Exchange to ICS

I found this post Ryan Hadley a few days ago, which I got working with a little bit of time, I noticed that Thunderbird was displaying all-days events oddly, so I checked the VEVENT info being generated & tweaked to work correctly with Thunderbird/Lightening. I also dropped in the URL of the event in OWA & fixed it for situations where there are public & private names for the OWA/Exchange instance, handy when you want to go and amend an entry etc.

Hope you find it useful.


Dates in Microsoft Access

Every now & then I’m forced to deal with databases in Access, the worst case of this is when the database started life in something else, ‘cos that when Dates usually get really screwy.

I recently had one with dates stored as 3 seperate fileds, I know I should have transformed the data, but I didn’t, so I came up witha few queries that tried to munge the data into something usable, my first attempt was this:

PurchaseDate: LTrim(RTrim(day))+’/’+LTrim(RTrim(month))+’/’+LTrim(RTrim(year))

But then I found a better way:

PDate: DateFromDMY([day],[month],[year])

Where DateFromDMY is a VB function, something akin to:

Public Function DateFromDMY(a_Day As Integer, a_Month As Integer, a_Year As Integer) As Date

If (a_Day = 0) Then
a_Day = 1
End If

If (a_Month = 0) Then
a_Month = 1
End If

If (a_Month > 12) Then
a_Month = 12
End If

DateFromDMY = CDate(CStr(a_Day) + “/” + CStr(a_Month) + “/” + CStr(a_Year))

End Function

Now that’s a crude function, but you get the idea, you can fix up data easily.

Thank you Martin Green for his pointers here.

More software for when Microsoft let you down

Why why why can’t you burn ISO images without having to BUY tools…well, you don’t, if you know where to look

Update: 2007/12/04

I needed to burn a DVD ISO today, and ISORECORDER doesn’t do this, so I had a quick search, and there are a few options:

Funny Images in IE on a Widescreen machine

My dad has a Dell Inspiron 6000, which I use every now and then, one of the things that has really bugged me about it jaggy images in IE (they are being scaled or something), I did some poking about today (we’re are babysitting at there house..) and found this:

I found it here:
He had is DPI set to 120.

Expose for Windows..

I’m a multi-window kinda guy, in GNOME you can have it raise the window when cycling throught them alt-tab style, Windows XP doesn’t do this, so when you’ve loads of windows from the same app open (say IE windows for OWA), it can be a pain finding the right window. Apple’s Mac OS X has a neat feature called expose which shows you all your windows at a glance at the press of a button, allowing you to select the one you want.

There are several expose style addons for windows available, Entbloess, WinPLOSION and WindowsExposer to name a few. At first glance Entbloess seemed to fit my needs, so I grabbed a copy to try & quickly bought a copy (a whole $9.99 I think, which is a price all simple software should be!).

It seems to work quite well, but it has some quirks that are getting annoying:

  • If you minimise all your windows using the Quick Launch bar’s “Show Desktop”, it has to restore all windows before doing it’s thing, which if you have a dozen plus windows open can take time!
  • It seems to just popup, completely unprompted every now & then!

I’ve since discovered that the random startups were due to the “Mouse Hotspots” activation method still being enabled, so that one was my fault. The restoring of minimised windows is also controllable, but only to the point where you can tell it to either show the caption bar or minimised them after they have been restored. Hmm, me thinks Apple’s OS X still has the edge on this..

Along the way I found a couple of Microsoft PowerToys that might also come some way to making life easier to find the right window, Alt-Tab Replacement, handily called TaskswitchPowertoysetup.exe, and Virtual Desktop Manager, also with another annoying name missmatch, DeskmanPowerToySetup.exe.

Taskswitch is pretty slick, given that it’s almost instant, but seems to suffer from the same kind of problem, if the window is minimised, that all you get to see is the window as it shows in the task bar, tres annoying!
Virtual Desktop Manager is strange, by default it will show all windows in the taskbar, which makes everything very cluttered, which is one of the points of these tools, to try and keep things tidy for us power users!

Update (Moday 14th February 2006): I got sick of the delays in showing all the windows in Entbloess, so I coughed up for WinPLOSION, and I’m much happier with its, configurable hot keys, I can disable the hot areas on the screen, the swicth to viewing all windows is fast and flowing.

How to survive without Microsoft

I just came across a neat piece of software from ThinkFree, the ThinkFree Office Online. Which is a very neat piece of software, I’ve only used it on a Debian Linux box, but it’s all Java based by the looks of it, so it should run just sweetly on Windows & OSX etc. It’s not AJAX based, the latest craze in browser based apps, but it does a hell of a lot more that your average AJAX app, and looks amazingly similar to Microsoft Office XP/2003. Which got me to thinking, what else can you get that’s browser based that makes life easy, like Meebo, which is an AJAX based IM tool that supports MSN, Yahoo, GTalk etc. So never mind life with out Microsoft, the day of installing applications could be over! This is like Citrix MetaFrame for the average user!

Other people fixing Microsoft’s mess again..

I’ve just moved jobs, to a predominantly Microsoft shop, so I’m getting used to using Outlook & Exchange again, after about a 5 year break. Exchange always had it’s good points, but some of those good points come with nasties, the whole calendaring & scheduling thing is great, although you have to use Outlook (or OWA) to take advantage of any of it, and there’s the rub, Outlook as an email client is woeful, top-posting is just plain wrong & stupid.

Luckily, some lovely person has created a piece of software that fixes this terrible design decision (a design decision that would take 10min to fix if somebody in Microsoft could be bothered to accept that what they have doen is wrong!)

So, Dominik Jain, I salute you, you can find Dominik’s wonderful piece of software here:, It’s called Outlook-Quotefix.