Migrate from Google Notebook to GQueues using AutoHotKey

Up until recently I have been using a myriad of idea/thought capturing services. My main depository was Google Notebook which was sadly discontinued by Google a while ago. I was however unable to find a worthy replacement for it until GQueues was released. GQueues is great and improving. It provides most of the Google Notebook functionality as well as other features I did not know I needed. GQueues is also in active development.

There is no formalized way to migrate from Google Notebook to GQueues. I was able to hack together the method described below, and luckily it only needs to be done once.

How to migrate:

  1. Download and install AutoHotKey (A powerful and easy to use scripting language that is sadly only for Windows).
  2. Download the script.
  3. Create a blank text file in your C:\ root like the Sample File.
  4. Export your Google Notebooks (Top Right Hand Corner -> Tools -> Export as HTML)
  5. Cut and paste the Exported notes into the text file you created in step 3, and remember to Save the file.
  6. Run the AHK Script file from step 2.
  7. Open the Queue, you want to import the notes into, in GQueues.
  8. Make sure that you are in the right Queue in the right Category. Create the first entry (Add Item) and ensure that the cursor is in the block of the first item (just click in the block).
  9. Now press Ctrl + Alt + n.
  10. The script will now read all the entries in the text file and “write” them into the Queue.
  11. Repeat for all your notebooks.

Note that Tags, subtasks etc will be lost. This is just a quick and dirty method.

How to restore the Office 2007 AutoCorrect settings to Default

I recently installed the Wspel Afrikaans spell checking dictionary for Microsoft Office. One of the “features” of this dictionary is a set of AutoCorrect rules for common Afrikaans spelling mistakes. The problem is that not all my typing is done and Afrikaans and thus the AutoCorrect makes mistakes automatically in English text that I type. In order to restore the Office AutoCorrect rules to their English defaults simply do the following:

  1. Run a search on your computer for all *.acl files.
  2. Out of the results determine which files are located in C:\Documents and Settings\<UserAccount>\Application Data\Microsoft\Office (or your equivalent).
  3. Ensure that all Office programs are closed.
  4. Rename the ACL files in the directory to *.acl.old .

The next time you open Office the ACL files will be recreated and your AutoCorrect rules should be back to default.

Precious Metal Buying in South Africa

I believe that the best type of investment is in tangibles. Things like gold, silver and property can’t be electronically disappeared or inflated away. I would like to share a few of the things I have learned through my research.

Forms of precious metals:

There are 3 main forms of owning precious metals. These are:

  • Bullion – amounts of precious metal where the weight is the only determining factor on the value.
  • Jewelry – I have no information on the use of jewelry as a form of investment.
  • Collectors Coins – mostly coins, where the weight as well as the face of the coin determines its value. Like a cross between bullion and a collectors item.

To summarise: I you melt down bullion into a blob no value would be lost, but if you melt down a collectors coin you would lose a great deal of value.

Measurements:

The international standard of measurement for precious metals is the Troy ounce. One Troy ounce is equal to 31.1034768g. Collectors coins are usually sold in ounces or fractions of ounces. ½ and ¼ ounce sizes are common. With collectors coins the face value has no effect on the value of the coin. Bullion can be sold in ounces or in grams or in any other weight measurement.

Prices and Value:

The price of various precious metals vary greatly. The value of bullion can be easily determined by multiplying its weight by its spot (current price). Collectors’ coins value is determined on a willing buyer, willing seller principle. This aspect of perceived value is a negative aspect of collectors coins in my opinion. You will pay a certain percentage above spot price to buy bullion and you will mostly sell it for a percentage below spot price. These two links will be very useful to South Africans who want to get a price in Rand per gram: [Gold] & [Silver].

Investment:

I don’t see precious metals as form of investment but rather as a store of value. There is a well worn quote that sums this principle up quite well:

Under the Roman Empire, an ounce of gold purchased a Roman citizen his toga, a leather belt, and a pair of sandals. Today, one ounce of gold will still buy a man a suit, a leather belt, and a pair of shoes.

I feel that this is honest and fair and does not unrealistically create (or extract) value from some obfuscated source.

Growth:

See for yourself:

Where to buy:

The best place I have found to buy bullion is MetCon. I haven’t bought from them yet and they seem to be very expensive especially for silver. They do have online ordering and they are situated in the Cape. Other suppliers that I know of are the SA Mint and the SCoin shop (the retail arm of the Gold Coin Exchange). The easiest way for South Africans to buy gold bullion is to purchase Kruger Rands. Just be careful since there are bullion and collectors coins types of Kruger rands.

Conclusion:

I hope this gave you a better idea of the precious metal picture. I am still trying to find somewhere to buy silver at a few percent over spot price. Silver is know as the poor man’s gold. Just make sure that you don’t pay too much over spot price for bullion since you will have to sell at a few percent below spot price in the future.

Tips for writing you IELTS exam in Cape Town

If you are planning on writing your IELTS exam I can make the following recommendations. Firstly the relevant contact information.

Booking

  1. Firstly you have to make a booking at your closest examination centre. [Link] (Use the dropdown box at the bottom of the page)
  2. Try and book for a Saturday. Traffic and parking is less of a problem.
  3. Fill in all the required details using the online form.
  4. The test costs R 1,900.00.
  5. After you have made the payment you will receive an email with details regarding the date and time of your test.

The Test

  1. Make sure that you bring all the required items as outlined in your confirmation email.
  2. For the Cape Town examination centre the first part of the test is done at the Beattie Lecture Theatre at UCT. This is lecture theater 5 in University Avenue. The coordinates of the closest parking area is -33.960192, 18.459074. There is a handy map here.
  3. The last part of the examination is done at the Mowbray branch of Damelin college. The coordinates of the parking area is -33.946477, 18.476367.

General Tips

  1. Determine if you need to do the Academic or General Training test. I’m not sure what the difference is.
  2. Read the directions carefully and follow them.
  3. Read and understand the questions before answering them. I almost made a grave mistake during the Writing test.
  4. Don’t read or listen to the provided material in a casual matter. Pay attention to what is being asked. Now is not the time to let your mind wander on how interesting the subject matter is. Once again I made this mistake myself during the Listening exercise.
  5. The questions are reasonably easy and straightforward but the time is short. Take this into account.
  6. The Speaking test is difficult because it is not a true conversation. You have to carry the conversation. The interviewer just reads a script.

It takes 14 days to mark the test and you can view your results online.

-33.960192, 18.459074

Setting up Vodacom voicemail diverts (rules)

Lately I have been feeling the wrath of various telemarketers from Unknown or Blocked numbers. I have started to just reject the calls, but a little voice in the back of my head keeps wondering if the call might have been important. This is where a properly setup voicemail box can help. As far as I know there is no way to make Unknown number go directly to voicemail but it is possible to have calls that you reject go to voicemail. Simply dial the following numbers on your phone (Vodacom only):

\underbrace{076}_{prefix}\underbrace{123 4567}_{sufix}

To divert all calls to voicemail, if you are going overseas or do not want to be contacted, type the following:

  • **21*[prefix]131 [suffix]# and then dial  e.g. **21*0761311234567#

To divert to voicemail if you don’t answer, after about 20 seconds, type the following:

  • **61*[prefix]131[suffix]# and then dial  e.g. **61*0761311234567#

To divert to voicemail if your phone is off or when you are out of range, type the following:

  • **62*[prefix]131[suffix]# and then dial e.g. **62*0761311234567#

To divert to voicemail when you are busy with another call or if you reject a call, type the following:

  • **67*[prefix]131[suffix]# and then dial  e.g. **67*0761311234567#

Setting up an OSX Time Machine backup server on Ubuntu 10.04

I have used the Sidi Kahawa tutorial for Ubuntu 9.10 to successfully implement the same results on Ubuntu 10.04. Just ensure that if you are upgrading from a previous installation or using an existing drive that you delete all the hidden .AppleDB folders. I used “find / -name ‘*.AppleDB*’” to verify. For any error refer to the Kremalicious blog where a lot of debugging information is posted.