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If your Windows 10 upgrade has not started yet or you want to install from different media so you don’t have to wait for the download on each system you are upgrading, you can use the Windows Media Creation Tool to either manually start the upgrade, or download the installer to a USB drive or ISO file. To get the free upgrade, you will need to preform the upgrade via the media creation tool directly or run the install media from an existing Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 install (vs. doing a boot clean install from the ISO or USB drive) so the installer can use your existing Windows 7, 8, 8.1 product key to grant the free upgrade.

Get the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool

Just a little list I am putting together of tweaks that go beyond the normal for Windows 10 that I have decided to use. These will all be filed under the ‘Windows’ tag, so you can click the tag below to get to them all as I add more. Hope they help others out.

First set of tips will be for cleaning up Explorer. All I want is my drives nice and neat, is that too much to ask for?

Clean Explorer

 

OldFolders

Image Source: howtogeek.com

Folder Groups: ‘Like gag me with a spoon dude!’ First eye sore on my list is the Folders group that is seemingly just tossed into the mix. We can use Quick Access to add custom jump points to things we want, no reason to have things listed twice at the root of the computer.

I found this tip floating around a few sites, but over at HowToGeek.com they have a nice set of registry files to help get things done fast.
Blog Post: http://tinyurl.com/p6yyk2a
Folder Group Registry Files: http://tinyurl.com/q3jxnus

Using their registry files you can easily remove all of the entries from Explorer. You will need to reboot after running the registry edits or end all instances of Explorer.exe via the Task Manager for things to work. One other thing to note. For some reason if you enable hidden files, sometimes the Desktop Folder will reappear. Usually disabling Hidden Files and closing Explorer will re-hide everything. I would guess that there is one more registry value floating around for that, but for now I don’t have hidden files turned on by default so I can live with it.

HomegroupHomeGroup: HomeGroup is a nice feature and most home networks would probably benefit from understanding how it works and using it. It’s like network sharing for dummies. I use normal Workgroup sharing with normal user account credentials on my home network because I have some special share requirements with how I communicate with work so using HomeGroup doesn’t work out for me and is just taking up space. If you don’t use/need HomeGroup either, you can ditch it too. This tip will work for Windows 7, 8, 8.1 & 10. To disable HomeGroup completely so it’s removed from the Explorer list you need to disable the services that run it. hit you Windows key and type in Services.msc and hit ENTER. Locate the Two entries for HomeGroup, right click on them and STOP them. Then Right click on each one again and click Properties. Set The Startup type for each service to Disabled, and click OK. Reboot or end the Explorer tasks and your all set! If you need to re-enable HomeGroup at anytime reset the both HomeGroup Services’ Startup Type to Automatic and reboot.

 

Folder OptionsFolder Options: There are a few new options added to the Windows 10 Folder Options dialog, and most of them I want turned off :p Since I only want Quick Access to show links to folders I pick specifically vs. it guessing what I want based on my recent usage, I uncheck both Show Recently used files/folders in Quick Access. With both of these set, if I were to select the Quick Access at the top of the list, it would now only show me the links I setup on the main explorer window instead of a list of recent folders and files which is useless. By Default Windows 10 opens Explorer to this Quick Access location which doesn’t make sense to do anymore since I disabled it’s core functions. So to make sure it opens up to a more useful location, I set Open File Explorer to: This PC. This is where I personally want it to open up but maybe you would like it to open up somewhere else by default? Unfortunately there is not an option to change the default option to a custom path at this time. There were some work arounds for Windows 8 but they don’t seem to work at this point. For now if you want Explorer to open to a location other than This PC or the Quick Access location, you will have to use a custom shortcut that points to the location.

 

 

 

 

 

Color Title Bars: Thank the maker for this little gem. Tired already of staring at the stark, eye blinding white title bars? Add a little color by installing a theme that supports colors. Download these Color Theme files and copy them to C:\Windows\Resources\Themes. Once the files are copied to the folder, double click on the color.theme file to launch it. Once the theme launches you can use the new Desktop, Personalize, Colors picker to set a custom color for your Title Bars.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you want a more custom RGB color selector to set any color you want for the Title bars, you can create a shortcut to the old color picker:

rundll32.exe shell32.dll,Control_RunDLL desk.cpl,Advanced,@Advanced

RGBColors

 

Shared from Keegan’s Blog

OK so here’s how to disable Office from opening read-only documents in Reading View:

1) Open Word. Then open a new document.

2) Click File – Options

3) Under the General tab, there will be an option that says “Open e-mail attachments and other uneditable files in reading view”. Simply uncheck this, and its disabled!

Common Core

subtractionSo here is a common core math sheet from back when Brandon was just learning to subtract 2 digit numbers. The instructions:

“Use the numbers in each jellyfish to  make a subtraction problem.  Check by adding.”

It expected him to work out the logic of knowing that they first needed to start with the largest number at the top, then make sure they subtracted the next largest number in order to make the problem work to get the smallest number last. No instructions on the sheet about even trying to explain the logic. I asked Brandon if they had been doing this type of work in class filling out the boxes or dealing with why the larger numbers would go on top etc. and he said no. Knowing what level of math problems we had been doing at home, it was clear they had pretty much just learned about borrowing for simple double digit subtraction.

Next in the first example they needed to take the last number (presuming they correctly filled in the first three boxes), move it up to the top box of the addition problem and then leave them to try to figure out which number would go into the second box that would equal the last box. Obviously this could be done by trial and error and explained with some help by a parent, but it doesn’t teach them the “why” or reinforce something they have been learning at school. How many kids across this country don’t have a parent who is helping along side nightly at home to help explain this logic? That should be a big factor for these take home sheets. They should primarily reinforce what is being taught in the class.

Had this work sheet been a couple months after learning double digit subtraction I would understand that they should hopefully have enough of an understanding about the logic behind how the numbers relate, but this is what was being used to teach the core principles of how to work a double digit, simple level subtractions problem. From this and the other shared examples I’ve seen being shared online, (see this link for a great example) there seems like there is this overshadowing desire to try to get the kids to think abstractly about how to get their answers. These types of principles should be taught only after they have a primary understanding of the basic “mechanics” of the type of math they are learning. This is really going to mess up their problem solving skills later. When they need to do a type of math to solve a problem, they are sure to find situations where these fluffy abstract visual methods are not going to be able to be applied and it’s going to create a mental hurdle for them to get over. They will have to learn a new way to think about how to do the same problem yet another way instead of the simple basic method that have been used for centuries that can be applied to almost anything. Is the original style of subtraction still being taught. Sure it is, we have seen those worksheets too, but it’s a big gap between those and this sheet.

Don’t hear what I am not saying. I like the idea of common core. Having a national standard of work to be done and learned that we can study the results of and adjust slowly over time as needed to improve learning as a whole is smart. I think is a good idea. And think of all of the indoctrination and history re-writing that could be taught all across the nation with common core 😉 but that’s another battle to be had later.

Current User Paths: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders

System User Folder Paths : HKEY_USERS\(User SID#)\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders\

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

When life gives you lemons, do a quadruple take. I give you Sir Patrick Stewart.

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

Download the set of Sherwin Williams Color Palettes

Sherwin Williams 6000-6254 Sherwin Williams 6255-6509 Sherwin Williams 6510-6764 Sherwin Williams 6765-6994

 


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