are no further hoops to jump through.

 

You are now ready to perform the renaming operation. You will find this fast and easy – now that you have a desktop program for doing so.

 

Renaming the DSC files

After importing your photos, open Windows Live Photo Gallery. Find the folder or folders of the new photos in the navigation pane.

image

Now just drag the folder name to your batch program.

image

You will see the “Command prompt” window open momentarily and carry out your instructions. If you folder contains a small number of photos you might not even notice the operation. But take a look at the thumbnails. If you have the display showing the file names, you will see that they all have been renamed.

Do this for any other folder containing photo files that need renaming. It takes just a couple of seconds, but you do have to do it one folder at a time. You will find this quick and easy and fun to do.

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