Lazy Louse

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

How to do your study projects online

With the prolifilation of Web 2.0 online sites offering all kinds of service, it's becoming possible for students to collarborate on projects online, reducing the need to meet up ever so often.

I am aware that there are paid services that allow you to do that for a small sum of money, but a poor student would have to look for free alternatives.

I worked on a java project in school, and the first thing I did was to look for a online source control tool. i found Assembla ( which offers Subversion respository and Trac online for free.

With Eclipse (also free) and a plugin called Subclipse(, I can work on my java project without having to meet.

For documentation, we use Google docs ( for our draft documents, and Google Presentation for our slides presentation.
For diagrams like UML, we use a collaboration diagramming tool called Gliffy (

For chatting, we have used MSN, but I am thinking if Meebo ( might be a good tool also.

For meetings, I used Google Calendar( to arrange for meetings.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Copying and moving files with the mouse - Part I

Copy and moving files across folders and drives with the menu or keyboard is good, but it's even easier doing it with the mouse.

Just open 2 folders, the source and destination folders on your desktop. Then proceed to use the mouse to drag the file from the source to destination folder.

But it's sometimes confusing to a novice when the same dragging action yields different results, sometimes the file is copied, other times it's moved and gone from the source folder!

Why does this happpen?

Actually, the answer is simple, when you drag a file from folders which lies in different drives, you copy the file.

When the source and destination folder lies in the same drive, you move it.

To help you understand, I have created a demo on this, see the demo below.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Save your fingers! Part II: Oops shortcut

I call this next keyboard shortcut the Oops shortcut because, I often exclaim "Oops" just before pressing it.

If the other shortcuts are time-savers, this qualifies as a life-saver.

If you have inadvertantly deleted an important file, a large chunk of text from your document or anything mistakes that shouldn't be done but were done, you will understand why this shortcut is so important.

  • Ctrl-Z: Undo
After a mistake is done, in Windows Explorer, Word or in fact most other applications (it's quite universal like many shortcuts), press Ctrl-Z to undo the mistake. Simple as that.

Undo's counterpart is the Redo, which I don't really use:
  • Ctrl-Y: Redo

Save your fingers! Part I: Copy-and-Paste

OK, this is not another long list of keyboard shortcuts that nobody bothers to read through (I know I don't). So I am going to give it to you in bite-size.
A few at a time, aids digestion.

Now this is what I think is the most important set of keyboard shortcuts, especially if you type a lot in your work (well, who doesn't?). But if you do, and still don't know about Copy-and-Paste, you might have wasted 25% of time your at time until now. On the other hand, if you are in the majority, you would no doubt be familiar with Copy and Pasting by right-clicking your mouse and using the context menu. But being able to do it from the keyboard itself will save you seconds since you can keep your fingers on the keyboard rather than reaching for the mouse. The seconds adds up.

If you are not comfortable with using keyboard shortcuts, preservere, it pays off.

Anyway here's your time saver:
  • Ctrl-C: Copy
  • Ctrl-V: Paste
Simple? Just 2 keys to remember.
If you need to copy a chunk of text from one document to another,
  1. simply highlight to select the text with your mouse,
  2. press Ctrl-C (C for Copy, easy?)
  3. go to the other document, at the location when you want to paste the text,
  4. press Ctrl-V (why V? V is just next to C, so your fingers don't have to travel too far)
  5. Done!

Oh, wait, here's more.
  • Ctrl-X: Cut
Instead of pressing Ctrl-C, if you press Ctrl-X, the text will be 'cut' from its original document when you paste. But I seldom use it myself, Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V serves me very well as it is.

Till the next time...

Friday, June 02, 2006

Clean your mouse

Keeping your computer mouse clean and smooth is essential to working efficiently.
If you have a roller mouse at home or still uses one in your office, read on.

I have seen so many people who have spastic mouse cursors that drift all over the place when they move their mouse. It looked like they were herding the cursor towards a button or icon rather than controlling it.

Don't they get frustrated with it? How can you work effectively when a tool so basic as a mouse that can't even work as you wish?

The cause and solution of this are so simple I wonder why people put up with misbehaving mouse cursors.

The cause of it all is simply dirty rollers inside the mouse.
The solution? Clean it!

Flip your mouse over and twist the round cap (yes, the one with the hole in the middle) to open.
Take out the, erhm, ball of the mouse and you can see there are 2 rollers at the side, at a penticular angle to each other.
Look closely, and you can see the dirt and grit stuck on the rollers, dating from the first day you brought your mouse home. Go ahead and scrap it off.

Fix everything back, and you should have a smoother mouse.
Happy working!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

How to name your files, Part I

Often we keep old copies of our files in the event that we need to review them or just to make ourselves sleep better at night thinking that we at least have a backup for that important proposal that will earn us a million dollars next month.

So how do you name all those old files and still keep your sanity in the event that you need them again some day?

Most have the good sense to add the date to the name of their file, like this:

Many months or years later, their folders end up looking like this, sorted alphabetically:
My Important Proposal 2004Jun28.doc
My Important Proposal 28Dec98.doc

This will give you headaches in years to come when you have 232 backup of the proposal, your boss breathing down your neck and the customer is leaving for the airport in 3 minutes, and you are trying to locate the file you wrote in, say, 02 Apr 1999.

The cardinal mistake in naming files is, IMHO, inconsistency.

There are many ways the above files are not name correctly. But if you have at least choosen one naming style and stick with it, you are still in safe territory:

If your folder looks like the above, you would be able to zoom into the file rather quickly, wouldn't you. It pays to be consistent.

But... there are still some problems in the above naming convention. Let me count the ways...

Notice that the files are still not sorted according to date? Files created in December comes before March files. And there is a file created in 2000 right in the middle of the pile.

How do we solve this?
Stay tuned for Part II.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Welcome to LazyLouse!

This is the obligatory welcome page.

I'm a lazy person. I try to do the minimum work so that I have more time to do nothing.
I am also a software developer. I use the PC a lot.

So when I see my colleagues dealing with tasks that the PC can do for them, I feel very sad for them.

For e.g. instead of Copy-and-Pasting text from one document to another, they proceeded to type it out letter for letter!
Why are them doing all those things when Windows can do it for them and do it faster and with less mistakes?

So this blog is born. I want to share what knowledge I have while working in Windows environment to make you work faster and save more time.
So that you'll have more time to finish that game of Solitaire...

Stay tuned!