Testing Windows Live Writer with WordPress

I buckled down and installed Windows Live Writer today. Sure, I’m happy enough with the default WordPress post editors (I like simple editors that don’t do too much and give me total HTML control), but decided it was time to try it out, since others seem to be using it successfully.

So, here it goes — a quick test of inserting a picture with a drop-shadow:

windows-live-writer-test-pic

(Saving draft to blog, be right back…)

I’m actually impressed! It worked rather well. The fact that Live Writer uses my stylesheets in the post editor is quite nice. Two little quirks:

  • The image successfully uploaded (to wp-content/uploads), which is very nice. I would prefer if it uploaded to a subdirectory (wp-content/uploads/images), but that can be configured by customizing the FTP configuration. Still, an option to upload images to a custom subdirectory would be nice.
  • Though I saved this post as a draft, it is being seen as a post, and my drafts are empty. Another minor detail.

One thing that’s important to me is source formatting using SyntaxHighlighter from dreamprojections. Here’s a test of that…

public static void Main()
{
// just a test
}

Well, the initial try didn’t work, thanks to HTML tags being inserted into the code. Can’t blame WLW for that. I could just edit the code in HTML view, which is fine for now. I may try a WLW plug-in for source editing, or maybe roll my own.

In the end, after a quick test, I have to say that I would use Windows Live Writer again. Hats off to Microsoft for coming up with this useful tool.

Google Reader offline with Google Gears

I noticed a new item in the top right of my Google Reader window today:

Google Reader Offline (new!)

Interesting! I clicked the Offline link and was introduced to Google Gears (beta).

Google Reader Offline with Google Gears

After a short installation and a restart of Firefox, I was greeted with a little green arrow in Google Reader. Clicking on it started a background download of 2,000 recent RSS feed items, which became available to me even when I wasn’t “on the wire”.
Once again, Google shows the rest of the world how powerful tools can be made simple. Will GMail Offline be far behind?

Excel 2007’s unresponsive autorecovery feature

For the past 15 minutes, the newly-installed Excel 2007 has been unresponsive. Well, not totally unresponsive. It is doing something in the background: saving autorecover information. I know this because, every so often, I can get Excel to show me a little something like the following:

Excel autorecover... still waiting...

Task Manager periodically says Excel is “not responding” and other times says it is “running” (maybe so, but it’s still not responding to me).

In defense of Excel, this was a rather large document: over 15,000 rows and 26 columns — 12.9MB on disk. However, there’s no reason for any background process to make an application unresponsive — especially when the background process in question is something that supposed to protect you from the application becoming unresponsive.

I also can’t figure out why saving an autorecovery file takes about 20 minutes, when saving a new copy of the same file takes about five seconds.

Disclaimer: I happily use OpenOffice for personal use and Google Spreadsheets for shared documents. Office 2007 was installed on my work desktop so I can evaluate it. Let’s say the evaluation isn’t going so well right now.

Viewing only important emails with GMail

About a year ago, I started transitioning all my mail to Google GMail, an excellent email solution (and certainly better than Outlook). When using GMail, I like to filter the inbox so I only see my most important emails — that is, those emails which are unread or starred. The simple way to do this is to enter the following as search terms:

is:starred || is:unread

The search results will show all messages which are starred OR unread. Perfect for looking at only those items in your inbox which need your attention.

SalesLogix command line switches not working?

For the better part of the past 12 months, I’ve been handling the implementation of SalesLogix, a customer relationship management (CRM) product by Sage Software (formerly Best Software), for one of my clients. In my travels, I’ve found that command line switches for the various SalesLogix applications (such as the Sales Client or Administrator) don’t always work. After some noodling yesterday, I found out why.

First, a little background. Below is excerpts from a knowledge base article outlining how to use the SalesLogix command line switches.

The Sales Client has a series of command line switches which can be used to log on to the Sales Client. For example, a desktop shortcut can be created containing parameters to log on to a specified database. The switches are as follows:
/n is the username
/p is the user password
/b is the “log on to” database alias

Examples:
To point to the database “SLX”, and log on as user “jdoe” with password “mypwd”, the value of Target would be “C:|Program Files\SalesLogix\SalesLogix.exe” /b SLX /n jdoe /p mypwd“…

Easy enough. However, it doesn’t work if current user logged in to Windows has a SalesLogix account set up to use Windows authentication. SalesLogix has a feature where “users are automatically logged on without entering their SalesLogix user names or passwords. Users’ Windows IDs are stored in the SalesLogix database paired with their SalesLogix user names and passwords” (from SalesLogix Administrator Help). Unfortunately, if you have this set for a user, that user will not be able to use command line switches for the SalesLogix Client. (The Administrator or Architect, which do not allow any kind of passthrough authentication, don’t experience this problem.)

To fix the problem, remove the user’s Windows passthrough authentication. Hopefully this little tidbit helps those out there who’ve been scratching their heads over this (like I was).