Monthly Archives: October 2005

Outlook 2003 delivers mail to nowhere

A couple of days ago, my Thinkpad T42 laptop suddenly could not boot up for some reason. No problem, I thought, I would run the IBM Rescue and Recovery program to recover my operating system as well as personal files, which I back up every week. The restoration went exceptionally well that I only loss about 4 days worth of data. The bad news is Outlook 2003 started to act strangly. When I started Outlook, the status bar told me that Outlook is downloading my messages to the Inbox. The problem is, I did not see any of those messages. I searched and searched and could not find them anywhere. After almost a day of troubleshooting, I was ready to give up and thought of re-installing Office 2003. Then I remember my good friend Duong and went to him for help. This is a big blow to my pride because I used to be an Outlook tester. It turned out that Duong had a solution for that, and it worked.

Here are the steps that I did, based on Duong’s advice:

  1. Back up my data (.PST) file
  2. Delete the current Outlook profile
  3. Repair Office 2003 (or Outlook 2003)
  4. Run Outlook afresh

If you don’t know how to perform these steps, you can search for them at

Firefox’s Keyboard Shortcuts

These keyboard shortcuts make my life easier. My favorites:

  • Ctrl+K to take me to the search box
  • / to search within the window
  • Ctrl+B for bookmarks
  • Text sizes: Ctrl+= (ctrl and equal size to increase), Ctrl+- (ctrl and minus sign to decrease), and Ctrl+0 (ctrl and zero to restore)

Accepting and Rejecting Tracked Changes the Old Way in Microsoft Word

While I rarely use this feature, I can see how the new Word 2003 toolbars would suck, and why people want the old way back.

When you accept a tracked change in Word 2003, you must hit the Next button to go to the next tracked change, while in older versions, you were automatically taken to the next tracked change.

So here’s how to get the old method back.

PicoCrypt: Encryption to go

(Click here for Screenshot)
I have been looking for an encryption software that satisfy the following requirements:

  • Small and portable: I want to run the program from my USB key, that means it should be small. By portable, I meant the program should be able to run without installation. I can just plug the USB key into any computer running Windows and run the program from the USB key.
  • Public-computers friendly. Most public computers do not grant me the administrator privilege. This program must be able to run in this environment.

My search dragged on for a couple of days, which includes CryptainerLE Mobile, Private Disk Light, and Crypto Anywhere. All of these programs, with the exception of Crypto Anywhere, requires the admin right so I cannot use them. Finally, I settle for PicoCrypt from Picofactory.


  • Small and portable: “installation” means copy the sole 13.5KB .EXE file to your USB key.
  • It does not require admin right to run. That makes encrypting your files possible, even in public computers.
  • Simple to use


  • You have to enter password twice every time you run the program.
  • The “Always on top” and “Always ask for password” options are on by default and they are annoying.
  • Not a lot of features
  • Encryption algorithm uses 128-bit key, which is tiny in today’s standard.

Installation is easy: just copy the small 13.5KB .EXE file to your USB key and you are done. The filename is PCRYPTxxxx.EXE, where xxxx is the version number. However, I renamed it to pcrypt.exe to make it shorter.

Using the program:
Every time I run the program, it asks me to enter a password, then retype the password. The program does not remember previous password, which is a good thing. The bad news is, every time I run, I have to enter a password twice. This password is what I call “session password” because it lasts only for the current session. Once I quit the program, the password is forgotten. PicoCrypt uses this password to encrypt and decrypt the files.

Once I entered the password, I always do the following: turn off (uncheck) the “Always on top” and “Always ask password” menues under the “Options” menu. The first option is self-explanatory. If I turn on the “Always ask password” menu option, PicoCrypt will always ask for password twice every time I encode or decode a file. The only usefulness I can think of by using this option is when you want to encode or decode files using different passwords. Turn off this option, PicoCrypt will use the session password to encrypt and decrypt file, which is more convenient.

To encrypt a file, the easiest way is to drag it into the PicoCrypt window, then Click “Encrypt”. At this point, PicoCrypt will encrypt the file and display the status in its window. The file is now encrypted, its contents has been scrambled, but its name remains unchanged. A second way to encrypt file is to click the File menu then click Encrypt.

To decrypt the file, drag the encrypted file to PicoCrypt window, then click Decrypt. Again, another way is to click the File menu, then click the Decrypt menu item.

That’s all there to the program. It does not have any other function. While I am happy with this program, I always welcome others that fit my requirements. If you know any, please let me know by posting your comment.
This entry linked to Wikispaces page (PortableApplications)

SciTE–Excellent small text editor for your USB Key

In my quest for a small, fast, full-featured text/code editor, I encountered SciTE. This is an excellent text editor that supports color-coded source code for many languages (C, C++, Fortran, Python, Perl, …) The program is small, can be run without any setup, which makes it ideal in a USB key. Best of all, it is free.

The uncompressed version of the editor consists of about 76 files and weight in about 1.27MB. However, I chose to use the compressed file, which is a single stand-alone .EXE of 411KB.