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May 26, 2006

Finally! Drag and drop to reorder Windows taskbar buttons

I'm one of those neat freaks who has to have everything organized just the way I like it. This includes the order of my taskbar buttons in Windows. I know I'm not the only one who's started various programs in a certain order so that they'd appear in my preferred order on the taskbar… only to curse Windows when one of them crashes or I accidentally close one of them and my carefully crafted taskbar order is ruined. Well, I couldn't be happier now that I've found a little freeware utility that allows you to simply drag and drop the taskbar buttons to rearrange them in any order you want. The program is called Taskbar Shuffle. Stop cursing Windows and go download it now! (OK, so you probably won't stop cursing Windows, but at least you'll curse less frequently…)

Posted at 11:35 PM in Computers

May 5, 2006

Firefox "Software Update Failed" problem: solved!

I'm a big fan of the Mozilla Firefox browser. And as of version 1.5, it will automatically download and install new updates as they are released. This is great and all, except that I've had a problem with the last two security updates (v1.5.0.2 and…

After it downloads an updated version, you must restart Firefox to complete the installation. When Firefox restarts, I see a message informing me that it's installing the newer version. But then I would receive the following error message:

Software Update Failed
One or more files could not be updated. Please make sure all other applications are closed and that you have permission to modify files, and then restart Firefox to try again.

I could restart the computer and the error message would still appear the next time I tried to launch Firefox. The only solution I was able to come up with was to manually download and install the new version from Mozilla's web site. I was beginning to think that the auto-update feature was broken or just too buggy to use. Until by chance I happened to discover the cause of my troubles… Y'z Dock. Y'z Dock is a freeware program that adds a Mac OS X-like dock to Windows. It's a great way to launch frequently used programs and I have an icon on my dock to start Firefox. Apparently, because this program monitors each program that has an icon on the dock (so that it can change the program's icon to indicate if the program is currently running) this was interfering with the Firefox update. All I had to do was temporarily close Y'z Dock and the installation was able to complete without any further errors!


If my solution does not resolve your problem, Mozilla has a couple of support resources with additional solutions to try:

Posted at 8:21 AM in Computers | Comments (42)

May 4, 2006

Automatically hide file extensions in Windows

In Windows there is a setting to specify whether or not to show the extensions of recognized file types. By default, it's set to hide known extensions. Most computer geeks like to change this setting to always show the extensions…

But not me. I'm weird like that. (I attribute it to my interest in design—I prefer "clean" looking things and I don't need to have the extensions cluttering up my list of files. After all, I can determine the file type by its icon.)

Well for some reason, Windows hates me because after every reboot, I find that it's changed this setting to show all the extensions. After logging into my computer I have to re-adjust the setting. I'm good then until my next reboot, at which point all of the extensions will magically be showing again. (Who knows, maybe it's some other program or utility that I have installed on my machine that's doing this. All I know is that I've had this annoying problem on more than one computer.)

I've Googled in vain several times trying to find a cause for this erratic behavior hoping to find some miraculous cure. But no such luck. Seems there are plenty of pages describing how to change the setting to always show extensions, but what if you want to always hide extensions, despite Windows' own intentions?

Well, I finally decided to take matters into my own hands… I've written a small Windows Scripting Host script that will manually change the registry setting to either show or hide the extensions. By setting up a scheduled task that runs this script every time I log in, my computer now correctly "remembers" that I'd rather not see those file extensions. I'd be curious to see if anyone else has had this same problem. Let me know if this script helps anyone.

Posted at 3:20 PM in Computers | Comments (6)

Clearing a cached query in ColdFusion

The ColdFusion cookbook has a couple of recipes for dealing with cached database queries. In theory it's relatively simple. You can instruct ColdFusion to cache a query for a specified amount of time using the cachedWithin attribute of the <cfquery> tag. You can clear a cached query by calling the same query again, but setting the cachedWithin attribute to a past time. But I recently discovered an interesting issue regarding clearing cached queries…

It turns out that not only must the SQL query and <cfquery> attributes be identical (with the exception of the cachedWithin attribute), but both queries must also have identical whitespace formatting. In other words, the following will not work:

<cfquery name="myQry" datasource="myDS"
select *
from users
order by last_name
<cfquery name="myQry" datasource="myDS"
select *
from users
order by last_name
Because the 'clearing' query is indented more than the original query the cached query will not be cleared. So this is one time when whitespace really does matter.

Posted at 2:21 PM in Web Development