Tech

So I'm working in Microsoft Excel today and I get this great error message.  It's about as unspecific a warning as you can get.  I've been working with Microsoft products for quite a while, but this message has to be one of the best (REAL) messages I've ever personally seen.  Here's the image:

 

Microsoft Excel

 

Catastrophic failure?  Ever been in the middle of writing a long paper and had Microsoft Word crash on you before you could save your work?  I always thought that was a catastrophic failure.  As a side note - always remember to save your documents often!

At least this time I was doing something that is out of the ordinary and is data intensive.  For anyone who is technically inclined, I was querying a local database and converting that data to a local data cube for analysis with ProClarity. Ignore this line - In acronym land that would be: using MSQE in Excel to hit an SQL db using ODBC to do some BI analysis on my EUs in EMA for FPD with my PC from TX in the USA. Laughing  Some of the tables have over 50,000 rows of data, but I've done the exact same query before.

 

Oh well, I thought  

I was trying to connect to Google talk at work the other day via a third-party IM client called Miranda.  I downloaded a Google protocol (which actually runs on Jabber) but I couldn't get it to connect with the standard settings.  I figured it might be because my company has a firewall that blocks most ports, so I downloaded the official google talk client to see if it would work.

It went through a couple iterations of trying to connect to the server... and then... SUCCESS!  So why could it connect and my local client wouldn't?  As I assumed it was using a different port to connect.  Here's what I did to find out what port the application was running on.

I'll start with a high-level overview that power-users should be able to understand easily.  Then I'll break it down in a little more detail with the detailed steps needed to find out which port the application is running on.

High-level Overview: 

1. Open the Task Manager and find the PID for googletalk.exe 

2. Open the command prompt and run the " netstat -o -n" command

3. Find the PID in command prompt and find out which port it's running on. 

 

Detailed Steps

1. Press Ctl+Alt+Del to open the Task Manager (on some systems you may have to click the Task Manager button)

2.  In Task Manager, click View > Select Columns

3. Make sure the PID (Process Identifier) checkbox is checked and press OK

4.  Click the Processes tab, then scroll through the list and find the application you are looking for. Make note of the PID next to it.

5. Open command prompt: clcik Start > then click Run > type in "CMD" and press enter (a black command prompt should open)

6. Type in " netstat -o -n" and press enter*

*You can also add "-a" to the command to have it show more port information (all applications and listening ports)

7. Find the item in the list that has the same PID as you noted above. 

8. To find the port, look at the under the Foreign Address column and make note of the number after the colon.*

*This is typically called a socket and is in the format IP.add.re.ss:portNumber.  For Google talk this was 72.14.253.125:443 - meaning that the port number was 443 (which happens to be the default port for SSL connections).

I recently installed Mac OS X on my desktop computer and fell in love with a few of the features it has.  What's funny is one of the big things Mac lovers boast about is how great their macs look.  And you know what, they're right.  But you can enjoy the same cool features on your PC too!  Here are a few of my new favorite applications.  Two of them have to do with the mac-like interface and two of them are just my favorite apps.

Mac-like Interface:

  • Reflex Vision - this tools gives you features similar to the expose views in OS X.  It allows you to view all your windows at once with a zooming animation.  It's really something that's just too hard to describe or understand, so I recommend either downloading and trying it out or seeing the flash demo on their website.  http://www.reflexvision.net/
  • Yahoo! Widget Engine - I think this application actually used to be a fee-based application called Konfabulator. But Yahoo! has purchased it and made it available to everyone for free. You can download widgets, which are small applications that run in the background and display information.  If you've used OS X before, I'm sure you remember the little calculator and dictionary search. http://www.konfabulator.com


Other Good Apps:

    • Mozilla Firefox / Thunderbird - if you seriously haven't heard of this browser and mail client yet, you should definitely try it out. Firefox has all the features that were just recently implemented in IE7 and it runs faster too!  One of the best parts of firefox is the addons. Here's a few I really like: http://www.firefox.com
      • IETab - allows you to render web pages using internet explorer seamlessly inside firefox.  The only place I really use this is for Microsoft based pages like Windows Update, Microsoft Live, Microsoft.com, and ProClarity Web Pro.
      • Stealther - turns of cookies, history, and all the information that tracks you on the web.  This is useful when you don't want someone on your computer to be snooping on your stuff, but really useful when you don't want websites prying too.
      • Adblock Pro - I really only use this when I remote into my computer at home.  It's designed to turn off ads that are on websites.  I've learned to block out ads when I'm surfing the web, but I dont want them taking up my bandwidth when I'm on Remote Desktop to my home computer
    • PortableApps - they just released a Suite which includes all of the most common applications.  The best part about it is they are all stand-alone applications that can be run directly from your thumb-drive.  My favorites are: Firefox (internet), Thunderbird (mail), Clamwin (antivirus), 7-zip (compression), Miranda (messaging), and uTorrent (downloading) http://www.portableapps.com

Prologue:
So I was having a lot of issues getting my e-mail copied from one IMAP e-mail account to another without having issues.  I tried copying the e-mails directly from one IMAP inbox to another without much success. Basically the server would start rejecting the copies after 10-20 e-mails.

In Thunderbird (Mozilla’s mail application) I was getting the following message: “Sending authenticate login information..” and the client would just stop copying e-mails.

In Outlook Express 6, the client application would begin copying the files over then give me a non descript error message.

What I will explain in the following post is how I successfully copied mail files from one IMAP server to another.  This method will keep all the existing information (headers) like the received date, sender name, etc.  I know it is possible to simply Forward all the messages but then you will lose all this data, which wasn’t an option for me.

Overview:
The steps involved include (a) creating the two accounts in a mail client, (b) downloading the mail from the “old” account to a local folder, and (c) moving the mail from the local folder to the “new” account.

I initially overlooked the simplicity of this option, but it works simply and successfully. For the purpose of this document the “old” account refers to the account that you will be transferring mail from and the “new” account refers to the account that you will be transferring mail to. You can probably use most mail clients to do this, but I will use Outlook Express 6 to explain because pretty much everyone with Windows XP has this on their computer.

The Steps:


1.      Create the two (2) accounts in the mail client

a.      In Outlook Express, click Tools -> Accounts in the menu.

b.      Click the Add button and choose mail

c.       Follow the prompts, filling in your “old” IMAP account information

d.      Once you add the account it will ask you if you want to download the folders for the new account you just created. Choose yes.

                                                              i.      Make sure each folder is viewable. You can do this by selecting a folder and choosing Show if it is not viewable.

e.      Repeat the above steps for the “new” IMAP account

      2. Copy the mail from the old account to a local mail folder

a.      Decide which mail folder you would like to download the mail from

b.      Make sure there is a folder with a similar name in the Local Folders (ie. If you want to download your Spam folder from the old account, make sure there is a folder under the Local Folders called Spam)

                                                              i.      If the folder doesn’t exist, simply create it by right clicking on the Local Folders and selecting “New folder…”

c.       Open the folder you want to download the mail from

d.      Select a mail item from the right-hand pane

e.      Click Edit -> Select All in the Outlook menu (all of the mail items should be selected now – this can also be done by pressing CTRL+A)

f.        Right click one of the selected mail items and choose Copy to Folder from the menu

g.      Expand the Local Folders item if it is not selected and choose the local folder you would like to copy the mail to and press Ok. (from step b, this would be the local Spam folder we created) Outlook will download all the files and transfer them to the local folder.

h.      Repeat the above steps for all of the folders you would like to copy.

      3. Move the mail from the local folder to the new account

a.      Decide which mail folder you would like to transfer

b.      Make sure there is a folder with a similar name on the new account (ie. If you want to upload the Spam folder from the Local Folders, make sure there is a folder in the new account called Spam)

                                                              i.      If the folder doesn’t exist, simply create it by right clicking on the account name and selecting “New folder…”

c.       Open the Local Folder you want to upload the mail from

d.      Select a mail item from the right-hand pane

e.      Click Edit -> Select All in the Outlook menu (all of the mail items should be selected now – this can also be done by pressing CTRL+A)

f.        Right click one of the selected mail items and choose Move to Folder from the menu

g.      Expand the new account and choose the new account folder you would like to move the mail to and press Ok. (from step b, this would be the local Spam folder) Outlook will upload all the files and transfer them to the remote folder.

h.      Repeat the above steps for all of the folders you would like to copy.

Some Reasoning:
The reason we chose to copy the files from the old account to a local folder is for backup purposes.  If we end up having an issue during the process, this allows us to delete whatever we need and start fresh using the files on the old server.

The reason we choose to move the files from the local copy we created to the new account is to account for transfer issues. In case the server locks up or you lose connection, you won’t have to start all over. You can simply resume moving the remaining files from the local folder to the new server.

About Me

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Name: Joshua Lyon
Birthday: August 8, 1985
Location: Valley Ranch (Irving), TX
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