Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category

There’s a Blue outline in Windows 8.1

November 4, 2014

Some how I managed to get a blue outline appearing on every control that I click into or gets focus on Windows 8.1.  It was an easy fix once I found the answer.  Turns out I turned on the Narrator.


You can turn off the blue box by pressing caps lock + esc keys together.




Syncing Google Drive with Multiple Google Accounts

December 18, 2012

If you are like me and have multiple Google accounts for different things that you are involved in, you likely have run into an issue with syncing files from all of your accounts to a single computer.  As far as I know Google Drive can only sync 1 account to your computer.

Here is how I am setup to make the sync work, however, there are limitations.  Basically I setup a personal account that I use for my Google Drive Syncing. Then I share folders or documents from all external accounts to my personal account.  The trick here is to keep things organized once it is sync’d so that I don’t have two accounts colliding in the same folder 1) making a mess of documents and 2) potentially syncing documents to other accounts inadvertently.


  1. Create central Google account.  I use personal account for this.
  2. Install Goggle Drive and connect it to my central account.
  3. Test the syncing for good measure.
  4. Login to other Google account and share files or folder with my central account.
  5. Go back your central account and create a container folder in My Drive for the other account.  This is the key point to keeping things separate.
  6. Go to Shared With Me and drag the items that you shared into the folder you created in My Drive.
  7. Whola, everything should be sync’d locally in a few seconds.

The issue with this approach is that if the other Google account does not allow sharing outside of it’s Organization, then you won’t be able to share with your personal central account.

If you run into this, I believe there are other syncing products available.  If anyone can suggest one, please comment.  Also please comment if this works for you or have other suggestions.

How to connect Multiple Monitors to Dell XPS

March 3, 2012

So it has been 3 years since my last laptop purchase and I didn’t take the time to think about how to connect monitors to it.  In that time period things have changed from VGA and DVI to HDMI and Display Port.  I assumed that connecting dual monitors would work without an issue since I’ve never thought about it before.  The Dell XPS only has one HDMI and one of the new Display Ports.  My confusion was over the Display Port because, all of the articles on the web talk about Apple’s display port so I was not certain they were exactly the same and I needed a cable to connect to the monitor.  If I bought the Apple cable, would it work?  I finally broke down and called Dell Sales and Tech Support, both gave wrong and different answers the first time but at least they gave me information to think about.  It is amazing that the people I originally talked to at Dell had no idea of how to do this.  The Sales department didn’t understand why I needed dual monitors.  Really, come on.  The sales person tried to sell me a HDMI splitter for over $100, but quite frankly I don’t believe that would have actually gotten me the extended display.  I assume it would be the same picture on both monitors.  Anyway after a bit more research I called Dell Tech Support back with my new knowledge and new assumptions and got a tech that actually knew what they were talking about.  This person knew what display port cable I needed and also told me it was not available on the web site so, good news they just sent me one.  At this point my feelings of frustration and anger started to change for the better.  I still don’t know if the Apple Display port cable would work or not but at this point I don’t care.  The Tech said I would be able to get 2 external monitors with extended display but said that I would not be able to use my laptop monitor.  Fine I can accept that, but to my surprise when I hooked up the two external monitors I was also able to get my laptop monitor to work as well.  So beautiful.  I now am able to have 3 extended displays.  Despite all the bad information I found and was told, I ended up with a low cost solution that is better than what I initially expected.  Thanks last Dell Tech support person. You are the best!  To all you other people, writing bad information and working for Dell with no clue, please stop and go find another line of work.  I know harsh but, truly you need to stop.

How to connect 3 Displays

FACT: Dell XPS L702X will support 3 displays.  2 External, plus the Laptop monitor. 

  1. Connect one monitor using HDMI cable.
  2. Connect other monitor using Display Port to VGA converter cable.  I assume Display Port to DVI or to HDMI would work if you find the right cable.

In my case I have two external HD monitors running and both look great.  I was worried about using the VGA connection with the other being HDMI but I don’t see a difference yet.

Hope this helps you!

My Tool List

January 14, 2012

Here are a list of tools that I use on a regular basis.

Basics for every computer

  • Chrome (Free) – Best overall web browser.  Simple, clean, fast.  I also use Google Sync to keep my bookmarks in sync across all computers.
  • Evernote (Free)– Lets me take notes, make lists, etc and syncs with everything.  I have liked OneNote but since it doesn’t sync with my IPhone and IPad(at least as far as I know) I have choosen Evernote.
  • Notepad++ (Free) – tabbed notepads do I have to say more.  I had tried Notepad2 but settled on Notepad++.
  • Beyond Compare ($30/$50)  – Simply the best file comparison tool available.  In my opinion this is my most essential tool.  You only need to go up to the pro version for use with source control, pro gives you 3 way merging which I love.  Beyond compare integrates with most source control providers, here how.
  • PicPick (Free for Personal) – Screen Capture Tool.  This is just the one that I’ve been using lately.  I also use the Snipping Tool that comes with Windows 7.
  • Virtual Clone Drive (Free) – I use it for mounting ISO’s.
  • 7-Zip (Free) – Zip and Unzip pretty much anything.
  • Microsoft Office ($$$) – I really would like to find cheaper tools but nothing compares to Word, Excel, and Visio. If you have good recommendations on other tools please let me know.  I wish Google Docs was better.  That would then be my choice.
  • DropBox (Free) – Sync files across devices and access them online.
  • mSecure ($) – Password management + spot to track other life information.  Syncs across devices using DropBox.


  • Visual Studio 2010 ($$$) – Truly a pleasure to work with Visual Studio.  I do wish Microsoft would focus soley on performance of what is there instead of adding more features.  It is not always bad, but sometimes performance is horrible. Performance fixed in Visual Studio 2012 this thing is a dream.
  • Visual Studio Extensions
    • Solution Explorer Tools – Collapse folders in solution explorer and sync to the current document.
    • CodeMaid – Cleans up code.  Auto formats the document, removes extra spaces and lines etc.  No human should have to spend the time to do this.
    • PowerCommands for Visual Studio 2010
    • Productivity Power Tools
  • SQL Search 1.1 (Free) – Search Sql Server Schema and Stored Procs.  You cannot live without this.
  • RedGate’s Sql Tools ($$$) – Sql Data Compare and Sql Schema Compare are simply the best.  I wish they were cheaper for personal use.
  • LINQPad (Free, $39 – $79) – Awesome tool for performing LINQ queries.  Even shows you the SQL that would be created.  Works with Entity Framework or just straight against your database.  Use it!
  • .NET Reflector ($35 – $95) – Need to find a proper replacement since this is no longer free.
  • Fiddler (Free) – Web Debugging tool that logs all http traffic allowing you to view the raw requests and responses + much more.
  • (Free) – Online Web Dev Tool/Repository for snippets.  You can easily test out html, javascript, css quickly and even save them for later.
  • Team Foundation Server – My overall favorite for source repository and ALM.
  • Fog Creek’s FogBugz – Issue management and bug tracking software and more.
  • Fog Creek’s Kiln – Online Sophisticated Source Repository.  When you don’t want to manage your own TFS server this has been my next choice.


  • Remote Desktop Connection Manager (Free) – Manages multiple remote desktop connections.
  • VMWare Player (Free) – I am currently using VMWare Player to create virtual environments I really would like to upgrade to the workstation version so that I could more easily save snapshot but it is two pricey at this time.
  • Display Fusion (Free or $35 for Pro) – Managing multiple monitors.  The two important features for me are that it adds a task bar to each screen and allows you to easily move a window to another screen through a single click or hot key.
  • Acronis Disk Director (49.99) – There have been a handful of times I have a had to mess with my hard disk.  Windows has great built in features but when they don’t cut it Disk Director has come to the rescue.


  • FreshBooks – I’m trying out FreshBooks now.  So far I like how simple it is.  I can also updated it with an IPhone app.

Free eBooks That Interest Me

November 9, 2010

I’m starting this post as a list of free eBooks that interest me.  I frequently see books that would interest me but I just don’t have the time to read everything and then I loose track of it so to resolve that problem this post is born.  I’ll continue to update this post as I discover new ones.  Please feel free to add your favorite books to the comments.

The List

Programming Windows Phone 7 – by Charles Petzold

Patterns for Parallel Programming: Understanding and Applying Parallel Patterns with the .NET Framework 4

Writing High Performance SQL Code

Props to Karl Shifflett

June 14, 2009

I just attended the WPF – Line of Business conference in Chicago where Karl Shifflett was presenting.  The conference was incredible, probably the best I have attended and I hope to post on that later (but no promises).  Right now, I felt compelled to give props to Karl.  This guy is so enthusiastic about WPF he not only gets you more excited about this awesome product, he inspires you.  Oh yeah, he is very knowlegable, but there are lots of knowlegable people.  Karl takes it above and beyond,  by sharing his knowledge with you as if you were his best friend.  This guy takes your problem and turns it around for you as sample during the conference and even late into the night after you have gone as he did here for another attendee:

Karl, you are the bomb!

How to manage IIS 6.0 from Vista

June 7, 2008

If you find yourself needing to RDP into an IIS 6.0 web server to manage some of the IIS settings you will find the older IIS 6.0 management console useful.  This console will allow you to manage multiple IIS 6.0 servers from your desktop which will be faster to access (opposed to logging into the server) and more importantly won’t consume an RDP session that someone else may need.  

  • Navigate through: Control Panel –> Programs –> Turn Windows Features on or off
  • Expand: Internet Information Services -> Web Management Tools -> IIS 6 Management Compatibility
  • Select: IIS 6 Management Console


 To Access

  • Navigate through: Administrative Tools -> IIS 6 Manager
  • Right Click: Internet Information Services -> Connect
  • Enter Server Name

 Here is a blog that walks you through the install in detail