Using FreeBusy functionality to schedule meetings easily

The FreeBusy solution helps you organise and schedule meetings much easier, because you can see when invited employee or friend are already busy with other meetings and when they have free time slots.

It is a (less known) world standard, so it is supported by many mail clients and calendars (including Microsoft Outlook and Mozilla Thunderbird). And, in addition, it is secure, because only time frame and no other details are published and shared with other parties.

To use this solution, you need a mail client or calendar that supports FreeBusy solution either directly or through some kind of plugin. All that is needed to start using FreeBusy is around 5-10 minutes for initial configuration. Once correctly configured, you need to do nothing else. Your time slots are automatically exported to FTP server and free/busy slots for other employees are automatically read from FTP server.

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ISO image locked in Windows 10

After 25+ years of glorious development of Windows, witch-doctors at Microsoft village finally managed to discover that you can mount .iso image as fully-featured drive directly in system and you don’t need extra tools for this purpose:

The same group of maniacs smoked out too much weed and figured out that it will be so cool to not automatically unmount this image during system reset or shutdown.

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My private Windows 10 check-list

I won’t deny. I hate Windows 10 and I hate Microsoft for making Windows 10 the way they made it. And… I hate my company’s IT support for forcing me into using it. But since I was forced to and there was no way avoiding this madness, I made my personal list of things you have to disable, uninstall, tweak up or change in order to make this stupid operating system a little less stupid.

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My private Microsoft Office check-list

Whether it is Office 2010 or 2013 (haven’t tried newer and already forgot about earlier) and whether it is on Windows 7, 8.1 or 10, the set of my preferred configuration options and elements is usually the same. So I decided to write it down here to keep track of it whenever I have to fresh-install Microsoft Office anywhere.

This article covers only configuration of each Office component that I use. For other things that I usually do or change during fresh-install of Office, please, refer to this article.

Notice that Office 2013 under Windows 10 is not the same as Office 2013 under Windows 7. It ships with a completely different configuration and thus many options listed in this article you will have to change only under Windows 10, because under Windows 7 they can be already in designated values.

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Remove garbage from Windows 10

Even after years since initial publication, being mature and stable operating system right now, Windows 10 comes to your computer literally bloated with unnecessary stuff. And you need to clean it up by yourself.

Certain things can be uninstalled “the normal way” (i.e. as easy as going to Add/Remove programs section of Settings and clicking Uninstall next to each of unwanted items). Some other requires more sophisticated moves as some jerks at Microsoft decided that making uninstallation of these as complex and problematic as possible is funny.

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Shift+click on taskbar to quickly open program’s copy in Windows 7

So far, to quickly open a new copy of already running program or task I was doing this:

Right-click on program’s item in Windows taskbar + select name of that program from the context menu. Turns out there’s an even faster way of doing so: Click on program’s item while holding Shift button pressed.

Works in Windows 7. May work in other versions (though not tested). You may safely ignore this post, if this is absolutely obvious for you (wasn’t that obvious for me).

Quickly forward Outlook message as a file

If you wish to forward any Outlook message as a file you can use copy/paste features:

  1. Find and select (on message list) message that you want to forward as a file.
  2. Press Ctrl+C to copy selected message to clipboard.
  3. Hit Ctrl+N to start a new message (or Ctrl+R to respond to some other message).
  4. Click anywhere within main text window (or press Tab three times to get there).
  5. Press Ctrl+V to attach copied message as a file (paste it from Clipboard).

That’s all, folks! :>

Sometimes, I need to forward message no x in my message list as a file attached in response to message no x-1 (the next coming in, since I have message list ordered by date). For this reason I use an ultra fast combination of: Ctrl+C | | Ctrl+R | Tab+Tab+Tab | Ctrl+V | Ctrl+Enter.

Getting rid of forsaken “winmail.dat” sent by Microsoft Outlook

In many situations or scenarios Microsoft Outlook, instead of regular (consumable by other mail clients) meeting invitations can start sending “windmail.dat” instead. This is a proprietary format that other mail clients (like Thunderbird, Mac mail clients, web clients) ignore as not readable.

List of situations and configuration switches that may cause Outlook to behave like this is long. And so is the solution list. In my case only the most aggressive solution worked.

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New Outlook’s calendar meeting with default signature

One of many wrongs, fuckups and things that are missing in Microsoft Outlook is the fact that you can’t set default signature for every new calendar meeting invitation, as you’d do for any new email message.

Things gets even worse as you dig through the problem and realize that Outlook developers were stupid enough to force you to design a whole new meeting template instead of just giving you an option to enable or disable this feature (as — again — it works in case of emails).

This guide is a redesigned version of this Stack Overflow answer (or actually this comment).

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The solution for Windows Update error code 8024200d

If your Windows Update process hits the wall with error code 8024200d then you may find really strange solutions, including suggestions to restart all services and boot system in a clean mode.

The truth is that error 8024200d means nothing more than the fact that Windows Update downloaded a malfunctioned version of update. And this is the only reason on why it is not able to install it.

And the solution is as simple as — install it manually by yourself.

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Prepare Windows 7 installation USB stick

I’ve got brand new Intel NUC Kit. With powerful processor, lots of RAM, M.2 disk and… absolutely no way to install Windows 7 except for using properly prepared USB stick. And so, for the first time in my life, I have a no-DVD computer and for the first time in past seven years (since I started using Windows 7) I was forced to figure out good, old Windows 7 USB installation way.

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Use own photos as desktop wallpapers in Windows 7

Using own images as desktop wallpapers in Windows 7 isn’t that easy and obvious task, because most of the time clicking Browse... button in Control Panel > Appearance and Personalization > Personalization > Desktop Background simply brings no effect.

And there are many solutions to workaround this problem. Of which the brute-force one I prefer the most.

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Rename mobile device in Windows 7

I’m testing my mobile applications on various number of mobile devices with Windows Phone system on-board. And Windows 7’s creators are stupid enough to develop this feature in the way, that all Windows Phone-based devices are named Windows Phone. Eventually, I ended up with four different mobile phones listed in Devices and Printers section under Windows Phone name. I needed a way to rename each of them to display correct model.

This is possible in Windows 7 and this is fairly easy, though pretty nice hidden, so some may claim that renaming mobile device is not possible.

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Ultra-fast method of creating hyperlinks in Microsoft Word

The most basic way of adding a “connector” from one part of Word document to another section, header or place is achieved by adding a bookmark followed by creating a hyperlink to that bookmark. This is a two-step process that involves using two different windows and a lot of typing and clicking.

There’s a much, much faster one-way method of achieving the same.

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Fix for Windows Update unable to find any update [updated]

This has been reported to be happening after fresh install of Windows 7 SP 1. But, it happened to me on an old netbook with Windows installed three years a go or more as well. There were also reports, that fix shown in this article can help for Windows Vista SP2 not being able to install any new updates. I’m also pretty sure, that certain Microsoft downloads (even those offline) are affected by this problem, i.e. until you fix it, you won’t be able to install .NET Framework (for example) on freshly installed Windows 7 SP1.

Anyway, if at any point of time on any Windows you’ll notice, that Windows Update hasn’t updated any new updates for past few weeks or if searching for new updates in Windows Update hangs forever or you run into some weird problems with installing Microsoft tools then you should read this article, as you may find fix for your problem and many useful links here.

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Using arrow keys to quickly changing active window placement

By a complete accident I have found a cool feature in Windows 7 (probably works in other versions as well), that allows you to use Windows and keyboard arrows to quickly change active window placement.

You can change horizontal placement (i.e. pick to which screen margin active windows sticks) as well as vertical placement (i.e. quickly maximize or minimize active window).

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Second life of burned-down DVDs (or CDs)

Default, system DVD burning program in Windows 7 is widely known for being very unstable and having burned-down (wasted, destroyed) DVDs ratio even as high as 20-30% (meaning, that you successfully burn only seven DVDs out of ten). If using more stable, dedicated software is not an option (for various reasons), you have to survive hell of using default burner. However, the fact, that DVD is burned-down doesn’t necessary mean, that you should recycle that DVD. In many case you can re-used in future.

This article started as a simple guide, on how you can re-use disk, that were damaged by native Windows burning software. But, since I was burning about 30 DVD DL files, when writing this text, I also included some tips and extra general information on burning disks and using UDF-formatted DVDs. So, this post may become useful even to those, who does not have any problems with disk burnout process under Windows.

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OneDrive troubleshooting on Windows 8.1

I had a serious problems with OneDrive on Windows 8.1. I wasn’t able to access my folder or OneDrive settings (to at least login to OneDrive account and start syncing). I wasn’t evan able to start OneDrive or see its icon in file explorer. Ultimately, I gave up and “resolved” my problem by upgrading system to Windows 10. However, you may use this article as a kind of checklist to see, if you have checked everything, when resolving your problems with OneDrive under Windows 8.1.

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Use custom ringtones in Microsoft Lumia phone

I’ve been struggling for hours to force my Microsoft Lumia 535 to display (and allow me to select) any .mp3 file as custom ringtone. Finally, this WindowsPhone.se answer solved my problems. However, there were some side notes and differences with my Lumia 535, that are not mentioned in this article, so I decided to write following post to further extend it.

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Purge Windows of private data when disk formatting is not an option

When I was hired by my previous employer, I was allowed to use office computer partially for private purposes, i.e. I was allowed to install Dropbox and use Google Chrome with my private account to sync all bookmarks and use password manager.

When I left this employer, to my surprise, I was refused to format system disk. And so, I have come with this short checklist or memo-like article of which steps should be undertaken or considered in similar situation.

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Deploying a PhoneGap app to Windows Marketplace

After Deploying a PhoneGap application to iTunes (App Store) and Deploying a PhoneGap app to Google Play articles, here comes the time to deal with Windows Mobile platform and Windows Marketplace. This article should provide you with all the necessary information on how to successfully submit your .xap file (compiled locally or through Phonegap Bulid) to Windows Marketplace.

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Install and run OS X Yosemite in Virtualbox on your Windows

There are so many articles in the Internet (type Mac OS X virtual machine to Google or your favorite search site to get thousands of them) about running OS X on PC in VirtualBox, that writing another one is just a pure stupidity. Instead, this article includes only a quick check-list to extract essential information from these articles and leave all unnecessary garbage blah-blah behind.

This post is a short version of this article. Refer to it for all details, explanations, solutions for a possible problems and things like that. This guide assume, that you’re installing OS X inside a virtual machine only for one purpose — sending your iOS apps to iTunes through ApplicationLoader program. For this reason, certain parts of original guide are skipped. If you intend to use OS X for other purposes, you may need to enhance your knowledge, by reading missing parts from other sources.

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