Using No-IP For External Access With a Dynamics IP Address: Series Index

Useful ApplicationsI do a lot of travelling for work and often want to connect to my home system to access a NAS or a computer which has been left on. Unfortunately, I have a dynamic IP address which means the IP address changes whenever the router restarts and, living in rural England, glitches which cause a router restart are not uncommon.

The solution to this is to use No-IP; a service I will introduce over the next few posts starting with what it is and how it works trough to setting it up and installing the update client.

The series index (below) will automatically update as each post goes live over the next few days, unless you’re reading it via a syndicated feed, in which case check Using No-IP For External Access With a Dynamics IP Address for the new posts.

Using No-IP For External Access With a Dynamics IP Address
What Is No-IP?
Creating An Account
Installing No-IP Client

Format XML

Useful WebsitesI posted a link to a website which will format your SQL code a while back and recently found myself looking for a way of formatting XML code to make it more readable.

One of the clients I was working with, had an integration sending data to eConnect to load into Microsoft Dynamics GP, and the XML was coming across as one long string and I needed to make it readable by breaking it over multiple lines. A quick search found me Free Online XML Formatter from freeformatter.com which includes a number of other tools which look useful for formatting/minifying/validating and so on.

Free Online XML Formatter - freeformater.com

Bulk watermark images

Useful WebsitesA couple of days ago, I posted about a website which allowed you to bulk resize images; that site has a sister site which allows images to be watermarked in bulk.

The Batch Watermark; you are able to use an image or text as the watermark and it will be applied to all of the uploaded photos:

Bulk watermark images

I am not a huge fan of watermarking images, but lots of people will use any photo posted online as if it was copyright free, so when I upload photos to my Coppr|Distilleries to Visit and Dark Forge | Tourist Attractions sites, I will apply a watermark to them so any other use of the photo will at least include the original source.

Bulk resize images

Useful WebsitesA few months ago I posted about the Tiny JPG site which can be used to shrink files for posting online; this site redcues the filesize of the image, but not the dimensions of the image.

I am building two sites at the moment (Coppr|Distilleries to Visit and Dark Forge | Tourist Attractions), onto which I will be uploading photographs of the places I have visited. Before uploading the photos, I need to resize the photos dimensions and to do this I need an application or at least I thought I needed an application, but I then found Bulk Resize Photos:

Bulk resize images

This site allows you to resize up to 150 photos at a time and you have control over how it resizes (based on height, width or longest side) while keeping the filesize below a certain size. Early experimentation suggests that this site does exactly what I need and does so without needing to install anything, meaning I can use it from any computer.

Generate matching colour palettes

Useful WebsitesI run a few websites now which means I have had a need to change colours on themes. However, being colourblind, this can be somewhat difficult to mke sure that the colours I am choosing will work together. One site I have found very useful is ColorHexa.com; this is a free color tool providing information about any color and generating matching color palettes for your designs (such as complementary, analogous, triadic, tetradic or monochromatic colors schemes).

The below screenshot shows part of the color palette generated for this sites main colour azure blue (#007FFF):

Color Hexa website

Formatting SQL

Useful WebsitesAt the start of March last year, I posted about a site you can use to format SQL by pasting it in or uploading a file. That site is still present and working, but I’ve found a new website which formats SQL more to my liking (thinking specifically of formatting some of the Microsoft Dynamics GP stored procedures).

The new site I’m using is SQL Formatter from DevArt:

SQL Formatter

The SQL in the above is from my SQL View to Return Budgets by Month post.

Using the options to the right, you can change how the SQL is formatted, so you can alter how the SQL is formatted to make it closer to your required output.

I prefer a web based solution as I sometimes need to format SQL when I’m working on a client system and don’t have access to my own laptop, so one of the tools which can install into SQL Server Management Studio aren’t always usable.

Reduce size of JPEG or PNG images

Useful WebsitesI’ve been doing some work on both my websites and the plugins I’ve developed for ClassicPress in order to make improvements. One of the areas I am aware of is that the images I am using are larger than they could be.

It is possible to compress PNG or JPEG images without any loss of quality. I’ve used a couple of tools to compress the screenshots I’ve already uploaded, without being especially happy with any of them, so I’m not going to recommend anything in that area.

However, I’ve been happier with an online tool called TinyJPG which you can use to compress images:

Tiny Jpg website

As you can see from the image above, a few images I ran through the tool resulted in an overall compression of 57%. This will save me both storage and bandwidth on the website. I am using the free version which allows you to upload up to 20 images up to 5MB in size at a time; they do have a paid service available which does not have these restrictions.

Web App to Convert PNG to PDF: Zamzar

Useful WebsitesThis is another of the posts which is largely to remind me of how to do something. In this case, when I publish a book, I need to convert the PNG of the cover into a PDF.

I usually end ip trying a few services before finding the one which works every time; that service is Zamzar.

I’ve used it to convert a number of PNGs to PDFs now and also to convert a few other files as well. I find Zamzar to be consistently accurate and reliable for converting files.