Thursday, May 28, 2009

Using email to send text messages

I don't know about you, but I am more efficient with email while at the office than text messaging on my phone. So, if you're like me and have Microsoft Outlook open most of the day, you'll save time and effort sending text messages right from Outlook.

Most people have no idea that the major US cellular carriers actually use email for SMS to text capable cell phones. These text messages are limited to 160 total characters for both subject and message body. Using the format "", you can send a text message from any email client, like Microsoft Outlook, or web-based email service (like Yahoo!, Gmail, or Hotmail). And, what's even better than that is you'll receive any replies to your text message in your email inbox. Here is a list of the major carriers' email domains ("phonenumber" being the 10-digit phone number for the person you want to text):
  • Alltel --
  • AT&T --
  • Nextel --
  • Sprint --
  • SunCom --
  • T-Mobile --
  • VoiceStream --
  • Verizon (text only) --
  • Verizon (pictures/videos) --
Try it out today and pass it along!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Exporting a file list

Have you ever wanted to export a list of files from Windows Explorer? As far as you can tell, it is an impossible task. With the frustration mounting and the determination to not hand enter the list into Word or Excel when the data you want is staring you in the face, you would normally approach your IT guy and ask "Is there a way to export a list of files in a folder?" Now you'll have one less question to ask because I've got the answer right here.

Unless you're operating a Windows Server, this functionality is not available in Windows. So here's the workaround (I hope you can remember some of those old DOS commands that you thought were obsolete with the invention of the GUI -- Graphical User Interface)
  1. Open a command prompt. You can do this by clicking on your "start" menu and then selecting "Run...". Type in "cmd" and press "Enter."
  2. Navigate to the desired directory. If you do not know how to navigate in the command prompt, the following tutorials will be helpful to you -- How To Navigate Through Folders When Using Windows Command Prompt and Beginners Guides: WindowsXP Command Prompt . TIP:  If you are running Windows Vista, you can actually navigate directly to the directory in the command prompt from Windows Explorer. Simply hold "Shift" and right-click the folder you want to view and select "Open Command Window Here" from the menu.
  3. Type in "dir /b > filename.txt", where "filename" is what you will name the file that contains the file list you are exporting. This command will create a txt file in that folder that can be easilty opened in Windows with an application like Notepad, Microsoft Word, or even imported into Excel. The "/b" operator will only list the names of the files (i.e. document.pdf) in your "filename.txt" file. If you need additional information included in your export, type in "dir /?" for a list of options available to use.
Thanks for reading and please share your newfound knowledge with others!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Define Temperamental

Temperamental: of, related to, or caused by temperament; subject to changing and unpredictable emotional states; moody, capricious; sometimes used figuratively to describe user-unfriendly or unstable machines or software that are either complicated and/or have poorly written instructions and are subsequently...

Does this describe your office IT guy from time to time? Or maybe you don't have a full-time IT manager, it might describe the recent college graduate that happened to be computer savvy and was thus dubbed the IT guy in your office. Well, that's me -- I went to work as a project manager after receiving a degree in construction management and was immediately dubbed the IT guy because I was apparently the only one with an understanding of computers and technology that reached beyond the basics.

I have been around computers for about as long as I can remember. I used to take them apart and put them back together just for fun. Or, I'd crash the system and have to restore it because it was my fault and my family didn't have the money to have someone repair it. (I would just like to point out that it is likely that I was usually on the computer at the time it crashed, and therefore, to my family, any time the computer crashed it was, of course, my fault.) When I first started in college, I was majoring in computer engineering. But somewhere along the line, I fell in love with construction and my computer engineering degree turned into associate's degree in computer systems technology. Because of the different requirements for the construction management degree (which seemed like complete opposite of computer engineering), I ended up with more credits than most graduate students and a very well rounded education. So after graduation, when I went to work in the construction industry, (an industry starving for technologically savvy people), it was no surprise that managing IT became a large part of what my employers would ask me to do.

So I understand what it's like to be the Temperamental Techie in the office. I might come across a little annoyed when my primary responsibilities have been interrupted with someone's question about Microsoft Excel or why they can't connect to the Internet for the third time in an hour. Often the answer is simple, "You forgot to put an equal sign in your equation" or "Did you check to make sure your network cable is connected?" My favorite scape-goat answer is "Restart your computer" (that one takes care of 80% of the problems). At other times, I might come across especially nice and willing to help because sometimes work can be boring or I'll be looking for a good excuse to get out of a meeting.

My goal for this blog is to help you better appreciate your office IT guy, and hopefully bring a little bit of consistency and peace to his temperament by having you come to me instead. I realize that it's not exactly the valet service you get from your office IT guy here, but I will be posting all kinds of useful information about basic computer stuff that will be at your disposal to use around the office and even at home. Please ask me your questions, and I'll try to answer them in a timely manner.