Friday, 27 November 2009

How to install Google Chrome in Ubuntu Linux (Guide)

Note: This blog entry is an instruction guide for my own records.  The text was taken practically verbatim from this article.  Also, please note that Chrome on Linux does not support plugins or flash video content!

There are lots of resources available for using Chrome on Linux via WINE.  But what if you want to run it natively?  Google Chrome is based on the open source Chromium project.  Here are instructions for installing Chromium on your Ubuntu Linux computer:

First you need to edit the /etc/apt/sources.list file

Add one of the following

For ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic) Users add the following two lines

For ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty) Users add the following two lines

Save and exit the file

Add the Google key:


Install Chromium

You're set!  Now just launch from the Applications > Internet > Chromium Web Browser menu.  Note that you can also install by downloading the .deb package from the Chromium Dev Channel.  As stated, this will automatically add Google's repositories to your machine.

Monday, 23 November 2009

IE Tab in Google Chrome

[Edit:  Since the time of this post, a Google-chrome IE Tab has been released and can be found here.]

Firefox has a great plugin called IE Tab.  It basically allows you to open any link, URL, etc. in a new tab emulating IE.  This is convenient for running web apps such as OWA, where functionality is significantly decreased when using Chrome or FF.  Google's Chrome doesn't have this plugin, and it's extremely annoying!

Here's a way to (manually) emulate IE Tab in Chrome:
  1. Go to and install MeadCo's Neptune

  2. Copy npmeadax.dll from C:\Program Files\MeadCo Neptune\ to your Chrome \plugins directory (usually C:\Documents and Settings\USERNAME\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome\plugins\)

  3. Select this text and drag to bookmarks bar:
  4. Give it a name, such as "convert to IE"

  5. Click this bookmark whenever you open a page that requires IE emulation.
I realise that this procedure isn't as pretty as IE Tab.  You can't pre-program select URLs or domains to automatically open in IE, and there's no support for the context menu.  But, hey, at least it works!

Sunday, 22 November 2009

How to Add Your Google Calendar to Outlook 2007

I am now an employee on contract to another organization, and must manage a couple different email addresses on different virtual boxes.  The network security settings are such that I cannot easily share calendar information back and forth...thus I'm trying to use my Google Calendar as a go between:
  1. Start Outlook 2007. Make sure you have configured an active account.

  2. Identify a compatible Internet calendar. Check with your calendar provider to determine if they support the webcal protocol and can provide iCal files ending in ".ics." If not, select a provider that supports the protocol. Make sure any public sharing settings you need for remote calendar access are configured.

  3. In the Internet calendar configuration, locate the iCal Web address, which includes a file ending in ".ics." Copy this URL to the clipboard.

  4. Insert the iCal link into Outlook 2007. In Outlook 2007, select "File," and then "Data File Management." Select the "Internet Calendars" tab. Click "New," and then paste the iCal URL into the field. Hit "Add."

  5. Configure the subscription. The name of the calendar file displays next to "Folder Name." Change it if necessary. Add a description to make the calendar easy to identify if you install additional calendars. Check whether you want attachments to download from the Internet calendar under "Attachments." Finally, select whether you want the subscription according to the publisher's recommendations. Checking this option ensures that you will not exceed the publisher's limitations and risk having your calendar account suspended. Click "OK" when finished.

  6. Utilize your Internet Calendar. Click "Close" to return to Outlook 2007. After the Internet calendar is updated, it will display under "Other Calendars" in the Calendars section of Outlook 2007. Select it to manage your activities as you want them displayed on the Internet. You can use your Internet Calendar as you would internal Outlook 2007 calendars, such as displaying them side-by-side for easy copying of items from one to another.
Note: this was taken verbatim from an article

19 Great Movies

This blog entry has been written purely to save a list I made some months ago.  I'm cleaning the home this afternoon and want to throw out all my scraps of paper...including this one.  These lists are American, so I'm not sure how well they rank in terms of great movies.

10 Top Sports Movies
10 - Jerry Maguire
09 - National Velvet
08 - Breaking Away
07 - Caddyshack
06 - The Hustler
05 - Bull Durham
04 - Hoosiers
03 - Pride of Yankees
02 - Rudy
01 - Raging Bull

9 Gangster Movies
9 - Little Caesar
8 - The Public Enemy
7 - Pulp Fiction
6 - Scarface
5 - Bonnie & Clyde
4 - White Heat
3 - The Godfather II
2 - Goodfellas
1 - The Godfather

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Moving to Google Reader for RSS Feeds

I've moved over to Google Reader.  I have about 25 RSS feeds that I follow regularly - some for work and some for personal pleasure.  I used to use the RSS Feeds Outlook Plugin and monitor most of these from Microsoft Outlook 2007.  However, it's starting to get slow and complicated and I'd rather not manage everything locally on my computer.

The latest Google Chrome version finally supports Google Reader and so I'm moving over.  No more local hassle, let Google take care of it in the cloud.

Friday, 30 October 2009

Picasa 3.5 face recognition tips

Picasa 3.5 is here!  I realise that it's been here for quite some time....but I'm just jumping on board now.

The top feature of 3.5 (and the reason I upgraded) is face recognition.  Turning on face recognition prompts Picasa to scan your photos and identify faces.  Once the face has been identified, the application will suggest other photos with similar features and auto-tag them appropriately (BTW, the face tagging syncs with your gmail contacts!).

However, after the scan I still had around 3,000 photos that remained for manual tagging.  I.E. Picasa couldn't match them with a previously identified face.  Here's a tip I picked up from cronoklee in the Google Support Forums: 

  • A low suggestion threshold suggests more faces (less accurate matches) for each person.
  • A high suggestion threshold suggests only faces Picasa is pretty certain about.   
  • A low cluster threshold groups more faces together on the naming page. (but obviously may get some wrong)
  • A high cluster threshold means that only very similar photos are grouped together on the naming page.

You can access these options from the menu using Tools > Options > Name Tags (tab)

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

What Google Chrome needs before I give up FireFox

I spent some time this afternoon thinking about migrating my browser experience from FireFox to Google's Chrome.  Why?  Chrome is lightning fast, and always has been.  But previous releases of Chrome have been unstable, and in my own beta testing I found numerous websites that were not formatted properly.

It seems that Chrome has come a long way and I'd like to switch...  However, I have my FireFox exactly the way I want it.  If there were a way to speed up FF I wouldn't even consider switching.  Here's what I'd like to be able to do in Chrome:

  1. Use custom search operators from the omnibar *SOLVED* (e.g. "youtube STRING" is equivalent to typing
  2. Allow me to change my bookmark icons (similar to the FireFox Favicon Picker extension). Apparently there is a way to do this, but it's long and complicated.  I have about 20 bookmarks in my toolbar and do not have room to give each a name.  I distinguish between them by their icon.
  3. Search the page automatically (i.e. as soon as I start typing, similar to the feature in FF via Tools > Options > Advanced > General).  Chrome allows you to search the page, but you need to press CTRL + F or F3 first.  As simple as it sounds, this is a great feature to have when quickly browsing pages with lots of text.
  4. Customizable proxy settings.  My workplace is fairly strict in filtering our web content.  I use the FireFox extension FoxyProxy to route certain webpages through a company-approved proxy.  FoxyProxy allows me to specify which domains go through the proxy (e.g. **) and which do not.  So far I haven't seen anything like this in Chrome.
  5. Another workplace necessity: a mechanism that allows me to view my current web page in IE.  In FireFox, I use the IE Tab extension which reloads the current tab in IE (within the current FF tab) with the click of a button.  No one likes IE, but unfortunately we still need to test in it.
  6. Show current weather in the browser.  This isn't as important as items 1-5, but would still be nice.  My FF version is the Forecast Fox extension
  7. Another one for the would-be-nice category: the ability to shorten a URL directly from the right-click context menu.  My FF version, the Shorten URL extension, creates a short URL and saves it to my clipboard with one click of the mouse.  It is configurable and can use many services - from to  *SOLVED* There is a chrome extension called shorten URL that basically does the same thing.  Not from the context menu... available here.
If you have answers to any of these questions PLEASE don't keep them to yourself.  I'm hoping to switch soon :-)

Friday, 9 October 2009

How To Sync Facebook Events with Google Calendar

Super simple, and extraordinarily useful:

  1. Click on the "Events" link found in the left menu of your Facebook account.
  2. On the top of the page you'll find a link called "Export Events". Click on it, and copy the URL that appears in the pop-up window.
  3. Go to Google Calendar, and press on the "Add" button, found in the "Manage Calendars" box there. Then select "Add by URL".
  4. Enter the URL you've just got from Facebook there, and click on the "Add" button.
Done! You may need to refresh your Google Calendar to see the update.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

How To Remove Windows Search (WDS)

I decided to switch from Windows Search to Google Desktop this morning... the microsoft search application was simply to slow and heavy.

Unfortunately, the application doesn't show up in Add/Remove Programs and there is no uninstall option from the Start Menu. After wracking my brain for a few minutes, I found this handy step-by-step guide by David Arno:

Works like a charm.

Monday, 13 July 2009

How to wrestle free from an alligator

I'm on my way to New Orleans for the Microsoft WPC. Microsoft always puts on a great show and I'm looking forward to this year's event. That said, this will be my first time in New Orleans (and in Louisiana in general) so I thought it prudent to do some preliminary research prior to my arrival. The following excerpt is taken from Piven & Borgenicht's Complete Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook (only $20 CAD):

How to wrestle free from an alligator

  1. If you are on land, try to get on the alligator's back and put downward pressure on its neck. This will force its head and jaws down.

  2. Cover the alligator's eyes. This will usually make it more sedate.

  3. If you are attacked, go for the eyes and the nose. Use any weapon you have or your fists.

  4. If its jaws are closed on something you want to remove (for example, a limb), tap it or punch it on the snout. Alligators often open their mouths when tapped lightly. They may drop whatever it is they have taken hold of, and back off.

  5. If the alligator gets you in the jaws, you must prevent it from shaking you or rolling over - these instinctual actions cause severe tissue damage. Try to keep the mouth clamped shut so the alligator does not begin shaking.

  6. Seek medical attention immediately, even for a small cut or bruise, to treat infection. Alligators have a huge number of pathogens in their mouths.

And now I'm all prepared for my trip to New Orleans. Come and get me, alligators!

Friday, 10 July 2009

Combine your facebook and twitter updates

Having recently created a facebook account, I ran into the problem of too many social media networks. Think about it - there's twitter, facebook, trigga, linkedin, and a bunch of others that I don't subscribe to. I really don't want to have to update my status separately on all these different networks... luckily, you don't have to!

Here's how to combine your facebook and twitter updates (note: this will post your twitter updates to facebook, but not the other way around):

  1. Make sure you have an active twitter account and an active facebook account
  2. Log into your facebook account
  3. Search for "twitter" in the upper right-hand corner
  4. Click on the Applications tab and select the official Twitter application (probably the 1st result)
  5. Select "Go to application" and allow it access to your twitter profile (you will need to provide your twitter account's username and password)
Now, all tweets you post via twitter will appear as facebook status updates. Pretty nifty right? Keep in mind that if you retweet something, the "RT @twittername" will show up in your facebook profile... but that's not such a big deal, is it?

Now you're all set to go. If you'd like to tweet/update facebook on the go (e.g. from your BlackBerry) try using some mobile integration like TwitterMail.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Add 3rd column to Blogger template

Want to add 3 columns to your Blogger template? This post will show you how to update your Blogger layout a to WidgetSidebar - Main Post - WidgetSidebar format (based on Blogger's "Minima" template). Here's how:

Backup your current template
You can do this by logging into your Blogger account and selecting Layout > Edit HTML. Check the Expand Widget Templates box and then click the Download Full Template link. Save a copy to your desktop just in case this doesn't work :-) I also recommend writing down a list of all your sidebar widgets.

Download this template
Right click here, select Save Link As... and save the file to your desktop. This is the minibox template, courtesy of

Update your code
Open the saved .xml template file with a text editor like Wordpad and copy the entire body of code. Go back to your Blogger browser window and replace all current code with the copied portion from Wordpad. Preview before saving, and if all looks good Save Template (WARNING: you may lose all your Widget data by saving your template). You may have to do some minor adjustments to make everything fit (I had to adjust the widths of each sidebar wrapper). If you lost Widget data, go back to Layout and add your widgets again. You will notice that you now have 3 columns!

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Firefox 3.5 Released! Download now

You've probably heard the news. Firefox 3.5, Mozilla's fastest and coolest browser has now shipped and is available to download. So what are you waiting for? Upon opening the new browser I was immediately drawn to the new "open a new tab" button conveniently placed in the tab bar. Now I can get rid of an add-on I had doing the same thing! Also, any bookmarks you're holding in the toolbar have become noticeably smaller...

Mozilla has even set up a website to track the number of live downloads. Here's a sample photo of the stats (as of 2009-06-30 14:33)

I'll bet this version of Firefox will go a long way in promoting the use of the Mozilla browser worldwide (which currently holds about 22.5% of the worldwide market share)

Thursday, 25 June 2009

5 plugins that will change your outlook on Outlook

My love affair with Outlook only started when our company upgraded to Microsoft Office 2007. Before the 2007 suite I really disliked Outlook. Heck, I disliked most of the Office suite (I was a big OpenOffice + Thunderbird user for a time). But the cool integration and new layout started to grow on me. I became more and more involved in customising my experience with Outlook.

Now, I've compiled a list of the 5 "must-have" plugins for Outlook 2007. If you're a business user and you work out of Outlook, get these 5 plugins now (they're all FREE). They'll change the way you work.

  1. SpamBayes - Do you work from an Exchange Server? Yeah, me too. Does your network admin have non-cutomisable spam filtering rules? Yeah, mine too. Do you still get spam? ....Yeah, me too! SpamBayes is a semi-intelligent plugin that filters your spam. It moves suspected spam into a Junk Suspects folder and allows you to mark it Spam/Not Spam. Based on your characterisation, the program learns what sort of email you get and adapts its spam-filtering rules accordingly. The downside? This only filters spam once it reaches Outlook, which means anything that you access off of say, a BlackBerry, is still plagued.
  2. RSS Popper - This tool allows for absolute control of RSS feeds. I have more than a dozen RSS feeds that are updated constantly throughout the workday. RSS Popper allows me to receive these posts in custom Outlook folders according to a customised schedule. *note: our network admin has disabled the native Outlook RSS client, so I have no idea how it compares
  3. LinkedIn Toolbar - If you use LinkedIn (and really, who doesn't these days?), the LinkedIn Toolbar for Outlook will cut the time you spend on LinkedIn in half while still providing you with the same results. Before this toolbar, I would have to take a contact's name, open a web browser, hit and do a search. The toolbar allows me to do this directly in Outlook! It also allows for automatic creation of Outlook contacts from your LinkedIn contacts (and vice versa) and displays an icon on every email that you may mouse-over to see the sender's LinkedIn profile.
  4. WebEx Integration - The only tool I use more than Outlook is WebEx (maybe Excel...). WebEx is an online meeting tool that I use daily. It allows me to hold virtual meetings with teleconferencing & screensharing. The problem is, many people use Outlook for their scheduling (myself included). The WebEx Integration plugin allows you to seamlessly add a WebEx meeting to an Outlook Meeting Request. The Meeting Request goes out, WebEx auto-adds the virtual meeting info, and you're good to go! All done from your Outlook Calendar.
  5. Xobni - Xobni is an all-in-one contact manager and email search tool. It gives you detailed stats on every sender in your inbox, and can pull up past conversations, files exchanged, or contact info with the greatest of ease. It even pulls the sender's photo from Facebook/LinkedIn so you can see who's emailing you! BUT, there is a downside with Xobni: all the contact information it gathers does not sync with Outlook contacts. This means that if you use a portable device (like a BlackBerry), you need to also create all of your contacts in Outlook (and add photos, etc.)
There you have it! The 5 plugins that will change your outlook on Outlook.

Monday, 8 June 2009

taming a non-existent Outlook Express

A quick Google search tells me that I'm not the only person experiencing this problem. For some unknown reason, every time I boot Windows XP I get the following pop-up:

"To free up disk space, Outlook Express can compact messages. This may take some up to a few minutes"

What the heck? I don't even have Outlook Express installed on my's usually one of the first things I remove after installing Office. Now, I just click cancel, go on my way, and I'm good until the next reboot. However, some users report seeing this pop-up every few minutes. What a nuisance!

Turns out that this friendly little bugger appears after installing Windows Search. Windows Search is a great little tool for indexing your email - I highly recommend it. However, by default it also indexes Outlook Express...even if it's not installed on your machine. In order to index, Search has to run the program. Apparently OE keeps a counter and prompts the user to compact messages after 100 runs of the program (the counter exists even though the program does not...go figure).

Steps to solve:

  1. Right-click on Windows Search in the system tray (magnifying class in the bottom-right corner)
  2. Select "Windows Search Options"
  3. Click "Modify" and un-check Outlook Express
This will stop Search from indexing (and running) OE. BUT, since the counter has already opened 100 times, it must be reset or the pop-ups will continue:
  1. Start > Run > "regedit"
  2. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Identities\{GUID}\Software\Microsoft\Outlook Express\5.0
  3. Open "Compact Check Count"
  4. Change value to zero
  5. Reboot

Friday, 15 May 2009

The BlackBerry Helmet

As I start to use my BlackBerry more and more it seems that I might be in need of a few accessories to help me out...

Finally, the perfect BlackBerry accessory! Ladies and gentlemen, I am proud to present to you... the BlackBerry Helmet:

Thursday, 14 May 2009

blackberry user community

Sooner or later you'll find that you can't figure out all the things you want to know about your BlackBerry on your own. Well, at least not in a timely fashion. I also figured out that my carrier's (Rogers') tech support isn't half as knowledgeable as they claim to be. For this reason, I recommend finding a good online forum to learn the tricks of the trade (and to help others with your newfound knowledge).

The best I've found is They have over 13,000 users and almost 2.5 million posts. The forums are cleverly divided into General discussion, Device-Specific discussion, Software discussion, a media corner (themes, wallpapers, ringtones, etc.) and even a spot for talking about North American carriers. Of course, there's also an area for social discussion, etc. but you'll probably never get that far :-)

Oh, and I should explain the name. termed so to reflect the actions of BlackBerry users. The argument is that a BlackBerry is as addictive as crack, and you'll never be able to give it up.... I'm not sure about that, but it's a great forum!

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

dressing up your blackberry

As I started to play around with this BlackBerry I realised that something was horribly wrong...this device was butt ugly! The look and feel was all wrong, and navigation was definitely not intuitive. The icons were so similar that I couldn't really recognise different applications at first glance.

A quick google of "blackberry 8120 themes" provided a few promising results:

But none of these sites really had what I was looking for. I was looking for something cleaner, with more colour. Actually, I've really come to admire the look and feel of the iPhone and was hoping for an imitation. Well, good things come to those who...look the bPhone theme from is a 100% free download (though donations are encouraged), and it looks GREAT!



Any questions? :-)

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

going mobile with the BlackBerry 8120

I was already pretty mobile. I have a work laptop, a work cellphone and I feel comfortable working pretty much everywhere. However, last week I took my mobility a step further with the BlackBerry 8120. Now, keep in mind that I'm not an experienced BB user. I've never had a BB before, nor any other SmartPhone device with email functionality. I've been a fairly avid cellphone user for the past who-knows-how-many years...but this is my first look at email on the go.
BlackBerry 8120 OrangeI knew that I didn't want to pay for some ridiculous data plan. I also can't stand being locked down to one specific carrier because I have big plans to travel the world and want to be able to swap out my SIM card. So, I went online to ebay and purchased the unlocked 8120 from ready2call's store. I looked at a bunch of other phones, but settled on the 8120 because of its slim design and 802.11 b/g wifi functionality. Within a few days the item had arrived (no customs duties!) and I was tearing open the packaging to play with my new toy. More on this in subsequent posts...

Saturday, 11 April 2009

making your laptop shine

I just received a new travel laptop from work... the amazing Compaq nx6325. Alright, so she's not the youngest gal at the ball anymore, but a old, functional laptop is better than no laptop at all. The problem with this laptop has nothing to do with memory or speed; the problem is the screen brightness.

While this laptop screen isn't too dark to use, it's definitely not up there with lcd monitor quality. Futhermore, the brightness function keys are already at 100%. What to do? I'm using Compaq's ATI Radeon video driver, which doesn't seem to have much in the way of configurability.

The answer is ATI Catalyst Control Centre. This baby allows me to adjust all aspects of my screen, including brightness and gamma. If you are using an ATI Radeon driver, you need to get this application. Period.

Saturday, 28 March 2009

firefox won't delete cookies

This morning I could not log into my Gmail account. I would type my username, password, and be returned to the very same page with NO error message. Soon, I discovered that I couldn't log into anything Google - blogger, docs, groups, calendar, picasa, reader... you get the point. After doing some quasi-research I was frustrated that I couldn't fix the Google error. Fortunately, I could access my Gmail account using IE. I started to wonder if perhaps it was a Firefox error...

Turns out that there was a cookie problem with Firefox. I tried to wipe clean all my cookies from the Delete Private Data option, but they re-appeared again on restart. I manually deleted all the cookies from the Tools > Options > Privacy menu, but those sneaky little guys appeared yet again on restart. I've had some cookie problems in Firefox in the past, but I'm using the latest version (3.0.8), and I thought this wouldn't be an issue anymore. It's always surprising, but it turns out I was wrong.

The solution? Get rid of cookies.sqlite:

  1. Start > Run
  2. Type "%APPDATA%"
  3. Open Mozilla > Firefox > Profiles > (your profile)
  4. Delete cookies.sqlite.
  5. ** Note that this will permanently delete ALL your hard-earned cookies! **
Ah, basking in sweet success...

Thursday, 19 March 2009

automatically BCC in Outlook 2007

Have you ever wanted to automatically bcc all your outbound mail to a specific email address? I wanted to send a copy of ALL sent mail from Outlook at work to my Gmail address. You could try to do this via Outlook's Rules and Alerts, but there's no option to bcc...only cc. I'd prefer that all my work contacts not know my personal Gmail address, and it's not very professional. I also don't want to manually enter my Gmail address in the bcc field of every outgoing message... the solution? Visual Basic Scripting.

The steps (MS Outlook 2007):

  1. Open MS Outlook 2007
  2. Under the Tools menu, select Macro > Visual Basic Editor (or Alt+F11)
  3. In the left menu bar, expand Project1, Microsoft Outlook Session, and open ThisOutlookSession
  4. Enter copy & paste this code, making sure to substitute with your real email address:
Private Sub Application_ItemSend(ByVal Item As Object, _
Cancel As Boolean)
Dim objRecip As Recipient
Dim strMsg As String
Dim res As Integer
Dim strBcc As String
On Error Resume Next

' #### USER OPTIONS ####
' address for Bcc -- must be SMTP address or resolvable
' to a name in the address book
strBcc = ""

Set objRecip = Item.Recipients.Add(strBcc)
objRecip.Type = olBCC
If Not objRecip.Resolve Then
strMsg = "Could not resolve the Bcc recipient. " & _
"Do you want still to send the message?"
res = MsgBox(strMsg, vbYesNo + vbDefaultButton1, _
"Could Not Resolve Bcc Recipient")
If res = vbNo Then
Cancel = True
End If
End If

Set objRecip = Nothing
End Sub

Save the session, close the Visual Basic Editor, restart Outlook, and you're good to go! (make sure that you've allowed Outlook to run macros) You can verify that your emails are being cc'd by (1) checking your alternate email address or (2) looking at the bcc field of one of your messages in the Sent Items folder.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Outlook: archive it!

I'm a huge fan of gmail. Although it takes some getting used to, I'm sure everyone who uses gmail loves it after some time, and would have a hard time going back to other clients. My problem is that I must use MS Outlook at's inescapable. One feature I've grown quite fond of in gmail is the ability to Archive messages instantly. This allows you to get more work done by leaving only the action items in your inbox (which is what an "inbox" really is, isn't it?).

Here's how you can accomplish this in Outlook (2007):
  1. Open MS Outlook 2007
  2. Create a new sub-folder inside the Inbox named Pre Archive
  3. Under the Tools menu, select Macro > Visual Basic Editor (or Alt+F11)
  4. In the left menu bar, expand Project1, Microsoft Outlook Session, and open ThisOutlookSession
  5. Enter the following code:

Option Explicit
Public Sub ArchiveSelectedItems()
MoveSelectedItemsToFolder "Pre Archive"
End Sub
Private Sub MoveSelectedItemsToFolder(FolderName As String)
On Error GoTo ErrorHandler
Dim Namespace As Outlook.Namespace
Set Namespace = Application.GetNamespace("MAPI")
Dim Inbox As Outlook.MAPIFolder
Set Inbox = Namespace.GetDefaultFolder(olFolderInbox)
Dim Folder As Outlook.MAPIFolder
Set Folder = Inbox.Folders(FolderName)
If Folder Is Nothing Then
MsgBox "The '" & FolderName & "' folder doesn't exist!", _
vbOKOnly + vbExclamation, "Invalid Folder"
End If
Dim Item As Object
For Each Item In Application.ActiveExplorer.Selection
If Item.UnRead Then Item.UnRead = False
Item.Move Folder
Exit Sub
MsgBox Error(Err)
End Sub

  1. Save the code and exit the Visual Basic Editor
  2. Under View > Toolbars > Customize, select the Commands tab
  3. Click on Macros
  4. Drag Project1.ArchiveSelected command to any toolbar above
  5. Rename your button to Archive by right-clicking
  6. From the right-click, you can also Change Button Image
  7. Click Close

  1. Open any message in the Inbox folder
  2. Click the Customize Quick Access Toolbar button on the title bar
  3. Select More Commands
  4. Add the Project1.ArchiveSelected command and configure the same way as above
  5. Make sure you have allowed Outlook to run macros.
Done! You now have an Archive button that archives unwanted messages from your inbox. I also recommend modifying your AutoArchive settings to no longer archive anything from your Inbox. Instead try archiving your Pre Archive folder every couple of days.

(click to enlarge)

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Enable macros in Outlook

So you've decided that Outlook out-of-the-box isn't exactly productive software and you'd like to start making a few changes here and there. If you want to customise Outlook and boost efficiency, you probably need to start using macros.

Writing macros allows you to do almost anything in Outlook, so long as you can code it :-). You can add an Archive button or automatically bcc all outgoing mail, and much, much, much more.

This post doesn't teach you how to write macros, you can try Googling "outlook macros" for that. In this post, I'm simply showing you how to set up Outlook to accept macro commands.

  1. From the menu bar, select Tools > Trust Centre
  2. In the Trust Centre's left navigation menu, click on Macro Security
  3. Select either Warnings for all macros or No security checks for macros (the first option requires you to enable macros every time Outlook starts, the second option enables macros automatically).
Enable macros in OutlookYou're now ready to go! You can start customising Outlook today and make up for Microsoft's mistakes :-)

Monday, 9 March 2009 - cool!

I'm sure you've encountered this before...Facebook asks "what are you doing right now?" LinkedIn asks "what are you working on?" and Twitter asks "what are you doing?" How do you keep track of it all?

Here are 14 popular social media services, all of which continually ask you for a status update:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Plurk
  • brightkite
  • TwitterMonitor
  • Plaxo
  • Friendfeed
  • Bleeper
  • Xing
  • Frazr
  • niimo
  • Rejaw
If you subscribe to even 3 or 4 of these services, you know that updating your status in all the applications simultaneously is pretty tricky and time consuming. That's where comes in. is a one-stop-shop that synchronises all of your social media statuses. One dashboard, from which you can update and track the status of all 14 services!

I'm only a recent user - but so far, so good! As always, there's a down side. is in closed beta, meaning you can only use it if you receive an invite. The good news? You can request one here (as I did), and it doesn't take long to get approved.

Friday, 6 March 2009

Webmaster: what's got that I don't got?

Have you even stopped to consider the title bestowed upon those who manage our websites? Webmaster. Web-master.

As I spoke with my company's webmaster yesterday I couldn't help but think that he must be a superb individual. A super guy. After all, he's the webMASTER isn't he? Not the Web Manager or the Web Supervisor, but Web Master. This begs the question: what's he got that I don't got?

Why do we have Sales Managers, but not Sales Masters? Or Project Managers but no Project Masters... Floor Supervisors but no Floor Masters. He manages the website, he hasn't mastered it...has he? I want my position to be revered and idolised.

I'm going to pitch a title change to my boss. You're looking at the first ever "Project Master" :-)

Our new webmaster (child)

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Too legit to quit: MC Hammer on twitter

Break it down, MC Hammer's on twitter!

MC Hammer (or "Hammer" in this decade) joins many other current & former celebrities online via the miracle of twitter. And boy is he using it! As of today, he has 166,686 followers, is following 25,026 people, and has posted over 2,600 updates. Want to reach out and make some new, high-profile friends? They're only a tweet away... so take a few minutes and browse, your favourite celebrity may be in the list below:

So be bold, reach out! Maybe you're only a few days of sore thumbs away from instant celebrity. Maybe not, but c'mon, who doesn't want to tweet back and forth with MC Hammer :-)

(do you have a celebrity twitter profile that I missed? email me and I'll be sure to add it)

Google execs get paid how much ??

What do most of us want from our average job? 80k? 90k? Six figures? How about seven :-)

This may come as no surprise to most of you well-informed hi-tech readers...but I'm astonished to learn that Google's top 4 execs just received 7 figure bonuses! That's right, bonuses. Not salaries, not commission, but flat out end-of-the-year bonuses. We're all familiar with Google's unique working environment, fun-loving culture, and impressive perks... now there's proof of Google's true blue American roots: rewards and performance incentives!

To be fair, these execs at Google have practically reinvented the way we communicate online. Take a look at this article from 2007 listing the many projects Google was involved in then. Over the last year or two the organisation has solidified its position as internet guru/ king of the technological world. Who knows, maybe they deserve it...

Monday, 2 March 2009

Is it time to ditch your old laptop?

Gateway MX6958 LaptopAs I type away the thought occurs to me that you and I are looking at the exact same current laptop: the rip roarin' Gateway MX6958. I bought this factory refurbished laptop on ebay in July 2007, and I'm wondering if it isn't time to start looking again. With 1.6 GHz dual core and 1Gb of RAM, this baby isn't exactly the youngest girl at the ball. However, she's not the oldest either, and this laptop has been performing quite well for the last couple years.

But recently I've had to perform a few fixer-upper maneuvers. In the autumn of '08 I replaced a SATA hd. In the past I've had to flash the BIOS to get the OS to boot, and now I'm dealing with a failing CMOS battery. End result = my laptop doesn't always boot, and I'm constantly backing up my data to external disks.

"But Andrew" you say, "just replace the CMOS battery and all will be forgiven." It's not so easy. Do you know just how many CMOS batteries exist for a laptop that's no longer in production or supported? Not too many. I found one on ebay a couple weeks ago but can't seem to reconcile the $20. Besides, who trusts a guy selling used CMOS batteries on ebay? As wasteful as it may be, I'm closer to just buying a new laptop.

I'm always told that technology is changes too rapidly for someone to keep the same computer for more than a couple of years. This is a facade. The truth is that they just don't make 'em like they used to...

Saturday, 28 February 2009

Songbird sings a different tune

Songbird is at it again. The 1.1 beta 2 release has hit the market and nightly builds are available for your testing pleasure.

Songbird is funky audio player with classic mozilla look and feel. If you're a Firefox or Thunderbird user, my bet is you'll love Songbird.

the good: plug and play support for USB media players (incl. ipod), automatic album art downloads, great support community and thus great add-ons.

the bad: still quite slow loading (takes over 30 seconds on my dual core 1.6 MHz laptop), I'm having trouble playing Vorbis .ogg files, and most of my favourite add-ons don't work (notably LyricsMaster, MinTrayR, and Song Notifier). Oh, and the application crashes uncontrollably :-)

Still a work in progress...

Twitter gives Canada the shaft

The twitter blog recently announced the new Twitter/ Bell Canada SMS deal: 2-way SMS for Bell canada mobile customers! What these two partners in crime forgot to mention is that this service comes with a hefty price tag... $0.15 CAD/ tweet! This very important fact was very absent from twitter's announcement:

Today we're super excited to be activating full, two-way SMS service for Canadian Twitter-ers who are also customers of Bell Mobility. If you're a Bell Mobility customer, you can update Twitter via SMS and receive updates from Twitter via SMS. There are no limits and no added fees (beyond your normal texting plan). If you haven't already, you can activate your phone to Twitter over SMS. Special thanks to Bell's enthusiasm and eagerness to make this happen.

What my bolding above highlights is an obvious cover-up :-) The Twitter-Bell negotiated deal means that mobility users pick up the tab for each and every tweet - even if you already have an unlimited texting plan. Why? Because Bell labels twitter texts as "premium texts".... go figure.

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