Free cloud back-up of your photos

If you care about your holiday pictures and other nice memories, you need to backup them for in case your harddisk fails on you. Some people use DVDs, NAS or other devices, but the cloud is becoming a more and more popular solution. A few weeks ago Google announced the new plans around Google Photos. Google Photo gives you unlimited storage space if you are willing to limit photo resolution to 16 megapixels and video resolution to 1080p. You do have the option to store at higher resolutions, but the storage counts against your Google Drive quota. For a more in depth-review, see this excellent post of ExtremeTech.

The nicest thing is that Google has developed a system tray application for Windows to auto-synch certain local folders.

How to setup auto back-up to Google Photos

  1. Login at https://photos.google.com/ with your Google account.
  2. Go to the settings area via the left nav pane and select ‘High quality (free unlimited storage)’. (and check other settings if you want)
  3. Go to the apps area and download the Desktop Uploader.
  4. Run the installer and configure which folders you would like to auto-synch:

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BTW 1: If you already have Google Picasa you can upload albums also from there.

BTW 2: In the apps area you saw that there are also Android and iOS apps available for mobile devices.

Tip of today: enable source map scrollbar in Visual Studio

Last week I was at the Microsoft Tech Days 2015 in The Hague. One of the sessions was about Visual Studio Productivity. The presenter showed us a ancient feature that is already available since the early: convert your VS scrollbar into a sourcemap-scrollbar. This helps you navigating a long source files, since we humans are picture oriented:

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You can enable this by right-clicking the scrollbar itself and choose Scroll Bar Options from the menu. In the dialog check the ‘Use map mode for virtual scrollbar’-setting. Et voila!

Photo 2 Folders

Sometimes you’re just happy with some small piece of software that saves you a lot of time. At this rainy sunday afternoon I wanted to sort out my digital photo collection, including my mobile pictures. Where to start with 300+ pictures in one folder? Luckily photos have metadata in them with date, time and sometimes even GPS locations. The utility Photo2Folders utilizes this information to automatically sort those photos and move them to a nested folder structure.

Screenshot:

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The event name is not in the metadata, so these have to be specified during the sorting process.

Windows 8 cleanup tips

Most of my friends have a single SSD in their computer as the primary boot disk. SDD is still a bit expensive, so probably the size is often limited (128gb). Since Windows is installed on the SSD to utilize the amazing speed for booting and working, it can take more space again and again. And oops, almost no space left on C!

Some general guidelines to prevent this situation:

1. Only store important system data on the SSD (your mp3 can best be stored on other available drives)

2. Install applications that don’t the extra speed on your old magnetic drive. Programs stored their run a bit slower, so only use it for less frequently used apps.

3. Store cloud service software on a different drive.

4. Uninstall unused programs and features.

5. Change the default download location of your browser to a non-system drive (d:\downloads\). In Google Chrome you can find this under Settings –> Advanced Settings

These guidelines are for experienced users ‘common sense’. I have also some tricks that be be used to save space and keep my SSD drive clean. Most tips require command-line actions. So, here it goes:

Clean you drive with the built-in Clean Manager. I created a small batch file (shutdown_and_clean.bat) to clean before shutting the PC. Just open notepad and type the following:

@echo off
start /wait c:\windows\system32\cleanmgr /sagerun:1
shutdown -s

Recommendation: place a shortcut to this script on the desktop to quickly shutdown the PC. Special options: ‘Run as Administrator’ + ‘Run minimized’

Remove temporary files from the DVD-burn directory (not part of clean manager). Location is C:\users\<accountname>\appdata\local\microsoft\windows\burn

Search for big files with windows search. Open Windows Explorer (WinKey+E) and type in the search filter (right upper corner) for big ones: size:

Use Windirstat the search for big files that be easily removed.

Use compression for system backup folders (right click on folder, properties, advanced settings and check the compress checkbox) for the following directories:

  • c:\windows\installer
  • c:\windows\logs\ (if available)
  • c:\windows\system32\DriverStore\(if available)
  • c:\windows\system32\logfiles\ (if available)
  • c:\windows\system32\winevt\logs\ (if available)
  • c:\program files(x86)\common files\windowslive\.cache\ (if available)

 

Cleanup the Windows/sxs directory. Windows stores here all downloaded and installed updates. It’s only used for enabling unstall for Windows updates. Most of the time, this is not necessary. Handle with care, without guarantees: you can remove older files from this directory with the command line, by entering: dism /online /cleanup-image /startcomponentcleanup /resetbase

Disable the Windows hibernate function (losing the c:\hiberfil.sys file). Disable via the command prompt: powercfg /h off. If you like, you can also to keep hibernate enabled, but decreasing the required space. For 50% usage: powercfg /h –size 50

Tridion Developer Summit 2014 – part 2

In this follow up post I mention 3 other sessions of the afternoon of the TDS.

Lightning Talk Sessions - Ingmar Umans - Stop!

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This lightning session from HintTech colleague Ingmar was about better interpretation of the customer needs: ‘STOP building what the customer asks’. We as developers tend to start running in solution mode when a customer is asking you to solve a problem. Ingmar had several good examples in which this could be the wrong solution for the wrong problem. You could better ask the customer ‘Why?, why?, why?’ several times to get to the bottom of the customer business purpose and the real customer needs.

So spending more time in analysis of the customers business / budget / politics / mindset or habits will result in a better project delivery in the end.

 

There were some other sessions which are also great, but I didn’t take notes of those...

Media Manager Templating: Tips, Tricks and Tools for using Tridion to show Media Manager videos (Frank Taylor)

image Fun presentation about SDL Media Manager. Frank showed us his personal (front-end) experiences with MM and the quirks he encountered. He started with explaining the basic components of Media Manager. In short:

  • Assets: the raw media file (image, video, audio or a generic file)
  • Programs: a collection of one or more Assets.
  • Outlets: the presentation of the Program. This is something like a Tridion component template
  • Distributions: the combination of a Program and a Outlet. This is published and used by the end user.

 

After showing the various options that MM have for each components, Frank showed us multiple ways of putting videos on a page. Some links:

Frank has shared his html-based presentation on his site: http://presentations.frankmtaylor.com/sdl-media-manager/

Automated unit testing of assembly template building blocks (Bjørn Van Dommelen)

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This session from HintTech colleague Bjorn was the last of the day, but very interesting! Bjorn showed us another way (than Dominic) for unit testing the Tridion Building Blocks by faking Tridion using a Custom Rendering Engine. This enables us to do unit testing without having a full SDL Tridion installation on a developers machine. The (test) data still comes from an external Tridion database.

The presentation showed us the requirements and installation steps for enabling such a setup:

  • setting up app.config with a valid Tridion config
  • copying of required .xsd schemas from Tridion installation
  • copying of required assemblies from the Tridion GAC
  • don’t forget setting up TRIDION_CM_HOME environment

After explaining all the details of his endeavors, he should us that it works like charm. Important to note: Since it’s not supported by SDL, it could be that every Tridion version 2009, 2011, 2011SP1 can have different obstacles to overcome.

The presentation and code used during the demo is available on Github.