Monthly Archives: February 2008

Windows Live SkyDrive

One of the most frequent problems we come up against in at work is people bringing in laptops that are dead/dying having not backed them up. Now you can backup, share or just store for access later all your pictures, videos and documents…for free with windows live skydrive. Previously I have not been hugely impressed with the Windows Live, but the SkyDrive that came out of beta this week is a quality product.

The interface is clean and easy to use and you can upload zip folders so that you do not have to individually upload files and spend your days clicking and selecting them. Even while the upload is happening there is a game to play to keep you entertained.

If you use a couple of computers and you want to be able to access the odd file then I really recommend this. Also if you have pictures that are important to you and you never get round to backing up on DVD or CD why not put them online and then you can also access them from wherever you are!!

Upgrading (& migrating) SugarCRM

We have been trying to upgrade from the 5 beta version of sugar’s community edition to the full released 5.0 version. In theory this is a very simple proposition and within the admin interface there is an upgrade option where the software will find any new versions then recommend you backup and then upgrade. This worked upgrading from 4.5.1 to 5 beta but it would not upgrade to the new full release. So we found another solution…

Failing the obvious way of upgrading , there is a crude way of doing the job. First you need to create a clean install of Sugar 5.0 and if you have no custom fields it is simply a case of exporting the database from the old Sugar build and then importing it into the new one. But if, like us, you have custom fields there is an option under the admin>studio tab to export the custom fields. All you do is export the custom fields and then import them into the new system.

The previous paragraph is all theory from my point of view as we never managed to get the export to work, so we had to do it the hard way. This consisted of doing a clean install, then manually re-adding the custom fields then importing the database and updating all the fields. It added a good day and a half of work to the move – but I have a lot of grace cause I think Sugar is a great piece of software!

ThinkPad X300 to Rival MACBook Air

The chinese company Lenovo bought the struggling giant IBM in 2005 and is now close to releasing the new ThinkPad X300 which is set to rival the so talked about MACBook Air. I know if you are a MAC user you will just say “pff another attempt to compete with a MAC” but this is serious competition. The Businessweek Magazine published an outstanding article about it and by the look of it the X300 will be a big fighter in the “ultra thin” laptop war.

The main features on the X300 are the presence of DVD drive, WiFi and Ethernet, removable battery and 3 USB ports compared to the MACBook Air with no DVD drive, Wifi only, 1 USB and non-removable battery. By the way it also fits in an interoffice envelope.

I’ll not attempt to rewrite the article so please read it in full here, also watch and intro video here.

Windows Media Player vs Nullsoft Winamp – Memory Usage

For some reason a few weeks ago I loaded Nullsoft Winamp 5.52 on my computer. I think that it might have been to listen to on-line country music radio, but I can’t remember…

Last night I was using it to listen to some podcasts and I had a look at the memory usage for Winamp in Windows Task Manager (you can do this by right clicking on the Task Bar and clicking on Task Manager). The memory usage in Winamp seemed pretty low at under 10MB, so I closed Winamp and opened up a podcast in Windows Media Player 11.

I had a look at the memory usage for Windows Media Player 11 and it was sitting at about 18MB, almost twice what Winamp had been using to play a podcast.

So now my primary media player is Nullsoft Winamp 5.52.

Another nice feature is that Winamp integrates into Juice, which I use to download my podcasts. When I click on “Play episode in media player” in Juice the podcast now gets added to the playlist in Winamp. This makes it easy to que up podcasts for listening, whereas when I was using Windows Media Player it would automatically start playing the podcast I selected, rather than que it up after the one I was currently listening to.

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Mac Preview Can Not Submit PDF Forms

We have been using Adobe Acrobat Professional with Adobe LiveCycle Designer to create the downloadable application forms for where I work. We have been having troubles with one of the forms not submitting, so I had a look at it today and fixed it, but then had a closer look at how the forms work on the Mac.

Adobe PDF files by default on a Mac are opened up in Mac Preview. It’s nice because Preview is very fast to load, and it is integrated well with Safari.

Unfortunately even after I fixed the PDF form to submit on a PC, the PDF form still would not submit on the Mac. When I clicked on the “Submit by Email” button nothing happened. It didn’t give an error, but it just didn’t submit the form.

This is probably giving us all sorts of problems that we don’t ever hear about and that our potential applicants don’t even know about. They probably wonder why we never get in contact with them in regards to their application, which they thought they had submitted, and we never get their application form.

The only way that I have found for users to submit the PDF forms is if they actually open the PDF in Adobe Acrobat Reader. Downloading and loading Adobe Acrobat Reader for the Mac is free and easy, you can do it from here.

You will need to set-up your Mac to open the PDF files in Adobe Acrobat, instead of in Mac Preview. You can do that by following these steps:

  1. “Get Info” for any PDF file
  2. Change the “Open With” settings from Preview to Adobe Acrobat
  3. Click “Change All…” to apply the changes to all PDF files

If you want more details on it then check out thinair, which is where I got a lot of the above information.

With a problem like this it is definitely time for us to find a new way to do our school application process. We are currently developing a new web-site using Joomla, so we are planning in the next six-months to develop an on-line school registration module. That should help prevent problems like the PDF form submission problems in the Mac.

When we produce out PDF forms we use a system similar to what is described at David Airey – How to create interactive PDF forms.

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