Spell check in Evernote

EvernoteI find Evernote a very useful tool, especially the ability to sync the notes taken in one device with every device you own. If you for example happen to get an idea when on the go, or just before sleep usually your mobile phone is easily accessible, so you can write the idea and save the note. Then when you return to your computer you can sync Evernote and access the note.

When using the mobile version of Evernote the device’s keyboard is responsible for the spell check, but on Microsoft Windows the application has an integrated spell check. Even though it is really useful the integrated spell check has a limited number of languages supported. Now if the language you use is included there is no problem. However you may want to keep notes in a different language that it is not included in the Evernote spell check, like Greek in my case.

It seems that Evernote uses MySpell’s dictionary files, so as long as the language dictionary exists for MySpell then you can also use it with Evernote. My own source for the dictionaries is the Debian Linux package site. Search for myspell-lang (for example el_GR for greek). After you finish downloading the folder you have to extract the contents. You should have an .aff, a .dic file and a read me file. You have to copy the files to the Evernote dictionary folder C:\Program Files (x86)\Evernote\Evernote\Dict on a 64bit version  and C:\Program Files\Evernote\Evernote\Dict on the x86 (32bit) version.

When you copy the files in the Dict folder you have to go to Evernote and enable the spell check for the language you just installed. To do so go to the Menu and select Tools and Options. Then go to the Language tab and find the Spelling group box. Then select the Select preferred languages radio button and along with the English or whichever language is checked, check the language you just installed. After clicking on the OK button you should have spell check on the language you just installed.

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Skype Now Playing Plugin for MusicBee

Here is a simple now Skype Now playing plugin I created for MusicBee using C#.

The settings panel of the plugin looks like the following screenshot.

The tags supported at the moment are <Artist>, <AlbumArtist>, <Title>, <Year> and <Album> and they have to be like above in the textbox in order for the tag to get displayed. Also there is the option (activated by default) for a “Now Playing” string and a Unicode note char to appear in front of the selected pattern. (Depending on the computer the note may appear as a square).

<Artist> – <Title> [<Album> (<Year>)]

The plugin uses the Skype4Com Library in order to communicate with Skype. It is has been tested to work with Skype v5.3.0.111.

The plugin consists of two dll files,  mb_skypenp.dll and Interop.SKYPE4COMLib.dll, the installation process is pretty simple, you simply must extract the two files in the Plugins folder inside the MusicBee Installation directory (There is a possibility that there will be no Plugins folder, in that case you will have to create it).

If you installed it at the default folder it is:
“C:\Program Files\MusicBee\Plugins” if you are running 32 bit Windows, or
“C:\Program Files(x86)\MusicBee\Plugins” if you are running 64 bit Windows.

After this you have to start MusicBee, and go to Edit->Preferences. Then in the Preferences window you have to click on “Plugins” and then you have to click the “Enable” button under the “skype: now playing”, to enable the plugin.

After that, if Skype is running you will have to Allow MusicBee to access Skype, in order to change the mood to the currently playing track.

You can report any issues or suggest some changes, either here or in the related topic in MusicBee Forum

For download links and information check the dedicated Plugin Page

iPod scrobbling and missing scrobbles

Since the time I got my 160GB iPod classic I started scrobbling, sending all the songs played while on move to my last.fm profile. However since the beginning I had an issue once in while, or many times in the row, when I was syncing iPod with iTunes all my plays where missing. I tried various solutions, one part was avoiding iTunes and windows all over and scrobbling with a linux virtual machine, through the linux version of the last.fm player. Still it seems that the problem persisted.

After a while I discovered that the iPod actually kept play counts and last played dates, but some how iTunes or the last.fm player actually failed to recognize them and they where deleted during the sync process. The solution was accidentally found through the usage of MusicBee. Since the play counts are stored in the iPod there must be probably some inconsistency in the iPod DB that causes the issue. So a workaround is to play a track from the iPod music library with MusicBee, this seems to fix the issue, because afterwards the linux last.fm player gets every single played track in the list with the tracks to be scrobbled.

MusicBee: Auto-DJ feature

MusicBee: Auto-DJ
MusicBee: Auto-DJ

Today I decided to test MusicBee’s Auto-DJ feature. I have to admit that it seems rather interesting. The feature creates random playlists based on a seed track. You can choose the initial list size, the maintain X upcoming tracks feature will keep X non-listened tracks in the list. After you listen to some tracks and the remain tracks get lower than X, the feature will automatically add more tracks to the playlist to maintain the X.

You can choose as a source for the tracks your entire music library, or some specific playlist or even some folders. You can also apply some custom filters to restrict the choices. You also have the option to restrict the track genre to the the same as the seed track.

Now on the track selection you have a random option, and a choice of different/same artist with a slide bar that goes from different to same artist. If you are towards different it will choose more tracks from different artists, and if you go towards same it will choose more tracks for the same artist depending on the position of the slider. Another choice is the higher rated tracks preferred. Another really cool option is getting tracks from last.fm. With this option you can get tracks from artists rated by last.fm as more than a percentage (that you can change) similar. It also has two sub-options, the one is to restrict the selection to artists similar to the seed track artist only, and the other is to choose artists similar to the preceding track in the playlist (this one allows more drift to the playlist generated).

The feature also gives you the option to allow stream tracks from last.fm (this requires either a subscription or living in a country that the last.fm radio feature is free). You are allowed to choose the frequency of the last.fm track streaming. You also can choose either to stream tracks from artists similar to the current track in the playlist, either tracks recommended by Last.fm, or tracks belonging to specific tag/artist radio station etc.

I think it is a really nice feature, and I am gonna use it a lot from now on, because it gives another feeling to the music listening and the reason is that I rarely listen to random tracks, most of the times I listen to full albums.

Somehow I can’t get rid of iTunes…

Lately I have been trying to manually manage my 6G 160GB iPod classic, in the past through Winamp with the default iPod plugin, lately I moved to MusicBee (it also supports iPod management, but I think it needs some work more, Winamp’s iPod management seemed smoother with less issues), which I believe is a wonderful player, and has also build in last.fm support, a feature that is important for me. Well it has a few issues with the last.fm tag radio stations but still I don’t have to have the extra of the last.fm player.

For iPod scrobbling on the other hand I use the linux last.fm client, which makes things a lot easier. And it is working almost always… apparently the last time I tried to scrobble there was some kind of corruption yet again on the iPods database, so I lost every single scrobble. Also the iPod was not visible in applications like sharePod due to the database corruption, so I installed iTunes in order to restore the iPod, I guess that’s the only reason it will be on my system…

Avira Free, getting rid of the annoying popup…

I am a user of Avira free for a while now, I think it is around 2 years now or around that, but i always found that popup advertising their premium version really annoying as it would happen in daily basis. I tried a lot of free antiviruses before  concluding to Avira, none of them included such an annoyance. Well I know they provide a premium payed version, and I know it comes with more features than the free one but I am not interested in getting the premium version, I am completely satisfied with the free, and I really see no reason to get reminded every single day that they offer a premium service.

So after a little bit of search I realized that it is possible to stop the annoying popup from appearing. So after a quick search on Google, I reached this post at wikiHow.com.

This article explains how to prevent the popup from appearing. This will not affect any other part of the antivirus and the updates will work just fine.

So for my OS, Windows 7 Ultimate (this guide applies also to Windows Vista Business and Ultimate) you have to go through the following steps.

  1. You have to open the Control Panel. (Start Menu -> Control Panel)
  2. Go to Administrative Tools (If “View by:Large Icons/Small Icons” is selected. If “View by: Category” is selected then go to System and Security and then chose Administrative Tools.), there choose to open Local Security Policy/ies.
  3. In Local Security Policy/ies click on Software Restriction Policy/ies -> Action -> Create new restriction policy
  4. Go to Additional Rules, Right-click and choose New Path Rule…
  5. Click Browse and navigate to C:\Program Files\Avira\AntiVir Desktop\ (if you use the 32bit variant) or C:\Program Files (x86)\Avira\AntiVir Desktop\ (if you use the 64bit variant) and double click avnotify.exe
  6. Set the security level to Disallowed (if it is not already set like it was in my case)
  7. Click apply and OK

And that’s it you have blocked the annoying popup for life (well actually more like till next format or till you remove it).

For other versions of Windows you can visit the original post at wikiHow.com.

How to change The Windows 7 Logon Background

While I was bored playing around with StumbleUpon, I found an interesting article on groovyPost.com about how to change your logon background on windows 7. It’s rather interesting, because after a while I somehow did get bored of the default windows 7 Logon screen background, though I have to admit that I only see it a few times every few days when I reboot my PC, but still a change would actually be welcome.

In the beginning I decided to re-post the howto guide on my blog linking to the site, and also to the specific post I was re-posting (Links have been removed since the last edit). Apparently the owner of the site didn’t actually like my re-posting of his work so he send me a request to remove the re-posted content. Well I can not judge him for wanting the guides/howtos he made only posted on his site for whatever reason (the reason he gave me was about the time he spend in gathering/creating the howtos and guides and maintaining his website, well I can’t argue with that and I can understand his point on this, and that’s why usually when I re-post something I mention my source), that’s his right. So I complied with his request and completely removed the re-posted howto. Probably it is my fault for re-posting content without checking the site for any guidelines on this subject or sending a mail to ask if I can actually do something like this.

However the info provided in his guide are generally part of a lot of guides, some of them dating back to the period of the Release Candidate versions back in the spring/summer of 2009. On of the most popular guides is the one at withinwindows.com by Rafael. Since the steps are pretty simple I’ll present the info here in my own way based on the info supplied by the post linked above.

So to begin with:

You have to start the regedit application. For this you have to open the Start Menu, go to the search box and type “regedit”. Regedit.exe should appear on your results. Click on it to open the regedit.

You have to locate the:

HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Authentication\LogonUI\Background

key. There you have to check for a DWORD(32-bit) value with name OEMBackground. OEMBackground gets boolean values of 0 (disabled) and 1 (enabled).

Then you double click on the Key to change the value from 0 to 1.

According to the various guides there is a possibility that this value will be nonexistent, which means that you will have to create it.

The images are stored in %windir%\system32\oobe\info\backgrounds. Paste that to the address bar of the windows explorer and press enter to open the folder. In some systems this folder might not exist so you go to %windir%\system32\oobe\ create a new folder created info and inside that another one named backgrounds.

The image must be placed inside the %windir%\system32\oobe\info\backgrounds.The images file size can’t be larger than 256KB.

This is a list of the image names supported in the folder. It is sorted by width-to-height ratio (taken from withinwindows.com)

  • backgroundDefault.jpg
  • background768x1280.jpg  (0.6)
  • background900x1440.jpg  (0.625)
  • background960x1280.jpg  (0.75)
  • background1024x1280.jpg (0.8)
  • background1280x1024.jpg (1.25)
  • background1024x768.jpg  (1.33-)
  • background1280x960.jpg  (1.33-)
  • background1600x1200.jpg (1.33-)
  • background1440x900.jpg  (1.6)
  • background1920x1200.jpg (1.6)
  • background1280x768.jpg  (1.66-)
  • background1360x768.jpg  (1.770833-)

It seems according to that post that the backgroundDefault.jpg image is actually stretched to fit to the screen when a resolution/ratio specific isn’t found. So my best guess is that if you want a non stretched image better add one in your monitors resolution. I am sure it will actually look better that a stretched one.

I also found that another way to do this is through the Group Policy Editor. Though I am not really sure if it works with every Windows 7 or just with Ultimate.

So to change the logon screen background this way you have to go to the Start Menu and type Group Policy on the search box then click on Edit Group Policy.

After opening the editor navigate to Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> System -> Logon.

Then double click on Always use custom logon background and set it to enable, by default it is set to not configured.

After this part you can go up to the folder creation part (if the folders don’t exist) save the image in he folder with the proper name as mentioned above etc.

Both the ways mentioned in the above might actually be hard for the inexperienced people. However there is also another way, which is easier. You can achieve the same results with the use of a free application called Logon Changer For Windows 7 by tweaks.com.

This option is a nice solution for the non tech-savvy people, as it is really easy compared to the other solutions.

Enjoy! 🙂

Back to my Hometown

I am back to my hometown for a few days, (due to the orthodox easter) though I am not a believer myself I have to visit and join my family for this. It’s nice, but actually today (easter) was a pretty tiring day. I have a few days to sleep well, and the bed here is not as comfortable as my bed back in the city.

Since I am already here, I also did some maintenance stuff on my home computer here, like whatever updates got released since my last time here, since I am actually the only one that does something like this, I am even guessing that this computer doesn’t get much use at all. I actually have to do some updates-maintenance to my brothers computer tomorrow (that’s the one computer in the house that gets used regularly).

These days I was testing an issue I had since way back, with this computer. Some times when the computer was getting loaded with stuff, it would make a click sound after which the HDD would stop spinning and the computer would freeze. I was testing various stuff. I have two IDE drives installed on this machine, an 80GB Western Digital ATA-100 HDD and an Optiarc optical drive (DVD-RW). The HDD was set as master on the IDE-0 and the optical as master on the IDE-1. The thing I did was changing the setup HDD to IDE-1 and optical to IDE-0 without changing the cables used, up to this point, for the last 24hours the computer didn’t freeze at all, before it would freeze once every few hours. My suspicion is towards the cable, but I can’t tell for sure if I don’t check it.

One more of the things I did, was to replace the ArchLinux, on the secondary partition with Ubuntu 10.04 Beta as a secondary OS, and configure the linux up to my liking making it accessible only for me. I also installed BURG and the redit theme so now the boot selection menu looks something like the following:

OS Selection Menu
OS Selection Menu

I also installed some needed software, including the last.fm client for linux. I recently found out that the linux last.fm client is perfect for iPod scrobbling. I stopped using iTunes some time now, I used to prefer iTunes to since iPod due to the fact that I could scrobble the music I listened on the go, but many times the feature didn’t actually work, and I suspect an iTunes issue, so I decided to stop using iTunes, because I don’t really like it. Lately I usually add music to my iPod through Winamp in Windows and scrobble it through the linux last.fm client. It’s actually really easy, you just connect your iPod, go Scrobble iPod on the client menu, then select the path where your iPod is mounted and there you go, and this stuff works every single time unlike the iTunes&last.fm combo on Windows. I also installed conky with conky colors and some other useful stuff. Here is a screenshot of the desktop:

Desktop
Desktop

Then today I decided to play some game on my brother’s PSP so I downloaded “Lunar: Silver Star Harmony” but I couldn’t play it. I got some error and after some Google search I found out that I had to upgrade the firmware. The PSP had the 3.71 M33 CFW and according to a few forum I had to install the 5.50 GEN-D3 in order to play the game. I spend a great amount of time trying to figure out how to update the firmware, since it was my first time upgrading a PSP with CFW. For some time I was placing the needed files in different folders so I was getting a “Corrupted Data” in the PSP menu and I couldn’t upgrade, when I figured out I updated to 500 M33-6 (after figuring out how to bypass the battery check). According to a guide 500 M33-6 was the minimum requirement in order to upgrade to 5.50 GEN-D3 Final. Then I used the XGEN updater and finally I installed the firmware I needed, and finally started the game. However I spend most of my time on the update process that I didn’t have any time left to play… I ll try to continue with it tomorrow.

I actually got some photos from the preparation of the food today, and a few of the trees near the place we were, but I am kind of tired to search for the usb cable for my phone, to transfer the photos on my computer. I guess I’ll post them tomorrow in a new post.

Replacing Notepad with Notepad++ in Windows 7

For some time now I prefer the use of Notepad++ instead of the Windows default notepad, so lately I decided that I wanted to replace the default notepad with notepad++. With some searching on Google I found a way to do it. There is a link to the original article at the end of the post.

So according to the original article you have first to disable the Windows UAC. You can follow this guide to do it

Then you have to get Notepad++ from it’s official website: http://notepad-plus.sourceforge.net/ and install it.

The next step is to download the Notepad++ launcher which allows you to replace Notepad completely by Notepad++. Then you have to extract the zip’s contents in a new directory, and create a batch script with the following contents:

rem START BATCH COMMANDS
rem PLEASE MAKE SURE THAT USER ACCOUNT CONTROL (UAC) IS TURNED OFF AND PC HAS BEEN REBOOTED FIRST!
rem If you are using VISTA x32 version, then edit this file first by adding “rem ” in front of every line that contains the phrase “syswow64?. Then run the script again.
@echo off
PAUSE

takeown /f c:\windows\syswow64\notepad.exe
cacls c:\windows\syswow64\notepad.exe /G Administrators:F

takeown /f c:\windows\system32\notepad.exe
cacls c:\windows\system32\notepad.exe /G Administrators:F

takeown /f c:\windows\notepad.exe
cacls c:\windows\notepad.exe /G Administrators:F

copy c:\windows\syswow64\notepad.exe c:\windows\syswow64\notepad.exe.backup
copy c:\windows\system32\notepad.exe c:\windows\system32\notepad.exe.backup
copy c:\windows\notepad.exe c:\windows\notepad.exe.backup

copy notepad.exe c:\windows\syswow64\notepad.exe
copy notepad.exe c:\windows\system32\notepad.exe
copy notepad.exe c:\windows\notepad.exe
@echo on
rem END BATCH COMMANDS

Then you have to save the batch script and execute it. The script backups the original notepad just in case.

The source for this guide is the following article: Replace Notepad in Windows 7.  The original article was for replacing notepad with notepad2 but it can also work for notepad++ as described above.

iTunes for windows..

itunesI don’t know but for some reason I am completely disappointed by the whole Apple on Windows experience. I really thing believe that iTunes for windows is a really heavy application, and it misses too many features… No library management features. For example I would like to have iTunes checking my custom folder for new tracks, or if I for some reason change many track tags, to be able to rescan by entire library for changes. I am kind of able to do some of that things with some third party applications but it isn’t such a great solution after all. And actually the only single reason that I use iTunes is to sync my iPod. Not that there aren’t other applications that can do the same thing, but the last great looking solution I tried, within Winamp, that supported iPod scrobbling, because I want to get whatever I listen on iPod up to my last.fm profile, lacked Unicode support, so it messed up all my Japanese/Chinese/Korean tagged mp3 on my iPod.

The greatest problem lately seems to lie within iTunes 9. When i upgraded from version 8 to 9, for some weird reason all my library on the iPod got corrupted… I had a while since I last used my iPod, so I get ready to leave my home to go pay some bills, and I pick my iPod cause I want to listen to some music while walking and while waiting on the queue to pay the bills, so I get out of my home and try to listen to some music, I can see the cover art displayed in the menu’s right part, but when I try to listen to some music, it seems that my iPod is empty!!!! So I had to restore it when I got back at home.

My latest issue with iTunes is with 9.0.2 deleting the track play count on iPod. Before the sync the Recently Played smartlist on iPod had 18 tracks that I listened to while away from home, and in the iTunes the same playlist is blank, no tracks at all. So as soon as I get back I do a final check of the playlists just in case and i connect my iPod in order to sync it. Well the result of the sync is that all the plays on the iPod are gone… and the recent played list is completely empty like it was on the iTunes, and none of the tracks I listened while on the go had their play count updated.

Anyway now I decided to revert back to iTunes version 8 and using along with one of the following, YamIpod or floola.