Friday, 21 March 2003

Newsletter Issue 59, March 2003


Sam Young Newsletter

Issue 59, March 2003
Hi guys,
I hope you are all looking forward to your Easter break and will ensure that your data and systems are backed up before you go. Yes, time for your regular earache on Back-ups again, below.
Many of us have files with information that needs to be repeated in several documents. Rather than insert text into 10 documents, how about having it in one location and updating it dynamically? For the how to guide on this, check out Linking Documents in Word
Don't forget, if you want to be taken off my mailing list, click here to send me a reply e-mail and I will remove your name.

Back-ups 

What to back up 
If you save all the stuff that I am talking about into one folder (eg My Documents), you can back it up easily onto a CD. 
Of course you will think about updating your data files (which should be done at least once a week). But how many of you think of backing up all those other things that make life so easy? Such as;
  • Web Browser: Internet Explorer shortcut links & folders are found under C:\Windows\Favourites. I usually just copy these over just before I do my backup. Netscape Communicator Users should go to C:\Program Files\Netscape\Communicator\ Users and copy the "Users" folder across to their backup area
  • Application preferences: The shortcuts & files found under C:\Windows\Application Data\Microsoft. These are your application preferences, templates etc. I only back these up again when I know that I have changed my settings, toolbars or added a new template
  • Outlook.pst: Your Outlook email file, usually found under C:\Windows.  You can copy Outlook.pst into My Documents, then delete the one in C:\Windows. Then when you restart Outlook it will look for the file; you just type in " C:\my Documents" in the Browse box. Then it is always in your backup area and you don't have to muck about copying it before you back up again
  • Windows Themes: For those of you that like a really customised look to Windows, you can save all your customised font, colour and wallpaper settings by installing Themes. Go to: Start button | Settings | Control Panel | Add/Remove Programs | Windows Setup | Desktop Themes. Install by selecting. Shut down & restart. Go to: Start button | Settings | Control Panel | Desktop Themes. Your theme will show as "Current Windows Settings". Click "save as" and change the save location to My Documents.. and give it a sensible name like "My Theme"! 
  • Registration Numbers: List of all your registration numbers for your programmes. When you register online and get a rego number, do a screendump of the rego & paste the dump into a Word document (to do a screen dump, click the "Print Screen" button on the keyboard, open Word, click the paste tool. The exact screen view you could see on the net will be pasted into Word). You will need to print out updates as they happen: you need hardcopy to be able to reload your programmes when you computer has done down! Document your passwords. Whenever you get new passwords for software/ISPs etc, do a screen dump of your passwords (if you can read them) or write them down at the time. Save this info into the same doc as you have saved your rego numbers
  • Special patches and fixes for software: These are things like the Access registry fix for Office 97 (Access 97 won't run if you have Office 2000 installed without this patch) & updated drivers. Print out the fixes and save the patches into My Download Files
  • Software Installs & downloads: As you get them, save them into a folder that you back up regularly. If you have any purchased software on floppies or CD, make another copy on new discs. Test them, then store them away from your computer. 
  • TEST your back-ups: Make sure you test your back-up CDs and your software discs BEFORE you need them. There is nothing more annoying than trying to reinstall your software, finding that the discs wont work and (a) the company has gone out of business or (b) they no longer make the software or (c) the software will cost you $3000 to upgrade. 
Where to store your back-up
You must store your back ups somewhere away from your computer. Like in your PO Box, in an air-tight safe, in the boot of your car or backed up to a data warehouse. Just make sure that wherever it is, if your office burns down, your back-up is not in the desk drawer next to the PC.
How often to back-up
Back up each week or fortnight if you are not using the PC that much. I only back up twice a week overall, with important individual files being backed-up in-between times on completion of projects. 
Accepted best practice is to create 3 generations of backups: 
  1. Parent - the most recent copy of your Child (child being the current live copy on your PC) eg If you are doing weekly backups, the parent was created this week 
  2. Grandparent - the next oldest copy. This is LAST week's parent 
  3. Great-Grandparent - the oldest copy. This is LAST week's grandparent & the fortnight-ago parent. 
You rotate the backups around so that you NEVER overwrite your parent copy - always your great-grandparent. 
This is just in case something goes wrong with your PC when you are doing your backup... and you have just deleted your parent copy, getting ready to create the new one. And I have had my PC go belly up when I was doing a backup. Luckily I wasn't overwriting my most recent (parent) copy. 
Schedule a recurring reminder into Outlook. If all this is too scary for you - give me a call & we'll do some training!

Linking Documents in Word

When you go to Insert | File, Word lets you navigate to a folder, select a file, and insert it into the current document. The result is a static copy, since the inserted text won't change unless you edit it. 
While in most situations, this is probably the result you want, in other cases you may want to insert a dynamic copy of a document instead- one that stays linked to the external file. 
An inserted link is a Word field, which means that when you open your document and press F9, the link displays the most current version of the external file. 
People would want to do this for standard disclaimers at the end of business correspondence, forms that are controlled by other departments, lists of personnel which are updated regularly and so on.
So how's it done? Pretty easily, really; 
  1. Open the file that you want to have the page or document linked into and go to the place where you want the other document to appear (this is the main file)
  2. Go to Insert | File and navigate to the file which you wish to have linked (this is the embedded file)
  3. Click the file once to select the embedded file. The Insert File dialogue box will appear. Click the drop down arrow on the Insert button, select "Insert As Link"
  • Word will insert a field in the embedded file like this {INCLUDETEXT " :\\ \\[your document name].doc"}, but you should see the text
  • If you see {INCLUDETEXT " :\\ \\[your document name].doc"} instead of the text, press Alt & F9 to toggle the field code so that you can see the text
  1. To test it - open the embedded file ([Your document name].doc) and make a change to the text. Save and close the embedded file
  2. Return to the main file, select the linked text, and press [F9] to update. When you update the embedded file, changes made to the main file will show up in the linked text.
Very easy, isn't it!

Converting Arabic to Roman Numerals

If you're looking for a way to convert Arabic numerals to Roman numerals? Then this has to be the easiest way.
Use the ROMAN function to convert arabic numerals automatically; 
  • the ROMAN function takes the form =Roman(cellref)
  • Enter the number "29" into cell reference A1
  • Enter the formula below into cell reference B1 
     =Roman(A1)
  • Cell A1 returns "XXIX"
Now, isn't that easy!

TLAs for SMEs

Here are this newsletter's TLAs for you;
  • S/PDIF, Sony/Philips Digital Interface. A standard audio transfer file format, usually found on digital audio equipment like DAT machines or audio processing devices. It allows the transfer of audio from one file to another without the conversion to and from an analog format (which could degrade the signal quality).
  • WebDAV, World Wide Web Distributed Authoring and Versioning. The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) standard for collaborative authoring on the Web. This is a set of extensions to the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) to further facilitate internet collaboration, including;
    • Locking (also known as concurrency control), which prevents accidental overwriting of files
    • XML properties, which facilitate operations (such as storage and retrieval) on metadata, so that data about other data can be organized
    • The DAV protocol, which enables property setting, deleting, and retrieving
    • The DASL (DAV Searching and Locating) protocol, which enables searches based on property values for locating resources on the Web
    • namespace manipulation, which supports copy and move operations. Collections, which are similar to file system directories, may be created and listed.

Please feel free to email me with any TLAs that you want to get the bottom (meaning!) of.

Short+Hot Keys... and now tips
All the Function keys for you again, but this time we are shifting as well - all you can do with Alt, Shift, Ctrl & F10;
  • Excel "Make the menu bar active, or close a visible menu and submenu at the same time" F10
  • Publisher "Move between the menu bar and the publication" F10 
  • Excel, PowerPoint, Word "Maximize or restore window" CTRL & F10 
  • PowerPoint, Word "Maximize the program window" ALT & F10 
  • Access, Excel, FrontPage, Outlook, PhotoDraw, PowerPoint, Publisher, Windows, Word "Show shortcut menu" SHIFT & F10 
  • IE "Display a shortcut menu for a link " SHIFT & F10 
  • PowerPoint "Activate the menu bar or Carry out Print command (File menu)" CTRL & SHIFT & F10 
Hot Linx
Is this mind-reading software or a trick? I can't work out how this is done. You will have to chose for yourself at http://www.cyberglass.co.uk/assets/Flash/psychic.swf
This website will intrigue those of you with an eye for the quirkier things in life. Created by a woman with a passion for the strange, check out http://www.drokk.com/ . And have a look at the albums she has created. Interesting...
Want to be into world domination? Then this site is a must for you! Check out http://members.tripod.com/~mrpuzuzu/plan.html 

                                Catch you again soon!! E-mail your suggestions to me here