Monthly Archives: June 2007

Rename Master: Batch Renaming Utility

I’ve tried many different batch renamers for all sorts of reasons. More often than not, it’s for sorting images. The other day I came across a directory of images that I had (stupidly) prefixed and I needed to change that back. With a few simple clicks using Rename Master I was able to restore them quickly and easily.

Rename master has a very simple but intuitive gui with powerful options behind it. With some obvious wants and needs of a renamer such as a live preview of the rename and variables… Rename Master takes it a step further with their support for full regular expressions and thumbnail views.

Check this out:

rename-master-1.jpg

Breaking down the screenshot above, we can see that I’ve chosen to do two things (as denoted by the underlined tabs), I’m using the “Add To” and the “Replace” options to formulate the name “Lemonade Stand ##.jpg” and remove those ugly S########.JPG names.

Also, you’ll see I’ve brought up the thumbnail preview that I mentioned above. This is not necessary in this process as I’ve already moved all the “Lemon Stand” to their appropriate folder but I just wanted to let you see how it could come in handy.

The ?n02? code wasn’t something I knew by heart when I first starting using this program, these variables can be generated by the program if you click the blue arrow button next to the text field.

There is so much for me to mention about this program… but I don’t want to waste your time, do yourself a favor and download it. It’s a single file, coded in delphi so it doesn’t need to be installed.

This program all works with mp3 id3 tags.

Which Widget Didya Get?

I tried Konfabulator a while ago (emphasis on the while) and I wasn’t too pleased. It seemed laggy, buggy and more trouble than it was worth. However, recently I was on the lookout for a good desktop todo list, nothing too fancy but it seemed to achieve this, I would have to put my qualms aside and get some sort of widget program.

I decided to give Konfabulator another shot (now know as Yahoo Widgets. And I must say, I’m quite pleased! Everything runs smoothly, it integrates well with the OS and I haven’t had any crashes.

So if you haven’t tried out Yahoo Widgets, I definitely recommend it.

By the way, here is the todo list that I’m using.

Creating MySQL Queries Visually

Over the past few days, I’ve been creating some rather large and confusing SQL queries, so I went on a hunt to see if maybe there was a visual aid that would make the selects, joins and sub queries easier. I was a bit disappointed to find that MySQL offered a Query Browser that wasn’t available for download… or was it?

After a little more research I came about a link to a slightly thinner client in the developer zone under the Generally Available (GA) license. I’ve played around with it a bit and while it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, it’s helped me during those times I don’t feel like waiting on phpMyAdmin.

Check out this screencast to get a better idea of how this tool works. I’m sure I’ll grow to like this tool a lot more in the future, I just need to learn more about it’s functionality. I thought I’d pass this tip onto you.

mysql-browser.png

Sexy Up Your Desktop With These Dual Wallpapers

Whether you realize it or not, your desktop wallpaper has a very significant impact on your life. Your eyes, your mood and your creativity are all affected by it. This is why I believe it’s important to have a good one… which isn’t always an easy task for someone with dual monitors. Over the years, I’ve collected many many wallpapers and today, I wish to share with your other people rocking dual monitors, some I’ve hand picked from my collection.

I didn’t realize wordpress’s support for uploading multiple images was so weak… so here are a few examples of what you’ll be getting when you download: this zip

EDIT: Link fixed!

abstractiongarden07thumbnail.gif

clusterthumbnail.gif

face_it_by_aerosolfunthumbnail.gif

windinthegarden-daymixthumbnail.gif

And the one I’m currently using…

coldburnthumbnail.gif

Batch Converting Your Images

While I love Adobe Photoshop and the amount of power it has behind it’s actions, sometimes I like to use a lightweight alternative.

IrfanView is a program I’ve mentioned before, it’s great for flipping through series of images but it’s also great at doing many other things (some of which I’ll mention in future posts), like batch converting. In the following example, I’ll do a quick run through on a real life example, creating image thumbnails.

So, lets start off by opening a folder with pictures you’d like to thumbnail:

Pictures I’d like to thumbnail

Open a picture with IrfanView and select ‘Batch Conversion/Rename’ from the file menu (B is the shortcut key)

Select Batch Conversion/Rename

Click the ‘Add All’ button (or optionally pick and choose the images you’d like to convert). And set your basic options. I made my output folder /thumbs, selected ‘Batch conversion – Rename result files’, made the output format GIF and set my rename mask to $N.t (which means [old image name].t).

Click Add All

Check the ‘Use advanced options’ box and click the ‘Set advanced options’ button.

Advanced options

I set my thumbnail size to 50% height and width but you can choose whatever you please. I also checked ‘preserve aspect ratio’ and ‘use resample function’ but those are optional.

Click ‘OK’ and you’ll be taken back to the previous window, click ‘start’ and bam, you’re done.

You can now navigate to your newly create thumbs folder

New thumbs

And marvel in the glory

Hey, it’s me!

This was a pretty simple example but I’m sure when you went to the advanced options window, the gears in your head starting turning. This program is a great tool, you should really play around with it and try to get the most out of it. I don’t think a day goes by that I don’t use it.

PHP Functions: Strip Chars From A Filename and Cloud

Someone overheard a friend and I chatting about a website and it’s tag cloud script. I mentioned that it’s pretty easy to create and that I had already created a php function. He asked me to dig it up, so I present to you a cloud script in it’s simplest form.

Cloud

=11 && $times <=40)
			$size = 2;
		else if ($times>=21 && $times <=60)
			$size = 3;
		else if ($times>=31 && $times <=80)
			$size = 4;
		else
			$size = 5;
		// You should really replace this with a return $size, this is just for demonstration purposes
		echo "$name ";
	}
}
?>

It’s pretty straight forward and easily modified. You setTop based on the number of entries in your database, then pass $name and the number of times it appears to the sizeMe function. If you have any questions or suggestions please let me know. I tried to keep this simple.

In this example I created classes, a1, a2, a3, a4 and a5 that I defined font-size for in a css file.

Strip Characters From A Filename


I wrote this function because I had a boatload of images with ridiculous characters in them and I wanted them out before I uploaded them somewhere. Most frameworks have a similar function built in but if you’re looking for a quick fix, this is perfect for you.

Notepad++ and the Beauty of Regex

For those of you familiar with regular expressions, you’re going to love this little feature in Notepad++, Regex find and replace. If you haven’t used it yet, you’ve been wasting your time doing things the hard way.

Lets say I have a text file with a List of websites in the format as such: URL, Description, Name and I want to turn this list into a bunch of links.

regex-1.png

I would look for the following string:

(http://[a-z.]+), ([A-z ']+), ([A-z ]+)

By using parenthesis, I’m defining variables I’d like to call back in my replace string. I have created three, the URL(\1), the Descriptiption(\2) and the Name(\3). Then I call them in my replace string and rearrange them as such:

\3: \2

regex-2.png

Now I just click replace, and like magic they are all transformed into pastable links:

regex-3.png

Do Know Evil: Tyler Mulligan’s Blog
detrition: Tyler Mulligan’s Portfolio
Google: Tyler’s Search Engine of Choice

But the fun doesn’t stop there, no no no. Say I had multiple files with the same structure, I would just open said files and click, “Replace in all open documents”.

regex-4.png

So there you have your crash course in regex find and replace compliments of Notepad++. It’s it bit limited in some respects, it doesn’t fully support regular expressions but it certainly makes a difference. You can read the details about it’s abilities here.

Lesser Known But Useful Firefox Extensions

Those top 10 lists about the best Firefox for Web developers, the average person or your mother always piss me off because they list the same extensions every time. All those extensions are well known… it’s not like you have to tell a web developer about firebug or the web dev toolbar.

I use a lot of extensions. I have a minimum of 8 installed, even on my portable version. I tend to use some extensions that a lot of people never heard of and I find it surprising because they are really helpful! So without further ado, I give to you a list of some lesser known but useful Firefox extensions.

ErrorZilla

The default error page for Firefox is a bit minimal… there isn’t a lot of usefulness there… and if you’re a big digger or slashdotter, you know what a pain it can be to find a website crippled before you had a chance to few it. This handy little extension gives you some useful links, including ones to corel cache and google cache.
Find it here

URL Fixer

Lets talk about common annoyances for a second, shall we? Who here hates it when you type too fast for your own good… or just very poorly? There’s no excuse for poor typing but this extension has got your back for those silly slip ups you make in the address bar and scramble to fix before you reach an error page. With this extension, www.google.cmo will automatically change to www.google.com

This extension is a bit limited in the sense that the filters are hard coded into the javascript but it’s the best solution out there right now.
Find it here

Long Titles

Another common annoyance is the … on long tooltips. This extension saves you the frustration of guessing.
Find it here

Answers

This is just damn useful. If you’re ever reading something and come across a word or phrase you don’t know, simply hold alt and click it and it will open a handy little bubble inside the webpage you’re browsing.
Find it here

Aging Tabs

I never like to have too many tabs open in my browser but at times it becomes inevitable… and unfortunately confusing. With this extension though, I can easily pick out which tabs I’ve been using most frequently as the color gets darker with lack of use. Definitely worth a look.
Find it here