How to capture a screenshot of a scrolling webpage

Page Saver Basic IconI found a great free Firefox add-on for taking a screenshot of long scrolling webpages called Page Saver Basic. The add-on places a small camera icon in the upper right hand corner of Firefox. To take a screenshot of the page you’re viewing simply click the icon and it will ask you where to save the image. This beats the hell out of my old method of stitching together a series of print screen captures in Photoshop.

The add-on is also fairly configurable. You can choose between PNG and JPEG file formats. You can also scale the size of the screen capture and select a default filename pattern. Other handy options include a keyboard shortcut, including or excluding the browser’s menus, and capturing the entire page or only the visible portion.

Page Saver Basic Options Menu 1Page Saver Basic Options Menu 2

Need to open a large data file? Try TextPad.

Maybe you know this scenario. You’ve just been handed a large XML or CSV file, you start to load it into your database of choice, and you get a file format error. There’s an embedded comma in a text field, or the XML isn’t properly nested. You’d like to open up the file and take a look, but you know opening up this 100meg file in notepad is gonna’ eat your computers lunch. Try TextPad!

I tried TextPad out for the first time the other day. It’s awesome! It can open ENORMOUS files with relative ease. It allowed me to open a 200meg XML file to verify that it was properly formatted without killing my machine. Granted I have 1gig of memory, but performing the same task in Notepad is essentially impossible.

On top of being able to handle such large files it is feature packed without being bulk-ware. Installed it takes up a whopping 4megs of disk space.

I must admit, I am a new user to TextPad and I haven’t fully explored the applications potential. But some great features I’ve noticed include macros, spell checking, character maps, find and replace using regular expressions, file compare, sorting, and tabbed open files. There is also support to compile and run Java code from the editor, though I haven’t tried this feature.

TextPad is free to try with all of its features enabled. If you like it, a single user license is $28.70US. They also have license packs.

If you need to do serious raw text manipulation for HTML, Java, CSV or otherwise, check this tool out.

TextPad – The Editor for Windows

Give your web users a WYSIWYG text editor.

Recently I created a website for one of our clients that archives all of the direct mail, email, and catalog campaigns that we’ve done for them. Our client’s sales reps use this website to get up to speed on any mail campaigns their customers may reference.

The down fall to this nifty website is that every campaign entry has its own custom HTML page. That means that every time we add a new campaign, guess who gets to write the HTML and make the client revisions. Yep, that’s my hand in the air.

The solution to my dilemma was to create an administration page so our account executives can add and modify campaign entries themselves. The problem with this is that account executives are not trained in writing HTML. Enter FCKeditor, “the text editor for Internet.”

FCKeditor is a small JavaScript web application that provides your users with a textbox input field with a WYSIWYG editor anchored to the top of the input box, thus giving your users the ability format their text. Essentially the FCKeditor is generating HTML for your users on the fly. It’s compatible with IE 5.5+, Firefox 1.0+, Mozilla 1.3+, and Netscape 7+. And it has hooks to plug-in into your existing ASP.Net, ASP, PHP, ColdFusion, Java, and Perl web applications. Plus it’s Open Source to boot.

This bad boy is feature packed. You can add custom templates, tables, and form input fields. It has an interface to add special characters, and the ability to upload images, and Flash files. You can even toggle from the formatted view to the raw HTML view.

For my administration page I used the FCKeditor C# wrapper class and simply dropped the FCKeditor into my project as a Control. I then bound the HTML value of the FCKeditor input field to my database and I was up and running. Adding the wrapper class to your ASP.Net project is simple. Just reference your project to the dll. As a bonus the source code for the wrapper is also Open Source, so customizations to the control are possible.

The only problem I’ve had with FCKeditor is getting the image upload feature to work on a remote web server. I blame it on my not investing enough time on the issue.

All in all, I highly recommend the FCKeditor it’s a great way to enhance your users input experience. Now I’m not the only one in the office who knows how to update the campaign information page.

FCKeditor – The text editor for Internet

So you just reformatted the wrong drive letter?… Whoops.

Last week a coworker of mine was kind enough to loan me his hard drive full of 160gigs of files he thought I’d like. Excited to download all of his data to my own system, I hurriedly started making room on my external hard drive. The name of my coworkers drive was 250G… it was drive letter E. My external hard drive was drive letter G. In a hurry to go out for sushi with my friends, I made a very bad mistake. That’s right. I reformatted my coworker’s drive, all 160gigs of it.

After I cleaned the poop from my pants, I remembered that hard drives store data magnetically in binary, and when you delete or reformat, your computer doesn’t take the time to go back over your old files and put random binary on top of them. It alters your drives state table which tells your system “hey it’s ok to write over this old data.” So there was hope I could recover from this awful blunder.

I stopped all activity on my coworkers now reformatted drive for fear that any modifications to the drive, like writing files, would corrupt its lost files. I quickly did some extensive Google searching and happened to find a company called R-Tools Technology Inc. They have kick ass piece of software called R-Studio. This software is used to recover data in situations just like mine. I downloaded the demo and let it scan my hosed drive for files. In a little under an hour I was looking at a Windows Explorer style view of all my lost files! The demo is limited to restoring files smaller than 64KB. So after I successfully restored a few small files using the demo, I purchased the software online for a very reasonable $80. I was able to start restoring my coworker’s hard drive the same night I nuked it. How’s that for service.

R-Studio works on all types of files types and OS’s, and the GUI is very intuitive. One thing you should note though. You absolutely can NOT restore your nuked files on the same drive that you’re recovering from. If you do this you are risking corrupting the rest of the files you’re trying to restore by writing over them. You have to restore to a completely different drive. This could be a problem if you’re trying to restore large chunks of data and you have limited free disk to restore to. Unfortunately, this is the nature of the beast.

The next day I told my coworker what had happened. After his initial response of shocking disbelief, he was soothed by the news that all of his data had been recovered. Not only was I able to save face, I was also able to download the data as I had originally planned. Thanks to R-Tools Technology Inc. and R-Studio!

R-Tools Technology Inc.
R-Studio Data Recovery Software