Sunday, November 01, 2015

Automated compacting and copying of Microsoft Outlook PST files

Here's a way to automatically compact and backup all of your Microsoft Outlook PST data files on your Windows PC using only free software, AutoIT and PowerShell. AutoIT is freeware, and PowerShell is included in Microsoft Windows. Compacting your PST files before you back them up can reduce the amount of disk space required both at the source and destination locations of your backup.

So, to get started:

  1. Get the free AutoIT Full Installation and AutoIT Script Editor from the AutoIT Downloads page.
  2. Ensure PowerShell scripts that you create can run on your computer.
  3. Create an AutoIT script that, when the Mail control panel is open, will compact all PST files and then close the Mail control panel.
  4. Create a Powershell script that opens the Mail control panel and then executes the AutoIT script.

Here below are the AutoIT and Powershell scripts that I am running on my Windows 8.1 PC with Outlook 2013. I have a Windows Shortcut to my PowerShell script so that every time I log into my PC, my Outlook PST data files are compacted and backed up before Outlook is opened. I use the PowerShell script to also open other applications so that I may work on them while the Outlook PST data files are being backed up. Please feel free to copy the scripts below and modify them to work for you.

I am using Synology's Cloud Station to keep most of the data files on my laptop in sync with a Synology NAS, but Cloud Station doesn't work well with Outlook PST data files, which is why Cloud Station is configured by default to exclude the synchronization of files with a PST extension.

AutoIT script

PowerShell script

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

School and Study Tips, LinkedIn Tips, Sony, SCU, SJSU, and Del Mar Posts Have Moved

Are you looking for content on this site and got the error "Sorry, the page you were looking for in this blog does not exist."? If so, then these links may help:
  • For LinkedIn tips: The content that was on this site was either deleted because it was obsolete or updated and moved to the LinkedIn Notes blog.
  • For downtown San Jose residents and visitors: The content that was on this site was either deleted because it was obsolete.
For techies: Yes, I know I could have used 301 redirects to make the transition of content from one place to another as seamless as possible for machines doing search engine optimization (SEO) as well as humans. But there are a lot of reasons I didn't do that. To start, I saved some money by moving my web site content with low traffic to Blogger sites. I might further elaborate on the reasons I didn't use 301 redirects in a future post.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Updated Personal Blog, Added Picture in Title

I started this blog in 2005, so 10 years later it seemed like a good time to update it to take advantage of features that Blogger makes easy to add to a site. Most of the features were probably available in 2005 with WordPress plugins, but I wasn't that serious of blogger. I just wanted a decent looking place where I could occasionally share information that I think might be useful to others. The same holds true today, but I thought it might be fun to take advantage of features that are now easy to implement in Blogger.

So during this upgrade of this personal blog, I figured out one thing that might be useful to you if you're using Blogger: How to put a picture next to the title.

You can see in the upper left corner of this page that my picture is next to the title "Rick Upton". It took a little experimentation to figure out how to do this.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Taking Video from DVD+RW Discs to an MPG file to YouTube

I recorded video to a DVD+RW disc. When I open the disc on my computer, I see a number of files, including files with the extension VOB. Each VOB file is a segment of the complete video that I want to be able to play on my computer and upload to YouTube.

To combine five VOB files on my DVD+RW disc into one file called newfile.mpg on my computer's hard drive, I executed the following command:

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Combining VTA Light Rail or Bus Schedules into One Personalized Schedule

On the Santa Clara County's Valley Transit Agency (VTA) website, schedules are available in text format. The problem is that I want one schedule that shows me when the next light rail train is coming at a station I am going to depart from, but the VTA site doesn't provide such a schedule. You might want a single schedule to show you when the next bus is coming for a stop that serves multiple bus lines. So here below are some rough instructions as to what I do to combine two schedules into a single schedule, two times (one for northbound, and one for southbound). If you have any questions about the process, post a comment and hopefully I'll have some time to make the instructions clearer.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Removing leading and trailing spaces from Oracle SQL*Plus spooled output

Oracle's SQL*Plus application spools fields with spaces even if you try to trim the fields, because SQL*Plus is "doing you a favor" by making the fields line up. One way to work around this is to concatenate all fields into one big field so that SQL*Plus spools one big field. However, when I tried this with some very large fields, I got an error implying that I was concatenating too many characters. So how to work around this?

Here's what I did: I let SQL*Plus spool a tab delimited file with leading and trailing spaces (trailing blanks for all fields except for a field which uses STRAGG and had one leading space). Then I created an awk script to remove the leading and trailing spaces with code similar to the following: