Psion software archive

My old Psion Series 7 and accessories

For years I had on my project backlog an idea to create a website resource for Psion users that collated all the software that I had found and used for a wide range of Psion palmtop computers:

  • WorkAbout (SIBO)
  • Siena (SIBO)
  • Series 3 / 3a / 3mx (SIBO)
  • Series 5 / 5mx (EPOC)
  • Series 7 (EPOC)
  • netBook (EPOC)
  • Quartz
  • netPad

But my life took various unexpected twists and turns and other things took priority. Then in July 2017 I sold my Psion hardware.

While I have not been able to fulfil my original vision, as a minimal viable product, I have uploaded my entire collection of Psion software, images, documentation, code, etc. to Dropbox. If you are interested in Psion computers, have a poke around and help yourself.

An overview of my planning and productivity system in 2019

Google Calendar, Microsoft OneNote and Todoist

My personal organisation system has evolved over the years in an iterative and rather agile approach.

This post outlines the major building blocks of my current system.

Continue reading An overview of my planning and productivity system in 2019

Managing overlay icons for Dropbox and TortoiseSVN and TortoiseGit

I imagine like many involved in web development, I rely heavily on a number of version control applications: I use Dropbox, Subversion (SVN) and Git.

For years I’ve used the TortoiseSVN client for Windows. It integrates with the Windows Explorer shell making it quick and easy to manage your version controlled code within Explorer.

I like that I don’t need a separate full-blown application that acts as an interface between the code on my PC and the SVN repository; I like that I don’t need to use a command prompt; but I love that TortoiseSVN adds overlay icons to tell me the state of each file (is it up to date, changed, added, etc.?).

These folders are all up to date, and in sync with the SVN repository.
These folders are all up to date, and in sync with the SVN repository.

Recently I’ve started using Git at work and so I’ve also installed TortoiseGit which does something similar.

This is the Bootstrap repo cloned to my PC.
This is the Bootstrap repo cloned to my PC.

And of course Dropbox does the same: it shows you which files have been synchronised with the cloud, and which are in the process of uploading.

My Dropbox folders are up-to-date, synchronized successfully with the Cloud
My Dropbox folders are up-to-date, synchronized successfully with the Cloud

The problem

The problem, though, is that each of these applications uses multiple overlay icons but Windows only uses the first 15.

TortoiseSVN and TortoiseGit both use the same nine icons:

Nine folder, each has an icon on top of it such as ticks, crosses or pluses.
TortoiseSVN and TortoiseGit both use nine icons.

Dropbox uses eight icon overlays. If you have OneDrive installed (which you will if you use Windows 8 or above) then it uses three. And Windows itself uses a few to indicate offline files or enhanced storage.

That’s 22 icon overlays, and like I said: Windows only uses the first 15.

So, inevitably you end up with some icons missing, and depending on which these are it can make life just that little bit harder when trying to figure out quickly whether a file is in sync or not, or whether it’s not even been added.

That means you need to make a choice about which icons you want to use and which you don’t.

What Microsoft should do…

This functionality was introduced in Windows 95, to still limit this value to 15 icons when we now have a 64-bit operating system and literally gigabytes of RAM and terrabytes of hard disc scpace seem mad.

Microsoft should now either

  1. increase the limit from 15 to, say, 256 or 1024 or whatever multiple of eight they choose, or
  2. provide a set of standard overlay icons (that can be updated as part of the current Windows theme) for the most common overlay icons (e.g. normal, read only, added, modified, deleted, ignored, conflicted, locked, question mark) that any application can hook into.

How to fix it

Anyway, the most straight-forward way to fix this is by editing the Windows Registry.

The icon overlays can be found in the following key:

Computer \ HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Explorer \ ShellIconOverlayIdentifiers

It turns out you can safely rename the folders which will reorder the icons. The folders are just containers for the real information contained within them.

1. Backup

Export (backup) the ShellIconOverlayIdentifiers folder in its entirety, in case you need to restore it later.

2. Prioritise which icons you need

My current preference is for the following:

  1. 1TortoiseNormal
  2. 2TortoiseModified
  3. 3TortoiseConflict
  4. 6TortoiseDeleted
  5. 7TortoiseAdded
  6. 8TortoiseIgnored
  7. 9TortoiseUnversioned
  8. DropboxExt1 (green Synced)
  9. DropboxExt2 (blue In progress)
  10. DropboxExt5 (red Sync problem)
  11. DropboxExt7 (grey Folder not synchronizing)
  12. EnhancedStorageShell
  13. SkyDrivePro1 (ErrorConflict)
  14. SkyDrivePro2 (SyncInProgress)
  15. SkyDrivePro3 (InSync)

You can use whatever naming convention you prefer. I rename the original folder names with a number prefix and an underscore, e.g. 01_1TortoiseNormal. Folders that I want to drop to the bottom I prefix with a simple x, e.g. x5TortoiseReadOnly.

UPDATE: Some users are reporting that they prefix with a space as this appears to be the trick that OneDrive/SkyDrive has used.

In regedit it looks like this, with the unprioritized icons dropping to the bottom of the list.

List of registry keys
List of registry keys

3. Restart Explorer

  1. Close any Windows Explorer windows.
  2. Press Ctrl+Shift+Esc to open Task Manager.
  3. Look for Windows Explorer listed under “Background processes”.
  4. Right-click it and select “Restart”.

Your taskbar will disappear a couple of times as the Explorer process is restarted, but you should now see all the overlay icons you want within your folders.

(Currently I’m having issues with OneDrive — formerly SkyDrive — but as I don’t rely on it for too much I’m not that bothered, to be honest.)

Update

“Gijssays” posted a comment below in January 2016 that reads:

QUOTE

There is an even more permanent solution to this problem:

  1. Go to the registry key ShellIconOverlayIdentifiers
  2. Right click > Permissions… > Advanced
  3. Now disable inheritance, take ownership of this key and check “Replace all child permission..”
  4. Once you are the owner of the key you can permanently remove OneDrive / Dropbox or whatever keys you do not need.
  5. To secure this key from future edits make it read-only for the SYSTEM user.

END QUOTE

I have not tried this solution but I wanted to surface it into the article in case it helps anyone.

Zdenek Polach has also created a script to fix this. See The Overlay Icons Nightmare – TortoiseGit, SVN, Dropbox War Solved.

Transferring files from Dropbox to Copy using Mover

Following up from my post last week where I posed the question Copy – could this draw me away from Dropbox? last night I began transferring files from Dropbox to Copy to see how it compares with my data in place.

Today I’ve been using a third party web-based service called Mover to transfer the files from cloud to cloud, which is faster.

Before I go on, though, I just want to say thank you to everyone who used the referral URL https://copy.com/?r=SJuusn which gives both us an extra 5GB. My Copy account is now four times larger than a standard free, 15GB account—it is now a massive 60GB. Thank you.

Manual transfer

Obviously, the simplest option when migrating from one cloud-storage host to another would be to manually copy my files from the Dropbox folder to the Copy folder in My Documents.

Move files from Dropbox folder to Copy folder

I’ve done that with a few folders with only a handful of files in them, simply to judge the speed that Copy uploads them into the cloud.

The trouble with this method, however, is that on a domestic ADSL broadband connection my upload speed is significantly slower than my download speed; that’s what the ‘asymmetric’ bit of asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL) means.

Copying files from Dropbox folder to Copy folder, then uploading into the cloud
Copying files from Dropbox folder to Copy folder, then uploading them into the cloud

Automated transfer

A faster method would be to transfer the files from my Dropbox account my Copy account in the cloud and then download them to my Copy folder on my PC, as my download speed is much faster.

It turns out that I’m not the only person to have thought of that. So this morning I signed up for a free account with Mover. The free account allows me to transfer up to 10GB of files from one service to another, after that it costs US$1.00 per GB (minimum of 10GB).

They support a wide range of services too:

  • Amazon S3
  • Box
  • Copy
  • Dropbox
  • FTP
  • Google Drive
  • Microsoft SharePoint
  • Microsoft SkyDrive
  • MySQL
  • SmugMug
  • SugarSync
  • Web Dav

Within only a couple of minutes I had an account created, which was then given permissions to access my Dropbox and Copy accounts and the transferring began.

Mover transfers files from account to account in the cloud, then Copy downloads them to my PC
Mover transfers files from account to account in the cloud, then Copy downloads them to my PC

The user interface is nicely intuitive: add source (in this case, Dropbox), add a destination (Copy), tell Mover which files to transfer, click “Transfer Now!”

Mover user-interface
Tell Mover to transfer files from the service on the left to that on the right

What’s also nice is that it doesn’t require my PC to be on while Mover is copying files as the transfer is happening in the cloud, and I can gradually download the files when my PC is on.