pc tips

PDF splitter free online tool

Occasionally I have to work with some huge documents, typically as PDFs, but I don’t always have my laptop with the full Acrobat package on it. When that happens, and I need to break the PDFs up, I use a free online PDF splitter tool called PDFSplit! – which is available here.

It can extract all pages in a PDF to individual PDFs, or just grab a certain section of a PDF and save it into a new file. It’s quick. It’s online. And it’s free.

Easy laptop upgrades

Lenovo X201I’ve just had to go through a full install of Windows 7 on my refurbished laptop in the process of upgrading it, and either I’ve become more competent, or it’s a lot easier than it ever was previously (with earlier versions of Windows and other laptops). After years of swearing by desktops and the ease of replacing components as a means of upgrading and squeezing that extra period of life out of the machines, I opted for a refurbished laptop earlier this year. I’ve actually bought exactly the same model as the laptop I use at work, a Lenovo X201, as I’ve been so impressed with its robustness and balance of size, speed and performance. But I knew, from some casual research online that it was also relatively easy to upgrade.

Read more

Online marketing planning case study

chessMy blog so far has been a place for me to share things that I find interesting as well as helpful tips and information that I’ll often refer back to myself. It’s almost like having a personal set of bookmarks that are accessible everywhere I go without having to use any bespoke service.

However, a friend has asked me for some advice regarding their newly launched online business and since I happen to work predominantly in the online / media / marketing world, I thought this blog is as good a place as any to write up my suggestions.

Although I’ve intentionally kept the name of the company anonymous, the principles behind maximising online opportunities for an online retailer apply can be applied by anyone.

The background

The company my friend works for is a niche SME online retailer that has decided to branch out in to a new range of products (home accessories and home gifts) outside of its existing offering (beauty products). Rather than expand the existing successful brand, a new separate entity has been created. A good, well designed web site has been constructed; an expansive range of over 400 niche products has been selected and available from launch at competitive prices; and some initial social media activities have been undertaken. So far, so good – they’re sounding like they’re doing a lot of the right things – but what can they do to take things to the next level?

Read more

Dynamic image resizing in WordPress

Some of the WordPress themes I’ve trialled include a dynamic image re-size option, which initially sounded quite good. However, after trying for hours to get the thing to work and searching countless other forums and WordPress guides, I still couldn’t get it to work.

That was, until, I stumbled across a web site (http://ravidreams.com/2009/10/wordpress-automatic-thumbnail-issue-with-hostgator/) that specifically covered by problem – and it wasn’t anything to do with my directory permissions either. It was a bandwidth protection measure from my host, Hostgator!

Anyway, following the instructions on the site (copied and pasted below, for ease) – resolved the issue nice and quickly… and now I have a fully functioning, image resizing WordPress installation!

Here’s what to do:

1. Login to your Hostgator control panel and contact Live Chat Support.
2. Ask the support technician to white list your thumbnail generation file for mod_security . You will need to give your file name and path.  The file name mostly will be timthumb.php or thumb.php. You can find this file inside the WordPress theme folder. An example file path wp-content/themes/theme_name/thumb.php

This is apparently a known issue with Hostgator’s WordPress hosting and all their technicians should recognize your request.

This problem will be solved by them in minutes.

How to configure Windows XP to log on automatically

It’s more secure and better practice to not just have your computer log on automatically. Ideally, for security reasons, you should install a BIOS password too – but that may be a step too far for some people. Instead, you can just add that extra layer of security by not running your system as the computer administrator and setting up limited user accounts instead.

Using the Control Panel to set up users is fine, but if you want to be able to force them to log in at the Welcome Screen, you need to follow these steps:

  1. Click Start, then Run to get to the ‘Run’ box
  2. Then in the run box execute this command: control userpasswords2
  3. You will see a check box labelled ‘Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer’.
  4. Ensure there is a tick in this check from this check box.
  5. Click on OK.

Alternatively, if you don’t want to have to log in each time…

  1. Untick this check box.
  2. You’ll then be prompted to enter the user name and password you wish to automatically log on with, and then click OK.

Now anyone with physical access to your computer can use this machine. It makes your computer more convenient to use, but at the same time can pose a privacy / security risk.

If you need to start up the computer but do not want to log in automatically one specific time, then You can suppress the automatic logon by pressing the SHIFT key during the boot process.

If you want to permanently disable the auto-logon, you can execute this command from the Run box: rundll32 netplwiz.dll,ClearAutoLogon