Russ' Do It Yourself Home Workshop

Finding Fixes to Just About Anything and Everything

Archive for November, 2010

Copy Outlook Signature Files From One Computer to Another

Posted by Russell Wright on November 30, 2010

Using the procedure provided by the Microsoft Outlook team you can back up your signature files and restore them on another computer.  I was actually transferring them from an XP computer running Outlook 2010 to a Windows 7 computer running Outlook 2010.

The primary, mystery meat navigation trick to this is to ctrl-click on the signatures button to open the folder where all your signature files are located.  From here you can copy all the contents from one machine to another (or to a backup location).

On Outlook 2010, this button is located on the “backstage” options screen.  Use File | Options and select the Mail item to navigate to the Signatures button.  This is where you can ctrl-click to open the folder containing the signature files.

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On the XP machine, the location of the Signatures folder is Documents and Settings\Username\ApplicationData\Microsoft\Signatures.

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On the Windows 7 machine, the location is Users\Username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Signatures.

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You should now have access to your signatures.

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Create a Page Redirection from a Folder in IIS 7

Posted by Russell Wright on November 23, 2010

Let’s say you have a URL:  http://mysite.whatever.com/help and you want to create a redirection in IIS7 so it goes to a particular help page.  Here’s a way you can do it using the HTTPRedirectionModule in IIS.

First you have to make sure the HTTP redirection module is installed in IIS.

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In Server Manager, you can navigate to the Web Server (IIS) and enable the HTTP redirection module.

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This will make the HTTP Redirect feature available.

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Confirm to install.

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This process takes several minutes. No reboot is necessary.

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Installation complete!

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Add the virtual directory to the web server name on all web sites.

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Create the physical folder for the virtual directory in the SharePoint web site folder.

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In this case, it is c:\inetpub\wwwroot\wss\VirtualDirectories\mysite.whatever.com80\help.

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Set the redirect for the virtual folder. Make it a permanent redirect (301).

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Test it out.

http://mysite.whatever.com/help

should redirect to:

http://mysite.whatever.com/pages/help-faq.aspx

or whatever page you entered.

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Do You Find Yourself Typing in Chinese on Windows Vista?

Posted by Russell Wright on November 20, 2010

If you somehow start typing in Chinese (and you don’t want to), try pressing the left Alt key and the left Shift key together to cycle through the input languages.  If you have more than one form of Chinese (or other language) installed, then you may have to press these keys several times to cycle through them and get back to English.

If you don’t want this to happen, then go to your language options and remove the offending languages.

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One of my laptops is an Asus and it seems to have come with alternate languages installed "out-of-the-box."

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Make Some Home-Made English Muffins

Posted by Russell Wright on November 15, 2010

Of all the English muffin recipes I’ve tried this is, by far, the best.  However, it takes most of the day (you’re not working on it all day, but with all the wait times, it will be 4 or 5 p.m. when you are cooking them if you start about 8 a.m.  Don’t rush them!  I’ve found it never hurts to let the flour mixtures rise more than their allotted times.

1.  Starter

2 c. warm water
2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour (medium gluten)
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
3/4 tsp. fresh dry active yeast

Here are some alternatives to the all-purpose and whole wheat flour that I have tried.  I like adding a little soy flour.
1 c. wheat and 1 1/2 c. unbleached
1 1/2 c unbleached, 1/2 c. wheat, 1/2 c. soy (my favorite)
1 c. unbleached, 1 c. wheat, 1/2 c. soy
1 c. unbleached, 1 c. bleached, 1/4 c. soy, 1/4 c. gluten

Stir together water and yeast.  Let sit a few minutes to dissolve.  Continue only if yeast slurry becomes visibly active (bubbly).  Mix in flour(s).  You will create a thick batter (not dough).  Cover and let this "starter" rest at warm room temperature for 4 hours.

I normally cover the starter with plastic wrap and place in an oven that has been warmed a little (don’t put it in an oven that is on!).
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2.  Sponge

2 tsp. fresh dry active yeast
3/4 c. warm water (about 110 degrees F)
2 c. (about 1/2) of the starter from part 1
3/4 c. scalded milk, cooled to lukewarm *
2 c. high-gluten or bread flour, unbleached

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water.  Add 2 cups starter (reserve remaining starter for dough) and mix well.  Stir in the milk and bread flour to make a thick batter.  Cover this "sponge" and let stand for 1 hour.

* Why do you scald milk?  Scalding served two purposes: to kill potentially harmful bacteria in the milk, and to destroy enzymes that keep the milk from thickening in recipes.  Well, most people think it is an unnecessary step nowadays because milk in most countries is pasteurized and the harmful bacteria have already been destroyed.  However, in this recipe it does create a nice, warm environment for the yeast, so I always do it.

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3.  English Muffin dough

Sponge mixture from part 2
Remaining starter from part 1
4 c. (approximately) unbleached high-gluten or bread flour
4 tbsp. honey
2 1/2 tsp. salt
4 tbsp. dry buttermilk powder
2 tbsp. corn meal

My modifications:
1 tsp. cinnamon (aka crack) **
Various grain combinations (select one or none or make up your own):
2 tbsp. flax
4 tbsp. flag and 1 tbsp. corn meal
4 tbsp. gluten
3 tbsp. flax seed & 1 tbsp. millet

Stir down the sponge mixture and add the remaining starter, flour, honey, salt, buttermilk powder and cornmeal (and/or grains).  Beat about 5 minutes with your super powerful mixer (don’t try and use a hand mixer).  Do NOT use extra flour to stiffen.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled in bulk (45-60 minutes). 

** Why do I call this “crack?”  Because I’ve found that a little cinnamon imparts a flavor that makes people really go “Wow!, these are good!”

Some tips: 

If you cover the dough with plastic wrap, spray the plastic wrap with a non-stick spray so it doesn’t stick to the dough when it rises.

To prevent the dough sticking to plastic wrap or wax paper, sprinkle cornmeal on the outside of the muffins when they are rising. 

In the next stop, avoid completely deflating the dough, if possible.  On a work surface sprinkled generously with corn meal, gently roll or pat the puffy, elastic dough out to a 3/4-inch thickness (no thinner!).  Use a floured, sharp cookie cutter (or an inverted can) to cut into 3 1/2-inch rounds.  Place on a baking sheet that’s been sprinkled with corn meal.  Cover and let rise slightly in a warm place (about 45-60 minutes).  If you’ve avoided deflating the dough while rolling and cutting, less rising time is needed.  The muffins need to be significantly higher than, and as much as double, their final desired height, as some deflation will occur while cooking on the griddle (especially when turning them over).

Heat a skillet (cast iron or large electric griddle) to medium heat.  I use a large electric skillet heated to 300 degrees F.  If you don’t have a large skillet, you’ll spend a lot of time cooking small batches.  Sprinkle cooking surface liberally with corn meal.  Gently (trying hard not to deflate them) place the muffins on the cooking surface, without crowding.  Cook until the bottoms are browned (for me that is about 10-15 minutes per side).  Turn the muffins gently to prevent deflating them and brown the other side.  The trick is to not cook them too quickly…be patient.  Transfer cooked muffins to wire rack or plate to cool. 

Store in airtight container for 2 to 3 days or freeze and use as needed.

Makes 14 to 16 muffins

Note:  The softer the dough, the more "nooks and crannies" will form.  At the extreme, the dough can almost be of a batter-like consistency.  In this case, you may have to use muffin rings to contain the dough while cooking.  You can purchase muffin rings or make your own from large tuna cans by removing the tops and bottoms.

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Remove Distributor 1997 Chrysler Sebring Convertible

Posted by Russell Wright on November 1, 2010

There’s a distributor in there, somewhere!  Start by removing your aftermarket brace, if you have one.

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Remove all that air filter cover and intake stuff.  One 12mm bolt and loosening a hose clamp should do the job.  Oh yeah, unclip the air filter cover!

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Let’s get the EGR tube out of the way.  There are a couple of 8mm bolts down here.

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Removing the two bolts.  See my 1/4” swivel socket on my long extension?

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If you remove the throttle cables, you can get to the EGR bolts more easily.  There is a small tab at the bottom of the outboard cable that, if you use a small screwdriver to push the tab, it slides easily out of the bracket.  Then, the 2nd on will also come out.

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Now you can get to the two 8mm bolts holding upper part of the EGR tube. 

Remove the throttle cable bracket by removing the two 10mm bolts.

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Now you should be able to reach in and disconnect the six spark plug wires from the distributor.  You may want to mark the spark plug wires to insure you put them back in the right hole in the distributor cap.

Uh oh.  If you look down there you can see green stuff.  I’ve been wondering where my coolant has been going.  Guess I’ll be replacing come hoses, too.

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Next, remove the distributor cap.  One phillips screw on top you can easily see, another one on bottom you’ll have to remove by feel.

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The distributor cap has been removed.  Notice the position of the rotor.  Mark it, take a picture of it, memorize it…don’t forget it.  You want to get it in correctly and the rotor fits on a triangular post, so you can screw up 2/3 of the time if you’re not careful.

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There’s a picture of the coil socket and dangling spark plug wires.

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Here’s a picture showing the top of the distributor with the rotor removed (rusty thing in the middle).

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Disconnect the two connectors on the distributor.  There is a 2-pin connector and a 6-pin connector.  This is where you need to be very aware and make sure that the locking mechanisms on both connectors are intact.  My 6-pin connector’s locking mechanism was broken and I believe that is the cause of all my woes.  They are released by gently squeezing to release the lock.  The lock on the 6-pin connector is on the side away from you.  The 2-pin connector is released by squeezing the sides.

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Some more connector shots.

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There’s the 6-pin with the orange seal stuck in the wrong side of the connector.  The 2-pin is below.

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Now the part you can’t see!  There are two 12mm nuts and washers that hold the distributor in.  The one in front is pretty easy to get to and loosen.  The one in back is a bitch!  I had to use a stubby 12mm combo wrench and it was all I could do to get enough leverage to loosen it.  That one took me as long to loosen as everything else to this point.  Perhaps I’m just getting old…or maybe I just have big hands.  Pulling the distributor out is kind of tricky.  Just be patient and you’ll be able to work it out of the tight space. 

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In order to get some clearance, I removed the hose in back.  You can see the exposed pipe nipple that had the hose with its spring clamp.  Of course at this point in time I busted the rigid vacuum hose connected on the bottom (brittle from being 13 years old) so I salvaged the ends and got some replacement hose from NAPA and fashioned a new one.  That took a little heat from my heat gun in order to put a 90 degree bend on the front of the hose.  When I bent it, I had a piece of wire shoved inside it to make sure it didn’t collapse when it got hot.

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Here’s a close-up of the vacuum hose and clamp in the back.  I took this after I repaired the 6-pin connector on the distributor.  If you look under my finger you can see the electrical tape and friction tape the repair is wrapped with.

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This is a picture of the 2-pin and 6-pin connectors that attach to the distributor.  This is a set that have been removed from a donor car.  Unfortunately, this first 6-pin connector’s locking mechanism was also broken.  They get that way when they are 13 years old.  I’ve released the pins on the 6-pin and pulled them out so you can see the moisture-proof seals on each connector pin.  Chrysler does not provide a repair kit for this connector.  Bummer!

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I had to find another connector in a salvage yard and cut off the connector and splice in the new one.  If you find yourself doing this, I would recommend that you cut off the original connector fairly close to the connector so you leave yourself plenty of wire to work with.  It’s a tight space to work with a soldering iron.

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The shop manual provides a splicing method, which is pretty much what I used for the repair.

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Posted in Auto Repair | 5 Comments »