How to increase the colour depth of Windows Remote Desktop (RDP) up to 24-bit

I use RDP to access my work PC on a daily basis and one of the limiting factors when doing web design has been the lack of colour depth - rather than the standard 24-bit (or higher) you get 15-bit due to using Remote Desktop (RDP). Although this is the default RDP server setting, you can increase it to 24-bit with a little Windows Registry hack.

NOTE: If you mess up your machine from hack your registry - please don't blame me, I'm only giving you the tool to do that damage...

Open regedit and browse to:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Terminal Server\WinStations\RDP-Tcp

Over on the right-hand side you will see an attribute called "ColorDepth" which by default is set to 3 (or rather 0x00000003, it's a DWORD). Double-click that attribute and change the Value data field from 3 to 4, then click "OK", close regedit and reboot your PC.


Now if you increase the requested colour depth when connecting to this machine you should get a few more colours to play with!

Oh BTW Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Fantastic service from StringsDirect guitar shop!

Late on Thursday night I broke one of my electric guitar strings and being a beginner I didn't have a pile of replacements to drop in straight away. I'd placed a couple of small orders with StringsDirect over the past few months and had such fast delivery that they were my first port of call. I placed an order for a couple of packs of handmade DR Strings (one Tite Fit and the other Hi-Beam) around midnight on Thursday night and what with the Christmas post service issues (along with various PO strikes) I had little hope that they would be with me before Christmas.

They arrived on Saturday morning, nicely packaged, all the correct bits I ordered - absolutely perfect! So if you need any guitar accessories, take an online trip to StringsDirect, they have loads of items and the delivery service is second to none!

As an aside, I picked DR Strings after Justin Sandercoe of www.justinguitar.com recommended them - his online guitar tuition site is second to none and I trust his judgement on products and accessories.

Now all StringsDirect need is an affiliate link programme... ;)

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

How to get the Home & End keys working in Cygwin (RXVT)

Last year I blogged about how to get the Home & End keys working in remote Linux shells & terminals. Well now it's time to sort the Windows shell Cygwin out.

If your Home and End keys are producing funny characters on the command line rather than moving the cursor then the input codes of the keyboard need to be remapped.

Open your Cygwin terminal and create a file called .inputrc in your home directory, and add the following:

# Home Key
"\e[7~":beginning-of-line

# End Key
"\e[8~":end-of-line

# Delete Key
"\e[3~":delete-char

# Insert Key
"\e[2~":paste-from-clipboard
Now edit or create .bashrc in your home directory and add the following line to ensure the above .inputrc file is picked up:
export INPUTRC=$HOME/.inputrc
To see if all the above has worked, reopen your cygwin terminal and try it out! If it doesn't work then just delete the .inputrc file and remove the line from .bashrc.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,

Create funky word images with Wordle

I was doing my daily Bloglines reading today when I can across this post from Dave Thomas which made me think "wow that really is quite pretty" (I am a techie after all, and who doesn't get excited when they see Ruby in a nice big font size?).

It was generated by a funky web application called 'wordle' which makes beautiful word clouds from words of your choosing. Point it at a blog, RSS feed, del.icio.us username or straight ol'piece of text and it creates the most wonderful word image map.

Here is one generated this morning when I pointed it at my blog:


Here is one from my mate Chris Routledge after he pointed it at the first chapter of his newly-published book "Cains: The Story of Liverpool in a Pint":



They are so nice I'm thinking of getting the image printed onto a t-shirt for that true geek factor!

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

RXVT - a better console for Cygwin (Unix on Windows)

If you use Windows for software development you will have probably come across Cygwin at some point, the Unix shell for Windows (well a bit of a fake console but it will have to do!).

The console out of the box is a bash shell running within a normal Windows cmd prompt box, which is ok but doesn't really give you all the features of a proper Unix shell, click and drag to select text, middle click to paste, decent scroll buffers, etc.

However there is a solution to these issues - scrap the silly Windows DOS box and run RXVT instead!

First off you will have to run the Cygwin installer again (don't worry it's quite clever and won't corrupt your current version of Cygwin) and select the rxvt terminal package to install. Then continue the installation as normal so that you are left with the Bash shell shortcut icon.

You will now need to replace the normal DOS box bash terminal with the new RXVT one. Right-click on the shell shortcut and change the "target" and "start in" fields to be the following:

Target: C:\cygwin\bin\rxvt.exe -e bash -login -i
Start in: C:\cygwin\bin\
Note: make sure you use your Cygwin installation location rather than just copying the above...

It should now look like this:


That will get a basic RXVT terminal running but let's add a few extra things to make it look more like a normal Unix shell. Open your new terminal (which will open in your Cygwin home directory) and create a file called .Xdefaults which contains the following:
Rxvt.reverseVideo:      true
Rxvt.scrollBar_right: false
Rxvt.saveLines: 2048
#Rxvt.font: "Lucida Console-12"
Rxvt.font: "Monaco-20"
If you cat the file it should look like this:


The above sets the background to be black like a normal shell, creates a pretty big console buffer and puts the scrollbar on the left (personal choice). It also sets the font to a rather large but cool Apple Monaco font, if you want a more normal font delete the Monaco font line and remove the comment '#' from the front of the other Rxvt.font line.

If you now exit your console and open it up again you should now feel much more at home. Oh and don't forget that middle-click pastes your copy buffer... ;)

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,