Category: Computers


I am having my first go at getting my son’s iPad setup with LAMP Words For Life  (LWFL) setup. It’s exciting thinking about how this may open up better communication between all of us. I will be posting little bits of info as I come across them and hopefully it will help others who may be digging for the same info I am. I will be updating each post topic as I work thru things.

iPad Icon Size

One of the key factors I was concerned about before getting started was that I knew that this app was displaying a lot of images and that the images that came as part of the default vocabulary files are from an era where HD displays were not even dreamt of yet. The icons are low res, pixelated and often don’t look much like their real world counterparts. I knew I needed to make things as familiar as possible for my son as he is very much a creature of habit and accepts things that are familiar much easier than something he may have not had contact with yet. When picking out our device I knew that loading up detailed images of real world objects might be a issue, not so much because of hardware limitations since I figured the iPad could pump out the horsepower needed, but maybe the software might have some bottlenecks either for being fairly new or bringing legacy issues forward. We picked the iPad Air since it was the fastest unit at the time hoping it’s faster processor would help keep things snappy when switching between pages. LWFL imports images from the iPad’s camera roll. during the import process, it presents your with a crop tool but I didn’t know if the software was simply cropping the image on the fly, or was it actually creating a nice small icon adjusting the resolution and dimensions or what. I started a test vocabulary file to play with, and began replacing images. I used large +900px images and things seems to be running pretty good. I then removed some of the images from the Camera Roll, and the images stayed in the software so I knew it was at least storing the images within the program, which was good so didn’t have to worry about my son deleting images and breaking things. But I had only replace a few test images. Would the speed keep up as I loaded more and more images? I didn’t want to get weeks into setting up Daniel’s core custom vocabulary file only to be hit with a performance issue and have to start all over.  I posted a question over on PRC’s Facebook page [because any company worth it’s salt will respond to someone questioning the quality of their product in an open forum in front of millions of potential customers to keep up their company’s image up 😉 ] and with  PRC’s speedy response, I found out that the internal icon size is 5/8″ x 3/4″ (0.625″ x 0.75″) or a  1:1.2 ratio. “Cool!” I thought, “They are creating their own images and resizing them down so I should be good to go.” So I started to create my son’s custom vocab file. I edited my images on my PC & upload them to my website. Then on the iPad I would refresh the page in Safari, save the image to the Camera Roll and then import the image in LWFL. Using the 1:1.2 ratio though I was getting outlines showing up on the edges of the image. It seems a square image usually works better. I got about 50 images in when things . . started . . . to . . . . slow . . . . . . .down. I though “Ahhh crapo. They are cropping, but not resizing.” I exported a standard 84 full vocab file and my custom vocab file to iTunes and compared their sizes. About 20 MB’s difference. All of my custom jpeg images only added up to about 4MB total. So I am left to deduce that either the image processing on the iPad is creating some larger files or there is some sort of overhead or meta data going on inside.

(I have posted a question on Facebook about this and will update this when I have a answer.)

So after hitting this snag, I have gone thru and tested multiple formats, sizes and resolutions.  I am getting best results using 450X450 px and 600 PPI which results in an image about 30-40kb per image. I am going to go forward now using these sizes, adjust my existing images and go on from here. I know the iPad Air has a screen resolution of 264 PPI, but I compared 264, 528 and 600 (600 just to try a nice round number) and the 600 looked the sharpest. I tried 792 & 800 but didn’t any difference in clarity, so I stuck with 600 PPI.

LAMP Words For Life Key Colors

Color Chart

 

 

 

 

 

Getting transparent icons into the iPad app seems like it is going to require building the vocab file/icons using the PASS software and purchasing a license to the iShare account service to sync with. The PASS software is pretty rough (old & clunky like the Vantage Lite units), I am not quite ready to setup a iShare account. Will probably end up needing to sync my son’s personal and school device up using iShare with the teachers, but not ready to do that just yet. These colors match the standard app colors but unfortunately it seems the colors used when editing icons within the app have a gradient so they don’t quite blend in naturally, but these colors will get you pretty darn close. I am going to just color my standard icons and forget about trying to do transparency as I can probably get these color added as fast as trying to convert the vocab PVF files in and out of the PASS software.

Hex Color – Color Name or Color Description
█ FFFFFF – White
█ FFBB92 – Very Light Orange
█ FF9966  –  Atomic Tangerine
█ CC5F00 – Strong Orange
█ FFDCB8 – Pale Orange
CF9F69 – Slightly Desaturated Orange
█ 9D7033 – Dark Moderate Orange
█ 6F4924 – Very Dark Orange
█ FFFFCC – Very Pale Yellow
█ FFFF98 – Very Light Yellow
█ FFFF66 – Unmellow Yellow
█ FFFF00 – Yellow, Electric yellow
█ CCFF99 – Very Light Green
█ 00FF66 – Pure Cyan – Lime Green
█ 009C00 – Dark Lime Green
█ 006600 –  Pakistan Green
█ CCFFFF – Very Pale Cyan
█ 8CFFFF – Very Light Cyan
█ 0CC0C0 – Strong Cyan
█ 088080 – Dark Cyan
█ CCE0FF – Very Pale Blue
█ 99CCFF – Very Light Blue
█ 5588FF – Light Blue
█ 0000FF – Blue
█ E0CCFF – Very Pale Violet
█ CC99FF – Very Light Violet
█ A767FF – Very Light Violet
█ 7F00FF – Pure Violet
█ FFC5EA – Very Pale Pink
█ FF8AD7 – Very Light Pink
█ FF0099 – Pure Pink
█ B00072 – Dark Pink
█ FFCCCC – Very Pale Red
█ FF7777 – Very Light Red
█ EE0000 – Pure Red
█ 993333 – Dark Moderate Red

 

Color Information Provided by ColorHexa

Here is my collection of fonts from around the net.

Download Fonts.zip

Just stumbled with my fat fingers and found that the Windows Key + a number key (1,2,3 etc.) will switch you to the corresponding window in the taskbar. So if the first window shown in your taskbar is Datacad (yea Datacad!) then you can hit Win+1 to switch to that window. If that window is already your active window, then it will minimize that window. This works in Windows 7 – Win XP or 8, who knows? The Shadow Knows!

taskbar

Go from IDE mode to AHCI mode for your SATA devices by running the Microsoft Fix It tool to enable AHCI driver support. Worked Flawlessly on Windows 7 SP1. After running the MS Fit It Tool, reboot, enter the BIOS, change your controller mode to AHCI, save the BIOS settings and reboot back into Windows. With any luck you should not see the BSOD :p

Microsoft Fit It Tool – Enable Sata AHCI mode

Ever been crusing around on your LAN and try to delete a folder and get this message:

fileinuse

Windows 7 (and Vista SP1) creates a temporary cache in the networked location for quicker displaying of thumbnails from networked locations. The bad thing is the OS keeps the thumb.db file in use for a short time after you leave the folder so in the chance you may browse back to it shortly it can quickly recall the cache file rather than read all the files and rebuild the icons. The bad thing is when the thumbs.db file is still in lock down mode, you can’t delete or rename folders.

So if your network is fast enough (which most should be for most folder contents) you can disable the network location thumbnail caching by editing the following Group Policy:
– Start, type ‘gpedit.msc’ and hit ENTER.
– Drill down into User Config, Admin Templates, Windows Components, Windows Explorer
– Locate ‘Turn off the caching of thumbnails in hidden thumbs.db files’ and double click on it to edit the policy
– Set the Policy to ‘Enabled’ and click Apply, OK.

That should be it. Now go delete a bunch of stuff.

Open an admin level command prompt and type
“powercfg –h off”
and hit enter. That’s it. This will disable hibernation and automaticly remove the hiberfil.sys file.

Newegg.com – My favorite online retailer for Computer  Hardware. When my local shop can’t get it they are who I go to. Fast and great  prices. Great customer service.

Tweakguides.com – A collection of system & application tweaking guides. Lots of good stuff here.

Tech ARP  (Formally Adrian’s Rojak Pot) – Great comp. tech site. Have to check out their CPU, Video Card & other comparison charts.

Free BIOS Optimization Guide – Brought to you by TechARP a great guide covering almost every BIOS setting I’ve seen around with good descriptions and dismisses some of the myths and legends with facts.

Paul Thurrott’s SuperSite for Windows – Probably the best overall Windows site out there.

Old Version –  Find old versions of your favorite shareware. Because newer is not always  better.

Silent PC Review – Learn how to make your PC or HTPC as quite as possible. Remember no CAPS (shouting) allowed.

Startech – Startech has hard to find custom tech tools and equipment. From cables, switches & adaptors to testing and creation tools.

TinyUrl – Make super long url’s into small simple urls.

Jinx – Clothing for gamers & geeks.

Think Geek – Stuff for gamers & geeks.

Windows Sysinternal – Great system apps created by Mark Russinovich and Bryce Cogswell recently bought by Microsoft

Twit Netcast Network – Great group of tech netcast staring Leo Laporte, Patrick Norton, Kevin Rose, John C. Dvorak and other tech bigleaguers.

MonoPrice.com – Cheap, High Quality Audio, Video, Tech cables & converters, and many hard to find specialty items.

Interfacelift – Fantastic desktop wallpapers.

http://www.videohelp.com – All around computer audio / video guides, apps and methods.

http://www.doom9.net – DVD backups & other encoding

If you’re sick of a single Windows Explorer windows crashing and then bringing down the rest of your OS with it, follow this tip: Open My Computer, Click Organize, Folder & Search Options, View tab, then scroll down to ‘Launch folder windows in a separate process” and enable this option. Just be aware that you’ll have to reboot your machine for this tip to take effect.

If you are on a domain that has your Documents folder being re-directed to the server, you can do the following to disable the documents folder redirection so you can path it to where you like, like on a local secondary hard drive or to another network location. Warning! The following will permanently disable your systems ability to auto redirect your documents folder using the servers profile settings. You will have to manually change the documents path if you want your documents folder to be re-directed back to the server. This may also be against your networks policies & it involves registry editing so continue at your own risk!

1. O.k., First off login to your domain account. Next, locate C:\Windows\System32\fde.dll and C:\Windows\System32\fdeploy.dll. Open each file in a simple text editor like notepad and erase the contents of the files and save them as empty files.

2. Start Regedit & do a search for fde.dll & fdeploy.dll and delete the keys (folders on the left side of the Registry window). There should be about 3-5 for each one depending on your systems setup.

3. Next locate HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer\ and delete the string DisblePersonalDirChange.

4. Close Regedit, open the Task Manager, and end task on each explorer.exe process, until the start bar disappears(shell). Now in the Task Manager, choose File, New Task (Run…) and in the dialog box the opens type explorer and click O.K.

5. Now right click on your My Documents folder, properties, and write down the current target path. You will need this to redirect your documents back to the server later if you choose. You can now click Move and select a location on your system for your documents folder. The default windows setting usually will be something like C:\Documents and Settings\Username\My Documents for Windows XP or C:\Users\Username on Windows Vista/7. You will be prompted to move your documents to the new location. I usually say no, do step 6, make sure everything is working good and then manually move my files.

6. Reboot your system and check to see make sure your documents folder still points to your selected path and has not been reset by the server. If everything looks good you can move your files to their new home from the the old location on the server to their new home in your selected path.

Windows 7 is a great operating system so far, and it’s new User Folders have some nice features to help you organize your data. But one little problem I’ve had is that it has hard locked the user folder (previously known as Documents & Settings) location to the system drive, which if your like me you like to keep your data off the system drive so you can quickly reload your OS whenever you want and not worry about loosing your data. Microsoft officially allows you to specify the path using a big mess of tools to create installation images, but it’s more trouble than it’s worth. Below is what I did to change the location of the User folder and all of it’s contents. It has a few side effects.

1. You may not be able to upgrade to another version of Windows. Which if your like me you always want to do a fresh install anyway.
2. Microsoft does not support moved system folders (even using the above mentioned method using their own tools), so don’t call them with related issues. It’s seems to be working great here though. This is recommended to be done right after a fresh installation. As you will have to delete your first administrator account (install account). Proceed at your own risk.

1. Install Windows as normal.
2. Once windows is installed, locate the registry key

Code:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList

3. Revise the ProfilesDirectory value to the path you desire. I have chosen D:\Users.
4. Now all NEW user accounts will be created at this location.
5. Reboot your system for the changes to take effect. DO NOT try to just end task on Explorer and start a new shell in any of these reboots.
6. Once rebooted, create a new Administrator account, I’ll call mine CptKemo. This will be a temporary account so you can call it what ever.
7. Log Off and log into your temporary account (CptKemo). Delete your original administrator account created from the install (Mine was called Josh)and reboot.
8. Log back into your temporary account (CptKemo), and create a new Final, administrator account, I’ll call this one Josh once again. Log off and log into your new account (Josh). Delete your temporary account (CptKemo).
9. You should now see your account folder at your specified location ready to transfer all your files to. Make a image of your harddrive once you have your apps installed and you will be all set for quick OS reloads.


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