Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Workaround for Adobe Acrobat incorrect screen refresh under Win7 x64

For whatever reason, Adobe Acrobat will not properly repaint the screen when resizing internal windows.  It 'sticks' the image at the previous window size.

The only fix I've found so far is to show or hide a secondary pane, such as the bookmarks.  This forces Acrobat to repaint the screen to the new scaling.

This problem may be unique to my FirePro 8800 triple monitor setup, or it might be a W7 thing, I'm not sure.  Acrobat is not the only program having this problem, but it is by far the worst.

[Addition]:  You can quickly force a refresh with F4.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The weird and wonderfully changeable Windows 7 status bar

I've been reading a lot of conflicting information about what the "status bar" in Windows 7 does and does not show.

For those that don't know, the "status bar" is the banner that shows at the bottom of your Windows Explorer windows.  (If you have it enabled, that is.)  It's intended to give you quick details about the file or folder that is currently in focus.

(Note I said Windows Explorer, not Internet Explorer.)

Anyway, in XP, the status bar typically gave you fixed information.  One of these was the file size.

For whatever reason, Windows 7 does and doesn't give you the same information.

It doesn't in the sense that the attributes shown in the status bar change according to file type.  All files show an icon for the creating/assigned program, and the file name, which is redundant.

After that, you get different tags.  The current folder gives "offline status" and "offline availability".  A text file gives "date modified", "size", and "date created" in addition to offline availability.  A ZIP is the same, without the offline info.  JPG gives "date taken", "tags", and "rating", and a PDF coughs up "title", "subject" and "rating".

So nominally you don't get the same info as XP.

However, if you happen to expand your window size - making it wider - voila!  additional "missing" tags appear!  Our poor PDF, which had only a few attributes before, actually has 18 status tags available, including the oft-wished-for "Size" attribute.

But how to make them visible on a not-so-widescreen window?  Grab the top border of the status bar and drag up.  It will expand vertically, and the tags will collapse into a smaller horizontal space.

This will make things look kind of gay, because the program icon also expands - possibly to gargantuan proportions - making it look stupid.

But hey, at least the file size attribute is there for the viewing - even if W7 is too dumb to always show it to you.  I guess it's more important that you spend time tagging, titling and rating all of your painstakingly-named-and-organized PDF files.

Hey - somebody, out there - make a W7 plug-in that lets you re-organize and show/hide specific attributes in the Explorer status bar.  Please?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

How to get Bluetooth headphones to operate under Windows 7

 My new PC came with Bluetooth on the mainboard, which is cool.  But pairing my headphones with the PC didn't work, which is not.

Here's what worked for me.  Note my system has the Realtek audio installed.

Go to the system tray, and double-click on the Bluetooth icon.  The Bluetooth Devices panel from the Control Panel should show up.

Click "Add a device".

Put the headphones into pairing mode; let Windows find it.

Note:  If Windows can't find it, stop here and fix the problem.  I didn't have that problem.

After pairing, you will see the "Stereo Headset" in your devices, but probably won't get any sound.

In Bluetooth Devices, right click the new headset and select Properties.  Go to the Services tab and make sure "Headset" is checked.

Go back to the system tray, and right-click on the speaker icon. 

Note: my system shows two, which is confusing.  The one you want is shown in the tray by default - that is, you do not have to click the up arrow to see it.

Select "Playback devices".  The Sound panel comes up.

Find your headset, right-click and select "Set as Default Device".

Don't worry if you're speakers are already set as default.  It seems that for this setting, you're allowed to have more than one default device.  (Unlike, say, printers, where you can have only one).

You can also try the "Test" option to get a few chimes happening, so you know all is OK.

By doing this, you will probably get sound from both your speakers and your headset.  This isn't a problem for my setup, because I can turn the speakers off anytime I want, but it may not be what you want.

Do the following:

Go back and right-click on the speaker icon in the system tray.  Select "Volume control options" and check the "Speakers: Bluetooth Audio Device" with the headphones picture next to it.  Hit OK.

Note:  If you don't see it, your headphones are not connected.  Ensure they're on, right-click the device in the Bluetooth Devices panel, select "Advanced operation" and "Connect to audio device".  You will get a notification when it connects.  Then repeat the above step.

Now, clicking on the system tray speaker should bring up a dual-slider volume - one for speakers, and one for the BT headset.  Cool.

On my setup, my BT headphones did a lousy job - I got lots of dropouts, lags and interruptions.  This might have been because the headphones were low on charge, but I don't think so.  Pretty pitiful for an audio stream that only has to go four feet.  Re-orienting and getting closer didn't help, so it's probably some kind of compatibility issue.

We'll see, but either way, Bluetooth is definitely not the cool technology it was supposed to be.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Deleting Excel rows that have a specific blank column

A nice little bit of Excel macro magic allows you to delete rows if a particular column is blank.

I deal with data sets that are always scrambled, but usually in different ways.  This precludes the use of macro-scripting programs (like my personal favorite, trusty old Automate 4) because the patterns just different enough for pre-programmed key macros to fail.

Thanks to this little macro by Chip Pearson gets around the problem nicely.  Thanks, Chip!