Sunday, November 28, 2004

Grouper & K:Drive


I got to know about Grouper from Om Malik (He seems to get to know of some of the most amazing software!) as well as Slashdot. Around the same time I got to know about K:Drive, which was listed among the comments in Slashdot. I gave both a try.

Both are free and allow these functionalities:
  1. Creation of a drive to share among friends. You can just add files into this directory (group) and then share the directory with everyone.
  2. Password protect the directory
  3. Browse through all the files before you download
  4. Chat (IM) with the respective users

One thing that Grouper doesn't allow is download of music from these shared drives. K:Drive doesn't seem to have these limitations! Although, Grouper does allow the streaming of music across, which itself should be enough. Additionally, Grouper has a much slicker interface compared to K:Drive and makes the whole process of creating, managing and sharing files with friends way, way more easier!

The biggest advantage is of course, when sharing photographs, documents, music or files of any other nature, email is not the only thing that can be relied upon!

Friday, November 19, 2004

So, what the hell is a Pivot Table in Excel?

Although I've written on Microsoft Excel tips earlier, I've always wondered what the hell a Pivot Table actually was.

It's a question I've been battling for ages. I'd start reading the help pages and soon fall asleep. So, today when I came across a Slashdot review of a book called "A Complete Guide to Pivot Tables", my curiosity was piqued!

Pivot Table

Among all the comments in Slashdot, I found this excellent link to the introduction of Pivot Tables. Just copying and pasting the table displayed on the page into Microsoft Excel gave me a basic table to start with. And when I followed the steps, I was amazed to say the least. Quite an eye opener. Give it a shot!

Incidentally, the downloads page has some very useful stuff as well. Also, if you're a keyboard person like me and love shortcuts, you can also get the entire list of Microsoft Excel keyboard shortcuts here.

As an aside, OpenOffice, the free Office suite, also provides similar functionalities. Although the differences, quoting Slashdot, are -

"Granted, this book is specifically written for Microsoft Excel. However, OpenOffice, the free competitor from Sun MicroSystems, mimics most of the Microsoft Office suite. How does it compare, you ask? Well, OpenOffice has a similar facility to Pivot Tables, called DataPilot; however, DataPilot is primitive in comparison. For example, you must select the data to summarize, choose (from the menu bar) Data --> DataPilot --> Start, then drag the fields to the appropriate place in the diagram and click OK. Like Excel, you can freely move the fields between row, column, and data areas, and change the data operation from Sum to Min, Max, or a number of others. Unlike Excel, there isn't much more you can do. You don't have Page fields; you can't sort fields on their data; PivotCharts aren't represented; and there's no programming."

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Do-It-Yourself Projector!

This is a must-see for all those geeks who want to build their own Home Theater Projector -

DIY Projector

Came across an excellent article from Tom's Hardware Guide on how to build your own DIY Projector. The whole thing, with the LCD and the overhead Projector works out to only $300!! That too with a lamp intensity of 3500 Lumens. Usually, the Home Theater Projectors available in the market start from $900, that too only for a 1000 Lumens. via Slashdot

But the whole thing got me thinking about having something like this even for schools! Usually schools in cities have an OHP lying somewhere, in which case the cost would go down even more. But even if it were to be built from scratch, then to get the whole thing as a package and done in bulk would reduce the cost.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Want to see Internet Explorer crash?

Please, please! Too many questions get directed my way because of Internet Explorer. Why not just stop using it?

Here's one browser crash which was identified in March 1999 in IE 5.0. After all these years it has been fixed with a patch!

Of course, if you haven't patched up, your IE will still crash! To test, click here.

Switch to Opera or Firefox immediately!!

Thanks to Andrew.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Adobe Acrobat Speedup Tweak

As we all know Acrobat Reader takes ages to open. This has been a pain ever since I've been using Acrobat!!

Today while going through one of the Slashdot posts, I came across this tweak for Acrobat.

Adobe Logo
  1. Go to the Adobe Acrobat program directory (just do a Windows Search for the Acrord32.exe file and when you get the results, right-click on the file and select 'Open Containing Folder')

  2. Create a folder called 'plug_ins_disabled' in that directory

  3. From the folder 'plug_ins' remove everything EXCEPT the following to the 'plug_ins_disabled' folder

    • EWH32.api

(If one or more of these files are not there don't worry!)

That's it!
Next time, your Acrobat Reader will open in a jiffy!!!!