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DIY Projects for techies



Lifehacker has assembled a list of 10 DIY projects to tackle on your day off. Most are tech-related, all are pretty cool.  Likely to be of  particular interest to GBM readers  are a hack to create an all-in-one desktop out of a notebook and monitor, turning an old laptop into a wall-mounted computer, how to properly erase your physical media, a DIY laptop stand, and how to build and hide a network attached drive in an attractive aluminum  IKEA box.

The one that caught my eye, however, is the advice to create your own handwritten font. They point to two paid services that involve printing, writing and scanning. I say “pfft” to that. The best way to create your own handwritten font is with a Tablet PC. Download the Microsoft PowerToy, My Font Tool for Tablet PCs, and scribble away.

Or at least it’s the best way if you’re running Windows XP. As reported in the GBM forum, there’s trouble installing  the old PowerToys  in Vista, and  there’s  a  recent  report of it not working in Windows 7. One would guess the compatibility mode would address this, but the problem appears to be  due to  Power Toys only installing on Windows XP Tablet PC edition. Since the tablet bits are now part of the premium Windows versions, there’s no separate TPC edition for the installation process to recognize. Hopefully the PowerToys will be updated sometime or, in an ideal world,  updated and included  in the Tablet PC bits of Windows 7.



  1. GoodThings2Life

    05/25/2009 at 8:20 pm

    It is possible, albeit cumbersome to use Microsoft’s Orca utility (sorry, I don’t have the link handy) to edit the Windows Installer MSI file to remove the OS version check (a trick I’ve used a few times to install XP programs on a few 2003 Server systems).

    If you Google for instructions on how to run “Digital Persona 2.0” on Windows Server 2003, you should find the instructions and tweak them for the Tablet utilities.

  2. Modnar

    05/25/2009 at 10:06 pm

    I just ran the installer of the my font tool right after downloading it and it just installed and is now running fine. (Vista Home SP1).

    Possibly MS saw this earlier and over time released a shim to make the installer work (fools the installer to thinking it is the right OS) sort of like what they do for new OS’.

    Also you can’t use orca on this right away as its a compilied installer but if you hunt around the temp dir you will find the msi to use with Orca to edit it or run it msiexec /a whateverthemsiis.msi via the command line in the same directory where the msi is and that will bypass the checks.

  3. Molio

    05/26/2009 at 12:23 am

    If you care about quality then is the only option.

  4. Greg

    05/26/2009 at 12:22 pm

    I installed My Font Tools on Vista without issue as well. Works great. Thanks for the tip!

  5. Sumocat

    05/26/2009 at 1:35 pm

    Sounds like I can stop using an asterisk when recommending the My Font tool (at least for Vista). Thanks for the feedback, guys.

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