Category Archives: Learning

What did I learn today: How to select background music

I am creating some videos. I needed background music. There are lots of free as well as paid libraries out there. I wanted to hear how the music blends into my voice narration – before downloading / purchasing the music.

Any audio editing tool can be used for mixing two audio files.
In this case, it does not work for me. Because the audio file is physically not available yet.

Here is the solution I found. Windows Volume Mixer. Right click on the speaker icon and choose Volume Mixer. Mute all sounds except the Voice Narration recording software – SoundForge in this case and the browser where you are previewing the music samples – Chrome in this case. Play the voice narration, adjust the sound levels and you can hear the mixed version immediately. Simple, elegant and useful.

Select background music in Windows Volume Mixer

What did I learn today: High lamp mode in Sony projector

One precaution you must take while presenting is to check if the projector lamp is set to maximum brightness. Usually all projectors have two settings: Standard (or Normal) and Eco. The Eco mode shows dimmer image and saves energy. Make sure you set it to Standard mode for audience size of 10 or above.

While conducting a session at Delhi VAT department, I came across a Sony projector which had THREE settings: High, Standard and Low. Factory setting was Normal. I changed it to HIGH and got brilliant display. There were 60+ attendees – so this brightness boost was most useful.

High Lamp mode in Sony Projector

Moral of the story: Reach early and check the lamp mode settings for EVERY projector you come across.

What did I learn today: Reorder taskbar icons as per work at hand

Read the previous article to understand how to Pin commonly used programs to taskbar. But recently, I went beyond this. I thought – the order in which these icons are pinned should also matter. You can easily drag them around to rearrange – that part is easy. But why would I want them in a particular order?

I solved that problem recently. I had to create the quiz for the Microsoft and Economic Times productivity competition. I had to create many quiz questions and associated images. During this process, I had a very repetitive activity to be done. I would create an image in Camtasia Editor, save it to file system (File Explorer), Save it to my blog (in IE), then preview it in another browser (chrome), add it to my database (Excel), find related article (IE) and then update it in Excel.

After doing this few times, I realized that the order of all the icons is not optimal. So I arranged them in the order I just described – as per my work flow.


And then it became extremely easy for me to do that repetitive work. Moreover, if I forgot exactly which step I was on, I just had to look at the currently active application – look at its icon and then the next icon was my next step – a visual progress indicator on task bar.

There is one more thing. If you want the first icon application press Windows 1, for second one Window 2 and so on.. at least till first 9 applications it is good. (Thanks Khushnood for the inputs). In the above screenshot, Windows 1 will START the first application (SnagIt). Windows 2 will NOT open another File Explorer instance – but it will show existing instances – if there was only one instance, it will open it. If there were multiple instances, it will show all of them just above the taskbar so that you can choose the one you need.

Try it out next time you are performing repetitive complex operations like the way I just described. Enjoy.