Archive for the ‘Programming’ Category

h1

Top FlagIT Posts of 2009

01/01/2010

It’s been about a year since I started blogging here and whilst it was primarily supposed to be a site for quick useful tech-related posts several have grown into far larger posts.  Whilst some posts have remained somewhat quiet on the number of reads others have generated far more interest than I could have expected.

It’s actually five more days until this blog is a year old, but I thought that new year’s day might be as good an opportunity to review what the top ten posts were.  This has been based on the number of visits from more than six and a quarter thousand since the blog was created.

10. Reclaim more Memory on a Windows Mobile Device

Posted: 04/04/2009

Reads: 95 (Daily Average 0.35)

Windows mobile phones have a finite amount of memory and like any operating system (particularly M$ ones?) memory leaks can stop memory being released.  This post highlights how to resolve some storage issues with the Mobile Opera browser and a useful tool for reclaiming that memory lost to leakage.

9. Simple Template Workaround for Evernote

Posted: 21/11/2009

Reads: 95 (Daily Average 2.32)

A relatively recent post about one of my favourite pieces of software (Evernote) and how to use a simple bit of scripting to create templates in Evernote.

8. A Ceiling Function for VBScript

Posted: 31/07/2009

Reads: 133 (Daily Average 0.86)

This post includes some VBS code to round a number off to the greatest integer.

7. Developer Tabs and Drop Down Lists in Word 2007

Posted: 17/03/2009

Reads: 135 (Daily Average 0.47)

This post explains how to access the developer tab in Microsoft Word 2007 and briefly discusses some of the shortcomings of the drop down lists it offers.

6. VBScript – Count Occurrences in a Text String

Posted: 30/07/2009

Reads: 148 (Daily Average 0.95)

Another simple bit of VBS code that counts the number of instances of a string of text within another string of text.

5. Omnia to Oblivia (and back)

Posted: 05/04/2009

Reads: 151 (Daily Average 0.56)

I have a Samsung Omnia mobile phone and have had a number of issues with it.  This describes how I resolved one of the most difficult issues with the file system constantly mounting and dismounting a storage device.

4. A Flexible Progress Window in VBScript

Posted: 19/07/2009

Reads: 169 (Daily Average 1.02)

Another popular bit of VBS code is some that builds a customisable progress window based around dynamically updating a web page that is automatically loaded into a browser.  The progress window allows the user to display messages and progress bars.

3. VBScript – Select a Folder

Posted: 28/03/2009

Reads: 278 (Daily Average 1.00)

The most popular VBS code post on the blog in the past year this one shows how to access a common dialog to select a folder and pass this back to the main code.

2. Controlling Spotify

Posted: 29/07/2009

Reads: 1172 (Daily Average 7.51)

At this point we see a big change in the number of reads of the posts.  This particular post’s popularity is most likely related to the popularity of Spotify.  The post describes a way in which an iPhone emulator can be used on a PC running Microsofrt Windows PC to control Spotify installed on an Apple Mac.

1. Excel – Dynamic Drop Down Lists with Full Validation

Posted: 15/03/2009

Reads: 1272 (Daily Average 4.36)

At the top spot is a post relating to Microsoft Excel.  It looks at how to overcome some of the limitations on dynamically populated drop down lists.  There are a number of other Excel related posts on the blog that people may find useful in combination with this and it has certainly made quite an impact with some of the spreadsheets I’ve developed for colleagues at work.  It seems as though that popularity is spreading to hundreds of others across the Internet.

So please have a look through these top ten (and others if you like) and I’d encourage you to leave a comment or rate the post.  If you like the content why not subscribe to one of the RSS feeds?

Advertisements
h1

VB.Net – Hide Form at Startup

28/08/2009

I’ve been using Microsoft Visual Basic 2008 (Express Edition) recently to create some utilities.  As part of this I needed to have an application start-up but only display as an icon in the system tray.  After attaching a notify icon control to my main form I set the form’s load method to set the display in task bar and visible properties of the form to be false.

Private Sub frmMain_Load(ByVal sender As System.Object, ByVal e As System.EventArgs) Handles MyBase.Load
notifyiconMain.Visible = True
Me.WindowState = FormWindowState.Minimized
Me.Visible = False
End Sub

However this code doesn’t have quite the effect you think it should – i.e. hiding the form and displaying the icon in the system tray.  What in fact happens (at least on Windows XP) is the window is squished up next to the start menu (the icon in the system tray is also there – as we would want).

That window shouldn't be visible

That window shouldn't be visible

These few lines of code work fine once the form is created and displayed, so the issue is definitely linked to the initial creation of the form.

After trying several options (such as minimise, restore, minimise) I succumbed to Googling for an answer and whilst I found lots of answers they were all complicated, a little laborious or just bad coding practice.  However I did find a different and surprisingly simple solution.

Rather than setting the window as minimised in the load method just set the WindowState property of the form to “Minimized“.  The load method then simply becomes…

Private Sub frmMain_Load(ByVal sender As System.Object, ByVal e As System.EventArgs) Handles MyBase.Load
notifyiconMain.Visible = True
Me.Visible = False
End Sub
h1

Send Web Cam Pictures to EverNote with SnapIT

23/08/2009

Since Google Notebook went out of development earlier this year I’ve made the migration over to EverNote. It has many cool features one of the coolest being the ability to upload images and have EverNote run OCR to index the content of the image.  The mobile phone EverNote applications allow a phone’s camera to be used to take a snapshot image and to upload it to EverNote over a 3G connection.  Unfortunately the Windows desktop application has no functionality for capturing images in the same way through a web camera and with the proliferation of netbooks I feel that this is a feature that is sadly missing – well for me anyway.   So after a bit of research I embarked on a quick weekend VB.Net project to put together a little application that could do this – and so I created SnapIT.

SnapIT Main Screen

SnapIT Main Screen

SnapIT allows you to take a photo with an attached or built in camera (by pressing the “Capture Image” button) and save it (by pressing the “Store Image” button) to a specified folder as a JPEG with a file name based on the time at which it was taken.  It also allows you to send the image off to an EverNote database with options to specify which notebook it gets sent to (it will of course default to the default notebook), a title and tags (separated by commas).  Where the image ends up is determined by the checkbox options that have been selected (next to the “Store Image” button).

Settings window

Settings window

It’s a standalone executable and stores a few settings in an INI file it creates in the same folder.  When you first use it (assuming you want to save images or send them to EverNote) you will need to set a few file/folder paths.  This can be done from File > Settings.  You need to set a folder to store images in, the location of ENScript.exe (used to send the image to the database) and the location of the EverNote database file to which images should be sent.

This is just something I threw together for my own use and given that I wrote it in just a day or so it really hasn’t gone through much testing, so please keep that in mind when using it.  That being said if you find a bug then add a comment to this blog post and if I can reproduce it I may just find the time to fix it and post a new version.

h1

Command Line Utility to Create Test Files

31/07/2009
Using the utility on the command line

Using the utility on the command line

In the past I’ve used FSUTIL to create large test files of data to process.  Unfortunately you need administrator permissions to use this utility.  I decided to write a command line utility (called “Make Test File” but abbreviated to MTF.EXE) to allow non-administrators to do the same.  It’s written in VB.NET so it isn’t as quick as FSUTIL, but as they say “it does the job”, and it fulfilled my immediate needs.

It takes two parameters – the size of the file (in bytes) and the file path to write the file to.  To see an example of how to use it and the output click on the thumbnail image on the right.  The resulting file just contains zeros.

If there’s any demand I may look into additional features such as being able to specify what the file is filled with or creation of multiple files using some sort of incremental naming convention.