Obligatory Website Color Tools Post

An assortment of website color selection tools, including web-smart options. Web-smart color is a palette of 4096 colors that are likely to display well on almost all modern displays. It has largely supplanted the earlier “web-safe” colors, which were a set of 216 colors likely to display well on all displays running at 256 colors or higher.

This post will be revised as I go through my bookmarks and with future tools and may end up changed into a reference page. More useful items are likely to end up higher up within the content of this post, and suggestions are welcome in the comments.

Color Picker is a simple web application that lets you use web-safe or web-smart colors and see how they’ll look.

MoreCrayons Web-Smart Palette tools has both a color cube (view interior of cube by unchecking boxes to hide the “layers” of color on the blue/Z axis) and a slider tool that only operates in the web-safe color ranges.

Adobe has a very nifty color theme tool called Kuler.

Sharebrain has a nice collection of links to color resources.

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Fix for Outlook 2007 Trying to Load InfoPath (Error 1605)

Just ran into this situation after a client uninstalled & reinstalled Office 2007 Pro. When Outlook was opened, it complained twice about being unable to open InfoPath because it wasn’t installed.

I found multiple other complaints about this, but no solutions (though some suggested removing and reinstalling Office). A bit of digging with SysInternals’ Process Monitor, turned up mention of not finding the somewhat promising value “DisableInfopathForms,” so I took a stab and created the value as a DWORD under the location ProcMon was reporting. Setting the value to 1 cleared the problem on Outlook startup.

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Article on Open Source vs. Proprietary EMRs and Stimulus

The July issue of Washington Monthly has an interesting article on the relative merits of open source (specifically VistA) electronic medical records and proprietary / closed-source systems (including mentions of Cerner and Epic Systems). It covers some of the advantages of having a good EMR system in place, particularly for hospitals and hospital networks.

It also covers an issue that has gotten a lot of attention in the open source medical software world since February – the $20 billion of funding to promote use of EMR systems in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, also known as the “stimulus bill.” That funding mandates “meaningful use” of “certified” EMR systems. Initial recommendations as to what “meaningful use” were released in mid-June, but the question of “certified” is still being fought since the only existing certification authority (CCHIT) is dominated by large software manufacturers and has costs that are prohibitive for small vendors and open source projects.

Read the article “Code Red – How software companies could screw up Obama’s health care reform” at Washington Monthly.

Winlogon.exe at 50% or 100% CPU (Fix)

There are apparently a variety of things that can cause the winlogon.exe process on Windows PCs to consume all available CPU, but I’ve found few references to this cause – corruption in Offline Files, even when Offline Files is disabled on the PC, on the server and on the domain (via Group Policy). Depending on the age of the PC, this will consume either 50% of the CPU (on newer dual-core systems) or 100% of the CPU (on older systems). This is the only non-malware winlogon.exe problem that I recall personally encountering.

Update: The original title & article indicated that this applied to Windows PCs on domains only, but Offline Files is available to non-domain PCs as well as long as Fast User Switching is not turned on.

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Compliment Comments and Spam

Because of a standard configuration of many WordPress blogs, it’s not uncommon to get comments containing nothing but a generic compliment. These frequently also have a site like google.com listed as the commenter’s website and/or an email address from China (.cn) or Russia (.ru).

These generic compliment comments are part one of a two-stage spam attack.

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SETPWRCG.EXE – Dell Power Management component

My antivirus reported an infected file (setpwrcg.exe) this morning, with a file date of 7/19/2004.

There were a few things that struck me as odd about this:

  • It didn’t seem like a randomly-generated name,
  • Most viruses/worms don’t seem to bother to set their file dates, particularly not to 5 years ago,
  • I haven’t been doing anything likely to get my system infected, and
  • I use a firewall that should’ve warned me if anything unusual was trying to make outbound connections from my computer (e.g. to try to spread an infection).

Searches via Google & Yahoo turned up nothing significant (mostly this file in lists of files and one warning that it had been found on infected systems), so I did a little more investigating at a very brute-force level.

The file in question doesn’t have any vendor information, version strings, etc. which is a bit suspicious, but looking at the actual content of the file, I found multiple strings tied to Dell power management configuration – hibernation, etc. Since this fits with the name “set pwr cg” I’m going to assume that the cg is short for something like “configuration” and that they were trying to stick with a DOS-style 8.3 name for this file. The reason it turns up on infected systems is that Dell computers get viruses too.

Almost certainly a harmless file, at least this version of it.

NEVER Give Out Your Password

IF support staff for a service you are using need access to your account or information within it, they can get that access without needing your password. Nobody should be asking for your password.

This applies to email (e.g. Hotmail/Windows Live, Yahoo, Google and many others), social networking (Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, etc.), online photos (Flickr, etc.), and especially applies to your banking and finances. NO bank or financial services employee should ever ask for your password – bank policies generally prohibit them from doing so as a firing offense.

Think of someone asking for your password the same way you’d think about a stranger walking up to you on the street and saying “Hi, I’m with the village. I need your home address and your house keys.” No matter how friendly and professional looking, would you just give your keys to a stranger like that?

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Welcome to Fencepost Software

Welcome to the Fencepost Software website and blog. Here you’ll find a variety of information relating to software development, IT consulting, computer support and other items related to our business. There’s a bit of coverage of computer hardware, accessories and tools, particularly in areas that we’ve found ourselves educating customers on or that we use in supporting customers.

You’ll also find information on a range off-the-shelf and open source medical software and general-purpose software as well as some Software as a Service (SaaS). The main focus will be on software targeted to medical practices or used in medical practices, including discussions of electronic medical records, practice management and document and records storage & management.

We’re also happy to take questions, whether it be about medical software and practices, programming or even general computer support. Questions of general interest or particularly interesting questions may end up as posts.

You can read more about Fencepost Software on the About page.

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Sony Vaio Z505 / Z600 Hard Drive Replacement

Here are photos of the process of opening my old Sony VAIO Z505JSK laptop and upgrading the hard drive. The pictures are linked to larger versions.

The pictures on this page should apply to most Sony VAIO Z505 laptop / notebook computers, as well as to the Z600 laptops since they’re the same (just renumbered for the European market). Even where the pictures don’t match, the procedure is the same – carefully disassemble, keeping things organized. If something won’t go, look around to figure out how it might be attached or fastened, don’t just try to force it.

Your laptop was designed to be opened and serviced by technicians without damage. That means there’s a way to get into it without breaking things.

You may not know the official correct steps, but if you think you have to break something then you’re doing something wrong or have missed something. Expect tricky clips and redundancy because of the need to balance between a sturdy laptop and an easily disassembled laptop.

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