Ye blog of Adam Wright

DIY, tutorials, stuff for geeks, all updated when I have the time to spare.

Category Archives: tutorials

How To Make Outlook’s Inbox More Like Gmail’s

My favorite difference between Gmail and other webmail services is the way Gmail’s Archive feature works with the inbox. You don’t realize it, but when you use Gmail, all of your email is located in one folder, and when new email is received, it gets an “Inbox” label. Your Inbox is just a label that shows any email with the “Inbox” label. Archiving an email removes the “Inbox” label, thereby removing it from your Inbox folder.

Outlook can be customized to act the same way, with some easy tweaks:

  1. Create a new Search Folder.
  2. Select “Create Custom Search Folder” at the bottom.
  3. Click “Choose…” button to customize the search folder. Name the folder “To Do” (or whatever you like), and set it to look in the Inbox.
  4. Click on the “Criteria…” button. You’re only going to set one rule; under the Advanced tab add a rule for “Flag Status not equal to Completed”.
  5. Hit “OK” to close the customization window and finish creating the Search Folder. Now right-click on the search folder you just made and click “Show in Favorites”.
  6. Now, all email messages will stay in the “To Do” folder until you mark their flag status as complete. No deleting messages, and they all stay in your Inbox folder. However, if you still prefer using folders, you can move emails into individual folders inside your inbox if you want and the “To Do” Search Folder will still show them like in my screenshot:

  7. OPTIONAL: Use color codes to sort importance of emails and current projects.

Any new emails show up in the “To Do” Search Folder, you can move them to subfolders within the Inbox folder and they’ll still remain in the “To Do” Search Folder.

Here’s my methodology for getting through all my daily email:

  1. If its just a quick “throw away” email (i.e. quick responses, “Thanks”, “Sounds good.”, office SPAM, etc) I just Mark Complete and it disappears from the “To Do” Search Folder.
  2. Anything else gets a color category so I can see what the email is (current project, information, backburner, paused project, etc) visually with a quick look.
  3. Current project emails (red category) just details any emails that have to do with the current projects I’m working on. That doesn’t mean the current email I’m working on. For that, I use the Follow Up flag. A single click on it turns it to a red flag (“Today” flag technically). In the screenshot above you can see the ship notification email is a current email I’m working on today.
  4. Lastly, once I’m done with the email I flag the email as complete, and it disappears from the “To Do” Search Folder. If the email already has a Follow Up flag, just another single click flags it complete and it disappears.

Any questions feel free to leave a comment!

Jeff Larsen notes that you can make Outlook behave even more like Gmail by following his method of grouping your replies to conversations in your inbox together with the messages you receive.

Thanks Jeff!

How to fix the Favorites shortcuts in Windows Explorer

I noticed my Favorites shortcuts weren’t showing up like normal in Windows Explorer, and after a little investigation and research, it was a simple fix.

  1. Navigate to C:\Users\[user]
  2. If there isn’t a “Links” folder, create one
  3. Right-click on the “Links” folder and select “Properties”
  4. Under the “General” tab, make sure “Read-only” is not checked (if there’s a blue box there that’s also bad)
  5. Once you’re sure that the folder is not flagged as read-only, close any Windows Explorer windows you have open and reopen one
  6. You should now be able to either right-click “Favorites” in Windows Explorer and click “Restore favorite links” or “Add current location to Favorites”

This worked for me.

My problem was that I mistakenly deleted my “Links” folder from my home folder. I added a new “Links” folder, but it still wasn’t working. That’s when I found that the folder was marked as read-only. Once I removed the read-only flag, it started working perfectly again.

How to: Ubuntu Firefox Backspace button fix

When using Firefox in Windows, pressing the Backspace button goes back a page in history, as if you clicked the “Back” button. However, when using Firefox in Ubuntu, by default the Backspace button does nothing.

Here’s how to make the Backspace button go back a page when using Firefox for Ubuntu:

  1. Go to about:config in Firefox
  2. Search for “Backspace”
  3. Change ‘browser.backspace_action’ to 0 (zero).

Chad added a useful note in the comments below: “set it to 2 and you won’t get sent back a page while typing on the web, it’s annoying to lose all your info after hours of work because of a shortcut key” – Thanks Chad!
UPDATE: According to user blameitonthesatelite, “This seems to have stopped working as of v 27.0 (although 0 works)”


How To Make Skype Use libnotify in Linux

How To Make Skype Use libnotify [Linux]

skype libnotify

If you use Skype or certain other applications on Linux, you may be annoyed by how those programs use their own notification system rather than using the system default, known as libnotify. libnotify is responsible for creating those nice little bubbles or windows that aren’t intrusive on the screen. GNOME 2.x users usually have a black bubble in the top right corner, while GNOME 3.0 users get a notification across the entire bottom of their screen and KDE users get a transparent little window in the bottom right corner, as seen in the screenshot.

skype libnotify

Thankfully though, Skype lets you change this behavior.


Skype can be downloaded from their website if you use a more popular distribution, such as Ubuntu, Fedora, openSUSE, or from your package repositories if you use a less popular distribution. If you use a 64-bit system, make sure that you have the correct dependencies installed. Ubuntu users shouldn’t have a problem, but there is only a 32-bit package for Fedora which requires some extra steps in order to get it to work in a 64-bit environment.

Changing The Settings

using libnotify

In order to change Skype’s notification behavior, you’ll need to go into the Settings. From there, you need to choose the Notifications tab on the left side. You’ll now see a fairly long list of different events that can occur in Skype, anywhere from logging in to phone calls. In order to change the correct options, you’ll need to click on the Advanced View button which is found on the right side of the window.

Now, for each selected event, you can change the exact notification settings. In order to achieve rerouted notifications, you’ll first need to turn off the Display pop-up notification option so that you don’t get two notifications (one of each) at the same time. Keeping the Play sound file option enabled or not is up to your personal preference.

The Command

Next, we’re going to use the Contact Signed In event as an example. You’ll need to copy this line into the Execute the following script box:

notify-send "Contact Signed In" "%name is now online." -i skype

using libnotify

What this command does is invoke the notify-send command, which is used by libnotify to generate a notification. “Contact Signed In” is the first parameter, which is used for the title of the notification. “%name is now online.” is the second parameter, which is used for the main text of the notification. The %name portion is a variable in which the name of the involved contact will be substituted for %name. Finally, -i skype simply tells libnotify that you’d like to use an icon (the skype icon) with your notification. libnotify can only use icons that are installed, so not any parameter will work with -i.

The final result will look something like this:

skype libnotify

This procedure isn’t exactly perfect, as you’ll need to copy, paste, and adjust this command for every other event in Skype. Additionally, you’ll want to avoid using this on special notification types such as calls where the Skype-default includes some buttons to accept or decline a call, whereas the libnotify way won’t present those buttons to you.


libnotify is a great way to keep the notification styles of all supported applications uniform and simply “pretty”. While Skype doesn’t take advantage of this piece of software by default, it’s good to know that there are still ways where it’s possible, and who knows how many other programs support these types of modifications?

What other kinds of Linux fixes would you like to see? Is there a problem you just can’t seem to solve? Let us know in the comments!

from MakeUseOf

Aero Adjuster – Automatic Aero Color Changer

Aero Adjuster, Automatically Change Aero Color Based On Wallpaper

The Windows 7 operating system shipped with a built-in automatic wallpaper changer that allowed users to pick multiple desktop backgrounds that the operating system would rotate automatically. Previously users had to use third party software like Wallperizer or John’s Background Switcher for that functionality.

Microsoft’s upcoming operating system Windows 8 will improve that by offering to sync the primary desktop background color with the operating system’s Aero interface color.

Under Windows 7, Aero and the wallpaper color can be completely different, which may be a issue for users who like to see matching colors on their desktop.

Aero Adjuster now is a program for Windows that users can run to adjust the Aero color automatically whenever the background changes.

All you actually need to do is to download and unpack the program on your computer system. Once done you can run it with a double-click on the single executable file.

The program will modify the Aero color from that moment on to match the color of the desktop background. This is an automatic process that requires no user interaction.

aero adjuster desktop background

Please note that the Aero color is changed permanently. Aero Adjuster will not automatically switch back to the default color if you close the application. You do however have an option to restore the old Aero color from the application’s system tray menu.

The core question with programs like Aero Adjuster is this: Do you want to run an additional program in the background for better matching Aero and wallpaper colors? The program does not use a lot of cpu cycles when it is running, but its memory usage can go as high as 15 Megabytes.

I have reviewed a similar program called Aero Blend in the past which offers a similar functionality.

Windows users can download Aero Adjuster from the developer’s Deviant Art page. The software is compatible with 32-bit and 64-bit editions of the Microsoft Windows operating system. (via)

© Martin Brinkmann for gHacks Technology News | Latest Tech News, Software And Tutorials, 2011. | Permalink |
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