Archive for March, 2008

How To Speed Up Microsoft Outlook

Repair your .pst file!

Rather than copy the instructions here, refer to How To Fix Your Broken PST File.

It’s not just for use when Outlook stops working – it’s a useful preventative action you should run occasionally to repair little problems before they become big problems. Anytime Outlook starts running slower than normal, give this a try.

March 11th, 2008

How To Disable Yellow Print Confirmation Popups In Windows

The Problem: When I send anything to my networked printer, Windows XP pops up a yellow confirmation bubble telling me the item printed. How can I turn that annoying option off?

The Solution: In Control Panel, choose Printers and Faxes. Click File, Server Properties, and select the Advanced tab. Near the bottom, uncheck the box for “Notify when remote documents are printed” and also uncheck the box for “Show informational notifications for network printers”.

In Vista, follow the same steps, but uncheck “Show informational notifications for network printers”.

5 comments March 9th, 2008

Video: How To Make Compost (Milkwood)

Another great video series from Milkwood, this one explaining how to make compost without too much effort.

Don’t these videos have great music? I also really like the way they use the “Benny Hill effect” of speeding up the video, so you get a good idea of what they’re doing without needing to sit around and watch someone turn a whole pile of compost. Nice opening and closing credits too.

The web pages for each of these videos are worth visiting, as they have a lot of useful info:

How To Make Compost Part I

How To Make Compost Part II

How To Make Compost Part III

The Videos


Making Compost – Part I

  • analyse your compost components using the Milkwood Compost Calculator to make sure you have the C:N ratio right
  • if you get the C:N ratio wrong, your pile will either fester and go rank (too much nitrogen) or take too long to break down (too much carbon)
  • need at least a cubic metre of stuff for the compost pile to work properly
  • water the site of your pile before starting
  • layer your ingredients like a lasagne to make sure things are nicely mixed
  • water each layer as you go: the bacteria and fungi need water to do their thing
  • cover with a tarp – stops it drying out, getting too wet, blowing away, etc

Making Compost – Part II

  • turning the compost pile
  • squeeze a handful of your compost – you should get one drop out of it – water it if it’s too dry
  • peel the outside of the compost pile to make the beginnings of the new pile, then dump the inside of the old pile onto the outside of the new pile
  • mental note – next time, shred paper rather than leaving it whole!
  • white powdery stuff is anaerobic bacteria, which is not really desirable – just keep turning and watering and it’ll sort itself out
  • the pile should reach about 60 degrees Celcius around the 4th day, then cool down a bit more with each turning until it’s just warm by the time the compost is ready
  • urine is a good compost activator if your pile is slow to heat up!

Making Compost – Part III

  • this compost method is called the Berkley Method – it’s fast and easy
  • ended up with nice dark compost – a little more sticks and lumpy bits than she’d like, but still pretty good
  • wow, in January Kirsten was planning to starting a new compost pile every week!

March 8th, 2008

How To Stop Internet Explorer Opening Office Documents In The Browser

By default, Internet Explorer opens Excel and Word files within the browser window. This can be annoying if you want to work with them in the real applications. To get IE to always open these files using the correct application:

  • click Start >> Control Panel >> Folder Options
  • click on the File Types tab
  • find the XLS file type in the list and click on it
  • click on the Advanced button
  • uncheck the “Browse in same window” option
  • click OK to close the Edit File Type dialog
  • find the DOC file type and repeat the above three steps
  • click OK to close the Folder Options dialog

5 comments March 7th, 2008

Video: Soil Food Web – And Nature’s Soil


  • Manzano Mountains, Central New Mexico, USA
  • Michael Martin Melendrez, founder of Soil Secrets
  • Michael is also well known for his coining the phrase and writing the first paper ever on the Soil Food Web titled ‘Soil Ecology and the Soil Food Web’ in 1974
  • sugar maples, drop leaves to provide a protective mulch
  • we are told we need to change our soils from their natural alkaline state to a more acidic pH
  • but the organic matter dropped by the maples hasn’t changed the pH of the soil where they grow
  • the organic matter is turned into humus
  • topsoil under the maples is very thin, with only a thin layer of humus
  • so we don’t need to make a huge change to soils in order for them to support our plantings
  • these forests provide an example of how we can use permaculture to alter a landscape without a huge amount of effort – we don’t need to completely change the soil in order to be successful

More videos about soil can be seen at the Soil Secrets web site.

March 5th, 2008

Video: Fallen Fruit

Here’s an interesting video about picking public fruit.

  • Fallen Fruit is a group that maps local fruit trees and encourages sharing through group plantings and “forages”
  • take people on walking forages to collect public fruit growing in the neighbourhood
  • fruit growing on public property or hanging over fences onto public property is “public fruit” and can be legally picked
  • streets with accessible fruit are “generous”
  • fruit picker (e.g. from Home Depot) is required – all fruit at human-level gets picked before you get there

March 3rd, 2008


March 2008
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