The Easiest Way To See Photoshop Thumbnails In Windows Explorer

July 7, 2011 \ Categories: Tips & Tricks

It seems like every couple of years I’m trying to solve this problem: viewing Photoshop (PSD) files as Thumbnails in Windows Explorer only shows a generic icon and not an actual thumbnail preview like you get with other image file types. I remember finding ways to fix this on Windows XP and Windows Vista, but recently had more trouble fixing it for Windows 7. I researched, downloaded, and installed a few programs that should have worked, but none of them did. I was beginning to think I would have to pay for a program just to see those stupid thumbnails.

Then, buried in some faceless message board, I found a link to Pictus. Pictus is actually an image viewer, useful if you want a fast way to view full size images and scroll through multiple files quickly. But as an added bonus, the program gives Windows Explorer the ability to display PSD files (and other image formats) as thumbnails! It’s fast, free, and better than any other solution out there. What’s especially cool is that if you use Windows 7’s File Preview Pane, PSD files will show full previews there as well! Check it out:

PSD File Thumbnail in Windows Explorer

PSD File Thumbnail in Windows Explorer

I love it when I can find a simple solution that fixes a very specific problem. Thank you internet.

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Automatically Fix Spelling Errors As You Type With AutoHotkey

June 29, 2011 \ Categories: Tips & Tricks

Here’s a quick trick I learned that lets you automatically replace any common spelling mistakes you make while typing on your computer. The magic behind this little trick is AutoHotkey. AutoHotkey is a scripting tool that is seriously powerful, but can easily be used by anyone – not just programmers. AutoHotkey has a good tutorial here, but it basically works like this:

  1. Download AutoHotkey from their website and install it.
  2. Create a file named myscripts.ahk (or name it whatever you want, just make it an ahk file).
  3. Edit the file by right-clicking on it and clicking on Edit Script.
  4. Put your various scripts in the file then save it, close it, and run (double-click) it.
  5. For extra awesomeness, put that file in your computer’s startup folder so it will always be running.

Now the actual script that I use to fix my common spelling mistakes is this:

:*:xom::
SendInput com
return

There are two important parts to that script. First, the “xom” is the spelling mistake I commonly make. Second, the “com” is what I actually meant to type. So you can put those three lines inside your ahk file and fix any of your common spelling mistakes. You can simply copy/paste the code multiple times to add more words that you want to automatically spell check.

When I put these three lines in my myscripts.ahk file, every single time I type “xom” it is replaced with “com“. It doesn’t matter where I’m typing – it can be my browser’s address bar, in an email, IM conversation, or anywhere else. And the replacement happens so fast that I usually don’t even catch it.

Give it a try! If you need any help let me know in the comments. I’m a big believer in AutoHotkey and it’s powers. I’ll add more useful scripts that I have in my ahk file to this blog eventually.

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My New Favorite ToDo App

June 2, 2011 \ Categories: Tips & Tricks

I’m not the most organized person in the world. I also frequently lack motivation to “get things done”. However, I have been looking for a good system to keep todos and notes together. One that is simple and works for me. Turns out, the solution I like the most is a hybrid creation of a web service and self-hosted script that I mashed together.

Last year I finally replaced Notepad (hurray for programs that haven’t changed in over a decade) with Simplenote, an “in-the-cloud” Notepad-like web service. Simplenote works great for quickly creating new notes and keeping a history of previous notes. Plus I can use it on my desktop, laptop, iPad (2!), iPod touch, and anywhere else from a web browser. And I always have the latest version of my notes handy. For a while I was trying to use it as a todo list manager as well (I’m a fan of plain-text, minimal things), but it just didn’t work out very well.

Then I found myTinyTodo, a self-hosted todo list manager. It’s got modern javascript effects that make it feel more like an app and less like a webpage. Task creation is super simple and it’s got just enough features without feeling like managing the list itself will be a lot of work. The best part is that it is self-hosted, meaning I can change the source code if I want to add/change something.

Now we come to my favorite part of this little project – marrying the two apps into a notes/todo manager that works for me. I simply created a webpage that iframes (don’t hate) the Simplenote website and my self-hosted myTinyTodo website into one page. Then I wrote some quick jQuery that creates a tabbed interface so I can switch between notes, todos, and both side-by-side. Check the screenshots below to see how it looks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This setup works great for me, and I plan on cleaning up the code a little bit and putting it in the future “projects” section of this site.

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Job Opening: HTML/CSS Developer in Mesa, AZ

February 16, 2011 \ Categories: Skyhook

I realize I pretty much have 0 readers (Google Analytics told me so) but just in case, please see the job listing from where I work below:

My company is looking for a junior level HTML/CSS developer to join our rock-star web design team. Great pay. Great opportunity. Do you have what it takes? Do you know someone who does? http://bit.ly/gza8eB

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How To Scrobble Songs From Your iPhone or iPod Touch Without the Last.fm App

February 8, 2011 \ Categories: Tips & Tricks \ Tags: ,

I recently decided I wanted to start scrobbling again. I had set up a Last.fm account years ago, but stopped using it (instead I was keeping track of everything I listened to using custom software – I’ll talk more about that some other time). I wanted to scrobble songs that I played on my iPod Touch using the default Music player (not some other app), as well as my desktop media player. My desktop media player of choice (foobar2000) has a scrobbling plugin, so that was easy. But scrobbling from my iPod Touch without a 3rd party app took some more digging.

Last.fm does have an iOS app that features streaming, but that is no longer going to be free. There’s also a software program that lets you scrobble songs played from your iDevice, but not in real-time (scrobbling only happens when you sync with iTunes – which is lame). So here’s what I wanted in my “perfect solution”:

  • Scrobble songs played in real-time using the iDevice’s built-in Music app
  • If the iDevice is not connected to the internet, queue songs and scrobble them the next time you are online
  • Run in the background (just like the default Music app) to allow using other apps while still scrobbling in real-time

Not too much to ask for, considering all the new tools Apple has given developers in recent iOS releases. And the solution I found pretty much does all of those things – but you’ll need a jailbroken iDevice. I love jailbreaking, so that one requirement did not bother me at all. And the solution is a little app called “Scrobbl”. Open up Cydia and search for “Scrobbl”. Note that there is “Scrobbl” and “Scrobble”. As far as I can tell, one is supposed to work for newer iOS versions, although it wasn’t clear to me which one. However, I tried both on my iPod Touch 4th generation with iOS 4.2.1 and “Scrobbl” is the one that works for me. It is a free app from Cydia, and once you install it you just need to run it and enter your Last.fm username and password. So far it has worked perfectly for me!

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Today I Published My First WordPress Plugin!

February 3, 2011 \ Categories: Wordpress \ Tags: ,

That’s right, a little plugin I wrote called the “Test Data Creator” has been added to the WordPress Plugin Directory. This plugin lets you quickly add a bunch of test posts and categories to WordPress. The idea is that developers and theme designers can use this plugin to fill out a fresh install of WordPress with a bunch of content for them to test with. I plan on adding more to the plugin, including pages, comments, authors, and html elements within posts and pages. Eventually I’ll have a “projects” section on this website that will have more info about the plugins I write as well.

This might not be that exciting to most people, especially considering there are almost 13,000 plugins in the WordPress directory. But I’m still excited. It was fun to learn the process, and I’ve had the plugin kicking around for almost a year now. I look forward to getting more plugins out there, including the Worpress/Twilio Call Tracking plugin I helped create with Skyhook!

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