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 Sway.fm 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, Last.fm, and more. Seriously, check it out.
For troubleshooting purposes (or if you're curious), I'm including some information about how the plugin seems to work on Windows. Continue reading →
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 →
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.
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!
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 →