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Welcome to Thought Asylum a place for me to share my thoughts, ideas and experiences with the rest of the world.  I try to post reasonably regularly and if you like the content consider subscribing to the site feeds.  If you're trying to find something specific try the search, otherwise just have a browse.


Saturday
Mar242018

XYplorer: Copy Last Screenshot Here

Another quick but useful script for the Windows file manager XYplorer today when using it alongside my favourite screenshot application on Windows, Greenshot.

I use Greenshot to capture screenshots on my Windows laptop and as it does so, I have it configured to not only place the image on the Windows clipboard, but also to save it to a folder as a PNG file. This makes it really useful for referring back to later (which happens quite often) and for taking screenshots during online presentations. No pasting images into a Word document for me!

Sometimes however I need to grab a copy of the last screenshot as a file and drop it in a particular folder. This is useful when I need to capture and file away evidence of something. Typically something to do with bugs or system errors. For this reason, since I’d be in XYplorer anyway, I decided to create a simple script to smooth the process.

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Sunday
Feb042018

Mute Your Microphone with Keyboard Maestro

Whilst I’m not a presenter on radio or podcast show, I do actually spend a fair amount of time speaking to people via my computers. I join conference calls, webinars and everything in between. For this I have my trusty Blue Yeti microphone. Not a top of the line microphone, but a notable improvement over the USB Jabra Speakerphone I used previously; though I still use this as my speaker and as my travel microphone.

When I switched to the Blue Yeti I found the mute button fiddly and not always responsive. In fact I really don’t like having to touch a button on the microphone at all whilst using it. It can add a rather unpleasant {thud} to the audio. To this end I began looking for alternatives. Today I’m going to share one of those that I’ve been using for years that uses Keyboard Maestro and a bit of AppleScript to take control of my microphone.

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Saturday
Jan202018

XYplorer: Concatenating Files

Today I’m going to share an XYplorer script for combining files through concatenation - i.e. merging them together by appending the files to one another in order to create a new combined file. Whilst it isn’t the sort of script I use everyday it does speed up the occasions when I need to combine plain text based files into a single file; in my case often for post-test data loading.

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Thursday
Jan042018

2017 Thought Asylum Annual Review

2017 has passed into history and so I’m taking my annual look back at what’s been getting the page hits on thoughtasylum.com and a personal look at the past year.

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Friday
Dec222017

XYplorer: Create a Time Stamped ZIP Folder

Something I find I need to do quite regularly is take a snap shot of a folder. For the purposes of saving space (and often for passing on the folder to someone else) I like to compress the folder into a ZIP archive and prefix the current time stamp to the file name.

This little activity was perfect for a bit of automation and so I created a little script in XYplorer (my Windows file manager of choice) to make this as easy as clicking a button.

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Thursday
Nov302017

Excel: Count Lines in a Cell

Recently I was using an Excel spreadsheet to prepare some data and I had a constraint to work to in the number of lines of data the target system could display. Unfortunately rather than rows of data in Excel this was to match against rows of data in a single Excel cell. So the question is, how can you count the number of rows in an Excel cell?

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Tuesday
Oct102017

Changing My Work Twitter Handle

I've been on Twitter a while now, but since starting in my current business role I've had a separate account for my work posts. I've been posting non-work things to @sylumer and work items to @SAP_Stephen. However last month I changed my work Twitter account and in this post I'm going to talk a little about the reason and approach.

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Sunday
Sep242017

TextExpander and External Keyboards on iOS

TextExpander is a fantastic tool that fundamentally allows you to enter a string of characters and trigger a response that can replace the text with different content (e.g. plain text, formatted text, an image). On some platforms it can do even more, triggering scripts; though generally the intent is to then return and output some content.

One of the platforms TextExpander is available on is Apple’s iOS, the operating system that runs iPhones and iPads. Whilst these devices have on screen virtual keyboards, they also allow interaction through physical keyboards, but in order to use TextExpander effectively with physical keyboards on these devices you have to do a little preparation work. Whilst Apple’s own built-in text expansion functionality works (and I have a handful of simple expansions set-up in there) it is a pale shadow in comparison to TextExpander.

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Friday
Sep082017

SuccessFactors Q3 Update: Jam and Mobile

Every quarter SAP update their SuccessFactors product line and here is my review for the updates to the Jam (collaboration) module and the platform's mobile functionality.

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Sunday
Sep032017

SuccessFactors Q3 Update: Reporting

Every quarter SAP update their SuccessFactors product line and here is my review for the updates to the reporting functionality.

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