Creating Outlook Group from CSV

I recently came across a need to create a group in Outlook from a comma separated value (csv) file. Outlook has import and export features, but those tools won’t allow you to create a group directly–it will just add a bunch of contacts from a csv and if you have hundreds of contacts that just isn’t an option. This tutorial is based upon Outlook 2016 running on Windows 7. There may be differences in other versions and platforms. Assuming you already have a csv file with first name, last name, and at least an email address, lets get started!

  1. Open Outlook and navigate to the contacts (or people) view:

    Outlook Contact View

  2. Select ‘New Contact Group’ from the menu bar:

    New Contact Group

  3. Enter a name for your group in the ‘Name’ box and use the drop down menu on ‘Add Members’ to select ‘From Outlook Contacts’:

    Add Members from Outlook Contacts

  4. Copy Fields from your csv file:

    Copy Fields

  5. Paste directly into ‘members’ box and press ‘OK’

    Paste Fields

  6. Select ‘Save and close’

Your new group should now be visible in your contacts view and available for you to use.

How to Turn off Twitter Retweets with Python

Alexis Madrigal wrote an article in the Atlantic proposing a new way of helping user to tame their Twitter feeds. Turn off retweets.

I really think that he is on to something and after having tried it for a while, I wanted to code a way of doing this without having to manually go to each user’s profile and turn off all retweets. Fortunately with python we have a pretty quick option.

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Bootstrap 3 and Webpack

My time spent learning Laravel recently has forced me to take a look at webpack. Laravel uses webpack as the frontend tool of choice for compiling javascript and css files. Laravel ships with an abstraction on top of the tool called Laravel Mix that takes care of some of the configuration and makes the process a little easier. Having used it a little bit I became curious about implementing webpack in a couple of smaller projects independently.

I decided to start with something simple–jquery and bootstrap, but quickly found that even something that simple was not as simple as it would appear. After some searching and some comparisons I was able to make something work. I’m going to detail what I found, since I wasn’t able to find a lot out there that was complete and simplified.

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Laravel API Authentication Middleware

Laravel 5.6 has a native API authentication middleware as an alternative to Passport (https://laravel.com/docs/5.6/passport). If you are not running an up-to-date version of PHP on your servers however, you are going to have some difficulties using Password (as I learned the hard way). After doing some digging I ran across an article for versions 5.2 and 5.3 (see link below) which I found still applicable.

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Logging Email with Laravel

Laravel provides the Mail facadeĀ (as of version 5.6) which acts as a wrapper around the PHP email library Swift Mailer.

Any application that sends emails needs to have logging for send events. No one wants to go wading through Linux sendmail logs or bothering sysadmins to go through Exchange logs.

Swift Mailer provides a couple of different logging plugins natively. Laravel provides decent documentation around their Mail facade but omit some details. One feature they leave out are Swift Mailer’s plugins and how to access them using the wrapper.

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A Temporary Internet

Nothing is certain on the internet.

[updated 4/11/2018 ]

Link rot is a perpetual problem with the internet. We all have experienced plenty of occasions where a promising link turns out to be a ‘404’. There is something of a transient nature about the internet. Items can be moved. Servers crash. Domains are abandoned. Articles are lost. Nothing really is certain.

Another layer of certainty that probably needs to be reviewed is the uncertainty regarding link shortening services. This was highlighted recently by an announcement by Bitly.com that they are going to be retiring their link bundling service. This particular feature has apparently not been an overwhelming hit and the company has decided to retire the service rather than keep it up.

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How to install Java SE Development Kit 7 on Debian

Debian is a wonderful open source distro, but sometimes you need some evil Oracle to get some things going.

Debian is a wonderful “open source” Linux distribution that I have been using for quite some time now. One problem that creeps up every now and then is the whole “open source” thing–frankly sometimes you need proprietary software. Now I hate that and if you know any better you probably do too, but such is the world we live in.

I needed Java SE 7 to try to fix a small problem I had been having with PyCharm. For some reason the “ctl+v” for pasting is not working and I had seen somewhere on a forum that the java version could be causing a problem. I had been using openjdk-7 –and since I don’t do much in java–that really hadn’t been much of an issue. But now it was and Debian does not have the official Oracle version in the repositories–anywhere. (Oracle is evil by the way).

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Getting Started With SVG

SVG allows for fantastic scalability and the source code behind the images is actually xml and editable.

SVG is a big deal. It seems to me like its becoming a bigger deal, at least, I’m running into it more often. The trend toward responsive design is probably at the root of this push. SVG allows for fantastic scalability and the source code behind the images is actually xml and editable. I ran into Steven Bradley’s blog vanseodesign.com a few weeks ago and have really profited from his tutorials on SVG. If you’re looking for a good starting point I would recommend you start here and follow along. He has a great writing style and his examples are understandable.

WordPress Social Media Tags Without Plugin

WordPress does great as a Content Management System, but leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to getting ready for Social Media. Google, Facebook, and Twitter all have their own markup schemes which really provide some enhancements to content that is shared on those networks. Getting that markup on WordPress is the challenge. There are plugins that help provide this sort of functionality, but I prefer to keep it simple and I also like to know how it is done. So I rolled up my sleeves and put something together to get the job done.

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Be careful on Github!

This is a mistake I’ve nearly made a couple of times when pushing commits on to GitHub. You are developing in your local environment, giving no thought to security and its time to commit your changes into your GitHub repository.

This is a mistake I’ve nearly made a couple of times when pushing commits on to GitHub. You are developing in your local environment, giving no thought to security and its time to commit your changes into your GitHub repository. Where there any keys in that code? Apparently there is quite a bit of the time and hackers know it. So be careful and develop some good habits even when in your local environment. You can read more about the threat over at programmableweb.com.