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.

One Password To Remember Them All

KeePass Password Safe

I have so many accounts in the internet.  Email, online banking, social networks, etc.  And each account requires different usernames and most importantly, passwords.  Previously, so that I can remember the usernames and passwords for each account that I have, I have this excel file in which I will save both my usernames and passwords in it.  This procedure is quite tedious, and certainly not automated.  But it is still effective is some ways.  That was until I found out KeePass Password Safe.

One thing I like about KeePass is that, it is a set-it-and-forget-it type of application.  You can set powerful AES-encryption type passwords without even remembering it.  On my favorite social network account, I don’t really remember my password because it was a combination of different kinds of characters, including brackets, spaces & ASCII codes.  But then, I can still login to it.  One utility I like most about KeePass was its Auto-type function.  Though I don’t remember the passwords I’ve set to my online (and even offline) accounts, the Auto-type function, as its name implies, will automatically types the username and password on the selected account.  It’s easy as that.  Or if auto-type function doesn’t work, you can just just copy and paste both the username and password.

Overall, KeePass has save me a great deal because of its simple, yet effective technique.  One thing though, you still have to remember the one password for the KeePass database which will contain all your saved usernames and passwords.  But then, this is much better than trying to remember a hundred, right?