How To Create a Lion Install Disk with Lion DiskMaker

Most of the world is aware that Apple released OS X Lion exclusively on the Mac App Store. While this model of digital distribution guaranteed enough copies for everyone who wanted one, and cut down on the possibility of heat effected lines. However, what this didn’t provide was a physical backup of the install files.

Lion natively creates a recovery partition on any Mac it is installed on. While that will be fine for most cases of simply reinstalling the OS, it has its negatives. If you hard drive becomes corrupted, or physically breaks, you will need to start over from Snow Leopard. That sounds very annoying, but developers have been working hard to make it a non-issue.

While it is possible to create a Lion install disk manually, it can be a little complicated. Thankfully, a French developer has made it a little easier with a free tool called Lion DiskMaker. In order to make use of it, you will need a copy of the Lion install file.

While that isn’t a problem if you have not yet installed Lion, it requires a little trickery to get said file on a machine already running Lion. In order to do so, open the Mac App Store and click the “Purchased” tab while holding the “Option” key. You will then be able to re-download the install file, and thus create an installation disk.

Once you have the Lion installer, you need to download and unzip Lion DiskMaker. Once that is done, you need to put your destination disk into your machine. You can use a DVD or a flash drive of size 4GB or greater. Once you are set up, run Lion DiskMaker. You will notice that the app is written in French, but its still very easy to use.

Step 1. – When you first open the app, you will see this window. If you are using a DVD, click the button that says “DVD.” If you are using a USB thumb drive, click the one that says “USB.”

Step 2 – The next window that pops up will be this one. Click the button on the right, and you will be taken to the selection window shown below. For this example, I used a USB key, so I picked that drive eon my system and hit “Choose.”

Step 3 – Once you choose a disk, the program will begin to run. It will unpack the needed files from the Lion installer, and then proceed to burn them to your disk of choice. This can take up to a half an hour, so be patient.

Step 4 – After the burning is complete, you will see this window. You can click the button on the right to exit the application, or the one on the left to create another disk. Once you are done, be sure to unmount/eject your drives correctly, and place the finished media in a safe place.

As you can see, its easy to create your own Lion install disk. While I hope an English version of this app is available soon, the French version does the job and is very easy to use. if you have any questions or comments, let us know in the comments section.

Update:  A version of Lion DiskMaker is  available  in English. You can grab it here. Thanks to  Guillaume Gete for the email and the link to the US version.

How-To View and Edit RAW Photos in Windows Live Photo Gallery

Microsoft has released Microsoft Camera Codec Pack that enables the viewing of a variety of device-specific file formats. The codec pack allows you to import, organize, and edit RAW files without using third-party plugins or applications.

A RAW file is the uncompressed output from each of the original pixels on the camera’s image sensors. RAW files have higher image quality than JPEG files and have more image information. Microsoft Camera Codec Pack lets you view RAW files from over 120 digital SLR devices in Windows Live Photo Gallery as well as in Windows Explorer. The files can also be viewed in other applications that are based on Windows Imaging Codecs (WIC). This pack is available in both the x86 and x64 versions for Windows Vista Service Pack 2 and Windows 7.

Once the codec pack is installed, you can edit copies of your RAW images in Windows Live Photo Gallery. Within Photo Gallery, make a JPEG or JPEG-XR (or HD-photo) copy of the original photo, and then apply different editing effects available. You can even use the RAW files to stitch panoramas using Photo Gallery.

The Microsoft Camera Codec Pack provides support for the following device formats:

  • Canon: EOS 1000D (EOS Kiss F in Japan and the EOS Rebel XS in North America), EOS 10D, EOS 1D Mk2, EOS 1D Mk3, EOS 1D Mk4, EOS 1D Mk2 N, EOS 1Ds Mk2, EOS 1Ds Mk3, EOS 20D, EOS 300D (the Kiss Digital in Japan and the Digital Rebel in North America) , EOS 30D, EOS 350D (the Canon EOS Kiss Digital N in Japan and EOS Digital Rebel XT in North America), EOS 400D (the Kiss Digital X in Japan and the Digital Rebel XTi in North America), EOS 40D, EOS 450D (EOS Kiss X2 in Japan and the EOS Rebel XSi in North America), EOS 500D (EOS Kiss X3 in Japan and the EOS Rebel T1i in North America), EOS 550D (EOS Kiss X4 in Japan, and as the EOS Rebel T2i in North America), EOS 50D, EOS 5D, EOS 5D Mk2, EOS 7D, EOS D30, EOS D60, G2, G3, G5, G6, G9, G10, G11, Pro1, S90
  • Nikon: D100, D1H, D200, D2H, D2Hs, D2X, D2Xs, D3, D3s, D300, D3000, D300s, D3X, D40, D40x, D50, D5000, D60, D70, D700, D70s, D80, D90, P6000
  • Sony: A100, A200, A230, A300, A330, A350, A380, A700, A850, A900, DSC-R1
  • Olympus: C7070, C8080, E1, E10, E20, E3, E30, E300, E330, E400, E410, E420, E450, E500, E510, E520, E620, EP1
  • Pentax (PEF formats only): K100D, K100D Super, K10D, K110D, K200D, K20D, K7, K-x, *ist D, *ist DL, *ist DS
  • Leica: Digilux 3, D-LUX4, M8, M9
  • Minolta: DiMage A1, DiMage A2, Maxxum 7D (Dynax 7D in Europe, α-7 Digital in Japan)
  • Epson: RD1
  • Panasonic: G1, GH1, GF1, LX3

Editing the Slide Master in PowerPoint 2010

Slide MasterHave you ever wanted to create a visual presentation that utilizes your company logo and color scheme? PowerPoint has great built in themes, but sometimes you just want something a little more customized. You could customize each slide with colors and logo placement, however, there is a much easier way to do this. PowerPoint has a feature called the “Slide Master” which allows you to format once, but affect every slide in the presentation.

The process of editing the “Slide Master” is pretty simple. In PowerPoint 2010, click the “View” tab above the ribbon toolbar. On the “View” tab, you will find a button that says “Slide Master”, as illustrated below.

Slide Master Button

When you are in the “Slide Master” view you, will see a blank slide with several miniature slide layouts running down the left side of the screen. Clicking on these miniatures will show you a preview of how that particular layout will appear with the edits you make here. See the picture below.

Slide Master

Let’s say you wanted to make the slide title a particular font and size. Click inside the title placeholder and highlight the text. You should see a font toolbar pop up like the one pictured below. Here, you can customize the font. You will also notice that you can edit the different levels in a bulleted list. Note, any change you make here affects every slide in the presentation. You are basically setting the defaults for this presentation.

Font Change

Let’s say that you wanted to edit the background color of the bulleted list. It is pretty easy to do. Right click in the shape area, and you will notice a little toolbar pop up, like the one pictured below. You will notice a little paint bucket icon on there with a small downward pointing arrow to the right. Click this arrow, and you will get a color selector that will allow you to choose a background color for the shape. Note, you can also do pictures, gradients, and textures.

Fill Shape Color

You might also decide that you would like to customize a different color for the main slide area. To do this, right click on the outer edge of the slide, away from any shape, and choose “Format Background” from the menu. In the picture below, you will see what the “Format Background” dialog box looks like. Like shapes, you can fill backgrounds with solid colors, gradients, pictures, or patterns.

Background Color

Once you have all of your fonts and colors the way you like it, you can move on to adding a custom logo. You can insert the logo from a picture file, or simply copy it from a website. if you like. Below, you can see what the logo file looks like when pasted into PowerPoint. Notice the “Paste Options” toolbar. There is an icon with an image attached to a clipboard. If you click this button, it will paste the picture that you have copied from a website.

Pasted Logo

Now, you have your logo in the presentation. The next step will be to find a good location for it in the presentation. In the example below, the image was positioned in the bottom right corner of the slide. This looked great on the bulleted list layout, but notice that the subtitle placeholder on the title page is covering the image up. There are a couple of things that you could do here. The easiest thing would be to resize the subtitle slide to make it small enough not to cover the logo. You may want to check the other slide layouts, as well. For example, the content layout slides completely cover the logo up in the instance pictured below. You may want to resize them, as well.

Logo Covered Up

Now, you have come to the final stretch. To get out of the “Slide Master” view, click the “View” tab and select “Normal” on the ribbon toolbar.

Normal Button

Now, each new slide you insert into the presentation will be formatted in the same way as your “Slide Master”. Below, you will see a picture showing a slide that is formatted with the edits that were done in the “Slide Master” view. Hopefully, the creative wheels are turning in your head now. How might you use this nifty feature? As always, I would love to hear your comments below.

Slide Preview

How To Get Back Old Facebook Chat

Recently, rolled out a new video calling feature in collaboration with Skype. The new feature allowed for one-to-one video chatting with your friends. However, they also rolled out a new  chat sidebar which has been annoying people to no end.

Facebook Video Chat

Facebook has been known to annoy users with newer design changes, and it is no surprise that people are upset with such an attitude. Last time Facebook annoyed users with a new rollout for the image viewer, however, you can easily disable the Facebook Theater mode too.

Earlier last month, Google also annoyed users by changing their homepage design and adding a black bar at the top. You can easily remove the black bar in Google and similarly also revert back to the old Facebook chat.

Also Read: Group Video Chat on Facebook with Social Hangouts

In order to get rid of the new Facebook sidebar chat that has been included, you will need to install a script. Just head over to this link and click on the install button. This will install the script and revert Facebook chat to the older version.

The script should work out of the box in and with the Greasemonkey add-on installed. If you are using a browser like , Internet Explorer or Safari you might want to read our earlier guide about a workaround to run Greasemonkey scripts in Opera, Internet Explorer or Safari.

Don’t forget to read our earlier article on how you can make Facebook better in Google Chrome.

Update: You can also use a called Facebook Cool to restore the old Facebook chat. Download the extension from here.

Jazz Up Excel Spreadsheets Using Tables

Format As TableTake a look at the spreadsheet in the picture below? What does it say to you? Do you get the feeling you’re looking back in time at an old black and white TV? What this spreadsheet needs is some spunk! Today I would like to show you how Excel can turn this bland spreadsheet into a work of art!

Spreadsheet

Microsoft Excel 2010 has a real handy feature called “Format as Table”. This feature can be found on the “Home” tab of the ribbon toolbar.  See the picture below.

Format As Table

To use this feature, highlight your spreadsheet, and click the  “Format as Table” button. This will drop down a menu with different samples of tables you can choose from. Click one of the choices on the menu to apply it to your spreadsheet. A dialog box will pop up asking you to confirm where the data for your table resides.  Since you highlighted your spreadsheet to begin with, this data should be correct as shown. Since our spreadsheet does have column headers you want to make sure that the “My table has headers” check box is checked. Click OK to apply the table style to your spreadsheet.

Confirm Data Window

In the picture below, you will notice that your table style has been applied. You will also notice that there are little downward pointing arrows beside each column heading. These are filter arrows. If you click the filter arrow beside the heading labeled “State”, for example, you will have the option to filter the list to only show the states you want to see.

Table Headers

When you click in your newly formatted table, you will notice a new tab on the ribbon toolbar called “Design”. In the picture below, you will see this “Design” tab gives you the option to change the table styles. If you hover your mouse over the different table styles, the table changes to give you a preview of how it will look if that style is applied; however, the style will not be applied until you click it.

Design Tab

On the same “Design” tab, you will see “Table Style Options” group. Here you can add different formatting to the first column. You can even add a “Total Row”, as shown in the picture below.

Total Row

As you can see, using the “Format as Table” option in excel, is an easy way to add color and functionality to your spreadsheet. How would you use this feature in your spreadsheet?  Comments are always welcome. Please see the comment field at the bottom of this post.

Combine Multiple Documents in Word

Insert Object in WordRecently, I was tasked to update our “Techie Buzz Keyboard Safety Manual”. As self appointed Safety Manager, I was concerned about the rash of keyboard related injuries many of our staff were incurring. When I began to work on the manual I noticed something very strange. The person that saved the original manual had saved each section as a separate Word document. At first I panicked. What do I do? Did I seriously want to copy and paste each document into the master document? Fortunately, I remembered a trick that made this as easy as pie. Today, I would like to show you that trick.

Open the document you wish to add other documents to in Word. In the image below, you will notice section one of the manual.  One thing to decide before you insert another document is whether you want the other document’s text to appear in the body of the current page, or below in its own page.  In this example, we’ll be adding a page break so that the imported document’s text will appear on its own page. Below, you will see a graphic with the “Insert” tab highlighted. Click the “Insert” tab on the ribbon toolbar.

Click the Insert Menu

On the “Insert” tab, you will see a “Page Break” button. The “Page Break” button is highlighted in the picture below. Clicking this button will insert a new page into the Word document.

Page Break Button

Now that you have a new page to work with, you can insert another Word document. On the same “Insert” tab there is an “Object” button.  It is usually found on the far right side of the ribbon toolbar in the “Text” group. If you click the downward pointing arrow beside the “Object” button, you will see an option that says “Text from File”. See the picture below.

Insert Object Button

When you click the “Text from File” button, a dialog box will pop up.  In the picture below, you can see the various Word documents that need to be inserted into this master document.

Insert File Window

In this dialog box, you can select one or all of the documents that you wish to insert into the master document. Hold down the “Ctrl” key on your keyboard and click each file that you want to insert. In the bottom right corner of this dialog box, there is a button that says “Insert”. Click the “Insert” button to combine these files into your master document.

Now all of your documents are combined into one. Producing your finished product is now just a matter of formatting and tweaking the paragraphs a little.  It is certainly faster than opening each document individually and copying the text. I hope you find good uses for this little tip.

Merge Word Documents to Outlook Email Recipients

Merge to Email in WordSummer’s here!  The birds are chirping.  The butterflies flutter by.  All this just screams, “COMPANY PICNIC SEASON“!  So let’s make some plans and get those invites out!  Microsoft Word is a great way to make pretty invitations.  But what is the easiest way to distribute them?  You could attach your invitation to an e-mail, but then you would have to go through and select all of the recipients.  You also have to consider the fact that putting all the recipients names in the “To:” field lets everyone who gets the e-mail see the e-mail addresses of all the other recipients.  This is a real problem if you want to protect the identity of certain people.  You could resolve this by placing all the recipients in the “BCC:” field, however, then you have to put something in the “To:” field or it just looks weird when the recipient gets it.  Confused yet?  This whole process can be simplified using the “Merge to Email” feature in Word.

Let’s begin by creating a custom contact folder Microsoft Outlook.  In Outlook, right click your mailbox folder and choose “New Folder” from the menu.  You will see the following window pictured below.  Give your folder a name and make sure that the “Folder contains:” field has “Contact Items” selected.  This will assure that we have a contact folder.

Create New Contact Folder in Microsoft Outlook

Next, add some contacts to your new contact folder.  Pictured below, you will see the contact window with a couple of contacts shown.

Contacts Window

Once you have all of your contacts entered in you new contact folder, you are ready to proceed to your invitation.  Open Microsoft Word and type up your invitation.  When you have it all typed up the way you want it, click the “Mailings” tab on the ribbon toolbar.  See the picture below.

Mailings Tab in Word

On the “Mailings” tab, you will see a button that says “Select Recipients”.  When you click this button you will see a drop down menu where you can choose the source of your recipients.  In this tutorial you will choose “Select from Outlook Contacts” from the menu shown in the picture below.

Select Recipients

You will now see the window, pictured below, asking you to select the Outlook contacts folder.  Choose the appropriate folder and click OK.  Choosing the contacts folder will set that folder as the source for the merge in Word.

Select Contacts

You now have the opportunity to pick and choose which contacts from that folder you want to receive the invitation.  Note that all contacts in the folder are selected by default.  In the picture below, you will see little check boxes beside each contact name.  Simply click the check box to select or deselect the contacts you wish to send to.  When you are finished, click OK.

Recipient List

Now the magic really starts to happen.  Let’s personalize the invitation to show the recipients first and last names at the top.  To do this, make sure your cursor is at the top of the page, then, from the “Mailings” tab choose “Insert Merge Field”.  This will give you a drop down menu with all of the fields in the contact folder you chose.  See the picture below.

Insert Merge Field

Now, choose the “First” field.  Notice you get a little merge field at the top of your document with the word “<<First>>” listed, as pictured below.  What this means is when you finish the merge, and your contact receives the e-mail, they will see their first name in this spot on the document.  Go ahead and hit the space bar, and  insert the “Last” merge field too, so that the recipients last name will appear there as well.

Edit Merge Field Font

Double click the “First” field to see formatting options, as pictured above.  Here you can change the font style and size.  Go ahead and set the font to look the way you would like for the recipient to see it.

The last step in the process is to click the “Finish & Merge” button on the “Mailings” tab.  You will see the drop down menu pictured below.  Click the “Send E-mail Messages” option to start the merge.  Now all of the recipients you picked from the contacts folder will receive an email with the invitation in the body of the message.  WARNING! Once you click “Send E-mail Messages”, the message is immediately sent!  There will be no dialog boxes asking you to click OK or anything.  So don’t click this button until you are ready for it to go.

Start the Merge

You can verify that the mailing went out by checking your “Sent Items” in Outlook.  You will notice that every contact received a single message.  This means there is no more worry about hiding people’s email in the “BCC:” field.   Problem solved!

Hopefully you will find this feature useful for your next big mailing.  Oh, by the way, don’t forget to save me a little dessert at the picnic!  ;)

Add Some Spark to Your Excel Spreadsheets

Creating SparklinesHave you and your spreadsheet lost the old fire?  Do you find your eyes wandering?  Rekindle that flame!  Add some “spark” to your spreadsheet using one of Microsoft Excel 2010’s coolest new features, “Sparklines”!

“Sparklines” are kind of like miniature charts that you can fit into a small area, such as a cell.  They are great for showing trends in a data series.  In the spreadsheet below, you see a series of numbers representing recordable safety violations by month.  Some people can extract what they want by looking through long rows of data like those below.  Others, however, prefer something more visual.

Insert Excel Sparklines

Notice the column labeled “Trends” in the picture above.  This is the ideal place for a “Sparkline”.  To insert a “Sparkline” here, click the cell in which you wish to place the “Sparkline”, then click the “Insert” tab on the ribbon toolbar, and click on the type of “Sparkline” you want from the “Sparkline” group.  See the picture below.

Inserting Sparklines

When you choose a “Sparkline”, you will see a dialog box like the one pictured below.  The first field asks you to input the range of cells that contain the data.  You can manually type this in, for example, A1:A12, or you can click the little square at the end of the box.  This little square will minimize the box and allow you to highlight the data range with your mouse.  It really is just a matter of preference.  The second field asks you where you want your “Sparkline” to reside in the sheet.  Note this can be a range and not just a single cell.

Creating Sparklines Window

Once you have inserted the “Sparkline”, you will see options to format it under the “Design” tab, highlighted in green below.  You can choose from a number of styles.  You can even set different colors for markers, such as high points and low points.

Customize the Sparkline

The next time you have to present a report in a spreadsheet, take a moment to insert one of these neat little “Sparklines”.

Speed Up Formatting in Microsoft Office with Format Painter

Format Painter ButtonLay down the canvas!  Put on your painting clothes!  We’re going to do some painting!  Today I would like to show you an easy way to format multiple objects in Microsoft Office using the “Format Painter” tool.  You may have noticed a little paint brush icon that sits at the top of most Microsoft Office applications.  This button is called the “Format Painter”.  Below you will see a screenshot from Excel highlighting the button.  So what does this button do, exactly?  First you have to understand the word “format”.  When you format something in Microsoft Office applications, you are basically changing the way something looks.  In the picture below, you will notice that the spreadsheet has column headers.  The first column header says “First Name”.  It is different from the other headers because it has been formatted to have a bold font, background color, and font color.  It took a few steps to get that header to look that way.  So what if you wanted  the “Last Name” column to look exactly the same?  This is where “Format Painter” saves the day.  First, Click the cell that has the formatting you want.  Now click the “Format Painter” button.  Notice the highlighted cell below and how the mouse changes to a white cross with a paint brush icon beside.

Format Painter Button in Microsoft Excel

Now you click the cell that you want to change and presto! change-o!, you have duplicated the formatting from the selected cell.  See the picture below to verify this.  Once you click the cell that you want to change, the mouse will go back to normal.  You can click and drag with the “Format Painter” button activated, and it will continue to work until you release the mouse.  Once the mouse has been released, “Format Painter” disables.

Selecting Cells with Format Painter

What if you wanted to do multiple  non-contiguous cells?  This is possible.  In the example below, you will see that I was able to format cells that were not contiguous.  To achieve this, you double click the “Format Painter” button.  Doing this enables you to keep on painting until your heart’s content.  Once you are ready to stop formatting, all you have to do is hit the “ESC” key in the top left corner of your keyboard.

Selecting Multiple Cells Using Format Painter

Below, you will see an example of how the “Format Painter” button appears in Microsoft Word.  Notice that the first paragraph has blue font and 1.5 line spacing.

Using Format Painter in Word
In order to duplicate the formatting of the first paragraph in the second, you must highlight the entire first paragraph, click the “Format Painter”, and then highlight the second paragraph.  Why do you have to highlight the entire first paragraph?  If you highlighted a single word in the first paragraph, and then applied the “Format Painter’ to the second paragraph, it would only duplicate the word formatting.  The paragraph formatting would not be duplicated.  Highlighting the entire first paragraph duplicates both the word and the paragraph formatting.  See the picture below.

Formatting Paragraphs in Word Using Format Painter

Using “Format Painter” can make quick work of formatting in Microsoft Office.  Plus, there’s no drippy mess!  :)

Categorizing Contacts In Outlook

Categorize ButtonIf you’re like me, you have hundreds of contacts.  Sometimes trying to sort through all the clutter can be daunting.  Microsoft Outlook offers a great way to categorize these contacts.  Categorizing your contacts enables you to sort them into logical groups.  For instance, you may want to only view contacts that you work with, or you may want to only see family.  It is very easy to do this in Outlook.  In order to categorize we’ll need to open up a contact in Outlook.  In Outlook 2010 there is a colorful square labeled “Categorize” on the top right corner of the ribbon toolbar.  See the picture below.

Categorize Button In Outlook

You will notice that there are several color coded categories listed in the drop down menu.   Some of these categories have default labels on them such as Businessand Holiday.   The cool thing is you can use these, or you can customize them to make sense to you.   Below you will see a picture of the Categorizemenu.   At the bottom of the menu you will see an option called All Categories.   This is where you click to customize this menu.

Categorize Menu

When you click the All Categoriesoption you will see the box below.   Notice I have selected the generically named “Green Category”.   Over on the right side of the window you have the option to rename.   I chose to rename this Geeksjust for fun.

Renaming Categories Window

Once you have customized the categories the way you want them, you can assign them to your contacts and save them.   Now we can view our contacts in categories.   If we go to the Viewtab in Outlook, there is a button in the top left corner that says Change View.   Below you will see what this looks like.   Notice the envelope with the words By Categorywritten underneath.   Click this option to view your contacts by category.

View Menu By Category

Now you can see a list of categories.   There is a sideways triangle beside each category. When clicked they will expand to show you all of the contacts that are listed in that category.   In the picture below you will see where I have expanded the new Geekscategory I created.   You will also notice that each category heading tells you how many items are listed in that category.   Another thing to note is that a contact can be a member of more than one category if you so choose.   For instance, a personal contact may also be a business associate too.     Hopefully you will find this helpful and maybe think of creative uses for the categories in Outlook.

Outlook Contacts Categorized View