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July 13, 2005

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Contents

  1 - Macro Express v 3.5d
  2 - Protect your Macro File using the Backup Options
  3 - Wait for Web Page Command Improvement
  4 - Variable Evaluation Level
  5 - Tip: Determine the Default Browser
  6 - User Submitted Macro - Time Code Calculators
  7 - User Submitted Macro - Date Time
  8 - User Submitted Macro - Date Time Differences
  9 - User Submitted Macro - Reminders Multi
10 - User Submitted Tip: Launch a Macro Remotely via Email
11 - RSS available
12 - Past issues of the Macro Express News


1 - Macro Express v 3.5d

Macro Express 3 version 3.5d has been released and is now available for download from our site at http://www.macros.com/download.htm. All licensed Macro Express 3 users can download and install this update without cost.

† Changes include:
  • When the macro file is saved, up to five backups are now kept in the temporary directory.
  • Added a warning message that, upon program startup, will warn the user that automatic backups are not enabled and will prompt them to enable them.
  • A change was made to the Wait for Web Page command to improve reliability on certain computers.
  • During macro file synchronization, if the macro file does not exist temporarily, an error message is not displayed.
  • If the license information exists on the clipboard, it can be automatically entered into the program.
  • Fixed a bug where in the "E-Mail Send" command, using a variable for a recipient could end up causing the recipient to receive the e-mail multiple times.
  • If the "Repeat with Process" was embedded inside another repeat loop, the program would jump to the outer loop when a "Repeat Exit" command was executed.
  • Fixed a bug where a copied macro would not be playable right away.
  • Fixed a bug in the "E-Mail Send" command where the user could not adjust the "Display e-mail sent notification" option.
  • Modified the ShortKeys implementation in order to make activation more reliable.
  • Fixed a bug where the "If Ping Successful" command could return a successful result, even if it wasn't successful.
  • The Network Connect command now uses the Name and Password used to log onto Windows if the 'Use Default Name and Password' option is checked.
After installing Macro Express 3, you can click Start | Programs | Macro Express | What's New for a complete list of changes. You may also view the list of changes on the web by visiting http://www.macros.com/revise.htm.


2 - Protect your Macro File using the Backup Options

From time to time we receive a report that someone has lost their macro file and a backup copy is not available. We have made the following changes in an attempt to help protect your macro file:

a. We have made a change to the macro cache that *may* have been causing the macro file to become corrupted.

b. The macro backup options are now turned on by default when Macro Express is first installed.

c. For existing Macro Express users, a new dialog appears suggesting they enable the backup options.

d. Whenever the macro file is saved, a copy of the macro file is created in the Temp directory. We now keep the last 5 temporary copies of the macro file in the Temp directory. These are named _macexp30.$$$, _macexp30.$$1, _macexp30.$$2, etc.


3 - Wait for Web Page Command Improvement

One of the changes made in Macro Express v 3.5 was to improve the Wait for Web Page command. Previous versions of Macro Express installed a 'Browser Helper Object' in Internet Explorer to allow the Wait for Web Page command to work. The BHO was sometimes unreliable. Some customers had trouble uninstalling Macro Express while others had trouble installing a newer version of Macro Express. The change to remove the BHO made the Wait for Web Page command much more reliable. It is also much faster.

There was one side effect of this, however. Many existing macros needed to be rewritten to accommodate the faster Wait for Web Page command. The change, in most cases, entailed adding a small delay immediately before the Wait for Web Page command. Macro Express v 3.5d includes a change to the Wait for Web Page command to eliminate the need for this small delay.


4 - Variable Evaluation Level

One new feature in Macro Express v 3.5d is the ability to set the Variable Evaluation Level. This feature allows the use of one variable to access another one. Consider, for example, the statement:

%T%N1%%

In the current version of Macro Express if N1 contains 10 then the result will be %T10%. But, the content of T10 will not be accessed. The value will remain %T10%.

But, with the Variable Evaluation Level feature, you can tell Macro Express to evaluate each statement that contains a variable multiple times. Thus, in our example, the first evaluation will result in %T10% and a second evaluation will retrieve the content of %T10%.

If N1 contains 1, then this will become %T1%. If N1 contains 99, then this will become %T99%.

A sample macro demonstrating this feature is available at http://www.macros.com/usermacs/umvariableevaluationlevel.htm.


5 - Tip: Determine the Default Browser

The Wait for Web Page command only works for Internet Explorer. It is possible to write a macro to perform the Wait for Web Page function for an alternate browser. There is an example of a Wait for Web Page macro for the Netscape browser listed in our Shared Macros web page. You can download this sample macro by visiting http://www.macros.com/usermacs/umwaitwebpagen.htm.

But, what do you do if your macros will be used on a variety of computers and with a variety of browsers? In this case you should determine what browser is set to be the Windows default browser and write your macros to adjust accordingly. There are two ways to do this.

First, if you do a Web Site command, the default browser is loaded. You could then look at the Window title for Firefox, Netscape, Opera or Internet Explorer.

Second, you could look in the registry. It turns out that there are many registry entries that change when you switch your default browser. You could choose one of these registry entries to examine. On my machine the Default value in the registry key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\HTTP\shell\open\command

contains either iexplorer.exe or FIREFOX.EXE depending on whether Internet Explorer or Firefox browser is the default.

If your macro determines that the default browser is Internet Explorer then you can use the Wait for Web Page macro command. If it determines that one of the other browsers is the default, then you could call another macro using the Macro Run command that performs the Wait for Web Page function for that browser.


6 - User Submitted Macro - Time Code Calculators

David Moen has submitted a macro file that contains 4 time code calculators that will be useful to audio/video editors. There are 2 offset calculators to add and subtract time code, one for NTSC and one for PAL. There is a calculator for converting a time code in NTSC to PAL and one for converting PAL to NTSC. View more information and download this macro from http://www.macros.com/usermacs/umtimecodecalculators.htm.

David wins a T-shirt for his macro submission.


7 - User Submitted Macro - Date Time

Maurice GŁnther has submitted a macro to calculate the amount of time between a starting and ending time. It shows you the current date and checks if it is a leap year or not. You are able to type your start and end time in the 24 hour mode and the macro calculates the total working time in seconds, the current working time and the time until closing time.

View more information and download this macro from http://www.macros.com/usermacs/umdatetime.htm.

Maurice wins a T-shirt for his macro submission.


8 - User Submitted Macro - Date Time Differences

Randall Clapp sent a macro to calculate the difference between two Date/Times up to 60 years back.

View more information and download this macro from http://www.macros.com/usermacs/umdatetimedifferences.htm.

Randall wins a T-shirt for his macro submission.


9 - User Submitted Macro - Reminders Multi

Bob Chernow says "This set of macros creates a versatile popup reminder system. It makes use of the Macro Express Registry, Messaging, Date/Time functions as well as optionally the Speakit package."

Download this macro from http://www.macros.com/usermacs/umremindersmulti.htm.

Bob wins a T-shirt for his macro submission.


10 - User Submitted Tip: Launch a Macro Remotely via Email

A recent topic on the discussion forum between inokenti and randallc describes how to have an email message trigger a macro. To do this, create a 'playable' macro and then, in your email client, set up an email 'rule' that will execute the playable macro as an external application.

You can use this technique if your email client has an option to run an application. Outlook and Pegasus mail have this option.


11 - Receive Update Notices via an RSS Feed

In addition to receiving the Macro Express News via email (click here to subscribe http://www.macros.com/esubs.htm) or viewing it online (http://www.macros.com/newsletters/MENews.htm) you can now receive this newsletter via an RSS feed.

Have you noticed the orange buttons with RSS or the blue buttons with XML showing up on pages all over the web? Have you wondered what it means? These buttons indicate that the web page contains an RSS feed.

What is an RSS feed?
RSS stands for 'Really Simple Syndication'. What it does is provide a summary description of web pages along with a link to the web page itself. This information is delivered as an XML file.

There are millions of pages on the web. Would you like to know when a specific web page is updated? For example, perhaps you would like to be notified when we publish a web page announcing a new version of Macro Express. You could subscribe and have the Macro Express Newsletter delivered via email. But, some customers report that they do not receive the newsletter email messages. RSS is the answer.

How can I use RSS?
To get an RSS feed you need a reader. There are separate programs that only handle RSS feeds and there are programs that handle RSS feeds in addition to other functions. For example, the Firefox browser can read RSS feeds.

A quick search on the web lists many free and low cost RSS readers (see http://blogspace.com/rss/readers). Any of them will work.

Once you have an RSS reader you need to subscribe. The steps to do this may vary depending on what browser or RSS reader you use. If you are using Internet Explorer as your browser and RSSReader as your reader, then you would browse to a web page with an RSS feed, right-click on the orange RSS or blue XML button, and choose 'Copy Shortcut'. Then open your RSS reader and click the Add button.

For more information do a web search for "RSS feed", "RSS Readers" and "What is RSS".

Once you set up an RSS reader, you will find many pages that you want to have it watch for you.


12 - Past issues of the Macro Express News

Are you a new subscriber to the Macro Express News email newsletter? Did you miss an issue? Past newsletters are available online at http://www.macros.com/newsletters/MENews.htm.


Comments and Suggestions

We welcome customer feedback. Let us know what you like and dislike about Macro Express. Send questions, comments and suggestions:

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  http://www.wintools.com

Macro Express Home Page:
  http://www.macros.com

Email:
  mailto:info@wintools.com

Mail:
  Insight Software Solutions, Inc.
  PO Box 106
  Kaysville, Utah 84037-0106


Thank you,
The Macro Express Development Team
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