Dropbox and Syncing all your photos to your Galaxy S4

A few months ago I got my hands on a Samsung Galaxy S4. As part of the setup procedure it asks for your login details for Dropbox, this was great, I actively use Dropbox, had the app on my previous phone and regularly access files from my cellphone. As it was set-up on my previous phone to only download files when I request/access them, I expected the same to happen with this setup.



The next day I checked my gallery, and saw hundreds and hundreds of photos that Dropbox had decided I wanted to have on my phone. Fortunately I was on Wi-Fi, otherwise that 1.5Gb could have hurt my phone bill at the end of the month. This wasn’t a major problem, as I assumed I’d missed something in my settings which told it to sync photos, so I went in search of the correct settings. And I couldn’t find them anywhere.

I compared the settings exactly to that on my previous Android phone and there was no difference. After searching for a quite a while on the internet, I eventually came across a forum post that explained my problem. The setting I was looking for wasn’t in Dropbox, it was in my phones ‘Accounts’ options, and not under the Dropbox account, but under the general ‘Cloud’ options.

If you look at the bottom you’ll see a ‘Contents sync (with Dropbox) menu, here you can disable the syncing of pictures, videos and documents. Disabling this option then removed all my photos from my gallery and prevented the further unwanted syncing of files from Dropbox to my phone.

So to get there:

Settings > Accounts tab > Cloud > Contents sync

Password Protect Office 2010 file with read only

I recently had to throw together an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of people’s attendance to a meeting. It was necessary for the file to be password protected so no one could edit it, but at the same time I needed everyone to be able to view the file.

I remember having done it in Office 2003 without hassle, but in recent years haven’t had the need. And when trying to get it done in Office 2007/2010, I just couldn’t get it right. Google searches were also proving rather futile as most of them referred to the obvious protection options which couldn’t accomplish what I wanted.

If you go to protect in Office, you can choose to make a file Read-Only, you can save it as a Final copy. But then I can’t edit it. You can also password protect sheets, so I did that at first, but then if you want to edit a sheet, you have to un-protect the sheet, make your changes, and then re-protect the sheet. This would work, but I knew at some stage, me or someone else would forget to re-protect the sheet before closing the file.

After much searching, I eventually found this page which gave instructions on how to do it. And it’s fairly easy.


  • Go to ‘Save as’
  • Click ‘Tools’ at the bottom of the window, and then ‘General Options’
  • Type in a password in the ‘Password to Modify’ block and click ‘OK’.
  • Save the file as what ever you want it to be.

Fairly simple, but very difficult to find if you don’t know where to look.

Restoring Windows to a smaller drive

I recently invested in a 120GB OCZ Vertex 4 SSD drive. I bought it to replace my 750GB HDD in my laptop. Although it’s quite a knock in space, I was only sitting at about 110GB usage at the time, so figured 120GB limit wouldn’t be an issue, and I’d have a 750GB portable drive to carry around for anything extra.

I was planning on doing a fresh install. When I purchased my laptop it didn’t come with an install disk, so I used Lenovo’s OneKey Backup program to make a set of 4 install DVDs which would pretty much take me back to original state.

I got the SSD, easily swapped it out with the HDD and booted from the backup DVDs. I went through a few menu steps only to be greeted by a box telling me that the drive was too small for the install. The install was less than 30GB, but apparently because the partition the install was on was 750GB, you can only restore to a drive of the same size or larger.

I then decided to give the Windows 7 backup system a try. It would mean I’d be back up and running without any extra installs, but after making the backup onto a portable HDD and then booting with a Windows 7 DVD I had on hand, I experienced the same problem.

Reading up a bit, people suggested shrinking the partition on the 750GB to less than 120GB. When trying to do this, Windows told me, that due to “Immovable Files” I would not be able to shrink the partition to less than 320GB. Didn’t help much, made a new backup but still got the same error.

After some consulting, I booted up in Kubuntu and used the linux drive manager to shrink the partition to a round 80GB. Trying to reboot into Windows resulted in a failure to launch. Fortunately this was solved by running a Windows Repair from the boot DVD. I was then able to boot into Windows, create a backup which successfully installed on my SSD.


  • A backup that you wish to restore must be of a partition that is smaller than or equal to the size of the drive you wish to install onto. The rest of the space must be unclaimed.
  • Use Window’s Disk management to shrink your main partition to less than your new drive’s size. Format the rest of the drive and ensure it is un-allocated.
  • If Windows can’t make it small enough, boot using a linux live boot CD. Freely available. Use the applicable distro’s management software to shrink the partition to the desired size. If on reboot Windows fails to launch, boot with a Windows install DVD and run the repair software. Note: I place no guarantee on this solving any issues that messing with partitions from linux may cause
  • After booting into Windows, create a backup of the installation onto a network drive or portable HDD.
  • Switch out your new HDD/SSD
  • Reboot with the Windows DVD and follow the repair process to backup from an image.
  • Select the appropriate backup and follow the steps.
  • Once installed you can go to Window’s file management again and expand your partition to consume the entire drive.

Python & MySQLdb queries not executing

As part of my master’s project, I’m implementing a very simple monitoring system. Logs are continuously stored in a mySQL database, and one can get an overview of the system by viewing a website. This means one can monitor the system wherever you are, and there are no software costs. Important for my sponsors.

My database needs to get data from a serial connection, and having successfully established a connection from Python in a previous project, I figured I’d stick with this, meaning the only difficulty would be communicating with the mySQL database from python. A bit of research revealed this should be quite simple, as there’s a very convenient MySQLdb library to aid communication.

FYI: I’m running Windows 7 64bit. Python 2.7.3 32bit. MySQLdb-python 1.2.3.

A little while later I had it all up and running and successfully executed the test examples with a simple:

cur.execute(“SELECT VERSION()”)

This revealed I was running

Database version : 5.5.24-log

All fine and dandy. I then setup a simple Insert query, which although it didn’t result in any error messages, failed to successfully update the database. Executing the exact same query from phpmyadmin resulted in the record appearing in the database. This was several months ago and I struggled for a few hours each day, making small changes to the code which might possibly affect the way it’s executed. I also shifted through pages of appropriate Google searches, all to no avail.

I gave up on the problem for a while, and today decided to give it another go. I tried it on a different computer, installing everything from scratch. Yet still I encountered the same problem. After some more time spent sifting through stackoverflow problem pages I came across someone with a problem kinda like mine. The solution to the problem was that the database was set to not auto commit exectued queries. Fine, I check mySQL, but autocommit = 1, so I assume that’s not the problem. Sifting through a few more pages and someone links to an FAQ mentioning the same commit problem. I add the line


to my python code, and voilĂ , it works. Hours of frustration, hidden away in an FAQ.