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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Enable the Quick Launch bar in Windows 7

By default, the Quick Launch bar is not available in Windows 7. To open programs quickly, you can drag the program icons to the taskbar.

However, you can follow the steps in this article to restore the Quick Launch bar and the Show Desktop button as it was in Microsoft Windows Vista and Windows XP.

STEPS TO ADD THE QUICK LAUNCH BAR

1. Right-click an empty area of the taskbar, point to Toolbars, and then click New toolbar.

Graphic 1

2. In the dialog box, copy and then paste the following folder name to the Folder box, and then click Select Folder:

%AppData%\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch



Graphic 2

3. Now you see the Quick Launch bar with the text on the rightside of
the task bar. To hide the Quick Launch text and program titles,
right-click Quick Launch, clear Show Text and Show title.

Graphic 3

4. Drag the Quick Launch bar to the leftside of the task bar. If you
cannot move the Quick Launch bar, right-click the taskbar again, and
make sure that the Lock the taskbar option is cleared .
Tip: Move the cursor horizontally.

Graphic 4

5. If you prefer big icons in the Quick Launch bar, right-click an empty area of the Quick Launch bar, point to View, and then click Large Icons.

Graphic 5

6. To add a program in the Quick Launch bar, drag the desired icon to the Quick Launch bar.

Graphic 6

Recover MS Paint

This guide is for people who removed or accidentally un-installed their Microsoft Paint on their Windows, but now want them back. I lost my MS Paint too two days ago, poking at the wrong place of my Add/Remove Windows Component and there goes my mspaint. It can only be re-installed with a Windows XP CD in my case, but I don’t have any with me.

If your Paint is gone from your computer too, do this to make sure the software really does not exist in your system, and not just the shortcut being deleted. Go to Start > Run > Type “mspaint” > OK. If your MSPaint starts, meaning it is still there, just that you have deleted the shortcut. Just create another shortcut and it will be fine.

I have a Windows XP CD
If you are 100% sure that MS Paint does not exist in your system anymore, there are three ways to get it back. The first way is to install it via your Windows XP CD. You can do so by going to

Control Panel > Add or Remove Programs > Add/Remove Windows Components > Double click on "Accessories and Utilities" > Double click on "Accessories" > Check "Paint" > OK > Next..

I DON’T have a Windows XP CD

The second way is grab a copy of the mspaint file from a relative, a friend or your pet dog’s computer. Copy mspaint.exe from their C:\WINDOWS\system32 to your flash drive, and paste it back to your computer’s “system32″ folder. Create a shortcut of it and place it anywhere you like and you are done.

Download mspaint.exe
Worse comes to worst, you don’t have a CD, nor a friend or relative with Windows XP, and your pet dog is using a MacBook, you are left with no choice but to download it.

mspaint icon [Download mspaint.exe] (mirror)

After you have downloaded it, move mspaint.exe to your C:\WINDOWS\system32 and Paint will be available again for your computer. To create a shortcut, just right click on the mspaint.exe icon, select “Create Shortcut“. When the shortcut is created, you can cut and paste it to anywhere you want for easy access later.

In case you lost all your Windows system applications, the following folder consist of most System Apps of Windows XP SP 1 (calculator, notepad etc.), and paint is also available in it.

Download Windows XP System Apps (mirror)

Happy painting

How to Forward Google Apps Email to Secondary Email

One more way to do this in Google Apps is to use a "group". A group is like a mailing list. Here are the steps you can follow:

  1. "Manage This Domain" (for domain1.com)
  2. "Email Settings"
  3. "Users and Groups"
  4. "Create a New Group". Fill-in your details. In your case, the group email address will be "guy". Make sure you choose "Team" and "Also allow anyone on the Internet to post messages""
  5. "Add new members". Here, you should add "guy@domain2.com"

From now on, whenever anybody sends email to "guy@domain1.com" it will automatically go to guy@domain2.com .

Another way to achieve something similar (but not exactly what you are asking for) is to choose "Manage This Domain" (for domain1.com) --> "Domain Settings" --> "Domain names" --> "Add a domain alias" and then add domain2.com as a domain alias.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

TF2Idle


Been working on this for a few months now. Started off as a [1] command line tool to streamline the process of starting up TF2 idling accounts which then evolved into a GUI tool because I wanted to learn how to write a GUI program in Python.
TF2Idle is an open source GUI for managing idle accounts in TF2. What it is is a fancier way of starting up TF2 accounts in sandboxes with arguments. It is nothing more complicated than using .bat files. For idling on multiple accounts at the same time it requires [2] Sandboxie. What it is not is a tool that modifies or circumvents the game or Steam in any way.
It can handle many accounts, it can handle sandboxes (terminating, emptying and experimental support for automatically creating and deleting them on the fly) and it can log item drops in an easy to use interface.

You can find the source code [4] here and a precompiled exe can be found on the [5] downloads page.
Hopefully the program is self explanatory but I will be expanding the readme soon. I will be also adding more features in the coming weeks. If you use it please let me know of any bugs/criticisms/problems.
FAQ
  • Any plans for an Mac version?
    Unlikely I'm afraid. Sandboxie doesn't work on OSX afaik and I am not familiar with the OS at all so I wouldn't know how to start the game and such. The program will work in OSX though as Python is platform compatible, but a lot of the code will need to be rewritten.
  • How do I get an API key?
    Visit [6] http://steamcommunity.com/dev and read the terms and conditions before signing up.
  • I get an error when trying to launch TF2 through the program
    Make sure you have correctly entered the relevant paths to Steam.exe and the like correctly in settings.
Version history
Version 1.3.0
  • Added option to launch any program sandboxed for each account
  • Added option to define per account launch parameters
  • Increased max account delay to 10 minutes
  • Drop log now shows crate series
  • Removed restriction on what filetype logs can be saved as
  • Added alphabetical ordering in groups dialog
  • Fixed bug with account launch delay where some accounts would fail to launch
  • Fixed Sandboxie errors when deleting the contents of too many sandboxes at once
Version 1.1.1
  • Fixed bug with saving drops to log file
  • Changed an icon
Version 1.1.0
  • Added option to add delay between account launches
  • Added option to modify drop log output file formatting
  • Tweaked update gcf icon
  • Added progress icons for gcf updating
  • Fixed bug with changing multiple account sandbox names
Version 1.0.0
  • Initial release

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Team Fortress 2 Multiple Account Idle Program TF2Idle


TF2Idle

TF2Idle is a convenient GUI interface for idling in Team Fortress 2. It does not modify game files or circumvent TF2. You will still need to run a TF2 instance for each copy of TF2 you wish to idle on.

Links

Version history

Version 1.1.1

  • Fixed bug with saving drops to log file
  • Changed an icon

Version 1.1.0

  • Added option to add delay between account launches
  • Added option to modify drop log output file formatting
  • Tweaked update gcf icon
  • Added progress icons for gcf updating
  • Fixed bug with changing multiple account sandbox names

Version 1.0.0

  • Initial Release

Compiled exe

Download the exe from the downloads section.

Script

Requirements

You will also need to install the following modules.
  • PyQt4 -- Install the 32 bit version (x86)
  • PyCrypto -- For config file encryption

Usage

Run from commandline
python TF2Idle.py

API key

You can sign up for your own Steam API key from here. Please read through the terms and conditions before you do so.

Idling

Quick tl;dr on how to idle.

Requirements

Folder structure

You'll want a seperate Steam installation for each of your idle accounts (they'll share a single steamapps folder, so don't worry about disk space), you can do it with a single secondary Steam install - however some users may face errors doing this. Never use your main Steam install, else you risk corrupting your game files.
  • Copy the Steam folder (minus the steamapps folder) to somewhere else on the hard disk.
  • Create a folder inside the Steam folder for each account you have.
  • Copy the steamapps folder somewhere (Do not use your main Steam installation's steamapps folder). You can delete all the non-TF2 related gcfs from this folder.
  • Open cmd.exe as an administrator, and for each idle account enter (using my directories as an example):mklink /d "G:/Sandboxie/Steam/Account1/Steamapps" "G:/Sandboxie/Steam/Steamapps" where the first parameter is the idle account's Steam install, followed by /Steamapps, and the second parameter is your secondary steamapps folder (Again, not your main Steam installations steamapps).
You should now have a folder structure similar to:
G:\Sandboxie\Steam:
Account1
...
Steamapps
...
Account2
...
Steamapps
...
Account3
...
Steamapps
...
Steamapps
  • This tricks programs into thinking the steamapps folder is present in each of those account folders.

Sandboxie

The free version of Sandboxie limits you to one sandbox, meaning you can only run two instances of Steam at any one time (one unsandboxed and one sandboxed). To create more sandboxes you will require a license.
Create a sandbox for each of your folders, with whatever name you want to give them - I name mine the same as my folder names (so just Account1, Account2, Account3...).
For each sandbox right click on it and go to sandbox settings. You'll want to set the settings as follows:
  • Restrictions -> Drop Rights -> Untick Drop rights from Administrators and Power Users groups
  • Resource Access -> File Access -> Full Access -> Add your idle accounts Steam folder, and your steamapps folder.
    • e.g. G:\Sandboxie\Steam\Account1
    • G:\Sandboxie\Steam\Steamapps

First launch / what to do after every TF2 update

  • Run TF2Idle.py
  • Select 'Update GCFs' to copy the TF2 GCFs from your main Steamapps folder, to your secondary Steamapps folder
  • Select 'Empty sandbox' to delete any contents in each sandbox, this prevents errors.
  • Start Steam.exe from the secondary directory unsandboxed to make sure the GCFs are completely updated.
  • You are now ready to idle.

Borderless Fullscreen Team Fortress 2 Steam console arguments

Here's a great tip that I'm generally surprised more people aren't aware of! I know many of you, like me, absolutely love the full-screen-windowed mode on L4D, right? But, we thought it wasn't possible in TF2 so we all either went Full Screen, or Windowed with a slightly lower resolution. I chose the latter, and always wished I could be full-screen-windowed.

Well, now you can! Here's how:

  1. Right click on "Team Fortress 2" in your "My Games" list and choose Properties.
  2. Choose "Set Launch Options"
  3. Enter the following without the quotes: "-window -noborder -novid"
  4. Click ok, start up TF2, and set your TF2 window size to whatever your desktop is. In my case, it was 1680x1050
  5. That's it, you're done! Enjoy your full screen windowed TF2 where you can alt tab without lag! Additionally, when alt-tabbing out your start bar shows for ease of use!

For the record,

  • -novid isn't related to this. It removes the intro video, which is useful.
  • -window makes it windowed, and
  • -noborder removes the window border.

Hello World

This is a blog dedicated to my brain

Sometimes it forgets the solutions that I have discovered and they are lost in the universe that is my neurons, sometimes to never be seen again.

Having ADD is fun.