Month: November 2009

Now testing: Visual Subst

I’ve been a longtime fan of the dos command subst, which allows you to take a folder on your computer and assign a drive letter to it.  You can still get to it through the original folder, and it behaves no differently from before, but you can easily get to it through a simple drive letter.

The biggest drawback to using the command line for this (or creating a batch file) is that it needs to be run every time the computer starts.  Typically, I set up a batch file and add it to my startup routine…which I must forget to do whenever I reimage my machine…

Visual Subst promises to do the work for me, giving a nice little visual interface to set up the mapping, then it will take care of it every time I turn on the computer.

Subst Screenshot

As I’m writing this, I’m now questioning whether this is worth a dedicated app for, but I have a feeling it’ll end up in the boneyard if it doesn’t have some whiz-bang feature set.

Now Testing: MS Office Labs Chart Advisor (Excel add-in)

For all of the time I spend in Excel, I struggle when it comes time to plot data.  The MS Office Labs Chart Advisor is meant to help guide which type of chart should be used based on characteristics of the dataset.  While I don’t expect it to replace the human input of defining the kind of story the chart should tell, I do hope it will whittle down the amount of time I spend tuning my charts.

Chart Advisor Screenshot

This little add-on is exciting for me, since I have some data mining projects coming up that will be a good proving ground for the add-in.

Thanks to the How-To Geek and Pointy Haired Dilbert for this recommendation.

Verdict: QT Lite (codec) is a keeper

The codec works…and it doesn’t come at the cost of idle system resources.  That’s what makes this version a true winner in my eyes–the fact that it lets me watch QuickTime in my browser without the overhead of installing the full application.

It took me a while to notice the impact this app had, but it became clear on Saturday morning.  I was trying to watch some quicktime videos of the mac/pc ads (inspiration and guidance for my PC costume).  I did this on my netbook, where I hadn’t installed the codec..and the video wouldn’t play.  Grump: I was watching them a day earlier on the computer with QT Lite installed.

Luckily QT Lite was only a quick install away.  Well worth it at this point.