Archive for the ‘Software’ Category


Top FlagIT Posts of 2009


It’s been about a year since I started blogging here and whilst it was primarily supposed to be a site for quick useful tech-related posts several have grown into far larger posts.  Whilst some posts have remained somewhat quiet on the number of reads others have generated far more interest than I could have expected.

It’s actually five more days until this blog is a year old, but I thought that new year’s day might be as good an opportunity to review what the top ten posts were.  This has been based on the number of visits from more than six and a quarter thousand since the blog was created.

10. Reclaim more Memory on a Windows Mobile Device

Posted: 04/04/2009

Reads: 95 (Daily Average 0.35)

Windows mobile phones have a finite amount of memory and like any operating system (particularly M$ ones?) memory leaks can stop memory being released.  This post highlights how to resolve some storage issues with the Mobile Opera browser and a useful tool for reclaiming that memory lost to leakage.

9. Simple Template Workaround for Evernote

Posted: 21/11/2009

Reads: 95 (Daily Average 2.32)

A relatively recent post about one of my favourite pieces of software (Evernote) and how to use a simple bit of scripting to create templates in Evernote.

8. A Ceiling Function for VBScript

Posted: 31/07/2009

Reads: 133 (Daily Average 0.86)

This post includes some VBS code to round a number off to the greatest integer.

7. Developer Tabs and Drop Down Lists in Word 2007

Posted: 17/03/2009

Reads: 135 (Daily Average 0.47)

This post explains how to access the developer tab in Microsoft Word 2007 and briefly discusses some of the shortcomings of the drop down lists it offers.

6. VBScript – Count Occurrences in a Text String

Posted: 30/07/2009

Reads: 148 (Daily Average 0.95)

Another simple bit of VBS code that counts the number of instances of a string of text within another string of text.

5. Omnia to Oblivia (and back)

Posted: 05/04/2009

Reads: 151 (Daily Average 0.56)

I have a Samsung Omnia mobile phone and have had a number of issues with it.  This describes how I resolved one of the most difficult issues with the file system constantly mounting and dismounting a storage device.

4. A Flexible Progress Window in VBScript

Posted: 19/07/2009

Reads: 169 (Daily Average 1.02)

Another popular bit of VBS code is some that builds a customisable progress window based around dynamically updating a web page that is automatically loaded into a browser.  The progress window allows the user to display messages and progress bars.

3. VBScript – Select a Folder

Posted: 28/03/2009

Reads: 278 (Daily Average 1.00)

The most popular VBS code post on the blog in the past year this one shows how to access a common dialog to select a folder and pass this back to the main code.

2. Controlling Spotify

Posted: 29/07/2009

Reads: 1172 (Daily Average 7.51)

At this point we see a big change in the number of reads of the posts.  This particular post’s popularity is most likely related to the popularity of Spotify.  The post describes a way in which an iPhone emulator can be used on a PC running Microsofrt Windows PC to control Spotify installed on an Apple Mac.

1. Excel – Dynamic Drop Down Lists with Full Validation

Posted: 15/03/2009

Reads: 1272 (Daily Average 4.36)

At the top spot is a post relating to Microsoft Excel.  It looks at how to overcome some of the limitations on dynamically populated drop down lists.  There are a number of other Excel related posts on the blog that people may find useful in combination with this and it has certainly made quite an impact with some of the spreadsheets I’ve developed for colleagues at work.  It seems as though that popularity is spreading to hundreds of others across the Internet.

So please have a look through these top ten (and others if you like) and I’d encourage you to leave a comment or rate the post.  If you like the content why not subscribe to one of the RSS feeds?


A Workaround for Sub-Notebooks in Evernote


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A New Year’s Resolution for Evernote – More Tags and Less Notebooks


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Duplicate a Note in Evernote


Evernote is a great application for jotting down a quick note about something new, but occasionally I find that I want to jot a note that’s very similar to an existing note.  I predominantly use the Windows 3.1 version and whilst it looks as though copy and paste is enabled for notes it isn’t.  So how do you do it?

Well the quick way is to just (select all and) copy the content from the existing note into a new note.  At this point I’m guessing you’re not exactly bowled over by the simplicity of this technique.  However I sometimes have notes that contain a specific title, several tags an author and even a web link – i.e. several items of meta data.  These can also be copied and pasted, but I find this a little fiddly.

Whilst ENSCRIPT could be used to create a template style import I can’t always rely on having pre-scripted a note I might want to duplicate.  The alternate method is to use Evernote’s export and import option.  Once imported the note needs to be moved from the import notebook it generates and then that must be deleted.

There’s probably not much in it, but I sometimes find the Evernote for Windows 3.1 interface a little lacking in responsiveness when trying to select the meta data items against a note and so the export/import works just that little bit faster.

Hopefully a future release (maybe even the 3.5 beta) will include a simple duplicate option (e.g. through copy & paste of an entire note).


Quickly add a page to Evernote from iPhone Safari


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The Google Earth Compass


Polar Spin

If you’ve used Google Earth on the iPhone or iPod Touch have you ever visited one of the poles?  If you do be sure to check out the compass in the top right corner of the screen.  If for example you zoom in on a point roughly 90°N & 135°W you will see the compass rotate and spin freely.

Obviously the Google Earth compass is not magnetic but I thought it was interesting to note this curious feature and that it is not repeated on the Windows desktop application.


Chrome OS as Laptop Fast Boot Option


We have a number of E-series Dell laptops in my organisation and whilst we don’t configure it many have Dell’s Latitude On installed.  This is a small Linux install that gives quick read only access to things such as recent mail, calendar and even a web browser.

With the advent of Chrome OS and after reading a recent article on LifeHacker by Gina Trapani it struck me that as well as dedicated Chrome OS devices there may be an option to boot from an onboard chip (like Latitude On) to effectively allow an alternative quick boot for a machine.  Now whilst the supported hardware list is not currently extensive hardware manufacturers can use the fact that Chrome OS is open source to create appropriate drivers.

Whereas Latitude On allows access to stored mailboxes, using Chrome OS would obviously relate to accessing content located on Google servers with regards to things such as mail or documents.  So would this be a step forwards or backwards?

Well for me I think it will be a progression.  There’s maybe another year or so of development to get to this point and by then the cloud, Google and Chrome OS will no doubt have progressed.  I think the maturity of the Chrome browser a year down the line and the fact that it will be ‘geared’ to working with Google services could be a big selling point for the Chrome OS in this sort of deployment.  I expect it will be faster and perhaps prettier (in GUI terms) to other quick alternative boot options.

I wonder how quick Chrome OS would be on a dedicated chip on a fast laptop as opposed to a netbook?  Hopefully I’ll get the chance to find out.