Monday, July 16, 2012

How to add a “Send To” shortcut for SkyDrive

With personal cloud computing on the rise with SkyDrive, Google Drive, Drop Box, etc.  you want super easy ways to get things into and out of the Cloud.  If you’re like me, sometimes you’re in a hurry and just need to slap something into the cloud on the way out the door, and organize it later.


Into Windows has a great article on how to add a “Send to SkyDrive” shortcut to the context menu of the shell. You can find that article here.  Basically it boils down to simply putting a shortcut to the SkyDrive folder into your sendto special folder.  You need to be also running the SkyDrive software for Windows.

Here’s what I did, after installing the SkyDrive software

  1. Navigate to the folder above your SkyDrive folder, it’s typically c:\users\%username%\ (where %username% is the username of you on your computer)
  2. Right-Click on the SkyDrive folder and choose create shortcut.
    1. I renamed this file from SkyDrive – Shortcut to just SkyDrive, for a cleaner look
  3. Next open up Start, then Run, and type in “shell:sendto ”. This will open another explorer window in your sendto folder. 
  4. Move the shortcut created early into this sendto folder.

That’s it! now simply right click on any file you want to send to your SkykDrive, go to the “Send To” option and you’ll see SkyDrive in the list.

SendTo SkyDrive

Just remember to leave your laptop open long enough to wait for that file to be sync’d to the cloud!

Monday, July 09, 2012

Get Cloud Services working for you, even when you’re not!

As the saying goes, a user will do things over and over and over again, but a developer will automate it and never touch it again (until something breaks of course).

I am not a developer, but I do have a developer education, and that makes me want to automate stuff.  Why do something over and over again that a computer can handle just fine?  I do this sort of thing on a client computer, and often write scripts using AutoHotKey.  I wrote about it earlier, now’s a good time to check it out. 

I’m now excited to say that I’ve found a way for things to happen for you, without you doing anything.  Getting those beloved Cloud services working for you.IFTTT

Have you heard about If this then that? or IFTTT (pronounced “lift” without the “L”)

IFTTT is an online “batch” file service that allows you to set a trigger (“if this”), and have an action take place on your behalf (“then that”).  You can learn more about it here.

It’s my new favorite service.  Supporting all kinds of existing services including:, Blogger, Buffer, Craigslist, Date & Time,, Dropbox, Email, Evernote, Facebook, RSS feeds, Flickr, Foursquare, GMail (and almost all of Google’s services that I don’t use), Instagram,, LinkedIn, SMS, Stocks, Twitter, Vimeo, Weather, Belkin power, Wordpress, Youtube, and more!

You can then simply create what they call “recipes”, which allows you to set some trigger on some service, and then have a action take place when that trigger happens.  For example, this is a popular one:

AutoSave Instagram Pictures to DropBox

It’s that easy, you set up your trigger actions and define your reactions.  In just a day, I’ve created a few recipes:

  • I save all my tweets to Evernote (easy and fast searching of historical tweets)
  • I automatically tweet blog posts (like this one), and then re-tweet them again later using
  • I have an email alert set up for my favorite stocks
  • I automatically blog my Instagram shots on my photoblog.
  • I’m going to tweet exactly at Midnight on new years to wish everyone a great new 2013!


What I like most about IFTTT is I never have to give it any of my passwords for my other sites/services, it just simply gets granted access, and I can always revoke it from the target service if I want.

So if you like automation, and you find yourself repeating the same actions over and over again, try out IFTTT

This blog post was automatically tweeted by IFTTT

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Windows 8 Keyboard Shortcuts

I’m a big believer in short-cut keys, moving your hand to your mouse, moving the mouse, and then back to the keyboard is inefficient.  If you can save a few seconds using keyboard shortcuts, and you do this constantly during the day, it’ll save you time. 

imageFurthermore, as we approach Windows 8, and you end up getting that fancy touch screen, it’s going to be even more important to use keyboard short cuts.  In fact, you can navigate Windows 8 much better with the keyboard than the mouse if you don’t have a touch screen.

So, let’s take a refresher on our keyboard shortcuts:




Starts Task Manager.

Windows (tap)

Toggles between the Start screen and the foremost running app (Metro-style) or the Windows Desktop.


Peeks at the Windows desktop.


Snaps application to the left.


Initiate input method editor (IME) reconversion.

Windows+1, Windows+2, etc.

Switch to the (classic) Windows desktop and launch the nth shortcut in the Windows taskbar. So WINKEY + 1 would launch whichever application is first in the list, from left to right.

Windows+Arrow Keys

Aero Snap.


Switch to the (classic) Windows desktop and select the tray notification area.


Display Charms and time/date/notification overlay.


Cycle through apps, snapping them as you go.


Toggle Show Desktop (hides/shows any applications and other windows).


Launch Windows Explorer with Computer view displayed.


Launch Narrator.


Search Files using the new Windows Search pane.


Open the Share charm.


Display Settings charm.


Swap foreground between the snapped and filled apps.


Display Connect charm.


Lock PC and return to Lock screen.


Minimize the selected Explorer window.


Toggle orientation switching on slate and tablet PCs.


Display the new Project (for "projection") pane for choosing between available displays.


Move the Start Screen or a Metro-style application to the monitor on the right.


Move the Start Screen or a Metro-style application to the monitor on the left.


Open the Search pane.


Display Run box.


Move the gutter to the left (snap an application).


Snaps application to the right.


Cycle through apps in reverse order.


Cycles through Notification toasts in reverse order.


Switch input language and keyboard layout.


Cycle through apps.


Launch Ease of Access Center.


Cycles through Notification toasts.


Display Settings Search pane


Access the advanced context menu on the Start preview tip.


Open the App Bar.

Happy Keyboarding!

Monday, July 02, 2012

Enjoying the Cloud way of Life

A few years ago, I made a decision to move almost everything to the cloud. Steve Ballmer did say that Microsoft employees were "All In!" and I decided to take that to heart. See what it's like. I have since ditched running Exchange in my house for the power of Hotmail (Although I also have an Office365 account), and I have focused most of my energy on cloud services in the public cloud instead of those in the private cloud, although I still run Windows Home Server strictly because cloud storage is expensive.

I have to say that thus far I like it. I have minimized the number of computers in my house from 4 desktops, 2 laptops and a server, down to 1 laptop and a tablet and a [light-weight] server. It makes patch-tuesday much easier to swallow as I'm not chasing down computers for updates. My wife still has her laptop and her phone, but otherwise it's a minimalistic approach.

I did make some other changes. I switched out my Zune player for a Sonos player (well, actually 2!), and I stopped buying CDs and ripping them to my home server and now simply subscribed to Rdio, which is kind enough to allow me to play any song I want at any time, to any device. It's cheaper than actually buying the CDs now too. It fits nicely in with the Sonos player as well.

Part of moving to the Cloud was I wanted to have almost no data on my computers or tablets. I store a backup of all my personal documents on my SkyDrive using their new app for the PC, which gives me access to all my stuff from my iPad and soon to be Windows Surface! I store all my work documents on SharePoint at the office, and my laptop is really just a vessel of information that's actively being worked on until it's saved to one of those two locations.

In fact, all I use my Home Server for is media storage. Ripped DVDs for streaming to the xbox, my old music collection, and most importantly my photo collection. My Home Server also provides a gateway to the cloud for online backup (see my Online Backup posts). It's also the "computer" that's on all the time, so it runs any long-time running tasks which allows my PC to sleep as often and as aggressively as it likes.

So far living the Cloud is easy, but I've made some important decisions as to where I store my data, and admittedly, there is some data that I still don't put in the cloud, but I could probably count it on one hand.

Are you in the cloud yet? why not? Drop me a comment and let me know why.