CUSTOMIZE YOUR MICROSOFT OUTLOOK 2007 MAIL THEME

Ever wanted to create your own custom theme when sending new emails through your Microsoft Outlook. Well, you’re in luck because the following steps will teach you just how to do that:

1. Create first a graphic that you will use as your theme, it can be jpeg, gif, or png.

2. Go to C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Stationery\1033.

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3. Save your created graphics file to this folder.

4. Choose any of the HTM files, you will have to edit one of these. Make sure to backup first the HTM file that you will edit by copy-pasting it to this same folder. Rename it to something you would recognize as the original HTM file.

5. After creating the backup, open the HTM file you chose using NOTEPAD (right-click > Open with > Notepad).

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6. Locate the body background tag. Replace the name of the current image file with the one that you just saved in this same folder.

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Replace the body background image filename with the filename of your own graphics that you saved in this folder.

7. Save the file. If you’re denied access, save your file first to any other location. Once you’re able to save your customized HTM file, copy (or cut) it, go back to the Stationery\1033 folder and then paste your customized HTM file. Replace the existing HTM file. If you’re ask for a permission, just press CONTINUE.

8. Open your Microsoft Outlook, then go to TOOLS > OPTIONS. Choose the MAIL FORMAT tab. Click STATIONERY AND FONTS. Click THEME, then click the file the you just customized. You will see that it has loaded your graphics. If you’re satisfied with it, click OK until you’re back to the main Outlook interface.

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9. Try creating a new e-mail message and it will load your customized theme. Pretty neat, isn’t it?

Please be noted that the custom theme will only work on new emails. Replies and forwarded emails will not utilize your customized theme. If you have an idea on just how to do that, please do share it, I would also like to know. Peace y’all!

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Windows 8 Is A Tablet-Optimized Full-Featured OS

I have had the opportunity to test the new Windows Developer Preview or more popularly known as Windows 8. You can download it by typing “dev.windows.com” on your browser, I downloaded the 32-bit version.  The application is pretty stable, considering the fact that it is pre-beta and I tested it on a virtual machine with only 1G of RAM and on a single-core. Anyway, if Microsoft was able to run it on an old netbook, it would definitely run on my box. I encountered some problems during installation, but that was due to my corrupted download.  I strongly recommend that you check the SHA1 checksum of your download and compare it to the SHA1 checksum on the Microsoft website, if it doesn’t match, even 1 character, then you have a corrupted download and sadly, if you’re willing, download the whole thing again.  Installation was fairly easy, the on-screen instructions are easy to follow. On my virtual machine, the whole start-up process (from cold-boot to start-up screen) took around less than 30 seconds at most, but maybe because its virtualized.

The new Windows OS is really an innovation on the part of Microsoft. With Windows 8, Microsoft just made the tablet market more competitive. And as Microsoft stated, Windows 8 will be a full-featured OS for the tablet, something Android nor iOS can’t claim at the moment. With a full-featured OS, this means that you can now, supposedly, run full-featured applications on your tablet such as a full-featured Office or even AutoCAD, but I highly doubt that on a 10-inch screen. But even though, I really don’t think it will replace Windows 7 any sooner. I mean, Windows 7 will be barely four years old when they release Windows 8, maybe late 2012 to early 2013. And from a firsthand experience, Windows 8 will be much more appreciated if it’s used on a tablet. Using it on a static desktop screen will require some bit of learning and a lot of patience. There are lots of new things introduced in Windows 8, and I mean really new things, some are a bit confusing. You can still use the mouse or the arrow keys on your physical keyboard, but only after you figured out where to find the scroll bars. The Start button is hidden, you have to hover your cursor over to the lowermost left-side of your screen for the Start button to show up. And clicking Start will not open up a menu, it will toggle you to the Windows Desktop application instead. The only way to see the list of applications installed is if you open Search. Also, there’s the non-existent exit button to terminate apps. I instead have to open the Task Manager just to manually terminate apps. As much as I like the Metro, if you have at least 50 applications installed, it would be a cluttering disaster. Maybe I’m just jumping too early, but I do hope that when the RC version comes out, they would have solved some of these issues.

Windows 8 is still a work in progress and it needs a lot of it. I commend Microsoft for releasing a pre-beta version of Windows 8 to the public so that the public can test it and see what it needs to improve. I just do hope that Microsoft listen to what the public says about its product and put some thought into it, because in the end, it will be the buying public who will judge if Windows 8 is as good as Windows XP or it’s another failed attempt just to have something called innovative.  I was planning to buy a new unit next year but I think I’ll just wait until Windows 8 is officially launched and I hope its worth it.

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Wordpress’ Tiring SSL Error

Is it just me or why is it that whenever I want to post something on my WordPress, I always have to deal with this? As far as I’m concerned, I’ve tried every bit of solution to try to work around this, but still I have to encounter this every time I logon to my WordPress account. I’m currently using Google Chrome as my primary browser, but even when I tried using other browsers, this error still comes up. I’ve ticked every SSL and TLS security settings on my browser, allowed all cookies, run my browser on an Administrator account, even configure my firewall to grant a Trusted Application status to my browser, but still, Error 107 (SSL Connection Error). I’m getting fed up with this s***. I know its free, but then at least provide you user with some pleasant experience. As much as I liked WordPress, I might transfer to Google’s Blogger if this continues.

Wordpress SSL Error

I'm gettin' tired of this s***!

UPDATE : Seems like using Firefox makes my WordPress experience more bearable…

My Top 5 Android Apps

There are more than 100,000 apps on the Android Market; some are good, others are better.  And each one of us has different choices, since we all have different uses for our beloved Android devices.  But, there are apps that we prioritize installing on our devices than other apps. Following is my top 5 apps from the Android Market, in no particular order:

LookoutSecurity

Lookout Mobile Security

Lookout Security – this app has two versions, the free and paid. The difference is that the paid one has a Privacy Advisor which “analyzes apps that access your private information, such as location, contacts, and messages and Safe Browsing which protects you from “phishing and malware on the web.” Nevertheless, even without these two functions in the free versions, the real-time security that Lookout will provide is suffice enough to guard you from malicious content. The free app also includes the Missing Device function which can “locate, lock, scream, or wipe your device from myLookout.com”.

Juice Defender

Juice Defender – like the prior app (I think most apps in the market do), this also has a paid and free version. This app will help you “reclaim your battery”. What that means is that, it will help you manage the most power hungry functions in your device, i.e. 3G/2G connectivity and Wi-Fi, turning them off when you’re low on power, to save you until you can plug your device again. The free version comes with most of the profiles, except the Extreme profile.

KeePassDroid

KeePassDroid – without this app, logging in to my online account would be very, very difficult. KeePassDroid is a password manager apps that helps you managed your usernames and passwords by storing them in a password database. I don’t remember most of my passwords, even my online banking accounts profile, because most of the passwords that I utilized are AES-encrypted strong. So this app is a must for my device.

Pulse News

Pulse – this is for my daily dose of news feeds, mostly tech. But you can select from wide variety of feeds, categorized to specific topics. You can download the feeds and read it later. The feeds are taken into a colorful and interactive mosaic, in which you just click on specific news, and it will open up the content of that feed.

TitaniumBackup

Titanium Backup – very useful, especially if you’re planning to perform a full factory reset of your device. You definitely don’t want to start all over again, downloading apps from the Market. Install the app after the factory reset, and then effortlessly restore your apps and data.  You can even choose to restore only specific apps or data. It’s definitely a time-saver, especially if you have some important data along with the app.

Create Your “Circles” on Facebook and Increase the Privacy of Your Posts.

For the uninitiated, Circles is a Google+ privacy control scheme in which you categorize your acquaintances into circles (groups), allowing you to control who will see your streams or posts, unless you selected Public. Facebook has the same privacy control scheme in which, instead of Circles, you will then create Lists. I think this is already old in Facebook, it was just overlooked. But not anymore, if you want to increase your privacy in Facebook, just follow these simple steps:

1. Open up your PROFILE and click FRIENDS.

2. Click the EDIT FRIENDS button.

3. Click the CREATE A LIST button.

4. A pop-up window will appear. You will then be asked to ENTER A LIST NAME. Example: Relatives.

5. Click on the pictures of the people that you want to include in your list. A CHECK MARK will appear for every selection. If you’ve mistakenly clicked a person, just click that same picture again to remove the CHECK MARK. After you’re done with the selection, click the CREATE LIST button. You will see on the left side of your Facebook page the name of the List that you just created.

6. After you’re done creating Lists, go to your HOME page. Click the UPDATE STATUS box. Beside the POST button, there is a drop-down menu selection. Select CUSTOM.

7. The CUSTOM PRIVACY WINDOW will pop-up. Choose SPECIFIC PEOPLE on the drop-down menu, and on the blank text box that pop-up, type in the first letters of the LIST name. You can then just select it on the drop-down menu that will appear. You can include multiple LIST if you like. After that, click the SAVE CHANGES button.

8. You will then be brought back to your HOME window, and post whatever it is that you want to post “privately”.

It’s simple as that. As you tinker along with this technique, you will still discover new ways of customizing your LISTS. And there you have it, your own Facebook “Circles”.

Personalize Your Gmail Theme…

The reason I like to use Google products is because it lets its users perform customizations to their liking.  And one product of Google which you can customize is Gmail.  So here’s how you do it:

1. Log-in first to your Gmail account. (Obviously)

2. Click the Options (gear) icon.

3. Click the Themes tab.

4. Select any of the pre-built themes, or select Create Your Own Theme.

5. If you selected Create Your Own Theme, a new window will pop-out. Hover your mouse over the area you want to customize and click on the downward arrow button. You can customize the color of the text, links and background.  You can even put your own background image to use.

6. After you’re satisfied with the looks, click the Save button at the bottom of the customization window and then click Close to close the window. You now have your own, personalized look of your Gmail.

Philippine Basketball & Philippine Economy : A Sad Analogy

While the rest of the world has caught up with the Americans in the sport of basketball, we, on the other hand, steadily declined. Filipinos always take pride in their history of the sports, saying that during this decade and that decade, we were the powerhouse in Asian basketball. Nobody can beat us. Well, wake up people, that was a long time ago, before most of us reading this were even conceived. We can compare the current state of Philippine basketball with the current economic state of the country. Before, we were second to Japan in terms of economic power. We were a model country to our neighbors on how to become economically strong. We were one of the wealthier nations, if not the wealthiest, in Asia. But now, I don’t really have to list the specifics. You can just go outside, or read the news, and you know where the Philippines are currently situated. If we were a model country before for economic reasons, we’re still a model today…on how not to run a country to stink economically. As we have stunk in the sports, and so is our economy. Instead of improving, we deteriorated. Instead of a global vision, we stuck ourselves with the same old rules, when we already know that those same rules don’t apply anymore. In this age where one can be anywhere virtually, when knowledge is just a click away, there is no more excuse not to improve. That is why I don’t watch the PBA games as of late. I just can’t stop comparing our players to NBA players or to any other international players for that matter. We have 6’4 guys playing in the PBA, and yet, they couldn’t even touch the rim with the tip of their fingers, while in the NBA, even 6’0 people dunks over 7-footers.  People will say, “Oh, it’s the NBA, this is the PBA. It’s a different league.” Is it? Tell me the difference. Is the way they play basketball there any different than the way we play it here? We were always hoping that we are the first country in Asia to have a player played in the NBA. Now, even Taiwan has outdone us in having one. In terms of the economy, during the first part of the 1990’s, we were one of the tiger cub economies, destined to be the next tiger economy. We were toe-to-toe with Malaysia and Thailand during that time. Now, even Vietnam is outpacing us in terms of foreign direct investments (FDI), and Vietnam was not even projected during that time to become as what they are now today. We have really reached a low point in our economy, not to mention national pride, and the government is still doing nothing to address the situation. Do we still have any pride, or we only have misplaced one? While our South East Asian neighbors compete for more FDI’s, we, on the other hand, tries so hard to upgrade our credit ratings, so we can borrow some more.  While the rest of South East Asia wallows in their respective economic successes, we could only take pride at what Pacquiao or Charice was able to accomplish? We are so pathetic. Really, what Paquiao or Charice has done are their personal accomplishments, nothing more. We cannot take pride on what is not ours. Are you not envious that these people have achieved much, due to hard work, dedication and faith in God? For me, God is merciful, but He abhors laziness. We pride ourselves as the only Catholic/Christian nation in Asia, yet we are still one of its poorest. Look at the other Christian countries in the west, the only similarities that we have is in faith, nothing more. We are the only democratic nation in South East Asia, but, who has more freedom?

What I am trying to imply here is that, we need to assess ourselves on a global scale where we want ourselves in the future. Are we going to stuck ourselves with the same old rules, even though these rules doesn’t help us at all in solving the root cause of our problems, especially in today’s information age? Or are we going to be bold, and apply new rules, that even though unpopular, will help us move forward towards the goals that we have been longing for, for our children’s sake? The election is already over, we have voted whom we think are the right people for the job. One year after, we are still stuck in the same mire as before. I do not want another “People Power”. We already know through history what “People Power” has done to our country. What we need is to fix our priorities in solving the root cause of our problems (not apply a “band-aid” solution to a gaping wound), accept competition in the country which means liberalize our economy, work to become better when we already are the best, gain as much knowledge and skills as we can comprehend, don’t make stupid excuses, vote wisely, strive hard to become what you want in the future the honest way and trust God and in His grace and mercy. We’re a country of dreamers. How about we take those dreams into reality for a change? As the saying goes, “Nasa Diyos ang awa, nasa tao ang gawa.”