Friday, August 08, 2008

Converting Word docs to the Sony eBook format

Hi, my name is Ivan and I'm a gadgetholic. It's been 15 days since my last gadget purchase. Of course, I'll argue that each one of those purchases represents an enhanced quality of life, a way to streamline my day-to-day activities, thus freeing me up to...well, go out and buy more gadgets I guess.

Take this one time earlier this year when I was in the United States. I happened to be passing the Fry's electronics store in Seattle, so I popped in for a browse. I left with the Sony electronic book reader. It's beautiful – it uses one of those special e-ink screens that looks almost like paper. It only uses power when changing the page, so battery life is very good (7,500 page turns in theory). My reasoning was that I have so much reading to catch up on, and this is a lot faster to "boot up" compared to my laptop.

The reader is capable of displaying PDF documents, the only problem is that scales them to fit it's screen size. So a document laid out for A4 doesn't look so good on the reader. I really wanted to catch up on all those SharePoint white papers and articles that I haven't had time to read, so I needed to figure out an easy solution for putting them on the Sony.

So I've put together a Word macro. This reformats a document to match the Sony screen size, adjusting both page dimensions and margins. I also adjust the dimensions of any images in the document so that they fit the page, its crude, but seems to work. Once it has been resized, I can save it as a PDF document and download it to the Sony reader. This also works for web articles – copy/paste to Word and run the macro.

I'm currently reading "The 01100 step programme to reducing technological dependencies".

You can download the macro code here

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Filtering Calendar List Web Part Entries

Not sure if this is a well known fact, but thought I'd post about it anyway. When you add a web part for a WSS 3.0 Calendar list onto a web part page, the default view automatically filters items to only show those with an end date great than or equal to today, and a start date that is less than 2 years from the current date. The time value is not used for filtering these items.

This means that all current and future events that start within 2 years will be shown.

Also, the description will be truncated after approximately the first 255 characters. Truncation will happen at the end of a word, not half way through one.

If you don't want to show 2 years worth of future events, you can use the following technique to reduce the time span:

  1. Add a new calculated column to your calendar list called Start Advertising.
  2. Set the formula to "=[Start Time] – 60". Change the number of days to whatever you want to use. In this case I'm saying that I want see events that are starting in less than 60 days from now.
  3. Set the data type for the formula result to Date and Time
  4. Update the Calendar web part – Edit the current view
  5. Add a filter for the Start Advertising field "is less than" [today]

Friday, August 01, 2008

Central Administration Regional Settings

Ever noticed that the timestamps within Central Administration are in US Date format? If you think in months, days and years, that's OK. But for the rest of us it can be a little confusing. Has it really been 4 months since the Usage Analysis timer job ran? Why would the last backup have occurred on the 13th month of the year? And unless you live around GMT -08:00, you may also scratch your head at the times that SharePoint displays.

To banish this confusion, just change the Regional Settings within Central Administration. This is normally a piece of cake: Site Actions -> Site Settings -> Regional Settings. The problem is, the Regional Settings link doesn't appear in Central Administration. If you are feeling adventurous, you can access the settings page by going to /_layouts/regionalsetng.aspx on your Central Administration site.

Maybe there are a number of people taking care of the Central Administration site, and you are scattered across multiple time zones. Not to worry, to change just your own regional settings, go to /_layouts/regionalsetng.aspx?Type=User in Central Administration.