Archive for month: December, 2009

Geographical numbers for the AA

14 Dec
December 14, 2009

Buried in my AA (Automobile Association, that is…) renewal documentation, I spotted that they’ve provided land line telephone numbers as an alternative to the usual non-geographical 0800/0870 numbers, which cost extra from most mobile phones:

  • For breakdowns, the number is 0121 275 3746.
  • For membership enquiries, the number is 0161 332 1789.

Sites such as Say No To 0870 regularly publish user-submitted geographic numbers for many companies, but kudos to the AA for providing official numbers without having to jump through such hoops. Less kudos to them for taking 2 hours to tow my broken-down car, instead of the promised 45 minutes, but that’s another story.

Google explains Chrome OS

12 Dec
December 12, 2009

The upcoming Google Chrome OS is basically a stripped-down operating system that runs nothing but a Web browser. The video above explains the rationale behind this, and what makes Chrome OS so great.

Chrome OS won’t be ready for prime time until some time next year, but if you want to give it a go, there’s a pre-release version here which you can download and run in a virtual machine.

Quick and easy way to add multimedia keyboard support to iTunes

11 Dec
December 11, 2009

By default, iTunes on Windows only supports multimedia keys when in focus. MmKeys.dll is a tiny (44K) addon which just needs to be dropped into your iTunes plugins folder to add support for most multimedia keyboards even when iTunes is running in the background.

I’ve been using it for the past couple of weeks and have found it really handy!

How to do a bulk “unstar all” in Google Reader

10 Dec
December 10, 2009

Google Reader allows you to star articles to read later, which is handy. However, I’ve been happily starring away items since I’ve started using Reader, and have built up quite a backlog. On the advice of a friend who was horrified by this, I decided to unstar all items before a certain date. Surprisingly, Google Reader doesn’t currently give you a way to do this, besides unstarring each item individually, which isn’t much fun when you have over 500, even using the ‘s’ (star/unstar) and ‘j’ (jump to next item) keyboard shortcuts.

To automate this process, I whipped up this quick and dirty AutoHotkey script:

Loop 600 {
Send s
Sleep 10
Send j
Sleep 10

As you may have worked out, this simply simulates a press of the ‘s’ key, waits ten milliseconds, simulates the ‘j’ key, waits again, then repeats the process 600 times.

The first line of the file means “do the below when the user presses Ctrl+Alt+R”.

So all I had to do was save the script, double-click the .AHK file to activate it, then click on “Starred items” with Reader, click to open the first one and press Ctrl+Alt+R to instruct the script to start rifling through your items, unstarring them one by one. Because I had slightly less than 600 starred items, I found that the script “sticks” on the last item, starring and unstarring it repeatedly until I killed the script by right-clicking the “H” icon in the taskbar and clicking Exit.

Feel free to use my script to clear down your own starred items. If you find that the script seems to miss the odd item, you may need to increase the 10 ms delay.

Google Wave invites available

10 Dec
December 10, 2009

If you’re itching to try Google Wave but haven’t yet picked up an invite, leave a comment on this post and I’ll send you an invite if you’re one of the the first 25 to respond.

StuffIt Expander for Windows direct download

09 Dec
December 9, 2009

If you have occasion to need to extract a .SIT (StuffIt archive format for Mac) file on Windows, you’ll need to install the free, ad-supported StuffIt Expander.

The developers, Smith Micro, force you to fill out a form and sign up for email updates before sending you a download link. To save you having to do this, I’ve republished the direct download link:

© 2014 Chris Barnes