Control Google Music with Media Keys

I've been trying out Google Music's All Access service ($7.99/month if you start the free trial before June 30th) as an alternative to Spotify. While I haven't decided which one I will continue using, there was one feature I needed before I could even consider Google Music: media key support.

Many keyboards have special keys that allow you to play, pause and skip tracks while listening to music. These keys usually work automatically with desktop applications that play music, but it's a different story with web browsers. Since Google Music doesn't have a desktop application, I needed another solution.

Check out the excellent Unified Music Media Keys extension for Google Chrome. This works on Macs and PCs, and lets you control a variety of websites using your media keys. The list includes Google Music, Pandora, Rdio, Grooveshark,, and more. Seriously, check it out.

Technical Details

For troubleshooting purposes (or if you're curious), I'm including some information about how the plugin seems to work on Windows. Continue reading

Install NPAPI Plugins in Chrome for Windows 8

The Problem

NPAPI plugins have been around since Netscape 2.0(!) and extend the capabilities of web browsers, but they were designed in a less security-conscious time. These plugins are not sandboxed and have the same access to your computer as your current user account. This kind of access is prohibited in the new Windows Store apps, and so these plugins do not run in web browsers running in Windows 8's new UI. As such, Google has decided to block their installation under Windows 8.

When you view an extension that relies on one of these plugins in the Chrome Web Store, you will see the message: "This application is not supported on this computer. Installation has been disabled." However, these plugins still work in Chrome while running in desktop mode! Until developers update their software to use newer API's, you still may want to install these plugins for use on the desktop. Here's how. Continue reading

Switching Between Pen and Touch Input in OneNote (ThinkPad Helix)

The Problem

Microsoft OneNote can to automatically switch between pen and touch input. This means that you can use the pen to write on the screen and use your fingers to scroll/zoom without having to select a different tool in the toolbar. Unfortunately this feature was not working on my new ThinkPad Helix. I would write on the screen, but when I would scroll, my fingers would end up drawing a line. Here's how to fix it.

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Reduce Widget Margins in Twenty Twelve Theme

The default WordPress Twenty Twelve theme has—what I consider—a large space following a widget’s title and a large space between widgets. The screenshots below show this spacing using Chrome’s inspect element feature. The blue shading represents the content area, and the orange represents the margin. We can modify the theme’s style to reduce this space.

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LaTeX Editing Using Notepad++


LaTeX is a powerful markup language used for typesetting documents. Its ability to professionally typeset mathematics in particular makes it a commonly used tool in academia. If you are reading this, you probably know all about LaTeX, so I don’t need to explain it in detail. Instead, I want to explain how I came to use Notepad++ as my LaTeX editor.

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Enable Wireless-N on Intel Wi-Fi Adapter

Can't Connect to Wireless-N Network

During the initial setup on my ThinkPad Helix, Windows could not connect to my 802.11n Wi-Fi network. The setup proceeded normally when connected to the 802.11g network. After setup completed, I again tried to connect to the Wireless-N network. This failed again with an error like "Windows could not connect to the wireless network." I knew the network functioned fine, because my three-year old ThinkPad could connect just fine. When I took a look at the driver settings, the problem was obvious: 802.11n support is disabled by default!

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Middle-click with ThinkPad's Synaptics Touchpad

Middle-click Not Working

Recently I installed an update for the Synaptics UltraNav (touchpad/pointing stick combo) in my Lenovo ThinkPad X201 Tablet from Windows Update. This driver in the 16.2.x series broke my TrackPoint's middle-click function in Windows. By this, I mean that I want the middle button on the TrackPoint to work exactly like the middle button on a real mouse. Continue reading