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Month: March 2015

Windows design fail: Unable to move a folder because of thumbs.db

Windows design fail: Unable to move a folder because of thumbs.db

One of the most annoying things about managing files in Windows is managing media files such as photos and videos.  Windows in all it’s ‘helpfulness’ constantly tries to categorize and create thumbnail icons for all your media files.  The irritating part of this is that it’s constantly doing it – even while you’re trying to move the files or folders in question.  In fact, it seems to ALWAYS be doing this even if it’s already gotten icons for it.  Every directory you select immediately triggers Windows to start categorizing the directory.  So when you try to move the folders in question – you get a never-ending stream of ‘File in use’ errors and you can’t get anything done.

Even better is the fact Windows doesn’t tell you WHICH file(s) are in use (thumbs.db), by whom (Windows itself), nor give you any way to figure it out.  One of the cardinal rules of error dialogs is that they must give you enough information to fix the problem – or you’re wasting everyone’s time and have designed something completely useless for the user.  This fails that test miserably.

What would have been infinitely better is if Windows had the smarts to know IT is the one preventing the folder from being moved and stop doing it for the 2 seconds it needs to move the directory and then start over again.  But we don’t get that intelligence at all.

Instead, do this:

Start Menu-> Edit Group Policy


User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Explorer
The setting you want: “Turns off the caching of thumbnails in hidden thumbs.db files.”

Google Code closes down – Taskbar Sound Switcher moves to GitHub

Google Code closes down – Taskbar Sound Switcher moves to GitHub

Well, I didn’t have my project uploaded more than a week and Google send me an email informing me that Google Code hosting is shutting down.  Here’s the email:


Earlier today, Google announced we will be turning down Google Code Project Hosting. The service started in 2006 with the goal of providing a scalable and reliable way of hosting open source projects. Since that time, millions of people have contributed to open source projects hosted on the site.

But a lot has changed since 2006. In the past nine years, many other options for hosting open source projects have popped up, along with vibrant communities of developers. It’s time to recognize that Google Code’s mission to provide open source projects a home has been accomplished by others, such as GitHub and Bitbucket.

We will be shutting down Google Code over the coming months. Starting today, the site will no longer accept new projects, but will remain functionally unchanged until August 2015. After that, project data will be read-only. Early next year, the site will shut down, but project data will be available for download in an archive format.

The simplest option would be to use the Google Code Exporter, a new tool that will allow you to export your projects directly to GitHub. Alternatively, we have documentation on how to migrate to other services — GitHub, Bitbucket, and SourceForge — manually.

For more information, please see the Google Open Source blog or contact

-The Google Code team


The good news is that the Google Code Exporter works really well.  The only extra work I needed to do was work up a file.  A handy tool for doing the markup can be found on which allows you to write on one side and see the results on the other.

So, if you want taskbar sound switcher – it’s is now hosted on GitHub:


Goonies 30th Anniversary

Goonies 30th Anniversary

The 25th anniversary celebration was great. Wonder if this will be even better. Who’s in?


It’s hard to believe but one of the most iconic film of our youths is turning 30! Eager to relive one of the most beloved coming-of-age stories of the 1980s, fans will flock to historic Astoria, Oregon to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the cult classic film The Goonies. The celebration is set for June 4-7, 2015.


Quick Audio Taskbar Sound Switcher

Quick Audio Taskbar Sound Switcher

When using my computer I often use my speakers when listening to music, watching movies, or coding something up. As a first-person shooter fan, I usually want to use headphones so I can use the mic to coordinate play with the other live players and not completely bother the rest of the people in the house with gunfire, explosions, and ‘colorful language’.

Switching between audio output devices on Windows systems usually requires no less than:

  1. Right-click on speaker tray icon
  2. Left click on playback devices
  3. Right click on device you want to be the default output device in Sound selector
  4. Left click on ‘Set as Default Device’

Fun! Not. Even worse is that many times I click on the game I want to play only to realize I forgot to switch audio devices.  In many games, alt-tabbing out and switching the default audio device doesn’t actually change the in-game playback device.  You have to exit the game and restart.  Annoying.

What I want is a taskbar icon I can simply double-click to switch between headphones and speakers – or any of my many audio devices really.  So to that end, I wrote up an app that does exactly that.  You simply select which devices you want to toggle between (any number) and double-clicking the tray icon simply toggles you to the very next device.

Or, you can right-click on the icon and select the device directly with a single click.

Give it a try.

Click here to download a copy.

The MSI installer is in the source directory.  Even better is that I’ve put the code up on Google Code and it’s open-source under the BSD license.

Drop a line if you found it handy or have suggestions!