Category Archives: Software

VMware and avast! Internet Security Network Problem

Just in case I am not the only one to run into this, I thought I would post the answer to a problem that vexed me for a while.  I run avast! Internet Security for my software host based firewall and anti-virus on my Windows boxes.  On some of those I also have VMware Workstation installed.  I noticed that when all of the protection settings or “shields” as they are called were turned on, my virtual machines couldn’t talk to anything else on the network when in bridged mode.  If I went to NAT mode or turned the avast! shields off, it would work, but neither of these solutions was satisfactory to me.  So, I kept on digging, even checked in with tech support to no avail.  Finally I found it, something so simple and trivial I wanted to scream, but my family is asleep right now so I didn’t.  In avast! Internet Security, there is an option to tell the firewall to allow Internet Sharing.  I guess multiple computers communicating in a shared manner like that looks bad if you didn’t plan it that way.  Well, when your virtual machines are running, it looks just like Internet Sharing, at least it does to avast! anyway.  Simply open up the main window, go to the firewall section and hit the “Expert Settings” button.  On the dialog that pops up there is a check box about in the middle (maybe a little lower) of the page to enable Internet Sharing.  Turn that on and your virtual machines will be talking like teenage girls with unlimited text plans.  Hope that helps someone out there, enjoy!

Drop Down Date Picker For Excel

I was working on a spreadsheet where I had a range of cells I wanted a drop down date picker/calendar for.  Now, I could have just added a bazillion calendar controls (one to each cell) but I knew that was cheesy and that there had to be a better way.  Well now, I found an awesome tutorial on adding just the thing and I had to share.  One control and a little bit of VBA code and you are all set working like a pro.  Check it out, the info at the end of this link rocks!  Enjoy!!

Keeping Up With Business Cards

If any of you are like me and deal with/meet lots of vendors and salespeople, keeping up with the mountain of business cards can be a job in and of itself.  Whether you keep them in some kind of binder or Rolodex, or maybe just piled in a shoebox, they can be a real pain to sort through when you want someone’s number.  Plus, heaven forbid you want all of their information in your PDA or PC because then you have to type it all in by hand and that’s no fun either.  Instead of paying $300 or more for a business card scanner, I found a nifty little app for my iPhone that takes advantage of the camera to take a picture of the card and then OCR all of the info, even categorizing it properly as well.  So email addresses get put into email address fields, and phone numbers in phone number slots and so on.  You get a chance to verify that it recognized everything correctly, and it even compares it to the section of the scanned card it got the info from, very easy.  Once that is done, the contact gets shoved right into your contact list, easy as pie, it’s great!  Now I am sure Blackberry and other platforms have similar apps, this post is partly to rave about the concept of doing this on your smart phone/PDA, but also for iPhone users out there to give a nod to the application “WorldCard Mobile”, because it works really well.  It’s currently priced at $5.99 in the app store and worth every penny and more, really.  So check it out if you have a need for something like this.  If you already have an iPhone, $5.99 is cheap compared to that business card scanner!  Read more about it here

*Note: This is not a paid endorsement, I am posting this because I like the app and felt it would be beneficial to share.

Cool Tool: Taskbar Shuffle

OK folks, here is a nifty tool for you.  It’s called Taskbar Shuffle, and if you are running Windows this is a handy little item.  Just like the name implies, you can take items that are in the Windows taskbar and shuffle or move them around.  This is pretty cool in many ways, but I know from my own use, it can be nice to organize items together that go together or in some way that makes more sense that just the way they were opened, especially if you have lots and lots of windows open like I often do.  It’s easy to use too, just drag ’em around to wherever you want them, it’s that easy.  Best of all, like many of the best pieces of software that I have come across, it’s totally free so go check it out now.  Go ahead, RFN!

Here is the URL:

While you are at it, check out all of the Cool Tools we have in the Cool Tools section, as well as everything in the Library, there’s lots of good stuff in there …

**Note: Don’t forget that the author of Taskbar Shuffle, just like many others out there including Solarum here, gives away the product for free despite all of the personal time invested in bringing you that product.  If you find something that you really like and find useful, think about the last time you paid for an app the didn’t live up to your expectations and make a donation to the little guy(s) and gal(s) out there writing the good stuff for free.