How I configure Windows XP

Here’s how I configure Windows XP:

  1. Remove Internet and E-mail from Start menu. Right click on Start menu, select Properties | Start Menu tab | click Customize button, uncheck Internet and E-mail. I use keyboard to start web browser and email client.
  2. In Customize Start Menu dialog select Advanced tab. Turn off My Music, My Network Places, My Pictures, Set Program Access and Defaults. I use Far Manager for file navigation so these items just clutter start menu.
  3. Add Administrator to Welcome screen. In Registry Editor, open
    HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\SpecialAccounts\UserList. Create DWORD entry Administrator, set value 1. Normally I’m running as normal user; to install new programs I log in as Administrator.
  4. Turn off search with the dog. Open Explorer, click Search button. Select Turn off animated character. Whee! The dog is gone.
    Click Change Preferences, then Change files and folders search behavior. Select Advanced and click OK.
  5. Use Windows classic folders. Common tasks pane is too fancy for me.
  6. Set List view as default mode in Explorer. Select View | List menu. Then go to Tools | Folder Options | View tab and click “Apply to All Folders” button.
  7. Set advanced Explorer settings:
    • Display the contents of system folders – on
    • Hide extensions for known file types – off
    • Use simple file sharing (Recommended) – off. I know how to share folders, thank you very much.

How I configure Far Manager


Far Manager is console-based file manager. I like it very much. Here’s how I configure it to get the maximum out of it:

  1. Set raster font, 10 x 18. Set window size 80 x 26. Turn off selection with mouse (QuickEdit mode).
  2. Turn on “Clear R/O attribute from CD files”: go to Options | System Settings. I never need files to be read-only when I copy them from CD or DVD to hard drive.
  3. Turn on displaying hidden ($) shares: Options | Plugins configuration | Network browser | Show hidden shares. Now I can type net:computername and see C$, D$, etc.
  4. Options | Confirmations. Turn off confirmations for:
    • Delete non-empty folders
    • Exit
  5. Copy these command line archivers to C:\Program Files\Far folder:
    • pkzipc.exe
    • rar.exe
    • MsCab.exe
    • tar.exe

    Unfortunately Far Manager is not bundled with any archiver so you need to get them manually, from various web sites. Update: see below.

  6. Options | Panel Settings | turn on “Select folders”. This allows using NumPad Star to select folders.
  7. Go to Options | Interface Settings. Turn off “Clock in panels”. I already have a clock in lower right corner. There is no need for extra clock.Turn on “Show total copy progress indicator”. Otherwise I have absolutely no clue when operation is going to finish when I have lots of files to copy.
  8. Go to Options | Editor Settings. Check “Del removes blocks”. Set tab size to 3. Default 8 is way to much.
  9. Switch to Wide Mode. Press Left Ctrl + 4. I prefer this mode because I can see long file names and file sizes. Go to Options | File panel modes | Wide mode. Set Column Types to N,SC and Status line column types to NR,SC,D,T. This adds comma to file sizes:
  10. Install EMenu plugin. Go to C:\Program Files\Far\Plugins\EMenu folder and execute Hotkey.reg. Now I can press Context Menu key to get Explorer menu for selected file or folder.
  11. Can you read gray text on green background? I can’t.
    Go to Options | Colors | Dialogs | Unchanged text input. Set Foreground to black.

Update: Download pkzipc.exe, Rar.exe, MsCab.exe, gzip32.exe and tar.exe:
Extract to C:\Program Files\Far folder.

March 2008 AusPost rates

New Post Charges Booklet is online on Australia Post web site.

Oddly enough, postage rates for parcels inside Australia didn’t change at all.

International rates have increased by about 3%. It used to cost you $58.50 to send 2 kg parcel to United Kingdom by Air Mail before. Now it costs $60.35.


Local rates didn’t change. International rates increased insignificantly.

How to automate Adobe InDesign CS3

1. Locate Resources for Visual Basic.tlb in C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Adobe\InDesign\Version 5.0\Scripting Support\5.0 folder.

2. Open command prompt and execute:

TlbImp.exe "Resources for Visual Basic.tlb" /out:Interop.InDesign.dll

TlbImp.exe is located in C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio 8\SDK\v2.0\Bin folder on my machine. This will generate Interop.InDesign.dll file. This is an interop assembly.

3. Add reference to Interop.InDesign.dll to your project.

4. Use this code:

using System;
using InDesign;

namespace HelloInDesign
   class Program
      static void Main(string[] args)
         object missing = Type.Missing;
         Type type = Type.GetTypeFromProgID("InDesign.Application.CS3");
         if (type == null)
            throw new Exception("Adobe InDesign CS3 is not installed");
         _Application app = (_Application)Activator.CreateInstance(type);
         Document document = (Document)app.Documents.Add(true, missing);
         Page page = (Page)document.Pages[1];
         TextFrame textFrame = page.TextFrames.Add(missing,
            idLocationOptions.idUnknown, missing);
         textFrame.GeometricBounds = new string[] { "6p", "6p", "24p", "24p" };
         textFrame.Contents = "Hello from .Net!";

September 2007 rates increase

Australia Post has increased its rates in September 2007. If you open Post Charges Booklet (pdf) you can see these changes:

  Previous rate New rate
Regular post    
Small parcels up to 250 g $3.85 $4.00
Over 250g up to 500g $5.00 $5.20
Basic charge for destinations in the same state $6.70 $6.95
Basic charge for interstate destination $8.45 $8.75
Express post    
Parcels up to 500g $7.20 $7.40
Registered Post $2.60 $2.70

Distance charge has increased for most destinations by 5 or 10 cents per kilogram. International rates for parcels didn’t change.

Summary: rates have increased slightly. Next rate increase will be in March 2008.