Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Computing/2010 February 10

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February 10[edit]

Firefox - disabling / uninstalling addons to make the browser faster[edit]

Hi. I am having a problem with Firefox being too slow. It needs just too much time to get started. Also, navigating around the browser (opening/closing tabs and such) is much slower than for example in Chrome. I have quite many addons installed, so I guess that is the problem. Now my question: Does it help if I just disable addons, or do I have to uninstall them in order to make Firefox slimmer and faster? Thanks for your help! --Tilmanb (talk) 01:33, 10 February 2010 (UTC)

Disabling them should release pretty much all the resources they would take up whilst running. The overhead for having them still installed, but not running is pretty negligible. ZX81 talk 02:11, 10 February 2010 (UTC)

What's the fastest browser for the internet?[edit]

Hi. I have another question... I have been using Firefox, Chrome, and Opera, but I find them all similarly slow, i.e. I don't experience any differences between them (except that Chrome feels a little bit faster). Is there a browser which starts up clearly much faster than all of those mainstream browsers? Thanks. --Tilmanb (talk) 01:35, 10 February 2010 (UTC)

Well in a theoretical situation the fastest one to startup is pretty much always going to be Internet Explorer (which you didn't mention, but because it uses a lot of Windows components which are already loaded this enables it to load up very fast), but in a real world situation it varies per computer and what your hardware is as well as what software you have installed and what plugins/extensions are in each browser. Sorry not a very helpful answer I know. ZX81 talk 02:13, 10 February 2010 (UTC)
They're pretty close,opera should have lower system requirements, whereas firefox is a little better at executing javascript. As for chrome and safari...they're pretty good too. Only IE which is a resource hog is bad=/.Smallman12q (talk) 03:01, 10 February 2010 (UTC)

You could try links or lynx. -Craig Pemberton 03:21, 10 February 2010 (UTC)

Firefox and Chrome are probably the fastest. I'd recommend that you not install too many addins, pluggins and toolbars. A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 03:45, 10 February 2010 (UTC)
See Comparison of web browsers and try some. I personally recommend SeaMonkey. Not the latest version 2.02 but the second latest 1.1.18 version. Or the latest version of K-Meleon. Oda Mari (talk) 05:02, 10 February 2010 (UTC)
Google's Chrome is a lot faster than Firefox or Opera in my experience (never really gave Microsoft's IE a try) --Belchman (talk) 01:02, 11 February 2010 (UTC)

Extensions for Chrome - Clicking on a tab switches to another tab[edit]

Hi. Does anyone know an extension for Chrome which would enable me to switch to another (previous) tab by clicking on the currently active tab? I have not been able to find such an extension but I am desperately needing one, as I got used to this in Firefox. Thanks again for your help :) --Tilmanb (talk) 01:38, 10 February 2010 (UTC)

Laptop brightness[edit]

Whenever I plug in my laptop, the screen brightness goes up way too high for my comfort. I have to go through the trouble of reducing it manually. I've looked through Power Options Properties and there's no option to just leave it as is when the cord is put in. Is there any way to fix this? Thanks. Vranak (talk) 01:39, 10 February 2010 (UTC)

Depending on your laptops brand/model or OS, there might be an option somewhere in the BIOS or hidden somewhere else in the OS. – Elliott(Talk|Cont)  05:36, 10 February 2010 (UTC)

Frequently, there will be some kind of "power saver" settings, which will let you control the default brightness (and other things), for when your computer's on battery or on AC. Paul Stansifer 13:44, 10 February 2010 (UTC)
What OS are you using? Comet Tuttle (talk) 17:54, 10 February 2010 (UTC)
ASUS laptops and netbooks have it built into the Super Hybrid Engine. But I think changing the mode will also limit the processor. The screen brightness only changes 1 or 2 categories when you plug in anyway, out of ten or so brightness levels. (Hotkey at the top on my netbook.) Never had this problem... Mxvxnyxvxn (talk) 04:17, 15 February 2010 (UTC)

P2P filesharing behind a firewall - Alternatives for[edit]

Hi. I've fallen in love with as it enables very easy file sharing of big files directly without the need of having to upload them first to a server. However, unfortunately it does not work behind the firewall of some of my clients. Does anybody know a similar service like but with less requirements in terms of firewalls? I would appreciate any ideas! --Tilmanb (talk) 01:41, 10 February 2010 (UTC)

How secure is Dropbox?[edit]

Do you know / do you have any experience with dropbox? How secure is it? Can I be sure that the files that I upload to their servers are not seen by Dropbox employees? Can I use Dropbox for confidential data? Any feedback appreciated! Last question for today ;-) Thanks, Tilmanb (talk) 01:43, 10 February 2010 (UTC)

If the data is really confidential, why risk it? Even if Dropbox promised to be secure and not let people snoop and etc., you're still just trusting them to have adequate security protocols, the ability to track employee behavior, etc. If the files are really something you'd rather others not see, there are better options out there for sharing confidential files.
Alternatively, just encrypt the files before uploading them to Dropbox. Then it doesn't matter quite as much how secure they are. --Mr.98 (talk) 01:53, 10 February 2010 (UTC)
I agree with the above. Although we don't know for sure, when it comes to security of the Internet, unless it's your own server and the files were transmitted there securely, then it's better to think from the viewpoint that whoever owns the server can view the files (and unless the files are encrypted then they most certainly can). ZX81 talk 02:04, 10 February 2010 (UTC)
Adding to my own post, the Dropbox security information is here. It does specifically say that the files are encrypted during transfer and employees can't access them, however this is completely up to you if you trust them. Personally I don't trust anything I didn't write/own myself, but I'm also a bit paranoid [:)] ZX81 talk 02:06, 10 February 2010 (UTC)
You could use dropbox with truecrypt portable volumes. (It's not 100% secure as people will be seeing which encrypted bytes are changing...but its better than nothing). Here are two articles to get you started: Maximumpc and a blog. Hope this helps.Smallman12q (talk) 02:47, 10 February 2010 (UTC)
Hmmm.... I'd like to hear some other opinions regarding this issue. Would you move for example your instant messaging histories to Dropbox for backup purposes? The whole thing about encryption... no idea how that works :D But thanks for the links! Oh and Mr.98, what other options are you referring to? --Tilmanb (talk) 02:55, 10 February 2010 (UTC)
Well the encryption is pretty simple. Basically you create a virtual hard drive of x bytes. you put this virtual hard drive in drop box and it gets uploaded. Now whenever you add/delete stuff from your virtual hard drive, only the bytes which you have changed by adding/deleting stuff will be uploaded again. So if you have a 1gb virtual hard drive and you add a 2 megabyte file, the first upload is 1gb, and then after that it uploads those 2 megabytes which changed. It's a simple concept once you get it.=P.Smallman12q (talk) 03:04, 10 February 2010 (UTC)
(ec) The fundamental idea behind encryption (and our article is the best place to start) is fairly simple. The idea is to "lock up" your data, (digitally, in this case) - so that even if somebody can see and read it, they can not decipher its meaning. There are loads of strong, secure ways to "lock" the data - see encryption algorithms for some examples. To the best of our knowledge, these so-called "strong encryptions" are impossible to crack, if the system is set up properly. (Rather, to be technical, they are only possible to crack if the attacker/snooper has a ridiculously long time to wait, e.g. on the order of the age of the universe). However, be aware that many encryption techniques exist that are not strong - and the data can be read because of inherent flaws in those systems, or due to operator-error (i.e., your fault for use the system incorrectly). You can read up on encryption techniques here: Microsoft's encryption technology and PGP for Linux and Unix-like systems (or Gnu Privacy Guard, a totally free-software alternative). Many other technologies and implementations exist. Nimur (talk) 03:09, 10 February 2010 (UTC)
"Other options": if you are just backing things up, you can make local copies (burn them to CDs/DVDs, put them on external harddrives). If you are trying to distribute information to other people, but consider it confidential, using encryption (as described above) to "scramble" the data is much more ideal. If it is a large project where encryption of the sort mentioned above is too cumbersome, it may be a better idea to set up your own secure server than to use a third-party. (Though, on the other hand, if you don't have the ability to set up your own secure server in a way that will make sure it actually is secure, then that's not much of an improvement.)
For encryption, I find TrueCrypt easy and reliable. Nobody is going to be breaking into your TrueCrypt files anytime soon if you do things right (e.g. don't pick an obvious, dictionary-based password). A number of ZIP programs now use professional-grade encryption (like AES), which would also suffice. Remember that security is only as good as the weakest link, though. --Mr.98 (talk) 14:30, 10 February 2010 (UTC)
Anything you store on the Internet, or transmit over the Internet, is vulnerable to snoopers reading it, unless you use strong encryption, such as the TrueCrypt idea suggested earlier. E-mail over the Internet is another type of data that is sent "in the clear" (that is, it's unencrypted plaintext) and can be snooped by employees of the companies who own the wires. Similar hair-pulling debates happen often regarding web-based e-mail services like GMail. There are Google employees who have the ability to read all of the e-mail on the service. Do they? Who knows. At my work there is a client of ours who stopped using Google Wave over this concern. It's up to you to make some sort of assessment of (a) how much you would be ruined if your confidential data were read, multiplied by (b) the probability somebody is going to care enough to read it. Comet Tuttle (talk) 17:53, 10 February 2010 (UTC)
It's also worth noting the important distinction between random, brute-force, computer-automated snooping; and specific deliberate targeted attacks against your data. This throws a few additional variables into Comet Tuttle's risk multiplication estimate. It's almost certain that at some point, some of your data will be randomly targeted by a brute-force snooper. If the data is plaintext, that snooper will have it. If it is weakly encrypted, he might have it. If it is strongly encrypted, it's safe to say he probably does not have it. A targeted attack on your data (for example, if you are subject to a major federal investigation) will really change the threshold for "maybe" into "definitely". The same is valid for GMail snooping. Are your emails being scanned by an automated system? Absolutely and indisputably, yes (see email for technical details). Are the personal data being processed, deciphered, and used for generating a you-specific profile? Again, absolutely and indisputably, yes (see their targeted ads policy. Does any human ever see the results? Maybe. We're trusting their good faith that they do not. Nimur (talk) 18:47, 10 February 2010 (UTC)
I endorse everything Nimur has said in this thread. Comet Tuttle (talk) 18:54, 10 February 2010 (UTC)

Water simulations[edit]

Does anyone know of some good (large scale, if possible) water physics simulation software for macs? Thanks, Shannontalk contribs 05:26, 10 February 2010 (UTC)

Are you looking for some real-time simulations? if so have a look here.– Elliott(Talk|Cont)  06:01, 10 February 2010 (UTC)
By large scale, do you mean hydrogeology, hydrology or reservoir simulations? There are a lot of open-source and commercial packages for aquifer, reservoir, and fluid flow simulation. What exactly do you want to simulate about water? We have articles on the Groundwater flow equation, the Theis equation, and so on - these link to a bunch of references which might get you started. Our groundwater model article has a very comprehensive list on groundwater modeling software. Many of these packages have their own articles too. MODFLOW is used around these parts, and it is available for free from the United States Geological Survey. Nimur (talk) 06:27, 10 February 2010 (UTC)
Yeah, reservoir simulations, flood simulations, etc. Shannontalk contribs 15:08, 10 February 2010 (UTC)
In that case, this list really has a lot of options. Note that these are numerical physics programs - they don't all have a "fuzzy user interface." If you need help with setting up a FORTRAN compiler, feel free to ask. You can use these precompiled binaries for GFortran. As far as simulating "floods", those are just simulation results that yield above-normal water levels. Finally, since you're interested in streams, this list has a lot of useful software for stream-like flow. Nimur (talk) 15:37, 10 February 2010 (UTC)
Well, I was actually talking about simulating surface water (e.g. dam breaks, floods, levee breaches, etc.) Something like this (see #13 on that page). My main point for asking was actually because I know about a lot of software already, but I couldn’t find anything for Macs, but sorry for the confusion. Shannontalk contribs 21:45, 10 February 2010 (UTC)
The link you provided is for commercial software that simulates smoothed-particle hydrodynamics. We have a list of software there, too. All of those C++ and FORTRAN programs can be compiled and run on a Mac. Since the Mac operating system is overlaid on the BSD kernel, it's likely that it will be totally compatible with these codes. If you are running large simulations, though, be aware that your desktop or powerbook probably doesn't have the computational power or RAM to handle them very well; consider looking into a Mac Pro. Even still, it's generally easier to find support for such things on more conventional platforms. Our research group uses Macs as dumb terminals to our unix/linux clusters for this reason. Nimur (talk) 03:13, 11 February 2010 (UTC)

Excepting certain cookies - Firefox[edit]

I just got logged out because Firefox crashed. I have it set so that all history is not saved, which includes cookies, but I was wondering if there's a way to keep this feature on but except cookies from certain sites I visit often: this one and maybe four others. Thanks in advance.-- (talk) 05:35, 10 February 2010 (UTC)

Ah, I should mention that I spent twenty minutes before asking trying to figure out a way by going to options and poking around (I obviously found squat).-- (talk) 05:37, 10 February 2010 (UTC)

CookieCuller, it's quite nice. ¦ Reisio (talk) 05:51, 10 February 2010 (UTC)

You want Firefox to only save cookies for certain sites? In Windows, you'd go to Tools --> Options, then under "Firefox will:" choose Use custom settings for history. Then, under "Accept cookies from sites," choose "Ask me every time." That's for Firefox 3.5. By the way, I had to read your post five times before figuring out what you wanted. It doesn't matter in this case whether it crashed or not. Keep a clear link with the subject. What is "This feature?" "Oh," I said, "He means site-by-site cookie preferences. I get it now."--Drknkn (talk) 06:05, 10 February 2010 (UTC)

Preserving timestamps of folders when moving folders and files[edit]

On Windows XP, when I move a folder containing files and other folders to an external hard drive by cutting and pasting, the files' timestamps are preserved, but the folders' (both top folder and subfolders) timestamps get changed to the current time. I thought I could get around this by zipping up the folder (I used PeaZip) and then moving the zip file and unzipping, but it didn't work. What can I do? TresÁrboles (talk) 07:31, 10 February 2010 (UTC)

robocopy should do that; on XP you need to install the WIndows Resource Kit to get it. -- Finlay McWalterTalk 12:04, 10 February 2010 (UTC)
But check that you have the latest version - see Robocopy#Known_flaws. Mitch Ames (talk) 00:46, 11 February 2010 (UTC)

Firefox tabs[edit]


Is there a theoretical limit to the number of Firefox tabs you can have open at any one time? I've managed to successfully open just over 800 tabs, but any more than that seems to crash the browser, regardless of the amount of RAM still available. Is this an imposed limit by Mozilla? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:25, 10 February 2010 (UTC)

I suspect that you have run out of memory in a way that the Firefox programmers never expected - perhaps overflowing some statically allocated internal stack or something. Normally such actions are checked - and display an error message instead of crashing - but opening so many tabs is unusual behavior, and the designers probably never completely protected against it. Thus, you crashed the browser, instead of receiving an error message. It you want to consider that a "theoretical limit", you can. The total addressable memory space of your machine is another limit. Finally, at some point, it will be impossible to render all the tabs in a reasonable amount of time, so that would be another limit. Theoretically, one could read the scalability article to find out how computer engineers think about this sort of problem - i.e., what design changes are needed in order to enable an arbitrarily large version of the original idea. Nimur (talk) 15:26, 10 February 2010 (UTC)
Ah thank you. So it's me pushing the program too far rather than a pre-defined limit. Thank you
By the way, original poster, you can help the Firefox project by filing a bug on this crash, here. They'll want as much system configuration information as you can provide. Comet Tuttle (talk) 17:42, 10 February 2010 (UTC)
I realize that this is a few days old and thus probably forgotten, but I'm curious. What reason did you have for opening 800+ tabs? Was this an experiment to see how many you could open or did you have a good reason beyond that? Dismas|(talk) 17:51, 12 February 2010 (UTC) (talk) 06:09, 15 February 2010 (UTC)

Choosing MS Word print range[edit]


I'm using Word 2007. I have a long document, separated into many sections, from which I am trying to print (or, more specifically, print to PDF) a number of separated pages and ranges. What I would like to do is use the page number that appears in the bottom-left of the window (e.g. 'Page 24 of 198') to choose a range. However, when I use this, the software interprets some of the numbers entered as actual page numbers from the sections.

For example, typing '24' into the print range box would not print page 24 of 198, but 24 of the main section, i.e. page 44 of 198. This, however is inconsistent.

Is there a way to force word to recognise the numbers in the print range box as global document page ranges? Alternatively, is there a way to tell which section number (and page number of that section) any page in the document is? (to use this method

Thanks for any help, Mike (talk) 15:08, 10 February 2010 (UTC)

I may be suggesting the obvious here, but you could select the part of the document that you want to print, then use Print -Selection instead of Print - Pages. Gandalf61 (talk) 15:17, 10 February 2010 (UTC)
Hmmm... Yes that would definitely work if I were printing just one range, or using a physical printer. However, as I am PDFing, I want all the separate ranges to print together. Your thinking has led me to the potential workaround of cutting out the bits of the document I don't want to print, in a new document. I'll try that. Thanks. (talk) 15:23, 10 February 2010 (UTC)
The page numbers in the print dialog are the physical pages and may have no relationship to the numbers that print on the page. If you have Adobe Acrobat, you can print chunks, then assemble them in Acrobat. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 15:26, 10 February 2010 (UTC)

How To Find Out When I Started My Current Ubuntu Session?[edit]

Is there any way that I can find out how long the computer has been on for? I've been having problems with my laptop suddenly powering off but recently it hasn't happened at all. I've left it on for a while and would like to see when it was last switched on (i.e. the current session start time). TIA. --KageTora - (影虎) (A word...?) 17:24, 10 February 2010 (UTC)

From a terminal, type last and that should help. Comet Tuttle (talk) 17:40, 10 February 2010 (UTC)
And uptime will tell you when the system booted. Nimur (talk) 17:49, 10 February 2010 (UTC)
gdm and gnome-session make some temporary folders in /tmp when you start a new Gnome session. So, if your username is kagetora, look at the timestamp for /tmp/orbit-kagetora -- Finlay McWalterTalk 18:03, 10 February 2010 (UTC)
Excellent, cheers! 8 days it says. Looks like the problem may be sorted. Thanks. --KageTora - (影虎) (A word...?) 23:10, 10 February 2010 (UTC)

Problems using Firefox[edit]

Does anyone have any solutions to any of these please? I am using WinXP. 1. On revisiting a page, it does not show new content. (Particularly a problem on these pages.) Even refreshing the page is not enough, I have to press Cntrl-F5. 2. Clicking on the X at the top right of Firefox often does nothing, even when clicked two or three or more times. 3. When I move the cursor away from the slider to the right, sometimes the page still moves up and down with the cursor. 4. After not using the computer for several minutes, Firefox cannot connect with the internet, even when I retry. But when I then try Internet Explorer it always makes the connection, and when I close IE and try Firefox it makes a connection too.

When using the SAVE AS box: 5. When trying to save something, clicking on a folder to open it often does nothing, just highlights it. 6. If the cursor is over a file name for more than a tiny fraction of a second, then the name of the file I'm saving is changed to it. 7. When scrolling from side to side, sometimes the scrolling suddenly accelerates greatly. 8. Similarly, sometimes part of the box window goes black. 9. Sometimes I have to click the "Save" button again after the page has been saved, to get rid of the Save As box. Thanks (talk) 22:03, 10 February 2010 (UTC)

What version of Firefox is this? It sounds frustratingly, horribly wrong — I don't have any of these issues using Firefox 3.5.7 under Windows XP. Comet Tuttle (talk) 23:35, 10 February 2010 (UTC)

It says its 3.5.7 - "Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-GB; rv: Gecko/20091221 Firefox/3.5.7 (.NET CLR 3.5.30729)" (talk) 00:04, 11 February 2010 (UTC)

Have you tried running Firefox in safe mode (if you install normally, there should be an option for this from the start menu). If problems go away, it may be an add-on giving you grief (do you have add-ons/plug-ins? have you tried disabling them?) --Normansmithy (talk) 12:52, 11 February 2010 (UTC)

Do you mean run the whole computer in Safe Mode, or just Firefox? If you mean just Firefox, how do you do this please? (talk) 14:26, 11 February 2010 (UTC)

If you google "firefox safe mode", it's the first link with instructions by platform. Comet Tuttle (talk) 17:37, 11 February 2010 (UTC)

I think at least problem number three was caused by having turned on ClickLock in Windows Mouse Properties, which seems to do more than described. I have now turned it off. Update: I still get the same problems, but perhaps not quite as bad as previously. Another problem is that sometimes the cursor will pick up the side of the Firefox "box" and move then edge in with the movement of the cursor. (talk) 20:23, 12 February 2010 (UTC)

Mac OS X keyboard backlight drivers[edit]


Ever since Mac OS X Snow Leopard made the [keyboard backlight quartz composer patch|] stop appearing in the list of patches, (not a clue why, because the screen backlight one still works fine), I've tried to make my own plug-in.

I've been trying to adapt some of the code from [1], [2], and [3] to work on Snow Leopard.

Because the IOConnectMethodScalarIScalarO function has been deprecated, I replaced the line

kr = IOConnectMethodScalarIScalarO(dataPort, kSetLEDBrightnessID, scalarInputCount, scalarOutputCount, in_unknown, in_brightness, &out_brightness);


kr = IOConnectCallMethod(dataPort, kSetLEDBrightnessID, &in_brightness, scalarInputCount, nil, in_unknown, &out_brightness, &scalarOutputCount, nil, 0);

Even though it will now compile, all it does is turn the backlight off. Is there something that I'm forgetting? Am I not using the IOConnectCallMethod function correctly? Here's the information from the file "IOKitLib.h" from the IOKit Framework, if that's helpful at all.

kern_return_t IOConnectCallMethod(
	mach_port_t	 connection,		// In
	uint32_t	 selector,		// In
	const uint64_t	*input,			// In
	uint32_t	 inputCnt,		// In
	const void      *inputStruct,		// In
	size_t		 inputStructCnt,	// In
	uint64_t	*output,		// Out
	uint32_t	*outputCnt,		// In/Out
	void		*outputStruct,		// Out
	size_t		*outputStructCnt)	// In/Out

I know that it's possible to adapt, since the developer of [Lab Tick|] has found a way to do it, and credits Amit Singh (the author of the "" link) for some of his code. Does anybody have any advice?

Thank you very much. (talk) 22:28, 10 February 2010 (UTC)

If this were Linux I'd recommend you run ltrace on Lab Tick and see what he's calling, but it doesn't seem there's a direct equivalent of ltrace on OS-X. You could install dtrace taps on library calls, which should achieve the same thing. -- Finlay McWalterTalk 23:01, 10 February 2010 (UTC)
Thanks. I used Instruments (application) from Apple's Developer Tools, and it looks like Lab Tick does use the IOConnectCallMethod. So I'm guessing I screwed up somewhere with my code. I still haven't got a clue what I need to do, but I'm a bit closer now. (talk) 23:24, 10 February 2010 (UTC)
I'm really guessing here (I haven't written a Mac app since System 6) but it sounds like there's an existing daemon or cronjob or something that runs in the background, checks the ambient light level, and sets the brightness accordingly. If that's the case, then maybe it's still running when your program is, so you're really succeeding in changing the level, but the daemon comes along a fraction of a second later and sets it back to what it thinks best. In that even then surely Lab Tick either kills or otherwise inhibits that daemon, so the two aren't fighting over the brightness knob. -- Finlay McWalterTalk 23:31, 10 February 2010 (UTC)
Just tried it with the lights out, Lab Tick not running, and the keyboard lights on. It still turned them off, and they didn't come back on until I pushed the button to adjust their brightness again, upon which they returned to their previous setting. So it doesn't look like the daemon controlling them would or could adjust them immediately after I ran the program. I'll try running the program and then turning the light in my room on and off again, to see what happens. (talk) 23:39, 10 February 2010 (UTC)
Yeah, they turned on when I turned the lights off again. (talk) 23:39, 10 February 2010 (UTC)
And it kills the brightness when Lab Tick is on as well. It looks like Lab Tick only updates the brightness when the user adjusts it. (talk) 23:43, 10 February 2010 (UTC)

VBA Outlook[edit]

Can VBA Macros be used to perform tasks in other applications? For example, I would like to explore the possibility of an email coming in with a specific email title that would trigger actions in other programs and maybe in outlook itself, such as sending a response with a specific attachment. Does anyone know if this is possible? (talk) 23:32, 10 February 2010 (UTC)

I don't know much about macros in Outlook, but VBA can certainly call other programs, most simply if they have a COM interface. For example you can call Excel like this:
 Dim XL as Excel.Application ' This requires a reference to the Office Object Library
 Set XL = New Excel.Application 
 Dim wb as Excel.Workbook
 Set wb = XL.Workbooks.Open ("C:\log.xls")
 ' wb has all the proerties and methods
 ' of a Workbook object in VBA for Excel 
 ' so for exanmple you could log the email there 
 '.. etc
 wb.close SaveChanges:=True
 Set XL = Nothing
AndrewWTaylor (talk) 12:42, 11 February 2010 (UTC)

As above, The VBA macro in OUtlook could be used, to for example, call a program with a COM interface, or more old school, construct and execute a Command line. Where to start placing your code is in the Application.NewMail event ( Microsoft Outlook does also have 'rules and alerts' that could be used to do some automatic tasks without programming experience.Cander0000 (talk) 07:28, 12 February 2010 (UTC)