Thursday, September 30, 2010

Upgrading your technology, not your stress levels

Tomorrow I'm going to become the proud owner of a new computer at work. One with really big screens and a level of performance that means I don't use bad words at least once a day.

However, being a nerdy-geeky sort of person I have a high level of customisation of my computer that I'm anxious to retain, so I've been documenting where all this stuff is stored.

This may be useful to anyone else upgrading from Windows XP and Office 2003 and any other suggestions would be appreciated.

Yeah, IT say they'll move everything across, but just in case...

Quick launch toolbar settings

These are the icons that appear to the right of the Start button. You can add frequently used applications here by dragging the item to the taskbar.

These settings are stored in C:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\QuickLaunch.
Copy the QuickLaunch folder to an external drive so you can restore it later.

Office settings

If you make good use of autotext, keyboard shortcuts, macros and templates, check to make sure your templates are copied to an external drive or USB.

If you're not sure where your Word templates are, go to Tools, Options, choose the File Locations tab and look at the User Templates setting. Mine points to a folder called 'Templates' - very creative.

Macros are stored in templates. If you have a general macro that is available no matter which template you're using it's probably stored as part of the normal template ( This template also stores any keyboard shortcuts and autotext you've set up.

Make sure this template is in your templates folder and copy the whole folder to your external drive or USB.

But MOST IMPORTANTLY, to make sure all your office settings (including the location of the template folder) are stored, use this handy wizard to create a file that can be used to restore the settings after the upgrade:

Click on the Start button, choose All Programs, Microsoft Office 2003, Microsoft Office Tools, Microsoft 2003 Save My Settings Wizard
and follow the prompts, then make sure that you copy the resulting OPS file to your external drive.

You can use the same Wizard to restore the settings after upgrade.

Start menu settings

You may have added programs "above the line" on the Start Menu if they're things you use all the time.

You do this by right-clicking on a program name in the Start, All Programs list and choosing Pin to Start Menu.

I haven't been able to find where these settings are stored, but since there are probably only a couple of things it's just as easy to add them again.

May be useful to take a screenshot of your Start and Programs menus before the upgrade.

You may also have added applications that automatically launch at start up, like Outlook and IE.

These are stored in C:\Documents and Settings\username\Start Menu\Programs\Startup.
Copy the folder onto your external drive just in case you need to restore it after the upgrade.


For Internet Explorer, copy the folder C:\Documents and Settings\username\Favorites

For Firefox, copy the folder: C:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\profilename\bookmarks.html

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Vintage Czechoslovakian button earrings

Yesterday I bought a pair of vintage Czechoslovakian button earrings.

For the first time in weeks I had a decent sized gap between boys' soccer games and decided to investigate some shops in Sandy Bay Road that I regularly drive by en route to my son's piano lesson, but never have time to visit.

Fortuitous really because it was the one and only day that jewellery designer Renee Blackwell from Brisbane was visiting with her collection made from vintage buttons.

Harking back to my recent posting on my mother's button tin I was particularly intrigued with the story behind Renee's beautiful pieces.

She told me that these buttons were made in the 1940s, after the end of the war. During World War II only buttons for military uniforms were made so when the war ended, button manufacturers celebrated with a riot of colour and creativity. These buttons would probably have been made for a suit as they are too heavy for a blouse.

Renee makes regular visits to Paris where she buys the buttons from specialist collectors.
You can see more of Renee's beautiful designs on her website or visit Sirius 515 (surprisingly at 515 Sandy Bay Road, just before you get to Lipscombe Larder).

How much nicer to have these beautiful buttons made into wearable jewellery rather than languishing in a tin in the sewing drawer. I'm inspired to find out more about vintage buttons.

Hmmm. I wonder if my grandmother had a button tin? If so, it will still be there in the house where my uncle now lives. One day...

Friday, July 2, 2010

Chocolate in my blood...

Last week I wrote about my mother's button tin. At the same time I was snapping her buttons (so to speak), I took a photo of the tin where she keeps other sewing bits and pieces.

This beautiful tin is probably also over 50 years old. If you look at the side, you'll see that it is a Nestle tin, so presumably in some distant past was full of chocolates.

And that brings me to an interesting point. Before my mother left work to have children, she worked for Nestle in Hobart. There were "seconds" of chocolates to bring home on a Friday afternoon and a general all-round chocolateyness in her day-to-day existence.

Is it any wonder that I feel the way I do about chocolate?

I'm just saying...

Sunday, June 27, 2010


This afternoon I've been playing with my mother's button tin.
I guess I haven't done this for a few decades but there's still something irresistible about sorting through the different shapes, colours and sizes and remembering the stories that go with them.

This particular button tin is at least 56 years old. My mother and her friends used to cut buttons off garments when they had finished with them, rather than throw them away.

This black button was from the coat my mother wore when she left Newcastle as a young bride to travel to Hobart. It was a coat with a single feature button - I suspect it would be very trendy today if she still had it.
The gold one is from another overcoat - I think I remember this one as a mustardy gold colour, and hairy! It's one of four.

These buttons were from my mother's wedding dress. She removed them before dyeing the dress pale green to use as a party dress - money was tight. When she wore her wedding dress in 1953 it caused a sensation, being made of the new fabric polyester!

Here are some other buttons that I particularly like:

I don't keep my buttons in a tin. They're in dozens of small plastic packets that have been attached to garments I've bought recently. I keep them in a plastic box, and on the bedside table, and in the bathroom cupboard - depending on where I happen to be when I remove the spare button.
I know that if I ever do need one of them it probably won't be in any of those places. 

And buttons in plastic packets are no substitute for rummaging through an old tin of buttons, history and memories.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Supermarket sorrows

So here's the scenario:
Friday night. No food left in the house. Boys home glued to the TV watching World Cup replays, so I decide to treat us to take away Bento boxes from the new Japanese place next to the supermarket.

I place the order but it's going to take 20 minutes, so I think I'll just pop into the supermarket and grab a few items since there's going to be precious little time to shop tomorrow with three games of soccer in a variety of locations.

But then - disaster! The first sign of something wrong is when I find the deodorant where the baked beans should be. Maybe an isolated incident? I'm in denial but when confronted with a further three aisles of goods that are IN THE WRONG PLACE, I am forced to face the cruel truth:
The supermarket is having another reshuffle.

A young female employee asks me if I'm looking for something. "Everything", I say. She offers to help me find things, but I have completely lost heart.

Luckily the freezer compartments are too securely installed to be involved in whimsical reorganisations.
I locate the milk and butter. And then I leave.

If I had time I would go to the other supermarket where things remain steadfastly in the safe and familiar locations. But the Bento boxes are nearly ready.

Dear Supermarket Manager, when you move things around, perhaps with the intention of surprising me with items I may never have otherwise noticed (and therefore would have saved money by not buying) you do nothing but alienate me and your other time-poor customers.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

When too much is not enough...

Further to the Chocolate Crawl, thanks to Linda for drawing my attention to the Chocoholic Tours in Melbourne.

And here are the birthday spoils:
from Essenze Chocolate in Caringbah, NSW
The one in the top left hand corner was superb. White chocolate over strong strawberry filling.

And these from Norman and Dann in Salamanca, Hobart.


Friday, June 4, 2010

Iconic stationery

Further to my post about posting (!), I've just discovered this fun stationery which once again manages to combine the things I most enjoy with technology.
It's an envelope that looks like the letter icon which looks like an envelope....