Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Do you agree that Linux desktops are here?

I found some time ago this site which aims at proving that Linux desktops are currently over 1%. So, I registered my and my wife's Debian GNU/Linux desktops to contribute to the statistic.

As publicity for GNU/Linux, this project has potential to put Linux on the radar of more producers, so, please, add your desktops to the counter!

Monday, 7 March 2011

HOWTO: Making Windows usable and avoiding accidental sending of mails in Microsoft Outlook

I've changed jobs recently and after 5 years of not having to work with a Windows system I am having all sorts of adaptation-to-Windows problems at the new job.

First I just had to have the usual X-mouse behaviour and so I installed True X-Mouse Gizmo for Windows. This provides focus under mouse, middle click paste after select (not perfect, but it works), right click to push to bottom the window.

Second I had to have a virtual desktop, so I installed Microsoft's Virtual Desktop Manager from the PowerToys page. I tried another virtual desktop manager before using MSVDM, but I found it too clumsy so I switched to MSVDM which I knew from way back when I used Windows the last time. Good, now I can have my applications organised the way I am used to.

I gave up on MSVDM in favour of Virtual Dimension since I wasn't able to send a particular window to the intended desktop unless I had in the taskbar all apps visible (Shared Desktop option). I might try other suggestions (Virtual Dimension does not have a way to send a window directly to a specific desktop, but just to the neighbours of the current one.)

Third, I had to make Caps Lock work as Ctrl. I just can't go back to an inferior setup. I found information on this page and ended up at this page from where I got a zip file with various registry keys which allow the deactivation of caps, or turning it into another Ctrl.

Fourth, I am used to write with diacritics in Romanian with the secondary layout of the standard (SR 13392:2004), so I rushed to Cristian Secară's page for the keyboard driver since on XP the Romanian layout is retarded (some history in which some arbitrary German guy decided y and z had to be switched on Romanian keyboards and some other similarly weird stuff). Since the installation, my keyboard behaves according to this layout:

Things started to look well, but I soon was reminded that Outlook is an idiotic mailer since it doesn't require a confirmation on send, not even if you didn't set a subject. And this is problematic since sending the mail is done via Alt+S, so if the current layer is NOT Romanian, when I want to type „ș” (s with a comma below), a fairly common character in Romanian words, you end up looking like an idiot on the recipient side since they receive an incomplete mail. Remember, no confirmation AND no default spell checking before send. Yay!

At my second such accidental mail sending (of which the last two were sent to the same person), I decided to see if this can't be fixed. I initially looked for changing the short cut, but I couldn't find it (I might be inept at finding things in Windows, remember, I haven't touched Windows systems in the last 5 years) but I found another workaround and decided it's good enough to share with other people that might hit the problem.

Just setup a delay rule following these steps.
1. Go to Tools....Rules Wizard
2. Click 'New' Rule
3. Select "Check messages after sending"
4. Click Next on "Which conditions you want to Check?" dialog.
5. Press yes to "This Rule will be applied to every message" message box
6. In the "What do you want to do with message?" dialog, Select "Defer delivery by a number of minutes"
7. Select your favourite number of minutes.... I usually select 2 mins.
8. Select Finish. and close the Rules Wizard.

Now everytime you send an email it will sit in your outbox
for specified number of minutes. If you ever wanted to change it, delete it etc, You have sufficient time to do it :)

I used 3 minutes for the delay. At least now I can prevent looking retarded in front of people... more than necessary :D .

Oh, and Windows' clock display is retarded. It shows, by default, the hour and minutes, but there's no way to change that in a sane way. If you want the date, you must hover over the clock and it shows it, but the day of week is missing. Great job! You can see that information, too, but you have to drag the toolbar to be 2 or even 3 rows high (here it requires 2, but I've seen people saying they needed 3) to get that information, too. Great! One has to choose between wasting desktop real estate and having access to useful information. Or you could install an independent application for the clock... retarded. I am not making this shit up.

I hope this helped.