Embedded Youtube Video – How to take a square root

Cool Google Chrome trick: Add Events in Google Calendar From the Omnibox

Here’s a cool trick that appeared on PcMag.com.  I copied the tip here to my blog for easier reference.


Add Events in Google Calendar From the Omnibox

You can use your Omnibox to access Google Calendar’s “quick add” function. First thing to do is copy this line of code:


Next, go to Settings, scroll down to Search, click on “Manage search engines…” (chrome://settings/searchEngines) and a new window will open. Scroll all the way down until you see three fields labeled “Add a new search engine,” “Keyword,” and “URL with %s in place of quotes” (don’t worry about that crazy talk in that last one).

In the first field, just write “Google Calendar,” in the keyword field write “Calendar” (or whatever omnibox prompt you would like to use when you use this function). In the third field, paste the line of code you copied above. Then click done.

Now type “calendar” (or whatever you chose to put in the keyword field) in the omnibox and hit tab, and you should get a solid tab box that says “search Google Calendar.” Don’t let the “search” part fool you, you will only be adding information.

Use plain sentence-style English to describe a future event with all the whats, wheres, and whens. Google is fairly adept at wringing out the details and translating it into a Calendar event. In the above example, after prompting the calendar search, I typed “eat all the tuna fish in the world next Tuesday at 8:30” and then hit return to automatically open an autopopulated Google Calendar tab with all the correct information. From there, all I had to do was press “SAVE” or “Discard.”

Microsoft Outlook Preview available for Android

Microsoft Outlook is now available for Android as a preview in the Google Play Store. I just installed it on my Samsung Galaxy S3.  Here’s the “Add an Account” screen.  At first glance there doesn’t appear to be any integration of Outlook contacts with contacts in Android.

Hopefully they are working on that.

Microsoft Outlook for Android Preview

Microsoft Outlook for Android Preview

Here’s the link to the app on Google Play.  It’s hard to find just searching on Google Play as there are other similar apps from Microsoft such as Outlook.com and OWA for Android which are different applications!

Backyard wildlife

Here are a couple of pictures of some wildlife enjoying the lake in my back yard.

Mother and baby ducks swimming in my backyard lake

Turtle swimming in my lake

Baby ducks!

Here’s a picture of a mother duck and her eleven babies hanging out in my yard.

Baby ducks and mother in my neighborhood

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iTunes web site and Google Chrome on Microsoft Windows – Part II

Ok, my first attempt (see my previous post on this) at this was a little “programmy” and “hacky“. It also appears that Apple changed the itmsCheck.js JavaScript code and no longer set the iTunesPresent cookie as they did before. Apple still doesn’t recognize Google Chrome as one of the browsers or platforms on which they will automatically attempt to load iTunes from web pages. To overcome this issue I searched for a Google Chrome extension that could be configured to use a Safari Macintosh User-Agent string whenever browsing a web page in the Apple.com domain. I found User-Agent Switcher for Chrome which did the trick! Below is a screenshot of the configuration screen for User-Agent Switcher. I added a setting telling the software to use the pre-configured Mac Safari user-agent string for any web page in the Apple.com domain.

I am now able to automatically have Chrome load iTunes whenever I click on iTunes Preview link such as the one below.

iTunes web site and Google Chrome on Microsoft Windows

Here’s proof that Apple’s iTunes web site doesn’t natively recognize Google Chrome for automatically launching the iTunes application from the iTunes web site. Below is a screen capture of the source code used by the iTunes web site to detect the presence of the iTunes software on the PC accessing the iTunes web site. The JavaScript function used to detect iTunes is called “iTunesDetected” and will only return TRUE if any of the following are true:

  • the browser’s user agent string contains the word “Macintosh”
  • the browser is Internet Explorer and the iTunes ActiveX component installed
  • the browser is Firefox and the iTunes Mozilla plugin is installed
  • an iTunes cookie named “iTunesPresent” set to true in the domain of the Apple web site visiting or in “.apple.com”

iTunes web site JavaScript that excludes Google Chrome

The $64 question now is what’s the best way to get the “iTunesPresent” cookie set in domain “.apple.com”.

My first thought was to configure Chrome to use a user agent string containing “Macintosh” and then launch iTunes from the iTunes web site once thereby setting the cookie.

Chrome using Macintosh/Safari User Agent String

I was perplexed when this didn’t work. Using the built-in debugger in Chrome I proceeded to set a break point in the iTunesDetected function and then single stepped through the function to see what was happening. Even thought I had set my user agent string to “Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; Intel Mac OS X 10_5_3; en-us) AppleWebKit/525.19 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.2.1 Safari/525.19” using the Chrome command line switch “–user-agent=” debugging showed me that “navigator.agentString” was still set to the default Chrome UAS.


At this point I decided to take the sledgehammer approach. I navigated Chrome to the following url: http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewTop?id=25204&popId=30 and after receiving the error that iTunes wasn’t installed I set a break-point in the JavaScript that tested whether iTunes was “installed”.


I then reloaded the page and after the breakpoint triggered, I changed “iTunesDetected()” to “true” and began to single step through the code. Once I entered function “its.cookies.setUnescaped” I proceeded to change “if (domain)” to “if (true)” and hard-coded the setting of domainString to ” domain=.apple” (see lines 216 and 217 below).

How to force creation of iTunesPresent cookie in .apple.com domain

I then let the script continue by pressing the run pause-run buttonbutton.

My PC now contains the iTunesPresent cookie in the “.apple.com” domain which now allows me to automatically launch iTunes from web pages on the iTunes web site using Google Chrome.

iTunesPresent cookie

Why Apple doesn’t directly support Google Chrome remains a mystery to me. I understand that Google Chrome is a competing product to Apple’s Safari browser, however, I am confident that Apple will make far more revenue from the iTunes store by making the user experience of iTunes best-in-class using any platform or browser.